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Archive for September, 2011

This morning, my reading and prayer time focused on the book of Jude.  The primary purpose for this one chapter book or letter was the concern for keeping the faith.

As I read the verses, I became challenged – which often happens when we read scripture.

In verse 3, the author says this:

I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

Contend for the faith.  I had to ask myself, “do I ever find myself in a position that I must contend for my faith?”  I had to admit that I don’t feel I have to do that very often.  So that made me wonder, “why not?”

Part of the answer for that is I don’t run in circles very often that go against my faith.  Or do I?

Could it be that we have made our faith so comfortable that we fail to see what meaningful faith looks like any more?  Just wondering.

The other factor in this verse is the statement that this faith has been entrusted to God’s holy people.  I am not sure I qualify as a “holy person,” but as I think about it, the church is God’s primary source of holy people.  So how are we doing?  Are we keeping the faith?

Here is the stark reality – and it is no different today than it was in the day in which this letter was written by Jude – our faith is always one generation away from extinction!  Is the faith with which we have been entrusted being kept?  Are we passing on the faith God entrusted to us?

Think about it today!

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This coming Sunday is the National Come Back to Church Day.  We have decided to make that a matter of focus here in our congregation.  We have mailed out cards and put the word out.  We have communicated to our community that if they have a church home, they should attend there but if not, they are welcome here.

As I have thought about the approaching day, I have thought a lot about why we should make gathering together a part of our lives.  Scripture reminds us that we should not stop meeting together, but rather we should gather and encourage one another to continue living for Jesus – “to spur one another on to good works” as the apostle Paul says.

The reality is that we were created for community – to be together.  Look at the growth in popularity of the trendy coffee shops.  I admit, there is something attractive and hip about hanging out with friends while sipping on a coffee in a setting where conversation is open and acceptance is not forced.

That used to be the church.  What has happened in our culture?

I think in part, the church has lost it’s appeal due to the fact that the focus was taken off of relationships and put on religion.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Bible with all my heart.  And beyond that, I choose to associate with the Baptist denomination because I feel the belief system more closely fits my thinking about theology than any other system.

But I have to wonder . . . when we get to heaven, will God look at me and say, “Just think of how many more lives you could have impacted if you had been a little less concerned about religion and more focused on loving people in my name.”

I wonder . . .

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Simplicity of Worship

After listening to my daily podcast devotional on my drive this morning, I switched over to a little David Crowder.  On their album, Illuminate, there is a song titled Only You.  As I listened to the words of that song, I was reminded of the simplicity of worship.

It occurred to me that we have done it again!  We have done a great job of taking something really simple and making it very complicated and even a point of contention in many churches.

The chorus of the song is this:

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord.

That’s it.  Pretty simple.  On Sunday morning, we have become so concerned about the sound we are looking for or if it sparks some memory of worshipful moments in our past that we have forgotten that the goal of worship is not about us.  It is about bowing down to the one true God.

I wonder if we were to get back to the basics of worship if that would take care of a lot of our problems in most of our churches today.

Just wondering!

 

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What would you do today if . . .

What would you do today if you knew that tomorrow your job would come to an end?

What would you do today if you knew that tomorrow your child was going to move to the other side of the world?

What would you do today if you knew that the neighbor down the street – you know the one – the one you wave at each day but have never stopped to meet – what would you do today if you knew that neighbor was not going to wake up tomorrow?

What would you do today if you knew you were not going to be here tomorrow?

What would you do?

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God Desires More

Yesterday, I was asked the question, “Why do you turn to Jesus?”  I in turn asked you the same question (you can link to that post here).

So why do you turn to Jesus?

Unfortunately, we typically turn to Jesus when we need something.  Maybe we are facing a big decision so we ask for God’s guidance.  Or maybe we have just experienced a tragedy and we turn to Jesus for comfort and peace.  It is natural to turn to Jesus in times of need.  During those times of life, we realize that we cannot do things on our own.  When things are going well, we allow ourselves to have false confidence and think we are independent and can handle things.  We might even begin to wonder why we need God at all.

But, many times, it only takes a moment of need to help us remember just how much we need God.

Don’t get me wrong – God is always with us – always.  So when we experience less than pleasurable circumstances, God will be there to offer strength, comfort, direction and peace.

But I can tell you, if my son only came to me when he needed something or when things went wrong, I am not sure I would consider that much of a relationship.  I would hope that we would have other conversations as well (and we do).  Not only that, but for the relationship between my son and me to remain healthy and grow, we must spend time together.

Is it any different between God and us?  Can we truly have a relationship if the only time we turn to God is when things go poorly or we need something?

My challenge to you today is to remember that God deeply desires to have a relationship with you.  It is your responsibility to make that happen.

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Why Do You Turn To Jesus?

I had an early morning today and so, as I drove to work, the sun was just beginning to cast an orange glow across the eastern horizon.  It was a beautiful sight.  I put in my ear buds and turned on my morning devotional podcast from Pray-As-You-Go.  Today’s reading was out of the Gospel of Luke.  The text began with Jesus going to the mountain to pray all night alone.  I was reminded that if Jesus felt the need to be alone with God in prayer in order to be recharged for his day, how much more should I seek those times of solitude with God?

But then the reading turned to what happened next.  Jesus came down from the mountain to a multitude of folks who had come to see him.  The guide for the devotional then asked a question that I have been wrestling with since.  She asked the question: “Why do you come to Jesus?”

That seems like a simple enough question.  I mean, I know why I turn to Jesus – don’t I?   But the reality that hit me is that often I turn to Jesus out of desperation or need or want.

So I am making this a matter of prayer today as well as a focus for meditation throughout the day.  Tomorrow we will talk about this agian, but for today, I ask you the question: “Why do you turn to Jesus?”

I would love to hear your responses – leave me a comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you think.

Be blessed today!

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