Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mr. Lucky

Acts 20:7-12
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Eutychus means 'lucky.' Maybe he was grateful, too. What about you?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent...

... what do you focus on at Christmas?

This year, give presence. That's what Jesus did.

John 1:12-14
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

There is always Hope...

If anyone should ask you, “What is the one thing in life that is certain?” before saying, “Death and taxes,” a disciple must answer, “The love of Christ.”… What had been cloaked in mystery is clear in Jesus—that God is love. Brennan Manning

Jesus has said, "I will never leave or forsake you."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Philippians 1:27-29
Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people's trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they're up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What transformation are you resisting?

John 12:24-25
"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How can we follow Jesus with our whole lives here and now?

Though most believers are comfortable speaking of a ‘personal relationship with Jesus,’ few concepts are so greatly celebrated and little experienced. Wayne Jacobson

In order to really follow we usually need a PhD in difficult life circumstances to get us motivated:

Colossians 1:26-29
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is your journey with Jesus an Epic or just good morals & a few prayers?

I think some would say the goal is to be successful in your career & provide for your family, while others would frame it as being a "nice guy". For me it would have been to be viewed by others as being very "biblical". Looking back, I took my cues for godliness from popular conservative teachers who seemed to present the goal as being biblical, what I now understand to be sub-biblical, or superficial & ignoring the internal issues of the heart. The goal was merely to have a submisive wife, to witness, to be devoted to faithful study of the Word of God evidenced by a growing doctrinal-purity-swagger, to have no obvious sin (smoking, drinking, voting Democrat, being demonstative in worship) to quote a lot of verses, & to attend the monthly men's breakfast. The goal was conformity to a set of behaviors. I now see the goal is being much deeper, more profound, more God-centred...more (truly) biblical. Craig McConnell

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is your spiritual life too complex?

Are you struggling with lists of do's and don't's?
Do you really think Jesus died so it would be hard to decipher?
Does it take a know-it-all to figure out the Jesus Way?

Peace is the opposite of security. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Luke 10:21
Jesus rejoiced, exuberant in the Holy Spirit. "I thank you, Father, Master of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How important is your Christian faith to you?

My current favorite TV show is Bear Gryll's, Man vs. Wild. I love the outdoors & the places they film in, yet God would whisper, "There’s something more about Bear Grylls to take note of."

This past week I discovered what I was supposed to take note of after visiting his website for the first time & discovering he's a Christ follower. Last night the episode had him hunkering down on the remote Patagonian steppe & reflecting, "at cold, lonely & quiet times such as these the important things become even more important, which for me is my Christian faith."

When asked about his faith he adds, "It feels like the rock in my life and it has taken me a long time to no longer be afraid to say that. But I have learnt that it takes a proud man to say he needs nothing. Faith gives me a strong backbone and when we find that within ourselves we can then live more exciting, effective, kind, passionate and giving lives. Life has a meaning again. It doesn’t though make life easier in any way, and I still battle with my fair share of struggles and doubt and often great self-doubt, but that is just the product of trying to stretch beyond the norm and to live life fully. I depend on a few simple verses everyday that have held me thro so many tough times. They are a mix of these:

'I am here to help you'
'I am holding you by your right hand'

'The lord himself watches over you'

Bear's comment, "It has taken me a long time to no longer be afraid to say that," reminds me of Paul's journey's in Acts and his faithful testimony in front of hostile crowds, rulers and courts.

Who is our strength?
What is your anchor?
Are you hiding it?

Luke 8:16-18
"No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We're not keeping secrets; we're telling them. We're not hiding things; we're bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don't become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a self-sufficient life looks like...

Ecclesiastes 2:3-11
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well—the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

How are your own accomplishments looking?

The only things that last are what God does...

2 Corinthians 1:9
It was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Advent Conspiracy - Give Presence this year!

Philippians 2:5-8
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God cares...

Do you?!

John 3:16
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Who is really faithful?

Richard Gere is making a movie about Hachiko, the famous Akita dog from Japan. Hachiko was an extremely loyal dog who lost his owner at the age of 2. The owner died of a heart attack while he was at work, so the dog never knew of his death. Every day for the rest of his life Hachiko sat in front of Shibuya Station in the late afternoon to early evening, waiting for the owner's return. Commuters soon caught on to what was happening and started feeding the dog and paying him attention. Hachiko died at the age of 11 and a statue was created in his honor. It is now the most popular meeting spot in Tokyo.

A dog doesn't care if you're rich or you're poor; give him your heart and he'll give you his.

Lamentations 3:21-33
But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Where there is a desert, plant a rose - a rose of peace, a rose of reconciliation, a rose of faith, a rose of hope, and a rose of love. The desert will blossom. Otis Moss Jr

Become a LOVisionary like Mother Theresa.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

finding your way in the dark

Never doubt in the dark what God has said in the light.

Hebrews 12:2a
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Revelation 3:7
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do you know the sound of your own heart?

The Kingdom of God is not advanced by programs or budgets but by men and women who are radically surrendered to Christ.

Like a resonant bell, giving reverberates all the way through a lifetime.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are you Monday morning averse?!

Jeremiah 17:9-10
The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Take off your church mask...

Be real and radically open to what God wants to say to you today & everyday. Let Him expose what needs to be exposed in order that you will know real love.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Who are you paying for your anger?!

James 1:19-21
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Today's Heart Check...

Philippians 4:10-13
I'm glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you're again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Can Jesus ask you...

Why Have You Abandoned Me?

Hebrews 13:5
I will never leave you or abandon you.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What are you afraid of?

Travel with me Lord and I shall travel with the darkness at my back and the sunlight in my face.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A question from Jesus...

Why do you doubt?

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Seasons may change...

Ecclesiastes 12:11-14
The words of the wise prod us to live well. They're like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There's no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you're no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God. Do what he tells you.

And that's it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it's good or evil.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

How is your journey going...

...following Christ is about a way of traveling rather than a destination or a set of circumstances.

We are on a journey - this journey is what life is about - this journey is all life is about.

Larry Crabb has phrased it this way: “Life is a journey toward an unseen land along an unknown path toward destiny and home.”

Your spiritual path may be dangerous to your health so do not attempt this journey alone. This journey never ends and we’re never quite sure where it will take us.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.