Thursday, December 31, 2009
Words to live by as we enter a new year & a new decade. ;-) LOL
Remember as we enter a new year...
don't cling to your life...
don't worry about your life...
God is out there preparing the way, & mopping up behind us...
sink our roots deep into Him...
no matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus...
Don't look back at the last year or last decade. Those were good days & bad days.
We don't know what's ahead,
but we do know the One who's in charge of it all...
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
That means all the time.
when life's like we want it, & when we don't
when something comes outta nowhere & shakes things up
when it costs a lot
when the people ya gotta do this will aren't all that lovely or appreciative
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
It was my mischievous nephew, Aaron Barth, who opened this passage up to me 2 years ago.
Aaron came to staff prayer at SportsTowne that Friday morning. And he mentioned he'd been studying Matthew 6 lately.
He went on to say that all of this passage is summed up in the first few words - "don't worry about your life." (This is the NIV translation, btw.)
That was when God riveted my attention & whispered to me that this should be one of the verses I held on to.
I cannot tell you how many times God has whispered to me in the last 2 years, "don't worry about your life".
I used to be a world class worrier - I worried if I didn;t have something to worry about!
Now, after 2 years, I can't imagine what it would be like to go back to that kind of lifestyle!
NEVER underestimate what you're experiencing in your life - what if Aaron hadn't said that that morning?! How poor my life would be?! And how would I have navigated the last 2 years?!
Thanks, Abba, for breaking the cycle of worry in my life.
Monday, December 28, 2009
In the 36 years of ministry I've experienced, 2009 was the very best, so far. ;-)
It was the very best because I didn't make it happen - God made it happen.
And as I look to 2010, what do I know?
Don't cling to your life - Matthew 10:39
Don't worry about your life - Matthew 6:25
God is out there in the future preparing the way for me & mopping up behind me - Psalm 139:5
Sink you roots deep into Him - Colossians 2:7
HERE COMES A NEW ONE!!!
No matter what happens, always be thankful
(for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus)
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I'm on this journey with Him, my Lord, my friend, my wild lover, my Father, My Abba, my... everything.
He dreamed a life for me a gajillion years ago. I'm gonna do all I can to open my life so He can make that dream happen in my life.
What will 2010 look like this time next year?
I'm not afraid. I trust Him.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
That's what I'm trying to do that right now - silence the worry inside of me, & just listen & wait.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
You have no idea how I've held on to this verse this year.
I memorized this verse back in the late spring. Early in June, Leann came to summer HOG with a band of worship leaders from all over the Christ Chapels. Ken Land came to speak. I felt like I was "running with the big dogs" that night.
But at the end of Ken's sermon, I'm standing over by the side of the room thinking, "Holy cow! How in the world is little old me gonna close this service?! This service has been filled with highly competent people! How is someone like me whose transitions & closings are, shall we say, merely ok, gonna step up & close this service?!"
Then God whispered to me "our God will make you worthy of the life to which He has called you"
So, I thought, "well, God... this is Your gig. I can't make this closing happen. You're gonna have to."
So, I just walked out, started talking, & probably the best closing of the summer HOG came out of my mouth. It had to be God.
2009 has been ALL about me being me, doing what I do best, NOT making things happen, & letting God make happen whatever He wants to have happen. I really hope I smart enough to do the same thing next year. Life's SO MUCH simpler if I do.
Our God WILL make you worthy of the life to which He has called you.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Especially true when I think about all things related to Christ Chapel Downtown, The Warehouse, & House of Grace.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I wonder what this scripture is preparing me for?
Ya ever get the feeling He's dropping verses in your reading for what's ahead?
1 Thessalonians 5:24 God, who calls you, is faithful.
The Rock that we hold on to in this windswept world.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I was struck by these words.
There's just so many things I could wonder about, wonder what would have happened, wonder what would have be the result or outcome if, just wondered how my life would be & where my life would be - if the Lord had not ___________ - and then fill in the blank.
I'm who I am today because the Lord is Who He is - no other reason.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
It's interesting how my life has changed these last 2 years.
To understand the change you have to understand that I was a music minister in the Methodist for 27 years. I was running well-oiled ministries that had lots of stuff going, lots of people involved, & lots of impact.
It was like driving an aircraft carrier.
But I was making it happen.
I was doing what I thought God was wanting to me to be & do, along with what the music ministry was supposed to be & do.
My time alone with Him could best be described as higgledy-piggledy.
He started waking me up at 5am in January, 2003. It's crept back to 4am a while back. He talks to me every day now.
These last 2 years, as He's started talking to me about downtown, & then actuating downtown, have been years where He's positioned me into a relationship much like the slave girl, watching for the slightest cue from her mistress.
For all of 2008, in preparation for 2009, & all through 2009, He's whispered to me hundreds of times:
...don't cling to your life
...don't worry about your life
...I am working things out ahead of you & mopping up behind you
...sink your roots deep into Me
I'm slam in the middle of something He's doing, He's making happen, He's charting.
I'm not responsible for the results; He is.
I'm not responsible for the direction; He is.
I'm not responsible for the power that sustains this whole adventure; He is.
I've learned what it's like to be like the servant & slave girl in this verse.
Would I go back to being & doing life like I used to?
How does it feel to be in this mode?
I recommend it to you.
Wanna know more? Write me back. I'd ABSOLUTELY LOVE to chat with you about it.
Friday, December 18, 2009
My Life Application Bible has this to say about that verse...
"Paul encouraged Archippus make sure that he carried out the work he had received in the Lord.
"There are many ways for us to leave our work unfinished.
We can get easily sidetracked morally,
we can become exhausted & stop,
we can get mad & quit,
or we can let it slide & leave it up to others.
"We should see to it that we finish God's assignments, completing the work we have received."
So, iow, we have to follow through with whatever it is God hands us to be & do. It may seem insignificant, or terrible crucial. It may be easy, or hard. It may be rewarding, or a daily trial.
One thing is for sure though... it will scare us either a little or a lot, & it will be something we can't do on our own, so we have to completely depend on Him to make it happen.
And one other thing is obvious - who knows what the ripple effect of our obedient finishing will have upon the people around us?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This is the 1st of four (4) verses God gave me to get me through 2008 (& 2009, & it looks like 2010)
I thought I was gonna spend a year reading the Word & getting all holy & everything.
He gave me 3 more verses, & then started talking to me about establishing a "presence" in downtown Macon.
At the end of 2007, I jauntily said that 2008 must gonna be a doozie of a year, b/c He's given me 4 verses.
Little did I know. ;-)
If you don't know the story of all that's happened in the last 2 years, write me back. I'll be glad to tell you.
Lemme just highlight what this verse means to me.
My "quiet time" life has been at best higgledy-piggledy. In 2003, God literally started waking me up at 5am (now fo th last 2+ years at 4am) to get up & read the Bible & listen out for what He has to say to me.
He ALWAYS has plenty to say to me. ;-)
Here's the deal, spoken as strongly as I can ever say anything...
THE SMARTEST THING I'VE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE IS TO GET UP EVERY MORNING & READ THE BIBLE & LISTEN OUT FOR HIM!!!
And the dumbest thing I've EVER done?!
TO WAIT UNTIL I WAS 52 1/2 YEARS OLD TO DO IT!!!!!!!!
Don't be as dumb as I was. Start reading your Bible EVERYDAY. It will change your life, for the stupendously better, for the rest of your life.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can't see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.22 Yet now he has brought you back as his friends through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
refuge - shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.: to take refuge from a storm; a place of shelter, protection, or safety; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape
shield - a protective covering or structure; protect, hide, or conceal from danger or harm
hope - the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; a person or thing in which expectations are centered
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Well, He's eternal, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, the King of kings, the very essence of love.
What would it mean if we let Him take control?
He'd be free to remake our lives into that life God dreamed up for us eons ago.
Why don't we do this?
Because we want control,
we want the life we think we want,
& we don't want anyone to be in control because we think it will cause suffering,
we won't like the life He has for us,
we'll miss the stuff we "sacrificed" for the life He has for us,
& the life He has for us will be a bummer.
I think our concept of God stinks.
He's not a celestial kill-joy.
He's a kind, loving Father.
There is another aspect of letting Jesus take control of our lives...
we're not in charge of making our lives happen - He is. We just have to live & He makes it happen.
How do I know?
I'm livin' it.
Let Him take control.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
He's transformed me in the last 2+ years by changing the way I think.
1) Don't cling to your life (Matthew 10:39) - It's amazing how much of my life I grasp, unwilling to let go of. I can't tell you how many times in the last 2 years He gently whispered to me that if I cling to _______ (I can fill that in with LOTS of different things) He won't able able to give the life He dreamed for me eons ago.
2) Don't worry about your life (Matthew 10:25). I used to be a world class worrier. I would worry that I didn't have something to worry about. At least a gajillion times in the last 2 years God has said to me, "don't worry about that - just don't worry about that - I've got it."
3) God both precedes & follows you (Psalm 139:5). Over & over again He continues to say to me, "chill... I'm preparing the way, & mopping up behind you."
4) Sink your roots deep into Him... (Colossians 2:7) I gotta read the BIble every day & listen. I'll dry up & blow away if I don't.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Yesterday, all staff from all campuses were meeting together, each of the campuses were reporting in.
One of the things I shared when it was my turn was that over the past 36 years I've been in full time ministry, there have been some pretty terrific years, & there's been some pretty terrible ones, too.
This past year, 2009, has been the very best.
Thank You, Abba, for the immutable gift of this past year. I wait expectantly for 2010 holds with You
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
9 It is better to trust the Lord than to put your confidence in princes.
Verse 8 isn't suggesting that we not trust the trustworthy people. It simply means that in the final analysis, the only One we can completely trust, & should trust at that level is God. Everyone else is fickle & will fail us. Everyone else has their own life that demands their attention. God's the only one who's gonna pay attention to us in the crucial moments & in the paramount ways.
The older I get, the more I realize that ultimately the only person I can really REALLY count on is our Abba Father. That's becoming more & more comforting, because that knowledge makes life decisions & life support a lot more simple - there's just One person we have to consult & lean on. ;-)
Verse 9 is noteworthy in a time & culture in which it would seem much of the mission & purpose some Christ followers have is entrusted to politicians & the political process. We must never forget that politicians are mere mortals, with their own agendas, sinful lives, & human frailties.
If we want to accomplish something that we believe God is leading us to be or do, He is ultimately the One in charge of making it happen.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.
neither our fears for today
nor our worries about tomorrow
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.
39 No power in the sky above or in the earth belo
indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Romans 7: 14c I am all too human, a slave to sin.15 I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.* I want to do what is right, but I can't.19 I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.20 But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.22 I love God's law with all my heart.23 But there is another power* within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
But... (drum roll, please)
Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Friday, December 4, 2009
hmmmm... what's the overarching implications of all implied there, particularly in our culture here in America?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4 And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.9 And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam's sin and God's gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
20 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
and delight in obeying his commands.
2 Their children will be successful everywhere...
(dan note: Hmmmmm... good to know, since I have 49 children & 2 nephews.)
...an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
3 They themselves will be wealthy,
and their good deeds will last forever.
4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
5 Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
6 Such people will not be overcome by evil.
Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
7 They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
8 They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
9 They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.
Romans 4:20 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
The underlined part in the Romans section still blows me away.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is.30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.