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.