On The Same Page

15 08 2017

I’ve been thinking a lot about the title phrase…”On the same page.” We use it when we want to be sure someone understands what we are saying. We use it to verify the requirements for a project or task. “Are we all on the same page?” In other words, “Does everyone understand the expectations?” That’s a really good question to ask.

One place that we ask this question (and we should often) is in a marriage relationship. We’re all familiar with the verse in Genesis that refers to this. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Hmmmm,…one flesh. Normally we think about this in only one area of the relationship. But could there be more? I think there can. We should be on the same page in all parts of that relationship. We should agree on financial matters. We should agree on household matters. We should agree on how to raise the kids. The list could go on and on. Sure, we’ll disagree on somethings but we should be willing to get to the place where we have a mutual understanding and agreement on what affects life and the marriage. Whew…that gives us something to think about huh? But can this go even further? While we’re asking the question for our marriage why don’t we ask it for our other, most important relationship? The one we have with our Heavenly Father.

Many, if not most, of us rarely consider whether we’re on the same page with God. We live like He says we should. We do what He asks of us (most of the time). We go to church and even serve some weekends there. But is that really being on the same page with Him? What if there’s more to it than that? Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that doing all of these things is wrong. There are times, though, we get into a routine and slowly, methodically — without thinking about it — push God into the margins of our life…all while doing the very things He asks of us. Before we know it we feel a million miles away from God and we’re definitely not on the same page. So how do we fix this? How do we continually stay on the same page while doing life? Here are a few things that you can do (simple things really) that can help. While they may seem simple and basic; sometimes we need to get back to the basics.

1. Pray. Just like any good marriage doesn’t survive without communication…our relationship with God won’t survive without it either. Simply put…talk to God. Tell Him your hopes and dreams. Tell Him your hurts and pains. Tell Him your frustrations. Ask for His help (it really is ok to ask). You might be thinking, “God already knows all this stuff.” You’re right…He does. But the conversation isn’t as much for God as it is for us. He already knows all of the things that are going on in life. It helps us to put words to them though.

2. Read the Bible. God already gave us a lot of good things to do in life. They are contained in His Word. He wouldn’t have given it to us if it wasn’t important. A lot of the basics (and some of the not-so-basics) are right in black and white (and red) letters for us to read. So go ahead and read them. Then apply them.

3. Go to church. There’s nothing like doing life with a group of people that love God and help and support each other. It helps us to have someone ‘with skin on’ in our corner; someone that will laugh with us and cry with us. Yes we receive the Word of God there but it’s more than that. Don’t underestimate the time spent with a church family. They help keep you and God on the same page too.

Life is hard enough without causing trouble for ourselves. We need to learn that we have a part in our relationship with God. Just a few little things done on a regular basis will keep us “On The Same Page” with God. When we’re there…life is good indeed.

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Effective, Fervent Prayer

19 10 2016

questionAs I thought about this post my mind went back to all the stuff God did in Louisville (at the Empower America Conference) over the past week. Trying to extract one thing from all the events that took place is difficult. Yet the more I thought about it the more my mind came back to one thing…prayer.

I guess you could say that this writing started at our church’s Surge Conference. Let’s flash back to that for a moment. On Monday night Pastor Daniel Bracken reminded us of the importance, well really the necessity, of prayer. If that wasn’t enough of a reminder about how important prayer is we listened to Dr. Morocco as he spent time on the same subject just two weeks later. To top all of this off Dr. Cho mentioned that while it’s not easy to pray like we need to – and should be – it’s necessary.

As I began to piece together what God was trying to tell me I was reminded of a verse that we frequently quote. It’s found in James 5:16. The last half of this verse reads like this, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” When I looked up the word used for effective it gave interesting results. It actually is the entire phrase ‘effective, fervent’ that’s translated together. It comes from the Greek word ‘energeō’. It’s where we get our English word energy. Hmmm…effective, fervent prayers…in that context it’s an interesting statement.

I am convinced now, more than ever, that the way in which we experience the presence of God is directly proportionate to our prayers. Let me say that again. I am convinced now, more than ever, that the way in which we experience the presence of God is directly proportionate to our prayers. How can that be? We don’t see that played out in the Bible…do we? Let’s take a look and see.

Elijah walked into the throne room of Ahab and declared that there would be no rain until he said so and it happened. Roughly three years later he declares that there will be rain after defeating the false prophets on the mountain. But…the call for rain was different. Let’s look…

“And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. (1 Kings 18:41-42 NIV)”

Wait…he prayed again? Wasn’t the first prayer enough? I don’t believe so. The prayers for the first word didn’t apply to calling down rain. Let’s look further:

““Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ (1 Kings 18:43-44 NIV)”

What we see in this passage is an example of the effective, fervent prayer that James is talking about. Remember the word it’s translated from? Energy. Elijah didn’t pray a ‘bedtime’ prayer and leave. He stayed until the work was done. Then it was just a matter of seeing it happen.Too much of today’s church is filled with short, fast food prayers. We pray for 10 minutes and wonder why the miracles don’t happen. It’s because we haven’t done the work.

expect-a-miracleMy grandfather has been a minister for over 50 years. He now lives in West Virginia. I called my mom the other day to check something that was on my mind. I asked her how much time Papa (as we affectionately call him) spent in prayer every day. “He didn’t have a set time that he prayed during the day,” she said. “But almost every day he would be up at 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning to pray and study. There were a lot of nights, when your dad was working graveyard at 7-11, that he would come over and say hello just before going over to the office to pray and study. Then he would just finish out his day after he was through.” She went on to say that most days his office hours were from around 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. These were the hours he was in the office AFTER praying and studying through the night. I saw my grandpa do phenomenal things for God. Miracles were performed in his life personally and I believe it’s because he did the work.

Pastor Bracken said it. Dr. Morocco said it. Dr. Cho said it. And so have many other mighty men of God throughout time. Most importantly…God said it. So if He did…maybe we should listen. It’s time we rolled up our sleeves and got to work praying.





Everything For God

23 03 2016

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

ToolsWe’ve all heard this verse (and most of us have quoted it) many times. It’s one we pull out when we’re at car washes and missions events. I personally have used it to ‘encourage’ kids to quit complaining and just get the job done.
Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve looked at this verse another way. There was something said during a staff meeting that struck a chord with me. It was partly responsible for these thoughts.
“It takes teamwork to make the dream work.”

Now…how in the world does that apply to working for God? Sometimes – if we’re not careful—we can get caught up in what we’re able to do. Many of us have become a “Jack of all Trades” and forget that there may be others that know more about a particular thing than we do. Maybe not here, with you but they’re out there.
All professions have them. In the medical field they’re called general practitioners. In the technical field they’re called generalists. In the construction world we know them as general contractors. There’s nothing wrong with being a generalist. They know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. Knowing all this stuff can also cause trouble if they’re not paying attention.

Let’s run an experiment. Draw and color a landscape scene. Don’t worry about your drawing skills (or lack of thereof.) Detail isn’t what is important here. This landscape must have a tree with brown trunk, light blue sky, and yellow sun. The grassy field should be littered with little purple flowers. WAIT! STOP! Before you start pulling crayons and markers out of the box there are some limits. You only get four colors: blue, red, yellow, and white. How did you do?

If you were like me when God dropped this in my heart the first thought is, “It can’t be done.” But look at what you were given. Individually the crayons can’t accomplish the task. But they can be combined to complete the assignment as needed.

crayonsBlue+Red=Purple
Yellow+Red=Orange
Orange+Purple=Brown
White+Blue=Light Blue
Yellow+Blue=Green

It’s when we are willing to combine our efforts using the knowledge of all involved that the best picture is drawn. Doing things for God rather than for people accomplishes this exact thing. When we look at it in this light it puts 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 in perspective. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” Those involved aren’t worried about who signs the picture because they’re too busy making it the best it can be. Then they allow God to sign it because He put all of us together in the team anyway.





There Is No Skip Button

2 03 2016

skip buttonDVR (digital video recorder) is, in my opinion, one of the greatest inventions of all time. I know that it’s the successor to the VCR but there are so many things that make it better. One of the best things about it is the skip button. This one feature grants the ability to skip small or large portions of the programming without watching at all. Have you already watched the first part of the program? Skip. Don’t care for a particular scene? Skip. Do you hate to watch the commercials? Skip. Do you not care about the Super Bowl but just want to watch the commercials? Skip. It’s convenience at the ultimate level!

Webster’s dictionary defines life as, “the period from birth to death.” This definition implies time and space. Both of which are fixed things. They can’t be changed no matter how much we would like them to (unless, of course, you’re starring in the latest science fiction blockbuster). Because of this fact we have to endure things as they come. No amount of wishing will change the circumstances that have happened or will occur.

Sometimes in life we wish there was a skip button. It would make it so much more convenient. We wouldn’t have to deal with any of the things we don’t like. But, alas, there’s no skip button. We don’t have the convenience of skipping the heartache and pain and going right to the fun and bliss. We don’t have the ability to skip disappointment or hurt. Sometimes we have to dig in and weather the storm that blindsides us. Sometimes we have to deal with a difficult circumstance that we would rather avoid. And at other times we get to experience the joy and blessings that life can bring. It all progresses along as a normal cycle. It comes and goes as time and choices that we make dictate the course of our lives. Each moment is experienced. None of them can be skipped.

nopainNo one is immune from wanting to skip things. Who wouldn’t want a way out of painful situations? Even Jesus wanted out of a looming situation that was going to cause Him great pain. When praying in the Garden of Gethsemane He asked if He could get out of what was coming. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ (Matthew 26:39)” Basically Jesus said, “I really don’t want to do this. Is there any way we can skip this part?” The human part of Him didn’t want to suffer the pain, humiliation, and agony He was about to endure. The key in His response is the last part of the verse, “…not as I will, but as you will.” It was a statement of trust in the Father and His ultimate plan.

There is one other thing about the DVR that I like. It is the ability to slow things down and look at something frame by frame. We are able to look at miniscule movements of characters on the screen and see subtle movements that are sometimes missed in ‘real time’. We need to learn to forget the skip button and search for the ‘slow motion’ button in life. This is the button that lets us stop and see the hand of God in all things. It’s the one that lets us hear the whisper of God when the world is roaring around us. It is the discipline of seeking God no matter what may come. How would it change our outlook if, instead of wanting to skip things, we brought them to God and trusted that He would be faithful to His promises? I’m guessing that it would radically change how we live and view things. When everything is viewed as an opportunity we embrace trouble in our lives rather than wanting to skip it. Then those opportunities can be acted on to enhance and enrich our lives and the lives of others. What we thought was a bad thing can be used as a tool for God’s glory. And it makes the great times that much sweeter.

remote controlUnfortunately life doesn’t come with a remote control. There’s no way to skip the things that we think are useless, painful, depressing…the list can go on and on. Why would we want to remove those things though? They can be moments through which we learn the greatest lessons in life. They’re invaluable opportunities to grow and learn. The ‘skippable’ moments can give us insights that we never dreamed of. So stop looking for the remote because, alas, there is no skip button.





Show Me Your Glory

21 11 2014

surrenderAs I sit here in Friday morning prayer a favorite worship song of mine is playing. It simply says, “Show me Your glory.” That’s something we all love to say. We want to bask in the glory of the Lord. But have we really ever wondered what it takes? Do we understand the requirements for the glory of God to be revealed?

I’m reminded of when Moses was on the top of the mountain with God. He was there day and night for 40 days. The Bible doesn’t say all that went on but we know that part of it was receiving the 10 Commandments from God. Then there is a conversation that is one of my favorites. It is found in Exodus 33. The conversation starts out with God being fed up with His people. Basically He says to Moses, ” Forget the promise I made to Abraham, these people don’t deserve it. I will make you into that nation.” To which Moses replied, “No. These are your people. How will anyone know that unless You go with us?” Of course this is paraphrased but you get the point. Moses is the only person anywhere in the Bible that talked that way to God and survived. He told God, “No,” and God listened. Jonah did that and was swallowed by a big fish.

What does this have to do with God showing His glory? It has a lot to do with it. This one conversation has several keys to seeing the glory of God revealed to us. One of the first things that I see is in Exodus 33:11. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend…” In order to have a friend you have to spend time with them. That’s the implication here. Moses didn’t go to God and give Him a punch list. He talked to God and listened to what He had to say back. He spent enough time with God that a deep relationship developed. Deep enough that Moses could tell God no and He would listen.

It's about relationship

Another thing that I see is that Moses heart was in the right place when he told God no. All too often we want to dictate to God when and where the glory should be according to our agenda. But this wasn’t how Moses did things. He understood the frustration God was feeling because they had talked. Moses reminded God about His promises and that others needed to see God when they saw His people. I wonder if our desire to see God’s glory is for the same reason. Are we chasing the warm fuzzies or are we hungry for a move of God that reveals to others who He is?

The final thing I see is that Moses always wanted deeper things of God. It wasn’t enough to sit in the Tent of Meeting and talk with God. It wasn’t enough that God listened to the things he said. Moses wanted more. He wanted to really see God. And God’s response to that can be found in Exodus 33:17, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’” What a statement! We know that God knows our name. He knows everything. But this is different. It’s a statement of intimacy of both ends of the relationship. Moses knows God almost as well as God knew him. That’s why Moses could ask to see God’s glory.

So back to the original question. Do we understand the requirements for the glory of God to be revealed? I believe that Exodus 33 details some of those requirements. If I want to see the glory of God then I have to be willing to put the work in to get to know God. It’s a tall order…but I’m willing to do it. What about you? Can you, like Moses, ask God to show His glory to you?





A Safe Place

17 11 2014

One of my absolute favorite set of verses is found in Psalm 91. Pretty much the entire chapter ranks among my all time go Scripture references. But verse two has been bouncing around in my head. In the New Living Translation it reads this way:

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

Now I’ve heard countless sermons on this passage and, to be quite honest, I’m not going to mention any of them. They were all great, eloquent, encouraging, and uplifting. But the thing that I most hear in this verse has not been preached in any of those messages – that I can remember any way.

Safety is something we all take very seriously. We build it into our playgrounds – known as a safety zone. We build it into our schools and church programs – known as a safety protocol. It’s built into cars and trucks – known as safety features. We take safety so seriously in society that when it’s threatened we take action to protect it. We alter our homes to be safer for our family to relax and enjoy life. Safety is, whether we realize it or not, always at the forefront of our mind. The word safe is defined as, “secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk” according to dictionary.com. In fact the example cited is ‘a safe place’. So what do we do when that safe place is not so safe?

At some point our safe place can become threatened and risk of harm is possible. This peril can take many forms from a car accident to a home invasion to a natural disaster. At these times we seek an alternate, more secure place of safety. But what do we do when the threat is not physical? Where do we turn when life is raging around us and our safety and security is threatened? Schools all over the country practice what to do when their safety is threatened. They all have a safe place to run to when peril strikes. The news alerts us to impending storms with tornado watches to help keep us safe. But even with all the preparation there are still those storms that hit us suddenly.

The disciples experienced this very thing. “Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ (Mark 4:36-38 – NIV)” There are no warning sirens or alarms. There are no storm trackers or early alert system. Suddenly, without warning, their safety is threatened.

You know we’ve all seen it. I know I have. It can be anything. The company isn’t doing so well and makes some cuts and suddenly you’re out of work. A child suddenly falls ill and the doctors give a grim outlook. A husband or wife suddenly decides that they’re done and file for divorce. A volunteer makes some accusations and suddenly questions are being asked. Safety is violated and further harm is threatened.

The disciples’ fear must have been overwhelming. They forgot what David knew. “…he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:2)” To make somewhere your ‘safe place’ you are willing to trust your life to it. Who better to trust your life with than the Creator of life?
Though the storm raged around the disciples they were still in a safe place because God was there. Though the storm rages around us we are safe because He is our safe place. Whatever circumstances we face, though fierce, they cannot threaten our safety. We just need to run to the right place.





The Kingdom From A Child’s Perspective

9 06 2014

We’re all familiar with the verses where Jesus references that we must be like children to enter the Kingdom. Just in case you need a refresher it reads, “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 – NIV)” the things that intrigues me is that Jesus says we must change and become like kids. What is it about children that Jesus wants us to emulate?

jesusandkids

But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. We all know that we have to grow up sometime. It’s an inevitable event. Time passes and we all get older. It’s an irrefutable law of the universe. Some children are too eager to grow up and we have to encourage them to enjoy life as it is in the moment.

Growing up is a necessary part of life. It allows us to learn and grow. It offers us experiences to be a successful adult. Just as we grow up physically we should grow up spiritually as well. This process allows us to experience new, fresh things in God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church stressing how important this is. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 – NIV)” But doesn’t Jesus tell us that we have to change and become like children? How can we do that if we’re already growing up? Sounds like Nicodemus, huh?

Well in reality we need both. Paul wasn’t contradicting Jesus in any way. He was talking about a separate issue. Paul is talking about growing up in God. He talks in other places that the deep things of the Bible are like meat for food. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (Hebrews 5:12 – NIV)”

So…what DO we need to change? I suggest that we need to reclaim some of our ‘childish’ traits. Children have an uncanny capacity for trust. They will believe what a teacher, police officer, or pastor tells them because of who they are. They don’t question it, they don’t argue their point, and they don’t reason it out. Their teacher said it so it’s the truth. As we grow up we lose this quality. We begin to question things and try to reason them out. We have traded our trust in God for insurance and a paycheck. When the money runs out we don’t run to God…we pull out Visa or MasterCard instead.

trust

One of the things that I loved to do when living in southern California was visit Disneyland. It was always best with the kids. Their awe and wonder was inspiring. They were giddy with anticipation of seeing Mickey, Donald, or any of their other favorite characters. They were excited at walking down Main Street and would excitedly point out all the things they saw. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t real. They were there, in the middle of it, and that’s all that mattered. We’re too worried about the monthly budget and the electric bill instead of pointing out the things that amaze us. The wonder of God is lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

When a child draws their parents they always draw a really big head and small body. Their perspective of mom and dad is a direct result of that. They’re more familiar with the face than anything else, thus the bigger head. If we start looking at God with a child’s perspective the same thing can be true for us.

Growing up is a good thing. It’s necessary and it’s going to happen. We need to remember, though to keep a child’s perspective on the Kingdom. If we lost it all we need to do is change some things.





Who and why?

16 05 2014

worryIt’s been a crazy week. Timelines on projects have shifted, meetings have popped up, and other things have reared their head. The juggling act is becoming increasingly difficult. The funny thing about all the hustle and bustle is that, while it’s crazy, I’m not then least bit worried about any of it. As I sit here in the main auditorium of our church, writing this post, I can’t help but feel grateful for all of it. I love being Pastor Jeff!

For many of us, at least the men out there, our identity is wrapped up in our work — the better it goes the better we feel. Just the opposite is true as well…if work is horrible then we don’t do so well. Our worth is wrapped up in our successes and failures. Because of this our feelings rise and fall more than the stock market. This, however, should not be. Especially if we know Jesus. We get to sit with the creator of the universe whenever we want to. That drastically changes things. Suddenly the meetings and ’emergencies’ don’t seem so big.

I totally understand that there are pressing issues that need to be resolved. I get that appointments need to be kept and tasks need to be completed. But who we do them for and why should be firmly understood. Do we tread through the day just wanting it to be over? Do we dread Monday and celebrate Friday night and the weekend? If the answer is yes…then I suggest a perspective change.

A little boy ran out into his backyard, bat and ball in hand, declaring, “I am the greatest batter in the world!” He tossed the ball into the air and swung. Strike one! He tossed it up again…missing the second time. Strike two! A third time he tried. “Strike three. You’re out!” He then announced, “I am the greatest pitcher in the world. I have just struck out the world’s greatest batter!”

When we filter our worth through our work we short change ourselves. That roller coaster ride is not a fun one to take. A life of peace, joy, and contentment is ready for all of us. We, just like that boy, need a different outlook. Paul said it this way, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23 — NLT)” The writer of Ecclesiastes said this, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…(Ecclesiastes 9:10 — NIV).”

calm

Maybe we have the issues we do because we’re not doing all we can. Do we go through our days and years trying to skate by? that’s not the way we were created. God created us for so much more. He put so much potential inside all of us. We just need to tap into it.

Or maybe we just need to change our perspective. Do we dread the days to come? Do we loathe the tasks that we are assigned and wish we could be doing something else? If the answer is yes…then it’s possible that our perspective should change. Life is not about the things that you can get…it’s more about the things you can give.

It’s time to get off the roller coaster. Change who you’re working for and why you’re doing it When that happens…joy, peace, and a different value is established. Have fun! Work for the Creator rather than the created.

For more posts like this one head over to Working For Christ. You won’t be disappointed.





How Will You Spend It?

28 04 2014

questionIt’s hard to find the time to do some things. They’re good things too. I love writing on this blog. But sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do it. I don’t understand why either. We usually find the time to do the things we want to. We plan the vacations, outings, and day trips to relax and recuperate. The date nights with our spouse are not neglected. The play days with the kids are fiercely protected.

So why is it that I can’t seem to find the time to do the things God has laid on my heart? It’s not because He has asked something difficult of me. Sometimes He does but not with this. As I think about this I am reminded of the time that Jesus had to go through Samaria. He did so against the urging of His disciples. While there He met and talked with a woman and that one conversation not only changed her life but the loves of the entire town. Going through Samaria took extra time and effort. There’s also the account of His friend Lazarus. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. When Jesus heard about it He stayed where He was 2 more days. Staying there meant that Lazarus dies. But it also meant that Jesus had the opportunity to perform a spectacular miracle. Maybe that’s what it is…the extra time it takes. But if I look at the example of Jesus the extra time is worth it. It could mean that someone is touched by Jesus that may not have been otherwise.

There’s one thing we all have in common regardless of financial status, nationality, age, spiritual background, or anything else. We are all given 24 hours to spend each day. The thing about having this time is that we can’t save any of it. We can plan and prepare for certain things but at the end of the day we are left with no extra time. When it’s gone…it’s gone. So how do I find more time to write like God has tasked me to? The answer seems pretty simple. I take the time to do it. Just because God asks something of us doesn’t mean that He gives more time to accomplish it. It’s up to us to figure out how we’re going to divide up the 24 hours each day to get His assignment done.

God gives time

I’m not much of a coupon clipper. I would rather find a store that sells for less than redeem the coupons. I have heard stories of those who have saved hundreds of dollars because they invested the time to find the deals. They didn’t save any time…but the time they spent brought huge rewards. Paul put it this way, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. (Ephesians 5:16 — NLT)” Every minute of every day is an opportunity that God has given us. Some of those opportunities need to be taken to do the things God has placed in our heart to do…regardless of how much extra time it takes. It may be that the extra hour or two spent could have miraculous results. We won’t know until we spend that time. Or should I say…invest that time. That’s probably a better way of looking at it. An investment is designed to give returns back to the investor. If we invest out time in God’s Kingdom the returns that come back could very well be life changing…not only for you but those that the investment touches.

It takes time to do what God asks. We don’t always have the extra time to spend. Trust me when I say, though, that the investment is worth it. So…how will you spend your time?





Is It Real…Or Is It Facebook?

11 04 2014

image

I’m not a very good Facebook friend. I don’t post anything most days. I’ll browse through some days and click ‘like’ on something every once in awhile. I will follow links to news articles that others post. I take the cute little quizzes. I enjoy the pictures…most of them anyway. I’ll comment on discussions that are taking place. But have I really touched the lives of those I’m trying to interact with? Have we made a difference to the hurting people whom God has placed in our lives? Or am I just succumbing to the culture?

Now to those who really get into Facebook and all it offers…please don’t be offended at this post. I’m not saying that Facebook is a sin and should be added to the list of “thou shall not’s”. It’s a great tool for keeping in touch with friends from lives past. It’s great for sharing ideas and having a conversation with acquaintances about life and other stuff. It’s funny to post videos of my son jumping into a freezing pool (it really was funny). And Facebook does have the potential to reach people we wouldn’t normally interact with. The ministry potential is huge.

One of the best commercials that I have seen recently is for Toyota. A daughter tries to get her parents to be more social and encourages them to create a Facebook account. Much to her dismay, however, it is unsuccessful because she discovers that they only have 19 friends compared to her 687. The scene then changes to show her parents hiking with friends, biking with friends, and a host of other things. The daughter sits at home in front of the computer looking at her puppy saying how sad she was for her parents. It cracks me up! I once heard a dad say that his daughter invited some friends over for a sleepover. There were about 8 of them all upstairs in her room. There was no sound coming from upstairs at all. When the dad investigated he discovered that they were all talking to each other over Facebook from their phones. Seriously!?!

friend

I understand that we, as ambassadors of God, should understand the culture. I get that we should use whatever means possible to communicate God’s Word to this world. But what do we do when the communication stops? If we’re not careful we can become satisfied with posting a bit of Scripture on our page and call it good. “We’re evangelizing the world,” we say. “We’re reaching more than ever!” In reality, though, we’re not reaching anyone. It’s too easy to scroll past all the stuff we don’t want to see and focus on what we do want. If we do that…who else does?

Jesus gave us the best example of evangelizing the world. It all started with 12 men. We know them as disciples. He spent a short 3 1/2 years with them. He ate with them, walked with them, talked with them, and taught them. He laughed and cried with them. He did life with them. He called them his friends…and they were His friends. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15 — NIV)” Jesus does the same with us. He pursues a friendship with us that far surpasses anything that could be posted on Facebook.

I remember the old Memorex slogan, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” We can ask the same thing of our friends. Are they real or are they Facebook? Have we spent time with our friends and made a lasting impression on their life? Have we let them in or kept them out and only post the details we want them to see? Do we place more value on the number of likes we get on a post or whether someone will join us for coffee and talk? As for me…I don’t want to be remembered as a Facebook friend. I would rather be a real one.








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