Wednesday, July 23, 2008

35 and counting!

No that's not how old I am. It's how many years Carol and I have been married. I used to think people who had been married that long didn't know how or at least didn't have the energy to enjoy life but that's not true. We proved it last monday when on our anniversary we did it all beginning with breakfast at Jack's Diner in downtown Columbus, followed by 9 holes of golf. (I won, but barely!) Then we went to G. Michael's for a great dinner followed this time by a little shopping at Easton followed by dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. Note in spite of the picture, we shared the desert!

Summer Reading

Ok, so I didn’t get all the reading done I wanted to on vacation but I did get some reading done and for what it’s worth, here are a couple of quotes that God hit me with while I was away. Maybe some day I'll write more about each of them since they all tell a story about the journey thus far.

God is more interested in the workman than the work, Warren Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p. 64

If we are going to seize divine moments, we must accept the reality that we have no control over many things. Erwin McManus, Seize the Moment, p. 68

I had stuff that wouldn’t let go of me because I wouldn’t let go of it.

. . .remember, though we are time travelers, we were designed to go forward, not backward. When you keep traveling backward, it tears away at your soul. Erwin McManus, Seize the Moment, p. 16

P.S. Thanks especially to my friend Aaron who reminded in a one of his posts of a book we read together. It’s one of those books that after you’ve read it you can’t stay where you are. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he’s on a journey “seizing his divine moment”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sea's the Day

OK, that's not the way you spell "seize" but it works when you are at the beach, which is where we are this week. Yesterday we "seased the day," by spending the whole day at the beach. We walked on the beach, sat in the surf, and played in the sand. Then we went out to eat. There were 18 of us total. I could write more but I want to sea's the day today.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Share the Journey

This week we started vacation. Vacation for our family is a real time for connecting. . .connecting with family and with God. Besides my immediate family, Ben and Erin, Jonathan and Kayla, Tim and Matt, my brother and his family along with their three boys and my mom are coming. Also this year my “older” sister, Diane and her husband Mike are coming, too!

Besides connecting with family I am looking forward to connecting with God as well. Vacation for me is a major time of reflection. It’s almost like New Year’s. It’s a time I tend to look back as well as look ahead. A year ago I “got out of the boat” and resigned from a fairly comfortable position at a great church. I had sensed for a while that God had something else for us, and little did I know that it would be to plant a church in my home town with a special group of friends.

I doubt that I will get to them all but I brought a number of books I hope to get to read, some for the first time and others for a second time. Some of the books I brought are for the current sermon series at journey church. They are commentaries on the book of Philippians. Another one is a study in Proverbs that I hope to do with the family. Also, there are some books I hope to read for ministry and personal development. They include 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones, Disciples are Made Not Born, by Walter Henrichsen, The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges and Chasing Daylight by Ervin McManus. And, if I feel like it, a book by Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

I also brought some games which we love to play: Crowns. Phase 10, Skip Bo, Hit the Deck, Sequence and Dominos. Somehow, I think a week isn’t going to be enough time to it all, plus walk, swim and eat! But, we’ll sure give it a try. Meantime, I hope I’ll get a chance to share the journey some more with you when I get a chance.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We've Been Robbed!

Well not us but Carol’s Aunt. They broke into her house and stole the copper water pipes. They apparently broke in though a basement window and then proceeded to cut the pipe into smaller pieces with a bolt cutter. They cut them into pieces small enough to go inside a duffle bag and then walk out the back door leaving us a mess to clean up just a week before closing

Well there is a much more serious robber at work among Christians today. He is not stealing copper pipes but rather something much more valuable. He is robbing us of our joy. Paul addressed his joy-robbers in Philippians 4:2 Their names were Euodia (fragrance) and Syntyche (fortunate). For whatever reason they were not getting along, thus he appeals to them to agree or be of the same mind.

2Iplead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree (or to be the same mind) with each other in the Lord.

That mind, I think is the same mind or attitude that apostle Paul wants the Philippians to have is the mind of Christ, which is an attitude of humility, Philippians 2:5-8

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!@

But what does it mean to have an attitude of humility? I think it means three things. First it means to be selfless, v.6

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

Jesus who is God and was God from the beginning, was selfless and willing surrendered his position of authority and power.

Second, I it is being a servant, v.7

7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

This is the great Kenosis passage. The phrase “made himself nothing” here in the NIV is only one word in the original. It means to “empty, or “to abase.” “To neutralize or make no reputation”

That doesn’t mean however that he ever stopped being God, when he became man. It simply means that he “voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes.” He never ceased to possess them all, but he voluntarily put Himself under the authority of God the Father and the control of the Holy Spirit. Then after he emptied himself of all that he was he became a servant.

Third it means to sacrifice, v. 8

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Many people are willing to serve others if it does not cost them anything. But if there is a price to pay they suddenly lose interest. Jesus “. . .became obedient to death-even death on a cross.” Dr. J. H. Jowett has said, “ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.” Warren Wiersbe said, “If there is to be any blessing, there must be some “bleeding.”

Mark Driscol perhaps explained humility best when he gave 10 practical ways we can walk in humility. They are not his, but rather from a friend C. J. Mahanney. Let me share them with you.

10 Practical Ways to Walk in humility

1. Follow the truth wherever it leads. If the truth leads to you’re wrong then follow it. Don’t try and defend yourself. Follow the truth wherever it leads.

2. Invite and pursue correction and counsel. Ask people to tell you when they see sin in your life. Let them speak truth into your life and confront you of sin. And then when they speak don’t argue. Don’t talk a lot. Don’t blame shift, don’t change the subject. Don’t defend yourself and don’t shift the responsibility to someone else.

3. Learn from everyone. Even your critics and enemies have something to give you and if you are humble enough to overlook their pride, you can receive the gift they have to give you, which may be painful but it’s helpful.

4. Repent quickly and thoroughly. Don’t turn it into an enormous event. Don’t require a large number of people to get involved. Don’t force others to pin you to the mat before you give up. Just say, “I’ve sinned, I’m sorry, I’m changing, I have no excuse.

5. Seek and celebrate God’s grace at work in other Christians. God is at work in the lives of other people, seek it, encourage and nurture it. “I praise God.” “I see this in your life.” “I see what Jesus is doing in your heart.” “I see the ways in which you are growing.” Encourage and nurture that in others.

6. Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. Thank people and thank God. And thank God for people.

7. Listen to Scripture more than yourself. We have a tendency to lie to ourselves, deceive ourselves, whine, complain, blame. We need to listen to Scripture, more than ourselves.

8. Exalt the name of Jesus in all you do. Don’t ask, “what’s best for me?” but “what’s best for Jesus and his people?” “What will make Jesus look good because he is good?” What will exalt the name of Jesus? What will enable Jesus to be seen as glorious as he is? The right answer is always the one that makes Jesus look the best.

9. Laugh. Proud people have no sense of humor. They are so serious and they especially can’t laugh at themselves. “How dare you mock me!” Humble people can laugh and do laugh at themselves.

10. Sleep. Proud people don’t sleep well. They are worried. “How will this work out?” “What are people thinking?” “What are people saying?” “What are people doing?” “How are people perceiving me?” “How are they responding to me?” “What do they want from me?”

One other thing humble people do. . .and it is the most important thing you and I can do today. . .It’s found in Philippians 2:9-11.

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The most important thing we can do to walk in humility today is to confess Jesus as Lord. Romans 10:9

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him for the dead, you will be saved.

There is coming a day when everybody in heaven and everybody on the earth and everybody under the earth (that is the dead) will confess Jesus as Lord. You and I have the opportunity to do it today and when we do we have the promise of salvation.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th Trivia

Just in case things slow down at the Barbeque today, here is some July 4th trivia that you can either use to entertain or bore your friends courtesy of the Dallas Morning News, July 3, 2004. Whatever you do don’t forget to thank God for our country and pray for it’s leaders. “I urge, then, first of all, that request,s prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that w may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1,2

July 4th Trivia

1. Which three presidents died on July 4?

2. Which president laid the cornerstone for the Washington Monument on July 4, 1850?

3. What was the title of the 1969 Broadway musical, written by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone, that told the story of the founding of the United States?

4. What city in the American South fell to Ulysses S. Grant and Union forces on July 4, 1863, after a short siege?

5. What twin advice columnists were born on July 4, 1918?

6. In one of the wildest baseball games of all time, the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 16-13, in how many innings on July 4 (and 5), 1985?


1. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (1826) and James Monroe (1831)

2. Zachary Taylor. He became ill with cholera that night and died five days later.

3. 1776

4. Vicksburg, Miss. It came a day after the Union victory at Gettysburg, marking a turning point in the Civil War

5. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (real names: Esther "Eppie" Lederer and Pauline Phillips)

6. 19 innings. The game ended at 3:55 a.m., and the Braves then fired off their Independence Day fireworks, leading many local residents to believe the city was under attack.