Archive for January, 2013

Last week I had the distinct privilege to participate in a preaching retreat.  As the week started, one of the faculty (this was actually a seminary class I sat in on) introduced an idea that has been bouncing around in my brain for over a week now.

He pointed us back to the creation event that we find in Genesis.  We are told there that God created the earth and seas, the plants and animals and human beings – from nothing.  Before all else –  God . . .

But in the midst of the discussion about creation and God’s amazing work – he challenged us in our calling as communicators of God’s message.  He suggested the idea that God calls us to create as well.  We are called upon each week – some of us multiple times per week – to create a communication piece – to formulate ideas we find in scripture and life experience and through inspiration from God into comprehensible messages in which people can find God or a better understanding of God.

It was refreshing to think of the calling to communicate in this way.

But he also challenged me to consider the responsibility God has given in being a good steward of time.  Each week, I have the awesome blessing to stand before people.  People who come (usually willingly) and dedicate 20 to 30 minutes of their time to hear a word from God.  What I do with that time is up to me.

Wow!  Has that idea had me thinking!

But then this morning, it dawned on me.  If you are reading this, you are affording me that same privilege.  What an honor it is for me to think that someone would stop by this blog and take a few minutes to see what is going on in this messed up head of mine.  Thank you for your time and I pray that it is never time wasted.

So today, I just want to say thank you!  Thanks for reading and commenting!

Be blessed today!

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God’s Got This

Have you ever started the week as tired as you finished the last one?  Yesterday was a very long day – a good day, but long.  I sat down at my desk this morning and my first thought was “Wow, I’m tired!”  My second thought was that I don’t have time to be tired this early in the week.

But some weeks are just like that for all of us.

Here is how I am coping this morning.  Last night we looked at Isaiah 43 in our evening service.  In the first 7 verses of that chapter, we find amazing encouragement and confidence.  God is speaking.  The Message translates it this way:

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

Regardless of how tired you may feel this morning or how overwhelming this week may appear at this point, rememberer, God’s got this!

Be blessed today!

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Deep Calls To Deep

There is a place in every person where the true self resides.  A place where all masks are hung on a tarnished hook by the door.   A place no one knows except that person that resides there – that person and the Other.

We can’t explain the reality of this inner most place but from our core we know it is true – we know it exists – we know we exist.

That is why Psalm 42 resonates with us.  The psalmist says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you O God.”  And later in that same psalm we read, “deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”

There is a part of us that longs for something more.  We may put up a front or put on a mask and pretend we have it all together – that nothing can touch us.  But the reality is that in our deepest self, we long for God.  Deep calls to deep.

Today, call out to God.

No other can bring fulfillment.  No other can satisfy.

Be blessed!

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In all that is going on in the world today, maybe what the world needs is a better diet of fruit.  And you say, “What?”

Let me explain.

Scripture is clear when it talks about the possibility of being rescued – rescued from the limitations of this world, rescued from sin, even rescued from self.  We find there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  The book of Romans tells us that it is only by God’s stunning grace that we can gain an audience with the most high.  Paul tells us that it is by grace, not by our deeds that we are saved.

Unfortunately, many people see this truth as an excuse to do nothing.  We cannot earn God’s favor so why work ourselves silly trying?

For sometime now, I have been speaking to our church family about the importance of being.  I have made statements like, “God cares more about who we become than what we do.”  And I stand behind that statement.

But . . .

Let’s be clear on this point.

Who we are and who we are becoming will be reflected in what we do – in our reactions to things – in what is important to us.

Jesus told us in Matthew that the tree will be known by its fruit.  We don’t go to a West Texas mesquite bush to pick a peach.  The fruit is the outward sign of what is on the inside.

What fruit will you produce today?

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Salvation and Body Piercing

Last week I was headed to the hospital for a visit.  As usual, I was in a hurry.  As I approached my turn, I needed to change lanes but there was an elderly gentlemen creeping along beside me.  I had to slow down to a crawl to allow him to get far enough ahead of me to allow me to change lanes.

As I changed lanes and moved over behind him, a bumper sticker on the back of his car caught my eye.  It read, “Body Piercing Saved My Life.”  All kinds of comical thoughts ran through my mind – some of which I will keep to myself.  The first, and most logical was “I really don’t want to think about that!  That is one mental picture I would rather not have.”

But then I began to wonder about the sticker itself.  What state would a life have to be in that poking holes in one’s flesh would bring salvation?

At the risk of taking a pretty funny life experience and over-spiritualizing it I would like to make one observation.

It is true that in each and every life, salvation is needed.  But there is no amount of money, fame, power or body piercing that will bring it about.  Salvation can only come through belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God and the savior of the world.

But I have to admit, thinking about that picture of seeing an elderly gentlemen in a car with a bumper sticker like that still brings a smile to my face!

Be blessed!

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Here we stand at the beginning of a new year.  I always find this experience refreshing and at the same time intimidating.  As I look back on 2012, I see many, many things that went well – areas in my life and ministry where I can see God truly blessed.  I can also see things that didn’t turn out the way I planned.  But nonetheless, here we are at the beginning of a new year – a fresh start.

We are standing at the trailhead of a journey marked by a calendar – experiences that will come in measurements of days and weeks and months.

I find it a bit intimidating.  But this morning in my prayer and reading time, I focused on one verse found in 1 Peter 1.  Verse 13 says this:

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

The author tells us, his readers, that we should prepare our minds for action.  This isn’t a time to sit back and let things “just happen.”  We have to be intentional – we must have a plan.  Otherwise, we will get to the end of this year and realize we accomplished nothing.

But before we allow ourselves to become too high and mighty, we must also remember what the verse says next, be self controlled – putting all our hope in Jesus and the grace we will receive when we make him known.

While we are to be actively and intentionally working to grow and move and succeed, we must also never forget that our hope of success rests not in our abilities but in Jesus.  Our focus should be on following him and making him known.

If we do that, it is going to be a great year!

Be a blessing today!

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