Monday, October 31, 2011
Today's culture is increasingly messy. As we escalate our reach into our streets we will surely find it was a lot easier participating in Bible class discussions of how to reach the lost.
We are dealing with extreme challenges. From registered sex offenders to same sex partners to the homeless to all the rest of us, these were all sitting in our assembly Sunday. And it isn't a matter of our presence. It is a wonderful matter that we love each and truly care as we strain as to the best way to help one another start life over.
The closer we keep an eye on Jesus the further he seems to lead us into risk. Jesus takes us to a new normal. For those of us in leadership, we realize that we are losing a grip on the norm of church life and seem to be slipping into a zone of spiritual meaning and definition. Our challenges take more than collective input. They take the hand of God else we are sunk.
Week by week we seem to find ourselves with fewer answers and more people whose pain and injury blesses us. I applaud our members. It isn't that 20% are doing 80% of the work. We are so in over our heads, if God's grace doesn't do the work, we can't pull it off....20% or 80. We don't have the brawn nor the brains to figure any of us out.
God must do the work. He must. Our congregation is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable due to the disastrous and devastating lifestyles. Not so strangely, it is also becoming sweeter as if Jesus is in the lead.
We are an uncomfortable church....because more like us keep walking through our doors. Maybe we will work and think and see....just like Jesus.
Our Linda Scott does a fab job of putting together an amazingly creative event for community children...and our own.
From the food perspective, we didn't calculate well enough last year...and we wonderfully didn't again this year...because there were so many! What a great stress!
An exciting thing to me was that several from neighboring Lindbergh school attended as well as several from our Food Pantry.
Thank you, God, for letting us be a part of cheering on our community! And....I got to drive a tractor!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
A number has been done on the church. The mystery of God has been eliminated by cold hard humanistic calculation.
Such a mistaken posture has grown a people obsessed with the rules of church while prayer life is virtually vacant.
But...God does work!
His call to us is to believe Him. That is our work of faith to believe His work.
When you don't know how. When you can explain why. When the speculation as to where and when mounts with pessimism, employ your absolute faith in God. He can get matters handled while we are fretfully running from the Pharaoh-type villains. He will open the flood-waters.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I get pretty weary of me. Will I always be this way?
Will I always have big ideas and great causes and strong opinions only to recall what a louse of a man I am?
Yes, I know our adequacy is in the Spirit. I wrote a little book about it. And when I am focused upon His skills, life is surely more meaningful.
But I get so disappointed when I forget and then restart that wandering trek of putting people together and systems in order. If it weren't for God, I wouldn't be able to do anything. It makes such great sermon point; but why can't I remember it?
His grace allows me to get to do incredible and sometimes seemingly impossible stuff. But I must not forget He runs the show. As much as I tell myself this, it seems I handily forget and take over from here.
I get so tired of me. One would think I would have gotten better at it by now. Oh well...a new day comes my way and a new start with it.
This morning I get to be one of thousands who can say My team won! The Cardinals miraculously pulled it out! Yet, while these two statements are true, my heart reserves much public celebration because of the classiness of the Texas Rangers as well as their ideal fans.
A foul ball here and a better play there and it would be the Rangers who would have/could have/maybe should have raised the trophy as early as Thursday night.
But....it all went my Cardinals' way.
By the seventh inning I could see it in the Rangers' eyes. Fear that their moment was passing only mounted. Ron Washington's visible concern tugged at my heart. Murphy's eyes? Young's look? Andrus' blank stare? All transferred the same message; We aren't going to win, are we?
I'm glad my guys won as I have much history and inner connection. However, two professional opponents took center stage and did themselves proud. For the first time, I would not have minded a tie.
I wish there would have been some way we could have won without beating the Rangers. To win this Series is bitter-sweet. I feel like we just beat up on our cousins.
Friday, October 28, 2011
I do not speak of sinful matters which would call for repentance. I speak of hang-nail words and actions which erode our mentals and emotions...the little stuff that personalities like mine make way too big.
These mood breakers ruin the spirit of our days. Discouragement looms in the air. We find ourselves robbed of the day's riches for we cannot restore the yuck soup we just caused.
Oh, but yes we can. I learned a ways back a few helpful perspectives.
- Everything will be okay.
- Forgiveness toward ourselves is both possible and important. Drop it.
- Drop the need to go around explaining and re-explaining. Learn to let it go.
- Most of the time those on the other end are not even phased by what you would regard as social collapse.
- Everything will be okay.
- We insecure fret over matters the maturer dismiss. We needlessly torture ourselves.
- The more we throw ourselves into the community filled with murders, cancers, and fatalities the more inclined we will be to give previous disturbing issues a shrug and move on.
- Everything will be okay.
I wanted to write about the Cardinals terrific and historic comeback last night...but I feel led that some need the above much more.
(World Series: Cope 3 Rush 3)
Thursday, October 27, 2011
If ever there was a trait involving the gift of God toward us in order to be renewed day by day, it surely involves patience from Him and from all others. We are in a place to start life over because of patience.
It isn't a self-mustering patience, either. For that sort runs dry. We must have the fruit of the Holy Spirit to carry on in the kingdom with ones like me....and like you. We test each other. The tests get....testy.
Just as the Prodigal Father was quick to celebrate, I think this is what saves me among us. I am surrounded by Prodigal Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, and Sisters.
I so enjoy the kingdom life and its resurrection power. But my taking two steps forward and three steps back week after week leaves me in need of someones willingness to allow the Spirit fruit to pass through their veins.
The fruit of patience is a grand and glorious product of heaven alive on earth. We not only really need it, we really have it coming toward us.
Praise His name!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The correct answer is based on the call of God. If you are looking for a 9 to5 job with security, maybe not. If you have a fire in your bones that won't let up, then absolutely set your eyes on the privilege of preaching.
Should one get out? Answer the questions above.
But there is one element I would ask you to ponder. In the line of preaching, do you really understand the many will try to beat the crap out of you and some will succeed? This cross thing isn't a point for a flannel-graph nor a power-point. It is a way of life.
Look at the guys from our tribe who are making the biggest impact and building the powerful churches. All of them have one thing in common; they are beaten to death by the brotherhood at large. The good news is they had/have it coming because of who they follow.
If you want to preach and believe you will escape the deep scars from brotherhood beatings, you need to rethink the call.
Ask Max Lucado or Rick Atchley if they have very many bad days, evil reports, or dreaded nights of private tears? I guarantee you they have been run through the grave and that's what every soldier of Christ's must face. If one tells you this doesn't need to happen, treat them as Jesus did Peter upon receiving that exact advice.
Right now I am reading a most fascinating book by Don Finto. Does anyone remember Don Finto? When I was in preaching school in the early '70s, Don Finto was the man we Pharisees mocked the most. He was a hippie who did things way out of our CoC rigidity. He was growing a church unlike the ways we did (or would if we had a church that would grow).
But I learned from being necessarily beaten by the brotherhood, we've got it coming. We are set up; not for failure, but for success by appearing as failures due to the dog-yipping streams of bad press. The good news is that this, too, is a part of our job descriptions.
Wanna preach? Check on whether you are called. And if called, you won't ever want to quit. Tears will come. Disorientation will stalk. Life in Him will always be the reward of every threatening moment.
My word to you young guys? Don't quit. And don't even think about pacifying the segment of our brotherhood who is in it for the pride of being the only ones' right. These will shoot at you and some will hit the heart with their printing presses and their Preachers' Luncheon gossip.
Do not be afraid. Do not to worry. These are the footprints of Jesus. Pain in preaching? We have it coming. The cross insists.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It seems that several factors continue to position us for God to bless our assemblies.
We are learning to love God from the heart instead of officially. There is a difference.
We still want to know what the Bible says. Surely we are stuck on some doctrinal claims as if the Word teaches it when it really doesn't. But even this has such a deep call to continue in search of the Scriptures.
Our confidence is in the Spirit and not in ourselves; a specific Word admonition.
One of our recent homeless visitors brought a homeless guest. Three homeless were sitting among us Sunday and I love it that we don't talk about the noble concept but actually get to receive the blessings of their presence.
God gave us one very special Sunday. The place was moved by His presence. I am privileged to watch such a scene. Our people are special as we watch for God to do things for us (and with us) we cannot design nor manipulate.
What is it about your place of service where you see Father pouring out His blessings due to His presence?
I'm not worried. We are in the World Series. Plus, my waitresses' name whom I met before the series began is "Destiny"!
It is a big thrill to win the World Series. It is also a huge thrill just to be there.
And, about you, this is something we need to work on. It must be emphasized as a reminder to be sure to enjoy the presence of the moment. Today's schedule, with its agonies and strains, can cause us to miss out on the beauty of the moment.
Like right now. The game continues. Don't lose sight of the fact that your eyes see (what a thrill), your ears hear (same joy) and your lungs breathe without a machine.
Try not to get so wrapped up in winning that you forget the privilege of having your own uniform.
A word to Cope.....MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS!
Monday, October 24, 2011
In traveling I watch for opportunities to connect with whomever God places in my path. I do the usual, Where's home for you? What do you do for a living, etc. Once I learn some surface things, I try to leave each person with some sort of meaningful thought to the extent that God might use me...or one of us...well down the road.
1. Re: the woman who came onto the plane and sat beside me going to Dallas. I shared with her that sometimes life gets a bit tedious. I gave her my bubble gum (business) card. If that should happen and she needs a listening ear, keep my card for that moment. I've already received an email from her.
2. Re: the very pretty woman who sat beside me in the airport as we awaited our flight to return to Tulsa. I asked her, since she was obviously attractive, if she ever encountered feeling insecure and inferior. I don't believe she had ever been asked such a thought. Her affirmative answer let me sow kingdom seed as to His "yes" world.
3. Re: the woman who later came along and sat beside me on the plane. After the small talk I found that this 50-ish year old had lost her husband to cancer last month. A very delightful lady she is. Upon asking her how she was coping, I told her where my office is and that if the burden becomes over-the-top that I am one who would be happy to encourage.
4: Re: the soldier that sat with me on the plane when Mary and I were traveling to Richmond in March. Upon learning that he was headed to Afghanistan while leaving behind a wife and three little boys, I inquired as to what church would help his family back here should they encounter struggles. He said they had none.
I gave him my card and told him that first they should find such a church. Too, that he is welcome to email me if anything should arise while he is gone. I would contact a church in Richmond to help.
Within the next month the soldier wrote me that he, his wife, and three boys were attending a local church.
We simply sow seed. We move beyond the small talk where we can. Usually the door opens when the topic is how we might offer encouragement.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
The least in the church know this doctrine. You have to be baptized to go to heaven.
The result, however, has been detrimental in that it has put much of the Church of Christ over the years on hold. Baptized. Heaven. Baptized. Heaven.
What about the life in between?
For too many it seems the goal has been to avoid anything which might disrupt the admission into heaven. This is a grand error which has been swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
We are to be buried in Jesus to walk a new life; a life of shining, of interacting, and of maturing.
The church has come to a virtual stand-still in too many regions because it prides itself in its teaching on baptism when, in reality, it may have slowed down the evangelism process by missing the abundant life in the Spirit which was immediately and perpetually to follow.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
It would not post. I do not believe it was because God did not want it; but because dark forces intervened. I will give it another shot down the road.
For now I want you to know why there is not a new writing awaiting you this morning.
Not discouraged...but convinced....I had something for you today.
(Of course when I tried to post this one....it worked the first time.)
Friday, October 21, 2011
This is one of my favorite kingdom thoughts because I always wanted to do big; not movie star big or President big....but meaningful and important.
God wonderfully changed the locks on this ambition. He is the One big and no one else. Yet, our dreams can be/are fulfilled in Him.
From Spirit perspective we reverse our mode of operation. We still dream of the major coming from us. The key is "coming from us" like in II Cor. 3:4 where we are never adequate but the Spirit is adequate within us.
The childish "to be big" views the world of opportunity from the wrong end of the telescope. Believers aren't called to have a vision for grand accomplishment but rather an insight on the value of seed. God's system moves us from the major to the smallest minor...seed.
We plant seed. We water seed. God causes the big. Never us. Yet, we are in on it from the ground floor and are satisfied beyond "personal stardom". We have confidence in seed life; placing a needed phone call, delivering a pie to a neighbor, greeting strangers with kindness, praying with no evidence of results except invisible faith, and reacting with grace to criticism.
The seed life lets all of us into the board room where we become major players. Where this has helped me mostly is in the area of envy and jealousy. I wanted to be among the big boys; whatever the big boy world was at the moment.
Today I am content; just a Paul mentioned in Philippians 4. I am content if it goes North or if it goes South. My retirement statement last quarter lost 20%. What should I do? Be content. Millions have no retirement account.
Sow seed. That's where the big stuff happens. Sow it for 15 and 45 years. God is faithful. Wonder results.
Wasn't it God who promised through Paul that He would do more than we could imagine or think? Then....let's get going!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I will not do as Mike Cope, though, and betray my Cardinals. Shame on Mike for converting. I am going to contact Joe Buck and ask him to not say hi to Mike during the entire series. (I'm not sure Pepperdine knew of this glaring glitch before replacing Jerry Rushford with him.)
I predict Theriot, Punto, and Craig will be key players.
What my guys will do to win is both distract and irritate the Texas Rangers. Punto, Theriot, and Craig will be key players that will catch the Rangers off guard.
I will be at game four to monitor the event.
Will we win? Why not? We've backed into all the rest of the playoffs. I predict the Cardinals will prevail in nine games.....maybe ten.
I'm just sayin'.
Giving is what some believers and non-believers alike have come to regard as that six-letter church word. To the extent of it immediate social rejection, it should surely be given a double-take as to its absolute and profound God-muscle power.
Giving is the back-breaker to doubt. No doubter gives to God. The more we surrender our keeping power the more our spirits open to receiving power. And...receive we do!
The issue is the flat out dependence upon God. Nothing more...or less. Will God provide? Will He be there?
Giving works from a tree limb and a saw. The more we open our purses in abandon the more we receive in multiple-fold. God never returns dollar for dollar. He breaks the calculator!
I have learned to give over the years. My retirement account is not dependent upon headquarters in Ohio. It is kept in a vault in heaven.
I really don't know how my next 20 years go as far as income and provision. That is yet to be seen for I am confident in His supply. But I do know how my first 10,000 years go in heaven for I have been contributing to my ERA (Eternal Retirement Account) for about 40 years now.
Money matters. Giving it away is the call from above. Let's do it....better than ever before.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I watch the world's turbulence. Protests of violence and others of threat are global. World economies are falling like dominoes. Political debate and religious unrest grab one major headline after another. This world is surely upset.
It makes me wonder if a major shake-up is on its way. And if it is, will we have the church prepared? Is Christian faith about to be taxed with a persecution out of proportion to our preparation?
This sounds terribly gloomy. However, the Word has always been more serious about disciplines in Jesus than I would ever truly grasp.
Please don't take me as a negative worry-wort...unless I truly am. It could be my age. Whatever the reason, I keep wondering if we have our people prepared to faithfully and enduringly believe in Jesus during the very rough spots; the likes of what we have never yet seen nor heard.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Jesus is the difference-maker. His reality and his participation in our walk is essential. Our work is to believe him.
Some don't. Some believe in baptism with little real conviction that he is involved even remotely in our days. Yet, he surely is.
Jesus changes our salvation for we get it from his provision; not from our steps. Jesus changes our worship for until he is centered our songs and orders are humanistic while in church buildings. Jesus changes our dispositions. He turns every setback into kingdom promotion. He never fails.
Be encouraged. We have so much to take in; so much to develop. But all of us know the solution to this and any other challenge. It is Jesus. Not the lip-service of his name, but the very concrete certainty that he lives within us, through us, and among us.
May the church let go of its man-made fears and cut loose with a faith which would match the resurrection of the living Jesus.
What I like about Memorial is that what we once preached and talked, we now experience.
The place was packed; full of visitors. Two homeless men who have never met (individual bridges) were with us due to the compassion of sweet members. Two of our very poor from the food pantry were sitting in our midst.
It is extremely rewarding to sit among believers who get it best we can. And....we are still learning. If I were to choose to be someone, it would be me. I get to be with this church!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
I think there is a way to truly minister to such a person for we are all in need. It is just that this type hasn't realized what it is which will bring fulfillment. It seems they believe repeated and rehearsed sadnesses will draw sympathy.
Might these learn that one reaps what one sows? If attention is what one needs, sow it. Don't stand and ask for it.
These needy among us are accurate in that they have great need for acceptance and inclusion. God's way of getting it is to give it away. If these would but show interest and concern over others, their hunger would be immediately satisfied as well.
Anyone who wants to reverse their life can by sowing the seed of that which they have greatest need. In others words, give away the last drop of oil in the jar. Don't keep it for self. Give it away. Full jars will follow.
Friday, October 14, 2011
But if I should by chance happen to win, I would step up to the microphone wearing my new tie at my Inaugural Address and I would say from my teleprompter; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.............be nice, be humble, and be sure to pay for your own postage stamps.
I would then go with my Vice President to Arby's for a Coke.
I just thought you might wonder what I would say if I were President of the United States.
The double funeral will be at Memorial Monday at 10:00.
Sympathy runs rampant for this family. Too, it is guided toward both the victim and the one who pulled the trigger. What to think? What to say? What to do?
I dare not suggest this development is anything other than ruinously devastating. I do draw our attention to guard against our own sighs of disbelief that one could do such a thing. I believe we pull the trigger day by day with the invisible ammunition which surely kills the heart...our words.
Words are either magic or deadly. We choose whether to use words to serve or to destroy. God is emphatic to mimic Him by using creative powers by speaking phrases which give grace for the need of the moment.
Yes, the momma aimed at her daughter and then herself. A question that I have is who took aim on the momma over the past few months by killing her with offensive words which destroyed her mind. Some words need to be kept in the cabinet for if the wrong person gets hold of them they can be fatal.
Take careful aim. Pierce hearts with approval and love. Speak life. Cause life.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I speak of the teaching-ones-neighbor influence of be baptized to go to heaven. Heaven has been a consistent and strong thrust of one-on-one Bible studies among us. I have done so for years. In general a bulk of the church has been taught to be obedient unto salvation, so that when one dies, heaven will be the ultimate reward.
What this has done is dull the saved's senses to needed action while alive. These sit in pews checking off their dutiful lists with one thing in mind; don't mess up so that heaven will not be missed.
This half-doctrine insensitizes believers. Their main goal is not to die lost. That's it!
With this mistaken backdrop ears go deaf to repeated calls for service, love your neighbors, and shine for God now. Heaven is the ultimate goal as the church has been trained to preserve it's own and individual necks for salvation. Ministry to others is a foreign language to far too many.
If I thought faith meant to be baptized so that I would be saved when I die, I too would resent having to put in my time on Sunday mornings sipping, singing, and sitting when I could be at the golf course. But this is not what Father has in mind for us.
God has called us to robust lives which indeed make an enormous difference. We aren't on a dull path to endure church assemblies! Rather, we are on a magnificent mission to help the helpless transfer boring and dead lives into extreme spirit makeovers for the moment.
Life doesn't come after the cemetery. It takes on entirely new and prosperous action as soon as we meet Jesus in the grave of baptism. May we shed the dulling affects of being baptized to go to heaven by focusing upon a reverse truth; the nature of heaven has come to us and to our paths for extravagant actional impact....now.
Jesus came down...and heaven filled our souls.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
#5 I needed more help than I would have guessed.
I began ministry believing I was inadequate. It turns out it was much worse than I had
imagined. It seemed at first that God would need to help out on occasion. Not so. He has to
do the work. Mine is to believe him.
#4 PLACE defines and connects.
Jason Thornton introduced us to the can opener of church connection. I never realized the
value of the body as a whole. My immaturity convinced me if all were as me, we would have
an ideal congregation. To learn our PLACE through this fabulous teaching has helped me
back off from paranoia. Plus, it has given me increased confidence that I am not in this
alone...nor is anyone else.
#3 Jesus is to be preached.
I won't spend much time here as I have voiced this recently. There is a church of difference
in preaching Jesus instead of Church of Christ. I had no idea how rugged this move would
be (and still is); but preaching Jesus will upset and bless a church.
#2 The Holy Spirit is active.
For all practical purposes the Holy Spirit was a sure sign of infidelity to those sound in
Church of Christ-ism. Yet, He is the life among and within us. The Bible still tells me so.
To be without the active Holy Spirit is to be a church dependent upon its cumulative
steam...which will always weary in doing good.
#1 God is to be praised
Little did I realize the strength and depth of praising God. I am still in kindergarten. God
is to be praised and the more we honor Him the more He seems to give us to brag about His
handiwork. Church assemblies were why I wasn't looking so forward to heaven for I
assumed it was just eternal church. Praise--authentic and heartfelt--is heavenly to the
With all we have going on, do not forget to pray for your neighbors to be drawn to Jesus.
Mary and I moved into a new neighborhood at the end of July. I have met a few neighbors and pray for them by name twice a day. Repetition helps me recall their names and it sets the stage for kingdom activity. I now pray for 16 in my area.
An exciting thing occurred to me this morning as I was praying. A vacant house is being remodeled for immediate occupation. I pray for the new whoever(s). And then....then it occurred to me that I can be praying for the new people moving in one year or 12 years from now into houses presently occupied.
I will have God waiting for them in their new home; in houses not yet for sale.
Oh...my point is that we all have so much going on. Be reminded that you have neighbors whom God has assigned you. Love them as yourself. Pray for them...even the ones who haven't moved in yet.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The bad news is you are probably not as all-knowing, all-capable as you would like to think. The good news is everyone else understands you are not as all-knowing all-capable as you would like to think.
This dilemma has been a major hurdle for me. The good news is it has launched me into a profoundly marvelous lifestyle; content....content with myself and content with others. That's good news!
I worked too long as a grown man believing that if I wanted the work done right I needed to have my hand in it. This developed arthritis of the mind. If it was to be done right, I would need to oversee it.
I have learned that by His grace I surely do fit into the kingdom nature. But I am not near the main cog I once believed. No. Many don't do the work like I would do it. Yes. They often actually do it better.
I now understand I am completely incomplete and that incompleteness is major; not minor. I am highly lacking. If I will be the first to know it....this is awesomely good news for those around me.
Would you possibly be as me? Completely incomplete?
Sunday, October 09, 2011
I would be so excited I couldn't sleep. What would it be like? How much will I be able to take in? I wonder what my aunt will fix to eat? And...all the cousins....just too much to contain in a little boy's backwoods heart.
And then there's church! Today!
I can't wait!
What will there be to see? Who will be moved by His Presence? What will I learn at age 64 that I had never seen in the Word before?
I am wide-eyed for being a part of a great congregation is never taken for granted. It is too wonderful for the heart to take in!
It is a good day...so have one!
Saturday, October 08, 2011
We all have much to do and such much to do's success will be dependent upon our believing in the resurrected Jesus.
Church work is not up to our capacity to plan nor to execute such plans. It hinges upon our absolute assurance Jesus is the author of our provision and sustenance. He--in present spirit form--operates from within us to accomplish things we....can't accomplish.
Not only is the empty grave over, so is our intimidation.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Just as the Israelites were intimidated by an approaching army with a cornering backdrop of mountain range and sea, God knows ways out.
So it is with us. He knows how to get us through...even the deepest of troubles....in order to no longer be held hostage via intimidation of people or circumstances.
Way to go us!
Friday, October 07, 2011
Some contend God doesn't do such communication. If you want to know what He thinks, read your Bible. Such may be a snappy and intellectual evaluation; but it distances us from our Master who loves to carry on tight bonds with His chosen.
God speaks in Spiritese. This is the utmost of challenges to the flesh-based believer. Yet, this has always been the challenge and we can see it in others; not in ourselves.
The Emmaus Road provides encounter with the Living God and they could not see it. Paul prayed for eyes to be open to God's gift of revelation and power which was brought about in Christ.
His Spirit works with our spirits. God has made it biblically clear that if we want wisdom we are to pray...in spirit...and He will respond....in Spirit.
A problem the flesh-based church has is that we want concrete intellectual understanding of the how of this process. But, God is not showing His hand. He leaves us with one element; faith.
God's speaks in a language our spirit should understand; but our flesh won't hear of it.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
2011 seems to insist we live in the spin cycle. Rush could be our middle name if it weren't my last.
Yet, Jesus so adjusts the overwhelm of our spirits. He has a knack of reversing cause and effect.
As Christians we should be overwhelmed; and I am. My breath is taken away at the reports I hear of God working. I am stunned by the good deeds believers actually do. It is remarkable to see the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in the most common us.
Church growth is found in any direction we choose to look. There are places and people that really are growing in both prayer and worship.
Giving is stunningly wonderful. Commitment to the point of long-term endurance is both visible and reportable.
One of the things God has done for me is to help me refrain from addressing the naysayers. I refuse to give them attention...unless I forget. I want to focus on the NT pattern of church awe...Acts 2:43.
Believers get to live overwhelmed. Sure....moments of imprisonment come along....but only to verify how awesome it is to experience the God of the "jailhouse fall".
You want to know a neat thing about each of us? Overwhelmed is a lifestyle....and we get to choose which way it goes....conquering the world or depressed and alone.
As for me and my household, I want to be overwhelmed at the talent, skill, and fruit of God.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I could barely lift the lengthy and heavy leather reigns. "Giddy up!" They meandered through the gate and then would not stop. I thought for sure we were in a runaway; even though they were at a minimum pace. It felt really fast to me! I couldn't stop them; but Grandpa saved me.
Sometimes in the church the strong horses make me feel they are going to run away and I can't keep up. Gifted Christians will find they need another gift of patience to tolerate my much slower step. I am not up to many of their speeds.
And you, (for any who as I feel overwhelmed at the vision and the energy of some among us)don't die early due to fright. Just stay calm. Some among us are such go-getters that we who are not as they may feel slighted. Not the case. All are gifted and all have need of the others.
Me? I'm not a thoroughbred; but a plow horse. I have a Spirit-pace that works for me. Where I might have once been intimidated by the "big boys"; not so much now. They are gifted and so am I. Theirs may be at a race pace. Mine is more of a saunter.
Let the horses move forward at good clip unless they are pressing you to become a race horse just like them. If that is the case, tell them to whoa....because you will get the work done...at His strong pace within you.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
- Abram and Sarai did have a child
- Joshua and Caleb succeeded against all bets
- David whipped Goliath
- There were four in the furnace
- Jonah survived
- The sack lunch did feed 5000
- Militant Saul switched to Martyr Paul
- The jailhouse doors did fly open
- The grave did cough up the Son
There are always two major doctrinal truths for us:
- Anything is possible!
- Never, never give up!
A great concern has evolved over the years. Congregations are suffocating. It isn't due to malfunctions of personnel. It has everything to do with so many growing stale.
The church is in need of ventilation. The Holy Spirit is the Fresh Air within the lungs of the body. Those who fight Holy Spirit activation may be very sweet in personality; but we are stagnant in meaningful kingdom productivity.
If the resurrection has one clear trait for the church (the body of Christ) today it is that it is to be ALIVE! Building decor or Sunday School agenda are surely important. Holy Spirit freshness is the absolute of church growth necessity.
Charles Spurgeon warned ministers against the suicidal process of making their studies a prison while nature lies outside his window calling him to health and beckoning him to joy....needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy. He continues to plead that we would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive.
We must give due attention to our hearts. Do we live in the wow of the moment or dare we admit that Disney World is the excitement center and the local church is the place everyone knows to be a good place to yawn.
I saw a school bus while driving to work this morning! I saw it. I wondered how many millions of blind over time would be in tears is they could just see a school bus....once.
Notice your world of wonder. Raise your windows for ventilation of the Spirit. See a school bus...and be thrilled.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
Two things blur the clear church strength from the community's eyes; sermons on giving and finding no one spoke when they visited our assemblies. The former is unfortunate that dark forces have wrecked such a powerful issue.
The latter, however, is completely unacceptable. We must set our shyness aside and speak to the strangers. It is God's style.
Of the mighty image of Father which we inherited is that marvelous ability to create by speaking. Self-centeredness and self-consciousness will cause non-creative silence; especially toward visitors.
Biblical hospitality is not simply social yak-yak. It is warmly and openly offering attentiveness to the greeting of strangers. Greeters at the door are important; within the assembly is essential.
The church is to be robust in welcoming visitors. Don't discuss it. Do it.
Goooood morning! Thanks so much for taking the time to be with us! We hope God encourages your day!