Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pray for and Pray With

Several years ago a pastor friend of mine shared with me how at the church he served they were trying to create a pray with culture. What he meant by that was that they where trying to be conscious of the opportunity to pray with each other rather than just pray for one another.
If someone came by the church asking for prayer, rather than just saying we will be praying for you, they would stop and gather people together and pray right then. If someone asked for prayers as they were leaving the worship service or coming to the worship, they would stop and pray together.

This has always intrigued me. I have always felt drawn to creating a community and to be a person who just stops what I am doing and prays for people when they ask me to pray for them. Yet, to be honest, more times than not I will say to someone "I will be praying for you" rather than just stop right there and pray. Interestingly, in those moments that I have just stopped and prayed with people they have all been positive and very spirit filled. However, I still find myself more often than not praying for rather than stopping and praying with.

You might be thinking why am I writing about this? I think I am sharing it with you because it is an area of my prayer life, that for years I have felt God has been trying to stretch me in. I struggle with getting there. Second, I want to be part of a community that we will just stop and pray with each other. Where together we go to God and place our lives before him. I know people pray for me. I know that God hears my prayers and your prayers when we are praying alone. But, I think praying together is also biblical. The disciples prayed together. The early church was a praying with church as well as a praying for church. Now it is out there and I am sure many of you will help me to grow in this area of my life.

Tell me something. What do you think? How would you feel if someone just stopped and prayed with you when you asked for prayer? What if it was just a friend that did this not some pastor who you expect to do it? Could you do it for someone else?

Pray taps us into the power of God. Power to heal. Power to change us. Power to save us. Power for life. Unbelievable, powerful, miraculous things happen when God's people pray.

The next time someone asks you to pray for them give it a try. Ask them if you could just pray with them right now. Trust God. (I know that I am writing to myself, but I am trying to listen)

I pray the Dockery can be a pray with community as well as a pray for community.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, August 28, 2009

TGIF-- Darbey is 1!

Yesterday was Darbey's first birthday. Darbey is our youngest daughter and she is a joy in our lives. Children are a joy and blessing. On this Friday, as I reflect upon all that I have to be thankful for and express my gratitude toward God, I am thankful for children. I am thankful for my children and the blessing that they are to me. I am grateful for Darbey, Delaney, Tanner and Tucker. God has blessed my life so much through them and by making me their dad.

Thank you God for children everywhere.


What are you thankful for today? Give God thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disconnected

"A network update will occur in your area on August 26, 2008. On this day please dial *22869 + send. Thank you."

This is what the text message said. It seemed like no big deal. It seemed like a small thing to do on the given day and everything would go on just like normal. It seemed. But after dialing the number and then having to dial another because the first one didn't work and then calling my customer service I was without my cell phone for the entire day.

Not only did it mean no cell phone but it also, because I use my cell phone to connect to the Internet, meant no email, no texting, no facebook, no way to connect to the outside world. I was disconnected for a day from the world of technology. I made and received no text, no emails. I could not post a blog or communicate through those forms of technology. So, we had no blog Wednesday.

What I can say from this experience was that it was good to disconnect from technology for a day. It was a good fast. It was nice to not have my phone beeping, chirping and ringing all the time. It was good to let go. It wasn't easy but it was nice.

I enjoyed most of all that I am never disconnected from God. We don't need a special connection or have to be special people to talk to God. There are times that it seems that the network is down, I am not getting through or God is not getting through to me, but the technology of our connection to God never breaks down. God always hears us when we cry out. God always hears our audible and inaudible groans for him. God knows our hearts and our needs. Always. Prayer allows us to connect and enter into his will. Prayer, a simple technology of turning our attention toward God, of whispering, shouting, crying, being still in his presence, talking and listen to God, never is not available to us. We are called to pray without ceasing. There will be no network errors or upgrades. Take time each day to make the connection that taps you into God. Talk to God. Listen for God. He is there for you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God is there

Yesterday, I told you how I had this "mandatory meeting" and how God was working on me about my choice to get from it what I wanted. I chose yesterday to focus on seeing the good and looking for God. Honestly, I thought is was going to be harder. I thought I would have more trouble looking past the "meeting" and negative stuff than I did. It was really a great day. In fact, I told some people that I thought it could have been the best meeting of this type that I had been to in a long time.

Was the meeting that good or was my perspective changed because of the conscious decision to look for God. Although the leaders and presenters would probably like to think it was them or their content that was far superior I am pretty sure it is the latter. Looking for God changes the way that we see everything I think. Yesterday really was a God day because I was actively looking and noticing. And here is the thing.

God is there! God is there everyday. Everyday is a God day. If we can only keep our focus on him and not on the negative. There are stormy and cloudy days literally and metaphorically, but they are still God days if we will look. Today is going to be a God day. I will wait on the Lord.

Lamentations 3:21-26
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, August 24, 2009

See the Good

Today and tomorrow I will be in mandatory meetings. I know that doesn't sound like I am excited. I mean, to label as the "mandatory meetings" is kind of a give away that it might "rather be fishing."

I drove almost 400 miles to get to this meeting and it is not all that bad. I am getting to see people that I don't get to see very often. There are friends here that I have been through good & bad times with. It is an opportunity to learn and to see what God is doing in the lives of others in the Church.

What I am getting at today is that I have a choice to look for the good in this or just make it a "mandatory meeting." I can focus on all the things I would rather be doing or I can focus on what I am doing and see the good. I was not looking forward to the drive or being away from home. However, on the drive I got to spend some time reflecting with God. Six hour in a car on the interstate is a good time to connect with God. I needed God with me on the trip. It made me think about the next couple of days differently and think about the role that I play in making them good or dreadful. I choose to make my time what it is. I control my feelings. I am choosing to look for the good and to see the good in my trip to my meetings.

Do you have your "mandatory meetings"? Maybe today you have one. Maybe you are in a place right now that it would be helpful to look for the good that is their.

I choose to be positive. I know that with this choice will come challenges, but I am going to look for God. And I know that if I will look for God I will find him. He promises that.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, August 21, 2009

TGIF

Thank God it's Friday!

What are you thankful for today?

This morning I was walking with Nicole and we were talking about things that had to be done and things that were coming up in the church. We talked about our need for Sunday school teachers and leaders in the church and other upcoming things going on. As we walked I started to feel the worry and the pressure build up in me. I started to think negatively and hopelessly. Then I was reminded, there on my walk, while the breeze was blowing and the sun was shining, that God is in control. I am not the one in control. I might try to be. I might try to convince myself I am. Others may demand it of me. But, I am not in control. God is.

God is in control and if I will give the stuff to God and allow God to work in the situation and in me then I don't need to stress and to worry. God is in control. If I will let Jesus lead and I follow then I don't have to be anxious. God is in control and God will work things out in God's way and God's time. I just need to let him be in control. It always amazes me (it shouldn't but it always does) that God provides just what we need when we need it. God brings the people, the resources, everything when it is needed.

Thank you God for being in control. Thank you for allow us to bring to you stress, worry, and anxiety. Thank you for leading me. Sorry for the times that I try to be in control or try to wrestle control out of your hands. I am very grateful that I am not in control and that you are. Thanks for calling me to follow.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Somewhere between

Do you ever feel caught in the middle between a place that you are going and a place that you have been.

As I have been thinking about God's dream for me and for the church. I have found myself in this uncomfortable place in the middle. I am somewhere between where I was and where God wants me to be. I am somewhere between letting go of everything and holding on. I am somewhere between faith and fear. I am somewhere in the middle not quite where I want to be and where God wants me to be. There is a song by Casting Crowns that talks about this. I think that we all get there, in fact it is a sign of growth. We are growing or we would not be in the middle we would still be at the beginning, or the starting point. Slowly we move toward God and toward God desired future for us. I think it is good to open about where we are at. To be honest about our "somewhere in the middle-ness." If we are not sure about where we are we will never get where we are going.

Be honest with God about the fear that is holding you back from stepping into his preferred future. Be open about the things you are having trouble letting go of. Thank God for the growth that you can see already. Keep moving forward. You are not stuck. God won't leave us where we are at. As Paul writes, "press on!"

Here is the song for you to listen to.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does anybody Dream any more?

This past month we have been talking about Dreaming God's Dream for our lives at Dockery. I have been asking everyone to write done their dreams and share them. I am challenging us to share our dreams with each other so that that together we can inspire and encourage one another to live the dream that God has for our lives. I also am encouraging us to write them down and share them because I think that when we share them we can no longer ignore them.

Here is the problem. Not many people are writing down and sharing their dreams. My first thought is that no one is dreaming. But, I think that is wrong. I think that we all have dreams. We are seeking God's dream and plan for our lives. And when we do we are all a bit excited about what God is calling us to do and to be as individuals and a church. The problem is probably a four letter word that begins with "f" and ends in "ear". The problem is fear. We are afraid that if we write it down and share it than we won't be able to ignore what we feel God is calling us to. We are afraid that others wont like it or tell us we are nuts. We are afraid that we will actually live it. We are afraid of the unknown.

Fear kept 11 disciples in the boat while Peter experienced God's power to do the impossible. The life that we long for is ours if we will just stop living in fear. "Don't be afraid," that is the chorus to the song that Jesus sings to his followers.

What is God dream for you life? Don't be afraid to share it. Tell someone so that someone can fan the flames of the Spirit in you and spur you along toward it.

If you are part of the Dockery family, I want to ask you again to share God's dream for your life and for Dockery so that it can be a part of the Dockery Chapel dream journal. Help us too see just how big God's dream for us a community is. Help each other live God's dream.

What is God's dream for you life?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Days


It is official. This morning we got the kids up, put on the new clothes, new shoes, fixed the hair, shouldered the pack packs, took pictures and headed off to school. I now have a sixth grader, fourth grader and kindergartner. The first day of school is always a little mixed. It is a mix of excitement about the new year beginning and sadness about summer being over. It is a mix of joy for the kids getting to see their old friends and nervousness about the new unknowns. It is a mix for the parents as well. A mix of pride and joy for your kids growing up and stepping out and sadness because they are not your little babies anymore (don't tell my kids, but they will always be my babies). It is a mix of emotions. A mix of feelings. A mix of good and bad. Joy and sorrow.

Life is like this isn't it? Life is a mix.

What do you focus on? The good or the bad? The joy or the sorrow? The fear or the hope? What is no longer or what is to come? It is always mixed up together and we get to choose what we focus on. What will you choose today?

I am choosing to see the joy of the kids going back to school. I am choosing to enjoy them today and to admire their growth rather than wish they were young again. I am choosing good over bad. I am choosing to look for the good even when I am surrounded by bad. It is my choice.

Today, I choose love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School

Today is my kids last day of summer. Tomorrow the routine of up early and off to school begins. Gone will be the days of staying up late, sleeping in and wondering what they will do. A schedule starts. Monday through Friday they know where they will be and what they will be doing.

How do you feel about routine. If I am honest I like to be spontaneous. I like to not have to follow a schedule. However, I need some routine. Routine helps me feel comfortable. It helps me to have a since of stability even when everything else is unstable. Even when the schedule changes there are certain things that I always need to make time for and keep as part of my day. These things are called spiritual disciplines. They help me to encounter and connect with God in the midst of my ordinary everyday life. I call them habits. I have talked about them before and I am sure I will talk about them again. But, these habits are important, and as I think about the way that are schedule is about to change from a summer schedule to a school schedule I am reminded of how important it is to make sure that the schedule contains the the important things that help me encounter God.

It is easy to get so scheduled that we forget to make prayer , worship, reading our Bible, spending time with other followers, serving, and telling others about Jesus a part of our day. But we need to make sure that we are doing the things that help us encounter and grow in our relationship with Christ.

AS your schedule transitions from summer to fall what are you going to do to make spiritual disciplines a part of the schedule. Will you join a small group? Will you make church service part of your routine? Will you start a Bible reading plan? Will you get up early for time with God or stay up late? Will you be intentional about making God a part of your routine.

I pray today for all the students and teacher as they head back to school. I pray that we will keep God as part of our routine everyday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, August 14, 2009

TGIF - 2nd Chances

I heard today that Michael Vick got a job again in the NFL. This is not a commentary on Michael Vick or what he did. I am not in the position to judge or criticize. The plank that I deal with is all that I can speak of. Micheal is getting a 2nd chance to play in the NFL and I am all for 2nd chances.

Today, I am stopping to be grateful for 2nd chances and forgiveness. I am thankful for God's grace which is new every morning. I know that I have talked about 2nd chances in other TGIF posts, maybe, in all of the TGIF posts. We always have this to be thankful for.

Forgiveness and 2nd chances are acts of grace. They are ways that we extend the grace that we receive God to others. I heard grace described as "a gift given by God to another person through us." I think we could say our gratitude for the forgiveness that we receive from God is expressed when we forgive another.

Have you been given a 2nd chance? Have you received God's grace? Have you received it new today?

God forgives you.

Who do you need to give a 2nd chance? Who do you need to forgive? Give God thanks for your 2nd chance and forgiveness by extending it to others. Thank God it's Friday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Perspective

In case you have not heard, or id did not make the headlines in your local paper, Dockery Chapel UMC is the Trenton church softball league champions! We played three games last night until after midnight and won the tournament.

One of the cool things about church league is that each team prays together before and after each game. The way the tournament worked out (double elimination) we played the same team all three games. We prayed with our family from 10th Street Baptist. When we prayed we thanked God for allowing us to play a game and we prayed that he would help to keep us safe from injury. We prayed that we would grow together in our relationships with each other and our relationship with God. And we prayed that whatever we did we would bring God glory and honor.

I also prayed during the games. Not to get hits, but for perspective. I think perspective is a good thing to pray for.

What caused my mind to go there was the life flight helicopter that flew over our game more than once. I have a habit of praying when I hear that copter. My house is in the path that Lifeflight travels to get to KC or St. Joe. It has just become a habit to pray for the folks involved in whatever is happening to cause Lifeflight to travel.

During the game they had an emergency. As I prayed for those folks I was aware of how what I was doing was just a game. We can get caught up in winning or the competition, but the truth is it is just a game. In the scope of life and loving winning a church softball championship is not that important. It really isn't. It is just a game. We were fortunate to be playing.

Perspective.

I pray that God enables me each day to see what is really important and what is not. I pray that he helps me to keep the game stuff--game stuff and gives me an appreciation for all that I have. I pray that I never take myself or the insignificant stuff to seriously.

I really appreciated the Spirit of our softball game last night (and this morning). I appreciated the love that was shared between the teams and the crowd. I appreciated the perspective that I was able to see the world around me through. I appreciated the game. Life. Love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interuptions

Are you a planner? Do you need everything scheduled and planned out and when something interrupts the routine do you get frustrated?

Someone much wiser than me wants told me that ministry most often is the interruption that come up in the midst of our schedules.

Today one of those moments happened, I wont go into detail but, I recognized that it was a God ordained moment that brought me and another person together. It happened as I thought I was taking a break. It happened quickly. It happened outside of the routine at a convenience store.

Do you look for those God moments in the midst of your day? They really can't be scheduled. Pay close attention to the interruption to you routine, it may just be the time that God is trying to get your attention. It could be a moment that God wants to use you to minister to another.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You are Loved

I don't remember what the name of the jewelry store is or if they still do it. But, I remember the big, bright, shinny, glass bowl filled with round red buttons. The buttons just said "I am loved." That is quit a message. It is a message that we all need to hear. They are word that we all desire and long to be expressed towards us.

You are loved.

Even the toughest, the most macho, and the hardest of all humans needs to know that they are loved. We can try to put up tough exteriors but inside each of us is, if we will be honest, is a person- a voice asking to be loved.

You are loved.

What I am trying to convey today-- to you. Yes, you. Is that you are loved. If I had the big glass jar of buttons you would need to take one, pin it on and wear it around. You are loved.

There is someone who hears that voice and see through the exterior. God loves you with a love that will not let go. You are loved by God and by me.

You are loved.

Love today so that others can know that they are loved.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, August 10, 2009

200th Post!!! Change

This weekend I had my 20 year High School Reunion. I heard a lot about how people had changed and how people had not changed. I heard it said many times, "is it true that you are a pastor?" In fact, many people said that when they heard it they had certain body parts hit the floor. Change happens. Physically we get older. We grow taller and wider. Our faces, hairlines, and builds change. But, the question is do we really change as people.

The answer, in Christ, is yes we do change.

So, why is it that we are surprised when we see real life change happen? It is the promise that is at the heart of the Gospel. We are new creations in Christ, the old is gone and the new comes. We really should expect change to happen. We should be expecting our hearts to soften, we should expect to become more loving, more forgiving, and more gracefilled. We should expect to become more Christ centered and less self centered. We should expect to move away from our will and to live as God wills. Yet, when we hear about it we have a tendency to have our jaws and other parts hit the floor.

I believe that God is in the life change business. My life is living proof of that and I pray that everyday I grow to be more loving, more forgiving, more compassionate and graceful. I pray that I become more like Christ and less like Doug. I pray that others might see that it is the "norm" for a follower of Jesus.

I really enjoyed seeing my classmates and enjoyed remember the way that we where but I also celebrate what we have become.

Expect God to change you. Believe that it is possible. See the change that is taking place in the people all around you and embrace the change that God wants to do in your life.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, August 7, 2009

TGIF

Thank you.

The words are pretty easy to say. There is nothing complicated about them. They are not tough to pronounce. In fact they kind of roll off the tongue. However sometimes they are to of the toughest words to say.

I wonder why that is. Maybe it is because we just feel like we deserve stuff? Maybe we think that we our owed the things that we have or are given? Maybe we have this since of entitlement?

One of the most amazing things that I have discovered in my life through the friends that I have been blessed to have that live in conditions and circumstances that none of us would want to is that gratitude, gratefulness, and thanksgiving is a way of living. It is not based on circumstance or situations. In fact, the idea that things make us happy, is a lie. Things are just things. We have all kinds of blessings to be grateful for in our lives is we will just open our eyes and see the blessing that God is giving us. Simple blessings. Real blessings. IF we understand that we really are not entitled to any of the stuff that we get. No body really owes us and we really haven't earned. Because grace is free. We can't earn it and we don't deserve it. God just loves you and me.

Perspective is important. Thanksgiving despite our circumstance gives us perspective. We can always be thankful for a God who loves us no matter what and promises to be with us and never leave. We can be thankful that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Be grateful. Live gratefully and gracefully. Give God thanks. TGIF.

What are you thankful for?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 6, 2009

God is not done with you

I want to share this song with you today. I hope it speaks to you today as it has spoken to me. This clip is the only one that I could find with the lyrics.



There is hope. God is not finished with you and me yet.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Accountability

Is it accountability or is it judgment? Jesus did make some strong statements about judging others. The long and short -- don't do it, it is not our job.

There is a fine line between judging and holding someone accountable. I have come up with my own rule on this. If someone has not asked me to help them be accountable to something and I just offer my two cents, than that is me judging. Offering unsolicited critic of someones life is judgment.

Accountability comes when two people have agreed to an accountable relationship. It comes when I ask you to help me to stay true to something and you agree to help me in that. Accountability is a partnership. Without the partnership it is judgment.

Do you have an accountability partner? Do you have someone who you can trust to have your best interest in mind and will speak the truth in love? Having someone to help you in your relationship with Jesus is a vital and important thing. It is a good discipline. I want to encourage you to find someone who you trust and ask them to go on the journey with you and to help you be accountable. Offer to help them be accountable as well. And please, don't go around giving everybody your two cents worth about their lives unless they ask. Love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sadly, It isToo Easy

This morning when I woke up I was instantly hit with how easy it is to become undisciplined. It is easy for us to slip away from stuff that is important for us to do like prayer, or reading our Bible, or worshiping because it is relatively easy to just stop doing them and for the most part nobody says anything when we stop. Most people don't know rather we have been doing them or not. Only we do. And God does.

We can go days without praying and nobody will say a word. We can go weeks and months without reading our Bibles and no one will call us on it. We can go along time without worshiping God, sharing our faith, serving, or spending time with other followers of Jesus, and for the most part no on notices or at least they don't say anything.

Sadly, It is just too easy to slowly fade away from God because accountability to the disciplines that help us encounter God in our lives is not there. We are left to hold ourselves accountable. And we can convince ourselves that we are just fine without all the discipline. But the truth is we know that this is a lie. We need to be disciplined. We need to make certain things habits in our lives so that everyday we die to ourselves and live for Christ. Without discipline we become self absorbed and self centered. We only live for ourselves and not for God. We need to intentionally turn to God and this takes discipline.

God did not create us to be "lone rangers." We need to each other. We need to encourage each other to do the things that help us encounter God and grow in our relationship with Him. We need to encourage each other to stay disciplined in our faith. And we need to be consciously aware of just how easy and how prone we are to turn away from discipline. We need to constantly be checking on how each others souls are doing.

I have a great friend that will ask "how is you soul?" When he is asking me this I know he is not interested in small talk. I know that he loves me and is caring for me and my relationship with God. He is reminding me that I desire to know God, to love God, and to grow in my relationship with God. He is gently encouraging me to take care of my soul by reading God's word, praying, worshiping, serving, spending time with other believers, and telling others what God is up to in my life.

I started this blog as a discipline for me. To help me keep myself accountable. To intentionally focus on God and the disciplines everyday. It seems that lately it has been easy for me to skip a post here and there. No one has said anything and I am not asking you too or fishing for sympathy. But , it has inspired me to think about the disciplines, or habits, that I have in my life and to be re-focused. It has again reminded me of our great need to share and do live together.

It is well with my soul. No need to worry there today.

How is your soul? Are you staying focused on God and doing the things that help you to encounter him in your life? Are you growing in your capacity to love God and others?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug