Have you ever seen kids playing the "My Dad is bigger than your Dad game?" You know that game where one says,"My Dad is bigger than yours" and other child remarks, "Nuh uh! My Dad can lift a million pounds!" and then the first child says "My Dad knows how to shoot a bazooka!" Then the other says, "My Dad is as strong as Superman" and the other says, "My Dad is made of Kryptonite!" This back and forth goes on and on until one runs out of ideas. Well, I get the sense that we play that game with our fears. When fears say, "There no way God can get you out this financial mess' will we say, "Nuh uh! My God owns everything in the world". Then when fear says, "You have have messed this up too badly, things will never be the same" will we say, "No way, His mercy is prepared fresh every day." And will we go on and on until fear has nothing left to say?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
An interesting thought came to me after finishing my taxes the other night. I began to think about that phrase "He/She/They left the church". No, doing my taxes did not make me lose my religion and I don't think the phrase and my taxes have any correlation. (Though I know there are all kinds of jokes forming right now but that is okay too:) Anyway, that phrase "He is leaving the church" is one of those phrases generally used to say someone stopped meeting with a body of believers at a certain church location. Then after the phrase has been spoken, there are generally looks of disapproval, worry and sadness and maybe rightly so given each particular circumstance. But one phrase I don't often hearing anyone saying is, "He/She/They left Christ." This seems to be the weightier of the two phrases. Now, I am not saying that these two phrases mean the same because they don't. What I am wondering is, if I always think in terms of someone leaving the church, have I missed a crucial paradigm that Christ is the center of focus. He is the center even above our gatherings together on Sunday mornings. I wonder if the commonality of the '...leaving the church" phrase and the lack of the "...leaving Christ" phrase exposes some off-centeredness in our thinking. Understand me, I am not saying anything about attendance to the gathering of the body of Christ. I am wondering if our statements are exposing our focus. I want to be clear on the most important things. And whether someone is following Christ or not is on the top of my list. I want to peer through the clutter and see where Christ is and then continually point others to him. If that means reconsidering when I use certain phrases then so be it.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal." - Jesus The Message
Today is Easter and the topic I most often I hear about at easter is Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection. This is always a powerful message, but today I am intrigued by Jesus' invitation to join him in his death, so that life can be attained. Death tends to bring out fear in most of us but Jesus says without dying we miss life. I suppose that the pain of sacrifice and the unknown of death is the reason it strikes so much fear in us. Death seems so final. Yet according to Jesus the death or sacrifice of the life that we live now is the door that opens us to real living. I don't begin to claim to understand all of this but I what I do know is the thing that pushes me to hold on to this life is my fear of losing it. So, I wonder if I live a life dominated by the fear of losing it, is that really living anyway. It seems that a true life of freedom can only be found in the ability to freely give up the life we have now, then our fear of losing this life won't keep us from the one promised by God.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8
The last few days in Houston, where I live, have been a kind of breezy. We have opened the windows in our house and enjoyed the experiencing cool breeze. You can hear the whistle of the wind passing through the house, every now and then the wind slams a door shut when no one is near it and when I look outside I see big strong tree limbs being moved back and forth. It is obvious the wind has been doing it's thing. I have never seen it come or go, but I have seen what it does and I surely have felt it.
I have wondered at times if people see the Spirit in my life. Do they hear the sound of the Spirit in my voice, do they see my heart being open with love for people and closed to things that promote hate, and do they see my limbs move with the actions of peace, patience and joy? I believe this is what Jesus is saying it will be like for those born of the Spirit. May our spiritual forecast call for high winds.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Daily Bible Verse -
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
The other day I was thinking about money. I mean I was thinking about the actually bills, coins, shiny (precious) metals and sparkly rocks (jewels) and I wondered when did paper, metal and rocks ever become so valuable to us. I don't know the history of money making but I do know that because of the value we place on it, we are able to trade it for things that our bodies need to live. Ex. water/food, clothing, and shelter. Try living without any one of these. So money is a means to and end. It is not end in and of itself. So, why do we fall in love with it so often. Loving money is misplaced. Loving money is overvaluing money. It would be like me falling in love with my wife's clothing. She looks great in it, but I am taken by the fashion of it, the designs and the feeling of her clothing. The clothing is there to adorn my wife, not the other way around. Money is not life, it doesn't produce life and to spend all of our energy trying to attain it so that we might live is a waste of life. Turn to the Giver of life and he will provide things you need to really live.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Al-righty! Today, I am changing my daughter's diaper and it was one if those everywhere diapers. You know, everywhere the diaper is you don't want to be. So, I am changing this impressively filled diaper and I get through it as usual. I clean my daughter up and dispose of the air pollutant. Then I go to sanitize myself and I notice a brown spot on my pants. Awwwww Maaaannn! That feeling of utter grossness totally covered me like a body bag. So, I commenced to deep cleansing so that I can be whole again.
I wonder what it was like for Jesus when he was carrying the full weight of our sin/filth. Did he smell it? Was it a feeling of utter grossness? It surely covered him like a body bag. Yet, he rose whole, new, and alive. Completely holy, sanitized and with power to cleanse others. Thank-you Jesus for getting filthy to cleanse us.
Monday, April 06, 2009
While at the drive through today, My daughter asked me a question about something and as I was moving the car so she could get a better view. I ended up hitting a pole and damaging my rear view mirror. This is second time damage has been done to our rear view mirror. So, I got out got some duct tape put temporary fix on until I can take the car to our mechanic.
My walk with God is similar to this incident in that I go along doing the best I can, then I get distracted by the world and sin hits me. The next thing I know I get my spiritual duct tape to hold things together but it never really fixes the issue. Until I go to the Father with my brokenness, I will never be healed of my self-inflicted wounds. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 and "God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. (The message) Thank-you, God!
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
You ever received one of those gifts that when you opened it you thought, Oh...wow. Thanks? Well, I received one of those gifts once from my wife. A shirt and a pairs of shoes. When I first received them, especially the shoes, I thought I probably wont use these much. Today, I use them both frequently, especially the shoes. It was until later that I experienced the value of these gifts. Sometimes God gives us gifts that we can't appreciate. Sometimes the gifts are wrapped in hardship but if we hold on to the gift then after a while we might find ourselves really enjoying the gift. He always gives good gifts.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
“…He (God) is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3
A typical thing that occurs in my home is that in the middle of the night one of my girls will wake up scared from a bad dream or can’t sleep and they come into the room to find some security in Daddy's or Mommy’s arms. Children seem to know where safety can be found. Along the line in my ‘growing up’ I seem to frequently forget where my security comes from. I have “securities” or at least that is what my financial institutions call them. I have a security system on my home, which tends to be more of a nuisance than a help at times. Also, I have ‘bootstraps’. You know, the kind that I can pull myself up by when life gets me down. But I think one of the straps broke a few months back when my car wouldn’t start. Are you getting the picture? Somewhere in there, I lose sight of where my refuge and salvation really comes from. Father, when I am in the dark hours of life, may I see clearly enough to turn to you for security. In Jesus name, Amen.