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God Pursues

As I continue to prepare for the upcoming series on spiritual practices, Practice Makes Perfect, I keep running across instances that remind me of God’s constant provision but my oblivion to that provision because of distraction – and possibly even my own disobedience.

Yesterday, I ran across a passage in Isaiah pointing to how God is always seeking a relationship with us.  Here is what is recorded in Isaiah 65:1-2:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations—

God's Hands OutstretchedThe reminder I take from this passage is that God pursues us.  He stands “all day long” with hands outstretched waiting for us to notice.  But so often we are lost in our own pursuits.  We are distracted by our own imaginations.  I even fear that humanity has a tendency to take God-given talents and use them to create a false sense of independence.

Today, may we not walk in ways that are not good.  May we not pursue our own imaginations to the dismissal of God’s reach toward us.

Today, may we make time and space in our lives to hear God saying, “Here am I, here am I.”

 

Creating Space

How are you making space for God today?  It is so easy to fill our days with important things and somehow leave out the most important.  Making sure we make time to spend with God should take the highest priority but unfortunately, the sacred often gets pushed back by the mundane.  It is not so much a lack of priorities but rather a lack of perspective.

We become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the mundane and step into the circular race that ends where it starts.  We give in to the pressure to perform and we know that God will understand if we wait until later to spend time with him.  So we justify in our minds the idolatry of productivity.  Before we know it, we have gone days or weeks without spending quality time with the creator.

But there is a very interesting truth that we often overlook.  The truth is this – we cannot be the best version of ourselves (that means even in the area of productivity) when our focus is on anything other than the Father.

But this focus takes intentionality on our part.  Focus does not just happen.  We must work at it – – constantly.  We must create space in our schedules and in our lives to allow God to work.  God provides the progression toward being more like Jesus but we must do our part.

I am excited that this Sunday we will begin a new series – Practice Makes Perfect.  If you are in the Corpus Christi area, I encourage you to make this series a part of your August plan.  We will be working through some habits that can make a real difference in your walk.

Create space today!

No More

What holds you back?  What weighs you down?  Our past decisions have ways of wrapping their bony fingers around our ankles and dragging us back into a prison of guilt and regret.  Just when we think we are “through” something, here come the thoughts that have a tendency to leave us feeling worthless.

This morning, a couple of verses jumped off the page as I read.  Romans 8:1-2 say:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Paul reminds us that now, today, in this moment there is no condemnation if your trust has been placed in Jesus as the author and perfecter of your faith.  No condemnation!  Let that sink in.  When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, the Spirit breaks the chain of slavery to sin.  He frees us from the guilt of past decisions!

broken-chainsNo more fear!

No more guilt!

No more regret!

NO MORE!

This day, in this moment, remember – – as a child of God you are free.  You are a new creation.  The old has passed and the new has come!

Live into that freedom today!

An Evening At Camp

I had the opportunity to make a short drive out to Camp Zephyr yesterday to hang out with the children from our church that are in the midst of children’s camp this week.  They were all having a great time and making it through the heat just fine (I’m not sure I can say the same for our adult sponsors).

Worship at ZephyrI got in on a game of Gaga Ball and got to eat camp food and go to worship with the group before heading back last night.  The games were fun and the speaker was great but what impacted me the most was getting to watch our kids worship.  So often, I fear kids do not feel part of what happens in corporate worship on Sunday mornings.  I was moved to hear kids singing with open hearts.

It was a truly beautiful sound!

I left challenged to make sure we are more intentional in the way we plan worship services.  I went to camp to be with the kids for an evening so that maybe they would see how much I care about them and that I am just as much their pastor as any adult in the family.  I left reminded that we need to make sure they feel our church is their church.

What will we do to be used by God to form the next generation?

Need Help VisorI had a friend send this picture to me yesterday.  As you can see, I am not sure the person used the sun visor properly – so either some training in proper use of this particular sun visor would be in order or someone needs to call the police.

My first response was that if I need police assistance, I am not going to put a message on my windshield and hope for the best.  But as I have thought about the picture, and the comical prompting to take it, I have continued to muse about the lesson I can learn from what the picture shows us.  The lesson to be gleaned is one of the importance of observation.

In this instance, either the person putting the visor into position did not pay attention to what they were doing or even worse, based on the fact that there was no police presence, no one observed the message and called the police.  Either way, someone was not paying attention.

I wonder how often we miss an opportunity to experience God at work in our lives because we are just not paying attention?  We rush to get to where we are going and we fail to pay attention to God’s movement all around us.  How often do we miss an opportunity to experience God’s movement because we fail to notice the chance to be used to make a difference in someone else’s life and situation?

God is at work and wants to meet with you today.  God wants to use you today to make a difference in the world and the lives you meet. Will you be observant enough to seize the moment?

Stay on your toes today!

Welcome Home

Where is home for you?  Is there a difference between where you sleep and home?  I pray that these places are one in the same for you.  But I am thinking of home in a deeper sense.  Home is that place you are the most comfortable.

I started a new sermon series yesterday dealing with love.  John 15:9 says, As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  This word, “remain” carries some deep meaning.  Eugene Peterson, in The Message, translates this verse this way:  I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.

heart-and-cross-2What a beautiful picture of home.  Finding complete contentment and security in the love that Jesus has for you!

Maybe you have been betrayed in the past.  Maybe you have been burned by someone to whom you had given your heart and love.  Jesus reminds us that God’s love is unconditional and limitless and we can rest and take up residence in his love.

Find your home in the love of Jesus today!

Choices

My commute to the office each morning takes me past several churches.  One of the churches along my regular route has a marquis with changeable letters.  Often this church uses this sign to make announcements of upcoming events.  But occasionally it is used for a thought provoking statement.

Yesterday I noticed one of those statements and it has circled back in my mind a couple of times since.  The statement read:

Life is full of choices, eternity only has two.

ChoicesThere is truth in this statement.  We are bombarded with options every day – pulled in multiple directions to make decisions regarding everything from what shoes to wear to what car to drive to what music to enjoy.  The truth is, it would be easy to make thousands of decisions in a day without once considering truly important issues.

Is it possible that the enemy uses all the options freedom affords to distract us from considering the most crucial choice of our lives?  Satan is known for taking what God means for good and distorting it into something completely different.

Life is full of options and choices.  But the most important – literally life and death – decision an individual can make is what to do about eternity.  We only have two options – an eternity with God or an eternity without him.  God gives us that choice – and we must choose.  While it is never too late to make that choice while we still draw breath, by putting off the decision we are making a choice.

The best decision you can ever make is to live this life for Jesus.  Don’t be distracted by all the other decisions you will need to make today.  Truthfully, if you make the ultimate decision first, it will drastically impact the remainder of the decisions you will make.

Choose wisely!