Archive | April, 2011

Rocky Places

12 Apr

Yesterday I blogged about the hardened soil Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13. Today, the rocky soil:

Jesus said the rocky soil is shallow. Specifically, there is not much depth. There is nowhere for the seed to take root.

Have you ever tried to dig in rocky soil? I have. Often it looks like any other kind of soil on the surface. But all it takes is one stick of the shovel to know the work will be ten times harder. But, if you have to dig there, you do it!!!

How do we allow our soil to get this way? I’m convinced we do it when we hide the rocks in our lives. We try to smooth things over and hide them from the world … from each other …and from God. And, for some reason, we have to hold on to those rocks.

What are the rocks? I don’t know, exactly. But they are things each of us feel a need to hide. So they must not be good! And as long as we hold on to them, they will prevent the seed from taking root in our lives. So they are bad, indeed!

The rocky soil gives a phony front. The seed springs up quickly and looks really healthy. But at the first resistance, it falls over because it had no soil to hold on to.

Do you have rocks? What do you think is the right thing to do about them?

Which soil are you?? Maybe the path?

11 Apr

Yesterday I preached from Matthew 13,  Jesus and the parable of the sower.  In that parable there were four types of soil described.  This week I’ve decided to explore those types.  So, here goes number one:

The Path is a hardened heart.  We don’t know why that heart is hard, but it is.  Maybe it claims to be hardened by the cruel world.  Maybe by cruel people that call themselves followers of Christ.  Maybe by the circumstances of life … by the hands its been dealt.  No matter the reason, this heart is hard.  And its in grave danger.

“Grave danger?”  “Is there any other kind??”

If a heart is hard, its an easy target for Satan.  Like the birds, he picks the seed of the gospel off easily.  He wards off attempts from people of God to befriend and comfort the hard-hearted.  He isolates the hardened one, tells them they are all alone, and traps them in their own belief.  And he is LYING.

God loves us all. There is NEVER a reason for any of us to be alone as long as God is on His throne and Ebenezer’s doors are opened!!  He will be on His throne for eternity, and if WE are doing our jobs, we will reach out until HE says enough!!!

So what are we to do??  Check the texture of our heart … Towards God AND others … And, when we are called to minister to the hard-hearted, DON’T GIVE UP SO EASILY!!!!!

Where we are

7 Apr

Had an interesting day yesterday. Therapy went well, but my physical therapist had called the doctor before I got there: the brace on my right arm is not doing it’s job well, and she wanted them to look at it.

She talked to the person who likes to shift blame … We got to know her when I was begging to get therapy started a few weeks ago. Ironically, this person told the therapist that the brace I was in was one her therapy company approved … That is ironic because I got the brace the day I was discharged from McLeod, 15 days before we knew Progressive PT was where the insurance company would insist I go …

Any who … We went to the docs office and the folks there were great! The brace guru looked it over and looked my file over. She showed us how we can make ths one work. We all agreed it would’ve pointless to replace since everyone thinks he will start weaning me out of it at me recheck on Tuesday. So it was a good experience and didn’t take long at all!

So here we are! Right arm is doing well in therapy. Left arm is still in the cast and still pretty swollen. Though we think we will know more about the timeline on lefty next week. So we covet your prayers!!!


4 Apr

What an ugly word … And, sadly, one that must be addressed in the modern church!

But first, a little understanding of what Paul meant when he wrote about it in Galatians 5: Dissention is NOT disagreement. In the church where I grew up, there was this old guy … Let’s call him Ralph (not his real name). Every time we took a church vote on something, Ralph voted “No.”. Every time!!! I believe if we’d taken a vote on whether or not Jesus was Lord, Ralph would’ve voted NO. That was just a fact of life!

But Ralph wasn’t guilty of Dissention … He would vote his mind and that would be it. No, maybe he was guilty of poor judgment or bad hearing. But once the vote was done, it was done!

Dissention goes much deeper. It involves actively trying to persuade others to turn against leadership. And it tears the bonds of a church like nothing else. I believe it is one of Satan’s favorite weapons, and it is alive and well in the modern church. And, sad to say, at Ebenezer as well. And Paul said those who do this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

What can YOU do to stop this cancer??? First of all, check yourself. Each of us need to do this, and check our egos at the door along with our personal agendas. There is ONE agenda at the church, and it is that of Christ. What He desires is all that should matter!

Secondly, we can stop it by being strong enough NOT to give ear to such talk. This probably means when we hear someone doing this, we need to hold them accountable in love. Urge them to go sit down and talk to the leader in question. Even offer to go with them!!

Dissention rips churches in two … Would you really stand by and watch it happen to your church family?

Smoke and mirrors

3 Apr

Apparently my minister’s robe did too good of a job hiding my cast and brace. So, here is a little update on where things are:

My right arm is still in the brace. The therapists have opened the brace up a good bit, but I am still wearing it. And still not sleeping much because of it. I am able to do everything they ask in therapy without pain, so that’s got to be a good thing … Right?

My left arm is still in the same cast. No changes. We will know more when I start therapy on it and I have no idea when that will be!

It was probably dumb to preach outside of the sling. My arm reminded me of that this afternoon.

Once again, I covet your prayers for my left elbow. It is a big variable in this recovery.