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Archive for June, 2015

Do you ever feel alone?  Loneliness is one of the most wide-spread issues in our culture today.  It seems ironic given the fact that we are more connected with others today than ever before.  I can pull up any number of social media formats and right from my phone, tablet, computer or even watch, I can know what someone has had for dinner, see pictures of their latest adventure and even comment on any of it.

But even as connected as we may be, there is deep-seated need that each of us have.  We were created for it.  We crave it.  We live to be known and to know.  We were created for relationships – for community.  Unfortunately, our culture has adulterated this God-given need within each of us and turned it into something different (which is not anything new).  We have created ways to fill our need for relationships with superficial, hollow encounters and labelled it community.  We can spend hours scanning social media and walk away feeling empty – not knowing and not being known.

Sunday we will continue with our series on the I Am sayings of Jesus found in the Gospel of John.  This Sunday we will be looking at Jesus’ saying, “I am the Good Shepherd.”  In verse 14 of chapter 10, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and they know me.”

Pause and let that truth resonate for a minute.  Jesus knows you!  The original language connotes a depth of knowledge or an intimacy.  Jesus knows you better than anyone.  He knows you better than you know yourself.

In the same chapter, Jesus explains that we are like sheep and he is the shepherd.  He knows his sheep and his sheep recognize his voice.  As I meditate on this idea, I have to ask myself, “how familiar am I with his voice?”  Am I so close to him, do I know him well enough that when he speaks I hear him?

How about you?  Do you recognize his voice?

He knows you.  HE KNOWS YOU!

Find comfort in that fact today and learn to recognize his voice.

Be blessed.

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If you have tuned into any news source lately, you have been inundated with bad news.  From flooding rivers and loss of life to a shooting in a church in Charleston, we are faced with the reminder that we live in a fallen world.  In fact, if we are not cautious, we may even begin to question our foundation – our belief system.  We have to have a rational structure by which to process things.  When things don’t fit into our system, we are faced with a dilemma.  We must either alter the way we think about things or throw out our belief system all together.

This dilemma stretches our faith.  In fact, it actually forces us to assess where our faith is placed.  If our hope is founded on being able to rationally process all information that comes to us then our faith is not in God but rather our own ability to think – our intellect.

Some things defy reason.  As much as we desire to have the ability to put everything in a box, we can’t.  We need to have a faith bigger than our own understanding.  In fact, that is really the definition of faith – confidence in things we hope for and assurance in things we can’t see (Hebrews 11:1).

Thomas Merton gives us a wonderful perspective on understanding faith in New Seeds of Contemplation. He says:

Faith gives a dimension of simplicity and depth to all our apprehensions and to all our experience. What is this dimension of depth? It is the incorporation of the unknown and the unconscious into our daily life. Faith brings together the known and the unknown so that they overlap; or rather, so we are aware of their overlapping. Actually, our whole life is a mystery of which very little comes to our conscious understanding. But when we accept only what we can consciously rationalize, our life is actually reduced to the most pitiful limitations, though we may think quite otherwise.

What Merton is saying is that there is more to this existence than what we can see with our physical eyes. In fact, what we can understand from a human standpoint is but a fraction of real existence. Faith is an active acceptance of this fact.

So today, in the face of all the turmoil the world offers, remember that God is still on the throne.  Know that there is so much more going on than you can see and God is in control.

Take heart!

Have faith!

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Traffic Jam

Having spent the past several years in west Texas, I forget about annoying things like traffic.  But it only takes a few minutes in Dallas to remember.  I got to the Big D about 4:30 yesterday afternoon and began the trek to the north side of town.  It took 30 minutes to go 9 miles (and that is good for most days).

What I realized through this experience is that one needs a renewed sense of patience and a different take on life to survive.  I am the kind of guy who wears the heels out on my shoes from always being in a hurry when I walk – and unfortunately for those who share the road with me, that passion for time does not stop when I turn on the ignition.

So when I hit the stop and go yesterday and the speed of my progress went down my blood pressure went up.  As I sat at a light at Northwest Highway and Preston Road (and sat through it’s sequence for the third time) it hit me – “I will get there when I get there so why not enjoy the drive.”

For many of you, that may not be revelatory, but for me it was an inspirational moment.  I felt the stress of the situation melt away and I was able to observe my surroundings with appreciation and almost a sacredness.

God is at work all around us each and every day.  Unfortunately for us, we are often more focused on being somewhere else than we are on being right where we are!

Take time to be present today.

You just might catch a glimpse of God at work!

Be blessed today.

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Sunrise from office 6-11-15

This was my view when I entered my office this morning.  Then I flipped open my laptop and the verse of the day on Biblegateway.com was Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Regardless of all the things swimming around in your head today – the pressures of work or home or just life in general – remember we serve a God who is bigger.  Take time to rest into the arms of the Father today.  Allow yourself to trust in the one who put this all together.  Remember who you are in light of who God is.

We serve a God – the God – who knows us by name, who sees our needs, who recognizes our faults and in spite of it all – loves us anyway.

Be blessed today!

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So Who Is He?

This past Sunday we started a new series on Sunday mornings as a follow up to something I asked our folks to start wrestling with a few weeks ago.  In Matthew 16 we have an account of Jesus taking his disciples to an out of the way area with an other-worldly atmosphere to get them to begin to think on a bigger scale. Once there he asked them two questions – the first leading into the second.

His first question was “who do others say that I am?”  The responses of his apprentices varied as they tried to brainstorm all those things people had said about him to that point.  But then he asked a second question that cut to the very bedrock level of the movement.  His question: “Who do you say that I am?”  That question must have rung in their ears.  No one wanted to respond – or at least no one wanted to be first.  How interesting would it have been to be an observer to see the faces of the disciples as they thought through how they should respond – to see the body language as they wrestled with this question!

Of course the bold one, Peter, jumped out there and offered his thoughts.  His response?  “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  This statement of conviction is one of the most concise and meaningful statements of faith in scripture.  And then Jesus went on to say that on that statement – that unwavering conviction – the church will be built.  What an affirmation!

Today, 2000 years later, the question still rings in our ears as being foundational for us as well.  We can build all kinds of churches and develop all kinds of ministries.  We can spend our time and energy doing all kinds of wonderful things.  But the foundational question still remains – who is Jesus to you?

Wrestle with that today.  All else loses meaning if we don’t have this question answered for ourselves.

Don’t rest until you do.

Blessings on your today!

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I’m back!  Remember me?  I have to admit, I am embarrassed at the amount of time that has passed since my last post here.

The past three months (or 8) have been a blur of events and a roller coaster of emotions.  In my mind, I compare it to water skiing.  I learned to ski when I was young and still love it to this day.  However, when I was ten and weighed 75 pounds, getting up on a slalom ski was not that difficult.  Now that I am older and a tad heavier, the experience is totally different.  Now it takes what seems like 15 to 20 minutes to get my head above water.  The boat takes off and I begin to look like the Loch Ness Monster – gliding through the water just below the surface.

But I do finally get up far enough to grab a breath and then continue to hang on until the boat has reached a speed that will pull me up onto the surface of the water.  I have just described my life for the past several months.  I feel I am far enough out of the water to take a breath but not up on top of the water yet.

My ministry and life have taken a new turn – an exciting turn – a new adventure.  As I drove to the church this morning – up Ocean Drive (yeah – there is really water – crazy right?  West Texas boy ministering on the coast), a Toby Mac song – Beyond Me – came on the radio and a line in the chorus caught my ear: you “call me to waters a little too deep.”  That is what I have been feeling as of late.  Not that I doubt God’s hand in any of it or even that I just shouldn’t be here – but just feeling the overwhelming nature of taking on a new challenge and a sense of not being worthy of what God has called me to.

But then I hear the words of this song and I am reminded that a life lived for God is a life of adventure – a life that stretches us and pushes the boundaries of what we thought we would ever do.  For the past few years, I have preached that God expects us to get out of our comfort zones and trust in him and his plan for us.  I preached it – now I am living it.

And let me just say – it is quite a ride.  While I miss my church family in Littlefield and the eternal relationships that have been formed there and will continue forever (and do I ever miss you!!), I am so blessed by the opportunity of developing new relationships and taking on new challenges.  God is amazing!

This past Sunday, I quoted Aristotle in saying, the unexamined life is not worth living.  While I agree with that statement to an extent, I would add, the life not lived for God is not really life at all.  God calls us to the most fulfilling and meaningful existence we could ever experience.  When we live our lives for him we find ourselves in the midst of a great adventure.

And there is no better place to be!

Be blessed today!

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