Friday, March 30, 2007

Connection Group

My Connection Group (small group, Bible study group, whatever you want to call it group) is doing a verse by verse study through the book of Philippians. After two weeks of introduction to each other and the book as a whole, we dove into chapter one, verses 1-11 this past week. Without trying to rehash all we learned, I came away with a couple of personal applications. The first of which comes from verse 6 -"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." God used this verse in my life last week as He showered down His words of affirmation on me. Someimes I can be really hard on myself. I don't understand why I do idiotic things, think wrong things, do wrong things. Honestly, I am not the best person you have ever met. And as I was reflecting on my inadequacies, God brought this verse to my mind - "he who began a good work in you will carry in on to completion..." I was reminded that God has started something in me and plans to finish it. He has given me a new life in Him that I didn't have before and he plans on finishing what He started in this new life. My life is still under construction. I'm not finished yet. And God always finishes what He starts. There is a lot of work that is yet to be done. But it is nice to know that it's not only up to me to get it done - God is working in me. And He's going to finish. I thank God for all of us that I should be a better person today than I was yesterday. I will be more loving. I will be more of a servant to my wife, family, friends and neighbors. I will think more of others than myself. At least that is the promise the way I see it.

Anyway...application #2. As fellow Christ-followers, we are "partners in the gospel." We're family. We're co-workers. We're friends. And we're in this thing together. I need you. You need me. And it would be really great if we all would follow the example of Paul and the Philippians in supporting each other on our spiritual journey. We could use the encouragement. I know I can. I love it when people build me up. I ought to take the initiative to build others up more than I do. If I enjoy the encouragement, I can't imagine why fellow travelers on this journey wouldn't as well.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The 9 to 5 Hours

Hey folks! Just wanted to put up a reminder to wear your backpack today! Don't forget to carry your faith with you into school, the workplace, or wherever else you go today! Be aware when you are being tempted to lay it down (maybe in the Taco Bell drive-thru!).

Live it! - with integrity, in your finances, and with a schedule that is not so rushed!

Share it - be yourself, be listening, be assured!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Morning Hours

The message this past Sunday was first of three about connecting with God throughout our day each day. It starts in the morning hours. Here's a summary.

1) Shout it - Words of Worship! Begin your day lying in bed for a few moments/minutes and in your mind (not outloud!) shout words of worship to God! Begin your day thinking of Him and expressing your dependence on Him.

2) Feel it - Words of Worth from God. Remind yourself of how much God loves you and how much He values you. We can feel so worthless sometimes and can beat ourselves up internally. We need to remind ourselves of how much God loves us. The Bible shares some very vivid pictures of how much God loves His people. He runs to us, leaps mounains, bounds hills, and rejoices over us with singing. Feel words of worth from God each morning.

3) Hide it - the Word of God. The Bible is the primary way God speaks to people today. It is His voice. It is His love letter to us. Find a few minutes each morning to read a little. There is no set amount we are required to read. We should probably just read a little and meditate and reflect on it rather than reading long passages that we can not digest.

4) Say it - words of prayer. Prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God. Again, the idea here is not to spend hours and hours in prayer. Most of us would fail at that. But rather, get the conversation started. Begin talking to God, and never say "amen." Don't end the conversation. Get it started and then continue it throughout your day.

I hope these ideas help you connect with God in the morning hours. This coming Sunday we will talk about our 9 to 5 hours!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Enjoying the Weather

I wish I made more time for stuff like this - I was able to get out to a middle school girls softball game today! I was really impressed with the skill level of these young ladies! I think today's athletes are better than when I was in school. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have hit the ball as hard as a lot of girls who played today! of our students from the Bridge was playing today, Dani H. She got on base all three at bats while I was there and stole several bases! Her team was up 12-3 when I left! I hope they hung on to win! Way to go Dani!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Barbarian Way

I am really enjoying the book "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus. I don't have the time and I'm too tired to give to lengthy of a summary, but here is a my .02. McManus basically says that our "Christianity" has become too civilizied. Too often we present becoming Christ-followers as simply becoming good citizens who are nice to have as neighbors. We present Christ-following as a safe and happy life in a nice comfort zone. The problem is, if you look at Scripture, there are not many (probably none) examples of Christ-followers in the Bible who live nice, safe, comfortable lives. Following Christ is costly. It cost them their comforts, their families, their friends, theirs lives. They were civilized. They were radical. They were "barbarians." Christ-following involved risk, not safety. They were not promised safety and health, but rejection and suffering. can read the book. The staff of our church is reading it now. If you are an Oswald Chambers fan, I would liken the barbarian way to Chambers' "reckless abandon."

Great book. On sale at Lifeway for $5.00 right now.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I hardly ever miss church but...

My grandmother is turning 95 this week! I am very fortunate to still have 3 grandparents living. And Grandmother Rose turns 95 on Monday. She was born the year the Titanic sank! Isn't that amazing? And she is an amazing lady and still possesses (did I spell that right?) so much vitality. She lives (with one of my uncles) in the only home I have ever known her to live in. Remarkably, she hasn't driven a car since she was maybe 16 years old. I'm told that she crashed into a mailbox while learning to drive and immediately decided that driving was not for her. She raised 4 children, taught piano lessons, and played piano at church for most of her life. She didn't put up with a lot of nonsense from her grandchildren. I distinctly remember her locking me out of my own house as a child because she felt I should be outside playing instead of watching TV.

Anyway...we are celebrating Grandmother's birthday on Sunday so I am going to miss church! Typically, whenever I miss church, let's say, while on vacation, I still try to attend church wherever I am. I love church. And I love being in church - connecting in worship with God and connecting with others on their spiritual journey. I also like to visit other churches to experience different worship styles.

I won't be able to atend any church this Sunday, but due to my church addiction, I will be there to help set our church up on Sunday and then scoot out early to be with Grandmother.

Anyway...I hope whoever reads this will not miss the opportunity to be at church somewhere this weekend!