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Inside out

Ever get tired of trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fake? Ever been upset because you thought someone was something but later on you found out they weren’t? Yea, we live in a society I call the land of illusion. Nothing is the way it seems. I’ have a big problem with that because I struggle with being gullible. It’s a weakness I have, always wanting to believe the best in people. I’ve been hurt plenty of times over extending relationships because of assumptions. I wish there was some way to avoid is but I haven’t found an answer in anything other than God. Here’s what I’ve learned. Only God knows the heart of a person and the closer I’m to Him the easier it is to see the hearts of people. Oh it’s still a chance and a risk reaching out and being friends with a world that doesn’t reveal who it really is. But the bible says this, fix your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. lt means if I have my eyes on him I’ll end up seeing what he sees. God doesn’t just work from the inside out but lets us see from the inside out also.

Why Good Deeds

I live in State College Pa, land of humanism, cynicism and skepticism. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here but this can be a tough place when dealing with the ideology’s and philosophies of what makes some one good. I’m a preacher it’s what I do. I love to communicate the goodness of God and express his hope through the teachings and life of Jesus.  Many times though, I’ve been turned a cold ear because of preconceived ideas built into a societal system that wants more than words.

One thing people can’t argue with is good deeds. The bible says love your neighbor, I don’t believe it meant words. It meant do something for them. Not just once either, but over and over again until they see what you’ve been saying. 

I just had dinner with a neighbor, who my wife and I have been helping with some remodeling in their basement. I’ve done a lot over the last few weeks and some of the family members can’t understand why. They’ve said no one does things like that unless they have a motive. Well I do have one, love. If there’s one thing God loves it’s people who do good deeds to express his unconditional love. 

By the way, the neighbor recently became a Christian and there family member is beginning to think I’m okay. 

Good deeds is what I call the hammer of love. It keeps hitting the hard areas in people’s hearts until it wears them down.

Back on Your Feet

 So there is nothing better than someone who’s been knocked down, beat up, left hopeless, getting back up on their feet again. The more hopeless the situation, the more people are able to identify with the scenario. Today is Easter, the most celebrated day of the faith. Why? Because people love the story of dead man coming back to life. Especially one as prolific and powerful as Jesus. You may say a lot of things about him, good or bad but you can’t deny that infatuation with him coming out of the grave. It brings hope to the hopeless.

Today, as I go to celebrate with Discovery Road Church and share my thoughts on the ressurrection, my hope is to enocurage everyone who is willing to listen to believe in the great victory that inspires each of us who’s been, knocked down, beat up and left hopeless to get back on our feet again.

Ole Man Winter

I hate cold weather! Which means I really struggle with seeing anything good about winter. Everything dies (externally) and I end up feeling the same way. Yesterday, I was talking to one of my friends from church and he asked me how I was doing . I said “Ole Man Winter is kicking my butt” . He then proceeded to get excited and tell me that he was very grateful for the cold winter. He said that winters like this kill off a lot insects and deceases and the deep cold frost helps the land for planting and harvests. I never realized what a positive affect winter had because of my negative attitude towards it. So really, winter is conducive to producing life.

I realized something this morning thinking about all this. There are times in my life when things needed to die so I could produce life. I look back and see there have been some long cold winters in my soul where not much was happening spiritually. They were very frustrating and I hadn’t heard from God in a long time. Here without me knowing, God was preparing me for a new work but needed to let some attitudes and ideas either about myself or him  die. Growing to maturity is a process of living through levels of spiritual winters and then spring times. I see today that God has been doing something over this winter which I believe will produce a new harvest later in the year.

We should not be disillusioned by the winters of our soul but trust that what ever dies will make room for God to bring new life!

What God uses

On Sunday I had to officiate the funeral of an 18 year old boy from my church. It’s was very sad to say the least. His mom had come first and then I meet Doug about a year later. It was the longest funeral I had ever been involved in, over 2 hours long. There were so many people there they ran out of seats that people were standing. For over an hour people one by one came to tell their story of meeting and sharing their lives with Doug. I was so impressed by the consistency of their experiences with Doug and the influence he had in so many people’s lives. He was a unique that’s for sure. He was a deep thinker and was always willing to ask the tough questions. I know sometimes in emotional settings like this you have to take some peoples comments with that in mind. Knowing that people have a tendency to exaggerate and puff their friend up but there was something very sincere about their statements. That caused me to reflect on this thought.

Doug had only come to know God through Jesus less than a year before he died and hadn’t really dug into the truth’s of Jesus and the life God had planned for him. So most of these people didn’t even know that Doug had experienced eternity. Yet God had put something inside him from the beginning of his life because these stories were being told since he was only 5 years old. Stories of instant connection with someone that was so different than them, to cheering people on to fulfill their dreams and giving wise counsel in the midst of heart ache and troubles. Doug had made an impact on so many people. I’ve watched over the years people with great potential, squander the gifts God had given them and these were people who had been walking with God. Here is a young man who has done more with his limited life without Christ than many do in a life time with God.

I’m grateful for the assurance that Doug is with God the Father but I can’t help to imagine what his life would of been like if he would of had some more time and would of learned about the power of Jesus. If there is one thing we need to learn from Doug’s life it’s that we are the only ones who can limit ourselves from impacting others. If God can use someone like Doug with a limited life and limited revelation what can he do with us?

I pray you’ll use your life to make a difference in others!

Jesus in Everything

I been reading through the book of Hebrews and also doing devotions each day with my wife from there. One of the main themes I’m seeing is “Jesus in Everything”. The writer who is a mystery is determined to remind us how much we need Christ in every aspect of our lives. That we need to see him, hear him and even feel him in every thought and every decision. For us Christian folk we call it Lordship. It simple means I’ve decided to keep Christ involved in my, living, breathing, moving life. Another way, is to say he is Center. My focus is on him because every good thing comes from him. It’s a centrifugal force that works it’s way from Christ to me and then to the world I live in. I’ve not always done a good job at keeping Jesus where he needs to be and I usually end up pretty empty, frustrated and disappointed with the results. Those experiences always lead me back to him. He has grace for me, which get me back to where I belong.

Where is Jesus in your life?

Twilight Shmilight

My wife was babysitting last night so I went to see Twilight. You may ask why? I had to ask myself that with in about 10 minutes of enduring a boring, give me a break no one can look that pale, I wish something exciting would happen movie. One of the main reasons I went is that I like chick flicks. Yes I’m a hopeless romantic but please let there be a good plot, great characters and avoid all the incredible dysfunction. UnfortunatelyI was surely let down. On top of that I didn’t do a good job researching the target audience. The theater was packed with young teenage to college age girls. I think I counted five guys out of 200 people and the other four either hadn’t hit puberty yet or were zombies drag by thier nose ring or were on a first date and had no idea what they had gotten themselves into.

Okay the spiritual application: God has created every woman to be nurtured and protected and it’s obvious that this movie scratches every single possible school girl DNA itch. It didn’t matter that the movie was bad, it didn’t matter if it was vampires who some how had morals, it didn’t matter that Bella was willing to become one of the undead. What mattered was the longing to be wanted, rescued and adored. If you have those elements a women will spend 8 to 10 dollars multiple times to live in an unrealistic fantasy world in hope of someone being all that and a bag of chips.

There is a sense of sadness when I think about all those young women last night. If they would take the energy and passion they have to connect with that longing of being wanted and search for Jesus all those itches would get scratched. God has sent a rescuer-er, hero and lover of their souls. The reality of Christ is only one word, one prayer, one sincere thought away.

God bless those twinners.