Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It is frowned upon at these establishments to "hold the door" for someone who has forgotten or lost their badge. Holding the door leaves the building open to anyone. The one who holds the door better be sure they know who they're letting in, or face the consequences of their boss.
I just realized today as my own badge unlocked a door for me at work...so many try to get to heaven by their own badge. They figure that their accomplishments, their morals or simply being born to Christian parents gives them full access to heaven. But you know what? There is only one who has full access: Jesus. He has full security clearance that gives Him the ultimate access: Heaven's throne. When you realize that's all it takes--you knowing Christ and Christ knowing you--you will have the assurance that one day you'll see Him with His foot in heaven's door and beckoning with an outstretched arm saying, "Come on, I'm holding the door for you!"
Get to know Him today...check out the book of John in the Bible's New Testament.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
There is some background music...if you listen, you will hear it softly say:
Safe Tomorrow , by Lali Puna
Never going anywhere
Never going anywhere
If we meet turn your head
Try to make it home by night
Never going anywhere
Never going anywhere
Don't stop by and get to know
Stuff your memory with facts
Save save save
Save the things you've got
When you walk into this building, there are thousands upon thousands of clear plastic sticks. And inside them you will find a seed. You can only see them from the inside of the building. From the outside, some have described the building as a giant dandelion puff that moves gently in the breeze. But on the inside, there are myriads of seed samples lit from the sunlight outside...they say about 60,000. Amazing shapes, sizes and colors...all packed up and ready to be a tree, a flower or a stalk of grain!
It is a most amazing collection I have ever seen. Each one by itself, mounted and balanced inside a solid piece of plastic, an architectural dream!
And then the song started to make it's way through the awe of the engineering feat before me.
"Never going anywhere" the chorus drones...and my mind sees another cathedral or church with rows upon rows of people in the pews. Each one a unique creation, ready to be planted, but they stay put. (1 Peter 1:23)
"Don't stop by and get to know" another line rolls across my speakers and I see families rushing out of their seats and into their cars to get home for Sunday dinner, soccer games or a movie. My conscience is elbowed--how many times have I lingered to speak to that new visitor that snuck in the back row? (Hebrews 13:2)
"Stuff your memory with facts" the song continues and I see many heads bent to read their Bible, memorize verses, looking at archeology time lines and genealogies. Don't get me wrong, it's good to study...but how good is what you learn until you actually apply it to your Life or share it with someone? (2 Timothy 3:7)
"Save the things you've got" and i am convicted of the stuff in my house that needs to be whittled down. That bookshelf, those clothes and nick-knacks that only catch the dust...time to make room. Do I really need the item if I have the memory? (Luke 12:33)
How long have we been sitting in our own seed cathedrals or churches? We are so well preserved, studious and obedient little seeds...but if you face the facts, we are nothing until we hit the ground! Because it is then that the shell cracks, a root slips out and we start the growth that is so needed in our church today.
Time to step out of your pew Christian...time to be in the World, but not be of the World. Yes, that seed cathedral is beautiful, but the potential for growth that is locked up inside blows my mind.
During this hot summer season may the Holy Spirit breathe on all dandelion puff churches and scatter us onto the ground, where we can grow AND bloom in Christ!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The one issue that kept coming up, was that Paul wanted them all to keep going. He promised that God said no one would be lost, just the cargo and ship. If everyone would stay on board and did their assigned chore, all would live.
It was a huge ship. It carried grain from Egypt to Rome, somewhere from 500-1000 tons of grain. There were 276 men on board for this trip. And Paul said in the middle of hurricane force winds,
"For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'"
You see, when I was driving home, I caught the last words of a sermon on the radio. The pastor was quoting Matthew 24:13, "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."
Which is basically what Paul was telling this crew of 275 men...if you endure, you will save your life. They had to ride out the storm to survive it. Jumping ship would mean death for most, because each crew member and even the soldiers had a task that no one else could do. One missing man could mean death for many.
It is the same for us as a church. We clamber aboard our vessels to sail the seas of God's Word. But when the storms of life start to make us queasy, we want to jump ship and find a better route. We didn't sign up for hurricanes!
It's not the building that is the church dear readers. It is the people. When you look for a church, you must have a captain...or pastor...that you trust. His course is your course. His Admiral is yours. And the crew, they must all pull their weight. No slackers allowed! Every person has their job, from swabbing the decks to piping the tune to come aboard. You sign up, cast off and you don't drop a lifeboat at the first sign of a raincloud.
The church is the people. We are on this trip together. And if we keep our heads and encourage one another, we'll make it to our destination in good time. We just have to remember to endure to the end...no matter what.
Not if, but when a hurricane hits, we lighten our loads. We cast off what is not important, but hang on to the people. Why let a piece of luggage or 200 lbs of cargo get between you and someone who loves Christ too? Let it go...forgive.
I promise you there will be some smooth sailing, but there will also be hurricanes, waterspouts and a cyclone or tsunami. I'm just glad I've signed up with a seaworthy crew. It's no Disney Cruise Ship, but she's a true vessel that will take us into Eternity.
The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost...
PS: Did you know you can sing the Amazing Grace to the tune of Ballad of Gilligan's Island? Coincidence? I think not.
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
A three person family can generate a pretty good amount of trash. And if you don't get it out to the curb, it piles up. The consequences then can be a simple smell at first, but that eventually attracts bugs, rodents and eventually disease. So really, this was a huge responsibility for a little guy. He just didn't see the long range consequences to the family as a whole.
It's the same with sin. Like garbage, if you don't bundle it up and kick it to the curb for God's waste management truck, it will pile up. I know, prayer and confession of sins can seem repetitive...but think of the long range consequences! When sins start piling up, they grow into bigger sins and you will find yourself so surrounded by spiritual garbage you may think, "What's the use in cleaning up at all?"
Dear reader, it is a daily chore and a heavy responsibility. If we confess our sins, He is faithful even we aren't and He will forgive us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
"Forgetting" to do this only adds to the pile and eventually leads to disease or death.
The sting of death is sin, 1 Corinthians 15:56a
Think of one little sin as a rotting potato in the bottom of the trash bin. Eventually you cannot deny something is wrong. And until you get it right with God, your life will stink!
So my question is this, have you done your chore for the day? Have you found that rotting spud in the bottom of your soul that has stunk up your life lately? Or, have you "forgotten" about confessing to the One who already knows all about you and is waiting to reconcile with you?
Don't waste another day, or minute! His mercy is new every morning, so talk to Him...He is only a whispered prayer away. And if you've never attempted this in your life, isn't it time to sign up for daily trash pick up? Here is a simple sinner's prayer...
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have piled up like so much refuse and separated me from you. I am sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”
Special note to dads and husbands: the "manly" chore of taking out the garbage is an analogy of dealing with your family's sin. It is your place to make sure your family has taken care of their own sins. You have only to look to Job--a wonderful example of a dad taking out the spiritual trash!
His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually. Job 1:4-5
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Ruth detailed what he was wearing, that he was getting out of a car and going in to the post office. In the midst of her hilarious retelling, we asked if he broke out into song or if he struck a pose. We had quite the tease fest. Especially when we found out this was her first foray into public after a long bout of bronchitis...we insisted that maybe he was a figment brought on by the residual effects of codeine. Admittedly, we were pretty silly.
We could tell through the giggles and hee haws that by her account and her demeanor that she had not truly been in the presence of the King of Rock n' Roll...just a faded imitation.
So, as I lingered in that study group with the giggles drifting in my mind, the Lord brought to memory another woman who had seen a king. She was like Ruth, going about her daily business. But post offices weren't invented yet, and neither was running water. She was at the town well, getting her daily jar full of water. It was midday, because she was avoiding the morning crowd. She had a bad reputation in town and didn't want to give the gossips anything to talk about. Little did she know she was keeping a divine appointment--because there sat a man, asking for a drink. He had nothing to draw water with. (John 4:1-54)
After conversing with the man, she was convinced she was in the presence of someone special, someone who knew scripture like a rabbi, but more than that. She sensed he was the someone her forefathers had told her about: the Messiah.
Can you imagine meeting Jesus at the post office? What would you ask him to be sure it was truly Him? Do you think you'd even recognize Him? What would you say to your family and friends about the experience? How do you think they'd receive you?
Pay close attention to what the woman at the well told the people in her town, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" (John 4:29)
This is an example of the purest form of evangelism: tell people what Jesus did for you and ask them, "Could this be your king?"
They could tell by her account and her demeanor that she had indeed been in the presence of The King. See verse 39: Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did."
There is no lofty speech or complicated scripture equation to share with people. You are uniquely prepared with life experiences, doubts and failures. Speak to others about what you know. It's when we try to be another Billy Graham that we fall on our face. How can you begin to be a witness to someone else's walk?
It's not about proving He lived by using a microscope or archeology. It's about proving He is alive in your life, by how you met Him and what He did and continues to do for you!
Now put on those blue suede shoes and walk the talk!
Friday, January 01, 2010
He said, "That was weird."
I said, "Why, who was that?"
"I dunno," he said.
"So some strangers drove into our yard and then left?"
"Yeah, that's it in a nutshell."
Then he told me the part I missed. He said when he drove into the yard, the car followed him, turned around and an older lady got out of the car smiling. He greeted her.
Then the driver, a younger lady, got out of the car, took one look at my hubby and said, "Omigosh! We followed the wrong van!!"
They apologized and promptly got back in their car to drive away.
I can only imagine the panic that ensued inside that car. We had no idea how long they had followed him. He commutes home from work about 30 minutes every evening. He didn't notice when they started following him, just when they turned on to our street.
I hope they had a cell phone and could call a friend for help. I hope they made it to their final destination with no problem. I bet this was the last straw and that driver buys a GPS soon.
In January you can't land on a tv channel without hearing someone and their Top 10 of 2009 or a synopsis of the last decade. There were a lot of rough spots and calamities. You could say that a lot of people might've been lost and didn't know it until they arrived at where they thought they were supposed to be.
Are you one of those people?
Did you find yourself with a fancy hybrid car that had payments that could've been mortgage payments in the 80's? Or has that college degree not really prepared you for the job you dreamed of and you need a few more years of study? Or maybe you are getting ready to downsize to a smaller home because the mortgage was too costly for a family that suddenly has one income... Or did a phone call change your life suddenly one dark night?
Do you feel like the guy who got lost in on a country backroad, stopped to ask for directions and listened with dread as the local guy scratched his head and said, "Sorry bub, you can't get there from here."
Now what do you do?
Can I make a suggestion? Yeah, you can see that pitch coming...you need a GPS. And I don't mean a Garmin or Magellan. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It's a device in your car that talks to a satellite up in space, and the satellite beams back an answer of where you are, where you could go and how to get where you want to go.
What do you think God's GPS is? His Word, the Bible! If you take the time to really read the Bible, it has a ton of wisdom learned from people who have "been there, done that, got the t-shirt and don't ever want to travel that road again!" It also has directions on how to get where you want to be.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. Proverbs 16:16
But most of all the Bible has the thing that people need the most: GPS, or God's Plan for Salvation.
Dear readers, in this world you will have trouble. (John 16:33) There's no way around it. But when you have accepted God's plan for salvation, you have something better than any Garmin or Magellan on a dashboard. You have the Holy Spirit who will counsel and be your "driver".
When you confess your need for Jesus, pray for His forgiveness and turn your life over to Him, you will have a new life, you are "reborn". And He deposits within you the Holy Spirit who is your link, your satellite connection to God, for an eternity.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16-17
So how about it? Are you ready for the trip of your life? Do you want to be sure of your final destination? Just remember: Jesus is The Way.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6