Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Max said it best...

I got this in from the Max Lucado devotional that is emailed to me daily. I could not have said it better so here it is from Max in it's entirety.

Who Does the Saving?

A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law.” Romans 3:28

If we are saved by good works, we don’t need God—weekly reminders of the do’s and don’ts will get us to heaven. If we are saved by suffering, we certainly don’t need God. All we need is a whip and a chain and the gospel of guilt. If we are saved by doctrine then, for heaven’s sake, let’s study! We don’t need God, we need a lexicon.

But be careful, student. For if we are saved by having exact doctrine, then one mistake would be fatal. That goes for those who believe we are made right with God through deeds. I hope the temptation is never greater than the strength. If it is, a bad fall could be a bad omen. And those who think we are saved by suffering, take caution as well, for you never know how much suffering is required.

It took Paul decades to discover what he wrote in only one sentence: “A person is made right with God through faith.” Not through good works, suffering, or study.

Jeremiah and Pilgrims

Today in my early morning time with God I was feeling this draw to the book of Jeremiah. Can’t really explain why other than the Holy Spirit doing what the Holy Spirit does.

So as I sat down to begin my youngest son Wyatt comes strolling in from his slumber sporting his favorite karate underwear and crawls up in my lap.

In my mind I’m thinking, “teaching opportunity.” So I ask Wyatt, “Would you like to hear a Bible story?” and he says, “Yes”.

So here I go just reading him my Bible’s introduction to the book of Jeremiah. When I’m done reading I try my best to give a kindergarten explanation on what a prophet is.

Sensing his disinterest mostly because he is Wyatt, and then because he seemed determined in trying to stick my pencil up his nose, I thought it best to cut the prophet lesson off and just ask him, “Did you understand any of that?” Not to my suprise, without even pulling the pencil from his nose, he replies, “Uh, not really.” “But Dad I know what a pilgrim is.”

Sweet! Fill me in I said.

Wyatt’s description of a pilgrim…

“Pilgrims were people told by God to leave England on the Faymerry. On their trip they got sea sick and gave it to the Indian when they got to the new land. And the Indians were so nice they still taught them how to grow Indian corn with a fish.”

Jeremiah and pilgrims, who knew they had so much in common? You have to love the innocents of a child.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mi casa es su casa

If you know me at all, have heard me speak or follow this blog you know how passionate I am about the devotion of the believers in Act chapter 4. For this post specifically verses 44, 46 and 47.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. …They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (NIV)

Right now if you’re thinking you’ve heard this scripture before, he talks about this all the time, well you’re right! And if you’re following what God is saying through me then you’re gonna hear it again and tomorrow you might hear it again and then you may hear it again the next time I post or preach! And here’s why.

Last week I had the privilege to see 28 people of mixed race, contrasting social classes and assortment denominational backgrounds meet in a home one evening and have everything in common, be together, break bread…and eat together with glad and sincere hearts, enjoying the favor of all people. And as a result people are meeting Jesus and lives are being changed!! Wow, it’s like the Bible says it, we do it and it happens like the Bible says it would…WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT!

I remember standing there and looking over the crowd as I tried to catch my breath between hot dog runs to the grill, and thinking, “Man, God must be really smiling right now because this is what it’s all about!” Not the fun and games part of it, though it did rock the house, but rather the people being God’s people part of it.

I was again reminded by a friend this week as we discussed some things on a very personal level in our home just how powerful and intimate relationships become by having people in our homes. It creates a comfortable atmosphere that allows us to open up in a way we can’t in formal settings.

Let me make this very clear this is not a cheap plug for the church who is worshipping in our home. NO NOT AT ALL! This has nothing to do with where you spend your Sunday and Wednesday. This is a call to Christian brothers and sisters worshipping everywhere to have people in your home early and often so we can create environments and opportunities to lean on each other, relate to each other, and open up to each other which in turn allows the Healer to come in. Our own stories and lives are our best ministering tools.

BTW…this coming together doesn’t mean just the people in your click, yes, churches have clicks too. If you didn’t know that fact it may be because you’re in one. If that hurt, good. How do you know if you're in one? tongue is bleeding because my teeth are clamped down on it...I'm holding back here for a later post. I'll keep it to this for today verse 47… enjoying the favor of ALL people. All means all.

There was a reason this description of the first church in Acts was written so descriptive and specific in it’s calling for us to be in each others homes. The apostles saw first hand the power as …the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meg meet Mel

What do you think of when you think of love? A mushy Meg Ryan movie that always ends up the same? If you’re watching movies in the Brown house then that is a HUGE WHOPPING "YES." PLEEEAAASE it’s always the same…boy meets girl, boy can’t have girl, boy gets girl then messes it up, girl realizes boy only lied to get to know her better, girl takes boy back, girl and boy live happily ever after and buy a puppy. I’m sooooo needing a good dose of Braveheart, now that’s a love story!!

Anyway…I want you think outside the Americanized Hollywood idea of love. Think about a deeper love, a love that’s still lingers when the butterflies in your stomach have faded. A love that even steps outside of companionship. Love that also includes friends, enemies, family, acquaintances and even a love for total strangers.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (Msg)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.

1 Corinthians 13 isn’t just the “wedding verse” you know! Use it as a tool for inspiration and guidance.

Need an understanding of who Jesus was and what his love was all about, or maybe how devoted and in love your Heavenly Father is with you, or maybe who you are or how you should treat your friends AND enemies, or maybe your searching for a deeper love towards your spouse. This portion of scripture says SO MUCH. Check this out. All I’ve done is replaced the word love with some things that may resonate something in you. Add the name you need to add to make it apply to you and you may just end up with a new outlook on life.

Your Godly father never gives up on you,
I will care for her more than I do myself,
I won’t want what I don’t have,
I shouldn’t strut, or have a swelled head,
Jesus didn’t force himself on others,
I won’t fly off the handle with him,
I will keep no score of her sins,
I will never revels when others grovel,
Our heavenly Father gets pleasure in the flowering of truth,
I will put up with anything she does,
I will trust God always,
I will always looks for the best in him,
Jesus never looked back, and kept going to the end,
My love for her will never die