Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What we might miss

Before you get very far in reading this, go ahead and click on the title subject and watch the awareness test that is shown. You may have seen it before but if you haven't I'm sure you will find it interesting.

Now, that Ad was made for Motorcycle awareness but it has a stark message that can be applied to much of life and especially our spiritual lives. Many times we ask God for answers to our prayers without realizing that He may have already answered them. The fact is that we are often so focused on what we hope the answer to be that we do not make room for what His answer might be and we miss it, even when it moonwalks right across the screen of our life.

I'm learning to pray each day for God to allow me to have His vision, not mine. I'm learning to thank Him for the things He has already answered and appreciate them at the same time. No, I'm not perfect, not even close but when my focus becomes centered around God, I see everything much more clearly. Just thought I'd share!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A great Easter

It is Saturday night and I've been reflecting on this day. Easter is tomorrow but I can already say that I've had a great Easter weekend.

Friday night I took my beautiful Bride of 25 years to the Loop in Chicago, where we dined at one of our favorite Restaurants and spent the night in a nice Hotel with a Lakefront view. It really didn't matter that it was cold and rainy. The company was outstanding and the night was relaxing. We reflected on the past 25 years, how many people that said we wouldn't last 6 months, (yes, they literally said it) and the fun times we've had and what a wild ride its been. I know we aren't a perfect marriage because I am in it but it is a marriage that is close enough to it for me. I love ya, Deb!

Then on Saturday morning we took the early train back home and joined our Church family in our 1st annual Community Easter Egg hunt and Celebration. What an incredible day it would be! With Indian Trail, I've been blessed with a Congregation that is willing to work to reach out to our community and work, we did. Our Children's Pastor, Susan Smith, worked hard to get the word out and volunteers lined up. We had the support of the Aurora Police department, who sent out one of their fine Cadets with a Squad Car for the kids to go through and also the Aurora Township Fire Department, that sent out a crew with a Fire Truck and gear for the kids to wear. (the kids also got to blow the Fire truck horn OVER AND OVER again but hey, it's ministry lol)

We had 2 separate egg hunts, divided by age and I can't rightly recall how many eggs were hidden but it was well over 1000. The big hit of the day was the Bounce Houses that we had rented. People were looking all over for me and they would find me with the kids, helping them go down the slide on the bounce house. I Love Kids! I met well over 100 of them today and had a blast in doing it. I talked, yelled and screamed with them to the point that I will be hoarse for Easter Sunday but I count it all worth it. Not only do I love kids but I also found out long ago that investing in them is the best way to build the Church that God loves. Adults can learn so many lessons from children if we would just take the time.

So I sit here tonight, excited about what tomorrow may bring but full well knowing that we were part of a God thing today. Within the past 6 months our Church had a prophecy given over it that God was getting ready to illuminate us to the community. I believe I heard the light switch turn on today! We had people coming from all across town and even more exciting, ones that lived within blocks of us. Do I believe that they will all come to Church? No, but I know some that are already planning on it and more importantly, many more know we are here today than ever has before. God is blessing this work! Happy Easter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Purpose or Pleasure

We recently had a Revival during which one of the messages, entitled, "Purpose or Pleasure", spoke to me in a powerful way. During that message I realized how easy it is for us to forsake one for the other, even with the best of intentions. Sometimes our idea of what God wants from us becomes skewed by what we want and we don't even realize it. The Word was so powerful that it drove me to a good place. A place of repentance. I believe that one way we can pursue purpose over pleasure is to live a life of continual repentance.

That kind of thinking messes with traditional religious thinking because we tend to think of repentance only in terms of coming to Christ at salvation. But the truth is that every substantive move of God begins with hearts of repentance and the fact is that no matter how "good" we get at serving God, (at least according to our thinking) the more we can find to repent of daily and it isn't a thing of condemnation but rather desire to step closer.

I woke up today with a thought that I know was Spirit driven. God was speaking and what I heard was this, "What will you pour on me today?" I thought that was sort of funny as I am accustomed to asking God to pour into me! Then, as I began to think on the question, the story in Luke chapter 7 began to enter into my thinking. In that story, Jesus is being received into the Home of an apparently prestigious Pharisee. While there a Woman, that Luke described as immoral, heard Jesus was in the house and went home to get the most precious thing that she had. An Alabaster box of perfume. As she entered the Pharisee's house, and depending upon which version you read, she either stood or knelt at His feet. And poured the perfume on Jesus feet as she also wept on and kissed them. Truly one of the most powerful images of worship in the Bible but as I was thinking on it, I felt God urge me to read it again and see what I was missing. (it is interesting what you can still miss after years of following)

Upon reading the accounts in several versions the thing that jumped out at me was this. We've always had this image of her sitting or kneeling at his feet but the account in every version actually reads that she either stood or knelt at His feet while being behind Him. Kind of changes the imagery we often associate with it, doesn't it? Here is this Woman that the community considers to be immoral, She hears that there is one that can truly help with her life but in bringing herself to Him, although she brings the very best that she has, She can't even face Him. The rest of the remarkable story is that she is forgiven every sin and the ones that stood in judgment of her were literally put to shame.

Then the Spirit of God began comparing and contrasting what we present as worship today, with this story. What do we bring to worship? Sadly, I believe that we often bring Him our leftovers. Whatever is left of our time, our finances, our commitment and our service. We show up expecting blessings, many times expecting the one who blessed to do so within our time frame. We've taken our humbleness and traded it for arrogance. Yes, I do know who I am but if I ever forget that who I am is because of what He has done, then I am in the saddest state of all. There are people in the kingdom today that make arrogant and self-centered demands of a God that we, in and of ourselves, don't even have the right to approach from behind and we bring nothing of ourselves in the process, except for our greed for more. The best that I have is nothing in His sight but does that still excuse me from not presenting it? I think not.

Don't get me wrong, I know I am forgiven and I should live my life in that manner. I know His word is for me and that I can proclaim and declare it boldly. I know that as far as my enemy is concerned, I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. What I am speaking of is in how we approach God in our worship of Him. I want the best that I am to be broken and poured out upon Him. I want to always see Him as my kinsmen Redeemer, the one who paid the price. I want my worship to be all of me without giving thought to tomorrow or the cares of the day. Yes, I can approach His throne with Confidence but that should never translate into arrogance.

The greatest part of the story to me is this. It did not matter to Christ what the world thought of this immoral Woman. Maybe we can still learn lessons from that?