It is both good and important to keep our eyes on the horizon; to have the goal in mind and the vision of how to get there. Indeed, I'd say it is in our nature to do so, for even Proverbs reminds us, that man makes plans in His heart, but the Lord directs His steps.
As such, then, there is a reason for God's focus illuminating our steps and lighting our path, rather than the whole of what lies before us. God is concerned with journey; with the process. Everything has a divine purpose.
There is no waste with God, but plenty of recycling with the events and circumstances of our lives.
The power of His lighting our current position and what lies immediately before and around us, is that we would know specifically where to next as we follow His leading and prompting.
Many years ago, Petra released the song Minefield, and it talks about how life is just that, that the enemy has laid traps and "mines" literally throughout our lives, in order that he may ruin, destroy and kill. Yet if we are so focused on the end result that we miss where we are today and what God has for us now, how we will know where the mines are?
Scripture talks many times of stumbling blocks; how to avoid them yourselves, as well as how not to be one for those around you. Yet like the mines, if the path that awaits your next step is not lit, how will you what to avoid? How will you know what not to become. How will you be aware of that which you could caution others in their lives? Quite simply... you can't.
So, on this #deaconThursday, pray for our church leaders. May God continue to be the light and lamp in their lives; that they would miss the mines that would utterly change their life. Pray that would not stumble, nor cause others to do the same. Pray they would not be frustrated with not being able to see farther ahead or having better understanding of their circumstances. May they continue to trust God for where they are today, how God is working today and that He still holds tomorrow... knowing full well in advance, of all that we have need of to live in Godliness.
A light to our feet
A lamp to our path,
That our steps would be directed of God.
In spite of the plans we make in our hearts.
May we ever stay close to hear His voice
And follow His leading and prompting.
For His glory.
If we have learned anything in recent weeks, it stands in the power of confession and also, the importance of confession. The flip side of that power, also happens to reveal people's motivation for concealment.
Is it not amazing then, that God, who has reason to withhold grace and forgiveness from humanity is the first in line to offer the same to the one who is willing to humble themselves.
Yet, whether one has committed a wrong or been the recipient of wrong, pride stands before both, resolved to keep both parties silent.
However, both sides stand before God as He desires to work in both their hearts and their minds. And that process does not happen as long as we remain focused on what the other party has done or said or corrected.
Meanwhile, there is freedom in the truth, but it accomplishes nothing, let alone any good, if it is never spoken or communicated. And while there is a timing element to effective communication, communication that is significantly hindered or delayed simply raises questions of speculation and doubt with regards to accuracy and credibility. This is rarely helpful to the process and the hopes of any sort of resolution.
The relationship with pastors?
Pride, confession, transparency, credibility... these are the struggles and traits that are both desired and problematic for our pastors and church leadership as much as it is for our elected officials and other political leaders. If society demands such of it's government, how much more should we expect it from those who lead us into the Kingdom of God?
Let's pray this #youthPastorWednesday, that God would give us clean hands and pure hearts. Pray that pastor would lead and walk with integrity and purity. Pray for a continued spirit of humility; that pride would not derail or utterly destroy the work and ministry to which they have been called. May they continue to lead by example, for the generations that follow in their footsteps; that they would learn from both success and failure. May they do more right, than wrong; good than harm; help more than hurt, and build more than destroy.
For Christ came that we may have life
And life more abundantly.
Not as the world gives,
But transformed to those who rely on the power of God.
In all things, may what the enemy meant to destroy us,
Be used for God's divine purposes.
Yesterday morning's message has kinda stuck with me, as we are already almost half way through the month that surrounds Christmas. It was an interesting message on the birth of Christ, and particularly, the gathering that occurs at the manger scene.
And while a number of points and applications were made, one understanding in particular stand out, as we once again gather at this page to pray for pastors.
Consider this for a moment...
It's entirely possibly to stand in the awe and wonder of God, while feeling as though you are of little to null value to Him. Furthermore, what happens when that sense of awe and wonder is lost? Who are we? And what are we doing here? Where do I go moving forward?
The hand of God at work in our lives is incredible and why He chooses who He does escapes our comprehension. And yet, we see throughout Scripture what happens when the love and pursuit of God disappears from our lives and what we are doing is nowhere near what He had planned and purposed for our lives. Problems of epic proportions usually ensue.
So will you pray with me, this #seniorPastorMonday? Pray that pastors would neither lose their sense of awe and wonder, nor would they lose their understanding of their value and importance to God. May God strengthen and revive the flame with them regarding their love for God and the work which He has called them. Pray the lies of the enemy and the misleadings of their emotions not detour and derail them to the point of destruction. May this season be a time of drawing ever closer to the presence and power of God at work here on Earth.
Time and again,
May He help us through
And show us the way
That leads us back to Him
As we stand in awe and wonder
Humbled in His presence,
And a part of His grand design.
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.
I was reminded yesterday, of the phrase that has changed the life of Mitch Albom, who did not consider himself a generous person until having spent a considerable amount of time with an individual; the story of which he discusses in his book, Tuesdays With Morrie.
The principle is simply this...
"Giving is living."
Interestingly enough, unbeknownst to him, our worship pastor during this week's Wednesday night service, explained how our lives can be like one of two seas.
We can be like the Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea.
The difference between the two, is the existence of an outlet.
The Dead Sea, does not have one. It continually receives. Water enters. But it never exits. And so the very thing that was meant to bring life and refreshing, ultimately becomes death, because it stops moving; it stops flowing. All because after it has been received, it does not continually release.
Thus, the water loses it's life-giving power and what is meant to be sustained by the water soon becomes constrained by the water.
Conversely, the Sea of Galilee does not experience the phenomenon. For it has an exit. It has a release, from which it gives what it receives. As such, life in that body of water is sustained.
So, it begs the question. If Christ is the Living Water, what is His affect on our lives? Are we giving and releasing, what has been given and received by us? Yes, there is our time, our abilities and our resources, but most importantly, there is the life of Jesus Christ.
Those who refresh others, will themselves, be refreshed.
Pray, this #missionsFriday, that we would be people who would give. Pray for missionaries, that as the give and share the Gospel, that they will be strengthened and renewed. Indeed, may they be refreshed as they give their lives to the work of the Kingdom of God as Christ gave His life for us, that we may live. Pray today would be a trans-formative day as the truth of God is shared and experienced by those who are spiritually dead, they would receive Living Water. May today be a day of miracles; of life, of refreshing, of hope, meaning, clarity and purpose.
For the glory of God
And the cause of Jesus Christ.
John MacArthur has a series titled Walking In Wisdom, and it happens to be the current series being broadcast, that you can listen to from his website, gty.org.
But something truly profound was explained as I listened to the sermon that played yesterday, and it was John's explanation of the phrase and specifically, the difference between the Greek and Hebrew meaning.
We've talked and prayed on numerous occasions on the topic of wisdom, both possessing it and the application that follows from utilizing it. Whether for the pastor or their advisors, wisdom is crucial.
While MacArthur points out that we have all that we need in Christ, which is profound in it's own right, as we so often think that God withholds from us upon salvation, it's was nearly as eye-opening as this.
To the Greeks, walking in wisdom is an intellectual exercise. It's thought, theory, experience and mental understanding.
To the Hebrews, though... this is very cool. To walk in wisdom is to align with divine life principles.
Isn't that amazing. MacArthur further explains that Proverbs 2 could very well be the commentary for Ephesians 5:15.
Meanwhile, Proverbs 2 is practically a detailed blueprint on how to do just that.
Walk. Circumspectly. In Wisdom. In alignment with divine principles, for the duration of life.
So, let's pray, this #deaconThursday, that church leadership would not only possess knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the intellectual kind; but that they would daily align and re-align when and where necessary, to the divine life principles of the Word of God. Pray they would not try to live life by their own strength, insight or perspective. May they be led of the Spirit, in every arena, in every circumstance, in every conversation, decision and outcome.
Not as the world understands wisdom,
But as God has granted unto them
Through the power of Christ at work in their lives.
For the glory of God.
I heard something yesterday that was yet another reminder of a profound truth.
People, much like items and events, can be useful in the positive sense or useless in the negative sense.
Everything has a purpose, a reason for existence.
Yet when it is not fulfilling its' purpose, is it really useful?
What's worse, when moving in the opposite direction, it makes things feel as though there degrees of uselessness. Like it's possible for an on/off switch to be more than a binary state or for there to be levels of darkness.
There difference between usage, as to whether the impact is useful or useless depends on it's position in light of eternity.
It is not possible for someone to be useful to the cause of Jesus Christ while they are dead in their sin; alive albeit in an unrepentant state.
However, no matter how long one has been walking with God, it's entirely possible to find ourselves in places, positions and relationships that hinder the power of our usefulness to the work of Jesus Christ. And that is a dangerous place to find one's self.
On that note of self-reflection, that's pray this #youthPastorWednesday, that pastors would not find themselves in places and relationships that would hinder or detract from their usefulness to the ministry. Pray for an every increasing sensitivity to the moving of the Holy Spirit in their faith. Pray for wisdom and discernment as they lead; to speak into the lives within their influence and under their ministry, to spur them towards greater usefulness for the kingdom of God. May they not be distracted, detoured or derailed; God forbid we would hear anything close to "you useless servant".
Instead, may it be nothing short of "good and faithful".
Used by God
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
For the cause of Jesus Christ,
To the glory of God, our Father.
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.
So, I'm watching the news late last night, which I don't normally do, whether late news or the regular evening hour, and it's simply unbelievable. Of course, you are hearing the stories and reading the reports and opinions and social media is outraged... again, on both sides of the issues.
And as I considered what might be in store for #missionsFriday after a number of different ideas had roamed around, but never really developed, I had an epiphany on the short commute home from work.
Are you ready? Here it is.
What happens in Genesis, if Adam and Eve, immediately upon recognizing that they had disobeyed God, went and called upon His name.
"Lord, we did a thing. In fact, not just any thing; but the very specific, single thing you told us not to engage in."
We're witnessing, as if we needed more evidence, what happens when wrongdoings are discovered after the fact, apparently even years and decades later. Far less frequently do we witness the outcome when confession of wrongdoing and more importantly, sin, is quick and immediate.
Meanwhile, society and culture continue to want less to do with God, the people of God and the application of Biblical principles while we discuss and surmise solutions to a flawed humanity with a sinful nature. It's both sad and frustrating to watch.
That said, here is the power and motivation of the Gospel. If we fear the public's response to the degree that we keep the wrong that lies within us under silence, how much more, should God's response to the unconfessed sin in our lives, both for the believer and non-believer, be problematic for our conscience?
Positions of prominence and influence aside, how quickly should we desire to come clean with God, as well as help others do the same.
On this #missionsFriday, pray for quickening in hearts, minds and spirits; that regardless of the status of one's relationship with God, people would find themselves in a place and posture of confession. Pray for a revelation, that humanity will never "find" a solution for any of our moral ailments until we experience a return to repentance. Pray for missionaries, both at home and abroad, who are on the front lines of speaking into the lives of those who have no concept or understanding of God and the power of Jesus Christ.
May today be a banner day for the kingdom of God
That many would not wait to be found by God,
But to seek Him first of their own volition.
For we are desperately flawed and hopelessly in need of a Savior.
May we not wait another minute.
To experience the love, grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Have you noticed... every thing takes time.
Depth of character.
It's funny... any time a process or undertaking begins, we talk about starting strong. In reality, the beginning point of everything happens from a place of weakness. The comforting, yet anxiety-producing words that there is a first time for everything are never offered to one who is experienced, knowledgeable, prepared and equipped. In fact, they are spoken when the exact opposite is true.
Likewise the maturity, strength and perseverance that comes through a habit and life of prayer takes time. But it starts with building a habit. It also requires possessing a persistent spirit that desires to integrate it in to a life-long process.
I heard an interesting proposition by a pastor yesterday, who in his conversations with those in his circle, asked, who has prayed fervently for 40 consecutive days? And out of those he spoke, the only "yes" response, was from his wife.
For even as a pastors, he acknowledged an unbroken 40-day period of fervent prayer is neither easy, nor quick. Nor is it process that happens quickly. It's a daunting task for the busy and stressed believer. How much more in the midst of the demands of ministry? Yet, prayer must be the priority. For how will our communication with humanity be strong and effective if our communication with God is neither a paramount, nor fervent?
Pray, this #youthPastorWednesday for pastors that perhaps frustrated with their prayer lives. Pray that God would give them insight to anything that may be standing in the way of brave and fervent prayers. May God remove the obstacles and hindrances that stand in the way to the development and maturity of their faith. Pray for a resolute spirit and a focused intensity as they seek the face of God and continually place Him first. May God help them to bring a balance in the areas of life that are not operating in a such an existence; that they may operate from a place of health and strength as they move forward in the calling and purpose that God has for their lives and ministries.
For we are never done growing.
Whether up in our faith,
Our the depths of understanding,
The breadth of perspective
Or the strength of our resolve.
For the glory of God.
I posted last night this thought... #ineedalist4mylists, in recognition of the craziness that seems to be close to unfolding in coming days and weeks. The holiday season is busy for everyone; some more than others when it comes to events and gatherings, whether of a personal or professional manner. Then there's the major life events that occur, normally throughout the rest of the year... specifically so that the holiday season can be somewhat enjoyed, rather than an all-out frenzy.
Regardless the focus of what needs to be done can very quickly diminish the wonder and awe of the moment and I would dare bet, that the more items that exist on those lists, the quicker the diminishing of the moment happens.
Thus, we while we may be effective and perhaps even efficient, in terms of taking care of what needs to be done, we will be miserable the entire time... for we most likely will have missed the joy of giving, care, sharing and serving with those around us.
I'm certainly prone to missing the mark in the coming days and perhaps you've done so, as well. Certainly, as churches and ministries head into their own craziness of events and outreaches, the same can occur on their campuses... at a time and season that is critical in the spiritual realm.
So pray, this #effectiveSunday, as we enter the Christmas season, that the lists will not overpower and detract our focus to minister and to be a blessing. Pray once again, for an increased awareness to share life and love as a representation of Christ. Pray for the preparation of hearts and minds; who have given up on God and lost hope for humanity. Starting today, pray that the process of healing and restoration would begin for those who've lost the joy and purpose of life and faith.
May today be the start of a miracle
And a season of miracles.
Filled with awe and wonder
At the mention of the name of Jesus.
For the honor and glory of God Almighty.
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.
What a week this has been. And while I'm incredibly grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us, including the major miracle that God has orchestrated in the past seven days in the life of my family, I can't help put look at the troubling times of society.
We reflect on this day of thanksgiving for how God has blessed this nation and the men and women who led the early stages and built a country to which many across the globe still aspire to be a part of, despite our flaws and failures.
Yet I can't help but wonder, as there is much confusion among the younger generation of men and now the reckoning of the alleged wrong-doings and injustices of the older generation of men. We've always had flaws, imperfections, stupid mistakes and grave decisions.
Decisions that affected their own lives, the lives of their family, the lives of other families, the lives of nations, their relationship with God and the promises He had had given them. Yet God still used them. Their lives weren't without consequence, nor did the society of the day banish them to the deep recesses of obscurity.
In spite of epic proportions of tragedy, stupidity and sin, the patriarchs of the Bible were and are still revered, respected and learned from even to this day.
Thus, on this Thanksgiving #deaconThurday, I ask you this...where are today's Patriarchs?
The movement to "rise up" seems to have a relentless mission to "tear down".
We have failed to recognize (or remember) that it is God who raises leaders, establishes government and places those leaders in positions of authority. And while many have corrupted and disgraced their positions, today's society has not only removed God from being able to deal with such people, but we've gone so far as to convict them in the court of public opinion long before any discussion of legitimate legal proceedings have been pursued.
We have removed the power of grace while people plead for tolerance and understanding.
Confusion clouds clarity for generations until one day, we stand counting our blessings while wondering how we've arrived at this moment.
On this #deaconThursday, we do indeed give thanks to Almighty God for His many blessings and abundant provision. And pray this day for our leadership, both in culture and the church. Pray for leaders who carry out their duty with integrity, honesty and clarity. May there be a respect for what God has created and who he has created for the masculine and feminine sides were not meant to be at war, but to be empowered as they work together... to provide strength where there is weakness, to offer grace where there is failure, to inspire in the face of hopelessness.
May we not rise up in order to tear down,
But to bring others with us as we advance.
Confident in the calling and purpose God has given.
Clear in our identity as found in Jesus Christ.
Not that we would be men and women of perfection,
But of the righteousness of God
For His glory and honor.
Happy Thanksgiving. God blessing and favor upon your lives, homes, and communities.
Well, I don't know about you, but we experienced an incredible move of God yesterday morning during our service. I hope, trust and pray that you did as well.
So powerful was the time of prayer at the altar towards the end of praise and worship portion, that Pastor stood on the platform announcing that he felt impressed to hold of his sermon until next week. In an effort to "not break the Spirit", he reiterated the very simple truth... that even from the pulpit, it's possible to speak the right thing at the wrong time.
So he tabled the sermon. Followed by asking what the congregation was asking, which was, well, what are you preaching? For a man who admitted he didn't have any idea, God gave him something pretty quick to speak on.
And man, what a great word it was.
I know that such happenings are not the norm for every service, nor probably are they for every church. I get that.
But I relay this experience to share that the church as whole can truly miss out on the presence and power of God in their individual lives and their corporate gatherings by sticking to the plan. In fact, as I was sitting down to type this, I was reminded of the verse that talks about how man makes plans in his heart, but God guide his steps.
Every member of the body of Christ would do well to remember that at any time on any given day, God could speak... "while you may think you're going in that direction doing this, we're actually gonna go over there and do that instead."
And I say that as I feel changes on the horizon even in my own life... and God could switch thing up fast. Of course, if I'm not sensitive to His moving, perhaps this moment in my life is His switching up and if I weren't open to it, I'd be missing it. So we'll see what God has in store.
But that requires an open spirit to the leading of His Spirit.
On this #seniorPastorMonday, pray that pastors would never lose their sensitivity to the moving hand of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit; both in their own lives and in their leadership of the church. Pray for those who have lost it or are feeling distant. May there be a turning point in their hearts and minds, ever closer towards God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray they would not be so set in their ways and plans that the miss some incredibly profound and powerful moments of His presence and His Word as it relates to what God is speaking and doing in the world. Both locally and globally, may we see His Hand lead, guide and move afresh upon the land.
For the glory of God
By the power of the Holy Spirit
For the cause of Jesus Christ.
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.
While listening to the Dave Ramsey show yesterday on the radio (which I encourage everyone today) I was reminded of just how simple (and easy) it is to speak life into those who aren't feeling alive. Whether it be having an off-day or borderline despair, what does it really cost to say "I believe in you."
We are so quick to allow our frustrations and emotions dominate our day... and they dominate our day, because of our mind and where we allow it to go. We hear, acknowledge and conform to the message of society that is focused on rights and offenses and the correction of all sorts of injustices. And I'm not saying there's not a legitimate element there and a time and place for such a discussion. However, we are to be people who are transformed by the renewing of our mind.
It costs us nothing to believe in those around us.
However, it did cost Christ everything to send the message that God believes in us and that we are too believe in Him.
There is not one human experience or emotion that Christ hasn't endured. Rejection, betrayal, loneliness, homelessness, false accusation (by both the establishment and public opinion).
Yet I heard a powerful explanation regarding the Christian faith.
Jesus is not in Heaven pleading with the Father to add one more name in the Book of Life.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to plead with man to call on the Father that their name would be added.
The responsibility to accept Christ is on humanity, yet the power of Christianity is in the relationship established through testimony. I've been where you are, yet I believe...
So pray, this #missionsFriday, for missionaries who are working to advance the Gospel. May they be strength and encouraged as they work to build relationships and communicate the power of the Gospel of Christ to an ever-increase world who needs to know they need Jesus. Pray for hearts and minds of lives who are search for answers and understanding. May today be the day they come to know the person of Jesus Christ. For those missionaries struggling with burnout and tiredness, may they rely anew on the power of God; to rise one more day, call on the name of the Lord and believe in the power of God that today would be a day of the miraculous as lives as transformed.
Indeed, may people not conform to the world,
But transformed; by the power of God
May His Word come alive in hearts
And active in our lives.
That they world would see
They need Jesus.
I had an interesting thought yesterday afternoon, as I was listening to the political discussion of the day.
What if the nation of Israel responded to the failures and faults of its' leadership in like manner as we do in modern society with our leadership, both in the culture of politics and the church?
Can you see the headlines of the Israeli Times during King David's reign?
A Royal Affair to Remember. Our only question, what really happened with Uriah?
Or these other potential breaking news reports:
Moses banned from entering Promised Land for having disobeyed direct instruction from God.
E!'s True Israeli Story: One Fatal Haircut.
The First 48 Hours: Egyptian officials have no leads on the guard found dead; buried in sand.
And hundreds of others.
And yet, today's news and society, critics on every level, from every perspective and belief are quick to judge guilty without the full story. From the worst kinds of evil, to the slightest hint of impropriety, we go to town on our leadership as if we could do better without any wrongdoing of any sort if only given the chance to fill such shoes. Yet knowing the scrutiny we would be subject to, we decide not to risk it... choosing instead to join the ranks of those who point fingers.
Public opinion condemnation seems to stand with greater authority and impact than any judge or court could enforce; let alone what God would do, where He to release the restraint of His wrath and judgement, of which no one would outrun, escape, nor explain with any decent and reasonable justification should we be given any period of time to do so.
Pray, this #associatePastorTuesday for our leadership. May God guard their hearts and minds as they continue to do the work of ministry to which He has called them. Pray they would live and stand above reproach; not that their lives are perfect, but that they would not fall to the moral trappings and temptations that have taken down such good leadership in days gone past. Pray that God would help the church to use wisdom and discernment in our criticism, as well as our support, of both the leaders of the church as well as those in government. Pray for both current and future pastors; that they would remain committed to the truth of God's Word, to the ministries of the church and most importantly, to their families.
For what is unstable in private settings
Will become disruptive in public.
May we stand firm in the faith
As we rely upon God alone.
That His name would be lifted up
Despite our flawed humanity.
A friend of mine who is the President of a Christian university posted recently on a blog post that highlighted the current situation in Canada. They have essentially denied adoption privileges to a couple, because of their religious beliefs.
Over the course of the adoption, their views on sexuality and marriage became an issue during the process. As it was explained to the couple, their religious beliefs regarding sexuality were incompatible with the adoption process"
Needless to say, this is kind of a scary, and dangerous issue should culture continue on this trend.
So, my friend receives a comment from a young man who is prepping for ministry. When it was all said and done, it left my friend in a sad and disheartened realization. The young man thought posting the article was an act of "fear mongering" and as such, he was ashamed to be associated with anyone who would write such a piece or advance it's message by posting it on social media.
On this #seniorPastorMonday, this is why we pray for pastors. It's not so they continue to teach and preach acccording to tradition and preference and any one's personal understanding or experience. It's that they preach the Word of God. It's that they preach Biblical principles.
God instituted family.
The Bible states that true religion is caring for orphans and widows.
How will the church and the Christian community care for kids in need through the avenue of foster care and adoption if the state calls the faith to be incompatible with the process. What happened to the world's position on humanity not being in alignment with the Creator of said humanity? Furthermore, what happens if the church and it's leadership continues to look more like the conforming to society's perspective and understanding than the truth?
I get that the truth is uncomfortable. But it is where freedom lives. Otherwise we are slaves to a lie, and ultimately, to the many that follow.
Let's pray, this #seniorPastorMonday, that our pastors would be people who would not be afraid to take a stand and continue to declare truth. Pray for our future leaders, that they would know the truth, even in the face of a culture that pushes for them to conform, even they aren't so forthcoming in calling it as such. Pray the church would indeed be leaders in compassion and love, leading with integrity, grace and honesty... even when the conversation is uncomfortable. May God continue to grant wisdom to the church and leadership; that we would not be disheartened, nor dismayed.
For we know in whom we have believed.
We know to what we have been called.
We know Him who has created and redeemed us.
By His love. By His grace. For His glory.
One of the Christmas movies that's been playing already as we enter the holiday season, as been about a corporate exec's search for the perfect Christmas tree to put in their company's business plaza in downtown Chicago. The tree they had planned to use at the beginning of the movie got damaged in transit and thus, the deadline began to find another.
They do, but the family has close ties to the tree and it's hard for them to consider donating it to the cause. But as the story unfolds, the family talks about how the grandfather and grandmother had planted the tree decades ago, and were growing old together, watching their tree grow.
Effectiveness and growth is a long-term prospect. It requires vision. It requires hard work. It requires patience.
Most have a positive outlook and dream for such things. Yet, sadly as I look throughout this post-modern culture and society, I see more and more evidence that there are many who have a vision towards destruction and demise.
It certainly does appear there is an agenda, despite the confessions of many who seem to deny it. And I don't mean for this post to be to lean and move in that direction, except to point out that society's prolonged moved away from the things of God seems to be more effective than the calling and commission of the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, on this #effectiveSunday, pray for a renewed commitment to the ministries of the church and the advancement of the Gospel. Pray today would be a day that lives are forever changed and transformed as the truth of Jesus Christ goes forth. Throughout the day, may hearts and minds be opened to receive from the Lord as much as they are to receive from that which society presents, which is detrimental to and decay for the soul. May God go before us in our efforts as we seek His face and rely upon Him to strengthen us each and every day.
To be about the work of the Lord
Despite culture's efforts to hinder the Gospel.
Though they are strength,
We can do all things through Christ who strengths us.
For the glory of God the Father
And the cause of Jesus Christ.
I'm letting you know now, I'm developing this thought process as I type and literally have no idea, where God will take this. I simply know what stood out to me, as I read from Numbers 20 yesterday afternoon.
It's the passing of Aaron, for the disobedience of he and his brother Moses, regarding God's instruction of speaking to the rock after Israel's complaining of the wilderness. Of course, Moses still has a few more years, before his passing, as he too, obviously is not allowed to enter the Promised Land, for the same point of disobedience.
So often we look at the failures and fall-outs of church leadership and think it's all on the Pastors. But it's not. Aaron's story reminds us that advisors and counselors to the leadership are just as much held accountable.
Miriam's death, Aaron's death and ultimately Moses' death was a signal to Israel. God was and remains serious about His instructions and the follow-through, thereof.
I read an interesting blog post that explains this passage. Among the things that it points out, was Moses couldn't lead them into the land, as a representation of the Law. Miriam couldn't, as a representation of the prophets. And Aaron could not do so either, as the priest. Furthermore, the ceremony at the end of that passage, where the priesthood is transferred from Aaron to Eleazar, shows us that our relationship with God is not dependent upon the person. The office of the priest is higher than the flawed person who holds it.
Thus, it really is a pretty incredible concept that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, as well as the fulfillment of the Law.
That said... flawed people remain leading the people of God. And we too, are often as discontented and difficult as the Nation was for Moses and Aaron.
And on that note... let's pray this #deaconThursday for our flawed leadership. Pray that they would be men and woman who would not only hear from the Lord, but do and be as He directs and speaks into their lives. Pray that God would help them to seek and give wise counsel, rather than be persuaded by a frustrated and discontented people. Pray for a healthy respect and understanding of the office of authority that God has established, even when the people who hold the office miss the mark, even on a grand scale.
That we would not only hear the voice of God,
But follow it as well.
Our relationship with God forever strengthened.
For the plans and purposes of God.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.