Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, December 30, 2010

God does hear our prayers

I believe that God hears us when we pray. I also believe that God answers every prayer that is prayed. I wish that I always understood his answer but I don't. I wish that I could always say that I see exactly what God's answer is, but I can't. I do however believe and I am assured that God does hear and answer all of our prayers. Maybe not how we want him to or even how we can understand but he does answer. Every time.

I trust when I pray that God hears.
I trust when i pray that God knows best.
I trust God knows, better than me, what is really needed. What healing is needed. What comfort, what strength, what-- whatever it is that is really needed.
I trust God answers every time. God's way not mine.

God does not ignore us when we pray he listens and he answers.

When my prayers are not answered the way I hope it does not mean that God didn't care or listen or answer me. It just means I don't understand. I pray that I can become more comfortable with not leaning on my own understanding. And I know God hears that prayer and is answering it.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine, Doug

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello

I could not believe it when I saw that Christmas eve was the last time I had posted. But time flies when you are having fun!

We had an awesome Christmas Eve Service at Dockery Chapel. I spoke about how we hear the same story each year and the story never changes but we should. Everyone in the story of the first Christmas goes home a different way than they came. We are told that the wise men after being warned in a dream didn't go home like they came they went home a different way. We hear the same story every year and we encounter Christ in the sacrament of communion and we have the opportunity to go home a new way. We have the opportunity to be changed and made new each time we encounter and worship Jesus.

We had a great Christmas morning with the kids and than we got to spend time with friends in the afternoon. We worshiped again on Sunday and I shared about how we don't want to miss God. We don't want to let another Christmas go by and miss what God wants us to get out of Christmas. We need to make sure that we receive the gift that has been given to us in Jesus. Many people that first Christmas didn't understand or notice that God showed up in their world. I don't want to miss God.

After church we traveled to spend some time with family and celebrate with them. It has been a blessing celebrating through worship with the church family and with my blood families. I am thankful for Jesus and what he is for me in my life. It has been a good Christmas. And there is still more days to go in this Christmas season!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Outside it is snowing. It is the beautiful kind of snowfall. Big flakes softly falling on undisturbed snow covered ground. It is a beautiful sight. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." I have to admit that I am one who likes a white Christmas. I don't want it to snow so much that people can't get out and come to worship on Christmas Eve but, I like for it to be white. I don't want it to stick around too long but some snow on Christmas Eve makes for a beautiful backdrop to celebrate the birth of my Savior.

Today, as I get ready for our worship service to celebrate Christmas I am grateful that God comes to me. I am grateful that God is not far off or distant as I once thought before encounter Christ in my life. I am grateful that his light shines in my darkness and that I am warmed by his grace, love and presence. I am grateful for the beauty of Christmas.

It is Christmas Eve, as my friend Jeff always says, it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. I hope that you can make worship part of your Christmas celebration. Attend the church of your choice and celebrate the beauty that is Christ in your life. If you don't have a church home and you are near by i invite you to celebrate with Dockery Chapel at 7:00 pm.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming

"Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man hat.
If you haven't got a penny a hay penny will do.
If you haven't got a hay penny God bless you."

This little saying was on my mind today. I am sure it is because Christmas is coming. In just a few day we will celebrate Christmas. I realized today, that I never really paid attention to what this poem was saying in all the years that I have recited it. The poem seems to be saying that Christmas is a time of blessing. It is a time to share our blessings with each other. It is a time to be a blessing and to be blessed. It is a time for those with fat geese to car for the ones who have no geese and no pennies. It is a time for blessing for everyone.

Blessing is not a financial thing. Too often we equate finances and blessing like they are equal. Money does not equal blessing. "If you haven't got a hay penny, God bless you." God enters into our world and spends his first nights sleeping in a cattle feeder. Jesus as an adult, had no home, no place to lay his head. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, those that mourn,those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, the meek, the peacemaker, and the merciful. Blessing was not equated in finances. Blessing comes at Christmas. Blessing is God with us. Blessing is that for unto us a child is born, a savior is given. Be blessed this Christmas. Be a blessing this Christmas. God bless you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday

It's Friday and I feel like It is time for another thank God it's Friday post.

Thank you God...
for my family.
for Nicole and the kids.
for wonderful parents.
for great in-laws.
for loving brothers and sisters.
Thank you God...
for my church family.
for people who help me see you everyday.
for people who pray for me everyday.
for people who love me unconditionally.
for people who help me grow in my relationship with you.
Thank you God...
for my friends.
for the people who let me be me and help me be who you want me to be.
for the people that laugh with me.
for the people who cry with me.
for the people who will just hang out.
for the ones who always have my back.
for then ones that refuse to leave me behind.
Thank you God...
for the many things that I often take for granted.
like clean water.
the air I breath.
food, clothing, and shelter.
indoor plumbing.
good health
Thank you God for your...
Love.
Forgiveness.
Blessings.
Grace.
Salvation.
Presence.
Guidance.

Thank you God. I have so much to be thankful for and you are the source of all of it. Thank you God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Program

Last night I went to our Christmas program at church. I was blessed to sing in the choir. I was not responsible for leading the worship or reading scripture or preaching a sermon. I just sang and listened and tried to lose myself in the story of the first Christmas.

It was a beautiful program and I thank God for the opportunity to be in his presence and lose myself in the story. Change that-- find my self in the story. You see the Christmas story in it's purest since is our story. It is the story of how God loves you and me so much that he enters into our world to reconcile us to him. It is the story of a loving God putting on human flesh, bearing what we bear, feeling as we feel, being born as a baby and living as a human so that he could die the death that is necessary for our sin. Because he loves me. Because he loves you. Christmas is my story. I could not make a way to God so God came to me to make a way for me to get to him. The way he makes is a way in a manger. A Savior has been born, he is Christ the King. My Savior. Your Savior. It is our story.

This year I pray that we all lose ourselves in the story of Christmas so that we might find ourselves in the story of Christmas. The story of God's love for us and how far God will go to show us that he loves us and to love us for all eternity.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Relational Giving

I have a new quote that has really been speaking to me as I prepare and get ready for Christmas. I shared it a couple of Sundays ago in church and it has continued to speak to me.

"Time is the greatest currency of love, not money."

Think about that. Think about what it means for how we celebrate Christmas. Money is not what we spend on someone to show them that we love them. Money, or an expensive gift , is not the greatest gift that we can give someone. Our time is. Giving our time expresses our love more than money ever could. Giving our time is the greatest gift we could ever give to those that we love.

I have never known of, or been with anyone, who at the end of their life said, "Pastor, I just wish I had more stuff." They all speak about how they wish that they had spent more time or could have some more time with their loved ones. Time is the greatest currency of love. When we give our time we give our presence and we give ourselves to each other. That is what love does.
There is a hymn that asks, "What gift can we bring, what present, what token?" What gift best expresses our love? This Christmas I want to give myself to the people I love...because I love them.

"Time is the greatest currency of love, not money."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 10, 2010

It is all about Jesus

As I get ready for Christmas, I keep having a reoccurring thought. It is not a knew thought. It is nothing I came up with. It is something that we hear all the time. It is insinuated in phrases like, "the reason for the season" and "the true meaning of Christmas." The thought that is continually part of my reflection about how I prepare for and celebrate Christmas is,"it is all about Jesus."

We have a tendency to make it about so many other things than Jesus. We have talked at church about how this time can become all about retail sales and consumerism. We will make it about presents and not about Jesus. This time of year we can make about ourselves, or about Santa. We can make this time of year about tinsel and lights and decorations. We can make this time of year about stress and worry and frustration. It can be a time of pain and grief.

Yes, we have a tendency to make Christmas about so many other things than Jesus.

Yet, it is all about Jesus. It is about Jesus entering our world. It is about Jesus coming to save us from our sins that separates us from God and to save us from ourselves. It is about worshiping Jesus and giving thanks to Jesus. It is about celebrating Jesus who is light in our darkness. Who comforts those who mourn and gives strength to the weak. It is all about Jesus. It is all about Jesus. IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS.

I don't write this to beat up the world and create an "us vs. them" thing. I am not writing these words to be on some Christian high horse. I am reflecting within myself about how I might allow Christmas to change my world. The world in me. The world I live in. I know that it easier to talk about what Christmas is suppose to be about than it is to celebrate it in a way that honors and lifts up Jesus rather than other stuff. It is easy to say that it all about Jesus. And it is easy to celebrate it like it is all about us and our traditions.

What can we do to make sure that we don't make it about something that it is not about? What do we do when everyone else around us and our family is pointing at and lifting up other things beside Jesus? I think this is deeper than just the language that we use in talking about the season. What will I celebrate and worship? What will I lift up? What will I do? So, that my heart and at the core of my being I am living that it is all about Jesus.

It is all about Jesus.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Now I lay me down to sleep...

It seems as if another day a flown by. As I said yesterday, I am going to work at making sure to take the time to blog. All day I just thought about the opportunity that each day is. Each day is an opportunity to live in Christ and for Christ. Each morning we wake to the opportunity to love more like Jesus and to serve him. The opportunity and the choice is ours. Each morning our feet hit the floor and we take off and either take advantage of the opportunity or we fail to seize the opportunity.

We are given opportunity to trust, to follow, to serve, and to love. The first step is to recognize that this day is our opportunity and each moment is filled with the potential to live as a follower of Jesus.

At the end of this day as I lay down to sleep I thank God for the opportunity that I had today and I pray that the Lord will give me another day. I pray that tomorrow I will seize the opportunity to life for him.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember Me

I don't know what it is but I have sure got out of the habit of daily posting. I want to. I tell myself when the day begins that I will post. I will have thoughts to write on that come to me through the day and in my times with God. I will have every intention and want to and then at the end of the day I will have not taken the time to do it. I get to busy. Other things take priority. Another day goes by with no post.

This teaches me that good intention and desire are not enough.

Do you think we do with following God.

We desire to follow him with our lives and we want to, but at the end of the day we let other things take priority. We intend to serve him and give him control of our lives, but at the end of the day we didn't take the time to give it to him. We want to worship him and fellowship with other followers but we let other things take priority over church.

I am gonna work on staying focused on posting because it helps me stay focused on my relationship with God. It helps me keep my priorities straight. Act on your intentions and desires today before it is too late.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

P.S. Please excuse any mistakes I did this from my phone because I wanted to make sure I took the time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Am Here

I am here.
Even when you don't see anything new. I am here.
Even when you don't think I am listening. I am here.
Even when you don't hear from me. I am here.

When there are long gaps in my correspondents, I am still here.
Even in the space between words, I am here.
In the dark.
In the light.
In the storms.
In the sunshine.
I am here.

I may not be where you are looking.
I may not look like you expect me to look.
I might not sound like you would like or respond exactly how you think I should.
But, I am here.
It will never change.
I am here.

Whose words are these?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." Amen

Wouldn't it be odd to go through a day called thanksgiving, which is all about showing our gratitude, and not stop and say thank you to the one who is the source of all our blessings? It just doesn't seem right to express thanks for family and friends and not say thank you to our heavenly Father who is always there for us and never will forsake us. It just wouldn't be right to be grateful for the day of rest and not be thankful for the one in whom we find our rest and refuge. It would be wrong to be grateful for the savings at the checkout lines and not be thankful for the one who saves us. It would be odd indeed.

Give thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Enough Said

I want you to hear these words today.
I didn't write the words but that are words that speak my heart.

When there's no where else to turn
All your bridges have been burned
Feels like you've hit rock bottom..
Don't give up it's not the end
Open up your heart again
When you feel like no one understands
Where you are...

Someone loves you
Even when you don't think so
Don't you know
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

After all that we've been through
By now you know I've doubted to
But every time my head was in my hands
You said to me...

Someone loves you
Even when you don't think so
Don't you know
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

Hold on to what we got
This is worth any cost
So make the most of life that's borrowed
Love like there's no tomorrow

Someone loves you
Even when you don't think so
Don't you know
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

Even when you don't think so
Don't know you
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

You will never be alone...
You got me and Jesus

This is a song by Stellar Kart called "Me and Jesus" I heard it today and thought of you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

School is always in session

Life is a lesson. What you are going through, the relationships that we are in and the situations we find ourselves in are all things that God is working in to help us to learn and to grow to be more like Him. We need to look at life like it is our training ground. It is school.

The secret first is to recognize that school is always in session. God is working all the time. God is working in all things. (Romans 8;28) When we recognize that then we need to be on the look out for the lesson. We need to be seeking where God is and what God would have us learn.

Whatever we are going through we need to look for God and what he is teaching us. Too often, when we get into situations that are frustrating or difficult we ask God to teach somebody else a lesson so that it might be easier but, we need to look for what we can learn from it. What can we learn about ourselves and about God. Maybe, God is teaching us something about patience or trust. Maybe, God can use the situation to teach us about some ugliness that we have within us, or sin, that is keeping us from being the people that he is calling us to be. Maybe, God is teaching us to love.

This is not just true in situations that are frustrating or difficult. God is also teaching in the good stuff. He uses trial and temptations to teach us but there are lesson that we need to look for in good times as well. When everything is going we still need to look for what we can learn in the situation about God and about ourselves.

I am grateful for a God that never gives up on me. I am grateful that he continues to teach me and use the things of everyday life to help me to have a heart, mind and character like His. I am grateful that he is at work in all things for good. I am grateful that God uses my children, my wife, my friends and family, people that I work with and the things that I do everyday to speak to me about who he is and how I can grow to be more like Him.

School is in session.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 15, 2010

Does my cup overflow?

This month I have been reflecting on how my life expresses my gratitude for God. I have been thinking about my life as a cup and how full is it in regards to grace, gratitude and generosity. The 23rd Psalm says, "thou anoints my head with oil, my cup runnith over." Is my life running over with grace, gratitude and generosity? That is the question.

How full is your cup?

Grace, gratitude, and generosity are the fruits of living in relationship with Christ. God desires to fill our lives with grace, gratitude and generosity until they overflow from us. The truth is, that as I reflect on my life, these things do not overflow very often. At times my cup seems to be empty. The good news is that God wants to fill us up. We need to turn to God with our empty cups and asked to be filled to overflowing. We need to ask to have our hearts changed to be more like his. We need to ask to see others as he sees them. We need to focus on the good and the pure.

I want my life to overflow with grace, gratitude and generosity. I want others to experience grace when they have an encounter with me. I want my family, my wife and my children to know what grace is because they experience it through me. I want to be grateful in all situations. I want to be as generous in my giving as God is in his.

I want my cup to overflow. How about you?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Being Christian

I have had this thought percolating in my spirit lately. It has to do with doing Christian things vs. being Christian. We can do Christian things, or things that Christians do, without being Christian. We can do good things without them being motivated by love, without them being the fruits of a heart transformed by the grace and love of God. We can get confused sometimes and think our doing is what it means to be a Christian but, there is a difference between doing things that Christians do and being a Christian.

We are not called by Jesus to do Christian things we are called to follow him. To be like him. To be Christ-like in our thoughts and actions. To be Christ-like in our character. To live our lives in him and to allow him to be in us and live through us. We are called to be Christian. To have hearts and minds that are being transformed and renewed as we offer ourselves,our lives, to Him as worship. Being in his presence each and every moment of every day.

Doing Christian things is not the answer. Doing Christian things is not what we long for or what God longs for us. Being in relationship with Him. Being in him. Being his child. Being a part of the body of Christ. This is the answer. Being forgiven. Being Loved. Being filled with grace. Being Grateful. Being a follower of Jesus. Being fully devoted to him. Being a Christian. This is the answer.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lanes

The track at my local fitness center has three lanes. Two of the lanes are walking lanes and the third lane is a running lane. Every few feet painted on each of the lanes is "walking lane only" or "running lane only" depending on which lane it is. Runners are suppose to stay in the outside lane and walkers in the inside two lanes. This does not mean that it is impossible to run in the inside lanes that are for walkers or impossible to walk in the one that is labeled for runners, it is just organized this way to keep people from colliding into each other and allow runners and walkers to share the track.

Whenever I am running there are usually people who are walking at the same time. Sometimes there are people who walk in the running lane and when they hear me coming they move over to the walking lanes. The outside lane requires one less lap to make a mile so I think people who are walking use it when there is no one running to cut out that extra lap. There are also times that people walk in the running lane and runners have to switch lanes, to the walking lanes, to pass them. So, why am I telling you this?

This morning as I was running there were two sets of walkers walking on the track with me. As I began running neither of the groups saw me on the track. Each group had two people walking one in the running lane and the other in the center walking lane. When I ran up to them on my first lap I moved over to the first walking lane and passed both groups of walkers. On the next lap I noticed that the first set of people moved over to the walking lanes allowing me to stay and run in the running lane. However, the second group of walkers remained walking in the running lane and I moved into the walking lane to passed them. This went on for over three miles. I ran two laps to every one lap that was walked. Sixty six times I ran passed the group walking in the lane that was for runners only. It got me thinking.

I am not on here to complain about the walkers in the running lane at the gym. They helped me to understand something about myself and about how we behave in the church at times. I am not mad at them. They didn't upset me they illustrated for me how we play church and how we sometimes are unnecessary obstacles to people running with God in the church.

The lanes at the gym are clearly mark and runners and walkers are free to be in whatever lane they choose. We can choose to follow the markings and live in harmony or we can choose to be an obstacle that others to have to deal with.

I see too often in the church, people walking or even standing, in the running lanes. They hold there ground and refuse to allow others to pass. They refuse to move aside so that others can participate in the life of the church. They stand in the way of change and new ideas. The become obstacles to creativity and others serving and leading. They talk bad about the new things and the new people. They do everything that they can so that no else can have the way but them. It is their lane and as long as they are in the lane things are going to be done their way. They just refuse to allow anything to have the lane but them because they have taken control of the lane. It doesn't matter what is said or how often they can be told that the lane is for others and there are lanes designated for them they refuse to budge. They choose to be an obstacle to those that are trying to run.

In this metaphor, which I believe God showed me this morning as I ran with Him, the runners are people who are trying to follow Jesus and live out the mission of the church. They are people who are dreaming dreams and seeking God's plan for the church. They are people who are willing to try new ideas and believe that all things are possible in Christ. They are people who want to serve and try new things. They are people who want to grow deeper in their love and commitment to God. They are people who want to walk by faith and not by sight. They are people who believe that God's greatest days for the church are ahead of us and not behind us.

The walkers are those people who are unwilling to change and fight any new things that happen. They are people who wont allow new people in leadership or tell someone new in leadership that they are not doing it right. They are people who try to control and micromanage everything and everyone. They are the people that say "we have never done it that way before." They are the people that say "the church has always done it this way." They are the people that talk bad about the church and talk behind peoples backs. They are people who just hold onto the past and complain about anything going on in the present. They are people who try to make everything into an issue. They are stumbling blocks and obstacles to anything happening that they are not in control of.

We are either walkers or runners. The church has both and just like the fitness center we can all coexist if we will choose the right lanes. We cant get in the way of others. Because we just get in the way of God.

What I learned this morning as I was running is that I just have to keep running. If you are a runner in the church, don't stop running even if there are a lot of walkers to maneuver around--keep running! Eventually, they stopped walking in the running lane. I persevered and outlasted the walkers. Also, some people did move aside and made a way. But, I also could have said, "this lane is for runners only. Get out of my lane." I did not do that, I just worked around them each time. I did not let them get to me. I did not let them anger me. I was willing to run a different path. Eventually, I was able to run whole laps in the running lane obstacle free.

Something for us to think about.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Voted

I got a little sticker today. It says, "I Voted." I read in the paper as I was getting my morning diet DP that it is the coolest sticker that someone could wear today. I must admit I do not feel any cooler with this sticker on my shirt. But, I did vote and that is important.. I have never felt compelled to tell people how they should vote and have always been a little uneasy about preachers and churches that do. However, I do think that followers of Jesus should vote and we should vote as followers of Jesus. We should not abandon our faith and separate it from our civic responsibility. We should not vote a certain way because we have been told "that is how Christians vote." We should allow our faith to inform our decisions. We should prayerfully consider issues and allow God to be our compass for deciding what direction to go.

Go get yourself a sticker today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 29, 2010

Looking Out

"If any one wants to come after me they must deny themselves, take up there cross, and follow me." - Jesus



We are called to look outside our own little world and to see the bigger picture and better plan that God has for our lives and the world around us. We are not called to a population of one but into the family of God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inside Out

I woke up this morning with this song in my head and I kept singing it all day long. It has a great message and it is a powerful prayer for us to pray. God's desire is to change us. He is not concerned with outward appearance. It is not about what we wear or what we look like. It is about our hearts. We can play dress up. We can try to wear the right cloths and look like good Christian and do what Christians are suppose to do, but what matters is that we have hearts like his. When we are not change from the inside we are not changed and we only fool ourselves. Surrendering our lives to Christ is about giving him control of our heart and our soul so that we are changed form the inside out.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 22, 2010

TGIF

Thank you Lord!
Thank you Lord!
I just want to thank you Lord!

This week at Dockery we are going to begin a month long focus on living lives that are a response to God's grace, gratitude and generosity. It is not a phrase or word that is original to me, but we are going to talk about "Thanksliving." What is the response that we should have to the love and grace of God? How do I as a follower of Jesus reflect the generosity of God in my life? How do I live in such a way that I give thanks to God not just one day a year but every moment of my live? This is Thanksliving.

Thanksliving is not a first act but a second act. What I mean by this is that God always acts first and we respond, as a second act, to what God has done. Our lives, what we do and how we live them, are a response to God giving us life. A response to God's grace. A response to God generosity. Thank God it everyday! This day is God's gift to us. Will we live it with grace, gratitude and generosity?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mountain Get Out of The Way

What is your mountain?
We all come up against mountains in life. We experience things that seem too big to climb. We experience stuff that we feel we cant get over. We come to a place where the obstacle in front of us just seems way to big to handle, climb, or get around. That is a mountain of life. Sometimes these mountains are decisions we must make. Sometimes these mountains are circumstances that we have to get through. Sometimes the mountain is called grief. Sometimes the mountain is called fear. The mountains of life have many names and I am sure you know what your mountains name is. Here is the good news.

As I run it seems whenever I am on a long steep hill I always here the words to a praise song running through my mind, it is the same song, same lyrics every time I am running up those hills. In my mind I hear the words, "I will lift my eyes to the maker of the mountains I can't climb." Then I am reminded of the words of Jesus, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can say to the mountain, 'Mountain get out of my way!'."

Maybe today you are standing in front of one of those mountains of life. I want to encourage you to look to God for the strength. I want to remind you of the promise of Jesus. Tell the mountain to get out of your way. Don't try to climb that mountain on you own. You are not alone. Trust God.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thank God it's Friday!

This week I can't help but give God thanks for the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile. I, like many of you, watched as one miner after another was lifted from the darkness into the light. I had tears each time they were reunited with their loved ones. I watched and was grateful, thankful and in awe of what can happen when the world comes together to work for a common purpose of good. I know that the days ahead will be difficult for the men who went through this experience. I continue to pray for them and their families and I know that the God who was with them and sustained and protected them throughout their time buried underground is with them in the light of day. He is with us all. He is with us in the darkness calling us into the light. He is with us through our difficulties and he is there to rescue us and to bring us into His light. He is with us on the mountaintops and he is with us in the valleys. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Thank you God for desiring that none of us should be trapped in darkness and for rescuing us, through Christ death on a cross, so that we could walk in the light.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time Flies

You have probably heard it said, "Time flies when you are having fun." The truth is that time just flies. It doesn't matter if you are having fun or not. It seems like just yesterday my 12 year old was born. My baby is already over 2. Time flies.

If we are not careful and conscious and make the most of everyday, days become weeks, weeks become months and months become years. Time flies. All week I have been intending on making a post and here it is Thursday and I have yet to make a weekday post for my blog. Monday became Tuesday, Tuesday became Wednesday, Wednesday became Thursday. Even though I had intentions of doing it time got away from me.

This just illustrates for me how easy it is for us to let things slip away. Even things that we want to and intend to do. I think this is why we see people disappear from the church. Their intention is not to leave the church. They miss. They intend to return. But, time flies. What was one week becomes two and then three and then the next thing they know it has been months or years. In their minds they every intention of getting back connected to their faith community and their relationship with God but time flies. This happens with spiritual disciplines as well, we have every good intention but if we are not careful time will fly and get away from us.

Not doing something can also become a habit. They say it takes 21 -30 days to make a habit. If we don't do something for that long it becomes a habit that we don't do it. Time flies.

Now, I am not making or giving you and me an excuse this is a caution or a warning. A warning about putting things off till tomorrow. A caution about letting things slip away. We have to be intentional or it could have some very unwanted unintentional consequences.

Do that thing today that you have been intending to do for some time. Stop putting off your relationship with God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 8, 2010

Generosity

Generosity is a characteristic of God. Grace is extravagantly generous. Unearned, undeserved, unmerited, but given anyway. God is generous giving all to all.
Love moves us to extravagance in our giving. We give because that is what the love of Jesus does. We give generously of our hearts, our lives, our time and our talents because love compels us. Someone once said we can give without loving, but we can't love without giving. We can measure our love for God and our love for others by our willingness to give. Not by the amount of the gift, but by the heart of the giver.
What does our willingness to give say about our love today?
Love generously today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Choices

We live in a world full of choices. In the United States, we are given multiple option to just about everything everyday. We often take our ability to have choices for granted.

As I was thinking about the choices that we face everyday and how we have to choose God and to live for God everyday, I was drawn to an interesting contradiction that I have when it comes to choice.

First, I love the ability to choice. Free will rocks. I am grateful and thankful for my free will and my ability to choice. I value that I can choose and I live in a part of the world that affords me may option to choose from. I love that I get to choose and that I get to do that for myself. I think that we are probably all in agreement with this. We love that we have choices. In fact it is hard for us when it seems we have no choice in a matter.

Here is the interesting contradiction. At times, I am crippled by choice. At times I am just overwhelmed by the options. Fear of making the wrong choice rears its ugly head and I just do not want to choice. I struggle with making choices and to not make a choice is still a choice. I feel it would be easier if somebody else just made the choice for me.

It is a strange contradiction isn't it? We love choice and we are crippled because we have to choice. We value our free will and will fight for our freedom to choose yet we are afraid to make a choice.

The good news is that God knows us contradictions and all. And He loves us. The choice that is most important, each and everyday, is the choice to love him in return. Everyday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 1, 2010

Live Today

Yesterday is over. You can't live in yesterday. Tomorrow is yet to come. You can't live in tomorrow.

Worry and regret are ways that we attempt to live in impossible places. Today is the day that we have to live. Today is the only day that we can live. Worry and regret rob us of actually living. Our chance to do the things we want to do and to love as we know we should love is right now. This present moment is God's gift to you (this is why it is called present) is a moment for you to live-- not to spend trying to relive the past or worry about the future. Live today.

Make the most of the present that God has given you today. Don't waste it worrying. Don't waste it regretting. Stop trying to live in the impossible. Live today. It is the only day you have to do it. Thanks be to God. This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For You

You are not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. You are a loved and precious child of God. Each moment God looks upon you with loving eyes. God is gazing at you right now pleased that you are his creation. He loves you. He adores you. He has made you so that you could know that today. He wants you to know his love for you. He is watching your every move because he doesn't want to miss a moment with you. You mean that much to God. Live today in the overflow of God's love for you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, a]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Change Me

I heard a statement about a week or so ago that I just cant stop thinking about.
"Change isn't change until you change." What does this mean? Why am I so drawn to this statement? As I continue to live with these words and wrestle with their meaning, I think I am understanding why they are attracting me.

Change is not change until we change. You see the change that is important is the change in us. I use to say that people, that I, could never really change. I could change some habits. I could change some behavior but I would not change. However, the core promise of the Gospel is that when we live our live in Jesus, as his follower, we will be changed. Changed to be like Jesus. Our hearts changed to be like His. Our minds and our character, changed to be like His. The purpose of our changed behavior and changed habits, as Christ followers, is so that we are changed as people.

The change is not change until we are changed. If we change some habits or behavior but we are still the same then there has been no change. If we do new things but just complain about the new thing then there is no change. If we allow patterns and practices to change but we don't embrace them and change ourselves than the change never takes place. If we don't allow change to happen in our practices, behaviors, habits, and thinking then change doesn't happen.

"Change isn't change until you change."

Are you changing to be more like Jesus?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big 400!

It is hard to believe it, but this marks my 400th post to my blog. The Big 400!

I am reminded of a story that I heard about Karl Barth. Barth was a Swiss theologian and a great thinker for the church that some have called one of the greatest theologians in the church. Barth died in the late 60's. The story that I heard was that he was speaking to seminary students and answering their questions. One student asked Barth what he felt was his greatest theological discovery. After pausing for a moment, this great theologian who had written many books and could argue theories and doctrine stated, "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so."

Of all the words that could be written and heard by any of us these are the most precious, "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so."

Do you know that Jesus loves you.

You are loved today and everyday.
In the moments you are feeling unloved. Your feelings are deceiving you. Jesus Loves You.
In the moments that you are unlovable you are still loved by God.

The sooner we discover this truth the brighter our lives will be. We can trust this statement to always be true no matter what. "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so!"

Live as one who is loved.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This is the day

This is that day that you have made and given to me, Lord. Thank you for today. Help me to stay focused on you today. Help me to recognize that you are with me and you are working in my day. Help me to see the good in everything and everyone. Keep me focused on the positive. Let me have eyes to see the Son shine even if it gets cloudy. Give me ears to hear you speak to me. Give me the words so that I might speak your grace and love to all that I speak to today. Give me the strength, courage, and compassion that I will act as you would toward everyone I encounter.
This is the day! Today, I choose to live for you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Love today.

In Christ Love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Focus

Life has a way of keeping us from staying focused. I am not sure what it is but it seems that it is so hard to stay focused on one thing, or more importantly, the main thing of our lives. It seems that we are in a world of shifting focus. We try to juggle our busy lives so we juggle what we focus on. We struggle to focus on our relationship with God with the same intensity all the time. Instead, we shift our focus like we shift the seasons. Sometimes this is intentional, however, most of the time our focus shifts away from God onto ourselves, our worries, our struggles, our family, our problems, our issues, our blah, blah, blah... fill in the blank; without us even noticing it.

One day, if we notice, we are no longer focusing on God and the truth be told we have not been focused on God stuff for quite some time. No one said anything. God didn't send lightning bolt. Our focused shifted. We stopped doing the things that we want to do and we are doing things that we don't want to do.

We need to stay focused on the main thing. If we read John chapter 15, we are told that the main thing is the "remain thing." Jesus says if we ,"If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." The main thing, the thing that deserves our constant focus, is our relationship with Jesus.

So, why is it that we so often mistake other things for the main thing? Why is it that we lose our focus? The problem is that we have manual focus rather than auto focus. We have to adjust our own focus. Everything and everyone else will try to draw our focus away from God and we are the ones who choice what we focus on. And the real hard part is we have this tendency to focus on ourselves.

It is time to focus on the main thing.

Do you need to readjust your focus?

It is time to focus on the remain thing.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thank God It's Friday

You are loved.
Nothing you do or say will change that.
God loves you no matter what.
He created you so that he could love you.
You are loved.

Thank God for that!

It has been a while since I have done TGIF posts. I want you to help me with this one. It has been a long time since I have got any feedback from anyone. What are you thankful for today? Tell others. Tell God. I would love to hear from you. So would God.

Give thanks.
Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Renew The Mind

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
(Romans 12:1-2; The Message Translation)

The NIV version translates this passage to say,"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." I like to read the Message because it helps me to think about passages in new ways at times. I have been thinking a lot lately about our thought lives and about the type of conversation and people that we are around and how that effects us. Here. Paul is saying that we can get sucked in by the culture around us to the point of becoming like it and not even thinking anything of it. We become bitter, angry, and negative and don't even realize we have become the culture around us. His remedy for this-- Fix your attention on God. Think about God things. Put God things into your mind. Listen to God music. Read God's Word. Talk to others about God things. Hang out with Godly people. Fix your attention on God. This stuff renews our mind. And we are transformed by it. Changed. For the better.

What do you have your attention fixed on? Fix your attention on God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whatcha Thinkin?

What do you find yourself thinking about most of the time?
What do you spend most of you thought time on?

It seems that our minds never shut down. They seem to be constantly churning, stirring and spinning. We think even when we sleep, and these whirling minds of ours dream up some amazing things. That being said, have you ever thought about what consumes your thought life? Try to be aware today of what you are spending the majority of your time thinking about. What we think about effects how we live and how we feel. If we spend the majority of our time worrying and thinking negative thoughts about our day and the things that we are involved in it will have a negative effect us and our day. Now, this is not a "power of positive thinking" thing although, there is power to thinking positive. I am not saying if things are bad and things are not working out for you than you just have to think positive thoughts. What I am getting at is that the way we think will eventually manifest itself in the way that we live and the people that we are.

Negative people spend the majority of their thought life in the negative. They set in silence and and stew about the negative, they worry, they think about how they have been wronged and they think about how they are gonna get back at those that have done them wrong. They spend their thoughts meditating on the past mistakes and wrong doings. They play tapes of negative words and negative experiences over and over in their head. The result of this thought life is a negative life that tears others down and has a negative impact on others.

We need to guard our thought lives. Positive people spend their time thinking about positive things. This is what Philippians 4:8-9 are talking about.

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." (The Message Translation)

"Whatcha Thinkin?"

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bread Alone

I saw a church sign the other day that said, "Are you trying to life by bread alone?"

They are referring to the passage in Matthew that says we "shall not live by bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of God." As I drove past and read the sign my thought was "why do we so often try to live by bread alone?" We know that we can't live by bread alone but we still try. We will go days without listening to God or leaning on his word. We will trust ourselves but never trust in God. We know that we should live by every word that comes from the mouth of God but we settle for just bread.

Are you living by bread alone? When we do that we are still hungry and empty. Maybe it is time to lean on Jesus? Maybe it is time to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug


Friday, September 10, 2010

Never Forget

This past July, Nicole and I went to New York City for our anniversary. While we where in New York we visited ground zero, the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood. They are currently building a tower on that site called the Freedom tower as way of remembering and honoring all the people who lost their lives and the survivors of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

One of the things that I always struggle with is how we remember and honor these people on September 11th and everyday each year. I don't think that we need to go back to the pain and the hurt of that day. I don't think we need to see the pictures and the video again. I don't think we need to seek retribution or revenge either. I don't think we honor anyone or remember what we need to remember if we generate more pain, hurt or hate.

Honoring and remembering should help us with our hurt and pain. Honoring and remembering should ease our grief and move us forward not backward. We should never forget the 3000 children of God that lost their lives that day. We should never forget the people who continue to struggle with the loss of loved ones and who struggle to move forward from September 11, 2001. We need to honor all as we remember. We need to never forget the love that was expressed and shared by strangers. We need to never forget the way neighbors helped neighbors and the way ordinary people loved in extraordinary ways. We need to never forget that God did not abandon us or do this to us but God was there in the midst of the tragedy experiencing the pain and grieving with us. God was there in the love that was expressed. God was there in the courage that was shown. God was there leading through the valley of the shadow of death. And continues to be here for us. We need to remember and never forget the way that we came together as a country around a common love for one another.

Sunday at church we are going to remember 9/11 by celebrating our everyday heroes. One of the things that came out of the events of September 11, 2001 is that we recognized that we had ordinary heroes around us everyday. People who are willing to lay down their lives, who dedicate their lives, to serving and helping other. We saw on September 11th that there were people who risked, and some who gave, their lives to help others. Firefighters, police officers, Medical personnel and members of the armed services all selflessly give of themselves to serve us everyday. As we never forget we are going to honor and celebrate our everyday heroes.

As I remember today, I want to thank God for all those people who are the unsung heroes among us. I want to thank God for giving us the eyes to see him even in the midst of one of our nations biggest tragedies. I thank God for his healing and for his leading us and guiding us forward. I thank God that he wipes our tears. I thank God that he has overcome this world so that we too can overcome. I thank God that he works through people, ordinary people like you and me. I thank God for doctors, nurses, EMS workers, police officers, firefighters, and our service men and women who serve our communities everyday. I hope that you will never forget and that you would celebrate and remember the good and the God that we are more aware of because of September 11, 2001. I hope you can make your way to a place of worship this weekend to remember, honor, and celebrate. Please, pray for those that continue to hurt. If you don't have a church home and you are near Trenton, MO, I invite you to come and celebrate with us. All are welcome.

Take some time to intentionally love your neighbors.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Living the love of Jesus

I am amazed and in awe when I think about the love of Jesus. Jesus' love is not like human love. Jesus love for me and for you is unlike any other love that we have and will ever experience. Jesus love for you and me compelled him to step down out of the comfort of heaven and enter into this world. Jesus love compelled him to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus love compelled him to dine with sinners, offer his forgiveness freely, heal the sick, touch the leper and be associated with people that others would have nothing to do with. Jesus love compelled him to take on sin and death. His love compelled him to lay down his life for all humanity. His love compelled him to reach out to the thief on the cross next to him.

The love of Jesus cried out "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The love of Jesus cried out, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The love of Jesus cries out, "fear not for I am with you." Jesus love is not a love that holds grudges or requires retribution. Jesus love does not require a love you in return. Jesus just loves you and me. And he said the way that others will know that we are his followers are by our love. By God's grace, as we follow Jesus, our love should become more like his. Our love for others, our forgiveness, our willingness to lay down our lives for others grows because that is what the love of Jesus does.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Naomi or Mara follow up

Two Sundays ago in church we talked about the story of Naomi and Ruth from the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. What caught me in the story was how Naomi in the beginning was wanting everyone to call her Mara instead of Naomi. She was choosing to no longer be called Naomi, which means pleasant, but rather wanted to be called Mara, which means bitter.

Being pleasant or being bitter is an option that we have. We choice to focus on the good and the pleasant or to focus on the negative and be bitter. As followers of Jesus we need to focus on the good. We need to constantly look to where God is and what God is doing. As followers of Jesus we need to be pleasant people who inspire and encourage not people who conspire against and discourage others. Bitter people make life hard on everyone. Complainers don't do any good.

Complaining is just another way of taking the focus off of the good and trying to invite others to our pity party. Complaining is just inviting other to be bitter with us. It is not trying to build up and make better it is just a way to say, "on this issue I am choosing to be Mara, not Naomi. Are there any other who want to be Mara with me?" This doesn't mean that there won't be things that Christians disagree on or that we we all get our way all the time. It just means that we need to choice to be pleasant in those situations rather than bitter and complaining.

As followers of Jesus we need to close the complaint department. We need to not get sidetracked by others complaining. We need to guard ourselves against becoming complainers. Focus on the good.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flu Bug

This week we had the flu bug spread through our house and 5 out of six Franklins agree it was not pleasant. It started with our two girls and then it moved to our oldest son and then to Mom and Dad. We all got sick but Tanner. Maybe it is because he is the quite, keep to him self one in the family or maybe he has a super immune system, but none the less he so far has escaped catching the bug.

I wish our faith was this contagious.

Faith is contagious and at times it spreads just as fast. The question fir us is our faith, the way we are living, worth catching or do people want to avoid it like the flu bug. Faith is spread form one person to another because they see an authentic and real life that they want. People see a difference that Christ makes in our lives and they say I want that difference in my life.

When we live a real relationship with Christ that lives the love of Jesus than faith becomes contagious and spreads.

How contagious are you?
Do people want to catch what you have?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friends in High Places

In the book of James, we are told that whatever is going on in life we should pray. We should pray for each other and lift each other up with prayer. Prayer is our way of placing one another in the hands of God. Prayer is the way that we enter into the presence of God and lay our lives before him. I am grateful that I have friends who hang out in such a high place. I am grateful that I have friends that pray for me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for the trusting me to pray for you.

Prayer is powerful and effective. When we spend time in the presence of God honestly laying our lives and the lives of others in the hands of God powerful things happen. Nothing is too big or too small to pray about. In all things we need to pray non stop. I am praying for you. Thank you for hanging out in high places.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Routine

The kids have started back to school. We are actually in week two of school at our house. Back to school t a back to routine time in our house. Back to the routine of taking kids to school and picking kids up from practice. It is back to the routine of school work and home work. The routine of eating dinner at a certain time as well as bath time and bed time. The routine helps us to get the proper amount of sleep and get done the stuff that we need to do in our day. The routine helps us to organize and prioritize the things that we are doing.

Now, I am a spontaneous person and I love to do things outside the routine, but there is something comforting and needed about having a routine. The routine helps us to be grounded. The routine helps us to make things a priority and the routine helps us to be good stewards of the time that we have.

Spiritually speaking we need some routine that helps us to stay connected to God and to one another. We need a routine that keeps is in God's word, keeps us worshiping, keeps us praying, keeps us serving, and keeps us growing in relationship with Christ. We need a routine that makes God a priority in our lives.

What is your routine? How are we organizing our lives to make God a priority and see to it that we do what we can to nourish our relationship with Him?

Make time to take some time for your relationship with God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come As You Are

Today is a day for a song. I want to share this Pocket Full of Rocks song. I really like the words and God is speaking to me through it this morning.




love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Whole World in His Hands

Yesterdays post is still coming. I seem to be having some technical difficulty with the upload. Sorry about the mix up and I hope it will be worth the wait.

Today I am thinking about a very deep and profound professions of faith. With everything that seems to be going on in my world I keep hearing a song that I learned as a kid running through my head. It is a song about how God is holding each of us and every situation in the palm of his hand. God is ultimately in control. Even when it seems that our world is spinning out of control our faith tells us that God is holding us in his hand.

"He's got the whole world in his hands he's got the whole wild world in his hands
He's got the whole wild world in his hands he's got the whole world in his hands

He's got the little bitty baby in his hands he's got the little bitty baby in his hands
He's got the little bitty baby in his hands he's got the whole world in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands...

He's got you and me brother in his hands he's got you and me sister in his hands
He's got you and me brother in his hands he's got the whole world in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands...

He's got everybody here in his hands he's got everybody here in his hands
He's got everybody here in his hands he's got the whole world in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands...
He's got you and me brother...
He's got the whole world in his hands..."

Leave it in God's hands.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What are you willing to do?

Paul, in one of his letters, writes that "if he is a fool, he is a fool for Jesus." If I am going to be a fool than a pray that I am a fool for Jesus. During vacation bible school I made a deal with the kids that if they would bring other friends to VBS that I would break dance for them. I was basically saying that I would make a fool out of myself for the sake of sharing God's love with more children. I sometimes forget that I am 39 years old and that break dancing was something that I did when I was in junior high. But, I wanted to encourage the kids to share Jesus with their friends. And they did. So, break dance I did.

This got me thinking about what we are willing to do for Christ sake. Are we willing to be thought of as a fool for Jesus. Are we willing to be ridiculed, mocked, even hated for the sake of Jesus? Are we willing to risk getting rejected, or failure, or accolades to make the love of Jesus real in someones life? What will you do to live the love of Jesus? What are we willing to do? Will we stop playing church? Will we stop pretending that we have all the answers? Will we take off our mask so that others can see what Jesus means to us? Will we love the people that Jesus loves? Will we sacrifice for others like Jesus does? Will we go and do what Jesus calls us to go and do? Will we trust God more than we trust ourselves? Will we give him everything?

How far are we willing to go so that others can know Jesus? How deep will we love? How foolish will we be for Jesus.

Love today?

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Video should be coming shortly as soon as I work out the technical issues. Check back soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TGIF

84 Children. Today as I think about all that I have to be thankful for I am overwhelmed to think that there where 84 children at our Vacation Bible School. We set a goal of 60. God surpassed that goal. We set a goal of 75. God surpassed that goal too. We set a goal of 80. Yes, God surpassed that goal as well. I got dunked. Nicole got dunked. I had to break dance and make a fool of myself.

Here is the best part and what I give God thanks for today. 84 kids got to hear about how God loves them. Each child was a blessing to me. Each child allowed me to see the love and power of God in real an tangible ways. There are 84 kids today that know that they are loved by God and by the people of Dockery Chapel Church.

Thank you God for each and every child. Thank you that you surpass our goals. Thank you that we can be a fool for you. Thank you for calling us your children.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Open and Point

Sometimes i will just open up my bible and point at a scripture passage and read it. Today,I opened up to Matthew chapter5 and my finger landed on:

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then came and offer your gift."

At first I wanted to try again. This can't be right. Maybe, I need to read further. Maybe, I meant to point in a different place other than the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe, It is what God wants me to think about today. Maybe, it is just what I need.

I am sorry if I have hurt you. I am sorry if I have done something to make you mad or to make you feel like I don't love you, because I do.

I find it interesting as I reflected upon this passage how often it gets misquoted. I often hear it translated as "don't go to the altar if you are holding a grudge against someone." or "your heart better be right before you take communion." or "don't offer your gift if you have anger in your heart."

As I reflected on this "open and point" word from God, it stuck out to me that the passage says "if you are at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you." This is not an excuse keep from coming and offering our gifts at the altar. If you are at the altar and remember.

There are times when we come to God and place ourselves in his presence and we are reminded of others. When we come to God we need to ask him to make us mindful of others who may have something against us. You see this passage is not talking about us having something against our brother, it is not about what is in our hearts, it is about being mindful of what others may have in their hearts about us or because of us.

Our first prayer as we offer ourselves and our gifts to God, should be one to remember brothers or sisters who have something against us. In this way we are offering ourselves to the ministry of reconciliation. I also notice that we are to leave our gift in front of the altar and go be reconciled. We are not suppose to take our gift with us.

You see God's desire is that we would all love one another, that we would not hold grudges or allow the sun to go down on our anger. That we would be quick to forgive as he forgives us and that we would settle matter quickly. He wants us to be reconciled to each other as well as to Him.

It is a dangerous thing to open and point. You just might land on something that you need to hear.

I am sorry if I have hurt you. I love you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Assurance

We all want assurance. We want to be assured that what we are doing is what we are suppose to be doing. We want to know for sure that we have made the right choices and the right decisions. We want to know if we are doing what God wants us to do or not.

This week as we have been doing VBS I have been thinking about the assurance that we receive from God. It is not the assurance that we often get from the world. God assurance some times will come by way of a pat on the back or a thank you but, most often that is not the assurance that we receive. In fact, sometimes pats on the back or thank yous are not assurances at all. When Jesus announced his mission to save the world to his home town, the assurance that he received for doing the will God was that they tried to run him off a cliff and stone him. When he feed the hungry and dined with sinners and prostitutes it got him called names. When he confronted the kingdom of the world world with the Kingdom of God, it got him nailed to a cross. Assurance that he was doing what he had been called by God to do came from a whisper that said, "this is my son in whom I am well pleased." It was not a pat on the back by his peers or a thank you from those that he healed or fed. The world often rewards ungodly behavior and discourages Kingdom behavior. They did in Jesus day.

We can have assurance. The bible tells us that we can be assured of our salvation. The Spirit is the assurance of our salvation. When the Spirit is in us we can be assured of the hope that we have. I also think that an assurance that we can have when we are doing God's work and God's will is joy. When we are doing what God wants us to do, blessing happens through us and to us. There is always a double blessing in doing the work of God. We see Jesus in the people that we serve and they are able to see Jesus in us. It is no longer about us working or serving, it is not about us at all, it is all about Jesus.

When we are doing what God wants us to do, it can be hard, tiring, exhausting, dirty, nasty, fun-less tasks but we still despite that find joy. They exhaustion is worth it. We say man I am tired but it was so rewarding. My feet hurt and my hands are blistered but I saw God today, my life has been changed because I did this. They have been long days but there are children singing songs about Jesus. I'm tiered and worn out but over 80 kids are hearing about God's love. There is nothing else I would rather be doing!

That is our assurance. No matter what it is, when we are doing what God wants us to do, we have a since of joy that we would not want to do anything else. It is a peace that passes all understanding. To others it might make no since at all, but to you it is the only thing that makes since. You get a joy that is greater than any back ache, exhaustion, or frustration. It is a joy that comes from the Lord. That is an assurance that we are doing what God wants us to do. And work becomes no work at all, instead, it is service to the Lord.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lets Go!

59!

That is the number of kids that we had for the first night of VBS at church. Yay God! 59 children coming to have fun and learn about God at Dockery. This year we set a goal to reach 60 children. Last year we had 49 kids at VBS and we felt God was calling us to reach out to more. On day one we almost reach the goal. It seems we may have set the goal too low. This means when we get our 60th child I will be getting dunked in a dunk tank by all the kids on Thursday night. Yay God!

Needless to say we set some new goals last night. When we get to 75 kids I am going to break dance (in the name of Jesus). And when we reach 80 kids, Nicole is going into the dunk tank.

The bible tells us that God can do exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Every year it seems that God uses VBS to remind me of this truth.

What are you asking or imagining that God can do?

Yay God!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thank God It's Friday!

I am thankful for people in my life who are full of joy. You know the kind of people I am talking about. They are people that make you feel better to just be around them. They are people who are always positive and always joyful. The circumstances or situation of life does not dampen their joy.

I am not talking about people who just "put on a happy face" or "grin and bare it", the people that are joyful don't pretend that they are something they are not. They are real. Some days they are not happy but they still are joyful. It is on those days that I recognize my need and gratitude for joyful people in my life. They help me to see past what is happening and past the current situation to see God is still God and we still have reason, even in the midst of things that are not pleasant, to be joyful. God loves us. God cares for us. We woke up this morning. We get a day to love. We have good friends. We have hope.

I thank God for joyful people. As Paul says, while sitting in prison, their "joy comes from the Lord." I am glad that they share it with me.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug