Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kenya mission trip blog site up and running!

We have just set up a new blog page for our Africa trip.  We will be leaving in just two weeks, so stop by our blog, Crossroads to Africa '09, often and read our journals, see the photos and videos as we are able to post them.  These two trips will be a great part of the Crossroads ministry to pastors and their wives in Kenya.
I would also ask you to pray for our trips to Haiti and Mississippi which will be traveling at the same time.
We have a lot going on this summer and your prayers for us are much needed.  Thank you all for your support and love to make these trips possible.  

Friday, May 29, 2009

This was supposed to be fun!

It's funny how something that was supposed to be fun can quickly turn into a horrible nightmare! The events of life often turn out that way, but there are people on the same ride having a great time. For them it's wonderful fun. They have been on this ride before and know it will turn out ok, but if it's your first time it's horrible!
I'm seeing this in the body of Christ as people I know and care about find themselves on their first ride of complete dependence on God. They have never had to trust God in this way before. Always, before this ride, they have had a job, savings, income, and all they needed. Suddenly they find themselves on a ride that creates sheer terror! But if they could look back and see others having great fun on this same ride they might ask, "what do they know that I don't?"
They have been on this ride before. What they know is that God will take care of them, so they are just enjoying the ride. It's great fun when God's in charge. If you find yourself on this ride for the first time I encourage you to read this most amazing passage,
Mat 6:25 "If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.
Mat 6:26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Mat 6:27 "Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?
Mat 6:28 All this time and money wasted on fashion--do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop,
Mat 6:29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
Mat 6:30 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers--most of which are never even seen--don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
Mat 6:31 What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving.
Mat 6:32 People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.
Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Mat 6:34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Glimpse of things to come?

Here's an interesting story I know many of you have already read. Sounds like China or Russia. What happened to our liberty? Where did freedom go in America? We are in for some interesting days ahead....
Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
Thursday , May 28, 2009
Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study — unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.
"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.
"We told them this is not really a religious assembly — this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.
A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.
But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.
For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.
"The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple Bible study in their own home."
"The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it settled for the future."
I just thought you should know.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just thinking....again

I don't write these "Just thinking" posts's because thinking is a real challenge for me. I find that, most of the time, I'm dipping from a very shallow pond. I have a fellow pastor who is a chronic thinker and has a lot to say, but I find that most of the time, when I try to think of something to talk about, my little brain is quite empty...quite shallow.
My thoughts fly to people, needs, hurts and how can I help. Ideas are not as warm and fuzzy to me so I don't spend as much time romancing them, but today I'm thinking...
-I find myself doing a LOT of marriage counseling. It's very concerning to me. It seems the strains of the culture and our days is tearing at the homes in our church family. It makes me want to work on my marriage even more. If other marriages struggle I have to spend extra time guarding mine.
-I had some great time of prayer this morning. It was a strange time, but I got to spend it talking to God. I want a closer walk with God. I'm still leaning into my walk with God and working on that relationship. I find that the closer I get the more I want. I pray that will continue.
-It's been a strange week, I've had calls from some of our missionaries in different parts of the world this week. I love talking to them, they bless my life so richly, and I wish I could visit each one of them on location to encourage and pray for them. Missionaries are a most special group of people to me. I think they are amazing.
-Last night a rain storm came through. When I saw the clouds building I got on the motorcycle and rode right into it. It was great!
-Our sweet daughter has been on a mini-vacation to get some time to find herself again, 4 kids will make that necessary, but I really miss her and can't wait for her to return.
-I'm preaching this Sunday to finish the David series. I can't wait to talk about "Lessons from a Transparent Life". Now all I have to do is put the sermon and the notes together.
-Two weeks and we are off to Kenya to teach. A lot of teaching! I have a number of messages to put together and I haven't done them yet. I NEED to get busy. I would appreciate your prayers.
-Ok, the pond is dry, back to work. Dinner with friends tonight. A bunch of counseling tomorrow. Sermon prep. Life is great!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

And for a little fun...

Nothing like a cool beverage on a hot Texas day. Here's a new drink I don't think I'll try, but if you do let me know how it tastes. Who invents these things? They are either bored and testing how gullible we are or there really is a market for these strange brews. Drink up and have a great memorial day!

Monday's cartoon

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Strange stories from a pastor

I had a busy day today! Early morning counseling, a funeral after lunch and then rushing to a wedding late in the day. I am tired, but it was a good day. What I want to share with you is something said at the funeral. Funerals provide really funny stories at times because in the midst of our sorrow and grief we sometimes speak without thinking. One of the speakers this afternoon shared a few thoughts on the life of the one who died and in his statements he said, "I know we all admire her early indiscretions...." I was listening before this statement, but when he said this I perked up. What was he talking about? I'm sure I can honestly say that what I heard is not what he meant to say, but say it he did. I didn't follow up on this, these kind of mistakes are best left alone, but it's forever burned into my brain now, and I wonder....what did he really mean. My sermon that followed was a little harder because I was thinking about this strange statement made about the life of the one we were there to remember.. It's fortunate that most people don't listen to what's said at funerals so I'm sure this wasn't even heard by most, but it sure caught my ear. It's just another strange story from a pastor.
(Photo added for expression purposes only. I loved the photo and it fit. It's not connected to the story at all, just cute.)

Good news, bad news

Good news- I drank all the milk. Bad news- I'm stuck!
We live with the constant tension of this good news/bad news dilemma. When something good happens we wait for "the other shoe to drop" other words there must be bad news to come. Is this mindset just part of living in a fallen world? Is this the way things really work? Or is this just our perception of the world around us?
I think part of it is true- living in a fallen world makes us anticipate something bad right after something good because "that's just the way it works." I'm rambling a little bit here as I write because I find that I'm struggling for words to express what I'm thinking. Here's the idea I'm wrestling with- We anticipate bad things following good because of the fallen world we live in. It's just the way we have seen it work. Good news/bad news is commonly understood concept. Often we ask, "do you want the good news first or the bad news?" Communicating that both are present and the only thing I can decide in all of this is which one I tell you about first or, as the listener, which one I hear first.
It wasn't meant to be this way. I read in scripture that God's plan was always this, "do you want to hear the good news? Ok, how about some more good news?...." It was an amazing design that provided for a wonderful relationship with him and our good as part of the relationship. It's all been lost, and so now we live in this tension between good and bad. I look forward to the days ahead when the bad news will never be mentioned again.....I'm just a little tired of the curse we live under....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upside down living

A wildlife photographer recently took this photo of a goose flying upside down. It's a rare photo, but something geese do to land in high wind situations. It looks strange because it is! My first thoughts on seeing this photo were, "This isn't right. What's wrong with this photo?"
Honestly, I think I find myself doing this in my Christian life at times....flying upside. I trust what I can see, what I have in the bank, what I know is coming from my job instead of trusting God. That's upside down living. I plan for the days ahead, for retirement, for what I will "need" to live in the days ahead instead of believing what Jesus said, "don't worry about tomorrow." That's upside down living. I put me first, what I want...what I need...what's important to me instead of putting others first and serving them. That's upside down living.
You get the idea, don't you? When we live like the world we are living upside down....we are missing the way God meant for us to "fly." It might be a great way for geese to land in heavy winds, but it's no way for a child of God to live his/her life. Isaiah wrote about the kind of flying God wants for us when he said, Isa 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Picture frame" vision

One of the great frustrations for us humans is what I would call "picture frame" vision. We only see a little bit of what is actually going on in our world, in our lives, in God's plan. Our vision is limited and that frustrates us. We can't see what's coming, what God's working on...we only see a snapshot of our situation right now. It's frustrating because with limited vision we become fearful, frustrated and easily lose our direction. Our "picture frame" vision only let's us see a part of what is really going on in God's great plans. We want to see it all, we want to know what's next, we want answers! But what of faith? Where is trust in God for the rest of the picture that we can't see? Will we trust him for what we can't see? Will we let him show us the rest of the picture when he's ready? It demands trust. It requires patience. It mandates a big God. Honestly, I'm glad I can only see a little of what is going on in my life, it does make me trust God, it does give me hope that there's more going on in my life than what I see right now. So, when you get frustrated with your view of life take a moment to realize that there's much more to see than what you see right now. Trust the Lord to reveal it to you when he's ready....
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stress tests

(World Magazine)
The stresses of our day cause many fears and worries. The economy. War. Job loss. World events. The list goes on for paragraphs...the list of things to worry about. I know many who are worried because they have lost their job. They aren't sure when they will find another one and their resources are running thin. It is a most unnerving time in history. It seems to be a time when all the foundations we trust in are being shaken. If you can't trust in government, the stock market, your savings, your job.....then what can you trust in? If you read this blog regularly you know my answer, but what I want to do today is share a few of the verses I go to when the stresses and worries of life begin to make me fearful. I hope they help you.
Philippians 4:6-7- Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 11:28-30- "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "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. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Proverbs 3:5-6- Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
And, finally, my favorite. The one I read almost weekly and have given to many, many others as God's prescription for the worries of the days. If the stresses of these days are overwhelming you, then my prescription for you is to read these words every day for the next two weeks. It will change your focus from living an events focused life to a God focused life. Things are much easier if you know who's in charge.
Psalm 37:1-9- A Psalm of David. Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two becoming one

Tonight I had the opportunity to officiate in the marriage of a couple I have known for several years. What a great blessing for me to be able to be part of their marriage. I have watched as he has grown in his faith. I have watched as she has come to faith in Christ in her own life. I have been with them as we met for pre-marital counseling to get ready for this day. I have been honored to help them through some of life's issues and their growth in faith. I'm so excited for them both. I can't wait to see what God will do in their lives. It's great to celebrate two becoming one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quote of the day

Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.
- William Wilberforce

Faith in God

I have a number of good friends who are pilots. These are amazing guys. They train for countless hours to be able to fly huge airplanes around the world. If you have ever seen an airplane cockpit you would be amazed at how many lights, buttons and switches there are and these guys know what they are for and are able to hop in the cockpit seat and fly anywhere. They all confess to their love for flying and honestly I love it too. I'm one of the flock in the back trusting my life to a few others who have trained their whole lives to fly this airplane to the place I want to travel. I trust them. I trust that they are up there and know what they are doing.
Imagine someone saying, "there is no pilot up there. This plane flies itself." Although we may not see them we know someone is flying the airplane. We know there is intelligence in charge because we are traveling in a machine that must have a pilot to fly to a specific destination. That cannot happen without someone flying the airplane. And yet, almost as absurd as that sounds, others say "there is no God, this planet flies itself, this universe is on its own." Even as I write those words they seem absurd. How can this amazing universe, much more complex that a jet airplane, be what it is without a pilot, a designer, a creator? I know I may be called simple for this, but simple seems very logical.
When I'm flying across the globe I'm glad someone knows where we are going, someone has a map, someone is in charge. When I'm flying through my life, as quickly as it is passing, I'm glad there's someone who knows where I'm going, someone who has a map for me to navigate by, someone who is in charge. I'm glad I believe in God. It would be a fearsome universe without someone in the cockpit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seeking God

I have come to a place in my walk with God (I know we each do this over and over again) where I'm hungry for HIM. I want to know God, I want to draw closer to him. There aren't words to describe this desire, this need, it's so much more than knowing him better. This desire comes from a passion to really KNOW him, to be with him. I know it's his Spirit working in me that is drawing me in closer, but the passion for it is now mine as well. I'm hungry for him, to know him, to spend time with him, to see his face, to draw in closer to him. It's funny, this desire to seek God comes from his desire to seek me! So I find myself pursuing the one who is pursuing me. It often feels like a wonderful romance as we interact. I've had this desire before, but I hope that in this time I can know him better and be changed by that time with him. I so want to be like him. I so want to see his face. As David wrote, "When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek. Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A book I love to hate

I'm reading (again) a book I love to hate. It's Andrew Murray's book Humility. I love it because it's a wonderful book on a most important part of the Christian life. I hate it because it always reveals my own proud heart. Ouch! Like A.W. Tozer's books Andrew Murray writes what you think is a short book, but it is actually a volume that will change your life. So, today, I'm painfully enjoying Andrew's book and praying a lot between chapters. I invite you to read this book, but be ready for all that God will do because of it. It will be painful, but you will love it.

10 Reasons I Don’t Like Most Christians

(Here's a post from Tony Morgan's site. I thought his list was worthy of discussion. Agree? Disagree?)
1. They consistently seem angry and bitter and worried. I thought Christians were supposed to reflect joy and kindness and peace.
2. They don’t dream big dreams. That seems odd given the fact that we’re supposedly worshiping a God who is “able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare ask or hope.”
3. They seem to worship their theology more than Jesus. For whatever reason, this appears to be especially true for folks that come from a reformed theology.
4. They don’t like it when other people or ministries experience success. Think about it. There are Christians who would be overwhelmed with joy if NewSpring experienced fewer salvations, fewer baptisms and our attendance dropped.
5. They use prayer as an excuse for inaction. They’re waiting for God to do his thing, but they aren’t willing to step out in faith and obedience.
6. They’re more concerned with the BMW next door than the lost person who drives it. Christians hate people with money. They’re willing to sacrifice time and money for those without it, but they’re satisfied to let “rich” people go to Hell.
7. They would rather people live life without Jesus than give up their personal preferences. What happens when your preferred teacher doesn’t teach? What happens when your preferred worship leader doesn’t lead? What happens when you don’t like the music?
8. They are fake. They dress up a certain way on Sunday and they live as completely different people the rest of the week.
9. They think they’re better than other people. That’s why they create rules to follow. It helps differentiate why they are holy while others are not.
10. They’re comfortable with mediocrity. Doesn’t matter where. Think Christian music and movies. Think how we invest our time and money. You don’t seriously think God deserves our best do you?
Read more:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being with Jesus

One of my good friends and ministry partner is Brandon. He and his beautiful wife are missionaries in Guatemala. In a comment he made yesterday on another post he said this,
"Two friends of ours here, Dave and Helen Ekstrom, are 84 and 83 and when they drop in for a visit Jenny and I stop whatever we are doing and just chat with them. Someone needs to write their stories down. Anyway, when they leave, we are just amazed. We feel like we have been spending time with Jesus. As we thought about that, we realized that those two people are more like Christ than anyone we have ever met. Being with them feels very much like being with Jesus."
"We feel like we have been spending time with Jesus." What an amazing commentary on a life. I have rarely heard this commentary used to describe anyone before, but it should be a regular commentary on the life of a believer walking with God. What is it that make Dave and Helen stand out? What have they done in their lives that have brought them to this "image bearer" life. I know the answers to these questions because I have asked men and women like Dave and Helen what their "secret" is. The answer is simple- you begin to look and act like the people you hang out with. They influence you, change you, and soon you begin to imitate them. It doesn't come easily or quickly, but over a life of walking with God we begin to look like the one we love. May this be our commentary, may this be our hang out with Jesus so that we begin to look like him. Oh for the day when someone says to us, "you know, you remind me of Jesus." Won't that be a glorious day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Many Churchgoers, Pastors Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, May. 11 2009 03:36 PM EDT

"Though many of Christians would like to grow and develop on their path of faith, most are unsure what a "healthy, spiritually mature follower of Jesus"
A new Barna survey revealed on Monday that half of churchgoers cannot describe how their church defines a "healthy, spiritually mature follower of Jesus."
Even among born again Christians – a smaller subset group whose members say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their savior and confessed their sin – a significant portion was unable to say how their church defines spiritual maturity. Two out of five born again Christians could not answer the open-ended survey question...." (you can read the entire article here.)
While reading this article I realized this is true for many Christians I have met. They wouldn't know how to describe maturity and so are not on the track to get there. Why bother if I don't know where "there" is? Almost everyone will admit to the desire to grow, but few know how and so they don't even try. This is a sad failure of the church in our day and will surely cost us in the days ahead. So, if you were to describe a mature Christian and how to become one what would you say?

Quote of the day

Every evening I turn my worries over to God.
He's going to be up all night anyway. ~Mary C. Crowley

Thankful for good coffee

As some of you know I roast my own coffee beans and love the experience of trying coffee from around the world. This morning we are trying some coffee from New Guinea that is just wonderful. I'm so thankful that God made such amazing things for us to enjoy. Today I'm thankful for good coffee.


Our daughter-in-law came over yesterday to wish Joye a happy mother's day. It was especially nice because she brought our new grandson, Vaughn, with her. He's growing quickly and it's fun to see how much he looks like our son when he was little. I hope you don't mind a couple photos before I retire for the night.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Summing up all things

There is a great conflict in our world that is increasing in intensity. The line of demarcation for this conflict is the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." And he has! For more than 2,000 years the cross of Jesus Christ has been a dividing line for humanity. Many have come to the cross for salvation and have found forgiveness of sin and eternal life. All that Jesus promised them has proven true. Others have come to the cross and declared it foolish, untrue, unnecessary and, sadly, have denied God's free gift of eternal life. God's intent is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. And Christ will ultimately be worshipped by everyone who has ever lived. Many will bow gladly, but others will bow as they must before the King of the Universe. As we draw near to the summing up of all things in Christ the tension between those who are part of Christ's kingdom and those who are not is increasing. Tensions rise and, as Jesus told us, we will be hated by all men (those who say "no" to his salvation and rule) because of his name. Each day people are dying for this name, Jesus Christ, but even in their death they are finding victory and are part of the summing up of all things in Christ. He is and will be Lord of all things. He is the one we will all bow before. I look forward to the day when I can bow before him myself. I look forward to the day when God does bring all things to their conclusion under the rule of Jesus Christ. I look forward to that day....Perhaps today!

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!
Thank you, moms, for all you have done for us through the years!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Quote of the day

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him. -Jim Elliot

Saturday's cartoon

Don't forget...tomorrow is Mother's day! Call her, get her a card, send flowers, take her out for lunch. Remember....if it weren't for mom you wouldn't be here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Amazed by those around me

This afternoon I had a few minutes to read some blogs I frequent and also listen to a few podcasts. I'm honestly amazed by those around me! Cheri's message to finish the women's studies for the spring was great (in spite of her cold). And, Lori's blog posts for the last few days have been very rich and thoughtful. I feel like I'm just looking through the fence wishing I could be so inspiring. It's great to see how God gifts those around us and uses each of us to serve in his kingdom. I'm glad he didn't make the Christian life a spectator sport. He has invited all of us to be part of his work, and so each one has a gift. When each person uses the gifts God has given the church is blessed and the people who use their gifts grow. So, today I'm just peeking through the fence....amazed by those around me.

The Rug

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Moving targets

"To ensure perfect aim, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target."
I really like this quote. It speaks clearly to where we are in our culture today. We are living in a "shot based" culture rather than a "target based" culture. We base our lives on where we shoot and then declare boldly "I meant to do that!" rather than establish a target and sharpen our skills at hitting it. It's this way in much of the thinking in our culture today. It's where we shoot that's important, not the target. In fact, the claim of culture today is that there is no one target. Anything you hit is the target, and so everyone is right and an amazing shot as well! How dare you claim they missed the target, they would protest, there is no one target that everyone must hit....and so our culture finds itself masters at shooting at nothing and hitting it every time. This is a perfect analogy for what culture has done with truth today. Everyone is a master marksman at shooting at the target of truth and hitting it every time. The problem is that each one would add this to their declaration, "that may be your target, but it's not mine." Truth falls to the whim of the shooter and the target is whatever they hit. Let me finish with a rewrite of something Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one hits a bullseye apart from me."


I wonder how many actually think about this. The sermons are nice, but the applications are often missing from our lives. How do we take what we hear and make it part of our lives after we leave the fellowship of believers? How many actually make any application of what they hear to their lives at all? It appears, from what we see in our communities, that we aren't applying the word to our lives and situations at all! Sunday is a day for some good music, a nice sermon and off we go to do what everyone else different for the experience. How have we come to this? How do we move from nice words on a Sunday morning to life change on Monday morning? It's a heart thing, it's individual, and it's a problem that each church family, each individual in the family must deal with. I do wish we were better at taking the word we hear and making it part of the life we live, but we're all still working on that.....

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A little in God's hands

I'm constantly amazed at my own lack of faith in difficult days. I become fearful, worry, fret and generally think that all my problems and their solutions are mine to resolve. But then I read the bible and I see Jesus. It always humbles me and I must confess my lack of faith and once more trust in him. He models over and over his ability to meet our needs in the gospels, and if we will trust him, he continues to do the same today. In Matthew 14 there is the story of a large crowd who has come to Jesus in a desolate place to hear him speak and to be healed. It's late in the day and night is coming. The people are hungry, but there is no place to get food in this place. In this situation the disciples come to Jesus late in the day and ask him to send the people away so they can get something to eat. Here's Jesus response-

Mat 14:16 But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!"
Mat 14:17 They *said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
Mat 14:18 And He said, "Bring them here to Me."
I don't know all that ran through the disciples minds as this unfolded, but I wonder, did they ask Jesus to send them away so they could eat? They only had a little and it would be embarrassing to eat in front of 5,000 hungry people and not give them any of the food. But what does Jesus do? He tells the disciples to bring him their lunches. I think the disciples know that they will not get to eat this meal they had saved for themselves, but they have no idea what Jesus is about to do. The verse that caught my attention this morning was verse 18 and Jesus' words, "Bring them to Me." It wasn't much, but giving it to Jesus made all the difference in the world. From that small meal he fed 5,000 with food left over! I often think I don't have much God can work with, but it's that little bit offered to him that can be multiplied to feed thousands. Once again I'm made aware that God can care for me when there seems to be little to work with. The world tells me I need savings, investments, CD's, and other assets to be able to live well. Jesus tells me to simply bring my little bit to him and he will provide for my needs. How easily I forget that the God of the universe has promised to care for me and provide for me. How easily I forget....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The thrill of the ride

The Christian life is exciting! It's often like the rush this young boy must feel as his father spins him around. It's a mixture of excitement and fear all at the same time, but fear is lessened by the fact that my father is holding onto me.
Jesus wrote about this in John 10-
Joh 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
John 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
It's the hold of the Father's hands that makes fearful days almost exciting! To know that I'm held by the Father and secure in his care makes times of uncertainty almost fun. Whatever spin I find myself in the fact that the Father is holding onto me makes the events of the day a wonderful's a thrilling ride when you know who is holding onto you.

Monday, May 04, 2009

No reason.....

I have no reason for this post other than the photo. I love it and wanted to share it with you. You can be creative and come up with your own caption or story. Have fun.....

Celebrating moments

I have a bad habit of being very task focused. Do the next thing, get through this day, finish that next. Task focused living is miserable. One of the things I have to constantly do in my own life is stop to celebrate moments. To just take a moment to enjoy a visit with my wife, that cup of coffee, time with a friend, quiet time. I'm not good at celebrating moments so I have to do it intentionally. Always, when I stop for a moment just to catch my breath, I'm aware that in my life the moments pass by far too quickly and I miss the opportunity to celebrate them because the next task looms ahead. I'm trying to slow down, I really am, but it's much harder than I imagined when I've spent so many years on tasks. I plan to make it my next task to simply enjoy the moments ahead....yeah, that will work! A new task!

Monday's cartoon

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday's cartoon

If you aren't offending someone then you aren't saying anything. We are in a time and culture when the right to be offended is silencing the right to speak and believe. If you believe anything at all then someone will be offended by it. If culture wins then you shouldn't believe anything that might offend. If culture wins then you shouldn't say anything that might offend. If culture wins then we each individually lose. So, believe, speak, be bold and know that somewhere, sometime, someone will be offended. Believe it, speak about it anyway. If it's true it's worth the risk!

Friday, May 01, 2009

One for the good guys

Girl beats off muggers with marching band baton

Thu Apr 30, 2:03 pm ET
QUARTZ HILL, Calif. – Don't mess with the marching band. That's what California authorities are saying after a 17-year-old girl used her marching band baton to beat back two would-be muggers.
Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Michael Rust says the Quartz Hill girl was walking to school April 24 when two men approached her from behind, tried to grab her coat and demanded money.
Instead, one got a punch in the nose and the other a kick to the groin. Rust says the girl then beat both of them with her band baton before she ran away.
The men had not been caught. But Rust says there's a clear message to take from the encounter:
"The moral to this story is don't mess with the marching band girls, or you just might get what you deserve.

Final score: marching band 2, thugs 0."