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Archive for May, 2010

Monday was a great but tiring day.  It has been a few years since I have torn shingles off of a roof.  We had 9 college students and myself all working on the same project from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm in the El Paso sun and they did awesome.

It was so inspiring to see students who have dedicated a week of their lives to serving Christ and serving others.  The work they did was extremely strenuous but I never heard a single complaint.  I was pleased with their desire to work and serve.  Today we get to put the new shingles on the roof – less strenuous but still very tiring.  I have to say, I am looking forward to spending the day with my new heros.

I have two requests for you.  One is that you pray for these students today – for their safety and for sensitivity to all the opportunities God will provide for them to make a difference in the lives of others.  Second, I encourage you to consider the passion these students are showing this week and let some of that rub off on you – seek out opportunities today to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Be blessed today and be a blessing as well.

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Why is it that we can hear something and agree that it is true, but yet not internalize it or do anything with it?  Last night I had the opportunity to share with all the participants of the college mission trip in El Paso.  The primary point of the talk was this:  It is not about you, but it is personal.

Several years ago, I was certified in CPR and one of the things I remember is that once the situation has been assessed, the first thing you do is point to a person specifically and tell them to call 911.  Why is it important to do that you might wonder?  Because if you simply shout out, “Someone call 911!” it will eventually happen, but the indecision of the crowd will cost time and in an emergency, time is the one thing you do not have.  In other words, the natural response of those standing near will be to look around and see if someone else is going to do it.

Is it because no one wants to help?  No.  Is it because they don’t want to get involved?  Most likely not that either.  It is simply natural to hesitate and let someone else do it.

Our Christian walk is often just like that.  We know what we should do but it is just easier to wait and see if someone else will step up and take the lead or get involved.

What we have to remember is that it is not about us – but it has to be personal! We must serve others as if we do not matter, but we must live with the passion as if everything depended on us.

Take the lead and get involved today!

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I had to run an errand on Tuesday of this week and when I returned to the church what I saw really brightened my day.  Our King’s Kids (parents’ day out program) were in the field across the street from the church.  They were running around having a blast.  It was a warm day and other than a little wind (which was beneficial for their activity) it was a glorious day.

The kids were having kite day – but not your typical kind of kite.  These were hand made and special – as much wind catchers as kites.

Who would have ever thought of making kites from plastic bags?  These kids were having the time of their lives.  I appreciate the ladies who make our King’s Kids possible and the work they do with the children.

It is so important for kids to have fun at church.  I have come to believe that adult commitment to the church is often directly linked to the cumulative experience a person has had with the church from an early age.  In other words, people who have had a bad experience in church as children or students are far less likely to be involved as adults.

This is not to say that church should be all fun and games.  Obviously, one of the primary goals of the church is to partner with parents to strive to help children grow spiritually.  But there must be a balance between enjoyment and learning – and all of it has to be grounded in loving, safe and supportive relationships.  The key is to learn to harness the enthusiasm and fun and direct it in constructive ways toward spiritual growth.

I would love to hear what your church is doing to minister to children.  We can learn a lot from each other.  Leave a comment and let me know.

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Worship by iPhone

Unless you have been on the moon for the past year and a half or so, you have seen all kinds of marketing for the iPhone.  This revolution can do practically anything you can imagine because inevitably “There is an app for that.”

At the risk of doing a little iPhone bragging, I have been carrying one for just over a year and have been amazed at all it can do – with new apps hitting the market daily.  Oh, and by the way, it can be used to make calls too – amazing!

But I never would have thought this little device could be used for worship.

Check it out for yourself by clicking on this  YouTube video .

What can you do with your iPhone?

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The last couple of days, I have been thinking about clarity – clarity of thoughts, of direction, of calling.  I notice that the busier I get, the more convoluted my thinking can easily become.  I often have a tendency to be pulled into the urgent of the moment.  The constant battle is to keep my eyes on the goal.

I try to make it a practice to begin with the end in mind.  In other words, before I undertake anything, I try and visualize the outcome (at least in general terms).  By beginning with the end in mind, I find it easier to maintain direction and focus along the way.

As a leader, we must keep our focus.  1 Corinthians 14:8 says, “if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”  As the trumpeters, if we are not clear in our direction – in our own calling as followers of the Way – or if we fail to give a clear calling to those who follow us, then how will anyone be able to follow.

Spend some time today doing a little soul-searching and personal evaluation.  Where are you headed?  How does God figure into that picture?

What kind of a trail are you blazing and do those who follow you truly understand where you are leading?

Just food for thought.

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The Mundane Cross

In our church, we have  a huge cross that hangs over the baptistry behind the stage.  It has lights behind it to make it stand out.  It is a meaningful part of our auditorium.

However, yesterday, as we sat in the service, one of the lights behind the cross began to flicker.  All through the service the light would flicker on and off at random.  While this was somewhat distracting, I pondered on the cross yesterday afternoon.

That cross hangs there every day.  Every worship service we have in that room is done at the foot of that cross.  But because it is a permanent fixture, it blends in with the rest of the decor.  At Easter, we put a drape on it and it draws our attention to the cross.  But here we are, a little over a month past Easter, and already, the cross has become a mundane part of the service.  If it had not been for the blinking light, I dare say most of us would not have thought much about the cross yesterday.

Has the cross event already become a mundane fixture in our lives as well?  May it never be.  Take some time to remember Christ’s sacrifice today.

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Today is the National Day of Prayer.  People all across America are gathering to pray.  It is exciting to see the news of groups gathering to pray for their city officials or to lift up their schools.  It should be a reminder of just how great the nation is in which we live – an environment that still allows this kind of activity.

As I think about setting aside a day to pray, it stirs up a couple of thoughts in me.  One is that we allow ourselves to become so busy that it takes setting aside a day as a reminder to stop and pray.  I hope that today will remind us that every day should be a day of prayer.

The second thought is that while praying for God to move in our nation or to guide our leaders or to work through our schools are all worthy and needed prayers, maybe today we should include praying that God will change the world through me.  So often, even our prayer life reflects how we think the problems of the world have their source in something or someone other than ourselves, ie. “God, help them make better decisions.”  “Dear Lord, change their hearts.” “Holy Father, provide for the hungry.”  Maybe our prayers today (and every day) should be a little closer to home.

My prayer for you and for me today is this:  Holy and merciful Father, use me today to make a difference in a hurting world.  Burden me with a passion to see lives changed for you.  Strengthen me with your patience and power to stick with it long enough to see that change happen.

Bess someone today!

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