Sunday, June 20, 2010
1. Of the fifty-two Sundays a year, how many of them do you spend at your home church?
2. How many weekend trips or vacations are planned without regard to being in attendance at your home church (i.e., leave after church, make sure you're back Saturday to be at church on Sunday)?
3. What priorities take precedent to your attendance of Sunday worship of your home church?
Given it's already 11:26 and I have church in the morning, I know I'm not going to get into this as far as I want to, but I want you to think about this (as I have over the past few weeks): What is your commitment level to your church? Is it more of what programs are available for me and my kids? Or is your church a second home where you seek to serve more than be served? Or is it more of a combination of the two?
My fear is that we don't invest into our church, and I don't mean tithing. We don't seek ways we can serve, but wait until we are asked. We don't build into the lives of each other (and I don't mean getting together to play softball) When was the last time you spoke the gospel into someone at church? To your spouse? To yourself? Is the church you belong to your primary circle of friends? If not, why? The last thing I want is to guilt anyone into some legalistic action, but I want you to genuinely search yourself and find out on which foundation you've built your life on.
Ideally this is best done before the waves reveal it for you. I ran across a verse yesterday that keeps coming to mind. I could look it up on the internet and look all smart, but to be honest I cannot remember the whole thing or where it's from, but it speaks of "joy inexpressible."
If you were to face some challenge, some major storm, would your joy remain? What is the source of your joy?
Paul Tripp does this illustration where he shakes a water bottle and splashes water everywhere. He then asks, why did water come out? Most answer, because the bottle was shaken. But he says, no. Water comes out because that is what is inside the bottle.
When you're shaken, what comes out? When some other person on the road does something foolish, I shout, Idiot! When the boys continue to be zoned onto the tv or computer when asked to set the table for dinner, I quickly become irritated. I would like for it to be some righteous anger, but to be honest yet again, it's not. It's selfishness and sin on my part, despite their action, or inaction as the case may be. Kinda says something about my heart, doesn't it? What motivates that response? What motivates me?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
"Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;"
His faithfulness is amazing.
God is good all the time.
It's been an interesting week. I'll expand more later, but for now here's a link to a little something that may or may not affect us. Check out the comments - there's more there than in the news article.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Almost two months ago I began to consider Jacob's wrestling match with God. Jacob understood what it meant to be blessed by God. Even after wrestling all night, he would not let go until he was blessed. Even after his hip was put out of joint, he would not let go until he was blessed. Then he said ,"Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed." (Genesis32:28)
Have I striven with God? Do I wrestle with Him? With His word? Do I fully grasp the depth of His blessing?
Since He's placed these questions upon me, this passage has continued to pop up. The Dodrill's pastor referenced Jacob wrestling with God during his comments at Stephen's funeral. Yesterday I was listening to Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas and he discussed the need to wrestle with Gods word.
So I've printed up a reading chart and I'm going to start wrestling. My hip already hurts.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I've been reading Em's posts, looking forward to the next one. I've seen her pour out some of herself, her sadness, especially for her sister. I know it's been a great tool for her to work through her grief. That's what I miss about writing. I need to force myself to think about my life, to reflect one where I fail and where I succeed. I need to reflect on the only one who matters, God. I need to practice resting in Him.
That's why I'm back: to consider my pursuit of Him.
The family went camping up to Ft Clinch over the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Granted it's not a Norman Rockwell way to share a Thanksgiving meal, but now that we've been camping the past three Thanksgivings, I'd have to say it has become a wonderful tradition. We even had some good cornbread dressing this time around.
But the next night really shined. We were gathered around a hot fire while the cold of night crept in and Emily asked Alex, "What are you thankful for?" For the next few minutes we shared the many blessing of the trip and of the year. Especially with the tragedy of Stephen's death, it was healing to remember and reflect on the many blessings God continuously showers upon us.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I don’t know where I’ve been. Kinda like that time between the season finale and the start of the next season of your favorite tv program, I’ve been in some sort of re-run wilderness.
Had a fantastic lunch with a friend, a good friend, the other day. As my my lunch hour stretched into two, I regretted having to put the conversation on hold. Time and time again the topics echoed soul failures in my own walk over the past few months.
I still desire to seek Him, the one who chose me long before I had a clue.
I still desire to be a disciple. I cannot say I’m exactly excited to give up this life (in a flesh sense, a very comfortable life at that) and follow Him, but, now that I’m thinking about it, I am excited. There’s a freedom in placing your life in the hand of the one in control.
I do not look forward to pain, suffering, or even inconvenience, but He is faithful. Please pray that He will strengthen my faith that I may be obedient to the tasks He has placed before me.
Lord, please help me love you and those you place in my life. Give me strength to serve with integrity.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I was reading a devotion the other day from RZIM titled Easy Living and it forced me to stop and think about who I am.
Am I a Christian? Yes. That one was easy.
Am I a pilgrim? What does this even mean? What is a pilgrim? I think back on my recent humanities class where we discussed the pilgrimages to the huge cathedrals in Europe that the folks would make. Was it a once a year sacrifice? Or did it take longer to save up for that type of journey then?
Am I a disciple? This is where I want to be – a follower of Christ, not just one who believes But what are the characteristics of a disciple? What did the first disciples sacrifice to follow Christ? Their livelihoods, families, friends, social standing, even their lives. [cliché alert] If I was on trial today for being a disciple of Christ, would there be enough evidence to convict?
There’s a term that keeps coming up in different things I’m reading: the supremacy of Christ. I am certain He is better than anything else, but do my actions, does my life, reflect the supremacy of Christ?
A life lived exalting Christ would be free of idols; they’d be sacrificed in our worship of Him. Yeah, there are little idols in my life, but they are just tools to worship my true idol, myself. I sing songs every week declaring I will love only Him, serve only Him, worship Him alone, but I fail, often before I even get out the doors of church.
How do I sacrifice my life to live a life the reflects the supremacy of Christ? When I ask this, I know a good chunk of me is really asking, How do I sacrifice without any inconvenience or pain? Or even better, how do I sacrifice without really giving up anything?
I frequently find myself placing grace between me and the alter. Does God really want me to give up spending two hours a night reading about the world’s ills? If I just start giving things up, isn’t that a bit legalistic – that can’t be better than giving up something with which God has blessed me, can it? I can continue to rationalize myself away from sacrifice all day.
But now, miles away, I can see more clearly (though I’m not much stronger) that on the other side of sacrifice are even richer blessings – not health, or wealth, but a closer, deeper relationship with Christ.