Sunday, June 20, 2010

What motivates you?

I have been meeting with several guys from church again.  An iron sharpens iron thing.  Through our discussions the subject of church attendance has come up several times.  To kind of capture the context, let ask a few questions first:
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


God, as He often does, has introduced another reoccurring theme in my life. From multiple angles different concepts tend to repeat themselves in the effort that what He is trying to teach me penetrates this thick skull. This time, it's the idea of community.

Lesson 3 of Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane's How People Change workbook focuses on importance for Christians to live in community: "But these are some of the very reasons why community is such a big part of God's plan to transform us into the image of Christ. The more we understand our own hearts, the more we see that it takes a work of God's grace to transform self-absorbed individuals into a community of love. Being in a community shows us our need for change and helps bring it about." (pg 3.5)

So what am I doing to pursue community? I guess I have to first decide what that means; what is the type of community that God is calling me to be part of?

First it must be gospel-centered. It's not a social group that only gets together for the Jaguar games (when they're not blacked out) nor simply gets together to scrap book, then, in either case, closes in a quick prayer. One of the purposes of the community must be to speak the gospel to and into each other continually. This world distracts my attentions and affections away from God too easily. We need to be refreshed by the gospel repeatedly, reminded that, yes, I was a sinner at enmity with God, but by the selfless obedience of His Son, by His shedding of Blood and Death on the Cross, by His Conquering of the grave, His Resurrection, I am saved. Hallelujah! As a good friend once shared with me, we have a thirst for Christ. A marathon runner does not simply have one of sip of water at the beginning of the race, hoping to complete it, but instead seeks replenishment continually throughout the race. We are to hold out that cup for each other.
More on community soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bind my heart

How many times will I delete this line? I'm tired and it's too late at night to try to write anything intelligible or spelled correctly. It's been too long between posts to try to fill in where I've been and why. Especially after rereading their promises of commitment to writing, to sharing, to stopping and examining my path. Am I following the way He constantly lights for me, or have I wandered . . . again?

"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


Flipping through the channels the other night, the boys and I ended up on the horrible remake of the Beverly Hillbillies. The cheesy humor was close to their level thus they enjoyed Jethro and his sixth grade education. Another scene they found amusing involved Elly May soundly defeating the wrestling team captain. During their match she uses several moves she developed back home such as the "Clampett Clamp" (a choke hold) and the "Hickory Nut Cracker" (use your imagination). After each move the boy painfully informs her that her moves are illegal.

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


Thought about getting back to this blog thing today. Trying to figure out why I quit. Was I too busy? Too tired? Too lazy? Probably more the last reason than I care to admit.

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

Not too far from my last post

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

What’s Your Title?

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.