Sunday, May 31, 2009

“These people who have been turning the world upside down. . .”

The Father said, "Listen closely...My Son's mission was not to get you to heaven & keep you moral & happy till you get there. He came to get heaven into you & bring more of heaven into others by the way you relate. That's your joy. That's your hope." Larry Crabb

That'll turn the world upside down one community at a time!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tomorrow after the service - munch & mow!!

Not that we'll get the yard looking quite this good, but at least we'll stop losing the kids in the tall grass!!

Bring some grub for others & maybe a softball game will break out after we're done...

Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it. Zig Ziglar

Friday, May 29, 2009

battle fatigue

Both the Scriptures and the history of the church teach that if the Holy Spirit is working, the whole man will be involved and there will be much cost to the Christian. The more the Holy Spirit works, the more Christians will be used in battle, and the more they are used, the more there will be personal cost and tiredness. It is quite the opposite of what we might first think. People often cry out for the work of the Holy Spirit and yet forget that when the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God, weariness and tears and battles. Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

So that's what life is all about?!

Climbing the ladder to success- yes, now I've got it!

The definition of Materialism is, rich = happy; To be RICH is to be HAPPY.

I think Jesus has some thoughts on that. Despite what you may have been told, there are more important things than how you look on paper.

What you cling to ends up rotting in your hands.

Matthew 5:3-12
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

sometimes a fantasy

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

When am I gonna take control get a hold of my emotions
Why does it only seem to hit me in the middle of the night
You told me there's a number I can always dial for assistance
I don't want to deal with outside action
Only you can give me satisfaction

It's just a fantasy
It's not the real thing
It's just a fantasy
It's not the real thing
But sometimes a fantasy
Is all you need (Billy Joel)

Fantasies take our eyes off of Jesus, the author & perfector of our faith. Mark Laaser has some helpful questions on how to take fantasies captive for Christ. Writes Laaser,

"My belief is that every fantasy I've ever heard contains a message about the pain deep inside our soul. The pain really needs Christ to heal it, but we don't know that so we "invent" images that we think will be healing."

Take your own "fantasy inventory." Listen to what your soul is saying you really long for. With God's help you will be easily able to see what pain the fantasy is trying to heal.

Lord, what is this fantasy trying to tell me about the pain in my soul?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stick with following God - He never said it would be easy though...

Daniel 6:7-22
"For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions' den..." King Darius signed the decree.

When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. "Did you not," they said, "sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions' den?"

"Absolutely," said the king. "Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians."

Then they said, "Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays."

At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he'd put him in. He worked at it the whole day long....

The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions' den. But he said to Daniel, "Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this."

A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel's fate. The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn't sleep. He spent the night fasting.

At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?"

"O king, live forever!" said Daniel. "My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I've been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I've done nothing to harm you."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Finding the will of God; experiencing the will of God. What is the difference for you?

The will of God can sometimes feel a little prickly. Hang in the battle.

Hebrews 12:25
See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

When you don't know where you're going...

any road will get you there. Look for the Father's Path...

God our Father
we honor all you are and don’t want to make you into a thing
we want what you want; educate our wants to be more like your wants
provide us with what we need to live our normal earthly life as your children
forgive our blunders as we forgive the blunders of others

show us the way of this grace life
keep us from caving in to the unreality and illusion of evil
everything will eventually be seen in the light of your awesome character, Amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

still climbing & sailing after all these years

In 1419 it was believed that the unchartered oceans of the world teemed with monsters, that their storms made them too violent to navigate, and that inescapable fogs would envelope wayward ships. In the face of all these dangers Prince Henry of Portugal offered a bold reply,

“You cannot find a peril so great that the hope of reward will not be greater.”

Philippians 3:12-21
I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Walk this way, talk this way

Lost your way?! Ask for help, it's good for the soul...

Isaiah 30:19-21
He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit...

Proverbs 19:17
Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let the Holy Spirit clean you out from the inside...

John 7:37-39
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Krystaal this Sunday @ 330!!

Krystaal is playing @ 330 PM on Sunday as a part of the kick-off for Jamal's group at Hope. They have an incredible story of God's grace in their lives & it is apparent in the music.

Watch a promotional video for Krystaal & the World Peace Tour.

If I was a pastor, and I used to be, I would be clamoring to have these guys come to my church. They are the sweetest spirited men you will ever meet. What a powerful, powerful story and a life of miracles that God has brought to these precious brothers. Rev. Norm Maclaren

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fear is poison

The antidote is perfect love...

Joshua 1
I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The days are long but the years are short.

Ephesians 5:15-16
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Make it count.

"God, I give you thanks that I have life, and that my life is filled with touches of your love. Help me to discover my identity. Let me understand how best to use the gifts You have so lovingly lavished upon me in preparation for our journey together."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

You May Never Know Jesus Is All You Need, Until Jesus Is All You Have

Jesus is the only essential for us. We all need to be stripped down to Christ alone. Don't fear the exposure & let go of your attachments... release hopeless despair.

"I can choose peace instead of this..."

Isaiah 55:1-3
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Skating the Smooth Ice Surface...

Sailing the Wine Dark Sea is a book about the Greek contributions to western life. The author, Thomas Cahill cites six lessons the Greeks offer us:

How to fight
How to feel
How to party
How to rule
How to think
How to see.

Ironically the Stanley Cup playoffs offer these very same lessons afresh every year!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Luke 18:16-17
Jesus said, "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Are you willing to pay the price?

Luke 14:33
Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pressure to succeed has more to do with self-promotion than building God’s kingdom. Take the cookie cutter, throw it away & live adventurously where God has placed you.

Jesus, thank You for giving me a new opportunity to serve You. Forgive me of the areas in my heart where I have allowed fear & self-interest to guide my actions.

Philippians 3:12-21
I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shattered Dreams- Finding Beauty in the Broken

What Big Lies You Have.

There really are only two languages spoken - TRUTH & lies. Which will you listen to?

John 14:1-7
"Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking."

Thomas said, "Master, we have no idea where you're going. How do you expect us to know the road?"

Jesus said, "I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You've even seen him!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Proverbs 31:30-31
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The answer to 'How?' is always "YES!"

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans. Dietrich Bonheoffer

Respond to God’s leading- make that your focus of life. Give your ‘yes’ to Jesus. Don't take control back by from God by asking 'How? When?'

The answer to 'when?' is 'NOW!'

Ready or not, here I am!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Trust does not form as a result of a casual acquaintance.

The average worrier is 92% inefficient…only 8% of what we worry about ever comes true.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom

Please God help me replace my worry with trust.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

When God sends us tribulations he expects us to tribulate.

James 1:2-12
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Another 'homerun' cartoon from the Naked Pastor! I saw the cartoon shortly after reading Scot McKnight's 'Spiritual Eroticism' at Out of Ur yesterday where he writes, "for many, Sunday services have become the experience of courtly love. Some folks love church, and what they mean by "loving church" is that they love the experience they get when they go to church."

If you are a parent whose kids range in ages from tots to teens it certainly is challenging trying to get everyone in your family to have a memorable experience that will get them excited enough to come back the following Sunday. But since when did THAT become the goal?!

Deuteronomy 7:6
Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

God can make something out of nothing.

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Launch out into the deep. Do you trust Jesus?

Take my heart, loving Father as I put it into your hands. I put my broken heart in your care.

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Thank God for my pessimism. I’ve been such a better person since I lost hope.

Let your failures & challenges strip you down to utter & sheer dependence on God alone. Trust Him that you will one day again ascend to the heights. Losing to Gain!

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

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.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spiritual brat syndrome

There are many times when we so desperately want to hear God say 'Yes' to our plans that we fail to hear His 'no'.

The fact is, to hear God say 'no' is still to hear His voice, to know that the shepherd is still leading us & that we are the beloved. Otherwise we will get frustrated, irritated, bitter & cynical & drift away from the very one who loves us so. We'll act like spoiled little brats...

God's 'no' is really a 'YES' that He is speaking to us, that we are listening, & that we are willing to OBEY!

Acts 16:6-10
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Some assignments are harder than others...

We are not the center of the universe. God is not circling around us....We are actually in orbit around God and His purposes. Learning that reality makes for some very unexpected adventures. Have you surrendered no matter how challenging the task is that God has asked?

God will not have His work made manifest by cowards. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ezekiel 2:7-15
They won't listen to you because they won't listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I'll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I'll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don't let them intimidate you. Don't be afraid of them, even though they're a bunch of rebels."

Then he said, "Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, 'This is the Message of God, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not."

Then the Spirit picked me up. Behind me I heard a great commotion—"Blessed be the Glory of God in his Sanctuary!"—the wings of the living creatures beating against each other, the whirling wheels, the rumble of a great earthquake.

The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I went bitterly and angrily. I didn't want to go. But God had me in his grip. I arrived among the exiles who lived near the Kebar River at Tel Aviv. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Is it better to be unaware or fearful? Trust God with your eyes open. Now that's better.

The flawless love of Christ will not let you down. Just ask Armin about Costa Rica...

2 Timothy 1:7
God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.