Monthly Archives: February 2011

The World is Worshipping. Are You?

Something occurred to me over the weekend. I’m sure that I’ve tried to think this thought before, but a combination reading tweets and reading bloggers takes on the Oscars over the weekend caused me to have an epiphany. This is what the world worships; ENTERTAINMENT. At least, it is one of their idols or false gods.

Actors and Actresses on a “silver screen” or on the “idiot box” getting our love.
Athletes and Ballplayers on a court a diamond or a field getting our praise.

I am under the same self condemnation as Paul spoke:
1 Timothy 1:15
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

Yes I love the movies and tv shows. I watched “True Grit” and enjoyed myself immensely. Our whole family watched Toy Story 3D this past year and it was a great entertainment experience. And I’m seriously considering talking my wife to see “The Kings Speech.” I am a huge fan and follower of baseball and devote more time than I should at studying the stats and reading the scouting reports of players who might not even make it to the big leagues. (Yes; I’m a nerd!)

I confess all this for 2 reasons:
1. Confession is Biblical and yes it is good for the soul.
2. I trust that I am not alone in at least one of these categories.

Now, please remember that I offer these blogs as a chance to get myself thinking and hopefully those of you that read it… (hi mom) So remember this isn’t a condemnation of any one of us, but perhaps we may find ourselves rethinking the worth of our worship to the Father who is worthy of far more than any earthly treasure.

For your comparison.

The International Mission board approved it’s Annual budget for 2011;
$308.5 Million dollars for global missions 5,000 Missionaries.

The Combined Yankees and RedSox 2010 payroll;
$380.5 Million

Remember that even with a budget like that those ball teams make a profit, while IMB is had to 600 missionaries out of its budget for 2011. That is a cut of almost 11% of missionaries; taken out of the mission field! This is our responsibility? What do we do to change it.

Of course money isn’t the only measurement of giving ourselves to God.
You fill in this blank:
Time I spent talking to friend about my favorite show or sports team _____?
Time I spent bragging to friend about the greatness of God in my life______?

Trust me I don’t even like asking these questions, so I don’t want to answer them either.
So the last one is a question of our testimony, what about giving God our attention.

If you evaluate your own worship to God by your enthusiasm; what are you more enthusiastic about?
A. Christ in You the Hope of Glory (Col 1:27)
B. The Big game
C. A night on the town
D. Payday

I won’t reveal to you my answer; trust me… it wasn’t A. I wish it was. God forgive me when it’s not.

I better wrap this up, lest I go put my own head in the sand. How much attention does God get compared to the world?

_____ hrs spent in scripture and prayer versus ______hrs spent being entertained?

Do I evaluate the worship service by how I’m captivated or by what I bring to God?

Do I look for a worship SERVE US?
Do I offer SURFACE worship?
Do I come to SERVE AS the worship offering and gift to my God?

Dear Father, as I answer these questions in my own life, please guide me toward the unselfish. Forgive me when you have looked upon my so called worship offering and found me doing something else. Nothing but Your presence and glory in my life will truly satisfy me. Help me not to look elsewhere. Amen

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Another Garden/Life Illustration

My brother found this on a gardening website and we both liked it. I hope you do too.
Garden.First, you “Come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses”….FOR THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAILY LIVING,

PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another
NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another
TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends
WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND CULTIVATE WITH LOVE. THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.
Author unknown. Thanks whoever you are for such a thoughtful piece.

Dream the Impossible Dream

I have always been a dreamer. My parents can bear witness to this fact. In elementary school my struggle with classwork or homework was never my ability to understand what I was learning, but rather my extraordinary ability to “drift off.” I was a world class day dreamer. The teacher would begin teaching and without even trying I could make the world outside the window draw closer and closer until, in my mind, I was no longer in the class room but in another world altogether.

(sigh)

I’m still good at that.

One of my favorite songs in musical theater is about dreaming. At first impression everyone considered Don Quixote to be crazy. But he was the Man of LaMancha, dreaming the impossible dream and fighting the unbeatable foe!!

The Impossible Dream.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star


(sigh, again)

These days we have seen the impossible dreams of others come to reality. Not long ago we would have scoffed at ideas like the internet or satellite radio. We would have thought it absurd if someone would have suggested that millions of people would meet all their friends on a daily basis at a single internet location called facebook.

We all have had dreams of seemingly impossible magnitude, and many of us have given up on them. Dreams are good. Giving up, maybe not so much. Did you know that God has a dream for you too? He, His Son and Holy Spirit have been planning this for you from the beginning of time. This dream was a reality for a brief time before sin entered the picture. Because of the cross and resurrection, however this dream is back on track; for those who call on the name of Jesus. His dream is this; to dwell IN you. It is his dream of joyful fellowship with us.

John 17:22, 23
22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

This indwelling means that as we live our lives Christ is living IN us. He is transforming us.Why do we believe that transforming our liveswould be just as impossible? Perhaps it is because we still, somehow believe that it is up to us.

Follow me briefly on a little trip down the imaginary street; Semantics Boulevard. This is my favorite street in Blogsville. I love it so much I’m considering building my second home there. Here we go; Some might say that Christ want’s you to do the impossible! I disagree! Rather, Christ wants do to the impossible IN you. If we are going to trust Jesus to do the impossible IN our lives we are left with only one option. Get out of the way!

Stop trying to do it YOUR self
Stop trying to do it in YOUR power
Stop trying to do it for YOUR glory
Stop trying to control
Stop trying to take ownership

Love Christ
Let Christ,
Live Christ

This can only happen with a living, growing relationship with the Son.

Acts 17:28
28 ‘For IN him we live and move and have our being.’

Galatians 4:19
19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed IN you

We only see this as impossible because of the fallen and broken state of our humanity. If we could only see with out spiritual eyes this indwelling principle would seem only natural. To be IN Him would seem as automatic as breathing. So no longer is it a dream…. it is spiritual reality, and no longer is it impossible…. it is spiritually natural.

Colossians 1:27 (The Message)
The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple.


SURRENDER

Today’s word is… “Surrender”

This is such an important word when it comes to worship. Joe spoke yesterday about the big “S” as well as the big “O” obedience and the big “C” commitment. I’ll focus on Surrender. We must surrender in order for worship to take place. In fact God says this through His prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 29:13

13 And so the Lord says,

“These people say they are mine.

They honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

And their worship of me

is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

I pray to my Father not to be guilty of this, but daily I find myself failing to but away the temptations that invite me to put myself first and ignore God’s voice. I am not first. I cannot be first. It is not about me. This life I have been given to steward is not my own.1 Corinthians 6:19-20


19
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. Our bodies, Our whole selves, inside and out, top to bottom, mind, heart, will and soul belong to God! We are just stewarding this earthen vessel. Daily, I want to acknowledge the truth of this and surrender my body, mind, heart, soul and my very will to the One who has saved me and loves me everyday. Echoing Paul’s words;

Romans 7:18-20

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.

When we surrender, this is what we are giving up. Nothing good lives in me (my sinful nature). That should be easy to surrender because I don’t even want that. Why is it not?

Romans 7:24-25
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 we MUST surrender. It is a prerequisite to worship. The very act of worship is acknowledging the object of your worship to be what you are giving your life to. When we give our life to Jesus, it is an act of worship. When we give our will to the Father, it is an act of worship. Too many times we define worship as a “feeling” or “emotional expression.” It is NOT. While feelings and emotional expressions may be byproducts of this act of worship, they are not themselves the definition of worship. Let’s think of it this way; Surrender and Obedience are the opening act of worship. Thanks and Praise and Songs are what follows.


Feeling Enriched

…And yet I/We have so much work to do!

What a great Marriage Enrichment Workshop at FSBC family. Thanks to all the team who worked so hard today so that other couples could relax and take it all in and focus on their spouses! Also, thanks to the team from West Side Family Church for their great leadership and all the break out classes.
It helps all of us to take an honest look at ourselves in regard to all walks of this Christ life but even more so in this most precious gift of God… MARRIAGE. I think we can easily get weary of continually trying to compromise/get our way/give in/give up, that we take so much of the simple wisdom for granted. Jesus is the center – period. There is no other way. We honor Him to work hard at unity. Here is the the list of things I’m trying to apply from this weekend. Remember this is just me, not Melanie. She has her own take away which will also benefit us both.
  1. Be the Lamb and/or Owl (the other animals don’t work)
  2. Compromise sometimes means the other person gets their way. (and it’s okay!)
  3. Communicate at level 5 always (even when you don’t feel like going upstairs)
  4. When you come to an agreement keep it (and forget the other options you passed over – they are no longer relevant or helpful)
  5. Talk about your budget (yeah that means together)
Well, If I can do these things and keep Jesus at the CENTER of 1-5 and all the rest that well follow, then our marriage will keep getting better and better. It’s what we wanted when we said “I Do” and we want it more than ever now and for tomorrow. I’m so happy I have a godly, patient and growing wife! It was a great time for us to stop and refocus.

Ketchup? Yuck!

Maybe the closest thing to a phobia that I have is this; I don’t like ketchup. I didn’t always feel this way. It just is something that has developed in my adult life. Not that I don’t like ketchup on delicious food such as hot dogs and hamburgers, but given the choice I’d rather have BBQ sauce or spicy mustard. What can I say? I’m complicated.
But here is what I can’t stand:

The smell of ketchup!
Ketchup, gooey and sticky around the lid of the ketchup bottle!
Ketchup dripped on the floor, now on my shoe!
Ketchup drops on the counter, on the table, on the island!
Ketchup now on my sleeve!
Ketchup on the wash rag that wasn’t rinsed after cleaning up spilled ketchup!
Ketchup now on my hands!
Wash my hands with soap and water, but they still smell like KETCHUP!

To me ketchup is like a real life miniature version of the old sci-ficharacter THE BLOB! Touch it and it sticks to you and will not come off. Pretty soon it’s everywhere, all over your fingers and elbows, clothes. Of course the smell never goes away! It reminds me of a painful grade school memory when someone stomped a ketchup packet and it sprayed all over my shoes and pant legs. The smell reminded me of the humiliation all…day…long…

Tomatoes are a wonderful vegetable, er, um, fruit (whatever). The best tomatoes come fresh from the garden and usually you have to wait until July. So sad that they have to ship them green so that they don’t rot before they reach the grocer. The Problem is they never taste any good from the store because of this. So I only eat tomatoes from July – September. Not Good Enough! I suppose that is why someone came up with the solution of pureeing fresh tomatoes and adding them to the recipe for glue!That just irreverent!

Beyond the gross qualities of it, getting ketchup as a topping is like watching black and white TV in an age of advanced 3D television technology. When I use ketchup as a topping it is more for the sentimental value it adds remembering childhood bonfire and hot dog roasts. If you dislike plain off-white wall color spanning the walls throughout the inside of your home, that’s how I feel about ketchup. BuhLah! (that’s blah emphasizing both syllables)

The final reason I dislike ketchup so much is the word association of it all. It reminds me how many of my goals I’m behind on; books to read, songs to learn, people to know better, prayers to pray, scripture to memorize, new worship artists to listen to, send that email, make this contact…. it’s overwhelming! I Have To Ketchup! I mean Catch Up!

Take it one day at a time sounds so cliche, but it’s something to keep in mind. God never said we were to “get it all” and “get it all done” in 24 hours. I believe each lesson, every growth experience is to be savored, because it is an encounter with the almighty. There is no such thing as microwave discipleship. And even if there was, I’m not sure I’d like it very much. Like the juicy tomato ripened on the vine after months of feeding and watering, sunshine and rain, savor every bite. Take it in and be reminded of the rewards of the slow and laborious process. I might be behind on my goals and on lessons I wish I had already learned, but the answer isn’t to get all caught up in a single day or even a single week. Rather, the slower, more intentional route is the way to go. One day at a time, one lesson at a time. Steady growth that lasts. That’s something I can appreciate.

(No ketchup was ingested during the writing of this blog)