Archive for July, 2012

How would you describe the Kingdom God?

Is it a place far away that we look to for hope?  A place we go when we die?

That is certainly part of it.

But what if Jesus had more in mind when he talked about the Kingdom of God?

What if Jesus envisioned the Kingdom of God here – on earth – today?

Scripture teaches us that the Kingdom of God is already here.  Jesus brought it to earth.

So how would you describe it today?  Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like (he always did that – teaching in parables) yeast that when it is mixed into flour makes something beautiful – wonderful bread.

What a powerful image.  Yeast causes dough to rise.  A little yeast affects a lot of flour.  It makes it lighter and without it, bread would not be bread.

That is a picture of the Kingdom of God here on earth.  One Jesus follower affecting the lives of many others – making their lives better, maybe even lightening their load.

As believers, we are all part of God’s Kingdom.  Will you do your part to impact those around you today for the better?

Go be yeast today!

Go be God’s Kingdom!

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It’s Personal

If you have watched the news lately, things seem pretty bleak.  From the insanity of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, to the drought in the south.  Gas prices continue to soar.  We face all kinds of difficulties these days.  If you let it, the news will begin to convince you that the world is falling apart.

The sad truth is this – it is.

But the answer is not to throw up our hands and fall apart with it.  As believers, we have hope.  God created the earth and all that is in it.  God is still in the redeeming business.

The answer is not for us simply to sit on our couches in front of our televisions and complain.

The answer is deeper and very personal.  If the world around is going to change for the better, it has to start with me and with you.

The book of Joel, in the Old Testament, describes a time in the history of Israel when things were pretty dark.  Joel gave these words of instruction:

Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love

If we are to see change, we have to turn back to God and look to God for direction and hope.  This isn’t just an outward expression of repentance.  It has to be very personal – a matter of the heart.

We need to turn back to God, who is gracious and full of compassion.  We need to ask God to open our eyes to how we can make a difference.

We need pray, “God, we need you in this hour.  We need your touch.  We need your guidance.  We need your strength.  We need your hope.  Please reclaim our culture and start with me!”

Is that your prayer today?

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I was reminded today that life is short.  We get so bogged down in our day to day and we look forward to some event, or that vacation and we begin to think, “I wish that day would come – it’s never going to get here!”

I remember as a child, if I were doing something I didn’t particularly like to do, it seemed time stood still.  Even as adults we get this feeling from time to time.

But when you zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture, life is really short.  In the grand scheme of eternity, our time here on earth is a blink of the eye.

So what will you do today to make that blink meaningful?

Live each day as if it were your last!

Be a blessing today!

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How’s Your Followship?

What is it that gives your life purpose?

Have you ever struggled with the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

I realize this is a deep question for early in the morning, but it is a question I have been wrestling with for years and really over the past couple of weeks.  This Sunday, I am preaching on the subject so it has been on my mind and heart.

In John 10:10 we find Jesus giving us the answer.  He says that the reason he came to earth was to give us life and not just any old life – life to the fullest – life as it was meant to be lived.

So as I have wrestled with this topic enlightened by what Jesus said, I have been affirmed in my direction in life.  Real meaning and fulfillment can only come, in the truest sense, when we are committed to and following Jesus.  Serving him and choosing to live as he taught us to live is where we find the most joy, fulfillment and meaning.

So today, rather than ask the question, “What gives your life meaning?”  I am asking you to think about, “How is your followship?”

Yes, I know that “followship” has not been recognized before today as even being a legitimate word, but as of today, it will be in my vocabulary and I encourage you to adopt it as well.

Focus on your followship today.

Be blessed!

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One my readings today came from the Gospel of Matthew.  It is a story of Jesus healing a man who could not speak.  While this is a moving story of Jesus’ compassion and healing power, what caught my attention even more was what was relayed after the telling of the healing account.

Here is what Matthew says in chapter 9 verses 35 and 36:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus was among the people and when he saw the crowds he realized they were lost – like sheep wandering around aimlessly without a shepherd.  He had compassion on them and caused his disciples to take notice of just how much work there was to do to show God’s love and hope to all the people.

I would say that the need for God’s hope and love is just as real today.  The problem is, we tend to insulate ourselves from it.  We associate where we are comfortable.  We don’t venture too far off the safe path.  We don’t concern ourselves with the needs of others – not because we are bad people – but because we just don’t see it – or we choose not to see it.

I believe God has called us as followers in The Way to be salt and light to a tasteless and dark world.  But what good is a light if it is not carried into the darkness?

I challenge you today to venture out just a bit into the darkness.  Rub elbows just a little with those who don’t normally fit into your crowd.  And see what God might do – maybe not in the lives of those you meet but rather in your own heart.

Be a blessing today.

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If you had to name your best friend who would you name?  Think about it.  Who would top the list?  If it is too difficult to decide, name your top 3.  Now ask yourself, does the person (or people) you named know where they rank and how you feel about them?

Take some time today to let them know how you feel.

Friends are important.  They make the good times better and the bad times, not quite so bad.

In some of my reading this morning, I ran across this from Thomas á Kempis.  He said, “Without a friend you cannot live well, and if Jesus is not above all a friend to you, you shall be indeed sad and desolate . . . Love all for Jesus, but Jesus for himself.”

Do you consider Jesus one of your friends?  I agree with this quote.  Not only does Jesus need to be counted as one of our friends, he should be the friend that we cannot live without because the reality is, without him we can’t truly live.

While you are taking some time to let your friends know where they stand in your eyes and how you feel about them, don’t forget to let Jesus know what he means to you as well.

Be blessed today!

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