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Showing posts from 2010

Coping With Being Stranded

My wife and I were among the thousands who were left stranded by the big blizzard in the NE. Our flight was scheduled to leave on Tuesday Dec. 28th. At bed time on Monday the flight was still scheduled. We awoke on Tuesday, packed and ready only to receive an e-mail from JetBlue that our flight had been cancelled. That began a plethora of phone calls to JetBlue trying to get arrangements made for getting back to Florida. 20-30 of those calls ended with a recorded message telling us that phone traffic was very heavy and that we should call again. The call was then terminated. Finally I was placed on hold and after 1 hour and 5 minutes got to speak with a live person. The earliest flights available, I was told, were on Saturday. We grabbed those reservations and began to make adjustments for an extended stay.We have been at our daughter, son-in-law and 4 grandkid's since December 21. We were to leave on the 28th and the other set of in-laws were to arrive on the same day. N…

Christmas Musings

It has been almost a month since I last posted on my blog. A combination of busy-ness and writer's block totally derailed me. Now, as Christmas is rapidly approaching, I'm mulling some things over in my mind that I've decided to put into the blog. These are random, and in no particular order of importance.Are we perpetuating a false meaning of Christmas when we spend untold time and money on the search for and purchase of gifts for everyone we know during Christmas?Do we lose focus as to what Christmas is all about in the hectic pace of activities surrounding the season?Even though we'd like it to be true, is Jesus REALLY the reason for the season in our lives (and our churches)?Does it occur to us that most modern depictions of the Nativity scene includes the Magi (who didn't show up at the manger, but months later)?At the first Christmas, only the Christ-child got gifts.Does our current celebration of Christmas draw our attention more to the "unspeakable …

Thankful

Sitting here having a conversation with with Joshua, my 7 year old grandson...for that I'm thankful.Hearing my daughters laughing and talking in the next room...for that I'm thankful. Seeing my wife at the airport last night as she and my son in law Marshall picked me up after midnight...for this I'm thankful. Waking without a headache this morning...for that I'm thankful. Enjoying connecting with friends on the internet...for thatI'm thankful. For life, health, peace, freedom, a wonderful wife, 2 brilliant, outstanding and talented daughters, 2 godly sons in law and 7 marvelous, enthusiastic and smart grandkids; best of all, they are all saved...we'll be together for eternity...for all that I'm thankful Reading in Psalm 138 today that "the Lord will fulfill His purposes for me". For that I'm VERY thankful. I want to live my life giving thanks to the Father for all His gifts...mostly for the gift of His Son, Jesus, my Saviour and my big brother in t…

The Ministry of Being There

This has been a hectic week in our lives. On Monday we flew from FL to NJ. Tuesday morning we helped get four grandkids off to school while our son in law took our daughter to the hospital. After getting the kids away to school we joined our son in law at the hospital to await the report from our daughter's surgery for breast cancer. There were actually two surgeries; one for removal of the breasts, and another for the beginning of reconstruction. Five and a half hours later, we finally got to see our daughter in recovery. All of this detail is just to set the stage for this blog update.It seemed that both my wife and my son in law had well defined duties during this ordeal. As for me, I was there. I prayed, I ran errands, I played with the kids, I helped with meals and clean up, but mostly I was just there. At first this bothered me because everyone else was so "purpose driven" to borrow a phrase. Finally, as I asked God to help me be of some use, He gave me pe…

Random Thoughts

It seems that my blog posts are becoming farther and farther apart. The reason is that I don't see the need for just putting words on a screen. If I don't have anything to say that I deem worthwhile, I just keep my fingers from the keyboard and my thoughts to myself. Come to think of it, that would be a good bit of advice for the many politicians running for office right now. In the absence of any real substance to their platform, most are relying on smear ads aimed at their opponents. Many of those running in Florida are so closely matched in their questionable backgrounds, that the choices have dwindled down to the least crooked, inept, or dishonest. Poor commentary on our times isn't it? The one thing that I find comforting is that God is still on His throne. His position isn't open for election. His plans for America will work out regardless of who is in what office. While I don't know His plans for America, I do know His plan for me and for all believe…

Sin: The Cancer of the Soul

This has been a trying year. In May our daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since the beginning of her chemo in June, her mom, my wife has been with her to help with the household (4 children age 10 and under) during the chemo. Our daughter has blogged throughout the experience (http://rodneynkendra.blogspot.com) We're now in a brief hiatus before surgery. As I think back over the toll that cancer has taken in our family over the years, it is readily apparent that this disease effects not only the patient, but also the extended family and friends. As I have pondered the impact of this disease on our family, I've also thought about the expanded impact of the sin of an individual on family and friends
In Psalm 51, King David, having been exposed by the prophet Nathan writes to God, "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned." My question is, "what about Bathsheba? Uriah? Your other wives and your children?" The old caveat, "It's my life,…

Pharisees Are Among Us

This post has been stewing in my mind for a while. I've waited so that I could write it as objectively as possible, though I'm sure that emotions will permeate throughout. Recently I've been made aware of a church operating according to a Pharisaical mindset rather than scripture. By Pharisaical mindset, I mean man-made rules that are observed as equal to if not above the laws of God. It seems there are churches that operate on a business model rather than following the clear guidelines of scripture. The end result is that hearts are broken, lives are disrupted, and in some cases churches are split as leaders take actions that they deem "for the greater good". Is it any wonder that the most scathing words of Jesus were directed toward the Pharisees of His day? He equated them to a "brood of vipers", and to "wolves in sheep's clothing".In this most recent incident, the staff member being asked to "resign" complied by writing…

Glen Beck and the Evangelicals

I find it very interesting that many evangelicals are ga-ga over Glen Beck since his rally in D.C. on the anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. I watched and listened on C-span to Beck's call for a return to God, and to Biblical principles. While this is admirable, I'm troubled by some things I did not hear.I did not hear that Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.I did not hear Glen Beck give testimony to a conversion experience where he acknowledged his sin which separated him from God, received Christ as His personal Lord and Savior and experienced forgiveness.While I understand that this was not a church service, it did have all the "trappings" of one; choirs, gospel songs, prayers, etc. Since the rally I've noticed that Beck has stepped up his ecumenical push by having Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, and evangelical pastors on his program and gushing about another "Great …

Man's Way vs God's Way

As I watch on C-span the Glen Beck rally in Washington D.C. I'm struck with the contradiction between man's approach to change and the plan that God gave us in the Bible to bring about lasting change. While man opts for "events" such as this rally, God's emphasis is on the individual; each one reaching and discipling one (Matt. 28:18-20) The result of disciple-making is that each disciple is then empowered to make disciples, and a movement is set in motion, not just an event. Jesus set the example for us in that He spent the majority of His time discipling and equipping a small group of men. Although He did, on occasion, speak to multitudes, the bulk of His time was invested in His disciples.If the money and man power that went into this rally were expended through disciple-making churches to train, equip and send out disciples of Jesus through our nation, lasting change would result. Once this rally is over, it is over. However, a disciple-making movement …

A New Kind of Entitlement

Today I was in McDonald's grabbing a bite to eat before some meetings. At a booth in front of me was a mother and 2 children. She had her netbook out, and was calling someone on her cell phone. Her MP3 player was lying near the Netbook. I saw no evidence that they had ordered anything. When they rose to leave, she had a HUGE stack of napkins in her hand, and her youngest child has a handful of straws. It reminded me of a story an intern of mine told me once. She was living with her grandparents while attending college nearby. She said she hated to go out to eat with them because they took everything that wasn't tied down. One day she came into the office laughing. "Today", she said, "my grandmother said as she prepared lunch, 'Irving, we've got to go back to Burger King. We're almost out of napkins.'"So, back to the family in McD's. With enough money to afford a netbook, cell phone, & MP3 player, they still had to steal na…

Why Obama Will Not End the War

The primary reason for Obama's low popularity numbers is the current economy and loss of jobs. That reason alone is enough to determine whether or not he moves aggressively to end the US involvement in Afghanistan. It has far less to do with Al Quaida than with the economy. To bring home thousands of troops and thrust them into the failing job market will only exacerbate the problems. Add to that the expense of dealing with the medical and psychological issues that will emanate from the readjustment of those who have been on the front lines for so long, and the die is cast.The old adage, "promises are made to keep" does not apply in the political arena. A better rendering of it would be "promises are made to change with the political climate". As much as we Americans would like to think that our ongoing involvement in the war is altruistic, the truth of the matter is that it is politically expedient. While I firmly believe that we entered the fray with th…

Time to Use Our Greatest Weapon

We have reached a point in our American society where there is primarily one group of people who can be ridiculed, verbally attacked and otherwise vilified by the media, politicians, public educators, and the entertainment industry without any outcry by the general public. That group is comprised of Christians; believers in and followers of Jesus Christ. Those whose guide for living is the Bible. Any stance taken by a Christian based on their Biblical beliefs is fair game for the aforementioned groups. College and grad students are being denied pursuit of their education by some universities unless they go through a "re-education" process to change their beliefs to be more in line with the secular mind-set of the school. Does this sound a bit like Nazi-ism and Communism? Yet it goes on uncontested in America every day. The time has come to get out the "big gun". What is that weapon? It is prayer. The Psalmist, King David knew how to incorporate this weapon…

The Gift of TODAY

TODAY is a gift. You were never promised TODAY. You've done nothing to earn TODAY. Yet you have it. Watching my twin granddaughters open birthday presents last week reminded me that I get gifts all the time that I never really thought of as gifts. Seeing their delight with each gift they opened, reminded me that I have the choice of "delighting myself in the Lord" everyday that He sees fit to give me. So, just how does one "delight" themselves in the Lord? Well it may be a bit different for everyone, but here are some ideas for starters.Greet the day with a positive attitude.Start your day in God's Word. Let Him speak to you early today.Choose to look on the positive side of every event or encounter today.Embrace the joys of breathing, smelling, tasting, and experiencing today.Look at circumstances as opportunities.Expect the best from everyone you encounterEnjoy your gift of TODAY. At the end of TODAY, reflect on all you experienced, file them awa…

Taking Up an Offense

Serving in ministry for 50+ years, I've seen this scenario played out time and again, and every time the enemy gets the victory over the believer. Here's the scene; someone in the church, or family, or workplace, or school is offended by the actions of words of another person. A friend, acquaintance or family member hears of or observes the incident and becomes offended on behalf of their friend, etc. Long after the two actual participants in the event have settled things and moved on, those who have taken up the offense are still fuming and stewing every time they are reminded of the event or the people involved. Why? I think I know. When I'm offended, God immediately gives me grace to forgive and move on. I can deal directly with the offender and our relationship can be restored. However, if I take on an offense on behalf of another, I am not afforded the grace of God needed to forgive. I'm pretty much on my own to do it the hard way; by strength of will. A…

Does God Watch Fox and Friends?

I'm constantly amazed at the reaction of Believers to the current headlines. Many of them react just the same as unbelievers with worry and almost panic. It is as if God didn't know what was coming down the pike, and had to find out from our frantic prayers what was happening in the world. Should we be concerned? Yes. Should we worry? No! Should we pray? Absolutely! Our Sovereign God has fore-knowledge of every event that takes place on earth. He could intervene and change things before we even know about them. Instead, He allows them to occur and uses them as tools to shape and conform Believers into the image of Jesus. Our possible responses to events such as the oil spill are either FAITH, FEAR, or APATHY. As I mentioned in a blog post not long ago, some of what we consider to be disasters result in a new creativity and ingenuity on the part of man-kind. This occurs when we seek God's wisdom and understanding of what has happened and why. I was glad to read …

How Strongly Do You Believe?

As we approach the 4th of July weekend most folks are looking forward to a day off, grilling at the beach or in the back yard, hanging with friends and family at the lake, and fireworks. In the midst of it all, the grey-heads will march in parades, hold special meetings at the flag pole, and generally, uphold the reason for the holiday...the celebration of our independence. I wonder just how much longer we will be able to hold on to the relevance of the day. It seems that with the revisionists changing much of our history, and schools doing away with the pledge of allegiance, and families giving little or no thought to why we're celebrating and not passing the legacy on to their kids, it won't be long until it becomes a meaningless day.Do you believe strongly enough in the history of our nation to take the time to read, study and pass along the history behind the holiday? Does it cross your mind that your children and grandchildren are growing up without a clue? I'm …

Real Riches: Relationships

Today my wife and I wind up a reunion trip. We've had the opportunity over the past few days to re-connect with people who were in our Youth Group almost forty years ago. This has reminded me that I am a rich man. I am rich because God has enabled me to build relationships with many people through the years. I know that there are people scattered across the globe who I count as friends, and on whom I could call in time of need. What more could anyone want?Now I look for opportunities to build new relationships; to meet and learn about new people and to seek to share my life with them. Relationships among believers will last forever. I think of those who have already preceded me in going to their reward, and I look forward to re-connecting with them one day in Glory. Thank You, Lord for friends. Thank You for being my friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Our "News" is not "News" to God

I get a little amused when watching the news, that everyone seems so caught up in the "breaking news", or "this just in to our news desk" announcements. Even believers seem to be wondering what in the world is going on. The truth of the matter is that what we call "news" God has know about forever. In many instances He has even tried to get our attention BEFORE the "news" broke so that we would be ready. Even the Apostle Paul reminds us in several places in his writings that we should not be "caught unaware".What is going on is that God is trying to get the attention of His people and warn them that "we ain't seen nothing yet". It is only going to get worse until (or unless) we start paying attention to such admonitions as 2 Chronicles 7:14) The little word "if" is powerful. "If" we, the people of God, don't humble ourselves and pray and repent (turn from our wicked ways) and seek God's …

The Same, But Different

Just 10 1/2 years ago my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. The trepidation that descended on our lives was palpable. Suddenly every day was overshadowed by both the treatments, the "what-if's" as we walked on, what for us, was a new path. At the last "Walk for the Cure" in our town, we celebrated with other survivors with a victory lap.Now it has started over again, this time with our oldest daughter, Kendra. The realization that Rae has beaten this disease for 10 1/2 years gives us hope. But, at the same time there is dread as Kendra embarks on her treatment. Each day is a gift; every tomorrow is truly in doubt. I've asked God to let me bear the cancer in my own body. After all, I've already lived a long, full life. Kendra has "miles to go" with her four children, ages 5-10. My understanding of true intercession is that the intercessor must be willing to bear the burden of the one for whom they are praying. I'm willing! So, we…

When a Disaster Isn't

The news is filled with thoughts, opinions, charges and counter charges regarding the oil debacle in the Gulf. Words and phrases like "disaster", "world changing", "end of life as we know it" are being thrown around. All of which makes me stop and think about when a disaster really isn't a disaster. I truly believe that the deciding factor is what we do when a so-called disaster strikes. If we moan and groan and look for someone to bail us out, it is a disaster. If we learn from it and begin to look for solutions and alternatives, it becomes a stepping stone to a new and better life. Through out history we've seen "disasters" lead to new discoveries, better ways of preparing for the unexpected. Rather than list them here, I want to urge you to do your own research. Bottom line; there will be bad things that come with catastrophic events, however, these can be the catalysts that catapult us into a new and better way of life for mil…

Guest Blogger: My Wife: Our Prayer

Forty plus years ago the doctors told us that we would be unable to have children of our own. Then a group of teenagers at Greenleaf Ave. Baptist Church, in their weekly Prayer and Share hour, began praying. They prayed that we would have children, or, as I remember one person particularly praying, that we would be content either way. This past Sunday, May 23, 2010, as we were singing "Because He Lives", the second verse hit me very hard! "How sweet to hold a new-born baby and feel the pride and joy (she) gives". We found that joy in Sept. 1970 as our first-born daughter came. (I feel that was a direct answer to the prayers of those youth in Prayer and Share.) However, the second part of that verse really got me--"But greater still the calm assurrance, This child can face uncertain days because He lives". On Friday, May 21, those lines became truth in our lives as we discovered that our "baby" has stage 2 cancer. Now we are asking our yout…

WHO, ME???

Seems as if we Americans have regressed to our childhood. We never take responsibility for anything anymore. Just as a kid standing over a puddle of spilled milk, with an empty glass in his hand will say to his mom, "Not me!", our politicians are taking denial to a new level. It is not just the politicians though, it is also people who claim to be followers of Jesus. We have lost the importance of confession of sin as the catalyst for forgiveness. We, along with the politician, claim to have "mis-spoken" rather than lied. We have become adept at blaming those who came before us (the previous administration) for our own inaction or failure to deal with issues. Our problems are now our Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, or grandparent's fault.Truth be known, until we take ownership of our SINS (not our mistakes, or slip-ups, or goofs) we will never receive the forgiveness promised in 1 John 1:9. The little word "if" makes it very clear that God's fo…

Who's In Charge Here?

Have you ever asked that question? My wife is really good at cutting to the chase. If she sees a clerk doing a really good job at a store, she'll look up the manager and commend the clerk to the one in charge. On more than one occasion when she has witnessed a manager publicly reprimanding an employee, she will call the manager aside and suggest that the reprimand should have been done in private. The bottom line is, she has learned that when you go to the person "in charge", you can make the most impact. That being said, let me ask you; "Who is in charge of your life?" The truth of the matter is, you are. Even if you have given your life to Christ, He will not give you a daily agenda or "to-do" list. His Word will be your guide. His Spirit will nudge you in the direction He knows you should go, but, at the end of the day, you decide what you do and when. One of the problems I see in society today is that very few are willing to take respons…

WHY???

I just watched a video (link above) in which Simon Sinek was talking about "Starting with Why". It occurred to me that most churches deal with the "what" we do rather than "why" we do it. When I meet with my worship team, the first questions are always, "What are we doing next Sunday?" "What is the sermon topic?" We never seem to get to the "Why are we meeting next Sunday, and what does it have to do with our reason for being a church?" question.
In this world of "cookie-cutter" churches and people, it seems we're always trying to find another church or another leader to emulate. It is the old Anthony Robbins theory, "find someone who is successful, do what they do the way they do it and you too will be successful." The only thing wrong with that strategy is that it doesn't work. Given that each of us is created differently, with a different gifts-mix-set, we can't just emulate someone a…

Do First, Then Be

I'm always fascinated by child prodigies. This morning on Fox News I saw a 7 year old tap-dancer who was phenomenal. I don't know the percentages, but I'd guess that prodigies in any field of endeavor are few and far between. On the other hand there are those who became great at what they do by doing it...over and over again. I remember reading that Einstein was not a very good student. Lincoln failed at numerous attempts for public office before becoming one of our best known presidents.Sometimes there is a parent who sacrifices a great deal and pushes a child to become great (Tiger Woods) In my own life I've experienced modest success in several fields of ministry simply by doing them. I started out in Music & Youth ministry,and was mediocre at best in both of them. Finally, after 20 years of combination ministry, I sensed God asking me to move into full-time Student Ministry. Though I was not young (40 at the time) and was not a former athlete, scintill…

Justifying My Existence

Today it dawned on me that for all the teaching and preaching I do, nothing will ever match the accomplishment of sharing the gospel with a lost person and seeing the light come on in their soul as they receive Christ. Even writing that is convicting. Today I scoured both my Twitter and FaceBook accts. and found no mention of a person being led to Christ...and the large majority of my FB "friends" and Twitter "buds" are professing Christians. I spent my time today studying and preparing for the Wednesday evening prayer meeting and Sunday morning services. That is a good use of time, but during that time 1000s went into eternity without Christ. I'm on the verge of deciding that Christians are some of the least effective people on the planet when it comes to propagating their own kind. For all our rhetoric, words in print, programs and plans, we see very little return. That makes me wonder if God is all that involved with what we are doing. If so, where i…

The Mis-understanding of Prayer

After 50+ years in local church ministry, I'm convinced that most churches/Christians don't understand the power or purpose for prayer. Fully 90% of the prayer topics addressed in most churches are health related; 5% is asking blessing upon whatever meeting is taking place, with only 5% left to deal with such issues as the Good News of the Kingdom, salvation of the lost, missions, elected civil leaders and spiritual growth of the saints. (all of which are Biblical) If we learn to use the formidable tool that God has given us, I believe we will see the church come alive and our nation once again impacted by the Gospel of Christ. A study of the prayers of Jesus, Paul, David, Daniel and Nehemiah gives insight into prayer that prompts God's response. I think that God is waiting for His people to seek Him as something other than an EMT. We need to learn to seek His face, not just His hands. Once we begin to pray as the Bible teaches, we will see God's intervention in a…

Salvation Comes Complete; No Add-ons

We just bought a Blue-ray disc player as an anniversary gift, from us-to us-with love. I unpacked it, connected it to the TV, but then read that to get the most from it I would need to hook up to the internet. I have a wireless router, but behold...in order to connect to my router, I must purchase a "wireless bridge" which noone in Sebring, FL carries. On line searches revealed that I can bid for one on E-bay; buy one from Amazon for @ $85 or buy one on-line from various stores for anywhere from $100 to $130 plus shipping and handling. When I went wireless in the house, I also had to buy 2 bridges to connect my 2 Tivo's to the internet. Are you getting the picture? It seems that everything digital comes bare-bones but...for a price you can buy add-ons that make your system what you thought you were getting in the first place.All of this makes me so very glad that when I accepted Christ, I got it all! I got eternal life with Christ, a home in heaven, the in-dwelling…

Birthing a Sermon

It's not easy! As much as you might think, "I could do that" when you hear your pastor preach, it is a lot more work than you can imagine. Oh, occasionally there will be a sermon that will just "pop" out and come together in a matter of minutes, but that is not the norm. Just as in a pregnancy, there is conception (getting an idea from God) gestation (studying) maturation (ironing out the wrinkles) and finally, birth. When you're faced with a holiday, like Easter, the challenge is to present the material in a fresh mode that is in the vernacular of the people to whom you're preaching and yet is challenging. The ratio of preparation to delivery, in my experience has been almost 3-1. That is, 3 hours study and prep time for each hour of preaching.I remember hearing of a pastor being interviewed by a search committee who asked them, "Do you want my head or my feet?" The committee puzzled over that and asked, "What do you mean?" …

Bittersweet

Interesting word, bittersweet. It really is descriptive of many events in life. Today I'm in a bittersweet mood. After a week of spring break, my three grandkids from AL headed out with their Nana to meet up with their parents some six hours up the road. I'm conflicted because, as interim pastor of a church with planned activities today, I can't go with them. Also, I'm conflicted because, although I enjoyed having them here, I clearly realized why God gives children to the young. My patience was tried daily, and my responses were more often reactions. I remember hearing Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, say one time "The second greatest sight in the world is seeing your grandkids come up the walk from the car to your house. The greatest sight is seeing them go down the walk, back to the car." As much as I wanted to make a positive impression on them, I'm afraid that I missed the mark because of constantly correcting or disciplining them. Having grown…

I Must be Getting Old

We just returned from a quick trip to Alabama. Left on Monday and returned on Friday, both days were occupied with 11+ hours driving. In between we were in rainy, cool to cold weather. Got to see our granddaughter star in their school production of Willy Wonka, Jr. She played the part of Charlie and was brilliant. The return trip to Sebring was with the three Alabama "grandies" who are spending spring break with us. Already I've discovered that I'm not a patient nor as energetic as I once was. This morning's trip to the church, the bank and McDonald's with the boys exposed me as an old guy. One older gentleman at McD's said quietly to me as I was getting some tea "You have your hands full." Another came to the rescue when one of the boys went scurrying after ketchup by offering us a couple of packets he had left over.I'm also discovering that I have hearing problems I didn't know I had. On the one hand, the decibels are hurting…

Living Off-balanced

Just about the time I think I've got life by the tail, I find myself face to face with the snarling other end. Circumstances always get in the way of my carefully laid out plans for life. Weather (earthquakes, tsnamis) illness, the economy, loss of a loved one, you name it; any one or a combination of those can throw me off-balance in the blink of an eye. All of which brings me to the question, "Is it really such a bad thing to live an off-balanced life? I realize that all the self-help gurus would respond in chorus "Yes! You must learn to live a balanced life!" Let me see if I can validate my point.When I'm living off-balanced, my senses are more alive because I don't know what is coming next.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more open to a hand from an outside helper.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more likely to discover new abilities I didn't know that I had.When I'm living off-balanced I'm more tuned in to God and more …
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Are American Christians Soft?

Recently I preached on the topic "Loving God With All Your Strength".That the message coincided with the Winter Olympics gave me ample metaphors from the world of sport. For the week prior to the message we had seen via TV athletes who "played hurt" because participating in the Olympics meant so much to them. One athlete fell into a ravine, clamored out and finished the ski race. A post race exam showed that she had four broken ribs and a punctured lung. Oh that American Christians had such "grit".
In our day, a headache, sniffles, allergies, being "worn out" from being a week end athlete on Saturday and any number of other minor maladies will often take a believer out of action on Sunday.Amazingly, healing takes place in time for work or school on Monday. We can play through pain and tiredness for the sake of a grade or a paycheck, but not in service for our King.
I recently read a quote by C. S. Lewis which said, "God whispers to us th…

Loving God With All Your Strength

In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, we find quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 reminding us of the need to love God with our total being. One aspect of our being is "strength". A good definition of strength is "power", "might", or "exertion". Consequently, if we are to love God with all our strength, it will require us to work up a sweat for His sake. Mark Batterson in his book PRIMAL reminds readers that the words of Jesus at the judgment are "Well DONE good and faithful servant" not "well SAID". I thought of this as I watched cross-country skiers collapse across the finish line at the Olympics the other night. The athletes were totally spent. They were gasping for breath, they fell face first into the snow. All of this for a medal? Those of us who know and love Christ are vying for a much greater reward and yet, few of us are expending that kind of energy in expressing our love for God. I'm convinced that the heart o…
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Seeking First the Kingdom: What Does it Mean?

Most Christians are familiar with Matthew 6:33 "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." However, there is a wide discrepancy as to what this means. The question that needs to be addressed is "what is the kingdom of God"? In scripture we find references to the "kingdom of heaven", as well as the "kingdom of God. In the New Testament there are at least 27 references to the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. In several parables Jesus told us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like; a man who sowed good seed, but his enemy sowed weeds; a mustard seed which, though very small, produces a tree or bush capable of providing a perch for the birds of the air; and yeast that is folded into a measure of flour. With this background, we can assume that the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom in which the will of God is done immediately and gladly by all it's inhabitants. It is a kingdom where love prev…

Thinking Outside the Church Building

Many years ago Ralph Neighbor drew attention to the fact that most of our church programming is based on getting people inside our building. The truth of the matter is, if we are to ever be successful getting them into our building, we're going to have to go outside the building to find them. In Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus commanded us to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." We are not commanded to "invite them", or even "bring them". He said "Go". The literal translation of that is "as you are going". Therefore, our disciple making is to take place as we are going about our normal traffic pattern of life. When we connect to people where they are, and build meaningful relationships, it is then easier to get them to accompany us to church. This being true, the purpose of our time "in" church should be preparation for going outside the church and doing the work of ministry there. Everything that happens in the buildin…

God is In Control

I have several friends who are extremely upset over the situation in our country. While I understand and appreciate their concern, I refuse to let it dominate my life. Daily I remind myself of the truth of Proverbs 21:1 "A kings heart is a water channel in the Lord's hand; He directs it wherever He chooses." Before you think that this is a cop-out on my part, stop and realize that the ultimate fate of this nation is not in the hands of the politicians, but rather in the hands of Almighty God. Even before I've done my part in voting and have spoken my mind through communication with elected officials, the most important thing I can do is pray for our nation. I've made a covenant with God that whenever I wake up during the night that is my call to prayer for our nation. Primarily I pray for repentance beginning in the halls of government and moving throughout the nation. I'm using Ninevah as my example. I'm asking God to send a prophet or prophets t…

Pharisees Alive and Well

The recent furor kicked off by Brit Hume's statements on a Fox News panel just highlights the point that Pharisees are still among us. Even those who claim a personal relationship with Christ have gone out of their way to lambaste Hume for daring to suggest that Christianity is superior to other religions of the world. Here are my questions to these folks.
In what other religion is there a Savior who bled and died for the sins of mankind?What other religion has a leader who rose from the dead and lives today "ever making intercession for the saints"?What other religion offers forgiveness to those who confess and repent of their sinsMy take on the reason so many have tee'd off on Hume is that either they are under conviction because they recognize the truth of what he said, or (if they are believers) they are convicted because they don't have the guts to publicly acknowledge their faith. I'm reminded that Jesus warned that those who denied Him before man, He…

2010: So What?

Here I was feeling like a slacker because I had not updated my blog in several weeks. Then I checked on some blogs that I follow and found that I had a lot of company. It seems that in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, going all the way back to Thanksgiving, many people got caught up in the day to day "stuff" and blogging took a back seat. I feel better.
That being said, I want to address a few random thoughts that are buzzing around in my head, in no particular order.
Football coaches are far too serious for their own good. If they approached life like Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, they would live longer and enjoy life more.The Purpose for Christmas is lost in the frenzy of gift-buying-giving-receiving.The best ideas for New Year's resolutions are found in Philippians 2:1-11.If I'm still alive then there is more for me to do be and become.To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13 "But learning from what lies behind..."Prov. 21:1 "The k…