Friday, November 30, 2007
The Last couple of weeks we have been covering miracles that Jesus performed as both a help to those in need and a sign of his power to those looking on. There were times when people asked for a miracle and he chose not to do it, mainly due to the lack of peoples faith or the motives of the people who were asking. That gets me to my thought today. What is my motive in desiring God to do something great in my life? Is it so that I can be lifted up or be made more comfortable or is it so that I can be in a better position to experience who he is and to make him known to those around me? There are a lot of things I would love to see God do, I am beginning to look at my "list" I am presenting and see if these are "needs" or "wants." I believe that God does give us blessings, which are things we don't deserve, I do know that God does not usually give us something that will take our attention away form him.
What is your motive for seeking something great from God? If we will learn to look at the things that will bring glory to God rather than ourselves I believe we will begin to see that he is constantly doing something great. Your miracle may be closer than you think.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
There is a passage in Romans chapter 7 where Paul, who is probably the influential Christian of all time shares that he has a problem with doing the right thing. He says the things I want to do, I don't do; and things that I don't want to do, I end up doing." He also says what a miserable person he felt like because of this flaw. I think many times those who have a relationship with Christ think they have to be perfect and that is a stressful burden to carry. In fact sometimes we may even feel like if I can't do it right I mights as well not even try. Well there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that we can't do it we can't measure up to God's standard. The good news: He doesn't expect us to. Relationship with Christ is not about "guilting" our selves into right behavior. Paul comes to the conclusion in chapter 8, that the only way to succeed in his Christian life is to "give up." Giving up not in the sense of hopelessness but in the way of not trying so hard to be perfect and spend more time simply listening to Gods voice. So instead of moping about his bad decisions, Paul says "I press on and turn my life over to God's hands and let his spirit begin to live through me." The thing that should set Christians apart from the rest of the world is not that they are perfect, but rather, that when we do mess up our confidence is not shattered because it rests in Jesus not in ourselves. So when you mess up, get back on the horse and learn to let Christ's grace and mercy become a part of your life.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I tend to be a procrastinator. I think when I was younger I started to think if I just waited a little longer the trash would take itself out, or the lawn would cut itself. Sounds like some extremely stupid logic, but here I am years later living out that philosophy in various areas of my life- as a adult (at least thats what they tell me). I used to watch the Andy Griffith show when I was a kid, and Deputy Barney used to have a saying about arresting suspicious people prematurely: "you gotta nip it in the bud! You just got to nip it." when I say I am a procrastinator I am admitting that there are some areas in life where I need to grow up and just take care of things, instead of just letting them sit, hoping they will just go away or work themselves out. It is amazing how some little things can quickly turn into terrible habits or into a big huge mess when left unattended. I want to be a little more like Barney. No, not an bumbling idiot with a high pitched voice, but rather someone who is willing to take action when it is necessary, even if it isn't comfortable or popular. Solomon says in Proverbs 20:4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. So today, my challenge to myself and anyone who reads this is: What am I putting off today that would be beneficial to take care immediately? As Barney says "You just got to nip it!"
Monday, November 26, 2007
Do you feel (or look) like this in the morning? I do, just ask my wife. I am in the process of learning that commitment is a lot more than simply making a decision. Commitment requires the daily choice to stick to your guns regardless of your feelings or the circumstances that surround you. It is easy to make a decision to experience life change after a amazing worship band plays, and hearing a message from God's word while we are sitting in a church. The real challenge starts the next morning when we roll out of bed and begin to face life for real. I often joke it would be awesome to have Jonathan sitting on a chair with his guitar when I wake up playing "Blessed be the Name" and have "Louie Giglio (my favorite speaker) give me a quick challenge from God's word. The truth is that life is different, when we are alone, and it is easy to say "I will start tomorrow", or to let ourselves be lied to- that we are no different than we were before. I was challenged by the story of the crippled man having to leave the security of his handicap and list of excuses. I want to be like him and immediately stand in faith when Jesus says get up. I have been reminding myself of that all day and it has been an encouraging day, and I feel like a different person. I may wake up tomorrow and feel different, so I will remind myself it is not about how I feel but rather the truth. Jesus says rise up and walk with him. so today I did, and I want to continue that daily. I am different not because I feel different, because I am choosing the life change offered in the person of Jesus.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Tonight at Elevate we talked about leaving behind the handicaps that hold us back from experiencing the miracles that God has in store for us. In John 5, Jesus tells a man crippled for 38 years to simply stand up and walk. The man had to leave behind his handicap (what had held him back) and do something he hadn't done before. We are all called to leave behind the things that tie us down, hurt us, and keep us away from experiencing Gods love. Its easier said than done. We have learned to live with these handicaps, in fact they sometimes become a part of who we are. It is easy to switch into auto pilot and just let life happen rather than take they step of faith when Jesus says to us "stand up and walk" which means leaving behind what we have been living with for a long time and stepping into the unknown.
So the journey starts now, leave it where you are, you are a new person. And remember that Jesus says "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36"
One of the things that often keeps us from getting close to God and getting all that he has in store for us is the fact that we feel broken or useless. Whether it is because of mistakes we have made or because of our inadequacies (real or felt), we often think God has something for the perfect people or the extremely talented people but not for us.
We need to realize that God set the standard for using broken people and for giving second chances. God views you and I not as we see ourselves but rather he sees what the finished project will look like if we will only submit to him. I am learning that that some of the greatest opportunities to experience miracles in life are in the areas where I feel the weakest. Because God has made a promise that he will not only make up for our weaknesses, but he will show his strength the greatest in our areas of weakness. So the challenge for you and I is to know that God can use us and can work in our lives right where we are, we dont have to wait till we have our act together. Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 12 about his conversation with God about his weakness that he was praying to have fixed. Gods response was No, because "
This Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let not only be thankful for our blessings but also for our weaknesses. That is when we will begin to see the miracles of life start to begin.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I have a bad habit of punishing myself for bad decisions I made in the past. The truth is the past can be a good thing to remember when we look back and see how God has provided for us in the past. I often think of all the things I should have done as well as the things I haven't done. When I look back and think of how God has treated me, he has really done a lot of awesome things for me. First I have been given life and assurance of eternity with him in heaven- pretty awesome deal if you ask me. 2 Cor 5:21 Says "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That means God said I will trade you all the garbage in your life for his righteousness or perfectness, I am glad I took him up on the deal. Sometimes I get lost in my immediate circumstances, and lose track of all the things he has done.
One of the best ways to get yourself in position to receive God's best for you, is to remember what he has already done and to be genuinely thankful.
Happy thanksgiving everybody!!!!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sometimes, it is easy to allow ourselves to blow up during the small storms of life. I think too often I personally don't consider what is best considering my relationship with Christ when I am in a tough time that is not considered a crisis. When someone treats me bad, when my kids misbehave, or when I things don't go my way. There is something to be said about handling your self in a a Godly manner when things are not "all that bad," I believe the better you handle yourself in smaller situations, the easier it is to truly trust and rely fully on God when the storms are bigger than we think we can handle. Read Phillipians 4 and see what it says about how we should handle ourselves in all situations.
If you haven't shared your prayer for a miracle in your life- you can do that by clicking the comments at the end of this paragraph.
God bless you all today.
If you haven't shared your prayer for a miracle in your life- you can do that by clicking the comments at the end of this paragraph.
God bless you all today.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Tonight at Elevate, I issued a challenge to all of us to think about the Miracle we would like to see God do. I would love for you to post the miracle that you are praying for on this Blog. One of the greatest things about blogging is that it is a great opportunity to journal and get our thoughts out on paper (or computer screen) as well as sharing them with others.
Click the word "comments" at the end, this will open a text box for you to leave comments. Look back daily to see updates and hear what is going on in other peoples lives.
God bless you all and happy thanksgiving this week.
Don't forget to share what miracle you are praying for, I look forward to hearing from you this week.
Tonight at Elevate, we are going to be talking about the tough times in life- sometimes referred to as stroms. when we have an understanding of God and how much he loves us, it makes it easier that the storms are an opportunity to let God show us that he is in control and we are not. The truth (although tough to swallow) is that what makes our struggles feel bigger than they are often is becasue we are not "in control" of the situation. At the core of each us we are all "control freaks" of some sort. If we are a Christian, it is easy to live the nice little life where we go to church and we say we have committed our lives to Jesus. But when opportunities arise to actually live it out we feel forsaken by God and everything that we say we believe is out the window and we begin to let our feelings and our circumstances determine what is truth, rather than what God says about himself, us, and our situations.
Our circumstances and even the outcomes of our situations will not always work out the way we want them to. When we trust in God and allow us to shape and mold us in the tough times, we will begin to see that everything that we turn over to God will work out for our best interest. God has our best interest in mind at all times, and he will always hold true to his word. So if you are in a storm, or going into one, hold fast to what is true, not to what may appear to be a reality when the storm is the loudest.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Yesterday I shared how hard it was to leave my wife and boys behind, today I had to say goodbye. Jonah being a big grown up 61/2 year old (if you forget the ½ your in trouble) was fine, he was to big and grown up to let me know he would miss me, but I could feel his hug was a little tighter and I got an extra kiss on the cheek when I dropped him off at the bus. Then after a big poo-poo diaper change, I took my, one year old, Jackson to his day care. He loves day care and gets excited when we get to the door and runs in ,a starts playing the moment we arrive. Today he could sense something was different, he stayed close and for the first time began to cry when I left. Its amazing how he could sense something, and could pick up on my conversations that he wasn’t going to see dad for a while. Codie called me when she went to pick him up, she said that when she arrived at the door and knocked she heard him run to the door and started hollering “Hi Dad-da”
As the door opened he was full of excitement he could wait for Dad to scoop him up, he was confused for a second and then lit up, it was mom and that was just fine.
Do I long for conversations and time with my father, do I notice when I haven’t been in his presence for a while. Jesus several times in the gospel talks about becoming like children and having the faith of children. In our grown up faith sometimes we miss out on the joy of connecting with our heavenly father. As we get older we tend to get caught up in our own busy schedules we lose the awe of that immense staple in our life- Dad! I can only imagine what it looks like to look up at someone 10 times your size and throw your arms up and say take me and hold me. I need to reconnect we the awesomeness of the vast indescribable “hugeness” of God, who despite my weakness and humanness he loves me and calls me to know him, and speaks encouragement and hope to me.
Once again, I am already anticipating the reunion with my wife and boys, and the trip has just started. I really believe that God is anticipating the moment that we will stop our schedules and actually slow down log enough to enjoy each others presence and allow him to speak into our lives.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I love going to conferences. There is something about getting away and hearing a new perspective on things. Its also nice when you don't have to worry about all the things you have to do on a particular day, just showing up and being able to sit back and learn.
So I am getting ready to leave tomorrow morning for San Diego to the National Outreach conference. The picture is of me and my boys, my wife is working tonight, so I get a quiet (much sarcasm) evening. I am going to miss
these guys. When I am away from my family I realize how much I really love them and how important they are in my life. I love the return from a trip, my boys are jumping up and down and run and hug me tight-truly one of the greatest feelings in the world. I am reminded of the parable Jesus told of the son who is away from his father, although he has made some extremely poor life choices, there his father is waiting for him each day looking out the window waiting for his return. I think many times we have a wrong perception of God, that we need to "clean our act up" before we can return to relationship with him. While the truth is that God through scripture and history loves to take us back and restore us to unconditional relationship with him. So as I leave tomorrow and go to all day meetings and sleeping in a strange hotel room, I will anticipate the reception Jonah and Jackson have waiting for me, as well as remind myself of Gods constant pursuit of my affection