Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This morning I got up and went downstairs, my wife was hard at work exercising so I sat down and began working on my computer. She got to a new part of the video and sat down to figure out how to accomplish the kickboxing move. I looked up from my computed and laughed. Tammie asked, "can you gain muscle by watching". We got a good laugh.
I began to think about how our Christian life often resembles the question she asked. Can we become mature by just watching. We watch as someone teaches us on Sunday, we watch as others teach us at small groups, we watch as others come and tell us about there spiritual adventures, we watch as we read about others living the Christian life, we watch...
As we look at Christ example of maturity, we must do. Too often we watch and learn but never begin exercising for maturity. How much more fit will we be if we actually do what God expects. What does he expect. He expects us to begin sharing the redemptive story by our actions. These actions are intentional loving acts that will show the love of Christ as we try to tell them of the ultimate love of Christ.
Look at your life, when was the last time you actually "exercised", I am not talking about reading your Bible (although I do recommend you do that), I mean actually living out what it says, feeding the poor, caring for the widow, playing with a fatherless or motherless child, listening to the life story of the oppressed.
Begin today, find someone you can share redemptive love with and do it. You can't gain muscle by watching.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The other morning my family and I took a half day hike on the Appalachian trail. The hike took us to a beautiful overlook of the valley. The hike there wasn't that hard...we were looking at the new sites, exploring, taking in the scenery and enjoying the company. We passed another hiker and had a great talk about values and what things we meditate on. We had some food we had carried in, had a great lunch enjoying the view. We loved it.
Then came the hike back...some were starting to get tired, grumpy ready to be done. We had arrived at our destination, it was more than we expected and then the journey continued. All we could think about was tired legs, rocky terrain and things in the way of getting back. For Tammie,it was fear of snakes...we saw a four to five foot snake...the boys loved it, the girls not so much. Finally after the hike back we arrived at the care ready to be done. On the journey there excitement and anticipation, the continued journey back, let down and disappointment, a hard road and a different outlook.
As contemplated on our attitudes, I realized the journey to the outlook and the journey back were the exact same trail. In fact we saw some better things on the way back...the snake, a squirrel trying to bury food and some cool insects, but the joy wasn't the same. Why? THE DESTINATION WAS OUR GOAL. I wonder how often we go through life and we get our eyes focused on the destination, getting kids through school, finishing college, promotion at work, paying the bills. We are excited when the journey takes us somewhere exciting but when the summit is met we become discontent.
What do we need to do...change our goal. Instead of the goal being the destination, what if the goal became the journey. The destinations are blessings along the way, but those are not what we strive for. What if the journey was our destination. I think we may take more joy in the little things everyday, we probably would look at each day as an opportunity to make a difference.
The Bible puts it this way..."Choose you today who you will serve..." our destination is daily choosing to follow Christ. The mountain tops are great, we love to remember them, but we must remember that we are not meant to live there and we must stop trying. Remember life is a journey...ENJOY THE JOURNEY AS MUCH AS THE DESTINATION.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I was reading this morning and the book started by asking a question similar to the one above, "What is expected of us".
Several years ago my answer would have been to "please God in everything that we do". While this is a biblically correct answer, in my mind this was easy. It only dealt with me. In my life I could please God and ignore things around me. I could do my devotions, prepare a lesson, take care of my family, be kind to those I meet and in all this I could please God.
The picture taken above was on my first trip to Hati. It was this day that changed my view of "what is expected". I stood there and watched as hundreds of kids poured into a tiny kitchen. As I was talking with them, they told me that this place was the only place that they received a quality meal. As I watched, I realized that these children would only have 5 quality meals a week.
As I begin to think about this as well as the plight of sickness, shelter, HIV, and other epidemics facing them, I could no longer just sit and think about how "I" can please God. What I must do to please God, took on a whole new meaning. God desires to use me to change poverty, malnutrishion, lonliness and the list could go on and on. Christ was the one who told us to care for for the widows, fatherless and poor. As you look at the picture, ask yourself "what are you doing to make a difference in the world". Start with you city and together we can make a differnce.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Have you ever caught yourself saying..."DO I REALLY MATTER?" The reality is that more often than not we find ourselves living this way. We go around consumed with the small portion of this world known as "my life". I love the questions that begin with "what if"... By nature I am one who is energized by this question.
The "what if" question that I have been contemplating on lately is "WHAT IF EACH PERSON SAW THEMSELVES CAPABLE OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE". Can you imagine if you and a group of friends decided that you were going to make a difference in your community. You could feed a family for a week, provide clothing for someone who can't afford it, hire someone out of work to do work around your house, care for a child who is not loved, adopt a child, foster a child, volunteer with local agencies...the possibilities are endless.
Our church, ExponentialChurch.tv is starting an initiative called "You Matter". We want everyone in our community to realize that they matter to us and God. We also want to instill in others that they matter in making a difference.
"You Matter" is designed to help people come together to make a difference through pooling energy and resources. When several come together for a common good much can be done. "You Matter" is also designed because as individuals we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.
As you go through your day, stop focusing on "my life" and begin looking at the lives around you that you are able to touch. Get involved in your community and world. Remember, "YOU MATTER SO GO OUT A MAKE A DIFFERENCE". Volunteer, serve, start something but by all means...stop living the "me life".
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Last night we were driving back late from Ocean City, MD. The end of the trip ended with us playing some of the music that was popular in our younger years. We played Michael Jackson's Thriller and Beat it. We played some of the popular boy bands, N'Sync, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the block. We also listened to some of the popular religious music from the day. To our amazement our kids laughed hysterically at the icons of the day. As we listened, we realized that they are much different than today, for good reason. They sounded "funny", "old fashioned" and "ridiculous". As we looked back, these oldies went out, at least for most of us.
As I thought about that this morning, I realized that other things are "going out" that shouldn't be. No more do we see people who are compassionate, seeking justice for the oppressed and loving mercy. As I look around at the community around me, I see opportunity to participate and practice the values that should never go out. This week as we begin our week, how we will we practice justice, mercy and compassion. Is there a person who needs help? It's our job to help. Is there someone who is being abused? It's our job to help. Is there someone who is being judged? It's our job to show love and acceptance
I would recommend reading a book, "A Hole in Our Gospel". This book transformed the way I look at the world around me. It caused me to to look at compassion, social justice and mercy ministries as my responsibility. At ExponentialChurch.tv this will be our first LifeGroup series. I believe part of our living/worshipping well must include our active participation. Don't let these values go out of style like the music of our past.