Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Evening Post

Today, I am getting around to a posting kind of late. I almost just skipped today but after the day that I have had I just wanted to stop and reflect on the way that I have felt God's presence and to just say how great the hanging of the greens time at church was for me.

We sat up the manger in the snow. The plywood cutouts that we set up, I learned later in the evening from Freddie Key, where made fifty years ago and each of the members of the church had a hand in painting them. At the time he said there was just a few members, 12 or 14. It is amazing to think that these plywood figures of the Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, Shepherd, and animals are older than our building! Every year Dockery Chapel has placed this same scene out for everyone to look at as they drive by and know that "for unto us a child is born, a Savior is given." For fifty years they have held up through the snow, rain, and cold. It was a blessing to be a part of setting them out again.

The time that we spent making crafts, the singing of carols ,and Richard telling the story to all of us kids was a wonderful way to begin this season. Tonight, it just felt like I got to be a part of a family tradition that was bigger than the family that gathered for it. It was a wonderful blessing to hang the greens. Next year if you get the chance don't miss it.

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 28, 2008

TGIF

Today is a traveling day for the Franklins and for many others who went away for the holiday. Please pray for all of us who are traveling today. Today is Friday...give God Thanks!

I am thankful that there are others who pray for me and with me.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did any of you watch the Macy's parade this morning?
I catch a little bit of it every year.
How is the house smelling?
As I type this the house is beginning to smell amazing!
Happy Thanksgiving!

As I think about what I have to be thankful for it seems that the list just continues to grow. It seems that I can always think of one more thing. How about you are you thinking of what you are thankful for today? Can you think of something more? To whom are you thankful?

I am thankful to God for all of it because he has given it all to me as a gift. Everything that I have is a gift from God.

This morning I want to say a special prayer of thanksgiving for you. You are my gift from God. Each of you who read this blog, I give God thanks for.

Thank you God for this blog that helps me to daily turn my focus and attention toward you. Thank you God for those that read it and comment words of encouragement. Thank you God for those those that tell me they read it everyday but never comment. Thank you for those that read it that I don't even know. Thank you God for all the people that read these words today.

Today I thank God for you-- for all of you! Let's continue to grow together in our relationship with God and with each other. Please know that I am always here for you, in a real way, not just as some post. I would love to get to know each of you more fully. If we can get together for coffee or a Dr. Pepper and talk that would be great and I would love to do that. Just give me a call or send me an email and we can get together soon.

I thank God for all of you today. As you give God thanks, on this thanksgiving day, please know that you are part of my thanksgiving and that you are in my prayers today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Prayer for the Day

Gracious, loving God,
Thank you for today and for the opportunity to live today in your presence. Help me in my day to recognize you are here with me as I do the things that I do. Give me the awareness that you are riding with me in my car, setting with me in my home, working with me, playing with me and want me to share my day with you. Help me to turn to you and tell you what just happens like I would a friend. Help me to carry on a conversation with you throughout my day and to offer all the conversations that I have with other to you. Most importantly, help me to listen for you and to see you today. Help me to be quicker to listen to you than I am to ask things of you. Lord, I love you and I want to spend this day with you and live this day in your name.
In Christ's name, Amen.

Enjoy your day with God as with others! Have a great thanksgiving!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tension's Good Side Prayer

I want to share with you a prayer that has been very significant for me. This prayer helped me come to know Christ and to see that Christ was real and working in my life everyday. I believe that the prayer is called "tension's good side prayer." I came across this prayer while doing a study called "Untapped Miracles for Tapped-out Christians." The basic understanding is that we use the stress and tensions of our day to trigger us to focus on God. Whenever there is tension or stress we pray a simple prayer giving that stress and tensions to God.

Gracious God,
I know that you love me and that you care for me. I know that you want what is best for me and that you say to come to you and I can receive rest. Right now, I have this stress or tension (name you stress of tension) and I give it to you recognizing that I need you in my life and that you can give me rest. Take this form me and help me to see that you are alive and working in this situation. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Give this prayer a try. If you are like me I think that you will discover yourself praying a lot more. Also, I think that you will discover that God cares about you and your ordinary everyday life and He wants to live it with you.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 24, 2008

Talking and Listening to God

Have you talked to God today? Have you been listening?

Prayer is another one of those habits that we can make a part of our ordinary lives that can help us to encounter God in our day. For me, prayer is essential. Prayer connects me to my life source and into the power of God. Prayer enables me to change my focus from me, and my problems, to God. It helps me to stay focused on God and to offer my life, my relationships, my conversations-- all that I do, over to God.

We really can pray throughout our day. We can pray as we wake and as we go to sleep. We can pray as we work and relate with others. We really can pray without ceasing as the Bible directs us to do. However, it is not easy. Certainly, I focus on me and the stuff of my day way more than I focus on God throughout my day. Certainly, I do things without even thinking about talking to God about it or listening for his guidance and direction. However, I know that it does not have to be this way. God desires that we lift our whole lives at all times to him in prayer. God desires that we live in constant communion and communication with Him. That is cool! God want to have conversation with me and be a part of my everyday life. I just need to include God in it. Prayer is how we intentionally make God a part of what we are doing and allow him to lead us.

Dear Lord,
Throughout my day today help me to be mindful that you are here with me. Thank you that you are here for me to talk to and that you are here for me to listen to. I want to give to you all that I do today and do it all with you. I love you and want to live in communion and communication with you. I want you to be central to all that I do. Help me to pray unceasingly today. In Jesus name. Amen

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Psalm 100

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100 (NIV)

Happy Sunday! This scripture seems to say it all for me today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daily

"Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:24-26

This is some very important teaching about being real in following Jesus. It tells us that for us to live we need to lose our lives for Jesus. If we want to be save our lives than we need to die to our lives and live for Jesus. This is tough teaching and probably the toughest part of this teaching, and the most important, is that Jesus says that following him is something that we have to do daily. It requires us intentionally giving everyday to Jesus. Everyday denying our way, our love, our selfishness for God's way, God's love and Christ-centerdness. Just because we did it yesterday does not make it true for today. Jesus said that following him is a daily practice and a daily discipline.

May we take the teachings of Jesus to heart today and make the most of the day that God has given us. Tomorrow may we do it all over again.

Any thoughts?

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thank God it's Friday!

Throughout this week I have really focused on encountering God in the Word. This is a habit that I need to have in my life daily if I want my relationship with God to be real. Since it is Friday, (and we have this tradition)I want to thank God for his Word. I also want to share a scripture.

"So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."
Hebrews 11:6

I am thankful that I can seek him and find him in the pages of the Bible. I am thankful that God is a God that reveals himself to me in the midst of my everyday life as I meditate on the scriptures. I am thankful for how I get just the right word at the right time. I am thankful that passages of scripture can speak to me differently at different times of my life.

I am thankful that when I seek-- earnestly, sincerely and with all my heart, his word does not leave me empty. I am thankful for the promises that I read in the scriptures which are made real in my relationship with Christ. I am thankful for the hunger that God gives me to read the word and seek his face.

What are you thankful for today? Is there a way that God has been made real, or spoken to you, through the word that you are thankful for? In this past week have you felt closer to God as you meditated on the scriptures? Have you earnestly sought and felt the reward that is promised?

I don't know how many of you have heard this yet or not, but this week I was blessed with an opportunity to travel to the Holy Land in January of 2009. This is a chance of a lifetime and an opportunity to see the very places that we read about in God's word. It is a chance to walk where Jesus walked and encounter God. I am thankful for this opportunity and for the loving people of Dockery Chapel who are making this possible. I couldn't post on a "Thank God it's Friday" post without thanking God for this opportunity and for all of you.

What else are you thankful for today? Go ahead and give God thanks!

In Christ's Love and Mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Psalm 20

Good morning!
I want to share a scripture with you that I read this morning. It has become my prayer for each of us today and my praise to God for his faithfulness. The spaces I have added to help me to slow down and think about what the Lord is saying to me in each of the lines.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary

and grant you support from Zion.

May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.

May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

We will shout for joy when you are victorious

and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

O Lord, save the king! Answer us when we call!
Psalm 20 (NIV)

Today, may we stand firm in the promise and the hope of the Lord.

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transformation: An Encounter with God in the Word

I read a passage of scripture this morning that I had read before. In fact, it is a passage of scripture that I think God used to speak to me when I first began to wrestle with this idea of giving my life to Jesus. It is a passage that promises transformation, promises that we can love in a new way, and promises that we can live a new life.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:26-27

"I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it." Ezekiel 36:36b

I first read this scripture at a time that I was struggling with problems of my past. I was stuck, and felt like I was going to continue to be stuck in the the things and the stuff that I had been doing. Through this verse I began to hear God saying to me, to all of us, "you are not stuck." "You are not your past, you are not what you are doing, I will not leave you where you are and where you have been." God promises to change us. To really change us! Not some surface change or superficial change, but real change. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

WOW! This is God's promise. Our love can be changed, our lives can be changed-- a new heart and a new Spirit. The Holy Spirit to lead us and shape us in our lives. WOW!

What does this mean for our lives, our love, and for our relationship with God?

In Christ's Love and Mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All the Way Through You

I think John Ortberg said it, "The goal is not that you get all the way through the scriptures but, that the scriptures get all the way through you."

This post is a followup to a comment on yesterdays post that I received from Tammyb. I think that she asks a pretty common question that most everyone can relate to. (To get the full effect you may want to read her comment yesterday.)

I think Ortberg's quote is a helpful understanding when it comes to creating a habit of daily meditating on God's word. The goal is not that you read it from beginning to end, although that can be a plan for reading it. The important thing is that your read it. Remember, the reason for reading it is that it is a living and active word that we can encounter God in. The what is not as important as the why.

The best plan is that you open it. You can read a little or a lot. I personally prefer to meditate on short pieces of scripture. (Probably because it is easier for me to think about and remember throughout my day.) Also, I like to read the Psalms. I will just take the date (today is the 18th, I will read the 18th Psalm and the 118 psalm) and use it as way to guide my reading of the Psalms. The other important thing is that when we close the bible we don't close our heart and mind to what the scripture is saying. It is alive and active so don't stop at just reading it, let God speak to you. You don't have to fully understand, God will bring you the meaning that you need.

I don't want to tell you a specific plan because the plan that works for you is going to be the plan for you. The plan that helps you open and read is the right plan. Make it a priority. Make sure that each day you open your life up to God's word.

Think about this today.

"He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." Deuteronomy 8:3

What do you think?

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Monday, November 17, 2008

Encountering God

One of the habits that we can incorporate into our ordinary, everyday lives to help us encounter God is reading and meditating on scripture. Everyday, we can take some time to read scripture and allow it to work in us throughout our day. As we reflect upon it we allow the Spirit to write it on our hearts.

Hebrews 4:12a says "For the word of God is living and active." To me, this scripture is saying that we can encounter God as we allow his word to be a part of our day and meditate on the scriptures. As we do that it is active in us, because it is alive, the Spirit does a work in our hearts and in our minds. This is why it is important for us to make the scriptures a part of our ordinary day. They can help us to encounter God, they will help us to be real about living in relationship with God and real about our love.

As you reflect upon this scripture what does it say or mean to you today? (Live with this passage and think about it --this would be meditating on scripture)

What is a scripture that God is using to speak to you right now? What is a scripture that has been significant in your relationship with God and helps you in your life? How do you make God's word a part of your everyday life? They say that it takes 21 days to make a habit, how can you over the next 21 days make meditating on the scriptures a part of each and every day?

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Church was wonderful today! It is so great to worship together as a community.

Today, I am thinking about how wonderful it is to have everyone together and in one place. (This is what happens at Pentecost when the church is launched in the power of the Holy Spirit.) There can be great power in our coming together. This afternoon, I am thinking about the ones who weren't there. I miss them. From time to time we miss church because of things going on in our lives, maybe we are at another church, or maybe we just miss that day. I want you to know that when you are not here you are missed. I want you to know that I love and care about you and if there is something going on that is keeping you from worship that I can help with pleas let me know.

For those of us that were in church take some time this week to contact someone that you noticed was not with us today. Let them know that you missed them and that they are loved

It is a good, joyful and powerful thing for us to be together and in one place to worship. I am already looking forward to the next time we do it. Thank you for all that you do for the purposes of Christ.

When we are apart from each other please know that you are missed.

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spiritual Growth Gauge

How do we measure are spiritual growth? How do we know if we are growing in our relationship with God?

Next week I am going to be posting about spiritual habits that I think are important for my life and my relationship with God. However, before I do this I want to make it clear that doing these types of things don't make me spiritual or mean that I am any closer to God. They will help us though. The spiritual habits are practices that help me to encounter God in the midst of my ordinary life. The habits that we are going to look at are practices that God promises us that we can encounter Him in. Practices like prayer, worship, meditation on God's word, service, Christian interaction, and sharing our faith are helpful and necessary for us if we are going to live out our relationship with God in a real way. But, they cannot be mistaken for our relationship with God. We can't use them as a checklist and say I did all these things so I must be growing.

So today, I want us to think about what the true gauge of our spiritual life is. Here is a hint for my Dockery family. We have been talking about it at church for the past three weeks. In fact, I hope we talk about it every week. The only gauge that there is to measure are growth in our relationship with God or not-- is our love. Love is the only measure. You see the promise of the scripture is that we will grow in our love of God and our love of others as we live in Christ and allow him to live in us. The promise is that we will continually become more loving.

If we want to know if we are living in relationship with God all we have to do is look at our love. Do we love God more today than we did yesterday, or last week, or last year? Do we love others more? That is the only measure that there is. We can read our bibles, go to church, hang out with Christians, share our faith, serve, and pray but If we don't grow in our love than they are just empty rituals. The Good News is that God has promised to meet us in these types of practices and God has promised that when we encounter him in our lives we are never the same. He will change us to have a heart like his.

How are you doing at love today?

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank God it's Friday!

Today is Friday and following tradition (this is the second Friday) I want to talk about what I am thankful for today.

I have a friend named Sandy that would always say that she thanked God "for indoor plumbing."

That always makes me think about how we need to give God thanks for those things in our life that we sometimes take for granted, like indoor plumbing, that are such a blessing and make life so much better. Today I am mindful of those types of things. I thank God for the ability to live where I have many things like clean water, plumbing, food, clothing, and shelter. Things, that at times, I assume everyone has because I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the world that these things seem common. I thank God that I live where I live. I thank God for the air that I breathe and the beauty that God paints in sunrises and sunsets. I thank God for laughter and for all the emotions that I feel. I thank God that I can feel. I thank God for allowing me to have another day to love and grow.

I pray today that I might not take God, and the Gifts of God, for granted. I pray that God would make me mindful that I am blessed and have blessed to be a blessing.

What are the things that you are grateful for today? What are the things that you have a tendency to take for granted? Let's thank God today and everyday.

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey, Aren't You...

This is a song that I heard this morning. I think I have heard it before but this morning I finally heard it. The words are awesome and I think this is really the goal for our lives

It reminds me of a story that I heard once about a missionary who was a missionary to a small tribal village in a undeveloped area of the world. The story is told that because he was bad at paperwork he lost his job as a missionary. Several years later, there was another group of missionaries who came to that same village where the poor paperwork missionary had been sent. As they begin to tell the local people about Jesus, about how Jesus loves them and cares for them, they said, "Oh yes! We know him!" As the missionaries shared stories of how Jesus healed the sick, about the teachings of Jesus, and about Jesus laying down his life for his friends, they said, "Oh yes ! We know him! He lives in the hut right over there!" They pointed to a hut in the village and the person that lived in that hut was the man who had come there as a missionary and lost his job because he could not do the paperwork. When the people heard Jesus described they thought surely they must have been talking about their friend in the village. He and loved them and cared for them like Jesus. He had taught and spoken to them like Jesus. He had cared for the sick and he had laid down his life for them. They had mistaken him for Jesus. Wow!

That is the goal. That you and I would live out our faith in such away that others would see Jesus. That our friends, our family, that everyone that we encounter might encounter the Jesus in us.

Love today, you may be the only Bible some people will read today. Love today, the Jesus that people encounter could be the Jesus in you.

In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Real Early

Today it is an early morning I am up early to go to the Get Motivated event in KC with my friends Dub and Jan. I am up early but God has already beat me into the day. God is already working in my day. It was cool as I woke up this morning I was already thinking about what God would have me blog today! My mind was on what God was doing as I got out of bed really early.

The scriptures tell us that God goes before us and prepares a way for us. That is quite a promise for each and every one of our days, and it is God's promise for us today!

While we sleep God is working. God is already at work in our day. God has prepared a way for you today. Look for God today. "This is a day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freedom

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all of those who have served and fought for freedom. Thank you to all of those that at this very moment in are in parts of our world working for freedom. Thank you for all that you do. May God bless you all.

I woke up this morning thanking about freedom. I think that it is a common thought on veterans day as we remember and give thanks for the men and women who have made sacrifices for the many freedoms that we now have today. As I thought about freedom I thought about the passage in the scriptures that says "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)

What does it mean for us to be set free by the Jesus? What are the freedoms that we receive in Christ? What are we freed from?

This passage, as I reflect on it this morning, seems to say that true freedom-- to be free indeed, happens when it is Christ that sets us free. So, what is this freedom and what does it mean for our lives today. The scriptures tell us that this freedom is not is not freedom to just do whatever but it is truly freedom. Galatians 5 says that we shouldn't use our freedom to indulge. 1 Peter says that our freedom should not be used as a cover-up. So what does it mean to be set free by the Son? What does it mean to be free indeed?

A few words come to my mind as I think about what we are freed from in Christ. In Christ we are no longer a captive of imprisoned by:

Sin. That is the promise! We are freed from sin. In Christ we can overcome sin. We do not have to sin. We do, but in Christ we are set free to sin no more. We can't just say, "well, we are human so we will always sin." I am not trying to say this is easy, or that I am sinless, but the promise of freedom in Christ is that we are free from sin. We need to proclaim this promise, over the power of sin. This is what it means to be free indeed.

Here are some more words that come to mind as I think about what Christ frees me from in my live that makes for true freedom. Not that I don't sometimes allow these things to weigh me down and imprison me. The promise is that I am free if I will just lean into, and on, Jesus.

Free from past mistakes.
Free from guilt.
Free from shame.
Free from worry.
Free from stress.
Free from fear.
Free from resentment.
Free from hate.
Free from loneliness.
Free from pettiness.
Free from self-centerdness.

Free to love!

When the Son sets us free we are free indeed! What are the freedoms that you have in Christ that mean true freedom to you? What has christ freed you from? What has he freed you to do? Live today as one who has been set free indeed. Thank God for the many freedoms that we have in our world and for those that have sacrificed to give us those freedoms. Thank God for the sacrifice that made so that you and I, so that the whole world, could live free indeed.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 10, 2008

Realationships

Yes, I am aware that this is not how you spell relationship. However, it seems that lately every time I type this word I make the same mistake. The "a" keeps getting ahead of the "l" and I type real. I know that it is probably coming from all of this talk about real but I think that this typo has an interesting insight into getting real about our lives, our love, and God.

We all need relationships that are real. We need "realationships" in our life. Relationships where we can share our hurts, our struggles, our joys, our celebrations--our lives. Relationships that can can help us to grow in our realtionship with God and encourage us and inspire us in our life with God. We need to be people, and have people in our lives, that help us to be who God calls us to be. Realationships are relationships that are life giving and life enriching.

Relationships like this don't happen by accident. We have to put time and energy into building these types of relationship. It takes time. It takes an investment of our time to do life with others. It takes our hearts. We have to give of our hearts to love one another, to laugh, to cry, to inspire and encourage. It takes an investment of our hearts to share our joys, our hurts, our struggles and our dreams. It takes Christ. We need Jesus to be the center of our relationships.

I am thankful for the relationship that I have in my life that I consider to be "realationships." I pray that we all could be people, and be in relationship with people, who will give of our time and our energy and our hearts to build relationship that are real. We need each other. We were not created to be alone.

What can you do today to give our your time and your heart to invest in relationship?

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Sunday!

I had a great time at church today! Cathie's "Bridge over Troubled Waters" on the piano during the offering was moving. It had me tapping my toes and it made me cry. It was a God moment for me. It was a wonderful time of worship. Then I had a great SS class with our teenagers and a great fellowship dinner. Then I got to hear about Anna and Reuben's people to people trip to Australia.

I came home with the song "Have you seen Jesus my Lord" in my head. The chorus of this song goes like this:

Have you seen Jesus my Lord
He's here in plain view
Take a look open your eyes
He'll show love to you

The song talks about how God can be seen everywhere when we look for him. It has a verse about seeing God in the sunset and another about seeing God in an ocean view. It has one verse that says:

Have you ever stood in the family
with the Lord there in your midst
seen the face of Christ on each other
then I'd say you've seen Jesus my Lord.

As I left church I felt like I had stood in the family with the Lord there in my midst and I had seen Jesus. I just love Sundays!

Take a look open your eyes he'll show love to you!

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Love, Life, and Football

Today is a much anticipated day in the Franklin household. Well, at least it is for Tucker, our oldest. Today is the day that he gets to go to his first Missouri Tiger Football Game. He has been counting the days for over a month since we recieved the tickets to go to the game. It will be a great day to watch Tucker and experince the game through his excitment. We are also going to be able to have a father and son from church go with us to the game. It should be a great day. So today is a day about football for us as Tucker continues to count down,the now hours, till we need to leave.

So what can we draw from footbal that might help us live and love as Christ? As I was thinking about the day of football I thought that there will probably several coaches today all across this nation telling the student athletes at their respective schools to "leave it all on the field, today." Meaning to give there all, do everything they can, do there very best, don't give less then 100% to playing the game. "Leave it all out there!"

When it comes to our lives and our love we need to,"leave it all out there." We need to give everything that we have within us, everyday to our relationship with God and to our love of others. As we go out there today, as we live our lives, as we love our family, our friends, our neighbors, and the stranger, lets leave it all out there. When it gets hard to love, go ahead and leave it all out there today. Do everthing you can to love. At the end of the day will you have done everything you can, will you have given 100%, will you have loved and lived to the fullest? "Leave it all out there on the field of life today!"

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank God it's Friday

One of the nice things about starting something new is you get to start your own traditions. This morning I decided that I wanted to start a tradition on the blog that I think is beneficial for living out my relationship with God. Each Friday (Thank Gods it's Friday!) will focus on being thankful and all that I have to be thankful for.
Sometimes, we (I) take many things for granted, and fail to stop and just say, "thank you" to God. So, each Friday I will consciously, whether it is a good day or a bad one, focus on what I am thankful for. (Editors note: Thanks to my friend Jeff and his blog for the idea he is spending every day in November writing about something he is thankful for.)

I thank God for my family. My wife Nicole is the most wonderful person, she is an excellent wife and mother who is beautiful on the inside and out. I am so blessed to share my life with her and I thank God every day for her. I thank God for my children who make me want to be a better me and who show me that I can love in ways that I never thought were possible. I am also thankful for a loving caring extended family-- great parents and in-laws, brothers and sisters.

I am thankful for my church family, Dockery Chapel. I am the luckiest pastor that I know. I thank God that I get to serve him alongside the people of Dockery. You are loving, caring, and compassionate. You inspire me, challenge me, encourage me. You let me be me and you love me. I would not want to trade places with any pastor I know. I am thakful for my church and this community.

I am thankful for the many friends that I have who pray for me, love me, support me, laugh with me, cry with me (although sometimes you say I do this too easily) and just plain do life with me.

This is just the beggining of the list that I can compile of things that I am thankful for today. I just want to stop and say "Thank you, God!" It seems as I think about these things it is apparrent that I have truly been blessed. As my friend Jeff says, "I have won the the Lottery!" when it comes to my wife, my children, my family, my church, and my friends.

What do you have to be thankful for today? Take some time today to say "Thank you" to God. Count your blessing. After all, it is Friday. Let's see what a little thaksgiving may do for our ordinary day.

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Morning Prayer


Loving God,

Today is your day. Thank you for giving me today. Lord, throughout this day I am going to need your help and there are going to be times that I try to do it all on my own. I know that I can't be the person that you want me to be and that I want to be if my focus is on me. Help me to keep my focus on you in everything that I do. And forgive me when I don't. Help me to love today. Help me to forgive. Help me to be a grace giver. Help me to recognise your image in everyone that I encounter. Help me to fan the flame of your Spirit rather than be a wet towel that smothers out your flame. Lord I pray that today I might glorify you in my relationships, in my encounters with others, in all that I say and do.

Lord, you know my needs today. When I am stressed, when I am frustrated, when I fall short of my prayer today, let these emotions be triggers for me to focus on you. Help me to turn these moment into a time for me to recognise my need for you. Thank you for today Lord! I Love you! In Christ name I pray, Amen

Have a Great Day!
In Christ's Love and Mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One day at a time

Well, I have made it to my second post. As I said this was going to be a discipline for me. If I am going to this is is going to take me doing it one day at a time.

Our relationship with God is the same way. As I woke up this morning I had the verse from Colossians rolling around in my head.

"And Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

I then went about my day with this passage running through my head.
I got ready.
I talked to Nicole and the kids.
I took the kids to school.
The kids I prayed.
I waved at folks from my car.
I greeted people at the school.
I listened to the radio.
I stopped back by the house to talk to Nicole again, talked to Darbey.
I came over to the church office.
Checked email
Read comments to the previous post.
Started this post.

This is real life. This has just been the start of my day. Boring to some I am sure. The passage form Colossians seems to say something to me about real life and how everything that I do, all of it, is an opportunity for me to do it the name of Jesus. Jesus is with me in every moment. Everything that I do whether it is getting out of bed, reading email, responding to others comments, talking to my wife and children, greeting people as they pass by, or listening to the radio, the scriptures say, can be done in the name of Jesus giving thanks to God the father through him.

How do we live our real lives in the name of Jesus. How do we get up in Christ presence giving God thanks. How can we talk to others around us in the name of Jesus giving thanks to God. What might change about the way that I do the ordinary stuff of my day if I consciously was aware that everything was an opportunity for me to love like Jesus and express Christ character. All that I did in word or deed I did in the name of Jesus giving thanks to God.

Today is the only day that I have to practice this and to work on it. I can't get caught up in the missed opportunities of yesterday and I can't worry about whether I will make the most of tomorrow's opportunities or not. We only have today to do whatever we do in the name of Jesus giving thanks to God the father through him.

In Christ's love and Mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's with this blog?

Today I am going to begin this blog as my own spiritual discipline. I am not doing this thinking that I have something special to say (or to write) that others need to read. I am beginning this blog as way for me to develop a daily discipline of noticing, focusing, and being intentional about my relationship with God and what it means to live each day with Jesus.

I pray that this can be a place where I can think deeply about what it means for me to live out my relationship with God and this blog would be a dialogue with other folks that want to stop pretending, stop hiding, and stop playing church. I pray that this will be a place that I and others can wrestle with the teachings of Jesus and the implications that they have for our lives if we are going to be the church and not play church. I don't want to just talk about following Jesus but I want to follow Jesus and share stories about the crazy stuff that following Jesus gets me into.

I pray that this blog will help me, and others, get real about who we are and who's we are. I pray that this blog will help me, and those who read it, get real about our love of God and our love of all God's people. I pray that this blog helps me and you connect to a real God and live out a real relationship with Christ.

You might ask, "Why I refuse to play church? Why get real?"

Over the past couple of years it seems that God has been speaking to me through multiple outlets about this notion of getting real. When I read the Bible and the account of creation and the fall it seems that when sin enters into the picture what us humans do is-- we hide. Adam and Eve take leaves and make clothes, they hide in the garden hoping that God won't see them on his morning walk. And ever since that time we continue to hide. We put on masks, we pretend that we are something that we are not. We wear smiles when we are hurting on the inside. We act like we have it all together when everything is falling apart. We try to be better than we are, smarter than we are, holier than we are. What it seems God is saying is stop hiding, stop pretending, just be who you are-- I love you! I believe that God want to make a difference in this live and not just in a live to come. I believe that as we come out of hiding, and get real about our lives our love and God it will transform our lives and the world. When we stop playing church and be the church than the teaching of Jesus impact our lives and the lives of others around us. I want to be real, and refusing to play church is drawing a line in the sand and saying "I am not going to pretend anymore, I refuse to hear the word and not allow it to impact the way that I live my life."

I don't know all the answers. I may not know any. But I want to intentionally seek out answers and I want to do that with a community of folks who are committed to living out their relationship with God in real and tangible ways. I certainly have not arrived yet. I am certainly still in the shadows, I still have my own masks, my own stuff that I try to hide, but I am yearning, I am seeking and I pray that daily I am growing. This blog is an invitation to walk with me, to walk together as we move from the darkness into the light as we all allow God to live in us and through us.

Keep it real.
Doug