Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sarah’s Pleasure – Kids

August 10, 2010

The Bible tells us that children are a gift from God. In Genesis 18, Sarah, who is well advanced in years, overhears God’s plan to bless you with a child which causes her to chuckle. She says, “After I am worn out and my master is old will I now have this pleasure?” That last word, pleasure sticks out for me. We live at a time where most parents speak of the inconvenience of their children and the toils of parenthood on their mental health, calendars and bank accounts. But Sarah, even though she realizes the difficulties she would face as a parent still sees children as a pleasure. When did the gift of God become the curse of our way of life? Our culture has told us that children are an inconvenience and cramp our style. But God’s gift is viewed by one old enough to be a great-grandmother as a finally achieved pleasure. We need to regain this perspective. Children are our pleasure on this earth, not our burden.

The Hebrew word “pleasure” in this text is from the word for the name of God’s garden, Eden. God describes his special place for his first children, Adam and Eve as a pleasure, a garden of Eden. The very first command in the Bible from God, even before the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the first command was to be fruitful and multiply. God’s pleasure was to make a home, with his children and for his children to make homes of paradise for their children, their pleasures. I wonder, if we start growing churches by accepting the gift of God as a pleasure, we may end up living in a bit of paradise in this world yet. Let us not disparage the gift of God, let us not talk of His gifts as a chore, an expense or burden. Let us view our children as the gift and pleasure that they are. For Sarah, who may be well advanced in years, still views having children as a pleasure.

Eternal3 Podcasts

June 9, 2010

Check out my devotional podcasts (2-3 minute devos) at iTunes or download directly from podbean.

Clean the Cup

April 5, 2010

Jesus talks to the Pharisees, the ancient version of the active church member. In Luke eleven: thirty-nine Jesus says, “you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” It is so easy to put on a face for church. We greet each other weekly with the “I’m fines” but we are hiding what is truly inside. God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.

Lent is a essentially a sort of spring cleaning of the soul. I think every year we need to take time to clean the corners of our mind. So whether at Lent, or Yom Kippur, or just a couple weeks you set aside, we need to test our daily cleansing skills and inspect our cups. Let us therefore take time to clean the inside of the cup. No one would think of giving a friend a cup of cold water in a mug that sparkles on the outside with the inside crusted over with the residue. Then why would we present ourselves to God all clean on the outside and dirty on the inside? He sees it all.

Why does Jesus see us as cups and why is He hung up on clean insides? Because we are vessels of His grace and mercy. If each time we share with others from our hearts scaly with grime, we taint the very waters of life Christ wants for that person. What is supposed to be inside the cup is the crystal clear waters of life – for we are to be well-springs of living water for a dry and thirsty world. If our cups are dirty the water becomes dirty and people are not blessed. Jesus continues, “but give what is inside the dish to the poor and everything will be clean for you.” If we want to sparkle to others and to God, let us take time this Lent to inspect our cups. Clean the inside and then the outside will be clean when we minister to others.

The Ugly, Thin & Hungry Cows of Genesis 41

February 15, 2010

Genesis 41 begins with the dream of Pharaoh. Seven good-looking and heavy heifers are eaten by seven scrawny and ugly cows. This dream is interpreted by Joseph concerning a time of great harvest, seven years long, to come but following those seven years of prosperity, seven years of famine will be upon them. The famine will be so severe that all the surplus from the seven previous years will be wiped out. They will be but a memory, eaten by the seven gaunt years.

Isn’t that the truth in so many different ways? Ever have a time of greatness and all is well? Then, when the famine in our lives hits, it hits hard and in our ugly, hungry and thin lives we devour our memories, our former glories, our good-looking and prosperous past? We can’t even remember “the good ‘ole days.” They are devoured. Our current conditions blind us to the fact that God had provided for our famine with years of plenty.

We must not abandon God when the famines hit – when all you worked for to have a better life for tomorrow… he gave you more than you needed so that when the hard times come, you are provided for. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you wont have years of famine, its believing God will and has already made provisions for you. But we must be careful to guard our hearts, lest we see the ugly lean cows devour our bountiful and beautiful bovines of before.

The lean cows devoured the heavy happy ones – the good memories are a vapor. Do not let the circumstances of today sour your perspective on the past and God’s glorious future for you. Yes, you may have seen seven great years, and now you are living in seven horrid years – but remember that God prepared you for such a time as this, and the story is not over after these 14 years… are you able to survive the test of the lean years? Trust God has it all figured out and walk in the way he has sent you – through want and plenty, in sickness, poverty and loss there will be health, prosperity and gain as well. Amen.

Blessing Outsiders (2 Sam 6:10-11)

July 8, 2009

Uzzah, a priestly insider, treats the Ark as ordinary and dies. So David, not willing to take the Ark the rest of the trip for fear of the Lord, leaves it with Obed-Edom the Gittite. A Gittite is literally, “A resident of the city of Gath.” David leaves the Ark of the Covenant with an outsider of the covenant; a Philistine! Worse yet, the Lord blesses the household of the Philistine for as long as the Ark is there.
What can we grasp from this? How you treat the sanctified objects relates to how you treat the Holy One of Israel and how you shall be blessed by Him. The Jews were entrusted the Gospel, now the Gentiles make up the majority of the church. Careful lest we consider the holy as simply ordinary. May we learn from this that what we have is a gift of great value, treat it with reverence. And we also learn that those outside of the covenant can learn to hold the holy and in turn are blessed by the Lord. What is in your hand? How are you treating it? Beware of calling the holy ordinary.

Minister like Nehemiah (1:12)

March 14, 2009

Following are some conclusions we may draw from Nehemiah as he followed God’s leading in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. As we are called to build the people of God may we emulate this great leader. Nehemiah 1:12 says, “And I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” Notice these four things in his comments.

  1. “God put…” God told him. Do what God calls you to, not what the people expect you to do.
  2. “…In my heart” If your heart is not in it, it may not be your calling – you have to be invested in it to see it prosper.
  3. “…to do for Jerusalem.”  God did not give you the vision in your heart for your own glory, it is in your heart for the people God has called you to minister unto.
  4. “I told no one.” Sometimes people just wont get what God has put in your heart and it is better at times not to share your dreams with others. They may deflate your aspirations in various ways – sometimes they thwart you on purpose, other times they discourage you merely by misunderstanding it. Some things grow better without an audience.

Sabbath: Time and Space

March 7, 2009

There is a slight difference between the two lists of 10 commandments concerning the Sabbath. On of these differences is the Lord’s reason why one should take a Sabbath. Exodus 20 focuses on the Lord resting from the six days of creation. Deuteronomy 5 focuses on the Lord delivering Israel from bondage in Egypt. May we also take time to be free to admire God’s creation and enjoy the world we made for ourselves in like maner of our Lord who stood back, admired his creation, and enjoyed the fruits of His labor. And may we also take time to remember we are no longer slaves – so do not be slaves to our schedules, our to-do lists, our work, etc. Take time to spend time with family and with our Lord. We see from this commandment to keep Sabbath that God is creator and keeper of space (creation) and time but not limited or bound to it. What we are always seeking is our space and more time. Let us learn to enjoy the space and time God has granted us and allow him to keep control of it instead of ourselves. Sabbath begins by realizing we are in God’s creation – we are not slave to it.

Jesus’ After School Lunch Program (Luke 9:10-17)

February 2, 2009

It seems trendy these days to get people to come to church if we advertise food first. “The way to the sinner’s heart is thru their stomachs.” – to parody an old line. But Christ doesn’t pander to the audience to get them to listen. In fact in this story Jesus is trying to escape the crowd for a bit of a break, but their need for Him is so great they search Him out and He obliges. The added bonus is a free meal… after listening. Jesus rewarded hungry behavior, hungry souls were satisfied, and then empty stomachs. I think in ministry we must be willing to give our last, even when we want to take a break, to those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. It seems in ministry our best goes to those who need it and don’t know it. We must minister first to those clamoring for more. Feed those who know they are lacking, do not spend as much time force-feeding the starving who are satisfied on their meager spiritual diets. Feed those with their mouths and heart open to receive.

Family Centered Learning

October 10, 2008

Deuteronomy 6.7 says to “impress them [commandments] on your children.” My concern for the church is that we have gotten away from personal and family based learning and institutionalized the process. We take our children to other professionals for their mental, spiritual, and emotional growth when God has asked us to be personally involved in the spiritual upbringing of our children. I think we need to develop a study tool from the church to be used by parents in their own homes to impress upon their children. I like Moses’ word here, “impress.” What indelible mark are you leaving on your children? Is it a worldview or is it the impression of godliness?

October Missions Tour!

October 10, 2008

It’s that time of year again! Come out and learn about the work of our missionaries around the world. This year, we have a creative worker in a closed country and a traditional missionary from South America.

Sunday, 7PM in the Sanctuary

Monday, 7PM Prayer and Pastries (bring a sweet to share as we pray for the missionaries)

Tuesday, 11AM PrimeTime

Wednesday, 6:30PM “Out of the Bleachers” – Wear your balck and gold as we play games and pray with our misisonaries. Hot dogs, popcorn and the like for dinner, we will end with a candy tailgating party in the parking lot.

Make our missionaries feel welcome, encouraged and ready to go back to their mission field.


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