Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday

I have this song running through my mind today. Maybe, it is because it is Friday? Probably because everyday is a day to give thanks. Attitude is everything they say. How about an attitude of gratitude.

"GIVE THANKS
WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
GIVE THANKS
TO THE HOLY ONE
GIVE THANKS
FOR HE'S GIVEN
JESUS CHRIST, HIS SON

AND NOW LET THE WEAK SAY
I AM STRONG
LET THE POOR SAY
I AM RICH
BECAUSE OF WHAT
THE LORD HAS DONE
FOR US

GIVE THANKS..."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Heavy Heart

This week my heart is heavy. I mean that I am a little sad. This past Sunday, every person listed on our prayer list and all those that lifted up where dealing with cancer. Cancer has a way of giving us a heavy heart. On the list was my step mother. We just learned that she has stage two lung cancer. We are praying that surgery is a possible. Also in our prayers is a dearly loved member of the Dockery Chapel family who I was praying would be able to have surgery and I found out yesterday it is not a possibility. Woody Wright worshiped with us and shared how his brother in-law was in the last stages of cancer. And we had a family come to thank us for praying for them and their 5 year old son who battled with cancer. They are still hurting from the loss of their son but they wanted to thank us ask us to continue to pray for them. Cancer has a way of giving us a heavy heart. Life at times gives us heavy hearts. This week as I have been praying and offering my sadness to God I am being reminded of some important truths.

I am reminded that God is enough. I am reminded that God feels my sadness and my heaviness. I am reminded that God has placed people, lovely people, in my life to help carry my burdens and my sorrows. People who will pray with me and for me. People who will cry, laugh, care for, and comfort.

I have also been reminded that cancer might be a scary word to hear but it is not the last word. I have been reminded that in times of a heavy heart we can give into fear or we can trust our faith. Cancer is a word but it is not the last word. Paul tells us there are only three words that last and cancer is not one of them. He say that we have faith. Our faith tells us that cancer will never win. Ever. Our faith tells us that we can be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Our faith says what we see is not what we get ultimately. God will win. Our faith tells us that perfect love drives out fear. Our faith tells us that God is with us in the midst of our sorrows to help us and care for us. Our faith tells us that the God of all comfort will wipe our tears. Our faith tells us that God is at work for the good in all situations for the benefit of those that love him and are called according to his purpose. Our faith tells us that God's grace is sufficient for all our needs.

We have hope. In the midst of the worst situations we can have hope because Christ is our hope.
And we have love. Paul says the greatest of these is love. God loves you and me and the love that he has for us will never end. It wont be changed. Nothing separates us from his love. God's love last and outlast everything. We have the love of family and friends. Faith hope and love and the greatest of these is love. Jesus says in John 14, "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Trust in God and also in me." Today I choose faith. Today I choose to not give cancer, or any other circumstance of life, have the final word. I know some better words that will outlast the current situation.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

8th Grade Graduation

This weekend I am honored to be a speaker for the Pleasant View R-9 8th grade graduation. I have been thinking about what it is that God would have me say to these young people as the reach this milestone in their lives. It is an exciting time for them. I am sure it is also a time filled with apprehension and anxiety as well. They come to this end with a whole new beginning ahead. They are taking another step into their future.

What would you say to a young person as they were making this transition in their lives? What lasting thing would you want to make sure they heard? What would you want them to know and to take with them as they entered High School? What do you wish someone had said to you?

I would love to hear from you. Maybe, this is your chance to let them know. Maybe I will pass it along. I am just curious about you thoughts and what you might say.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 23, 2010

TGIF

Thank God it's Friday!

I am thankful for friends and a community of believers. I thank God for friends that laugh with me and cry with me. I am thankful for friends that I can go to and be who I am and don't have to pretend. I thank God for friends that I can share my struggles and my worries with. I thank God for friends who care about me and listen to me. Friends that hurt when I hurt and pray for me and with me. I thank God for friends that help me and stand by me in good times and in bad. I thank God for friends that I can lean on and reach out to when things are not perfect. I thank God for friends that share in my joy and celebrate with . I thank God for friends that live the love of Jesus and help me to live the love of Jesus.

I am thankful for the church.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! Good Stewardship

Genesis 1

1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was a]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

At the very beginning of the Bible we are told that God creates everything. When humans are created they are given the job of stewards over all that God had created. A steward is one who is entrusted with something that belongs to someone else to care for it, manage it and utilize it. The earth and everything in it is God's and he give it to us to care for, manage and utilize.

For me, Earth Day is a time to reflect upon and think about how I am caring for God's creation. Do I care? How am I at being a steward.

Everything I have and everything around me is God. I am just a temporary manager. I am a temporary care taker. I am not the owner. It is not mine to do with as I please. It is God's and I need to care for it like it is God's. My friend Jeff always says, "It is a beautiful day in God's world be sure to see the good." We are entrusted to do what you can to keep it that way. Stop and smell the flowers. Enjoy what God has given to you. Listen to the birds sing. Thank God for the gift of His creation.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What to do? What to do?

"You feed them" said Jesus.
"With what? We don't have enough to feed thousands of people" said the disciples.
Jesus replied, "what do you have?"

In the bible we read about a time when Jesus and his disciples came across a large crowd of people who were hungry. I can just imagine the disciples reaction when Jesus told them that they where to use what they could gather, what they had, and feed the multitudes. I can imagine their reaction was much like ours when we see a problem that seems to big for us to handle.

I was thinking today about how Jesus tells them to give what they had so that a miracle could happen. What they had did not amount to much, they thought. What they had could not make a dent in the problem, they thought. They thought that it was impossible for them to deal with the problem because they didn't have the means to handle it. Jesus showed them that they did. Jesus showed them and us that if we offer what we do have God can make miraculous things happen. If we will let go of our portion than God will see that there is enough for everyone. We can make a difference.

"You feed them" said Jesus.
"With what? We don't have enough to feed thousands of people" I said.
Jesus replied, "what do you have?"

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF

For God so loved you, he gave his one and only Son, that you would not perish but have everlasting life.

God so loved me.
God so loved you.

It is personal isn't it.

God did not want you or me to spend forever apart from Him. He couldn't bear the thought of any moment without you. The thought of you perishing, breaks the heart of God. So God, in the person of the Son Jesus, dies so you don't have to. God wants to spend forever with you so he does for you what you cant do.

It is personal isn't it.

The world is me. The world is you. The world is all of us. God is not a far off God. God is a personal God. He so loves you and me that he makes it personal.

Gratitude. Thanks. Love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prayer

Dear Lord,
Today is about you. It is not about me. I pray that today I am less and you are more. I pray that I live for you today and not for selfish reasons. Help me to love like you. Serve like you. Help me to point others to you and not to me. Help me to give you all the glory. Today I want to worship you with my life and all that I do. I offer it all to you. Today is about you. Today is a gift you have given me. I want to live it in Jesus name.
Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Moving Stones

"Who will move the stone away?"

That is the question that the ladies asked as they made their way to Jesus's tomb that first Easter morning. "Who will roll the stone away so that we can see Jesus?"

I have been thinking about stones. Stones are things that block us from getting to Jesus. Stones are things that we need others to help us with so that we can get to Jesus.

On Easter morning it was angels and an earthquake that moved the stone away for the women to discover that Jesus was alive. When they got to the tomb the question that they had pondered on the way had already been answered and the stone had been moved.

I think that God is looking for stone movers. People who will move the stones that are getting in the way of people being able to get to Jesus.

These stones are things like poverty and hunger. These stones are things like fear, guilt, and shame. These stones are things like poor drinking water, injustice and oppression. These stones are anything that keep another from being able to experience the love and grace of Christ. Our attitudes, our love, our judgment can be stones. There are all kinds of stones in our world that need to be moved and they are stones that have many people wondering, "who will move the stone away." They can't move the stone but others can. God can. He still moves stones. And God uses people like you and me to be stone movers for others.

I need to think my wife, Nicole, for this post. She is who moved a stone so that I could see this part of the Easter message and it has been messing with me ever since. What are the stones that God is calling you to move. Are there obstacles that seem to be in the way of you fully encountering Jesus or getting to where God is calling you to go? Can you see where there are things keeping people from encountering the Risen Lord. Maybe it is time to move the stone? Maybe God is calling you to move that stone for somebody else so that they can see Jesus?

The stones that we can move we need to move for Christ's sake.

Be a stone mover.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Believe, Love is the Answer




Love Today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let He Who Has Ears Hear

"He who has ears, let him hear."

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
" 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Matthew 13:9-17

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

1 Kings 19:11-13

Not a loud bang. Not a shout. Not a flashing neon sign. Not ground shaking. Not in the fire. But in a gentle whisper. God is speaking to you and to me.

Are we listening? Are we filtering through all of the other noise to hear what God is saying to us? Are we praying for ears to hear Jesus? Are we listening?


What is the gentle whisper saying to you and me? He is speaking. He is calling us to life. To follow. To encounter him and experience life in and through him.

Listen.

Hear.

Respond.

Love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This Side of Easter

During Lent I did a devotional study called, 'This Side of Easter." The study challenged us to live in response to the resurrection. It pointed out that the disciples didn't know that the tomb was empty. The promise of the resurrection had not been fulfilled yet for those that walked with and encountered Jesus during his earthly ministry. But, for us we know the rest of the story. We know that death doesn't win. We know that the pain and the suffering of Friday is not all that there is. We know that the silence of Saturday is not all that can be heard. Yet, too often we live like we don't know the promise of Easter. We live like the tomb is not empty. We life like it is Friday. We live on the other side of Easter and not on this side.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Let's live like it. Take some risks for the sake of Christ. We know that pain and suffering are not the end of the story. Enter into the suffering of others knowing fully that resurrection has happened and will happen again. Risk love. Risk it all for the sake of the Gospel. The tomb is empty. Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed. Live like Easter people.

After the resurrection and the disciples seeing the resurrected Jesus they lived radically, passionately, and boldly for the sake of the good news. They risked it all to love like Jesus. They understood the rest of the story and lived, really lived, for Christ's sake. They worshiped with their lives. They loved God passionately and intentionally. They loved one another deeply and compassionately. The gave of their time, their talents, and their possessions radically to meet the needs of others and to serve Christ. The cared for the orphans and the widows, they welcomed the stranger, and they loved in real and tangible ways like Jesus.

Here we are on this side of Easter. Thanks be to God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank God it's Good Friday

TGIGF!

Once again we find ourselves at another Good Friday. Once again we are invited to look upon and reflect on the cross and what it means. This tool of execution has become a symbol of hope and promise. What do you think about as you look upon the cross? What are you thankful for?

Take some time today to reflect upon the cross and to understand the love that is behind it. Take some time to give God thanks for the cross. Thank God it's Good Friday!


Love Today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug