Keep the Fire Burning

Posted: November 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | 5 Comments »

This past August, my good friend Bill and I went camping at the Stillwater Reservoir east of Loweville. Wow, what a beautiful place. It was incredibly peaceful. We arrived after 7pm, set the tent up, and then started a fire for dinner.

Our first attempt wasn’t too great, but after rearranging the wood and finding more dry kindling, (and a touch of gasoline!) our fire was roaring! A few steaks, some mac and cheese, and a little Mt. Dew later, and the fire was smoldering. Time for some more wood.

Our fire was once again restored to it’s three foot glory! It kept us warm for a few more hours before we turned in for the night.

It reminds me of Matthew 24:12-13 “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” ESV

It says their love will grow cold, smolder, be of no worth or good.  How does that happen?

Neglect.

A fire has to be tended to or it eventually just goes out.  Wood needs to be added, rearranged, or more potent fuel added to keep it going.

So what are you doing to keep the fire going? Whether it be your relationship with God, or your relationship with your spouse? Is business keeping you from tending to these relationships?

Take some time today to see if your fires are getting a little cold, and if so, take whatever measures necessary to turn them back in to raging infernos!


Holy Desperation – Part 2

Posted: September 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | No Comments »

Please read Part 1 first. (click here)

See, we are no different than Bart. We are blind in this world need a touch from Jesus, and like Bart, we know it. Even as Christians we can still be blind and walking aimlessly around without any sense of direction or purpose. God says we can find Him in the darkness of the secret place (Psalm 18:11, Matthew 6:18), we just have to keep crying out to Him and pursuing our relationship with Him (Matthew 7:7). We keep saying that we want to change and we’ll try anything. We’ll read books, listen to sermons online, watch TV preachers and even send them some money so we can get blessed or delivered. These things are good and help to teach us about God, but none of them can replace the time we must set aside to pray and read (study, meditate on, etc.) the Bible.

We have to take Bart’s approach and get to the place where we are so desperate for God and to be like Him that we will pursue Him no matter what. Even when people tell us that we’re a fanatics or that we’re taking “this God thing” a little too far, keep pursuing Him. Cry out to Him to be touched. If youare anything like me, you know what area of life you struggle with and we need to throw these things off like a coat in the summer and leave them there at the foot of the cross (Hebrews 12:1).

I know that sometimes it’s not easy, and God never said it would be, but isn’t it worth it? If I told you that I would give you $10,000,000 if you would spend at least an hour a day praying and reading the Bible for six months straight while keeping your same work or school schedule, I guarantee that not only could you do it, you would.

How much more valuable than that is your relationship with God and our eternal life with Him? It’s priceless. We need to get our priorities straight.

If you were training to be a professional athlete or a concert pianist it would require great sacrifice and countless hours of training and preparation. To most people shooting 100 jump shots and 300 free throws a day on a basketball court would seem ridiculous, but ask Michael Jordan how many tens of thousands of jump shots and free throws he took in practice, even while in the NBA. If you could ask Mozart how many hours he spent at the piano I am quite sure his answer would be over fifteen thousand! Somehow as Christians we expect God to give us a free ride to the front of the Holy Ghost power train and it’s not like that: it never has been. Even Jesus had to learn obedience through trials (Hebrews 5:8).

You say, “Chris, what you are saying is nuts and you don’t invest as much of your life as you are talking about others doing,” and you are correct, but that is what I am pressing for. This is my goal: to be like Jesus. I must love Him with everything I have, and He will help me through His strength and guidance. It will take many things in my life to get there, and many trials, sacrifices and victories are on that road. Of the many things it will require, I know that one is a holy desperation to be like Jesus.

I leave you with Philippians 3:12-14(NIV): “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

- Peace and God bless.


Holy Desperation – Part 1

Posted: September 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | 1 Comment »

I want to share something that I feel is missing in my own life and maybe you can relate: holy desperation. You may be thinking “What is that?” and don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a little bit. I recently heard a pastor preaching and he mentioned the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus (which I will refer to as Bart), and this thought of holy desperation really hit me.

I looked at how Webster defines these words and have arrived at the following definition for holy desperation: it is the extreme need of being entirely devoted to the perfect and righteous work of God in an intense way, even though it may be extremely dangerous.

Hold onto that thought, now for Bart’s story found in Mark 10:46-52. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just read through the Bible, I have to look at the stories as though I were there. I encourage you to read this in the Bible, but my rendition is pretty close with a little poetic justice thrown in.

Enter Bart, a middle-aged man blind from birth with no hope of laser surgery or any other means of being able to see. He sits on the same road every day sweating in the sand just hoping that someone will come by and drop a few coins in his basket so that he can buy some food when the local matzo ball vendor walks by. He has lived his entire life dreaming of what a tree looks like, of seeing the bird in the tree that sings the sweet melody he hears every morning. Oh to see the tears that fall down the face of his loving mother when she stops by to see how her beloved Bart is doing, as she blames herself for his condition. To see the sun that brings the warmth of day and the moon the coolness of night.

He can’t help but hear the story’s that are being told by the locals of this guy named Jesus that has been confounding the priests in the temple since He was twelve, who is healing people who couldn’t walk and raising people from the dead. Bart knows that this Jesus must be the Messiah, the Son of God come to save Israel.

There is no doubt in his mind this man could heal him too if only… suddenly he hears a man say, “I think that’s them! Yes, it’s Jesus and His disciples coming from Jericho!”

Bart knows that Jesus has the power to heal his blindness and this will probably be his only chance; he has to get Jesus’ attention. Not knowing exactly where Jesus is coming from he begins to scream in every direction, “Jesus! Jesus! Have mercy on me!” Seeing that he is making a scene, many of the people who are starting to gather scold him and tell him to be quiet. A few are quite harsh and threaten him, but Bart can hear the crowd getting closer. Desperate, he won’t allow anything to stop him from at least being heard so standing, he begins screaming even louder, “JESUS! JESUS! HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

This time Jesus hears him and stops. The crowd quiets to hear any words that might fall from Jesus’ lips. “Bring him to me” is all He says, and that is more than enough for Bart. He jumps and throws off his tunic (so that he doesn’t trip over it) and runs in the direction of those precious words, stumbling several times along the way.

Now face to face with Bart, Jesus asks, “What do you want?”

“Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go, you’re faith has healed you.” Jesus replies and instantly Bart’s sight is restored and from that moment He follows Jesus down the road. He doesn’t stop to tell anyone or even to gather his possessions, he just follows.

Bart had holy desperation and we need it. We must reach down to the place inside us where we find the extreme need of being entirely devoted to the perfect and righteous work of God in an intense way, even though it may be unpopular or extremely dangerous.

(Part 2 tomorrow!)


Everything the Light Touches

Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, My Thoughts | 1 Comment »

I was watching some show with my family and the preview came on for The Lion King 3D, and I immediately tuned out.  I’ve seen the commercial a few times and the kids all start begging, “Dad, can we go see it?”

This time, as I checked my cell phone for anything remotely interesting, I heard something that I can’t let go of.

The scene is Mufasa sitting with Simba overlooking the plains, and Mufasa (Simba’s dad and leader of the pride) says to his boy, “Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.”

Immediately I felt the Holy Spirit  say, “Hey mooney,  you are to be God’s light to the world, and EVERYTHING the Light touches belongs to my kingdom.”

So go! Let God’s love shine through you today so His kingdom will expand!

 

 

 


How to please the Father

Posted: August 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | No Comments »

Sometimes I make being a Christian so difficult.  I think of all the greatness that God would have me do and overlook the what he really wants of me.  Then I see something like this: my youngest, Lillee, helping with the dishes.

It melts my heart.

~ God, help me to see it’s the everyday little ways I follow you that touch your heart.


It Hurts So Good 14 – It Starts at Home

Posted: August 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good | No Comments »

“What I’m seeing is that the problem isn’t just what’s happening in the church, the problem is what isn’t happening in Christian homes.” ~ “Divided the Movie

I heard this a week ago, and it really hit me that I need to change the way some things are done at home.  This quote is pretty much the only thing I gleaned from “Divided the Movie,” an exposé on how the modern youth group is not biblical. I agree with the quote I posted, not with the thesis of this film.


You’ve been nominated! …for what?!

Posted: August 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, My Thoughts, Spirituality | 7 Comments »

A few weeks ago, Tom Allen was ordained as our assistant pastor, and something that was said has challenged me.  Pastor Kirk briefly mentioned that the church does not promote someone, or nominate them for a position so that they can do a “work.”  They promote or nominate people who are already doing the “work” into the appropriate position.

Basically, they do not ask someone to be a deacon simply because he desires to be one, but because his is already doing the work of a deacon, and so the position is appropriate for him.

Sounds logical enough, right?

So I had to ask myself, “Self, if you were to be nominated for a position in our church (real or not), which would it be?”

Well the cards are in, and it’s a mixed bag.

-    I could teach a parenting class as I have five children who I think are turning out well
-    I could help with kids ministry for the same reason
-    I have some experience with youth ministry, so I could help there
-    I could be the church book reviewer, as I love to read and I write reviews for Thomas Nelson, Bethany House, and Tyndale Publishers

Here’s where it gets dicey:

-    I could be asked to be the church critic.  I have a lot of opinions about what is being done right, and what I think is being done incorrect or needs improvement
-    I could be the church mooch as I am quick to take advantage of the various ministries in the church, but rarely give money to the church or volunteer
-    I could be the church gossip, as I sometimes share my opinions of others with friends instead of keeping them to myself

We’ve all heard “There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect church,’” often in reference to someone or something we don’t like, but it’s time to see that we’re the reason it’s not.  The change has to start with me.  Revival starts with me.  Raising Godly children is my responsibility, not the churches.

So I encourage you to ask the question as well, “If you were to be nominated for a position in your church (real or not), which would it be?” Then ask God to help make the necessary changes in your own life.

 


There’s a lot of talk (and books) about hell these days

Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | 3 Comments »

There’s a lot of talk (and books) today on the subject of hell (what is it and who may end up there). It’s important to understand what the Bible (God’s inspired word) has to say on it, not just other people’s opinions of it. dig into it, study it out. Here’s a good starting point:

Malachi 3:6 I am the Lord who changes not.
Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I Corinthians 6:9: Don’t you know that wicked people won’t inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves!

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:28: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Revelation 21:8: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Read: Matthew 25:31-46

http://www.biblegateway.co​m/passage/?search=Matthew+​25%3A46&version=ASV (look this up in any version and it is hard to miss.

In Jesus own words, not everyone will experience heaven.

Heb 9:27-28Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.


Asleep In The Light/Jesus Commands Us to Go

Posted: July 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality, Videos | No Comments »

This song by Keith Green, wow, it gets me. Am I asleep in the light? I hear a lot about what state the church is in, but you know, the church is made of many individuals, so any change has to start with me and my house.

And then this one. Humbling. He starts speaking at about 6 minutes into it.  If you don’t like the music, at least skip to there and listen.


Merchant Band -Standing in the Gap

Posted: July 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality, Videos | No Comments »

I can’t get this song out of my head.  I think I’ve listened to it fifty times in the past few days.  it’s about how we as the church need to repent on behalf of the nation, and pray for mercy on our country.  It’s clear through the Bible that the prayers of the righteous can postpone judgement and the negligence of the righteous can hasten it.