Sunday, October 29, 2006

The adventure begins

Brandon, Jenny and their son, Deacon are on their way to Guatamala in about 36 hours. It has been an amazing adventure to watch God prepare them to be missionaries. They are heading to another country to serve God. I am proud to call them my friends, and honored to serve God with them. But more than that I'm humbled by their faith.

I have put their web page address above. I invite you to pray for them, support them, and keep in touch with them.

I can't wait to see what God does in and through their lives.

What adventure is God preparing you for?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Trusting in the right things

(a tree by Hermon Springs, Israel)

A friend of mine reminded me of a passage in Jeremiah that got me thinking. He was captivated by the contrast of the passage. Let me share the passage and let's talk about it-

Jer 17:5-8- Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

God is sure good at making things clear. He leaves us with no confusion about the lives of those who trust in him and those who don't. What a contrast! God makes it clear how these lives will turn out, doesn't he? To be a "tumbleweed" or a tree with an endless supply of water....let's see...which would be better? Wow, what a contrast. So it's obvious that who you trust in is really important. Trust in one who gives you some stability and life or trust in one who leaves you driven and tossed by every wind.

Sounds like it should be an easy choice, but I'm always surprised by my choices....I often realize that I have trusted in man in one way or another, and I am like that old tumbleweed when I do...unsure, unstable, not attached, not secure, wandering. Trusting in man is an unstable place to stand. I know better, but I do it so easily....that trusting in man thing. Trusting in man, at its best, will leave me dry, brittle, unstable, driven by every wind of emotion, lifeless, temporary.

But what a difference to trust in God...a tree by the stream...deep roots getting leaves...not worried about drought. Now that's stability, security, life. I truly want to be like that tree- stable, strong, alive, productive, enduring.

Lord, help me to trust in the right things. Help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me to trust in you alone. I want to be like that tree by the and alive even in a drought. Make me aware of when I foolishly put my trust in man, and help me quickly deal with that sin. Thanks for being my stream of living water.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I love missionaries!

It's missions week at our church. There are a number of missionaries who have come from across the globe to join us. I love missionaries! They are such strange and wonderful people. When I say strange I mean it in the best AND obvious ways- who would leave home and family to go to another country, live as a foreigner, learn a new language, suffer hardship and all that goes with being a missionary to preach the gospel? You have to be a little strange to do that, and they are. But they are so wonderful as well. Men and women, broken vessels, available for God to use them. I know one who is with us this week that has come a long way. When I first met with him he and his wife were near divorce, and now they oversee a ministry together in another country! God is amazing. It's just wonderful to see who God will use to reach the world.
He uses strange people, people who are available. Sometimes he even uses me!

Mat 9:36-38- Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He *said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today is my sweet wife's birthday! Joye is ____ years old. (I have been married long enough to know what not to say.)

If you have time in your day stop by her blog and wish her a happy birthday.
Because of a missions conference, grandbaby duty and other things going on her day is filled with doing for others, and that's a perfect description of who she is.

Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Her blog is joyeful things.

Prov. 31:10-12- A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.


Genesis 8:22- "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

Psalm 104:19- The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

What a great idea God had when he made seasons!

It's starting to cool down here in Texas, and it is a welcome season for us who have lived with the heat and the high energy bills, the non-stop air conditioning and the lack of rain for 5 months.

Cooler weather, rain, shorter days...all God's ideas.

Thanks God, what a blessing to have the change, to have cool weather, to be able to see the changes in the year- the falling leaves, the shorter days, migration of the birds, and a hundred other changes (seasons) that make this time of year so refreshing.

I even like the need to wear a jacket!

Thanks Lord for the seasons.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The God of impossible things

“When pigs fly is an informal way to joke that you will never do something. Example: "Do you think you will ever work at that company again?" Reply: "When pigs fly!"Pigs are heavy animals that stay close to the ground and do not fly, so when pigs fly is a time that will never come. Example: "Do you think your brother will be successful?" Reply: "When pigs fly he will."When pigs fly is a time that will never come because pigs will never fly. Example: "Will you ever take her on a date?" Reply: "Sure: When pigs fly!"” --

My wife and I have been talking about the way God works. It seems, at times, that he isn't working at all, and then along comes a miracle. We understand so little of what God is doing, and more importantly, how he is working in our lives. I visit with people who have been praying for a long time for a special need and nothing appears to be happening. We talked about that and the stories we know of missionaries who have given everything and still were killed for their faith. And there are a hundred other things in my head banging around, screaming for answers. I hate the fact that my vision of things is so narrow, so small. I want to understand the why, the how, the reason. I want to know what God is doing. I want all of this to make sense, and to be honest sometimes it simply doesn't. I know that God is in control, but there are days that we each wonder, "is he really?" It is a world that does not make sense- not completely, not yet. It's a world where, at the moment, things seem to be going wrong. But there is a day when “pigs will fly.” There is a day when the seemingly impossible will happen- everything will be ruled in real time by God (although he is ruling even now.) Sin will not be "in charge," but God will rule on planet earth. Evil will be dealt with, and the apparent impossible will happen- everything will be as we, in our hearts, know it should be. I think that even that sense of how it should be is put in us by God. So, I look forward to the day when the seemingly impossible will happen, and I know that day is coming soon….

Rev 21:1-7- Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Making "stuff"

Proverbs 20:12- The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made both of them.

God is so amazing! It's shown in what he has made. I easily take it for granted at times, but everything was wonderfully made by God, and he did a great job! Look at the eye, for example. It's one of God's most intricate, detailed creations. The complexity of the eye confounds evolutionists. How could something like the eye evolve? The answer is simple- it didn't. I know, I would call me simple, a religious extremist, but that doesn't deal with the miracles God has made that science cannot explain, like the eye. The whole discussion involves a lot of stuff that would frankly bore most of us, but wow......what a wonderful creation, all done by God with such great ease. Here's a funny example of how amazing God is-

Gen 1:14-19- Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

This passage is from the creation account, and in the middle of this passage is a sentence that has always made me laugh a little. In the middle of his work of creation God makes the sun and the moon, and in the passage he adds a short sentence, almost as an afterthought- "He made the stars also."

Billions and billions of stars and planets and all they get is a short sentence to describe their creation...a five word sentence to describe a creation we cannot even measure in size or number!

An afterthought to God, "oh yeah, and I made the stars too." No problem for God. That's the kind of God I want! One who almost forgets to mention something that is beyond our imagination. A big God! And he is! Psalms talks about him in this way,

Psa 100- Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The touch

I love the stories in the gospels. They give such a wonderful picture of the love of God as Jesus touches the needs of people.
One of my favorite stories in the gospels is in Mark 1. May I share it with you, and then make some observations?

Mar 1:40-45- And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He *said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.

Each time I read this story I have to stop and just pause for a takes my breath away. You see, this is an amazing story of the love of God.

The problem for us is that we miss so much because we don't know a lot about the times in which this happened. In this time in Jewish history lepers were common. The law required they live apart from those who were well, and if someone came near they were to holler, "unclean, unclean!"

For a jew to touch a leper meant they were unclean as well. It was a very isolating illness. Not only was it incurable, but you had to leave family, friends, and community and live apart, untouched. Untouched by your wife, untouched by your sweet children, untouched by anyone. It wasn't just the illness that was the was also a complete loss of human contact.

This man, in desperation, did the unthinkable- he came up to Jesus UNANNOUNCED! In Luke the story tells us that this man was covered with leprosy. He had been sick for a long time, and had been alone for years…away from anyone he loved. He broke the law, he came to Jesus unannounced and asked for a miracle.

I can just hear the disciples and the Pharisees when they realized who this was that had come in unannounced. Their voices of protest, their screams of rage, their revulsion over this breaking of the law must have caused a great commotion.
And yet this man came, and asked for a miracle, “if you want to, you can make me clean,” but the miracle he needed was more than healing from leprosy. He didn’t know that it wasn’t just a disease that had scarred him. He needed the touch of God in his life as well. He needed a human touch.
And that’s what Jesus did. He did the unthinkable. I can just hear the protests as Jesus reached out his hand and TOUCHED THE LEPER and said, “I want to!” The screams from those around must have been deafening! "Oh, no…now Jesus is unclean as well!" And yet, it was the very thing this man needed most….the touch.

Yes, he was healed. Yes, in that moment his life was changed. But something more happened- God touched the leper, while he was still in his sickness, unclean, dirty, ugly. The love of God touched the broken, lonely heart of this man and changed his life.

It’s a wonderful picture of what God did for me! While I was still a sinner (leper), Christ touched me, and he did it even while I was lost, sick, a sinner. He touched me, and forgave me, and gave me the very thing I didn’t even know I needed- His love (his touch).

It changed this man’s life. It has changed my life. This man couldn’t stop talking about it, and I know he physically touched each person he told.

God’s love has changed my life. I can’t stop talking about it either.

Do you know what he’s done for us? Do you realize that even when we were lepers he touched us? His love reached us even when we were lost and forgave us, and made us clean—inside and out.

The touch of God’s love- how amazing! That God would reach out to me, love me, forgive me, and touch me…I’m awed in that reality. I must tell someone….there are still lepers out there who need to be touched….they don’t know yet…..more later, I have to find a “leper” to touch........

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The purpose of doors

I can't help it...I have to talk about purpose. But not just any old every day purpose. I want to discuss the purpose of doors. This picture brought it to my mind, and got me thinking- what are doors supposed to do? If a door doesn't do what it was meant to do can we still call it a door? If it's not doing what it was designed to do is it fulfilling the purpose of the maker? You see where I'm going already, don't you?
Doors are designed to make it possible for us to enter/exit a building. It's the human portal. It locks out those who are not welcome, and grants entry to those who are. It protects the inhabitants, and is only able to be opened by another. The door has no ability, on it's own, to do what it was meant to do- open and close, but must accomplish it's purpose with the help of someone else.
I'm the same way. I have a purpose- to glorify God, and I can't do it without the help of God. He is the one who must empower me to do what I was designed to do, to be what I was meant to be, to function as designed.
I don't want to end up with a sign on my life- "this life does not glorify God."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Life is messy

Not everything turns out as you had hoped.
Not every dream comes true.
Not every friend stays close.
Not every prayer is answered.
Not every fear happens.
(Sounds like Ecclesiastes, doesn't it?)
I've just been thinking about people and their lives....choices. I have lived through the results of the choices of one dear friend, and just today visited another member of our church family who made some bad choices...this dear saint is in hospital because of the choices...their comment to me was, "I made a foolish choice."
We all do that....the sad fate of sinful men and women in a fallen world...we all make poor choices. I'm always in awe as I read 2 Samuel 11 as David makes a whole chapter full of bad choices, and God said nothing. He simply "stepped off the stage" and waited for David to play out the story. David took another man's wife, tried to cover up the sin, and finally had the husband killed. At the end of the chapter God says this,
"But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD."
Life is messy! For all our desire to live for God we still sin. We still make mistakes. We still choose poorly.
God is so good to us to graciously love us, care for us, and draw us to himself. It is such a blessing to already have our sins dealt with at the cross. It's such a glorious thing that God has done to forgive our every sin and take care of it all when we receive him as our savior.
The rest of my life is a growing into God dependence, allowing him to do in and through me what I cannot do on my own (note Romans 7). It's wonderful to have the sin issue taken care of, now my life is focused on the constant goal of setting myself aside for his use (sanctification), allowing him to live his life through me.
It's messy, and I don't always get it right, but it's how he chose to work, so Lord do in me what I cannot do on my own, live through me and show the world what you look like, and thank you for forgiving my sins even before I all of this your grace is our blessing, and your glory is your goal. Thanks for working in spite of the mess.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I wish....

I wish I was good with my hands....I'm not. I tried to fix a drip from the toilet in one of our bathrooms today, and now it's a waterfall. It looked easy. I even made two trips to Lowe's to get all the parts I needed (I can never get everything in one always takes two or three trips.) I replaced the parts that were leaking, and put it all back it leaks more than it did!
Now I need a plumber...he's coming on Wednesday. I wish I was good with my hands, but I'm not. My brother is a plumber, and loves it. He is doing something different every day. He gets to play in the mud (and other things), and he's his own boss. I wish he lived closer...
Ever notice that there are things you aren't good at? Somewhere in the back of my brain I wish I was good at the handy stuff, but I'm not. I try, really I do, but I just don't have that something...I wish I did.
One of my friends is a great wood carver. I love his work. He's really good. I wish I could do that. I can't.
I think I am one of those "just average" guys, and that's fine with me, but I still wish I could do some of the stuff with my hands that other guys do so well. I'll keep trying, I wish it wasn't so hard.
Here's a cute cartoon you will really enjoy- The Perfect Plumber

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Held in His hands

I love the story in Matthew 14 when Peter walked on the water. It's one of my favorite pictures of God's love and care for us. Here is the story-

"And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

What a great picture for us- Peter's desire to do the impossible was honored by the Lord, and he did, in fact, walk on water. But faith turned to fear as he looked at the wind (who can see wind anyway?) and he began to sink. Most of us would have let him get wet, serves him right for not believing! But the Lord lovingly reached out to Peter, took his hand, and kept him from sinking. What a tender love, what a gracious hand. I can see the smile on Jesus face as he says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" To help, here's how it would be written today, "Peter, didn't you know that walking on water is impossible? Why were you worried about the wind? I was holding you up."

And He is holding us up. Every moment of the day the Lord is the loving hand held out to those of us walking on water. He's our "inner tube" that keeps us from sinking. You don't really need to know how to swim or walk on water, all you have to do is trust Him. He will keep you from sinking. He will hold you up. Don't worry about the's nothing at all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Your turn....

Six word stories.

I found this idea on another blog-

"Ernest Hemingway was once prodded to compose a complete story in six words. His answer, personally felt to be his best prose ever, was

"For sale: baby shoes, never used."

Some people say it was to settle a bar bet. Others say it was a personal challenge directed at other famous authors."

If you could write your own six word story what would it be?

Here's one that I found on another site- Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Christ, Cross, Consumation.

What's yours?

Resting in Him

It has been an amazing month, and I must admit that I am tired. I have been busy, and have not been able to rest well. It makes the days long when you get up at 2:30am. Oh well, it's a season I'm sure. In times like these I linger long in the Psalms. Today I stopped and rested in Psalm 103 for a while. refreshing....I needed that- perspective! As a human in a fallen world I have a very difficult time getting that- perspective. How are things, really? Is someone in charge, really? Is all of this going to work out ok? I have other questions that spin in my little brain, but all of them have to do with ME, so what I need most is perspective, and Psalms gives me that.....and in those words I find rest, calm, fresh air, peace, hope, someone who is in charge, direction, promise, victory, a future, a reason, and refreshment. Sleep? Who needs it, I have Psalms! If you haven't roamed around in David's writings lately I want to encourage you to do so. Slow down, take a breath, read slowly, listen to the will sigh, smile, and rest. Here's a taste, enjoy:

Psa 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psa 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Amazed in HIS presence

One of the places I'm reading in the word today is Ephesians. After reading this book hundreds of times over a 40+ year period of time I still have to slow down, read it again, and sigh in amazement! I am overwhelmed by what God has, is and will do for us, in us and through us. How can we ever know all that God has planned? It's much more than we could ever imagine...his desire to work in our lives. I don't know what God has planned in my life, but I can't wait to see it. His desire to work in my life and be glorified through me gives me great hope and promise. Here are the verses that I had to stop and read in awe one more time:

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
Eph 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

WOW! I may have great aspirations, big goals, lofty desires, but they all pale in light of what God wants to do in my life.

Well, Lord, I don't know what you have planned for the years I have left, but go for it! I'm with you! Since I can't even ask big enough things in light of what you want to do....let's do what you have planned. I'm in...all the way...let's go!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

God is good!

Our daughter's middle child is 4 today. She's is such a neat kid. A real "out there" kind of girl. As my wife tells it she is our poet, dreamer, singer. She's in a different world most of the time. On her own planet, you may join her if you wish, but her orbit doesn't willingly intersect ours. I am always amazed to see the personalities that God gives our children. They come equipped with them and our joy is getting to know who they are.
I have been blessed to see my grandchildren and get to know them. God is good to work in our lives as he does. Two generations out no one will know who we were, but there are a few years in which we can influence a generation or two. In these times I want to be one who draws men and women, boys and girls into the kingdom of God. I want to make an eternal difference. I'm blessed to know that I can.
Sweet granddaughter, happy birthday!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A rest day

My fellow pastor, Brent, blogged this morning that he was taking a much needed day of rest. I loved his choices for the day. I think I will do the same, except for the football thing...not a big football fan, sorry. Maybe, for me, a little yard work, some time to wander down a quiet path in my mind and not think of anything for a while, a nice lunch at TGI Fridays, dinner with our grand-daughters (oh, and their parents too), and some reading. I, like Brent, have been so busy I really have to "plan" rest, I've almost forgotten how to do it...but I think I can figure it out. Hope you get some time to wander down quiet paths today as well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blessed by God

I must tell you that I am blessed. It's not what you may's much better than anything you could imagine...I must share it with you. I got an e-mail this week from a member of our church family. I am so blessed by the message I just had to share it with you:

My daughter (Jenna - age 8) and I are committed to praying for you each night this week as you prepare for your sermon; that you be lifted up by God, that you are not nervous (Jenna prays this) and to communicate God's word effectively. God bless you and we know you will do well.

Isn't that wonderful? I am so blessed...Jenna is praying for me! I smile even as I write that.

Lord, thank you for Jenna's prayers. Do answer them so she can see how wonderful you are.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hiding in plain sight

Psa 11:1 In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain;
Psa 11:2 For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
Psa 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?"
Psa 11:4 The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD'S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
Psa 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Psa 11:6 Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.
Psa 11:7 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.

I have felt like David. I have wanted to run to the mountains. Run away and hide. When things get hard I look for a place to hide. A place to be safe. A place to run to. A place away from the problems of life.

I love this chapter because David felt the same way I do at times. He was being chased, hated, hassled and hunted. If anyone had the right to these words it's David. And yet he chose to hide in plain sight.

He says in verse 1, "In the LORD I take refuge." In the midst of a desire to flee from the problems of life he hid in plain sight, he hid in the Lord. In the midst of the storm David was in the Lord, in the perfect refuge...hiding in plain sight.

I am so grateful that David made such a wonderful discovery for us...we don't need to run away to hide. We can hide in plain sight. We can hide in the Lord.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The church

I love the church! Not the building, mind you, but the people. The people of God are amazing! The people of God are the living church of God, the building is just where we get together, and I am so blessed to be part of this church family. I have never seen a body of believers like this in my entire ministry!

We, as a church family, have just been through one of the most difficult times any church can navigate and very few of our people have fled. They are the church, and instead of fleeing they are coming in closer together! They are praying together, meeting to fellowship and care for each other, calling one another, and a hundred other things I don’t even know about.

I have seen and heard of dozens of little miracles among our family in these last few weeks. God is working. God is still sovereign. As Pete Briscoe said yesterday to our church family, “God is still the head of the church.”

This church family has come to us, as a staff, with tears, smiles and hugs. I cannot tell you how blessed we are! I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next.

The devil gave it his best shot, and as one of our elders said, “He doesn’t know that he has stirred up a hornet’s nest.”

Lord, thank you for this church family. Thank you for all that you have done through this difficult time. You are amazing! I can’t wait to see what you are going to do next!

(Ok, why the picture? I like it….no other reason.)

Mission Impossible?

Most people I meet are focused on one thing- themselves. Now, that's not meant to be critical, it's just a reality of our fallen human condition. I too have ME as the focus of my life. I think it's "normal." But I don't think it's what God had in mind. In fact when I read Paul's letters he is constantly encouraging the church to be others focused. It's how we show the world that we are different- we live an impossible life, dependent on Christ to live his life through us and living that life for those around us. To be "others-focused" is impossible for us as humans apart from the power of God in us. It is mission impossible apart from Christ in me. He calls me to live my life outward, for others. Like everyone else on planet earth I care most about ME. So for anyone to do this means we must have help from outside, and we do! God has provided his spirit to live in us and live through us to accomplish what is totally unnatural to us. It's almost strange to watch as God works in my life doing what "doesn't come naturally" to me: caring for others first. It's a God thing, as we say around here. It's God, living through me to demonstrate his original intention for me. And here it is:

Joh 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Joh 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."