Browsing "Uncategorized"
Aug 2, 2016 - Uncategorized    No Comments

It’s not about ME!

imgresIt’s the same story.  They are a dime a dozen.  Everywhere you look people aren’t satisfied with their churches and they are looking for that one perfect church.  Church members that have filled the pews of their church for 40 years get a new pastor and bam…they are jumping ship.  “He’s not a great speaker!”,   “They don’t sing enough hymns”,  “They did away with Sunday School”,  “No one dresses up here anymore” , “They are getting rid of the organ from 1912″, and the excuses go on as if the waiter did not bring the right meal.

If it’s too personal I apologize.  I am not thinking of a specific church.  These are the excuses I have heard from people leaving their churches over the years. I have to say it’s a shame!

There is a common thread that runs through each heart of those who have spoken or who are currently speaking these phrases.  The common thread……”ME!”  These complaints aren’t rooted in the centrality of the gospel.  They are rooted in me & my preferences.  I prefer Sunday School, or I prefer hymns, or I like dressing up, or I love that organ.  When has church ever become about me and what I want?

So what do we do?  What do we need? Is there a cure?  Well, actually there is but sadly enough people won’t take me up on this prescription for healthy church relationships.  Why? Because it is the hardest thing to do in the world although we are told to do it daily.

Paul says it this way;

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

“20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ”

Maybe that’s how Paul lived but Jesus never said I was to deny my desires, opinions, and preferences…or did He? Decide for yourself.

Luke 9:23 (ESV)
23 And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Ok I guess He did.  He said if I am going to be following Him I must deny myself.  That is not just bad sins my friend.  That is giving preference for others as well.  It’s realizing that methods change through the years.  Culture changes. Things change.  One thing that should not change is the fact that we are called to deny ourselves.

One of the biggest sins in the church (which I will blog about soon) is the fact that confession has been tossed out as just a personal thing and pride keeps the body of Christ at arms length from one another.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that we are so self consumed when that’s they way the world is.  In my mind and in my own expectations the church is the one safe place where it is okay to be different from the world.  In the workplace or anywhere else you look it’s always about me, me, me, and what I can get.  But the church?  Come on people! It ought not to look like that!

It’s time for us to lead the charge and be about others.  Read what Paul says in Phil. 2

Philippians 2:3 (ESV) 

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

As you go throughout your day today make it your goal to be about others.  Jesus served others and when we are more like Jesus we also will be serving others and loving others rather than ourselves.  Just some food for thought today! ~

Nov 30, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Whiter Than Snow

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I love snow! I always have.  The scenery is like a painting that comes to life.  Where dirt, fields, city streets and neighborhoods take on a magical scenery right out of a Christmas commercial.  It’s magical. I know not all of us get that sentimental about the first snow fall but that’s how I get with every first snowfall of the winter season.

In Minnesota today is that day.  It’s supposed to be our first substantial snow fall and I have to say I am excited for the change of seasons and scenery.  Some of the lakes are already frozen and soon the lakes will look like small cities have taken up residence on the newly formed ice.

Did you know that here is a spiritual parallel with snow. In Isaiah 1:18  it says this: ‘ “Come now, let us settle the matter” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” ‘.

How cool is it that God uses snow as an illustration?  Even better is the fact that God takes the muck, the dirt, the shameful, despicable, embarrassing, sinful acts of our past (whether yesterday past, or twenty years past) and He forgives us.  He makes our hearts as white and pure as the fresh snow falling.

I John 1:9 is the snowfall that takes place after salvation.  Just because we are saved does not mean we stop sinning.  That would be awesome but it simply isn’t the case.  When our lives get dirty with the sins of our hearts a clean slate is as close as a prayer of confession.  God promises that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” .  Boom another blizzard of the heart has happened and your heart is a pretty as that painting coming to life.

Maybe you are reading this today and you are struggling to get beyond sins from the past.  Maybe you just need to spend time in confession with your Heavenly Father. Regardless of your situation God’s Word remains true and you can stand forgiven, pure, Holy and white as the whitest snow.  God loves you and wants you to no longer remain in chains thinking that forgiveness is out of reach for you.  Be free!!!! Let it snow!!!

Jul 25, 2012 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

Confession

 

As you can tell I have not blogged any entries since I started coming off my anxiety medication.  Well, about three weeks into coming off the medications my family and I knew that I am someone that really needs to be on them for the sake of those people I love.  For some reason I was embarrassed that I had to go back on them as if something was wrong with me mentally.  Yeah, yeah I know, we all know that already.

So I went back on the meds and after about a month on the meds I am doing great.  I still have my anxious bent and quarks but over all I am doing good.  I am walking each moment in trust in my sovereign God.

May 3, 2012 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Spiritual Check Up

 

Because going to the dentist is not my favorite thing to do and honestly I can’t afford it, I hardly ever go.  Years ago I was told that I was on the verge of having cavities and I never had them looked at again.  Today I finally visited the dentist to get some work done. By the end of the visit I was humbled by the fact that I actually need quite a bit of work done.  Now I am left wondering how I can get everything fixed on our budget. Had I simply gotten those things taken care of when they were first identified years ago I would not be in this position.

I think the Christian life is a lot like that.  At times in our lives a flaw or sin is brought to our attention. Sometimes by a message, sometimes by a friend, sometimes it may even be a spouse or family member.  Regardless of how our sin becomes exposed there is something very important that must happen.  It must be confessed and addressed.  If it is not taken care of it will begin to decay our lives and the problem grows and grows until serious and painful procedures need to take place in order to clean it up.  If only we would take care of business as it is presented to us.

I think of the Psalmist David when he prayed “Search me oh God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24-25 ESV

In a sense he is getting a spiritual dental check-up.  He is asking God to examine his heart and his life.  We too must ask him to reveal any grievous parts of our hearts and lives.  God wants us to deal with sin when it arises.  If we don’t…you will have to pay. You will experience more pain, more discomfort, and more anxiety.  Even then, you can turn things around.  But it is much, much easier if you take care of it early on.

For me…I still have to get some work done, physically & spiritually.  How about you?

Nov 9, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Book Plug

Normally I don’t plug a lot of books but I have been reading the book Walking With God by John Eldredge.  I have to admit that I although I love reading I tend to read buffet style. I go through and pick all the books I want, I read part of it and then want to try a book of another flavor.  I don’t always eat all of the food on my tray.

I picked the book up about a year ago and started it.  It had a good taste to it but really wasn’t what I was craving.  I put it aside.  Last night I picked it up again and instead of being stale after sitting out so long, it was delicious. I read a huge chunk of it before heading to bed.

In the book John talks about how God wants to be so involved with our every day lives.  Every choice we make, every act we do, every place we go.  He literally asks “Lord do you want me to go fishing today?”  And he believes God answers him.  He goes further with this method for reading scripture daily.  I have always been of the school of thought that says you read methodically and you get a plan and God will speak through your Bible reading plan. But, for the sake of trying it, I gave it a try last night and again this morning.

Here’s what it looked like for me this morning.  I began to journal.  I asked God “What do you want to say to me at this moment?”  I even wrote it in my journal as I asked Him.  The response I heard was “Trust me”.  You see, I my anxiety attacks have been pretty hard lately.  So I thought in my head “well of course that’s what you want to say to me” so I must be saying it myself.  Then I asked “Lord, what do you want me to read this morning? What do you want to say to me?”  I honestly heard the thought in my head respond “Mark 4”

So I opened up my Bible and began to read in Mark 4.  This is what I read

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Are you kidding me?  I asked God what He wanted to say to me and I heard “Trust me.”, then I asked where He wanted me to read and I hear “Mark 4”.  And the passage I read was exactly what I needed and it was all about trusting Him.  Here are some things I took from the passage.

God is Beside us!  God always goes with us. “Let us cross over to the other side”.  Everywhere we go Jesus goes with us.  That gives us the confidence and security we should have.  Jesus never asks us to go anywhere alone.

God goes Before us! In the NLT verse 36 says that  “He was already in the boat…”  Another reminder that Jesus not only is beside us but he goes before us.  There is nothing that Jesus and I will ever experience that He has not already spoken peace into.  There is no storm that I will ever go through that He has not already spoken peace to.

 

I have always known God longs to converse with me but never did I take it literal.  And now…everything is different.

Aug 31, 2011 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Technology…is it worth it? Part 1

Now I know that the title of this blog is pretty much an oxymoron of my ministry and job title but I want to pose this question if I may.  Does the energy, time, and money we put into technology for audiences net the outcome we desire more than a ministry without technology expertise?

Here is what began my thought process.  A few weeks ago my 6 year old was invited to attend a VBS (Vacation Bible School) by our neighbors who attend a small baptist church out in the country here in Iowa.  I was interested in seeing how it was run so I snuck in the back and door and sat in the very last pew.

I watched almost as if I had gone back in time fifteen years.  On the stage was a lady running the over-head projector, sliding it up smoothly so that the children could follow the words.  On the left hand side of the stage was a black puppet stage, you know the kind made of plastic tubing and black cloth.  The songs were accompanied by an organ and/or piano.  The songs were not songs I have heard in years.  But something weird happened.  The kids sang loudly even though there were no lights and no hazers.  There weren’t any cool electric guitars or drums either.  Can you imagine?  I was unaware worship songs could even be sung & played with only an organ.  At one point another lady played along on an accordion….the kids absolutely loved it.

During the puppet show there were all kinds of awkward pauses as the puppeteers passed a microphone back and forth.  The puppet show did have canned music but it was so soft you could hardly hear it.  Yet…somehow in spite of it, it worked.  Puppets….who would have known?  I thought they went out with disco and bell bottom pants.

After VBS ended my son who has been in some of the most technologically savvy  churches in his short six years on the planet and do you know what he had the nerve to ask me?  He said “Daddy, can we go to ______baptist church from now on?? I like it better than our church.”  But, but we have lights!! And, we have a full band for our kids!  We have cool drums and electric guitars and we hardly ever have awkwardness!   Speaking of awkwardness…”No son, we cannot go to that church…daddy is on staff at Sunnybrook and we love it!”

His response: “Well, can mommy and me go and you just go to our church?”

NO!! You are grounded!  Ok not really but this conversation has begun several conversations in my head.  I will address them in part 2. Stay tuned.

 

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