Tuesday, March 31, 2009
5 God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
so that He could adopt us as His very own children.
6 And because you Gentiles have become His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts,
& now you can call God your dear Father (Abba).
7 Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child.
And since you are His child, everything He has belongs to you.
Anyone find this to be the mindblow I find it to be?
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
There's such freedom in that kind of abandonment.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Galatians 3: 15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace. Then it pleased him16 to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.
It's a mind-blow to think that God has chosen each of us (a LONG time ago) to serve as integral part in the overarching BIG picture He has conceived for humankind.
Each of us is less than a nanospeck in the cosmos. And He thinks about each of us.
Friday, March 27, 2009
at the end of Matthew 10 - "don't cling to your life" (don't cling to your life, for you will lose it; but if you let go of your life for Me, you'll find it.)
& in Matthew 6 - "don't worry about your life." (Aaron Barth reminded me over a year ago that the section in Matthew 6 about the lilies of the field & the birds of the air doesn't need all of that verbage - just remember he 1st part - "don't worry about your life.)
I've had to abandon a lot of my life to follow the "don't cling to your life" verse. It's amazing how much of my life I think I have to have. And it's amazing how little I really need. God keeps reminding me that if I'll just let loose of my life, He'll give me the life He dreamed for me a gajillion years ago.
And it's amazing how much I worry & even more amazing how much freer I am if I "don't worry about my life." If I can just trust God in the face of whatever comes my way, it's just amazing how freer & more nimble my life has become.
Think about it
don't cling to your life (Matthew 10)
don't worry about your life (Matthew 6)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
our ancestors have told us
of all you did in their day,
in days long ago:
2 You drove out the pagan nations by your power
and gave all the land to our ancestors.
You crushed their enemies
and set our ancestors free.
3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;
it was not their own strength that gave them victory.
It was by Your mighty power they succeeded;
it was because You favored them & smiled on them.
When I read that section this morning, God nudged me to just confirm that that is why good stuff is going on downtown. It ain't because of me that stuff is happening downtown.
It because He chooses to give us favor.
Livin' like this is kinda exhilerating & unpredictable at the same time. God's very creative. Ya never know what's gonna happen next.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I wonder if Paul ever got tired?
I know her got physically tired, but I wonder if he ever got tired of all the stuff that goes with ministry? There's the stuff like...
dealing with people,
coming up with fresh ideas,
being alert to trends,
tossing out stale concepts,
accomplishing the mundane,
answering the urgent,
going the second mile,
remembering Rome wasn't built in a day,
persevering when ya just wanna chuck it,
not just living outside the box - but not having a box,
(did I menton being patient?)
getting up one more day to face it all again.
You know, things like that, & a thousand others.
I get tired sometimes. I have to remember that whenever I get tired, that usually means I'm trying to do whatever is at hand. In short, I'm trying to make ministry happen, rather than letting God make it happen. After all, He's the One Who led me into this. I'm in a servant role here, following His instructons.
I also think my tiredness comes when I start to be more concerned about the expectations of others. (Am I ever gonna be free of that?!) It usually presents itself as the "What if...?" statements I play in my head.
Well, what if all those things I play in my head happen?
Who's in charge here?
And if they did, Who's always gonna stick with ya?
And if I'm being obedient to the best of my ability, then Who is ultimately responsible for the outcome?
Then the "Yeah, but..." things start.
It usually sounds like this: "Yeah, but if _______ doesn't happen, then _______ will happen." (You can fill in the blanks as well as I can.)
I've got a million "Yeah, but's" I can come up with.
(Btw, I know where the "What if..." & the "Yeah, but..." all come from - the devil.)
I've just got to remember that I've got to just keep walking, keep moving forward, keep being who God wants me to be, & trust Him to use me, somehow.
I've also got to remember that things often don't turn out like I or other people think they should. God is very creative. He often accomplishes His purposes is some pretty cool, unique, or weird ways, And sometimes what looks like total failure to us looks like just the right thing at the right time in the right place to Him. He does see the BIG picture. We just see right now.
I guess the whole thing is about our success orientation here in America. Success = right alignment with God. And we're not just talking simple success - we're talking dog & pony show, hordes of people, crazy life kind of success. Sometimes seeming success has nothing to do with it. Sometimes it's just about being obedient.
(Share that nugget of truth in the "corporate world" of the church & see what the response ya get!)
Sorry for the long-winded blog. Let me gather up the trumpery of my life, & get on with the journey.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath."
6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
Most of you who are reading this are in your 20's. Life doesn't seem fleeting to you - it's just started for you.
Trust me - you'll blink your eyes, & you'll be 58.
There is a saying that was popular when I was your age (I gotta be truthful - it kinda made me gag) & it seems that I saw it cross-stitched or needlepointed everywhere at the time.
"Only one life, t'will soon be passed.
Only what's done for Christ will last."
Truth is truth, no matter where it comes from.
As I walk through this present season, I'm keenly aware that the time I have left is not as long as I've had. There's too many people who just need a touch of His love. They surround me.
Everyday, they pass me by
I can see it in their eyes,
Empty people, filled with care,
headed who knows where.
On they go, through private pain,
living fear to fear,
Laughter hides their silent cries,
that only Jesus hears.
People need the Lord,
People need the Lord,
at the end of broken dreams,
He's the open door.
People need the Lord,
People need the Lord .
When will we realize
that people need the Lord.
We are called to take His lightC1987, Shepherd's Ford Music; Words & music by Phill McHung & Greg Nelson
to a world where wrong seems right.
What would be too great a cost
for sharing life with one who's lost.
Thorough His love our hearts can feel
all the grief they bear.
They must hear the words of life
that only we can share.
I haven't thought about that song in years. It's a song I'm hearing in my head a lot these days.
Life's short - only what we do for Jesus will last.
We can see generational curses broken in lives infused with His love.
Come on the adventure. Let's share our lives in Jesus with the people we see each day.
Remember that neither you nor I would know the life we have in Jesus (iow, we'd be goin' to hell, too) if someone hadn't been obedient to His call & share Him with us.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
When we're traveling along in the right direction, it doesn't say anything. There's a "panic button" we can push for further instructions, if we get concerned about the lack of instructions.
If we're still on course & haven't deviated from the directions given, the system is programed to say, "continue in the direction you are heading."
I'm hitting the "panic button" a lot in the last week.
"Continue in the direction you are heading."
"Continue in the direction you are heading."
well, what if...
"Continue in the direction you are heading."
"Continue in the direction you are heading."
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Psalm 37: 3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart's desires.
5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the LORD,
and wait patiently for him to act.
34 Put your hope in the LORD.
Travel steadily along his path.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Psalm 36: 5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
9 For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I wonder how I'd feel if the folks who make up the downtown population treated me like Paul if I would be so interested in being a part of a presence downtown?
How ready would you be to be identified as an active Christ follower if stoning, or some other physical mayhem, were a viable possibility as a response to your discipleship to Jesus?
Have we grown a bit prissy in the safety of our enclave in the Christianized world? Do we know what true risk is?
Would our "boldness" as believers be such if we could be beaten up for it?
These are just some of the things I thought about this morning as I read Acts 14, where Paul & Barnabas has success in spreading the Gospel, while at the same time, people wanted to kill them.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I've never been 58 before, so I'm not sure what it's supposed to be like.
In the past few years, I've noticed that I don't have quite the same amount of energy I used to have. Lynn tells me this is normal with the aging body, so I'm not alarmed about it. It's just another reminder that I'm not 22 anymore - & haven't been for 36 years! ;-)
One of the temptations of someone my age is to give in to that slackening energy. As I start into whatever it is that our downtown presence is gonna be, if I look at the reality of what God's getting me into, I get a little tired. You see, I've been "the man" before - like for almost 30 years as a Methodist music minister - yeah, "large & in charge". I know how much energy it's gonna take. It would be so easy to slack off.
But that doesn't seem to be in God's plan quite yet. While most of our friends are fixing to retire, buying condos, & playing with their grandchildren, Lynn & I are off on another adventure called downtown Macon.
God's impressed me in the last couple of weeks that I'm still just a servant in this downtown Macon matter. He's the One that's "large & in charge" so all I have to do is listen out for instructions, & then do as I'm told.
He's also reminded me Who's the Power Giver, the Sustainer of all things. If He's calling me to something, then it would follow that He's gonna give me the strength to do it.
I'm also functioning in a world that's pace is moving more & more rapidly. Just keeping up with change & new information is a bit daunting. If I keep my connection with Him strong, it centers me in the eye of the storm of our culture & our world.
Even though it has not been my experience growing up, it seems that it's much like what I've seen & heard described as the experience of children sitting with their fathers in inclement or dangerous situations. As long as they we simply in the presence of their dads, these children were ok with their surroundings. That's pretty much the way it is with me & God these days - it's gotta be - life's too fractured & too hectic without Someone to hold on to, Whose very essence is peace, & love.
I don't know if some of you are tired or frazzled. Spending time with God each morning keeps me from fraying around the edges, & gives me "strength for today, & bright hope for tomorrow." Open up your lives to that Strength, & Bright Hope. His sustaining & sustenance are all any of us ever need.
I love you.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I trust in Him with all my heart.
He helps me, & my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
For some reason, I've been getting verses lately about how God is a shield for me, how He's taking care of stuff, looking out for me.
Either something's coming, or there's a whole lot of stuff goin' on that I don't know about or see. I think it may be a combination of both.
There's a lot of stuff happening all around me, particularly in regards to downtown. There's stuff up ahead I don't know about that's coming, b/c God is very creative & likes to show out, so, I know He's gonna show Himself again b/c He's shown Himself so far.
I'm also aware that the devil is not pleased with the stuff that's happened so far downtown. He's pretty clever & wiley, so I figure he's gonna thrown some more opposition our way.
But one of the things God continues to impress on me is that He's in charge downtown. I'm serving Him, not the other way around. He's in charge & will tell me what to do. He's also in charge of what happens, what successes occur, how many people show up, what fruit we bear. I'm workin' for Him. I just have to listen out for instructions, & then walk in that direction.
I can't tell you how gently quiet it makes my spirit to know that I'm just on this journey of downtown with Him in charge. You see, in much of what I've done over the past few decades, I've been "large & in charge" - ya know what I mean? Not so in this part of the journey. I'm listening out for instructions. This whole downtown thing was His idea. He knows what He's doing. I'm here to follow Him.
I guess we'll never know what my life would have been if I'd been less "large & in charge" & more of a servant.
Don't be like me. Switch to the servant role. It's a whole lot better than being "large & in charge."
I love you
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Be brave & courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
I know this is for me today. I don't know what it is I'm supposed t wait patiently for, but I think He'll let me know. In the last 4 or 5 months, there's been a lot of waiting for things to happen or come into alignment, then taking action on some things, then waiting. There's something I'm supposed to wait for now. He'll show me.
But this is also a verse for someone out there. Lemme know if it's you. Maybe I can wait with you - waiting is so much more bearable if you do it with someone else.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching.
When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council*—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial.22 But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported,23 "The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!"
24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end.25 Then someone arrived with startling news: "The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!"
26 The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them.27 Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them.28 "Didn't we tell you never again to teach in this man's name?" he demanded. "Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!"
29 But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority.30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.*31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him."
33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.35 Then he said to his colleagues, "Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men!36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
38 "So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!"
40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.*42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: "Jesus is the Messiah."
In our present litigious culture, we'd probably just sue the socks off the council.
There's no concept today of "suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus."
Friday, March 6, 2009
In Psalm 25 here's what came up off he page...
vs 3 No one who trusts in You will ever be disgraced.
Hmmm - does that mean I may be faced with a situation where an attempt is may to disgrace me, make me look silly, or embarrass me?
vs 4 Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;
Point out the right road for me to follow.
vs 5 Lead me by Your truth & teach me,
for You are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in You.
That's good to hang on to, especially as we walk toward whatever it is He has for us at The Warehouse. I'm really depending on Him to show me the way.
Then I was reading in Acts 4, where Peter & John call upo the name of Jesus to heal a man who had been lame for 40 years. They were arrested & taken before the high councel.
vs 13 The members of the councel were amazed when tey saw the boldness of Peter & John, for they could see that Peter & John were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized that Peter & John as men who had been with Jesus.
It kinda makes you wonder what each of us is capable of if we just spent more time with Jesus. Peter & John were ordinary men - fisherman were not at the top of the socio-economic ladder. And yet, they spoke with authority & strength. God had embued them with gifting necessary for the life He had for them.
I certainly feel my ordinary-ness these days, as we walk into whatever God has for The Warehouse. Whatever happens down there, we'll be able to clearly say it was because of God & not because of any extreme cleverness on my part. I'm literally walking from day to day, taking whatever instruction I can hear from God as to what to do now or next.
Maybe that's the way God wants us to live - basically, just listening out for Him.
I don't know if any of this is for anyone but me. The incredible thing is that each morning when I get up to read & listen out for Him, He comes through. I can't encourage you more to start getting up a little earlier each day to spend time with the God of the universes. He's waiting for you & misses you.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, "Look at us!"5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money.6 But Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold for you. But I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,* get up and* walk!"
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man's feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon's Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. "People of Israel," he said, "what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness?13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate's decision to release him.14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer.15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
16 "Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus' name has healed him before your very eyes.
What would we do if we saw this happen? We would be astounded. Peter asked why the people were surprised. He's lived with Jesus for 3 years. He'd seen people raised from the dead, let alone healed of all kinds of things. Somehow, Peter wasn't astounded.
Yeah, but he lived with Jesus.
We've lived with the fact for over 2000 years that our God miraculously heals.
Perhaps we should learn to live with the supernatural for what it is - the normal life & life occurances of someone who is connected in a relationship with the God of the universes.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
As a result, miraculous things happened. One was that Peter, who denied knowing Jesus, spoke with incredible power & 3000 people bcame Christ followers. Absorb that - 3000 people. In one afternoon, there was a mega-church in Jerusalem. As Sheila would say, "do-doop!"
I have a dear friend who is just starting to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit in her life. It's miraculous to watch the power surge going on inside of her.
The Holy Spirit is the Power Source for everything. He is the One who's power created the universes, raise Jesus from the dead, & came in a rushing wind & tongues of fire in Acts 2. He's the power sourse that lives inside of me & gives me the power & the good sense to live my life for the Lord.
Ask the Holy Spirit to come & fill you, just like He filled the disciples in Acts 2. You'll have the power to live this life for God. He'll give to power to be who God wants you to be. He will live inside of you - the Power Source that created the universe will come live inside of you.
Lemme know if you want to know more about this untapped Power, this incredibly holy Person, this person who gives us the power to be & do all God dreamed us to be.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Why do we think that after we become Christ followers & after His Holy Spirit fills us that we can simply sit, that we can go about our lives, working at our jobs, & "living the American dream"?
If we believe what we believe, the people who do not decide to follow Jesus as Savior & Lord, or who have never heard about Him, will be forever separated from Him for eternity.
And the longer I live, the more I believe that there's a really good chance we're livin' in the ends times - so time is short before all the "finals days" stuff starts.
all the time.
It is my impression that forever is a very, very long time.
Think about it...
I love you
Monday, March 2, 2009
(This is a very quoted verse at many meetings where people are trying to encourage others to answer the call to be a missionary. There's also a very sentimental song using this verse that was written during the '30's, I think, that used to be sung at such meetings.)
My Life Application Bible says this about that verse - "Whatever God asks you to do, remember: (1) your authority comes from God, (2) Jesus has demonstrated by words & actions how to accomplish the job He has given you. As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends his followers - and you."
I was driving down I-16 yesterday to be in Dublin for their 9a.m. service. I was kinda rehearsing in my head something I wanted to talk to Pastor John about, while at the same time kinda praying to God about it too.
You see, I'm beginning to see what God's got in store up ahead for The Warehouse. I still can't quite figure out why God would choose me to be the catalyst for this season of The Warehouse. Ya see, I'm a guy that took over 2 years to adjust to being a servant & not the one in charge (after 27 years of being in charge). And I really kinda like being in that situation - I can simply enjoy the ministry & not worry about all the things one has to worry about if you're in charge.
While going down I-16, thinking about these things, there was a gentle quietness that settled over me, when this still small voice dropped a simple thought into my head...
You know the situation where I'm not in charge & someone else is? That's what kind of situation I'm in right now. I'm not in charge. My Abba Father is. I just have to find out what it is He wants me to be or do, & then be or do it. I'm not in charge of anything else. He is. He's responsible for whatever happens at The Warehouse. My role is to simply serve Him.
Kind of a startling thought...
Walking this thinking out is gonna be interesting. But no matter what the walking out may be like, the quiet that has settled over my spirit is pretty amazing.
He's in charge. I'm His servant. He tells me what to do. He's responsible what what happens.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
In reference ro vs 21, my Life Application Bible says for us to remember that 1) it is by God's authority that we are called to be & do who God has assigned us. 2) Jesus was sent by the Father, just like we are, so we should live our lives like He did, selflessly & focused.
This is a versed used to call people o missionary service. But for me, it's always been a call from God to simply be who He ha determined us to be - geographic location is inconsequencial. We're to be who were are in Him, whether we're living in a tree in Borneo, a hacienda in Santiago, Chile, or a house in Topeka, Kansas. A person on mission for God (which is what missionaries are) is a person on mission for God, not matter where they are.
Just a thought...
I love you