Monday, September 28, 2009

Simple

Matthew 8:5-13 (Msg)
As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, "Master, my servant is sick. He can't walk. He's in terrible pain." Jesus said, "I'll come and heal him."


"Oh, no," said the captain. "I don't want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine… "

Taken aback, Jesus said, "I've yet to come across this kind of simple trust…Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, "Go. What you believed could happen has happened." At that moment his servant became well.

When was the last time you kept your faith that simple? When was the last time you prayed then let it go, whatever your “it” is? When was the last time you said “Lord, I’ve given it to you. You are in charge all the time. You said you’d never leave me. You’re smarter than me.”

How simple was this Roman captain’s faith? It was faith in the absolute simplest form. So simple one word can describe it…Believe. He believed. What is hard about that? Believe.
The day to day activities of this physical life on earth are hard as it is, don’t make Jesus hard. Believe. That where it starts. Believe.

Max Lucado says it best in his book 3:16 The Numbers of Hope

…the Hope diamond of the Bible.

For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same…We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.
He loves.
He gave.
We believe.
We live.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Run-of-the-mill sinner

WOW! I read this yesterday morning and it really spoke to me especially since we now have a group of believers worshipping out of our home on Sundays and Wednesdays. This awesome fellowship has committed their Wednesday evening to serving someone somewhere. So these words from Jesus really struck a nerve in me considering some of the service opportunities we have before us.

45-48 "This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." ( Matthew 5:45-48)(The Message)

OUCH!! “Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that”, that hurts something deep in my gut, something deep in my heart. It hurts because I’m like that, a run-of-the mill sinner. It makes me feel good ONLY to associate with those I share interests with; I’m comfortable in that setting. The thought of fulfilling what Jesus wants in this passage makes me very uncomfortable and you know what, THAT’S JUST HOW GOD WANTS IT!! We should feel uncomfortable to the point it bothers us! To the point that we are so bothered and uncomfortable by a helpless persons situation that that we have compassion that instills in us a passion to make things better for that person.

I heard an awesome sermon a couple weeks ago where the pastor described how we “Christians” like to insulate ourselves from the outside world by only associating with other “Christians” because it makes us feel good. Well, I hate be the one to break the news to you but God didn’t put us here to “feel good.”

Sometimes helping the helpless means we have to step into their world! We have to drive down their street! We may even have to stop! We may even have to go into their home! We most certainly will have to hug their kids! We have to “Grow up…live out our God-created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives towards us.” There is no “so long as you’re comfortable” clause in Jesus’s instruction.

I’ve posted it once and I’ll posted it again we should be broken by seeing people who are broken. And once you submit yourself, God will bring a passion in you for healing and the only way to heal is to help the helpless.

Don’t miss a very important part of this passage, “…Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." How is God living towards you? I don’t know, think of even the small things you’ve done to rebel against God just this week but He still loves you without a second thought and you are still fully engulfed in His grace without question. Humble yourself, understand HOW HUGE His compassion is and PASS IT ON!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sugar high and hospitals?

It is the eve of my oldest son Winston’s 8th birthday and at 9pm I just watched him, two friends and his little brother chow on ice cream sundaes topped with their very own, soon to be patented, concoction of Reese’s, Chocolate Paradise Crunch, Candy Covered Chocolate Drops, Chocolate Sprinkles, Dark Chocolate Crunch, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate syrup and I think I saw the remains of a Kitt Katt. I’m not convinced there was any ice cream even under all that. Now as I’m typing I can hear them in background squeal like girls as they watch How To Eat Fried Worms. So can someone with older boys tell me when they stop squealing like girls and start squealing like men?

So where am I going with this post? Tonight it’s simple…humbleness and the fragileness of life. I snapped a picture of all those boys digging in to that ice cream tonight and the simultaneous thought that popped in my head was, “I could very well not be seeing this right now.” If you don’t know part of my family’s story, the short version is Winston had to have open-heart surgery when he was 7 months old. That day at Children’s Hospital as I stood there holding my one and only son, God taught me about a billion lessons not the least being the fragileness of life. I finally got up close and personal with James 4:14 …Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

As I handed Winston over to the surgical nurse He gave me the smallest of glimpses into what it must have felt like when He gave up His Son. The difference is I wasn’t sure that my son would come back but I had a peace that he would. When God handed over his Son he knew the ending and that was human suffering and death. Gives me the chills to even type these words but it’s what is on my heart tonight. It changed me from the inside out for the rest of my life.

So you’re thinking now, “that’s a good story but it’s a little hard for me to relate emotionally because I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.” Maybe you haven’t had to hand over your child in a hospital and wonder if you’d ever see them again or not. But there was a man named Jesus that was handed over FOR YOU and he died a brutal death to save YOUR life. Notice my emphasis on the YOU! Have you ever tried this to make thing a little more personal. Read this scripture using the directions I’ve added. It’s an awesome thought to know that you were in His thoughts. John 3:16 For God so loved___ [insert your name here] that he gave his one and only son … Changes everything doesn’t it? You are loved!!

Gotta go quiet down these giggling squealing “girls” so we can get some rest; we’re headed to the zoo in the morning. SERIOUSLY I LOVE THE ZOO.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One and all!

Isn’t it awesome to see how and when God speaks to you? Wait, maybe He speaks to us all the time, it's just awesome when we humble ourselves enough that we submit and realize what he is saying. ANYWAY...I was reading Matthew 4 this morning and along about verse 23 where Jesus had just started his travels I read this. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. (The Message)

He healed them one and all! He didn’t ask, “how did you get this way” or “what are you doing for yourself.” NO! He cared for all of them.

Tonight I was able to share a room with an awesome group of people who are committing their Wednesday nights (and more) to serving “one and all.” You may never know what difference a can of food, a listening ear, a $10 bill or a hug will do for someone. Sometimes serving won’t be fun and it won’t be comfortable, but I’m thinking there was nothing fun and comfortable about nails and wooden cross.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Opportunities to meet this week!

1: Come be a part of a Fellowship of Believers that are welcomed in our home at 1230 Northcrest this Wednesday night (9/9) at 6:30pm to discuss the path God is leading me down and how you can be a part of it. Come as you are.

2: There’s been some interest in starting a men’s Bible study. So we’ll kick that off this Thursday morning (9/10) at 6:00am at The Brown Box (116 E. Main). I know it’s early but the coffee will be strong, the donuts will be fresh and the Word will be true. (Sign on front door will say "closed" but the door will be open. Come on in and head to the back)