Archive for September, 2012

In the Depths of Silence

In the depths of silence, where there is no where else to run, we come face to face with God.

Have you experienced God’s presence in that way?  So often, we fill our lives with noise – busyness and tasks and sights and sounds – noise.

When I strive to remove the noise and rest in silence I find my true self – and there I find God already at work.  As believers we know with our heads that God is present but too often we fill our lives with noise and fail to truly experience intimate relations with God.

Find time and space to rest in silence today.  God is already there – waiting for you.

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Make Your Today Count

I was reminded, yet again, yesterday of the frailty of life.  We get up every day and go about our daily tasks and To Do lists without a second thought.  But the reality is that none of is guaranteed another day.

Over the weekend, a dear friend and 1st B family member passed away at too young of an age.  Eric was one of those guys who everyone liked.  He had a smile that made others smile and a personality that made us smile as well.

He went to bed in Littlefield, Texas on Saturday night and woke up in the very presence of God.  I am sure he had no idea when his head hit the pillow that he would wake up in another place, but that is what he experienced.

When something like this happens, it forces us to reexamine our own mortality and think about life as a frail gift.  None of us know what tomorrow will bring – but we can see what today holds.

What will you do with your today to make it count?

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Yesterday, I read an online devotional, Lead Like Jesus, that I receive daily.  Psalm 19:7-8 was included in the post.  The text is a beautiful description of the importance of God’s word and how it is crucial to our existence.  The writer of the Psalm obviously understood the importance of scripture.

In the devotion, the question was posed, “How would your world be different if you no longer had access to the Bible?”

I have to admit, that question has haunted me since.  The right answer is that my world would be totally changed.  But my fear is the more real answer for my life, and many others, is that it might not look all that different.

I have multiple Bibles on my shelves.  I even have two on my phone.  But when I read that question, I had to do some soul searching as to how much time do I actually spend pouring over scripture and letting it pour over me?  Sure, I spend time in sermon preparation and that involves studying specific passages for my talk.  But what about for me personally?

I do spend time daily reading, or at least listening to scripture.  But this question has caused me to rethink my commitment level.

What has it done to you?

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In the words of the great theologian, Steve Martin, “Where ever you go, there you are.”

When I was a teenager, Steve Martin was in the height of his popularity as “one wild and crazy guy.”  While I have never had the opportunity to meet him or even see him live, I watched and listened to his acts religiously – maybe that says something about me.

At any rate, that quote has always made me smile.  But as I have been preparing for this Sunday, I have asked myself, “Is that true of me?”  Where ever I go, am I really there?  It is so easy to go through the motions.  It is possible to be somewhere physically but not really be engaged.

My encouragement for you today is this – where ever you go, really be there!

Be a blessing today!

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Encourage the Encourager

Have you ever been around someone who just makes you feel good? Maybe they listen to your frustrations with a smile.  Or maybe they offer a kind word when you are stressed or down.  I have the blessing of having several people in my life who go out of their way to encourage and support those they meet.

I think all of us, if we stop and think about it, can think of someone who is an encourager.  What would your life be like without that person around?

Take a minute to stop and pray for that person (or those persons) right now.  Ask God to bless them and lift them up.

Now, take another minute to reach out to them and encourage them today.

Encourage the encourager.

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Over the last two weeks, our sanctuary has been either too hot or too cold.  Two weeks ago, we had no air conditioning.  Yesterday, we had plenty.  In fact, it was almost cold.  I had one person suggest we build a fire on the stage around the “campfire” I had built for the sermon.

Now, I agree it was cool but I had to take offense at the thought that the altar I had so meticulously put together would be mistaken for a campfire.


OK, I admit, it doesn’t look much like an altar.  It looked very different in my head when I picked up the stones at Home Depot.

At any rate, we had an altar on the stage yesterday.  And the reason was to illustrate the sacrifice God expects of us.  In Romans, Paul tells us that the sacrifice that pleases God is not our job, our money or even our family.  The only acceptable sacrifice is the complete surrender of ourselves.

Paul also points out that while in the Jewish sacrificial system, the sacrifice was killed as part of the ritual, God wants us to be a living sacrifice.  We must die to ourselves so that we can truly live as God created us to live.  As I crawled onto that altar yesterday to illustrate what we must do, I also made the point that the biggest problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar just as easily as it crawled on.

Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice is a daily act of worship.  It takes commitment – every day.

Will you offer yourself today as a living sacrifice to God.  How will you live today to show God your heart-felt worship?

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Get Back To Church

This coming Sunday is National Back To Church Sunday.  It is a day set aside for folks who have never tried church.  The hope is that if a person would just try it, he or she would see the importance.

It is also a day to reach out to those folks who grew up going to church and have fallen away.

The reality is, it is a day to remind those of us who are in church regularly that we have a calling to reach out to those who need hope.  Yes, we show funny videos and we mail out cards and we expend all this effort to make it a big day; but nothing happens without our church folks getting out and inviting people to come.  Without that, it is just going to be a Sunday like all the others.

So this week, pray about what God might lead you to do in your own community.  If you aren’t tied to a church – find one.  Scripture is clear that the body of Christ should be in unity and should not stop coming together.  If you are looking for the perfect church . . . I don’t think you will ever find it – and I know for a fact, you won’t find it at 1st B here in Littlefield.

But what you will find at most churches – particularly ours – is a group of genuine folks who are learning to love God and trying to love others.  If you are around Littlefield, Texas, at 10:30 on Sunday, come check it out.

But, if you are already a part of a church – get involved there.  God calls each of us to a particular place of service.  Yours is at your church.  Plug in and make a difference.

Be blessed today!

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When my wife asked, “Did you air up that tire?” I should have stopped right then and taken care of it.  But I had pulled that trailer many, many times with a low tire, and I was in a hurry.

And it almost worked one more time.

But about 5 minutes from home last night, it just couldn’t take it anymore.  The tire blew!

So now, instead of getting home a little late, we got home an hour late.  And I get to replace a worn out tire – not a great way to end a wonderful day.

As I have reflected on our experience last night, I have been reminded that all of us run through life taking care of our responsibilities.  We go to work, take care of families and have other responsibilities on our plate as well.  All of us need inner strength to keep going.

But do you ever run low?

I have found that my time alone with God in prayer and reading is the only thing that will keep me running at the right “pressure.”  If I am running low, then the load I carry gets to be too much.  I might can handle for a while but eventually, something has to give – just like my low tire last night.

So this morning, get out the spiritual pressure gauge.  Take a few minutes to spend with God.  Don’t go through another day with low spiritual “pressure.”

Be blessed today.

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There are some candles in my study.  Every once in a while, I will be in a more contemplative mood and I’ll light the candles and turn off the overhead light just to create a different environment in which to focus.

Have you ever noticed what happens if you light a candle in a lighted room?  The effect is minimal.  I mean, you notice the candle but as far as it making a difference in the environment, you really can’t see much change.  But, when you turn off the lights, now all of the sudden, even one little candle is a game changer.  It creates much more light than you noticed before.  In fact, while the light may not be as bright, it still illuminates the whole room.

In a very dark world lacking hope and peace and joy – we are called to be that candle.  When we gather our little light in church, we are surrounded by a lot of other lights so the effects, while important, are minimal.  But, when we take our little light into the dark world, we can make a huge difference.

Be that light in someone else’s life today.

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Where Is Your Focus?

What one thing will you do today to make a difference?

So often, we start our day by looking at our calendar and To Do list and then just jump right in trying to get something done – to achieve that sense of accomplishment we get when we finish something.  I talked about that here.

But what if – today – we began a little differently?  What if, today, we thought about our day and focused in on one thing we will do to impact another person in a positive way?

It’s not that we won’t work on our To Do list or that we clear our calendars but that we simply focus some of our attention on making a difference in someone else’s life.  If we  aim at nothing, we most likely will hit it.

Today, focus on making a difference.

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