I don't know how many of you listen to talk radio, but on occasion, I catch The Savage Nation, with nationally syndicated radio host, Michael Savage. It's an interesting show, because he covers a broad range of topics and perspectives, with a foundation of "borders, language and culture", but it's not all politics, either. Having said that, Michael DelGiorno, a host out of Nashville filled in for him on Friday. And if you can find it, it was a great three hours of radio.
It's a touchy subject, but he got to talking about identity. And in particular, the whole guilt movement that is going on about the color of peoples skin. Not racism, but white guilt. Like the restaurant that is charging a premium for their meals to those of Caucasian descent. Yes, you read that right... 12 or 18 bucks for dinner, becomes 30 bucks if you are white.
I only mention this, though, because of DelGiorno's response.
I'm a husband, a father, a Christian, a radio host... he rattled off a couple of others, but those were at the top of list. He follows up the point by saying, "I don't know how far down the list I get until I come to "I'm a republican and even farther to "I'm white".
And as we discuss community, isn't it amazing what and how we identify and how quickly we are to share such identity. In the status of our relationships, the state of our gender or sexuality, or position of influence or prominence in society, our associations, our employers, the loyalty to our favorite consumer brand of whatever it is that is of great importance to you... even our church affiliation, and heaven forbid, political bent!
In eternity, there will be but two.
One identity. Two states of existence.
In the words of Gene Hackman's character in the movie Runaway Jury, "everything is colored bubbles."
On this #communitySaturday, pray that we not get hung up and caught up in the colored bubbles of life. Pray an awareness of our human condition before God. Pray that people would be prompted to act upon the knowledge of broken and fallen state. May God heal our people and our land, as we come before Him with a broken and contrite heart; in repentance of our sin and in need of the saving and redeeming grace of the cross of Christ.
Are you the Lord God Almighty?
Worthy is the Lamb,
For you are Holy.
Isn't interesting that people and society for that matter, always seem to express what they think they need when it comes to solving problems and perhaps even preventing them in the first place, yet they pick and choose whose solutions and ideas are acceptable.
We've talked about solutions and the problems that require them in recent weeks and even as it relates to impacting community. And I hope you've have noticed the care that I have attempted to walk in terms of not stepping into politics while calling for prayer.
That said, society seems overtly concerned with fixing real problems with false solutions. Granted, they aren't entirely false. There are elements of truth in them and perhaps elements and conditions that will actually work.
However, if we are not truthful regarding the condition of the problem, then it's impossible to be find a truly effective solution. Furthermore, it hinders the conversation of what can be done in terms of prevention.
Equally hindering the overall conversation is the power of offense. People shut down when they are offended. They walk away. They dismiss the perspective and insight of the other party; rather than working to find solid, common ground and a premise that both sides can work from.
If such an understanding isn't created and established, then we have a never-ending tug-o-war of words. Politically. Spiritually. And any other arena of life, for that matter. Communication is meaningless if it is full of feelings and half-truths, rather than facts and full truth.
And that is the problem. The truth offends. Thus, in a society that places great emphasis on trying not to offend, we increase the odds of our avoiding the truth... both in speaking it and responding accordingly to it.
So... on this #communitySaturday, let's pray the people of God would continue to be people that would speak the truth, and yes, in a spirit of love. May God help us to not remain silent, but to be bold. May the fear of people's being offended not prevent us from showing them God's and speaking His Word. In a world seeking answers to the most pressing issues of our life and times, may our lives reflect the love and character of Christ.
For our faith doesn't absolve us from problems
But focuses our attention to Him who can handle all our cares.
That we cast them at His feet
And worship at His throne of grace.
For we all need to hear the truth
That our sin has offended Him.
May God heal our land as we turn in repentance.
The family and I went out to breakfast on this #communitySaturday. Not unusual, except this was a "new to us" community.
And the food was really good. Small and it was packed upon our arrival, but we waited. And it got me thinking... in particular about how businesses position themselves as "feeling like home". Having recently moved, this is a phenomenon that I'm sensitive to of late.
What is interesting though, is that we step into the public square wanting to feel as though we are home. And I ask, why not experience community at home? Who doesn't love to gather with family and friends from the comfort of their own kitchen and couch?
The early church did. And today's churches are increasingly building relationships within their church by the congregation meeting in homes as a way to build deeper connections among the people of God. It also gives opportunity to truly invite community to hang out and do life with the community of believers without walking into the doors of the sanctuary.
So, one simple question... is your home a place for community to exist beyond the people you call family? It can be. It should be. It's what I hope our place will be.
Pray this #communitySaturday that the church would greatly impact their community through their involvement in every day life. May open our hearts and our homes, to be the hands and feet of those in need, whether of great and obvious needs or simply building friendship by being friendly. Pray God would grant us favor with our neighbors, to reflect the character of Christ, never knowing what, when and how God might be working in their lives. May God use His church to change the world as they are open to living a real faith in a real God while experiencing real life.
For the glory of God
And the cause of Jesus Christ.
It's been a long and full #communitySaturday and I offer my apologies, but life planned a full day and time ran away.
That said, social media brought to the forefront, the reminder given to us in the book of John.
Verse 5 of chapter 1, describes the relationship between light and darkness.3
The light shines, which is its' job, as you well know.
The darkness however, struggles. Not to be changed, challenged, illuminated or impacted.
The darkness can't comprehend. It doesn't understand.
It's been said that knowledge is power, but in reality, it's applied knowledge that is power. Furthermore, it's applied knowledge that leads to wisdom.
But one has to get there.
And while the people of God may be the light of the world, all too often we try to do more than what God has asked and called us to be.
A shining light.
If we aren't shining, anything else we do and whatever the reasons for doing so, really don't matter much. We may think they do, but ultimately, it's secondary and this, perhaps not the best or most effective thing we can do for the kingdom.
So, on this #communitySaturday, pray that we would indeed be the light of the world. Pray that we would be effective in our efforts to shine. May we not get wrapped up in other agendas or causes hoping our shining will influence or affect some other result. Pray that we would allow the Holy Spirit to do its' job as we live faithfully to that which we've been called. May life not overwhelm, distract and disrupt us to the point that our light flutters or worse, fails, in directing people to the person of Jesus Christ.
For the glory of God
For the advancement of the kingdom of heaven.
**editor note: apologies for the map. Can't get rid of it from my phone, as I'm typing this.
There's community of all kinds.
Online. Offline. In-line. And in every one of those scenarios, is someone who will get "out of line". And as we navigate these difficult and challenging daya, I'm reminded of the advice I started giving my kids a couple of years ago. "Don't be a jerk on purpose."
There are many other things we can be those around us. Whether family or friends, co-workers or colleagues, neighbors or strangers, we can make the good and right choice.
As believers in God and followers of Christ, we can choose kindness. Compassion. And most importantly, truth.
It's not always easy. It's not always pleasant. It is almost always necessary. In a work becoming more troubled by the moment, would could be more important than the power of relationship and pointing and encouraging others to Christ?
On this #communitySaturday, pray that we would lead people closer to Christ. May we not be the reason people are pushed away or turned off to God, but drawn and desirous of more. Pray we would be the community that attracts, not because of our goodness, efforts and whatever appeal people may have, but because of the grace of God and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. May the church impact community by being the best example of community.
For the glory of God
To the testament of Jesus Christ
With the help of the Holy Spirit.
A light on the hill, unhidden.
There's not much in secular music that I listen to these days, at least not that which is accompanied by vocals. And for the most, that which I do listen to is the stuff that had a great sound when it was new.
Take for instance, what played this morning courtesy of Pandora... Tears for Fears classic hit, Everybody Want To Rule The World.
I listened to the lyrics in light of community and reflected on both the truth and reality of this song.
Yes, everybody wants to rule. However, not everyone should.
Furthermore, when you consider the people who have most impacted your live for the better, have been people who have lived and led from an understanding and applied attitude of service. Whether for God or country, the greater good of humanity or the betterment of society, at the foundation of it all is a desire to serve that is the result of a heart driven to love.
What better way to live? And how many more days must we endure that will remind us that this is how we should be?
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that the people of God in particular, would be those who would live and lead with a heart of love. May we serve with an attitude and an understanding that there is a purpose and a calling beyond ourselves, our self-worth and our own desires. Pray that we draw close to God as we draw close to those around us. May we step on in faith to make impact in the lives of others, wherever and whenever such opportunities would arise. While we may not rule the world, may we change our world.
One day at time.
One moment at a time.
One life at a time.
One conversation at a time.
For the glory of God
And the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven.
.One doesn't have to look very far to notice...
We are not all getting along as much as we like to joke about being able to do so.
The battles exist. On every stage. In every room. In every arena of life. With others, and ourselves.
Victims suffering great loss.
In our world, globally.
In our world, locally.
In politics... we won't go there.
In faith... probably should do that either.
In our relationships... which has as much destruction and suffering as war itself.
In our schools... as if learning was a feat of its' own.
In our workplaces... which made the news yesterday.
In our homes... the one place that should actually be a "safe space".
In our minds... which lasts longer than war itself.
The power of getting through this life and the battles therein, lies the grace that is experienced through laughter. Indeed, it does good like medicine.
Conversely, this is the strategy of every opponent. If he can keep you in a place of being worn out and exhausted, then you are prone to live an existence of hopeless despair and utter defeat. He who does not and can no longer laugh is lost.
In every arena and avenue of life, help always comes from one who is stronger, not weaker. Whatever the struggle, nobody goes to the one who is in worse circumstance, poorer condition or suffering greater loss and defeat to better themselves. However, if we are constantly embattled and consumed with whatever battle is at our door, we will never be able to step out and go across to help the battle of another.
There will always be battles, as there will always be wars, for evil resides among us in the hearts of humanity. Despair looms and defeat awaits; around every corner and intersection. Many we see coming, many more that we do not see. But when laughter is lost in the process, the prospect does not look good; indeed, the outcome looks hopeless.
But to those...
... who rely up on Him are renewed.
... who look to Him are strengthened.
... who call to Him are saved.
... who trust in God, they laugh at the days to come.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that the church would be people who would live and operate from a place of strength. May we engage in such a way as to be an encourage and inspiration to those around us without hope. Pray we would not be so overcome and overwhelmed with our own battles that we miss the opportunities to fight on behalf of those around us and help them win. May despair and defeat be far from our hearts and minds; that we would speak truth and love, encouragement and laughter.
Let the hopeless be filled with hope
Let the defeated overcome.
Let the sad be filled with joy.
And the down-trodden in despair,
Uplifted in laughter.
For His joy is our strength.
Winners. For the glory of God.
I very careful, mentioned early this week, the tragedy that is being dealt with on the campus of Michigan State University.
And yesterday's post, was a quick insight on a life of good-decision making.
Start with 5. Then 50. Then 500.
As I thought about how we are and should be encouraged to make good decisions, in our faith as much as we do every other area of life, I thought about how that influences the lives of others around us.
We often talk and worry about kids hanging out with the wrong crowd. And we don't use that word because the people are bad; but because their behavior is unacceptable or inadvisable. They do not practice wise decisions and sound judgement. And their lives and those who follow in their ways suffer for it.
Conversely, then, there is great power and strength that come from making good decisions and building a culture of encouragement and support of others doing the same.
And how do I know this is true? Well, as stories continue to circulate and speculate regarding MSU, people are even more curious and desirous to know... who know what and when. Who made bad decisions and when and to what level of leadership did bad decision-making continue.
Everyone is asking, when did someone decide to stand up and make the right decision?
The outcome of the aftermath has already begun and who knows what is still to come in the days and weeks ahead.
If an individual can change their life through good decision making, then what changes with 10's, 100's and 1000's of individual coming together to collectively make good decisions?
So, let's pray this #communitySaturday, that we not only make good decisions for ourselves, but build communities and cultures that encourage and perform the same. Pray for sound and Biblical wisdom to permeate our hearts and minds, as we approach and navigate life and circumstance. May conversations be saturated with the truth and the pursuit of truth. Pray that deception and negativity would be far from us. May the power of confession have its' proper place and time when we do miss the mark. Let not failures define us, but may we learn and live forward, to what God has called to do and be in His world.
Wherever we go,
Whatever we do,
Whatever we say;
May it be unto the glory of God
A testament to the work of Christ
By the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today we celebrate the life of someone very special in our family. Birthdays are always a special time to mark and commemorate the passing of another year of life and growth, of lessons and understanding, joy and trouble.
As we gather in the next few hours with family and friends to share in the blessing of enjoying life with this precious soul, I can't help but consider the sovereignty of God and how He moves and ordains our live. Consider those in your life, who you have opportunity to build relationships and friendships through our time on Earth and be the blessing and encouragement we have been called to be and make an eternal impact.
We often don't give it that much thought. We have our friends and others that maybe aren't so close; but so many days pass where we don't truly cherish and enjoy the quality of our life that has been influenced, shaped and changed through the power of strong family and great friends.
All too often it takes extenuating circumstance, great difficulty or special occasions, to remind us that no matter the trouble and trial we may face or endure, we have and live a blessed life. Not because of what we have, but because of who we are in God and who we share life with because of the people He has placed in our lives.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that God would help to make the most of the relationships that we have, with both family and friends. May we not take those in our lives for granted, only calling on them in times of great triumph or great tragedy. Pray an ever increasing appreciation for the sovereign hand of God in our lives and His wisdom as to who He places in our lives and how and where He places us in the lives of others. As our paths cross, may God help us and use us to impact those around us for the sake of eternity and the cause of Jesus Christ.
That we would rejoice in the celebration of life
As well as the tragedies that we endure in this life.
For the glory of God
And the advancement of His kingdom.
Who hasn't had a terrible day, week, series of weeks... a seemingly unending barrage of difficult and challenging times that trouble the heart, baffle the mind, unsettle the soul and sandbag your faith.
We get caught off guard when a plan encounters delays, conversations escalate and you find yourself frustrated and out of your mind attempting to understand "what just happened?"
What's funny about the human spirit?
We are informed and aware!
The Bible tells us to not be surprised when trials and trouble comes!
We are then encouraged, in that our present sufferings pale in comparison to the glory that will be revealed in us. In fact, not only do they pale in comparison, "they are not worthy to be compared."
I made the mistake the other day of venting my frustration to a co-worker. And it wasn't that I wasn't being real, or that the circumstance and my response wasn't normal or irrational... but as I thought about it hours later, it didn't display my faith and trust, that all would work out and that God was in control. My reaction was from a place of distraught human emotion, rather than a quiet, spiritual confidence in God.
I heard a message the other day by Joni Eareckson Tada, and if you haven't heard her story, talk about one who is an expert on the topic of suffering. She was talking about how Christ endured His suffering... with obedience.
And I had to ask myself...
How is it that Christ remained obedient while enduring His suffering and yet we all to often stand in defiance at the first sight of suffering.
And as we relate to our community, knowing that those without faith in God are watching how we respond to life as one having faith in God, how much more should be aware of the impact that our reaction makes on our story.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that God would help us as we continue to walk lives of faith as we face great difficulty, challenge and suffering. May we ever be reminded that the future glory is greater. While life is real and the struggle is hard, may we respond from the strength of our faith rather than the weakness of emotion. Pray the power of the Holy Spirit would help us to walk in obedience in the midst of our suffering. May we live and display an attitude of grace, even when it's the last thing we desire to show.
That we would display Christ first.
For our life is not our own.
We are His and our lives for His glory.
Even in suffering.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
So I happened to catch a radio interview with a pastor by the name of Ted Cunningham, who has authored several books, including one title "Fun Loving You". He has also co-authored books with marriage/relationship guru, Dr. Gary Smalley.
Pastor Cunningham made a statement though, that is both incredibly true and profound that I thought would be great to expound upon, on this #communitySaturday.
"Character trumps compatibility."
Granted, this certainly applies to marriages and relationships of that nature and intent. But I think there's a bigger application when it comes to friends and business and who we surround ourselves with on any given day. We should certainly be the people of character when we find ourselves in scenarios and surroundings where there are those with whom we disagree or don't get along.
That said, we shouldn't become so enthralled with the compatibility element of any relationship, regardless of it's nature, when the evidence of character is lacking.
Yet sadly, we see it all too often. People begin and continue in all nature of relationships in the name of compatibility while we wonder what could exist and be accomplished if we placed greater emphasis on being and developing people of character.
So, a very simple prayer, this #communitySaturday. Pray that as we engage community, may we be people of character. Pray that we would help encourage those around us to be and live as people of character as well. May we lead our homes and families with that focus and teach our children the same. Pray that we would not be so focused on issues of compatibility, and being a right fit or match, but being people of righteousness.
For life gets real
And it is hard
May our focus be on doing right
Rather than living from a place of ease.
For the glory of God.
Community does really take on all forms. The family and I ventured out on a little road trip for the evening and enjoyed it so much, I thought, why haven't we done this sooner?! Then, this morning, on one of the group pages that I'm in on social media, somebody, posted how grateful they were to be a part of the group and experience the online conversation. Around the same time, I discovered the "Electric Holidays" radio station on Pandora and again... how come I didn't find this sooner in my life?!
Last night's road trip reminded me again, of the accomplishments of a small group of people coming together for a single cause, mission or goal. And yet, whatever the purpose and pleasure of the group, it does not happen if people themselves do NOT come together.
And yet, we come together for such great times as Christmas, and again this weekend for New Years. It's easy to engage for the big moments, the big events, the grand holidays. But where and what are we doing the rest of the time. Every other lazy Saturday. The typical Monday morning at work. The Sunday service that isn't holiday-related or themed.
I only ask because 2018 starts in 36 hrs and change.
Are we ready to live differently?
Are we ready to engage differently?
With intentionality and purpose?
With clarity and vision?
What 2018 has in store for you certainly depends on what God desires to accomplish in your life.
It also largely depends on your focus, your attitude and your response as God guides your steps.
On the #communitySaturday before New Year's Eve, pray that we start, this weekend, to engage and live out community with a fresh attitude. May we engage with meaning and purpose, speak with clarity and truth and experience love, grace and forgiveness. Pray that we be a community that reflects Christ and is growing ever closer and deeper in our walk with God. May God work the miraculous in and through lives that are renewed in their resolve to be used for His purposes by by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
May 2018 be a year for breakthrough.
Strongholds are broken
Relationships are restored.
Community is revived.
And life in Christ is lived to the fullest.
For the glory of God.
Community can happen anywhere. Even when you aren't looking. I was reminded of this earlier this week, when at the end of the day Wednesday, the boss says, today is Carol's last day, if you want to say bye before you leave.
Upon walking in, my co-worker and I were greeted with many tears. After 13 years, she was pursuing a career, for which she had put herself through a Master's degree and you would have thought we had walked into a funeral home. I know they were tears of joy as well, for it's an exciting prospect that awaits her, but it was like watching someone who had never been away from their home and friends for more than 48 hours move half way across the globe.
We laughed and joked about it for a few minutes, as it was a priceless moment, but it proves once again, that you never know the strength and power of relationships and the impact you can make me, even when your interactions with someone may either be but for a few minutes a day or hours at a time throughout the day.
So, how does it get built when you aren't noticing that it's happening? It' in the small things.
It costs nothing to be kind.
It takes little effort to smile.
Laughter is medicine.
Speak truth seasoned with grace.
Don't be a jerk on purpose.
I heard in an interesting thought on work relationships the other day, that I thought was good...
Employers get the employees they deserve.
Then I got convicted, and realized that's probably a two-way street. Employees very well receive from their employers what the deserve as well. Thus, if you want better relationships, to an extent it is within the power of the person who desires it to work at improving it.
On this #communitySaturday, whatever "community" looks like, pray that we would engage with kindness. Pray that we would continue to be people who would speak truth seasoned with grace. May we not be people who would come across as people who intentional jerks or mean-spirited, but extend acts of goodness and words of encouragement. Indeed, may be we know by our love, even when it is hard.
That we would live according to the Spirit
Rather than controlled by our flesh.
That Christ would be revealed to others
Through lives devoted to Him.
For the glory of God
And the cause of Jesus Christ.
For the past couple of days, I haven't been able to consider... what if God had a zero tolerance policy? Ultimately, we know He does, because we will all stand in judgement before Him one day.
In the meantime, His grace is abundant; His mercies are new every morning.
This isn't a license to continually make wrong choices, bad decisions and live in conduct contradictory to the Word of God. Sadly that needs to be pointed out, as much, both within the Christian community, as well as society-at-large, use God's grace and mercy to continue in their wrong-doing.
But what if, based solely on the suggestion of wrong-doing, God called deal-breaker, game-over.
No call to repentance.
No opportunity for confession.
No extension of grace.
No gift of forgiveness.
No invitation towards redemption.
As I look at community, whether on-line, or in-person, we seem to be moving ever-farther away from being people of grace, forgiveness and second chances. And please, don't you dare read what I'm not writing. Accountability, transparency, consequences... there are necessary. But if they are not balanced with the knowledge and understanding of the truth, then we are both living and judging lies. Which is hard to do for a people that denies the Truth of God, while claiming some moral grounding that is not grounded in Scripture.
We seem to be running in the dark, rather than walking in the Light.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that would we be seekers of truth. May we be people who would extend grace and forgiveness and seek confession and repentance. Pray that we would be sensitive to the work of God in our own lives as live as examples of what God desires to accomplish to those not living in the redemptive work of the cross of Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit help us to live with an eternal perspective and to be voice of truth in a world of darkness and even darker lies.
For we were once lost,
But have now been found.
Called out of darkness
Into His glorious light.
Having confessed our sins
And redeemed by the blood of Christ.
For the glory of God.
I mentioned Mitch Albom yesterday and if you aren't familiar with him, over the years he has set-up 9 different charities throughout the metro-Detroit area that are focused on meeting the various needs of the poor, from helping with day-care to after school programs, to helping working families get housing to senior citizen and veteran services.
This past Thursday, he held his 6th annual radio-thon fundraiser, by holding a 15-hour long radio show (as his normal radio show is the 2-hr drive home slot). And it was incredible to watch community happen.
For those 15 hours, friends and celebrities, people of influence throughout the city and state and business owners, professional athletes and coaches and team owners... it was utterly flooded by people who came on board to help raise funds. Over 1.2 million dollars!
No admin costs. Nothing owed to anyone else first. 100% straight to meeting the needs.
Of course, they use the funds to help other charities in the area as well, but among the many incredible moments throughout the day was one in particular.
Mitch also has a project in Haiti, taking care of kids and the poor in that country as well. And while he joked about not knowing where they got the money or perhaps they raided his desk down there, the kids from his Haiti program called into the radiothon... to tell him they had collected $200 to help those in need in Detroit.
It was later pointed out, that while it's amazing that people who have been blessed with abundance would be compelled to share with those less fortunate and really, you wouldn't hope or expect anything less. But it seems the more one has, the easier it is to forget how difficult things are when you are without. Thus, we often witness the phenomenon of those who have little for themselves will give, and give generously for those who often have very little or even less than they.
So to hear kids in Haiti respond to a call to help kids in Detroit... well, it was a tear-jerker to say the least.
Mitch's story of how he moved from not being a generous and charitable person to this kind of investment and influence to bring others together to accomplish this good is quite moving. And while I don't know where he stands in his faith with God, I can't help but consider how often the church misses the opportunity to experience community at this level.
Reasons why we can't or don't give. Can't or don't find time. Can't or don't know where to start or how to get help. Yet it's the church that will be known by their love. And many communities don't know the church in that way.
So, on this #communitySaturday, pray that the church would arise anew, to lead in building, sharing, growing and influencing community. May we make the time and financial investment into those in need among us. Pray for opportunities as we forth, to share Christ and experience God. May the excuses end and obedience begin.
For while big contributions are far reaching
Even the smallest gifts can make great impact.
May we do so today.
For the glory of God
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
It's pretty incredible when you think about the power the Bible and the concepts and principles that it presents. And the foundational sequence that I heard explained the other day is one, I can't seem to put away. In fact, I only caught roughly half of it, but that doesn't diminish it's power.
In fact, as I look around at community and culture's frustration with Christianity, the power of this principle is undeniable.
True and perfect love moves us to pursue excellence which results in a life of integrity.
We look at people's shortage or complete lack of integrity and we wonder what went wrong. But if we take a look back, we see the missing element. A pursuit of excellence. Perfection is not a behavior to achieve, but an attitude with which we make our approach. It's not that we don't allow for mistakes and grace. But there's preparation, knowledge and understanding and contingencies to take steps to avoid and manage problems followed by learning and moving forward.
And where does an attitude of excellence come from?
Consider 1 Corinthians 13. Hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things, bears all things. It never fails! It is kind and without envy. It is patient without being puffy. It rejoices in truth.
Love does not settle, nor does it quit.
But this is how it builds.
Thus, when we are not kind, when we do envy, when we are short-fused, when we don't hope, believe and endure... when we rejoice in the iniquity rather than the truth; these things make it near impossible to pursue excellence. Which leaves room for a lifetime of second-best, compromise and some potentially ruinous decisions.
And we're certainly witnessing the fruit of that path, are we not?
So, pray this #communitySaturday, that the community would know the people of God as Christ said they would; by our love. May we lead lives that pursue excellence, not to be better or perfect than those next to us, but that God would be glorified as we give our all in like manner as He gave for us. Pray that we would be prepared to give an answer, as the world recognizes the difference in our lives, that integrity would be a marker that would set us apart... not because we know all, but because we know what the work of Jesus Christ has done in us.
May we be the difference makers the world needs
Because we daily open our hearts to the power of God
To make a difference in our lives.
For His glory alone
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
As I stood at my hometown's Festival of Lights parade last night, a long-standing, Black Friday event, I was reminded just how much power resides in community and that impact of strength in numbers for those who join together.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they come together, both as working towards the goal and as supporters of those doing the work. And yet if the communities of society can come together and spread joy and goodness and enjoyment that is here for a moment, how much more should the community of Christ be about impacting our neighborhoods with eternal joy of Christ and the goodness and grace of Almighty God.
And yet, all too often we are second in such accomplishments, rather than taking the lead. Of course, it's not just around the holiday season that we should be taking the lead, as if special occasion gives us unique opportunity to be more vocal (which is does, as people are more receptive at this time), but the truth and goodness of the Gospel works for any moment in time with which we have opportunity to give an answer for the hope that is within us.
Not just the feel good moments of this life, but the forever goodness of a faith in God through Jesus Christ.
So, pray, this #communitySaturday, that the church would indeed make the most of ever opportunity to be a light in the darkness. May we continue to speak truth to a world lost in a confusion of lies. Pray that we would be a people who shows care and concern, not because of the time of year in which is coming to pass, but because of the love and joy that fills our hearts from what was accomplished on the Black Friday that was the crucifixion of Christ.
A great community in this world.
Not because of the people,
But because of a great God
And the person of Jesus Christ.
In whom we live, move and have our being.
I still have that profound, yet simple concept roaming in the deep recess of my mind that I shared a day or two ago. The weeks continue to pass all too soon, it seems like I only know 3 days that exist and the others, I can't keep track. At any rate... I love this picture.
Jesus is not sitting in heaven, pleading with God the Father to add one more name to the Book.
He did, however, send the Holy Spirit to plead with man, that He would turn to God and repent.
Life is full of choice.
Some are made for us. Some circumstances leave us little to zero options. So "choice" is really the only move available... for even "do nothing" is still a choice; as there's always something that could be done that would simply make matters worse.
What we do, what we say, what we believe, what we engage in, devote ourselves to and invest our lives and resources in... every waking second is a choice.
A moment for God to be glorified.
A moment for God to work the miraculous.
A moment for life and laughter
A moment for trouble and tragedy.
A moment for grace and understanding; love and truth; purpose and calling.
A moment for ministry and testimony.
A moment for relationship, with both God and man.
We don't have time to waste time... writes the man who wastes more time than he cares to admit.
We don't have time to miss on a move of God in our lives and witness the same in the lives of others. Let us draw close to Him while the days draw nearer to His return and closer to those around us, that they too will see and know God for themselves.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, that indeed, the church community would make choices that bring glory to God and display His active role in our lives, regardless of where we find ourselves and what decisions stand before us awaiting our input. May we have the mind of Christ in our conversations and thoughts, as we look to Him to guide and direct our steps. Pray God would help us to be wise stewards, not only with our finances, but also with our time, our knowledge, wisdom and experience, as well as our words and deeds. Pray God would accomplish the miraculous in the lives of those who desperately need Him as we reach out to them, desirous to be used by God for His plans and purposes.
May we be ever-so sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
That we would choose God and seek His face.
And subsequently choose wisely as we live our life.
For His glory and honor.
That humanity would see our lives
And choose God for themselves.
For now throughout eternity.
There's a scene from The West Wing, where President Barlet is standing in the Oval Office with his wife Abbey and at the end of the conversation, she "concedes that she was wrong about the thing" and quickly proceeds to follow it up with "however..."
It is at "however" though, that the President stops her and delivers this brilliance.
"No, no however. You were wrong. Just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and get used to it."
A very lovely, and humor scene of marriage that somehow never quite works out to be so endearing. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. (wink, wink)
We live in a world where certain things are just plain wrong. The problem is we all seem to be in varying degrees of agreement as to what attitudes, behaviors, words and deeds constitute "wrong", both on an individual and cultural basis.
The conversation of course, is getting more and more difficult as we continue to work to communicate with community with the truth and love of God. Yet religious views and political leanings often stand in the way, of hearing, receiving and understanding truth. And it doesn't help that we only seem to allow certain arenas of life to be told where are wrong and by whom. Case in point, some people are commended for pointing out to their bosses that the boss was wrong, other employees are fired for continuing to do things wrong after being told by the boss to stop doing things the wrong way.
In essence, in society's effort to move us toward being more open-minded to differing views we have moved away from being able to receive and make true and positive correction... which everyone seems to be calling, waiting and hoping will happen. Each to their own satisfaction, of course. But alas, only One person can help.
As Herman Cain states in the post I referenced the other day...
"Evil is flourishing and America has made a cultural decision to let that happen, and to reject the God who overcomes it."
So, on this #communitySaturday, would you join me again? Pray that as much as we have made a decision to allow evil, may we equally and just as quickly make a decision to turn from evil and repent of our wickedness. Pray for people's open-mindedness to be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit, and that they would allow the truth and power of God to speak into their lives, hearts and minds. May the church be a source of truth, spoken in love... not as the world defines it, but as Christ calls us to be and live. Indeed, pray for repentance and a turning towards God, not only for America, but for the World.
For He holds us in hands.
We are His workmanship
To be used for His purposes
And His glory.
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Until the whole world knows.
I keep looking at the world and hearing what I often hear with my kids. And I keep wanting to have the same response as the question I ask them.
How hard is it to play nice?
Let me be clear... I'm not talking about "co-existing". And I'm not delving in to that matter here and now. However, for all the national and international debate taking place on any number of issues, at the end of the day, we are responsible first and foremost, for our individual words, attitudes and actions.
And seriously, I know certain people and personalities can rub us the wrong way and strained and stressed relationships of any kind can certainly be difficult to navigate, but how hard is it to smile?
A friendly acknowledgement of the life of another as you walk by each other.
By and large, you'll really notice the couple of seconds or minutes lost, by deferring to another through the simplest of gestures?
Regardless of religion, politics and economic differences, friendliness costs nothing but two seconds to determine every morning that you will display love and respect through the simplest word or deed of kindness.
Society does better than the church... or so it seems some days.
But a few minutes on social media quickly reminds me that the church should be leading the way in this lifestyle. Plus, we are instructed to love God and love our neighbor.
We keep trying to instruct our children to play nice, but we so often fail to do so as adults. And of course, the inconsistent message places them in a position where they are prone to repeat the cycle of broken adults. And sadly, that's what the world is full of.
Broken kids, who've become broken adults, who've in turn raised more broken kids...
And we watch the news and read our newsfeed and wonder what and how the world is and become so broken. Meanwhile, we deny and ignore the only source of healing and restoration.
So, before this post gets any longer, let's pray this #communitySaturday, that God would help us to be the church He has called and purposed us to live... to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. May we be people of kindness as we interact with a world full of broken people and broken kids, living stressed out lives and engaged in strained relationships. Pray that we would be people who would not only reflect Christ, but encourage those around us to engage with Him. May God continue to grant us wisdom and discernment as we live through the current chaos and that He would accomplish the miraculous through our conversations.
That God would go before us,
As we step forward in faith and obedience
To be used for His glory and purpose
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.