Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Would it be Wrong to Pray for Rain?!

I think it would, but not because I am for one candidate over another but because politics is out of control. We have made politicians our God. We look to them as if they can "save" us. G.K Chesterton, the great British theologian and pastor said, "Once we abolish God, the government becomes the God."

We shouldn't "worship" any politicial, neither should we dislike a politician so much that we pray for rain when he accepts the nomination for president from his party. Instead commit to praying "for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, . . " 1 Timothy 2:2

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Message in a Mug

A few weeks ago a friend dropped by my house. He and his wife had been to Starbucks (sorry Panera). While they were there they saw a mug that made them think of me, so they bought it. Then just a week ago another friend dropped by with the very same mug. He had seen it at a Starbucks out of town and thought of me, too. I guess there must be a message. Well, I think there is. It’s rooted in Philippians 3:12-14.

12Not 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. 13Brothers, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The message for me is that I am supposed to live life looking ahead and not looking back. But according to the Apostle Paul that requires three decisions or disciplines.

First it requires the discipline of FOCUS, v. 13

“But one thing I do:”

One thing is a phrase that is repeated often in scripture. It’s something Jesus said to the self-righteous rich young ruler in Mark 10:21

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

It’s something Jesus said to his friend Martha when she was stressed out over fixing food for him while her sister was setting and listening to him.

42but only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

It’s also something that the man blind from birth said to his accuses after Jesus healed him, John 9:25.

25He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Finally it’s something the Psalmist said in Psalm 27 when speaking of what was important to him.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

For the apostle Paul, his one thing was Christlike perfection, v. 12

12Not 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.

Second, it requires the discipline of FORGETTING, v. 13.

“forgetting what is behind. . . ”

This is the most difficult one for me. For some reason I have trouble letting go of the past. Maybe that’s the reason I connect so much with what Erwin McManus said in his book “Chasing Daylight.” He said, “I had things that wouldn’t let me go because I wouldn’t let go of them” (p. 18) Forgetting is a discipline. We have to choose to forget.

Third, living life looking ahead requires the discipline of FORGING AHEAD, v. 13b, 14.

“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.

Paul uses two words here to communicate the discipline or effort required for him to make progress. First, he used the word translated "straining ahead". This is an athletic term, “straining ahead.” It’s a description of the kind of effort Michael Phelps used in winning the gold in the 100m butterfly. He didn’t glide in, but took one more stroke, making one last effort to push ahead.

Second, he uses the term “press toward” v. 14. Here he moves from the picture of an athlete to the picture of a hunter. The Greeks used it to describe a hunter eagerly pursuing his prey. It carries with it the idea of an intense endeavor.

Now when I drink from my mug, I'll be reminded by my friends and from Scripture that. . .

The past is over so. . . Forget it

There is a future so. . . Reach for It!

The plan is progress not perfection so. . . Start running!

Friday, August 15, 2008

News reader cannot stop laughing at model falling over!

Ever get one of those "laughing spells" where you just can't stop laughing. I have to agree with Todd Rhodes when he said on his blog Monday Morning Insight, ". .. It's usually when I haven't had or taken the time to laugh much, then the stupidest things make me laugh almost uncontrollably."

Well evidently that's what happened to these newsmen when they saw this girl on the runway fall. Warning: the laughter could be contagious.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do

A few months ago I sat with a friend in the hospital as he and his wife waited for the results of a cat scan. There was a possibility that it was something serious. Waiting in the hospital is such a helpless feeling. There nothing you can do but pray. I told him I wish I could do more, but then I was reminded of something I had just read, a statement that still resonates inside my head,

“Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do.”

For some reason we are driven “to do.” I don’t think that’s a bad thing but it should never take place of praying. Prayer reminds us that we need Him. (Philippians 4:13)

Well now, humanly speaking my friend justa got even more difficult news regarding his wife. I sat with him again and we prayed. After praying I said I wish I could do more and he reminded me that “prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do.” If prayer is the most we can do, will you pray with me for my friend and his wife. Some of you may know him, his name is Glenn and his wife’s name is Chris. Thanks

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Many Facebook Friends Do You Have?

Well, I only have 11, but I didn't have any a week ago. That’s because I just started facebook last week. I wonder how many friends the apostle Paul would have if he were on facebook. Friends are an important part of Paul’s life, in fact he mentions 28 of them in Romans 16:1-18. However returning to his letter to the Philippians, he says something rather interesting. He says, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, . . I have no one else like him. . . Philppians 2:19,20.

I think there are three reasons Timothy was such a special friend. .

First he was a kindred spirit, v. 20

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.

The Greek uses the word “same souled”. Timothy’s same souledness (isopsuchos, 2473) made him a special friend, you know the kind that love you for who you are. That don’t put unrealistic expectations on you but appreciate you for your strengths and overlook your weaknesses.

Second he had a concern for others, 20.

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.

Paul carried a heavy burden of concern for the saints both at Philippi and everywhere else (2 Corinthians 11:27-28), thus it was a special encouragement for him to have someone like Timothy who shared the same kind of concern as he did for the saints, especially those of Philippi.

Two things marked Timothy’s concern.

First it was genuine. The word genuine means, authentic, open and real. Paul knew that Timothy’s concern was motivated by a genuine love for others. He had no ulterior motives.

Second his concern was unique in that it was not for himself but the sake of Jesus Christ. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ Philippians 2:21

Third, he had a servant attitude, v. 22

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

In those days when people visited prisoners who were held captive under Roman authority, which Paul was, they were often prejudged as being criminal types as well. Therefore, a Timothy exposed himself to great danger just by being near Paul. Timothy didn’t care, he still was committed to serving Paul, his spiritual father in the faith (1 Corinthians 4:17)

So what kind of friend are you? If Paul needed friends you and I need friends too. I hope you have a friend who is your kindred spirit, has a genuine concern for the things that concern you and will serve both with you in the work God has called you to do.

P.S. Hey, just for fun, write and tell me how many facebook friends you have.