Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Phone Blog

It seems as if the last couple of days have been packed full. I have not been able to set down at the computer to post. I have been blessed over the last couple of days to be busy with good work to do for Jesus. Today, I am on my way to take a friend to a doctors appointment.

It is just a phone post today. So, there may be more errors than normal. I may not say as much. I might be breif but I am going to stop and recognize that today is a gift from God. Today what I do I get to do for God. I choose to do them for God. Not myself or anyone else. Today is a blessing. God is with me no matter what. I choose to look for him. Today I choose love.

Take a moment. Maybe this moment and stop and focus on the truth of God. Make some choices about how you live today. Choose to live for and with Jesus. It will be thee most important moment of your day. It has the potential to transform all other moments.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Right Question

I shared with you yesterday some of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. As I reflected on his sayings and upon our world today I could not help but think of something else he said that I didn't share with you yesterday.

One time when, talking about Jesus teaching on the Good Samaritan, Martin Luther King Jr. said that the difference between the Good Samaritan and the other people who passed by was the question that they asked themselves and how they asked it. He said the priest and the Levite asked themselves the question, "What will happen to me if I stop and help?" The Samaritan asked the question, "What will happen to the man if I don't stop and help?"

Did you catch the difference?

"What will happen to me If I stop?" It is a self centered question. It is all about me. It is all about what I get out it. No thought about the needs of others. No thought about what Jesus would have me do. (oh, by the way, I am not thinking about the priest or Levite anymore. The story is now my story, it is our story, we asks this question in the situation and circumstance of our lives and our world today. Don't we?)

The question that I must ask myself as I think about the people in Haiti, the Aids pandemic in our world, starvation, poverty, homelessness and all other people in need that I see in my world and walking in the streets of Trenton is, "What will happen to them if I don't do anything?"

We have to shift the question from us and our needs to others. That is what Jesus did. He did it in a garden when he knew that his time had come and that he was going to lay down his life for us. He said "not my will but thy will." He didn't say "what is in it for me?" Instead he said "what will happen to them if i don't?"

Following Jesus is a journey that leads us from self-centered to Christ-centered. It is a move from "it is all about me and what I get out it" to "it is not about me, it is about God and what God gets out of it." It is about God's glory and God's love. Not mine. As long as we keep asking the me question we are still in the infancy of our faith.

As you see the one that has been left beside the road that you are traveling on today please stop and ask the right question.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. I will share a few of the things he said for us to reflect upon. Let me know your thoughts and how you apply his words today. Here are some of my favorites:

"A lie cannot live."

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.""In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul."

"That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Something to think about as we take a day of work.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

There's your neighbor

I have a heavy heart this morning as I look at the pictures on TV and the Internet in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. I was going to write about some of the stuff that I have heard about why it happened but my friend Jeff did and I don't think anything more than what he said needs to be said. I encourage you to read his words by clicking here.

It also got me thinking about something else as it relates to our response to the people of Haiti and to all people suffering through catastrophe and tragedy.

On of the things that I love about the community that I live in is that we are wavers. People wave at you when you pass them in the car. People will wave when they see you on the street. We wave, recognize, and greet one another throughout our town. Sometimes the kids will ask me who is that when I will wave at someone. The truth is many times I don't no the names of the people that wave. I may have never seen their faces or spoke to them before. But, what I say to my kids is, "that is one of my neighbors."

There goes one of our neighbors. When we see the pictures on TV and the Internet and when we hear the stories, remember, there goes one of our neighbors. The world gets smaller and God family gets bigger when we start to recognize our neighbors.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Too Good a Christian for the Church

I have to admit I was a little worried about the title of this post. I don't want people to get the wrong idea and decide not to read it before they even begin to read. And please, don't think that this is my thoughts. When you see it written out or hear the phrase "I am too good a Christian for the church" it sounds kind of ludicrous. How can someone be too good a Christian for the church?

No one would really say that or think that would they?

God has really been talking to me about this a lot lately. I don't think that any of us would say it so bluntly but, I hear it said in more subtly ways. However, the subtlety says the same thing. And it is ludicrous. We need the church. We can't be followers of Jesus without the church. Following Jesus require us to be in community with others worshiping, growing, serving, and loving. "Good Christians" can't be "good Christians" on there own. Where is the accountability? Where is the nurture? Where are the one anothers? Where is the mutual building up? Where is the community of followers?

Yet, we say things like, "I read my bible everyday and pray at home, so, it is okay that I don't go to church on Sunday." We say things like, "I would go to church, but they aren't as mission minded as me so I don't go." We say things like, "I believe in Jesus but I don't go to church because they are too hypocritical." We say things like, "I watch that one guy, or listen to that one guy, oh what is his name, every week and read my bible so I still get church each week." We say things like, "if they just did things the way I want them to be done than I would go there."

It is said a lot of ways and it all sounds a lot like, "I am too good a Christian for the church."

One of the problems that has happened as people have sought a more real expression of their faith is that they have become judgmental of the church. In some instances, become anti-church because they just see the flaws in the church. When we do this we separate ourselves from the very thing that God has given us, and created us for, to live out our faith.
I believe that it is impossible to follow Jesus in isolation.
I believe that I can not do on my own what God created me to do in community.
The church, with all it's flaws and defects, is still the bride of Christ. It is God's people connected together by the power of his Spirit that is draws us together.

The only person that we fool, when we convince ourselves that our own personal devotion and piety is enough, is the person in the mirror. And Satan wins. If Satan can keep us from the church he wins. He doesn't care if it is subtle deceptions disguised as being a "good Christian" or just busyness. "A house divided can not stand."

You need the church. I need the church. We are never too good a Christians for the church.

Find a community of followers to do life with. Find a community of followers that you can worship with, serve with, grow in relationship to God with. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can do this without the church. If you are looking for a church home and you live in or around Grundy County, Missouri. I want to personally invite you to come be a part of the Dockery Chapel family. If you have been away for a while I want you to know you are loved and you are always welcome.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For those that missed it on Sunday

On Sunday we began the "Dockery Weight Lose Challenge." During my message we talked about how how God looks not at the outward appearance but instead looks at our hearts. We talked about how we can make changes to our outward appearance but God changes us from the inside out as we allow him to work in us and we let go of and lose the weight of things like guilt, shame, worry, unforgiveness, anger, grief, and other weight that we carry within us that we are not meant to carry. Dropping this weight makes room for God to fill us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. During my message we looked at some "what if's" regarding my outward appearance. For those that missed it -- enjoy.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Friday, January 8, 2010

It is a "Get to" not a "Have to"

We get to serve God by loving and caring for others. We show our love for God by loving the people that he has placed in our world.

Here is what I have been thinking about today. I was on a mission trip in Louisiana one time and saw a sign that said "Smile, you get to do this for God today."

Serving God by loving and caring for others is not a have to. It is something we are blessed to get to do.

"Smile you get to do that for God."

Be blessed, love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Epiphany + 1

Yesterday was Epiphany. It is the day that we recognize the Magi coming from the east following a star to bow down and worship Jesus. It marks the end of the Christmas season but it doesn't mean that God has stopped putting stars in our world to lead people to him. I talked about this on Sunday at church and how I think that you and I are those stars. You are a star that God has placed in this world to shine for Jesus.

Since, I got snowed in, literally and physically, yesterday I did not get to make this post on Epiphany or share the song that I wanted to share with all of you about shinning for Jesus.

So here is Epiphany +1.

Shine today.

Love Today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jump Start

This morning it was very cold in the Green Hills of northern Missouri. We woke up to get the kids back to school from Christmas break to find that the battery in the truck wanted to stay on Christmas break.

It did not want to work this morning. It was to cold. It would not start.

Did I mention that it was cold. It was below zero and the battery was dead. We literally needed a jump start to get going.

Life is like that sometimes. We need a jump start. We need others to connect to so we can get going, to inspire us and encourage us.

We also need to be "jumpstarters". We need to share the Spirit that is in us to inspire and encourage others. We need to share God's grace and love to get others going. Warm others in this cold world with the warmth of Christ's love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,