Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proverbs 3:1-12

11 My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.

 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
   in the sight of God and man.

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
   fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
   and nourishment to your bones.

 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
   with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
   and your vats will brim over with new wine.

 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
   and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
   as a father the son he delights in.

My heart has really been hurting lately.  I know its because of my relationship with God has been suffering.  It hurts because I want to do what he wants, but I have found myself not caring for people like I used to.  It has become a job to love others and want to take care of them, and I am consistently looking for others to help me decide what ways we need to show love rather than being so in tune with the Spirit that I am connected and sense what God has for me.

I have been sensing this all for a while, but it really hit me this past week when a terrible tornado went through Joplin, MO.  My wife asked me if I felt like I should go help, and my response was no.  The truth is, I didn't even think about it.  My heart didn't go there.  I was too concerned with everything else going on in my life that I forgot what it is really all about.

So in reading this passage this morning it really hit me when it said

1My son, do not forget my teaching,  3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

The love I once had for people has become so overwhelmingly covered up by the "duties" I have to perform.  My life has become so filled with things to get done and lists to do and people to please that my sight of what really is important has been lost.  I have become one of "those" people who care more about life than what God has planned.

That is why the second part of this is so important. To me its a promise.  He says hang on to these things and you will be where God wants you to be.  Mess it up and God will discipline you, but trust the discipline, he knows what he is doing.  He knows how to take care of you.  He is doing what is best for you.

A while back while searching for what to do I read:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

it hit me... my hesitation is because it doesn't make sense to me.  I guess it is time to just submit to him and let him show me HIS path and quit trying to follow my own.  I need God's health in my body and his nourishment to my bones....without it, I'm just one step closer to the end.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain is there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain is there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you will throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will, I'll be ok

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

(Broken - Lifehouse)

John 14:1-4

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.3"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4"And you know the way where I am going."

As I was reading this this morning, it hit me.  Over the past year, I have been so worried about the now.  The past months have even been worse.  With the possible loss of my steady income, and not knowing what will become of my pastoral job based on circumstances out of my control, I have been running scarred.  I want to provide for my family.  I want to take care of them.  I want to give them what they want...what they need.  I just don't have the time to give anymore.  I don't have the strength to give anymore.

That's where this verse comes in...the now doesn't really matter.  What matters is what is coming.  I don't need to worry.  I don't need to get stressed.  I just need to let go and let God.  Why have I taken so much responsibility and control over something that is his?  Why can I not trust him?  Hasn't he led me to the place I am now?  Hasn't he brought me through so many tough times before.

How do you get to a place where you can (pardon the phrase) fully rely on God?  That shall be my endeavor over the next who knows how long.  Giving it back to him.  Releasing what I have into his hands and making it his.  How am I gonna do it?  Well....first start by doing what I preach and giving him time.  Yes, I know I said I have no more time, but I have to give him first all my time.  Let him decide how much time and I have, and see where things go.  If you are reading this, and I know really no body does right now, pray for me.  I need it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

how do you decide?

How many times do parents decide what to allow their child to watch a show on TV or a movie based on a rating, yet they themselves will watch shows with much worse ratings.  For instance, they will watch a Rated R movie, but wont let their child watch a rated PG-13 movie.  How do we decide what is acceptable and not acceptable.  As Christians, if its not ok for them, then should it really be ok for us?  I don't know how many times I have watch a movie that was PG-13 and looked back at what was PG-13 10 years ago and the two movies not be in the same realm.  Are we just so desensitized to what we watch that we think it is ok for us, but we don't want our children to watch because it might cause them to talk about what we are watching.

I know kids mimic what they hear and see on TV, my son has done so.  Do you ever stop to think if we are doing that too?  Maybe not on the outside, but on the inside.  If you didn't the movies would disgust you.  If for nothing else than just the language. I know I wouldn't want my Grandma walking in why I was watching the movies with all the language.  Is it because I think I can handle more than her?  Is it because I am ashamed at what I am seeing/hearing?

How do you decide what to watch?  I wish I had the strength to say I would never watch anything more than PG.  Would it change my life?  Would it affect how I saw life?  Would it affect my attitude?  How many other things in life to we allow to creep into (alright, they arn't really creeping, we know we are putting them there) our mind and just go on like nothing different.  It makes us different.

I always thought those people who limited what they watched to PG or less were odd.  I never wanted to watch movies that they picked for fear it would be boring...and maybe they would be.  What if we started telling Hollywood that we didn't want to watch that kind of stuff anymore.  What if we limited what we watched to what was wholesome and good?

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Phil 4:8)

How often have you spent two hours filling your head with these as compared to the two hours of a movie filling it with Garbage that won't change anything in your life other than getting away from the truth for a while?

Will I change?  Will You?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Heart and Soul of a Dying Church

I was thinking today, about how there are so many churches just struggling to get by.  So many that want to do the right things, grow, reach more people, but just aren't a church that is really living.  The church is dying.  As I was thinking about it, it hit me.  Why these churches are dying, there are still living people in them.  Most of the time, these people really aren't bad people or people you don't want to spend time with, they are just misguided.  I can say that, I am a pastor.

Do you ever wander who these people were in their day, you know back before they were the "old" people of the church?  I often wonder that myself about my own grandmother.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to just sit down and really find out what her own personal struggles were when she was growing up.  You see these people have stories too.  They know what it was like to live a hard life, to work for a work to live.

So what happened?  Why are there so many churches that are filled with older people and have no young ones to keep the church alive.  Again, misguidance.  All to often, I think we get stuck in a rut.  We forget what our purpose is. We forget we are to look like Christ, not just follow a bunch of rules.

I don't see Christ as a rule follower.  How many times did he break the rules of the day just to do the right thing.  I mean sure he followed God's rules, but man's rules could be broken if they went against what he believed to be right.

So what rules have we been guided to follow that get in our way of sharing the gospel with others.  Have the rules replaced your Gospel?  I know I have caught myself looking at what I believe as only a set of rules and not really taking in what I say I believe.

I say all of this because I want to challenge you to evaluate what it is you are showing others when you show them Christ.  Are you showing them a rut in the ground to later help them become part of a dying church, or are you showing them a life that is renewed and ever changing.Yes, Grandma, God is the same, yesterday, and forever, but we are not.  If we are growing in him, we will not be the same day to day.  I church will never be the same as it was.  (Hopefully if we are growing in him, our church is growing in him as well)

So what does this mean? It means we need to breathe life back into the heart and soul of our churches.  Show them what it means to be the church, not just attend a church.  How do we do that?  Well...that is another post altogether.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where do you stand?

I have spent the past several years really trying to figure out who I am and what I believe.  There have been a number of circumstances that have really challenged my faith and what I believe.  Through these circumstances I have come to realize that there are many views I once held so tight.  One of the hardest things to deal with for me currently is where to draw the line on living a "normal" life and living one completely sold out for Christ.  I have a great family and I wouldn't want to  give them up for anything in the world, but I can completely understand know why Paul said it would be better for a man to stay single.  I know my happiness and joy is made so much better by the family I have, but what if I could really give up everything and following him.  It would be easy with out a family to spend your entire waking existence giving knowing that it would be furthering his kingdom.  So where is that line now?  Can we really ask our families to give up everything or is there a balance?  I have been dealing with this for years wondering if I have too much and should be giving more of it away.  I know where I want to say my heart is, and I know God looks at the heart, but I also believe that our actions match our heart.  So really, how do we determine what is right and what is wrong?  How do we determine what is too much stuff or what is ok to have?  Where do we start drawing the line between building up what we have here and giving away so that we might reach more?  Where do you stand?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What is this all about?

As we begin our life we understand we have a lot to learn.  However, as anyone who has ever spent time with any kid over the age of 2 would know we quickly begin to believe we know everything.  This thought typically sticks with us typically till we are in our 20s when we begin to realize that we really don't understand half the stuff we thought we did.  The last few years have really been an eye opening experience for me with getting married, having two kids, and learning to live life when you don't really have any authority figure over you other than God.  Life is full of options, challenges, paths, and opportunities you can choose and ultimately there is no one there to tell you what is the best way to go.  Our views are always limited by what we think we know, what we have been told, and what we believe.  My hope is that through this journey of blogging I might finally get into words not only what I believe, but how my views are continually changing as a learn more what it looks like to follow Christ and lead others along the way.