Monday, March 22, 2010

Stick and stone...and words WILL hurt me...

I subscribe to the KLOVE Encouraging Word of the Day through their website (KLOVE is nationally broadcast Christian radio station - local frequency here in Ada is 91.9 FM) Basically it is a scripture per day sent to you via email using the New Living Translation of the Bible.

We were away part of last week because we spent some time at sisters and brother in-laws house in McKinney, TX for spring break so I had some catch up reading to do.

When I read the two separate emails below back to back it really struck me just how powerfully hurtful (if I can use those two word together and still be grammatically correct) the complacent human word can be.

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
~ Ephesians 4:29, NLT

Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
~ Proverbs 26:20, NLT

Complacent human word meaning things we're so used to saying (i.e. certain word and phrases) and engaging in certain conversations (i.e. gossip) that they become second nature to us. Like a habit we don't realize we have but it's obvious to everyone else around us.

These two verses are pretty clear about the harm our words can do, anywhere from discourage those who are listening to us, to fueling the fire of fighting with each other that gossip causes!

This week think a little longer about the things you say out of habit and inventory those that may do more harm than good. Then pray a simple and specific prayer ..."God help me to see these things I've been saying before I speak. I don't want to harm with my words."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forgiven! Or am I?

1 John 1:9 (New Living Translation)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Ah! Does it feel good to read that passage?

Let’s do it again.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Forgiveness! Is there anything better? Is there a greater gift? Do you feel loved by God when you read that?

If not, why not? There is not a hint of doubt in those words…he is faithful and just to forgive

Have you had an experience where there is no doubt about your status with God but there is with your church. Or you feel as though you have to have everything in your life cleaned up to go to church?

If we are forgiven by God then why won’t our church forgive us?

I feel that in so many places the church (little “c” church as in our denominations and buildings not big “C” Church as the body of believers following Christ) has conformed to a way of thinking that there are certain things you have to do for God (i.e. confess) and THEN there are certain things you have to do for us to be in our group or not feel as though you’ve been banished from it.

Is that really what Jesus died for?

It makes me sad and I know is saddens Jesus because that is not what he intended when he envisioned his Church.

As long as we keep rejecting people, including those in our own churches, based on a past that God has for forgiven them for but we haven’t…then…we will continue to be seen as country clubs to the outside world rather than the hospital Jesus intended them to be.

How can we reach out to outside world when there’s nothing about church or the people in it that makes us different than life they are already being judged by?

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shamu attacks...fear?

I recently read the Max Lucado book Fearless and it inspired me to do a series of messages at Fellowship of Believers (FOB) on the topic of overcoming our fears through Christ.

As I read through the book I guess I was never aware of how many times fear has been ruler in my life and altered my decisions and way of thinking. And how it continues to be the day to day ruler in many people’s lives. It touches all of us at some point and even worse, it can drive us.

What if we reacted to what life deals us with faith instead of fear?

A couple weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with my oldest son Winston.

To set this up Winston (WC) is an animal factoid nut. Right down to correcting his little brother Wyatt (Zeak) who says, “An owl can turn his head all the way around.” Winston, “Well actually no Wyatt it can’t turn it all the way around. It only looks that way. It can turn from all the way in front to, all the way in back, but not in a full circle.” Then out comes the cowboy in Wyatt that says, okay you’re smarter so I’ll just gut punch you and try to step on your neck with my boots for correcting me. Anyway, you get the picture.

So anyway, WC has been absolutely consumed with the whole “Shamu attacks” thing you’ve been seeing in the deadlines. He wants newspaper clipping and webpages printed off, wants to see internet video…everything on this whale attacking and killing it’s trainer! He’s simply fascinated by this deal.

Then were riding in my truck a couple weeks ago and he says to me, “Dad, I want to train whales someday.” I thought myself where in world did that come from? Hasn’t he been reading those stories we’ve been printing about the attack? What’s he been doing with all that stuff? So I said, “Son you know that whale we’ve been talking about attacked its trainer, right?” and “You know that it killed it’s trainer, right?” “Yes, daddy” he replied. So as we rolled up to the next stop sign I took a long pause and looked over at him and said, “Then if you know all that then why in the world would you still want to be a whale trainer it you know they could kill you?”

He looked at me with the most bewildered look on his face. Like either there was a duck billed platypus on my shoulder or I can’t believe the words coming out of my dad’s mouth! And then came the answer to my question that I’ll never forget as long as I live. “Well Daddy, Momma said when Jesus is ready to take you to heaven then He’s going to take to you. It doesn’t matter what you are doing.”

Uhhhh, who’s the pastor here?

Wow! I was completely humbled in an instant. I thought to myself, “Dang! This child has 100 times the faith that I have" Then I thought, “This kid needs to be preaching this series on overcoming fear, NOT ME, he gets it!”

I want the faith that my 8 year old has!

To open up the message series I played this video for the church. See if you can relate your fears in life to how Rerun goes through life.

The LORD is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
~ Psalm 27:1, NLT