Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions

It is hard to believe but another year is about to come to an end.
Tomorrow it will be 2009.

This means, for many of us, it is time to set some goals, dream some dreams, and look ahead. The new year offers us an opportunity to make things new. It offers us a chance to set a new course for a new year. Many people will set New Years Resolutions and resolve to do things different in the year ahead. Some of the resolutions will be lofty goals. Some will be smaller. Some might resolve to eat less or exercise more. Others may resolve to read the bible more, spend more time in prayer, or to get involved in a small group. While still others may resolve to get out of debt, earn more money, or find a fulfilling career.

The list of resolutions is as long and as many as their are people.

I have learned one thing about myself from my past resolutions. What I have learned is that "I" can't keep them. By January 15th "I" usually have failed at keeping my resolutions. Even the ones that are good and "I" want to keep, "I" somehow fall short of. "I" am just no good at making the changes necessary to keep the resolutions that "I" have made.

I discovered that it is an "I" problem. I can't really change myself, only God can change us. We need to make God a part of our resolution making and keeping. This year I have been praying about what God would want to make new in me in 2009. I have been seeking God's direction for my life in the year ahead and sought to see his plan and desire. I am resolving to give 2009 to God. I am resolving to have God bring about the real change that is needed in my life. I am resolving to live a life of fun and of joy in relationship with God. I am resolving to allow God to grow me in my capacity to love. I am praying for a passion to know Jesus and a compassion for all of God's people.

As you think about the year ahead and your resolutions just remember that God's word tells us that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. But in Christ, all things are possible. Make God apart of your resolution making and keeping. Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Smiling Jesus

I don't know why, but it seems that God is talking to me a lot about how a real relationship with God is meant to be fun.

My first thought is that I must not be having enough fun or I am taking myself to seriously. There is probably some truth to that and I am going to work on it. But, it seems to be a theme as I think about the coming year and what God desires for all us. Following Jesus can and should be fun. Being apart of a community of people who take the teaching of Jesus seriously and live out real lives in a real relationship with God should be fun.

Here is another picture of Jesus that I really like it is called "Smiling Jesus" and it shows Jesus with a wide grin from ear to ear, happy, joyful, having fun with life.

Please don't confuse what I am saying, I am not saying that as Christians we need to "act happy" or "put on a smile" like Jesus in the picture. This is not what I am saying. I am saying that following Jesus can and should be fun. I am talking about real fun and real joy that expresses itself in our lives because we are living in relationship with God and one another.

We don't need to feel guilty if we are having fun. God wants us to enjoy life.
Just because it is fun does not make it unchristian or not appropriate for the church. Fun and church can go hand in hand. God want us to have fun together.

Living lives of grace, compassion, mercy, and love for one another will produce fruit. It will bring a smile to our faces that we can not hold back. It will bring tears, but it will also bring joy, laughter and fun. Have fun following Jesus.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, December 29, 2008

Laughing Jesus

Over the past couple of days (while taking a rest from blogging) I have been reflecting on fun. I have been having a lot of fun with family and friends over Christmas and it has caused me to think about how following Jesus is meant to be fun. I am going to write that again, in bold letters, so that we don't miss it.

Following Jesus is meant to be fun.

Jesus is not a fun hater. He didn't come as a wet towel to damp out fun. Jesus wants us to have fun and following Jesus should be full of fun. Too often, we Christians make following Jesus seem like a bummer, a downer, a list of don't dos, and a "funless" (I may have made this word up) way of life.

I have to admit that there was a time in my ministry that a good friend came to me and told me "I had lost my funny." Sadly, she was right. I had started taking myself too seriously. I had started focusing on "ministry" more than following Jesus. I don't like to say it, but she was right, I had lost sight of the joy and fun of following Jesus. This is not the way God intends our life in Christ to be.

Following Jesus is fun, it is an adventure, and it is full of excitement. Jesus wants to be a vital and important part of our whole lives. This includes fun, recreation (re-creation), laughter and joy. Jesus is the author and creator of this stuff. We can and should have fun following Jesus. Church can and should be fun. As followers of Jesus we need to live lives that reflect to others the Jesus that we follow.

The picture that I posted with this blog is one of my favorite pictures of Jesus. It is called laughing Jesus. I love this picture because it illustrates Jesus having fun and laughing exuberantly. I want my life to express Jesus in this way. A life that reflects the fun and exuberant laughter of following Jesus.

Love today. Have fun today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank God it's Friday!!!

Today, I want to thank God for fun. I thank God for the ability to laugh, play, and to just have fun.

Have you had any fun lately?
When was the last time that you just laughed uncontrollably?

I think God wants and desires us to have fun. Living in relationship with God is meant to be fun. I thank God today for the moments that I get to just have fun. Fun with my family playing games. Fun with others as we laugh and tell jokes. Fun with friends as we share our lives together.

Have some fun today and give God thanks for it.
Laugh until you cry. Play a kids game. Play with kids. Do something that you just love doing. Have fun with family and friends. Be silly. Tell a joke. Smile. Have fun and thank God for it.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My 50th Post!!! Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Merry Christmas to all. I can't believe that I have now made post number five-o! To top it off it just so happens to be the birthday of Jesus. Isn't God awesome!

Happy Birthday Jesus. Last night we had wonderful Christmas Eve service as we all came to kneel at the manger and worship Jesus. Communion at the manger is always an experience for me. What a meaningful way to celebrate.

Today our challenge is to look for signs that Christ has come. Look for Jesus. Look for the signs that God is with us. Look past the hurry from house to house, and place to place, that some of us will be doing and see that Jesus is present with us. Look beyond the gifts under the tree and see the gift of God's presence. See God in our families. See God in our gatherings. See God in the quite moments and in the moments filled with noise. See God today. Celebrate Jesus. Live, laugh and love for today we claim and celebrate the promise that Jesus is alive and is with us.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I am sure that others would love to hear about how you see Jesus. I know I would. Leave a comment telling us about how you saw that Christ has been born and is present in your life.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Childlike Anticipation

Today is Christmas Eve. Man our my kids excited.
They can't wait for Christmas. I am sure that it will be hard to get them to go to sleep this evening and I am sure that they will be up early in the morning. They are so excited for Christmas and they have our whole house buzzing with anticipation.

How about you? As I listen to my kids and see the joy and excitement on their faces I wonder if I am as eager for Christ's coming as they are? They are giddy. They can't contain themselves. They are bouncing off the walls because Christmas is almost here.

It is the gifts, right? Yes. They are excited about receiving the gifts and they should be.

Shouldn't we get excited about the gifts that come at Christmas. The greatest gift of all comes to us on Christmas. God comes to us. We receive Christ's love, Christ's peace, Christ's Joy, and Christ's hope. We get to live in, experience, and share the love of Jesus at Christmas and everyday of our lives because the real God comes into our lives on Christmas.

It is worth be excited about. Christ is worth our eager anticipation. I think that I can learn something from my kids as I get ready and prepare for Christmas. Something about anticipation and eagerness. Something about excitement that Christmas is coming. Something about hope, love, joy and peace.

They know something great is about to happen. They expect it. How about you? As you go about your Christmas Eve and Christmas festivities expect God to show up. Expect something great is going to happen. "For unto us a child is born, a son his given. He is Christ the Lord."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just a few more days

I woke up this morning with another one of Casting Crowns songs running through my head. I think God likes to use music to get me thinking. It is a Christmas song that Mark Hall wrote after thinking about the how in the song "O little town of Bethlehem" Jesus comes into the world in silence while the town is asleep. Many people missed Jesus coming that first Christmas morning.

This song gives us something to think about as we prepare for Christmas.



Love Today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, December 22, 2008

What God Wants for Christmas

Lots of people have asked me what I want for Christmas.
My kids have made lists.
Have you thought about what God wants for Christmas? It is the birthday of Jesus.

Go look in the mirror. Did you see it? That is what God wants for Christmas.
God doesn't want your money.
God doesn't want a new tie or the latest gaming system.
What God wants is you.

You would think that God has everything. After all he is God. But God doesn't have you unless you give yourself to him. And what God wants for Christmas is you. He cant have your time unless you give it to him. God cant have your love unless you give it to him. God doesn't have your attention unless you give it to him. Give him your time. Give him your love. Give him your attention. Give God you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peace


Today we lit the candle of peace.

The truth is that there were a lot of candles lit at church today. There were about a hundred of them. We lit the traditional advent candles of advent and at the close of worship service people were invited to lite candles in memory of loved ones or of other losses. We lit candles to represent the things that we wanted to give to God so that we could experience Christmas this year. The candles were little lights that shined as symbols of light in the midst of the darkness of everyday life. All of these lights were the light of peace.

Yes, today we lit many candles of peace.

God is a real life God. He comes to us in our real lives so that we might no real peace.

Grace and peace to you. May Christ light of peace shine in your life today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thank God it's Friday

As Christmas gets closer and as I think about what I am thankful for today I am thankful that God loves you and me so much that he enters into our lives.

Christmas is about God coming to us and entering into our real lives in real ways. God is real. God works in real life. I am thankful for that.

I thank God that when I feel alone -- I am not, all I have to do is look to him. God never leaves us or forsakes us. God comes into our lives. God enters and breaks into our loneliness.

I thank God that when I am weak and when I feel overwhelmed he comes and provides me the strength I need. God enters my weakness and his strength is revealed in my weakness.

I thank God today for being real and working in my real life in real ways.

Love today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Preparing For Love

I love you!

I grew up watching "Happy Days." I remember that Fonzie always had trouble saying those words. "I Wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv OOOO," or some other sound, would come as he struggled to say those three words. It seems that at times we are a lot like Fonzie.

Sometimes these three words are the hardest for us to say. We know we should. We think about it. Yet, often times we fail to say them. Today I am going to try to say them to as many as I can.

I love you!

It is even harder still for us to act out our love. To show others that we love them. Christmas is a time for us to make tangible expressions of our love and to say to others that we love them. It is a time to begin to make saying and expressing love a part of our lives. This is a season to prepare us for love. Preparing us to receive the love of God and to share it.

I was thinking that probably the most valuable thing that we can do to be ready for Christ is love. We need to tell people that we love them and more than anything we need to express our love to one another. When we do that, when love becomes real than God can breaks into real life and becomes real to us. God is made real as we love one another as Christ loves us. We are being prepared for love. Get ready to love more and more and more...and more.

Today, tell someone, tell everyone, that you love them.
Today, go out of your way to show your love for somebody.
Today, love someone that you usually would not.
Today, express love to somebody who is hurting.
Today, show love to a stranger.
Today, see others as Christ sees them.

Love today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Pageant

Tonight is the Christmas pageant at church. I am Joseph. Nicole is Mary. Darbey is playing the part of baby Jesus. Delaney is one of the angels. Tucker is King Herod's helper and Tanner is a shepherd. The whole family is playing a part in this recreation of the Christmas story. Many people are involved in making this pageant a great moment for God to work through and help all of us prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas. I hope that if you are in the area you can come out tonight and celebrate with us.

The pageant got me thinking about how the story of the first Christmas is really our story. Each of us have a role in the story. I am not talking about acting, or reenacting, I am talking about how everyday is a day that Christ is entering into our lives and our world. And each day we are called to live out this story. The story of Christ coming into our world. As you read the story of Christmas, and as you hear it read, where are you in the story as it relates to your life and your receptivity to Christ. As you watch the children and adults that play parts in the Christmas story. Who are you in the story? Which character(s) do you see yourself in? Who do you most relate to?

(Before anyone tells me that I am the donkey, I will just say it!)

Everyday is Christmas. Today is a day to be in the story of Christmas that God is still writing. It is not a reenactment, but an ongoing real life drama that we live. Find yourself in God's story today. Celebrate, worship, repent, tell others, make room, announce, and proclaim Jesus has come into our world.

Love Today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Out My Window

Looking out my window this morning I can see the snow coming down. It is beautiful! Driving in the snow, to take the kids to school-- well that was another story. But to look out my window as the snow falls it is beautiful.

I can see our bird feeder and it is full of birds. The snow is coming down (they say we may get 3-6 inches, I will be returning to get the kids before noon.) but the birds are singing and they are gathering up the seed. There is a beautiful cardinal at our squirrel feeder. In this storm the birds seem to be without worry, they are getting there needs filled, they are being provided for. And they are singing. Not worrying about the storm or what is ahead just singing and receiving what God has provided for them.

Jesus said that we could learn something by looking at the birds. This morning I think that I get what he was saying even deeper. You see Nicole and I have had these feeders full for several weeks now. We hung them up late and I thought that maybe the birds didn't know that they were here because we hadn't had any birds at the feeder. Until this morning. The ear of corn on the squirrel feeder had not been touch the whole time it had been out. But this morning there are birds. Birds singing and gathering seed, birds who found what God had provided for them. Today was the day they needed the seed and they found it, they came, they can sing in the storm because they have been provided for. Today, they have what they need, they are not worrying about how much snow is coming they are singing. I can hear them (Yes, Jeff I can hear them).

We can have a tendency in our lives to allow worry to take over. Sometimes it can consume us. Jesus says, we don't need to worry because God loves us. The birds don't have to worry about where they will eat or what they will wear. God provides for them. There is a new feeder and seed for today. God loves us even more than those birds Jesus says. We don't need to worry and allow the storm to overtake us. Just look for the new feeder and the seed that God gives us for today. We don't have to worry today instead we can sing about our God who provides for us and gives us what we need for today.

Today, let's look for the new feeder and the seed that God has provided. Let's sing instead of worry. Let's try to want less and be thankful for what we have more. Let's try to live in today rather than in the past or the future. Don't worry about what you did yesterday that you can't change and don't worry about what is coming tomorrow that today you have no control over. Just live today and allow God to be your provider. Look what he is doing for the birds.

Love today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, December 15, 2008

Only 9 More Preparation Days till Christmas

I heard them talking about the number of shopping days till Christmas on the radio this morning. I am sure that you have heard people counting down and fretting about how short the time is getting between now and Christmas. Maybe you are beginning to wonder if you are going to get everything done in time.

I was thinking that it is just a few more days to make sure that I have prepared my heart, my mind, and my life for Christmas. I want Christmas to be real this year. I want it to be a time that I grow deeper in love with God and with others. There is only a few more days left to make sure that this Christmas is all that it can be.

I was also thinking about the hope, love, joy, and peace of Christmas and how I am not only to experience and receive Christ hope, love, peace, and joy at Christmas but I am to be and share it.

There are nine days to be prepared to be and share Christ hope with others. Nine days to make sure that I am open to love as Christ loves this Christmas. Nine days to be made ready to share Christ peace and work for reconciliation in the world. Nine days left to prepare to live in the Joy of Christ and to share it with others.

As we prepare to receive the gift that comes to us at Christmas we also need to prepare to give the gift to others. God has a gift of hope, love, peace and joy for us this Christmas. The gift is given freely to us to receive. As freely as we receive we should freely give.

"For unto us a child is born"

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bumping into God

This weekend was an awesome weekend.
It was busy, but I kept reminding myself of my post earlier in the week about slowing down and not getting hurried. (Don't you love it when things you say come back to you)
We had a great Christmas party in St. Joe with other clergy families in the district. We got to meet up with old friends and worship like it was Christmas together. We shared in communion and then we headed back home for our Lord's Banquet.

All that I can say about the Lord's banquet is Yeah God! This was one of the neatest church dinner experiences that I have ever been a part of. It was a sacred meal. There were people from all walks of life gathered together to share in a meal that expressed the love of Christ. Dockery was challenged to go out and invite people to come, as our guest to a meal especially for them, free of charge no strings attached. The people of Dockery did a wonderful job of inviting and showing radical hospitality and extravagant generosity. I am so blessed to be part of such a beautiful, loving, caring, compassionate, and generous church family that seeks to live out their relationship with God in real and tangible ways. It was such a blessing to be at the Lord's banquet.

Sunday was filled with worship as we celebrated the joy that comes to us as we live in relationship with God. We then had a great fellowship meal and spent the rest of the afternoon caroling to our friends and neighbors. What a blessing.

I share this, not to give a list of the weekend events, but to say that in these ordinary moments of this weekend I saw Jesus. I kept bumping into God as I gathering with friends and colleagues in ministry, shared in communion, shared in a chicken noodle dinner with all the "fixins", during church worship, and caroling in peoples homes. This was a weekend that when I just opened my eyes and looked I could see Jesus and encounter God in my life.

Have you bumped into Jesus lately?
How did you see God this past weekend.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank God it's Friday!!!

As I cleared the ice from my windshield this morning I began thinking...

Thank you God for the seasons. Thank you for the sun and the heat of summer. Thank you for the hope and the beauty of spring. Thank you for the cool and the harvest of fall. Thank you God for the chill and the cold of winter. I thank you Lord that we have the seasons of life that remind us that there is a flow to our lives. The seasons remind us that there is a rhythm in our lives and that this to is temporary. The snow is only here for a time, the heat of summer is only here for a time. The winter will be followed by the hope and the new blossoms of spring. Spring will bring fourth summer and the heat of the summer will bear much fruit in the harvest of fall. Our lives go through seasons as well, Lord. Your word tells as that for everything there is a season. Season of laughter, seasons of crying, season of dancing, and seasons of morning. You tell us that you are with us in every season of our life, bringing us through the seasons of life. Thank you God for the seasons of life and for the rhythm found in you. In this season of Advent prepare my heart, my mind, and my life for you. Amen

What are you thankful for today?

Give God thanks!

Love today.

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slowing Down in the Hurry

Why is it that we are always in a hurry?
I wish that I new the answer to that question for me. It seems like there is an expectation of hurry built into our lives. I don't think it is suppose to be this way.
I don't think that God wants me to always be in a hurry. I don't think that life is something that we are suppose to rush through. Life is to be savored and enjoyed. Yet, it seems that there is an expectation built into our society, and our thinking sometimes, of hurry.

We expect everything to happen right now. We want things immediately. Faster Internet access, faster lines in the stores, we have speed dial, and they tell me there is something called speed dating. We have convenience stores on every corner, drive up restaurants, ATM's and 2 in 1 shampoos, all so that we can do things in more of a hurry. Conveniences like these we think are time savers but only keep us doing life in a hurry.

Christmas time can be a time that we get in a hurry. We have pageants, programs, office parties, and family get together that we try to fit into our already hurried lives.

I don't think that it is suppose to be this way. I don't think that God wants me to do Christmas in a hurry. I am not saying that God is against the pageants, programs, office parties, and family get together. I think that God wants me to slow down and enjoy them.

You see Christmas is about relationships. It is about God loving us and wanting to be in relationship with us, so much, that He comes to us as the child born on Christmas Day.

We can't build relationships in a hurry.
We can't love in a hurry.
We need to slow down if we are going to love.
We need to slow down if we are going to build relationship with others.
We need to slow down and encounter God in the midst of our busy schedules.

We can be busy but we shouldn't do life in a hurry. Take some time during this season of preparation, and in the midst of your busy schedule, to slow down and love. Make sure that as you go through the season and attend all the events that you build up your relationships with God and others. Do the things that can't be done in a hurry.

Love today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keep On Keeping On

I have been talking about habits, or practices, that we can make part of our everyday life that help us encounter Jesus. More than just talk about them, I have been trying to make them a part of the post and of my everyday life. I hope that you have too.

I hope that the posts, as you have read them, have been helpful in allowing you to make scripture meditation a part of your day. I hope that they have encouraged you to pray throughout your day and to worship as you read each day. They have certainly helped me to do that more regularly. More than anything, I pray that as you have been doing more of these habits and making them a part of everyday, you are encountering God in your life. That is the reason to do them. I pray that as you and I encounter God through these habits we continually grow in our love of God and others.

What I started thinking about today is that I am not always going to be posting about these habits. Having to write a post on the specific habit has encouraged that practiced in my own life. Focusing on making them a habit has been helpful in being sure that I do them. However, I (we) still need to do them even when they are not the focus of a blog. We need to make reading the Bible, worship, prayer, and Christian interaction a part of our lives. I do hope that this blog will always encourage us to do these things but it will not always be so intentionally focused.

However, we need to always be intentional about doing those things that help us to encounter God. If we are not intentional other things may take priority over them. I pray that even after the blog changes focus we remain focused on the main thing and that is growing in our relationship with God and these habits, I believe, help us to encounter God and grow.

There are two more practices that we can add to the list. They are telling others about what God is doing our lives and what God can do for them, (this is faith-sharing) and service. These are things that we can do in our ordinary everyday lives.

As we share our faith with others and as we serve God by giving of our gifts, time, and talents, for the benefit of his Kingdom we experience God in our lives. We encounter the power of God, the strength of God, the love of God. I think that it is in faith-sharing and service that God can stretch us out of our comfort zone into a place where we experience God deeper and more fully. We are able to do things that on our own seem impossible. Sharing our faith and service is making our faith and our trust of God visible. When we do that, I believe, God becomes real. To us and to the world.

In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead arrange your live around these practices. They can help us to encounter God and become the people that we are called to be.

As they use to say "keep on keeping on." Keep on reading God's word, keep on praying, keeping worshiping, keep on spending time with other Christians, keep on sharing your faith, and keep on serving. Be intentional about it.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You are Special

God has created each of us with unique personalities, temperments, gifts, talents, and quirks. Like snowflakes there are no two of us that are alike. It is important, at times, to remember that God has created each of us as individuals and God has created each of us the way we are because that is the way that God desires us to be. You are you and that what God loves about you. God created you that way. You are Special to God.

The cool thing is that God also calls all of us unique and different individuals to unite together as one. To be one community. To live together, to work together, to laugh together, to bring about the Kingdom of God-- together.

We are to be one. One in Christ. This does not mean that we all think the same, act the same, look the same, have the same personalities, temperments, and gifts. That would be no fun at all. And it would not reflect the love of God or the community that we are called to be. It means that I am who God created me to be and you are who God created you to be and we live together in Christ, in Christian love and community, becoming more of who God created us to be as individuals and as community.

You are special and God created you that way for a purpose. Together we can become more fully who God created each of us to be.

This helps me to remember that I am not suppose to "change people." Change is God's buisness. I am to love and live with people and be the person that God wants me to be and created me to be. We don't have to become someone else. We are to be who we are and allow Christ to make the people that we are more like him.

You are special! God created you! God loves you for your unique characteristics and qualities and he will use you to build his kingdom here on earth.

Love today! Worship today!

In Christ Love and Mine,
Doug

Monday, December 8, 2008

Friends

Today I want to talk about friends. We need friends. We need to spend time with other people who are connecting to God and growing in their relationship with God and who will love us and do life with us and help us to grow in relationship with Christ too.

There are a lot of "ands" in that last sentence because there is a lot to being friends the way Christ calls us to be friends to one another. The type of friends that the bible talks about us being are friends that are Christ centered. Friends who put others first. Friends who help each other encounter God in our lives and who will be "Jesus with skin on" to us.

Another habit that we can make part of our ordinary day and that we need in our lives is the habit of spending time with Christian friends growing together. I call this Christian interaction, some call it fellowship, it is being in relationships where Christ is central and working in the relationships.

We are not meant to go through life alone. God does not want us to be lone rangers on our spiritual journeys. God created us for community to be in relationship with him and with others.

Who do you spend regular time with that is helping you to encounter God and grow in realtionship with God?

Who are you helping to encounter and grow in thier relationship with God?
What relationship do you have where you can talk about your relationship with God?

Let's do life together. Let's grow together, love together, serve together, laugh together, cry together, encounter God together.

In Christ love and mine,
Your friend
Doug

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Song of David's

The Psalms are great songs for us to learn about living lives of worship. This is a psalm that David wrote while in the Desert of Judah. Listen to how David worships as a way of life.

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;

with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,

I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.
They who seek my life will be destroyed;

they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.

But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God's name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
Psalm 63

Worship Today!

In Christ Love and mine,

Doug



Friday, December 5, 2008

Thank God it's Friday!!!

I thank God for music today. I thank God that I have ears to hear and can listen to music. I thank him for the way that music can help me to connect with him and express words and feelings that I sometimes struggle to come up with. I am thankful that music can help me to worship God and turn my attention to God. I am thankful for the old hymns and for the praise and worship music that points us to God. I am thankful for the people who share of their God given gifts and talents to write and play worship music.

Thank God for music that leads us and helps us to worship God more passionately!

Happy Day! Today is a day to worship God.



Have fun and Worship Today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sing!

Here is another song to help us think about living a life of worship and what we have to praise God for today. Enjoy!



Worship today! God is with you!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Honest Worship

I was thinking this morning about the old hymn, "It is well with my Soul."
The story of this hymn is amazing. I am sure if you want all the details you can do a search and find out more but as I can recall it was written by lawyer named Horatio Spafford. Spafford wrote this hymn after he had lost his son, lost a lot of his money, and lost his four daughters. His son had died young, he lost money that he had invested in developments in Chicago due to the Chicago fires and his daughters and wife were traveling on a ship to Great Britain that was sunk. Only his wife survived his four daughter did not.

The story is, I believe, that Horatio wrote this hymn while traveling on a ship through the place that he had lost his four daughters to reconnect with his surviving wife. In the midst of his grief and great tragedy he penned these amazings words.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,Is nailed to the cross,
and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.



These words are worship in the midst of the stuff of life.
Honest, real, worship.

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of friend's mother and I spent some time with some friends who had just heard scarry reports from doctors about a grandchild. This is real life and it's in the midst of this God cares for and comforts us. That God is God. In these times we can, as Horatio did and helps us to do, praise God because he is faithful to us and cares for us in the storms of life.

Last year Nicole, the kids, and I went through the biggest storm of our lives. During that time I was sent a card from a friend. It was a music card (they are so cool) and it had the song "Praise You in the Storm." My friend reminded me that God was with me in the storm and that I could and should praise him in the midst of it because God was faithful to keep his promise.

If you are going through a difficult time right now let me encourage you to focus on God and to know that he his faithful to you and he will not abandon you, leave you, or forsake in this time. Praise God for who God is. Praise God in the Storm.

Here is the song, It is Casting Crowns again!




In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Extra Worship Stuff

I came across this as I was getting the heart of worship clip. It gives us something to think about when we think about real worship in our lives.

In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Worship day 2

I decided that I would try something this week. Music helps me worship and connect to God, so, I am going to try to use some worship music to help me think about what it means to worship God.
Could it be possible that I can learn about true worship from music designed for worship?
Let's just see about that.

The song yesterday talked about how worship is something that we do with our lives-- that our lives are a song of praise to God.

Today, I want to share a song that is called, "The Heart of Worship." It speaks to me about what worship is all about and who worship is all about. It also speaks to me about how worship is more than singing, or being in church. True worship is about our hearts, because that is what God is looking at.

Here are the lyrics:

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart

I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

Chorus:
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I'm weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

Chorus:

Here is a video if you want to download and hear the song.


Any thoughts?

Worship today!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, December 1, 2008

Living a Life of Worship

Another habit that I think is helpful for me and my relationship with God is the habit of worship.

What do you think of when you think of worship?

What would it mean to make worship a habit in our lives?

Is it possible to live lives of worship?

As I think of worship I think about lots of things. I think about community worship, where we gather together and sing songs, pray, and hear and respond to God's word. I think about what we do on Sundays at Dockery Chapel and people do each week all across our world.

It is important that we regularly gather together for worship. I know, for me, when I miss going to church and worshiping with others my week is just not the same. In fact, if feel weak throughout the week. The habit of regular community worship is important for me and my relationship with God. It is in a group of people gathered together in Christ's name that God promises us he will be and we can encounter him.

However, I think that worship is something that God wants me to do more than just one day a week for an hour or two. Worship is about offering my life to God as praise to God. Worship is something that I can do as a live. It hits me as a write this that worship is something that I do as I live. The way that I live, speaks of how I offer my life to God. The way that I live sings a song to God, the question is what song am I singing with my life? Who is praised by that song?

There is the scripture passage (Col. 3:17) that says, "whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thank to God the Father through him."

That is a life of worship.

How can we do this? How can we make worship such a habit that we recognize that everything we do and say can be offered to God to say that we love him?
What would happen if we started living like everything we did and said was an offering in the name of Jesus as a way of giving thanks to God?

Let me know your thoughts on worship.

Here is a great song about living a life of worship if you want to listen to it-- click it.


In Christ's Love and Mine,
Doug