Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Even authors the likes of Richard Dawkins try to put God in a box so they can easily dispose of him. I am halfway through his book right now, and will give you a report when I'm done. But God will not fit into our boxes....
I have to constantly remember who is the creator and who is the creation. I forget, and find myself trying to get God into my box...trying to get him to do things my way, but he simply refuses....and then I remember, "Oh yeah, HE'S God, I'm not." And I find I have wasted another fine box trying to make God fit MY life, MY wishes, MY wants, MY way.
In my life I have to constantly be reading in the gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, to keep my vision clear regarding my boxes. Jesus was always frustrating the people of the first century because he refused to fit in their religious boxes, their social boxes, their political boxes...and he does that with us too. He forces us into a relationship, not a religion.
Relationships are never packaged....they are always messy. One day Jesus heals by putting mud on a man's eyes, another time he simply speaks to the man, and yet another time he heals in a completely different way. How can we get the right box when he never gives us the magic formula? He does that in our lives too. For me it's been over 40 years of trying to get just the right box for God to fit in only to see him smile, walk right past my box and deal with ME. I guess I should know better by now, but I think I still do it....I still try to put God in a box, but God just smiles.....
He loves me too much to ever let me put him in a box.
1 Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
I love this Psalm. It's an invitation to praise and worship God. Verse 3 is the one that always catches my attention- "from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." In other words, praise the Lord all day long. I forget to do that. I get busy. I have "stuff to do" and I forget to simply praise him. I wish it weren't so, but it is for me...I get too busy serving him to do the most important thing in the world- Praise the God who made me! I thought, this morning, I would just take a moment and say, "I praise you, Lord, for you are most wonderful, most awesome. There is no God but you. I praise you for who you are and what you have done. Thank you for you mercy, your grace, your love and care. Thank you for being the Lord who sits on your throne, sovereign over all. I am so grateful to be one of your children."
Although the sun has not risen yet I wanted to start my day the right way. So, let me encourage you to take a moment and meditate on this Psalm....what is your response to it in your life?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
10 Things You Never Hear in Church-
1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew!
2. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.
3. Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.
4. I've decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.
5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Junior High Sunday School class.
6. Forget the denominational minimum salary. Let's pay our pastor so he can live like we do.
7. I love it when we sing hymns I've never heard before!
8. Since we're all here, let's start the service early.
9. Pastor, we'd like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.
10. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign!
Great list, isn't it? It would be fun to add to the list. If you were to come up with your own entries for our list what would you add? Have fun....
Monday, August 27, 2007
1Co 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.
For me, as a Christian, this is a "Wow! God is amazing!" moment. Just part of the wonderful creation he has made has over 800 billion stars in it, and the bible says God has named each one! Just to take a moment and think about the vast creation God has made leaves me amazed at how awesome God is.
I wanted to share this with you to celebrate the God who made everything and praise him for what he has done. Amazing, isn't he?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I'm having a "made of clay day." You know....those days when you realize that on our own we are just clay between coming and going. It's a mix of tired, discouragement, too much to do, too much to think about....a sense of "I really need God today." In a funny way it's a sense of worthlessness....that feeling that you make no difference in the world at all.
Those are hard days, but they are great ones too. It's that sense of melancholy that overwhelms all of us at times. It tells me I need some rest, some prayer, time in the bible, a break from the work load and some "blue sky" time.
I am so glad that God has provided all we need for living these lives. He is my source of life, the one who sustains me.....and so on days like this I'm reminded of several passages that help me make good choices. Here's where I'm focused today-
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Mat 11:30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
John 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
It completely ruined my day!
Yesterday I went over to a retirement village to visit one of our men who has just moved there. On my way to his room I noticed the cafeteria full of people....lunch time...and looked in to see Jack waiting for lunch, so I went in to visit with him. I pulled up a chair at the table and sat down to visit while they waited for lunch. Soon a sweet little waitress came by the table to take the orders for lunch. She went around the table, asking each one what they wanted, and then she looked at me and asked, "And sir, what would you like for lunch?" I was shocked! I'm not old enough to be here! How could she think I "fit in" at a retirement village??!! I was speechless for a moment, then smiled and said, "nothing for me, thank you."
But it ruined my day!
I'm not that old, am I?
Then I realized....yes, I am almost old enough to be here. It made me quite aware of how short life really is. It seemed like only yesterday when I was in college, newly married, starting ministry, being a dad......and now it's all passed by so quickly. In less than 30 years, if the Lord doesn't return, I'll be gone...how quickly life passes.
I really never expected to get "old"....you know....like other people. We never think it will happen to us, but it does and soon life is over. So, I thought of this verse as I realized how quickly all of this ends....it just seems to go too fast. In fact, I have thought about getting t-shirts made with this verse as the theme. The shirt would have a big "V" on the front, you know- like superman's "S"? And on the pocket it would say, "Vapor-man" with this verse below it. I guess it's time to get the t-shirt, and head back to the retirement village for another reality check.
Jas 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Pro 3:5 Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Pro 3:6 Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.
Friday, August 17, 2007
So here's her note-
"Reading the Blog of one of my favorite pastors has caused me to look at signs in a whole new way lately. (I hope she's talking about me! -Mike)
I saw this sign this morning (on my way to Lowe’s to get new faucets that we had already ordered on-line but they didn’t come in) and had to smile. I always start my day with MY agenda in mind, and MY perfect plan for checking everything off the list. After all, that’s how we measure productivity and fruitfulness, right? Pleeease, I’m really not in the mood to stop for anything that gets in the way!
However, after almost 51 years, I think (hope) it is becoming clear that stopping generally affects me in a positive, albeit sometimes frustrating or even painful way. There have been some stops in my life I haven’t figured out yet, but more often than not I’m able to see pretty quickly an agenda that was way better than mine.
Just thought I’d share that with a few of you who are dear to me. "
Thursday, August 16, 2007
1Ch 29:10 So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, "Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever.
1Ch 29:11 "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.
1Ch 29:12 "Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.
1Ch 29:13 "Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.
As I read it I thought, "hey, these are the same words that are written in Rev. 5:13!" So I began to think.....did God take David's praise and make it our praise in heaven? And that brought another question to my mind....will some of our worship songs be songs we will sing in heaven too?
So let me ask, if we could vote on which praise and worship songs we will sing in heaven which song would you pick? This should be fun, I look forward to your choices, and from that we will build a "top 10" list of worship songs for heaven.....ok?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Today my wife Joye said, "Listen to this," and she read 2 Cor. 12:9-10 to me. SO I think....is the Lord trying to get my attention? And the obvious answer is always "YES."
So here are the verses that I'm being pointed toward....then let's talk about them:
2Co 12:9 and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.
2Co 12:10 Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size--abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
It seems that there is a wonderful reality in the Christian life- I am weak, but HE is strong. (Someone should write a song about that!) What's clearer to me as I grow in my relationship with the Lord is that my weakness and my awareness of it is vital....it makes me trust him to be what I am not. The world around me sees weakness as a bad thing, because without strength there is no backup plan for the world. But for the Christian weakness is a great thing, because behind us is Christ....willing to be and do all that we cannot. When I am weak then he is strong...what a concept! It's almost against our very natures to celebrate weakness, but that's the invitation from God. Celebrate your weakness and bring it to Christ so he can be strong in us.
In 1 Cor. 1 Paul writes about this in a different way, but it's the same theme....it's just that here he tells us why weakness is such a great thing:
1Co 1:26 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.
1Co 1:27 Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses,
1Co 1:28 chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"?
1Co 1:29 That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.
1Co 1:30 Everything that we have--right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start--comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:31 That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."
Weakness....a thing to celebrate? Yes! That's when we have to trust the Lord to be all that we can't....all that we aren't....so that all the glory will go to him. So, if the goal is that Christ be glorified then I'm thrilled to have plenty of weaknesses so he can show himself strong in and through me.
I'm all yours, Lord. Make yourself look good through me.....
It's late Sunday night, I spoke three times today, and I'm tired! I hope I communicated truth in a way that was easy to understand, encouraging and fun too. People are coming to hear from God, and I really pray that they did....but God had to use a broken vessel like me to do it. I enjoyed the day, and will trust God for the results.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
1Ch 24:7 Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah,
1Ch 24:8 the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim,
1Ch 24:9 the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin,
1Ch 24:10 the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah,
1Ch 24:11 the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah,
1Ch 24:12 the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim,
1Ch 24:13 the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab,
1Ch 24:14 the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer,
1Ch 24:15 the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez,
1Ch 24:16 the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel,
1Ch 24:17 the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul,
1Ch 24:18 the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah.
1Ch 24:19 These were their offices for their ministry when they came in to the house of the LORD according to the ordinance given to them through Aaron their father, just as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
1 Chronicles is filled with lists of names for different purposes. As I have read through these sections over the years, rather let me clarify....skimmed over these verses...I have wondered many times, why did God put this in the bible? It would have been a much smaller book without these lists, and immensly more interesting in parts....so why are they in there? Let me give a few suggetions-
1. The record is important for the Jewish nation.
2. These people are important to God.
3. It helps me to see that no work for God is forgotten. These names and people are long gone and forgotten except for God's remembering them. So my little contribution will not be forgotten either? Possibly.
4. I don't know....there's my honest answer....there are some passages of scripture that make me scratch my head...that's why I'm almost bald! I just don't know.
I carry around a book full of names of people who are only remembered here....most have been dead for several thousand years, and yet we read about them in the bible...God sure has a funny way of doing things....but I really like it.....people are important to God.....
So, next time you read one of these lists slow down a little and ask, "who were these people? will I see them in the future? they are only names in a list, but they lived....what do I do with this passage?"
The more I dwell on it the more curious I become....I look forward to putting a face to a name someday and asking them about their walk with God. Eternity should be a lot of fun!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Yesterday, in my browsing, I stumbled on an atheist blog page. It was amazingly interesting...I would have left a comment, but I already know the response I would have gotten.
What struck me is how dogmatic they are that THEY are right. I read a number of "testimonies" speaking to their "assurance" that there is no God. It was not surprising to me, but it was very clear that their "faith" is a negative thing, not a positive thing, and that was evident by the comments they made.
So I'm thinking...how do we, as a race, find truth? Where is it? Obviously there are a thousand answers in our world today, many claiming to "have it", others saying "it" cannot be known. For me this is an easy thing, being a man of faith it's simply a matter of where I place my faith. What can I believe that is true truth (as Francis Schaeffer described it).
We live in a culture that believes truth is personal and pliable..."your truth" is a phrase I have heard numerous times. But is it possible that truth can be different for different people? This could be a long discussion, but since I'm just thinking here let me say that I don't believe that's possible. Truth, by its very definition, is singular and possible to know. So....where do we find it? For me I find it in the bible....yes, shock and horror....I believe it is the one truth book that provides truth for the human race that is not available in nature. Yes, I believe the bible is true!
Ridicule if you must, but for me I believe it is God's revelation to man....it reveals God, our problem-sin, God's solution-his Son, our response-faith in him.
It is the difference between hope and despair. I hope in the living God who has revealed himself to mankind. The atheist lives with a subtle despair....how does he know for sure that there is no God? What if he's wrong? I know that this train of thought will not satisfy a sceptic, I am not trying to do that. I'm just thinking....I am so grateful that God has searched me out, revealed himself to me, saved me, and given me his book, and a hope for the future...
I pray for my sceptic friends that they will find Christ....a hope...a faith in the living God who can be known.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
"God's more concerned about who you are than what you do."
It's a vital concept to me. It's one that helps me focus....to BE the right kind of person is more important to God than what I DO.....because if I'M right with God, then I will DO the right thing.
Monday, August 06, 2007
"Heaven is rejoicing as Dad is welcomed home" That was the heading on the news sent round to the other Torchbearer centres by Chris Thomas just yesterday..."At 1:40 today (Wednesday) Dad, whom many affectionately referred to as "The Major," "Ian" or "big brother" went to be with the One whom he loved, served and about whom he couldn't stop talking. That was true until the end!" It is with sadness that this announcement comes but also with a tremendous sense of thanksgiving and joy as Capernwray and Torchbearers International reflect upon the remarkable journey he had upon earth.
So many are eternally grateful for the message of life in Christ that he so clearly and powerfully proclaimed and no doubt there will be those reading this who will recall a moment, a turn of phrase and a Scripture explained that sparked life into the soul, none more so than "Christ in you, your only hope of glory." As far as living the Christian life is concerned he always maintained it was impossible. He would never let us forget, "Only Christ can do that," and often said "He never said we could--He always said He would".
For me, this is like losing an old friend. I didn't have an intimate relationship with Major Thomas, but he was a big influence in my Christian life. I met him the first time at university in 1970. It was a life-changing experience for me. I was among the few students that got to have dinner with Major. I will never forget watching this old saint, feeble even in the early 70's, getting up from dinner to get the ice tea pitcher and serve US! That little act of service has permanently been burned into my life as I remember him serving us....we should have served him!
I met him again, several times over the years, but it was that first meeting in 1970 that challenged my faith, and gave me a clear picture of how to live the Christian life. If you have never read Major Thomas' writings you are missing a major influence in your walk with God. (The play on words was unintentional.)
In fact, his influence on me has affected my family as well....we named our firstborn son after the Major. We named him Ian.
Thank you, Major, for your influence on my life. Although your work is done it's still bearing fruit. Thank you for FINISHING WELL!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Here's some food for thought: I've always dreamed of being a missionary in a foreign land, but right now my life doesn't allow me to have such an adventure.
But...tonight I am working with a nurse from India, a nurse from Nigeria, and one from the Philippines. In our unit there are 3 hispanic families that speak little or no english, and a family that has just arrived from China. God has brought the world to me...and to all of us! How cool is that?!!
Hope you're having a great day!
Friday, August 03, 2007
Mat 6:31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'
Mat 6:32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Mat 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psa 37:25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Ezek. 12:2 "Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house."