Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
In the transformation process it is easy to begin to get frustrated with yourself for not getting enough done. Life has a crazy way of just happening to me. Here it is Thursday and I feel like I have so many things to do and not enough time in the day (I haven't even written since Saturday, Oh the guilt and shame). There are also so many things that come in and take precedence over the things that I want to get done. I am learning (slowly) that my plans aren't always what God want to get done. When I set out to plan my work week and try to get things done I didn't anticipate spending a good portion of my time spending time with a grieving family and planning a funeral. But their hurt and God's desire to use me in this situation is more important than any of the "cool stuff" I had planned.
I really feel every Christian's role in life is to simply be Jesus to people, again its not a strict list of things to avoid and a list of things we should be doing, it is allowing Christs love to throw through our lives. Transformation occurs and we become more like him, not when we achieve perfection, because we are incapable. The hard thing is to prevent our own flesh from allowing us to live in this freedom, either through selfishness or religious attempts at spiritual growth. I love how Paul states this in Romans 6. Before he met Jesus he was an extreme legalist who followed a list of do's and don'ts, he also followed people around and made sure they were doing the same. But when he met Jesus his life transformed. In Romans 6 here is what he said about righteousness.
15-18So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
Indulging in sin is not freedom, neither is following a strict list of religious rules, both place us in bondage. Freedom comes from accepting this amazing crazy love that God shows, and not allowing our sinful nature to control us. Its not about doing better or being a better Christian, It is simply letting Jesus be Jesus in us and to others.
I am thankful that "my plans" have been turned upside down and I look forward to being Jesus to this family in desperate need of Jesus' these next few days. There are things I wanted to get done and things I have set out to do that will not happen. But the transformation I am seeking will not happen on my terms or through my list of challenges I have set before myself.
The genuine transformation process doesn't having a formula, other than Loving God and Loving others, plain and simple.
Romans 8 Paul shares this about how to live in Freedom and experience Spiritual Growth and Transformation when we finally realize we cannot do it through out own hard work.
5-7Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Valentine is one of the few have have had to give their life in return for the life that was given to them.
We have the freedom to love and be loved. I am challenged to make the most out of the love that has been shown me. My hope and prayer that it turns into "Crazy Love" in all area's of life.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
So this transformation thing takes work. It is also not easy. The day I start the flu bug invades my house, that night we had no sleep- which is not good for trying to keep my 6AM commitment. Jackson (pictured above looking miserable) is sitting beside me with a stuffy nose, pink eye, and an ear infection, he slept a total of about 1-2 hours on tuesday night. And last night Jonah had to have an asthma treatment. This is actually good for my preparation to teach and share this with others- this is not a legalistic attempt to please God and to get him to do more stuff for me because of my hard work. This is done out of a passionate love that has first been shown to me. So I am learning that Love needs to continue even if the circumstances are perfect. So I am going to press on through and continue to keep my commitments, even though it is tough. If I miss or make a mistake, I will not wallow in guilt, rather I will continue to seek ways where my love can be expressed. God is not interested in my offering or sacrifices, he is interested in the intentions of my heart and willingness to submit my will to his.
I love how the Message Bible puts Psalms 40:6-8
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that's not what you're after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that's not what you're asking for.
You've opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, "I'm coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I'm coming to the party
you're throwing for me."
That's when God's Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Yesterday I started a 30 day Challenge. I am going to take some dramatic steps in my life to declare my love for God. I am not doing this because I have to or because I feel it is my duty, there is no guilt or shame attached to this... I am challenged by the "Crazy Love" that God has shown me and would like to respond in a crazy manner.
Perfect timing, the day I start my 30 day challenge the flu-bug hits our home. But somehow I have managed to stay on track.
Once again these are things that I want to do out of a "crazy love" for God in response for who he is and of what he has done, (they are not a formula for anyone else, we all respond in our own way. The only thing the Lord desires is a willing heart.)
Here is what I am proposing to do over the next 30 days:
Starting Monday Feb 9th-
1. Wake up at 6AM and Have time with God. (Spiritual Transformation)
2. Watch Less TV- Limited to a few shows with my wife, One Basketball Game a week. And spend more time reading the Bible and Challenging books (Spiritual and Mental Transformation).
3. Take my Wife on a date twice a month.- Devote a specific hour to each of my boys weekly (Relational Transformation)
4. Hit the gym at least 4 times a week. (Physical Transformation)
5. Improve my Intake of Food, NO Fast food stop drinking Soda and cut way back on Coffee. (Physical and Financial Transformation)
6. Meet with a Mentor Once a Week. (Emotional and Mental Transformation)
I will be getting a little more specific in the days to come.
This is based on a few scriptures:
Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37 – 40)
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I did a message talking about being after God's heart, I interview a bunch of people on video asking them what it meant when the bible said David was a man after God's own heart. The best answer was given by a guy who said simply "It means that God had a heart and David was after it." I love that definition. In Genesis when God creates humans he said let us make man in our own image. I believe that was referring to the heart. The ability to love and be loved, to choose to make decisions and experience emotions or feelings.
This past week at Elevate we talked about how amazing and magnificent God is, and that even if he wasn't as good as he is to us, he would still be worthy of our worship. Psalm 19 is an incredible passage where David talks about the beauty and majesty of God shares in vivid detail the awe that surrounds the almighty God. His invitation at the end of the chapter is to taste and see. I am learning that when we begin to take God at his word and take him up on his offer to experience his fullness by reaching out in faith and taking what he is offering, it is much better than anything I can experience in this messed up world.
My challenge today is to chase after the heart of God (even though he is chasing me) and see Him in the any area of life experience.
God's best to you as you seek his heart!
Monday, February 2, 2009
The best definition of Grace I have heard is simply "God giving us what we don't deserve." Today I am feeling full of grace, blessing and provisions that God has given. I don't always feel that way, sometimes I get the "why me?" attitude, long for things I don't need, and complain about the things that I encounter. I am amazed that God still continues to pour out goodness on a daily basis. I had a situation arise this last week that made me for a second question Gods goodness and care for me at that instant second (stupid, i know). Today I saw that the thing I complained about was replaced by something even greater.
I don't know if I will ever get to a place of complete unquestioned trust, but I do know that God keeps all of his promises and that his plans are better than anything I could ever dream up for myself. Jeremiah 29:11 states very clearly God has a plan for our lives. I want his best not my plans.