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Archive for the ‘Formation’ Category

An Evening At Camp

I had the opportunity to make a short drive out to Camp Zephyr yesterday to hang out with the children from our church that are in the midst of children’s camp this week.  They were all having a great time and making it through the heat just fine (I’m not sure I can say the same for our adult sponsors).

Worship at ZephyrI got in on a game of Gaga Ball and got to eat camp food and go to worship with the group before heading back last night.  The games were fun and the speaker was great but what impacted me the most was getting to watch our kids worship.  So often, I fear kids do not feel part of what happens in corporate worship on Sunday mornings.  I was moved to hear kids singing with open hearts.

It was a truly beautiful sound!

I left challenged to make sure we are more intentional in the way we plan worship services.  I went to camp to be with the kids for an evening so that maybe they would see how much I care about them and that I am just as much their pastor as any adult in the family.  I left reminded that we need to make sure they feel our church is their church.

What will we do to be used by God to form the next generation?

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Need Help VisorI had a friend send this picture to me yesterday.  As you can see, I am not sure the person used the sun visor properly – so either some training in proper use of this particular sun visor would be in order or someone needs to call the police.

My first response was that if I need police assistance, I am not going to put a message on my windshield and hope for the best.  But as I have thought about the picture, and the comical prompting to take it, I have continued to muse about the lesson I can learn from what the picture shows us.  The lesson to be gleaned is one of the importance of observation.

In this instance, either the person putting the visor into position did not pay attention to what they were doing or even worse, based on the fact that there was no police presence, no one observed the message and called the police.  Either way, someone was not paying attention.

I wonder how often we miss an opportunity to experience God at work in our lives because we are just not paying attention?  We rush to get to where we are going and we fail to pay attention to God’s movement all around us.  How often do we miss an opportunity to experience God’s movement because we fail to notice the chance to be used to make a difference in someone else’s life and situation?

God is at work and wants to meet with you today.  God wants to use you today to make a difference in the world and the lives you meet. Will you be observant enough to seize the moment?

Stay on your toes today!

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Welcome Home

Where is home for you?  Is there a difference between where you sleep and home?  I pray that these places are one in the same for you.  But I am thinking of home in a deeper sense.  Home is that place you are the most comfortable.

I started a new sermon series yesterday dealing with love.  John 15:9 says, As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  This word, “remain” carries some deep meaning.  Eugene Peterson, in The Message, translates this verse this way:  I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.

heart-and-cross-2What a beautiful picture of home.  Finding complete contentment and security in the love that Jesus has for you!

Maybe you have been betrayed in the past.  Maybe you have been burned by someone to whom you had given your heart and love.  Jesus reminds us that God’s love is unconditional and limitless and we can rest and take up residence in his love.

Find your home in the love of Jesus today!

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Choices

My commute to the office each morning takes me past several churches.  One of the churches along my regular route has a marquis with changeable letters.  Often this church uses this sign to make announcements of upcoming events.  But occasionally it is used for a thought provoking statement.

Yesterday I noticed one of those statements and it has circled back in my mind a couple of times since.  The statement read:

Life is full of choices, eternity only has two.

ChoicesThere is truth in this statement.  We are bombarded with options every day – pulled in multiple directions to make decisions regarding everything from what shoes to wear to what car to drive to what music to enjoy.  The truth is, it would be easy to make thousands of decisions in a day without once considering truly important issues.

Is it possible that the enemy uses all the options freedom affords to distract us from considering the most crucial choice of our lives?  Satan is known for taking what God means for good and distorting it into something completely different.

Life is full of options and choices.  But the most important – literally life and death – decision an individual can make is what to do about eternity.  We only have two options – an eternity with God or an eternity without him.  God gives us that choice – and we must choose.  While it is never too late to make that choice while we still draw breath, by putting off the decision we are making a choice.

The best decision you can ever make is to live this life for Jesus.  Don’t be distracted by all the other decisions you will need to make today.  Truthfully, if you make the ultimate decision first, it will drastically impact the remainder of the decisions you will make.

Choose wisely!

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Vacation Bible School starts this morning.

The sights and sounds are very different for a Monday morning here in our building.  Hundreds of hours of preparation have gone into this week.  Prayer, sweat and maybe even a tear or two have been part of the process.  And now here we are – time to open the doors and let the children in!

There is little the church does throughout the year any more important in the scheme of eternity than this outreach and ministry to children and their families.  Jesus scolded the disciples when they tried to keep children from rushing to him.  Jesus showed compassion and even reminded us that to truly embrace a relationship with him, we need to approach Jesus with child-like, innocent faith – complete surrender.

What will you do to minister to the next generation today?

How will you show them the way to Jesus?

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Last night, Kristi and I did something we don’t do very often. We attended a concert.

If you know me very well, you know that I love music – all kinds of music. While most of my listening is dedicated to Christian music, I also indulge occasionally in other genres. I grew up on 80’s Rock and there is still a part of me that enjoys a well-played guitar.

So several weeks ago, I did something impulsive – I bought tickets to the ZZ Top concert. While Kristi is not necessarily a rocker (more of a country girl), she agreed to go with me – what a trooper!

I have been to concerts performed by artists whose time in the spotlight had been lived out decades before and the experience was not pleasant – most of them should have moved on and not tried to live in the past (a lesson we could learn from but a post for another day).

Last night, I watched and listened as an aging Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, two of which still donned dark sunglasses and sported impressive beards, played the songs of my younger days.  I was impressed to the point of being amazed at how Tres Hombres still command the stage but do so with an awareness and ownership of who they are today.  They blended the older elements of their show (fuzzy guitars and sunglasses) with an authentic sound.  They did  not reproduce the sounds first recorded 40 years ago.  They played those old songs to be sure, but they did so with new twists and matured riffs.Sunglasses

As I sat and listened, I thought about how important it is to live out our passions.  But the danger in doing that is sometimes we want to live in the glory days of the past.  We remember a time when things were great and we want to live there.  However, what I have come to see time and time again is the “glory days” were not quite as glorious as we remember.

We need to own our passions and seek daily to live within them, doing the things God has gifted us to do for his glory.  Part of the living out of those passions is having the authenticity to accept the fact that as we mature, our passions mature as well.  We do not need to feel the need to try and relive the past but rather understand how are passions best fit the needs today.

God has created you on purpose for his purpose.  And that purpose is to serve him daily by using your gifts and passions to bring glory to him in ever changing ways.

Live into those passions with authenticity today!

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I recently was blessed to have lunch with a couple who are engaged to be married. In fact, their big day is coming up next month. As we visited, the question of how they met came up. It was interesting to watch their faces as they looked at each other with looks that communicated – “so how do we explain this one?”

The gentleman began by saying they met through an app – a dating service designed around a phone app. He explained the process this way: a person signs on with the service and builds a profile within their system describing themselves – their likes, dislikes and so on. Then the person gets to scroll through the profiles of the other people who have done the same.

When a person sees someone they might be interested in – the person simply swipes right with their finger. If there is no interest in the person one simply needs to swipe left, never to see the profile again.

On the other side of the relationship equation, the person has no idea someone else is interested in them. BUT, if they happen to swipe right on the person who has swiped right on them, both are notified that there is a match that has been found and at that point, they can choose to meet.

And that is how they met. A very interesting process if you ask me.

As I heard their story, my mind began racing thinking about how this process might relate to matching up with God. As I see it (and scripture suggests), we always have a choice. According to 2 Peter 3:9, God wants to have a relationship with each and every person on earth – he chooses us first. But we have a choice. When presented with the good news – God’s profile – we can either swipe left or swipe right.  God has already swiped right for us – we just need to do the same for a relationship to begin.

Which way have you swiped?Swipe Right

I think this concept has daily ramifications as well.  We choose daily regarding commitment to follow his lordship. Each day we can choose to swipe left and do our own thing or swipe right and follow him.

Today – – swipe right!

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