Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Rude Was Jesus?

This week Mounce looks to Jesus' words to his mother at the wedding of Cana to seek to understand whether (as many have said) those words were rude. It's a question I have been asked several times and Mounce addresses it well in this article - How Rude was Jesus?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson's Love

The death of Michael Jackson is a tragedy on a number of levels. I may have more to say at some point but for now...this short article is a good thought-starter.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prayer Challenge

Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. He's doing a great work for God in a unique ministry environment. This week he shared a challenge with his congregation to pray this prayer every day. I wanted to share it and take it on myself:

"Lord, I pray for an opportunity to share my faith with someone in some way. It’s not up to me to decide who or when or where. But I know why. Because you love them and want a relationship with them. So Lord, surprise me with opportunities to share my faith. Forgive me for trying to do your job for you. You are the one who convicts of sin. You are the one who draws to Christ.

But help me do my part as salt and light. Help me see those opportunities to react compassionately or listen patiently or speak kindly. Through word and deed, help me plant seeds of love in the lives of others. Give me boldness when it’s time to speak. Give me restraint when it’s time to listen. Give me words to say. But more importantly, give me ears to hear. Lord, help me be sensitive to the prompting of your Holy Spirit so I can see the divine appointments you send my way. Help me not to be afraid of questions I cannot answer. Help me not to be afraid of people’s reactions or rejections. Lord, help me preach the gospel every day, when necessary, with words. In Jesus name, amen!"

Driving While Texting

Car and Driver Magazine tested how long it take to hit the brakes "when sober, when legally drunk at .08, when reading an email, and when sending a text." Here are the results: Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake; Legally drunk: add 4 feet; Reading an email: add 36 feet; Sending a text: add 70 feet." I don't feel safe in my car anymore....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline

Chris Brauns: "Bits of gossip are like chocolate nuggets: smooth and creamy, they melt in your mouth: it tastes good to be in the loop; it is sweet to hear someone else notice the same weaknesses in another that have frustrated you; it feels spiritual to ask for prayer - - gossip and grumbling and complaining are a tempting treat."

How To Live Well Financially

Randy Alcorn offers wise counsel about making wise financial decisions. His site has great resources on topics relating to heaven as well.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Enriching Prayer

Here is a great Puritan prayer, calling on God to allow the Christian to live a life filled with prayer, filled with grace, filled with the Spirit. Perhaps it would help give voice to your own devotion to God

Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home,

may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication,

each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood.

Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.

Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence,
worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.
I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee,

but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities,
rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice.

I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace,

that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment

because done against an infinite God,

yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible,

there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.

Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits,

by causing Thy goodness to pass before me,

by speaking peace to my contrite heart;

strengthen me to give Thee no rest untiI Christ shall reign supreme within me

in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart,

overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee,

and ever clings to the cross. AMEN

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Source of Inspiration

I would encourage you all to visit the blog site of Stacie Smith. She and her husband, Jeff, are amazing people and incredible parents. Their son Gavin is in a battle with cancer. Stacie is an excellent writer who regularly challenges me in my walk with the Lord. Their family journey is a powerful testimony to the grace of God. You will want to read beyond this post and keep them lifted up in prayer.

Religion on the Brain

This article by Albert Mohler, addresses well an interesting article from Monday’s edition of USA Today. Readers were treated to an introduction into the sociobiology of belief. Mohler says, "Interestingly, this article appeared in the opinion pages of the paper — which is right where the article belongs. Andrew Newberg, associate professor of radiology and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that religion can be a force" [...]


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Fire

Here is an earnest plea for people who are convinced they are Christians to examine themselves to determine if they truly love the Lord. http://blip.tv/file/2220280

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fun with Senior Adults

Sunday we talked about Caleb and his example during out sermon time. What a great man of God. He was still taking on mountains and giants at 85 years of age. The sermon began with a series of stories. Here is the humor section of the message:

Let’s take a quick look at what it means to be getting older:

· When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick. - George Burns
· I’m so old that when I order a three-minute egg, they ask for the money up front. - Milton Berle
· I don't feel old. I don't feel anything till noon. That's when it's time for my nap. - Bob Hope
· I’m so old that when I went to school they didn’t have history.
· You know you’re getting old when everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.
· You know you’re getting old when you try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you’re not wearing socks.

The Washington Post asked senior readers to address how different things were in their day. We’ve all heard the stories but maybe not these that were contest winners:

In my day, we couldn't afford shoes, so we went barefoot. In winter, we had to wrap our feet with barbed wire for traction.
In my day, we didn't have hand-held calculators. We had to do addition on our fingers. To subtract, we had to have some fingers amputated.
In my day, we didn't have water. We had to smash together our own hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Back in my day, '60 Minutes' wasn't just a bunch of gray-haired, liberal 80-year-old guys. It was a bunch of gray-haired, liberal 50-year-old guys.
In my day, we didn't have video games. If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him.

Three older ladies were discussing the trials of getting older. One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand in front of the refrigerator and can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich”. The second lady chimed in, “Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down.” The third one responded, “Well, I’m glad I don’t have that problem; knock on wood,” as she rapped her knuckles on the table, then told them, “Someone’s at the door, I’ll get it.”

Speaking of aging, I came across a comedian’s take on aging that I really like. It says, “Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids. If you are less than ten years old you are so excited about aging that you think in fractions. How old are you? I’m four and a half. You are never 36½ . You are four and a half going on five. That’s the key. You get into your teens and now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, even a few ahead. How old are you? I’m going to be 16 and you could be 13, but hey you are going to be 16. Then the greatest day of your life. You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. You become 21. Yes, but then you turn 30. Ooh, what happened there. Makes you sound like bad milk. He turned, we had to throw him out. There is no fun now, you just soured. What’s wrong? What’s changed? You become 21. You turn 30 and then you are pushing 40. Whoa, put on the brakes. It’s all slipping away. Before you know it you reach 50 and your dreams are gone. But wait, you make it to 60. You didn’t think you would, but you make it. So you become 21, turn 30, push 40, reach 50 and make it to 60. You built up so much speed now that you hit 70. After that it’s a day-to-day thing. You hit Wednesday. You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle. You hit lunch. You turn 4:30. You reach bedtime. It doesn’t end there. Into the 90’s you start going backwards. I was just 92 and then a strange thing happens if you make it over 100 you become a little kid again. I’m 100½.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Little Evils, Little Sins

A great article making a comparison between the Pacific Campaign of the Second World War and our own personal efforts at overcoming sin in our lives.

The Gospel and the Gosselins

For followers and fans of Jon & Kate Plus Eight this article from Christianity Today provides interesting perspective.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Comfort Zones

Sunday, Jimmy Smith preached a great message - "You Have To Do Something" from James 1:22. I found it challenging and encouraging. Today we met for staff meeting for the first time in eleven years without Jimmy at the table as our Student Minister. I will miss having him in the office (and sitting beside me at staff meetings). I thank the Lord for his testimony of following the dynamic of God's calling on his life and the blessing he has been to my children and to me.

I heard his message twice since I was in both worship hours Sunday. I was reminded that there is benefit to hearing a great sermon and also to meditating on it later. He began by talking about things that keep us from making a difference and he addressed "comfort zones."

In my reflection on the message I jotted down several things this morning that I've observed and experienced about comfort zones. Someday this will become a sermon unto itself. Today it's just some quick observations:

Busyness keeps us from moving out of comfort zones. When we're too busy to think new thoughts and dream new dreams, we'll seldom take new ground for Christ.

Sinfulness keeps us from moving out of comfort zones. Jesus said that "men loved the darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil." Sin will leave you stuck in a dark comfort zone.

Selfishness keeps us from moving out of comfort zones. In the parable of the sower the word is sown but the "worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful." When it's all about "you" there's not much room for next steps with Jesus.

Fearfulness keeps us from moving out of comfort zones. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water with Jesus until fear made him sink. The other disciples never stepped out fo the comfort zone of the boat.

Materialism keeps us from moving out of comfort zones. "The love of money is the root of all evil." How many steps of obedience are hindered by love of money?

Past successes keep us from moving out of comfort zones. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is what worked really well in the past. I think of Samson after his "haircut." He awoke and said, "I will go out as before." Times had changed and what worked in the past was no longer possible. "He did not know the Lord had left him."

There's more to the list I'm sure. Feel free to offer suggestions.