Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
My friend, Colleen, wrote this after a day of record snow fall. It's so good I asked her if I could share it with you and she graciously agreed. Here is her post called "Broom to bloom"-
"I have just come inside from being outside in my yard armed with a big broom. I have been gently beating some of my trees in hopes of getting the excessive amounts of snow off of them. Some of these trees are touching the ground, they are so weighed down. I could not believe how heavy they were because I was outside twice yesterday with my broom doing the same thing. It is amazing how they spring back, albeit with a perceptible groan, as the heavy snow is removed from the branches.
It is funny that when I am out there, I am emotional as I begin tapping and whacking them with my broom. I cannot bear the thought of them snapping under the weight. If I can help and relieve them of the weight I know it will help and perhaps save that tree or at least that branch. Already, some large limbs have snapped and lie on the ground, casualties of their snow burden. I know there is more going on inside of me as I do what I can to help these trees. The Lord is impressing upon my heart that these trees that are bent over with the heavy snow are like some of His children weighed down and bent over with burdens or overwhelming cares. Matthew 11:28 says that we are to come to Him if we are weary and burdened and He will give us rest. But how does He gives us rest? Perhaps He sends the wind of His Spirit and blows into our lives so that the burdens are blown off. But what was impressed upon my heart is that He often shows others the burdens and weights being carried. He wants us to be His ministers of comfort and love to do what we can to help lighten those burdens. As I am writing this, I have a side ache from swinging around that broom. I also got soaked, covered when the snow dropped out of the tree. Sharing burdens means that we sometimes have to be willing to get a little wet and fatigued in our efforts to help.
My scripture reading this morning was in 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 "He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others." A couple paragraphs later, Paul writes something that astonishes me..."I think you ought to know, dear friends, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. in fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And He did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that He will continue to deliver us. He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because many people's prayers for our safety have been answered." (2 Cor. 1:8-11)
Never under-estimate the power your prayers are having in the lives of His children. He will show you where "help" is needed. We need to be watching and then willing to get involved through committed prayer and perhaps some other demonstration of encouragement, comfort and love.. And then as Paul stated, there can be much rejoicing and giving of thanks to God as we see Him move, lifting and removing heavy burdens in order for restoration to begin!"
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
When I watch those around me choose badly or simply endure their days in anger and resentment I know that the trials we each endure are provided as blessings from God and will make us better, trusting him through the days or they will make us bitter resenting God for not making our lives "perfect," whatever that means. I would like to fix the problems for my friend in Africa, but if I had the money to help him then I have stolen from God the tools he intends to use to help my friend grow in his faith. My compassion wants to stop his pain without removing to source of the pain. God is working on much more, so I pray for my friend in Africa and for others I watch as they bitterly endure instead of joyfully trust.
The important things? I gave the short list to my friend. The important things are faith in God, love for family, and then the community around us. It all involves relationships. None of the important things on any honest list involves things. The only eternal things you touch each day are the people of your life. The only things that matter are the relationships with God and those around you. Everything else is just the stage for our relationships. The things of life are props for the play to unfold, but the important things are the lives around us....eternal beings swimming in a pool of temporary worries. I so wish we could clearly see things from God's perspective. It would change forever how we look at the tests and trials of our days.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
"Addressing thousands of fellow church planters and pastors at Verge: Missional Community Conference, Jeff Vanderstelt lamented how many churches are serving "almost like containers" and holding people in rather than sending them out to spread the Gospel.
"It's almost as if we're extracting people from the world instead of equipping them and sending them into the world," he said Friday.
The job of pastors, teachers and apostles is to "equip the saints for works of ministry, not to do the ministry for the saints," said Vanderstelt, a pastor at Soma Communities, a multi-expression church planting church.
"If you don't structure your church in such a way that the saints are doing the ministry and you're equipping the saints for ministry, what you'll convince your people of is that they pay you to do ministry for them and they receive it all from you," he warned.
Vanderstelt emphasized to pastors that every single person in their church is a minister. They are to be considered full-time paid staff members even.
"We've got to call the church to be the church," he said.
As pastors were called to equip believers, Vanderstelt reminded them that being a missional community isn't just a two-hour event on a Tuesday night. Rather, it's "a family of believers living life together."
"The best place for equipping is in life," he stressed.
"How do you know if somebody's faithful? You have to see them live it out," the Tacoma, Wash., church planter pointed out. "The only way to disciple is life on life in the midst of everyday life."
"Let's not put on a bunch of events or programs that extract people from life but rather, let's equip people to live normal ordinary life with significant Gospel intentionality," he said. "It's a very different way to do church as far as I'm concerned because it says 'now your life counts.' Instead of us pulling you out of your life we're just equipping you for life with one another."
But it doesn't end there. Otherwise, Christians will only learn how to live life with a bunch of Christians, Vanderstelt noted.
Believers must also be called to do mission together and have a people group that "they're devoting their lives to and radically reorienting their lives around so they can disciple people into Christ."
(Message given at Missional Community Conference at Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, Texas, Feb. 4-6. Read entire article here- Christian Post.)
Friday, February 05, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
There are results from the words we say. The results are not always in the responses we get, but are also the impact those words have on us, on our bodies, our mind and heart.
The words we say impact US. Here's a passage in Psalms that has fascinated me for a long time. Watch how the author describes the results of words in this person's life,
Psalm 109:18 He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.
The words we say impact not just the one spoken to, but they impact us as well. They change us, they mold us. Those words we use to hurt someone else actually hurt US. They enter US and transform us. The words we use go from a garment we wear to part of us and ultimately transform us into an angry and bitter person. Our words affect us.
In the same way kind words accomplish the same things. When you meet a kind person it's an intentional choice on their part to BE kind and to speak kind words. From those words, that garment they wear, they begin to change...they begin to become kind to their very bones. Their kindness becomes part of who they are. The choice is intentional, but the results are inevitable. Your words do two things- they affect other people and they change YOU.
Decide now what kind of person you want to be and choose to use those kind of words. It makes a difference because the words you use mold you into the person you will be. The cost of cursing is high. It doesn't just hurt someone else, it hurts you as well. The cost of blessing is equally high, but much more rewarding. Often it's hard to bless, to encourage, to say words that build up, but when you do those words mold you and become part of who you are.
Don't ever believe that your words only go out and touch others....they change you too. Decide now what kind of person you want to be in the years ahead and use words that communicate that because your words affect you most of all.