Archive for June, 2011

One Committed Kid

This week, the church has been teaming with little voices and the sounds of laughter and singing.  We are hosting our annual Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week and it has been amazing!  The kids are fun and they tell you exactly what they are thinking.  They aren’t afraid to ask hard questions and they soak up the answers like sponges.  It is so refreshing to witness their openness.  I have also learned from them this week.

One little girl who came with a friend wanted to talk to me the other night.  I was sitting on the edge of the stage as we waited for parents to arrive to pick up their kids.  She came up to me to ask a question.  She asked, “Would it be OK if I brought my Bible tomorrow night?”  I smiled and told her I could not think of anything better for her to bring to church.  I asked her if she read her Bible often and she gave me a big smile and a full body nod – yes.  Then she sat down beside me and told me that she attends Mass with her mother but everything is in Spanish so she doesn’t understand what is being said.  But then she smiled again and said, “I write down the verses when they say them so that when I get home, I can read them in my Bible.”

I was floored by the heart and the initiative of this little girl.  She is faithful to attend her mother’s church even when she doesn’t understand what is going on and then committed enough to read for herself the passages that are used during the service.  I have been wondering since, “how many adults would go that extra step?”  I even have to ask myself, “Am I that committed?”

Something to think about.

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I had to stop for gas when I got to town today.  As I pulled up next to the gas pump, I noticed a lady beginning to fill her car on the other side of the set of pumps I was about to use.  As I got out of the car, I could not see her, but I heard her say, “Good morning, how are you today?”  I looked around and there was no one else to receive her greeting so I knew she was talking to me.  So I responded, “I am good.  How about you?”

She replied, “I am blessed.  I guess I could complain but no one would listen.”

I told her, “I would listen – might not could do anything about it – but I would listen.”  She laughed and I laughed and that was about it for our exchange until she finished and I told her to have  a wonderful day and she told me to be blessed.

I finished putting gas in the car, retrieved my receipt and headed to the office.  But as I drove, I wondered, if she had not taken the first step to say “Hi,” would I have taken the initiative?  I had a multitude of things swimming around my head (and those of you who know me know that if it was more than two thoughts that things were getting pretty crowded in there).  Striking up a conversation with a stranger was not on my To Do list.

But I was reminded that it should be a standing item on that list.  My day was brightened because a stranger at a gas pump took the time and energy to say “good morning.”  Nothing fancy or elaborate.  It didn’t take any additional time – just additional effort.

As a Jesus follower, shouldn’t we make it a point to brighten someone else’s day – everyday?

Maybe that is an answer to my question yesterday – you can read that post here.

Be a blessing today!

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We are working through a sermon series right now on the focus of our church.  We began with setting the foundation that our focus should be God’s mission.  We looked to Matthew 28:19-20 as a foundation for understanding that mission.  We need to remember that God’s mission has a church, not the other way around.

Yesterday, we talked about being an apprentice of Jesus – making it a life passion to learn who he is and not just learn about him.  It is about a relationship not religion.  This week will take that a step farther and talk about how we should live in that relationship and how knowing Jesus should affect our choices and the way we live.  Lecrae (@lecrae) is a Christian rap artist who has always inspired me (yes, I like all kinds of music).  He does a song entitled, Go Hard.  In that song, he asks the question, “If you didn’t know him, would your life look the same?  Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?”

Does your life reflect a relationship?  Does the fact that you know Jesus really matter?

I need your help this week.  I would love to use your examples in the sermon this week.  I have a question I would like you to consider and get back to me.  You can comment here or send me a message on Facebook or just email me.  Either way – I would love to hear from you.

Here is the question:  How does having a relationship with Jesus affect the way you live each day?

I look forward to your responses!

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Last Sunday, I introduced some things to our church family that I hope and pray take hold and become an integral part of our DNA.  As I talked about our mission as a church, I reminded everyone that we should look at the bigger picture first – the fact that God’s mission has a church.  When we look at that mission, we see that the mandate to us is to make disciples – followers of Jesus – apprentices.

The plan for us in this regard can be stated simply:  Learning, living and loving . . . together.  That is the plan.  That is the strategy.

So this week, we will be looking at what it means to be “learner” and how we can do it together, in community.  It begins with each of us coming face to face with Jesus.  We have to move beyond knowing about Jesus to the point of really knowing Jesus.

I am excited about our services on Sunday.  If you are around Littlefield, Texas this Sunday morning at 10:45, I would love to have you drop by and see what God will do!

Be blessed today!

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My family sat down last night to watch America’s Got Talent.  It was amusing to watch.  Some of the acts that took the stage really did have some talent – and some . . .  not so much.  But as we watched, I thought about the practical truth that could be gleaned from this show.

Truth 1:  The Bible says, as believers, we are all given gifts and talents that should be used for the building of God’s Kingdom.  Everyone of us has a place in God’s strategy to positively impact our world.

Truth 2:  Not all of us have the same gifts and talents.  That is why it takes us all – working together.

Truth 3:  It is important to come to terms with the gifts we possess and also accept the fact that we just don’t have some gifts.  Not all people have the ability to sing (as was shown on the show last night!).  But that does not mean that they are not gifted in other areas.  In order for us to work together as efficiently as possible, we need to be comfortable with our gifts and talents and be willing to use them for God’s glory.

Truth 4:  I am so glad we don’t have to take a stage on national television to prove our talents.  Just put them to use in your local church!

To read more about what the apostle Paul said regarding gifts, take a look at this.

Be a blessing today!

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Have you ever felt all alone.  Or maybe you have experienced the weight of the world crashing in on you and were overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness.  Sometimes the pressures of work and home and all the other aspects of life may seem too much to carry.

I think all of us have experienced some of this at different stages in our lives.  Maybe you are there today.

I read a passage this morning in Hebrews that might just be what you need to hear today.  Hebrews 4:15-16 says this:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus has been there and done that.  He knows everything you are carrying today and he cares for you.  This passage reminds us that we can approach God with confidence because God understands where we are and the load we are under.  This passage says that we can find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need when we approach God and ask.

Regardless of the pressures you feel today, God is with you.  You can find mercy and grace to help you because God loves you and understands.

Approach the throne of grace today.

Be blessed.

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Redemption Partners

Yesterday, I preached on the fact that when we think about the mission of our church, we need to see the bigger picture.  We really need to think more along the lines of God’s mission having a church rather than our church having a mission.  The reason for the very existence of a church is to fulfill God’s mission.  And that mission is the redemption of humankind.

We live in a messed up world.  I don’t know if you have noticed that lately.  We do a pretty good job of insulating ourselves from it much of the time, but the reality is, the world in which we live has taken what God intended for good and has twisted it into something else – self-serving, corrupt, sinful – messed up.

But regardless of what the world did to Jesus – rejection, torture and execution – God’s plan has not changed.  God still wants all people to be redeemed.  That is God’s mission.  God’s strategy and plan for that mission to be accomplished is the church.

Scary isn’t it?  What a challenge!  What an adventure!  God has called us to join in with the work of redemption!  We are to be redemption partners with God!

As you think about this adventure today – let me leave you with two thoughts.  First, we are not alone.  As believers, we have been given everything we need to carry out God’s call on us.  Jesus said he would never leave us nor forsake us.  We aren’t alone!

The second thought I would leave you is that this work, this adventure, is a call to be faithful – a mandate to be available.  the apostle Paul realized that in some instances, he planted the seeds and others watered them and still others witnessed the results.  We may not see the fruits of our labors on this side of eternity.  Our call is not to see results as much is it is to do all we can to live in such a way that we impact the eternity of others.

Be faithful and available today – and take heart, you aren’t alone!

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