Archive | January, 2014

Something bigger than the sum of us

27 Jan

Human nature is a funny thing.  It pulls us to focus on what WE want … on OUR needs … which would be great if that was the meaning of life.  But it is not.  One of the lies of the world is “all that matters is what matters to ME!!”  There is more to this life, but the devil doesn’t even want you to THINK about that.

When I accepted Christ, I made a commitment.  A commitment to be part of the family of God, the KINGDOM of God, and His kingdom truly is something bigger than me and my wants.  His kingdom is bigger than my family.  Actually, His kingdom is bigger than the sum of ALL of us.  And we not only BELONG to this kingdom, we are charged with BUILDING and ADVANCING this kingdom.  The only way we will glorify Him is to take this commitment seriously.

Kingdom thinking will lead us to consider how our actions impact those around us.  Just as we SHOULD think before we do anything that would bring shame or harm to our own families, we need to live with a discipline and wisdom that guides us away from harming the kingdom of God.  We need to be careful of what we do, what we say, and where we go.  It’s really not as hard as it seems.

This wisdom is freely available to all who will listen in the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  It is written as plain as day in the Bible.  It is here for us … The question is, ‘will we listen?’

If Christ is your Savior, you belong to something bigger than the sum of us all.  Today and everyday we need to renew our commitment to live like that is true!

A Short Time to Get There

22 Jan

Can you hear Jerry Reed singing the theme from “Smokey and the Bandit”??  Can you hear Burt Reynolds laughing at Jackie Gleason??  If not, you might be one of my blog readers who doesn’t see what I did with the title of yesterday’s and today’s blogs.

To be honest, they are not really related to each other.  I just had to do it.  But today I wanted to write about the urgency we, the church, MUST have in doing the work God put us here to do.  IF we believe we were created with purpose … IF we believe we were created to do good works God created for us in advance to do … then we also MUST believe what Jesus said when He told us the end would come like a thief in the night, when none of us expect it.  And wouldn’t it be a shame for Christ to return and find that we have made NO PROGRESS toward the work God made for us??  Don’t we need to get busy?

Add to this a world around us that moves farther and farther from God every day.  A predominate cultural influence that continues to paint a picture of the church as a joke, and God as dead.  More and more people become aware of these things every day, and yet no one is showing them or telling them about the Love of God.  And statistics that prognosticate the conventional church might not even exist in 30-50 years.

I am convinced that as long as we DO the things God has called us to do, this will not come true.  If we slip into the ruts of our traditions, if we continue down some of the paths the North American church is on, we might just make that prediction come true.  And what a sad day if that happened.  Because the influence we can potentially wield in our communities and in the world will be gone, too.  What a sad day that would be.

Yes, we as a church do have a looooong way to go and a short time to get there.  And we need to put the pedal to the metal and move in the right direction.  The direction in which He is calling each of us.


21 Jan

I am SICK AND TIRED of playing around.  For years I have been kind of living this lifestyle that is damaging to me.  A foot in one world.  A foot in the other.  I cannot do it anymore.  Yes … I am taking a serious and aggressive approach to losing weight!!

It all started three weeks ago with a new friend.  We were talking about the fact that I have been drinking breakfast smoothies and stay hungry the rest of the day.  He asked me to try the “Eat like a King at breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at supper” approach.  (Okay … I am not doing the pauper thing yet). He encouraged me to eat a big breakfast, full of protein, fruit, and grains.  Get all of the metabolism pumping.  Then, for lunch, something reasonable.  And for supper I am doing something else reasonable, too.  He dared me to try it for a month.

Then, at the deacon soup supper at EBC, Diana and I were talking to ANOTHER friend and she told us about the MyFitnessPal app for my iPhone.  (They have a really cool website too.)  It helps me manage calories and FULL nutritional info on the foods I eat, exercise, and the amount of water I drink in a day.  It has an elaborate database with all kinds of foods.  I can scan the barcode of snacks and foods I eat and it automatically enters the nutritional info.  I can build recipes with the exact ingredients I put into a meal and it will combine them and calculate the nutrition based on the number of servings it makes.

There is another thing it does that I like that explains why I have been unable to lose weight to this point.  It has fast-food information from all of the restaurants I frequent (or USED to frequent) and I have discovered that all of these grilled chicken salads and sandwiches I would eat, thinking they were good for me, are just as bad as the fried stuff!!  Well, maybe they are a little better, but from a calorie and sodium standpoint, they are AWFUL!!  You can find some good things at Wendy’s and Chick-fil-a, but those are the only two I have found so far that have acceptable foods.

And two and a half weeks in, I have lost 9 pounds.  But I have a long way to go.  Pray for me!


Grace? REALLY??

20 Jan

If anyone is undeserving of the love of God, it is me.  And I guess all of us could make that statement if we are honest about things and it be true.  We do not deserve and cannot earn salvation.  We cannot clean our own lives up enough, we cannot live a good enough life.  If left to our own devices, we CANNOT succeed.  But God had a plan.  His plan is GRACE, extended through us by the sacrifice of His Son for our sins.  And our lives should never be the same.

Jesus talked about love.  He talked about forgiveness.  He leads us to forgive and love each other, and reminds us to do it in the same manner it has been done to us.  With that truth in mind, why do you think there are times in life when WE, the recipients of His grace, His disciples, find it so hard to extend grace to others?

My heart breaks when I hear stories of people who looked for grace in the one place where they thought they would find it, the one group that should understand it, and they found none.  Ironic?  Maybe a little hypocritical?  Why don’t we do it?

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35 tells this story.  This parable about forgiveness tells the story of a master who forgives a tremendous debt to one of his servants.  The servant immediately goes out and starts shaking people who owed him down.  Threatening the full extent of the law.  For almost nothing.  When the master hears of the servant’s wickedness, he reverses his decision and hands the man over to the jailers to be tortured until he pays back every penny.

Jesus ends this parable by saying  35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Hmmm …. something to think about on a Monday morning.

A Crazy Season

13 Jan

Today is January 13, 2014, and this is my FIRST post for the new year.  As I reflect on my past two weeks, the answer is simple.  And it is kind of sad:  Too much death in January.

If you ask any funeral director, he will tell you that the season after Christmas is one of the busiest seasons they have.  I guess people who are close to death use Christmas as a goal to live to, and once that goal is met sometimes they let go.  But that is not the entire story here.  I have had several families and friends who have had very unexpected sickness come on to a loved one and before they know it death was the result.  Very sad.

I freaked Diana and Drew out the other day as we were driving to Greenville as I told them “When something happens to me, THESE are the people I want to handle my funeral.”  I am NOT planning on that happening any time soon.  Any time in the next 35-40 years really.  But when that day comes, I want people who really know me to handle that service.  And they can tell anything they want to tell.

All of this reminds me of two things:  1.  LIFE IS PRECIOUS.  Each and every day should be lived to the fullest.  Be sure to do your best and your most EVERY DAY, because 2. There is NO GUARANTEE OF TOMORROW.

Not to be morbid, but this really IS what is on my mind.  Have a great day!