Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Living With Jesus

Right now you are not alone.

I am not trying to spook you. I am telling you a reality of life in Christ. Next to you is Jesus. Maybe, you can't see him but he is there. He has promised you that he will never leave you or forsake you. He is present with you right now as you read these words on the screen. And he will be with you when you move on to the next thing.

Stop for a moment right now and just recognize that reality. Jesus is with you right now.

Really. Stop. Don't read on just stop and recognize Jesus is with you.




You are not alone even when you feel all alone. You are not alone even when your house feels empty or your soul feels empty. In those moment stop and recognize the promise. Jesus is with you and he promises to lead you from the valley to high places. From the storm and the waves to still waters. Jesus promises that he is always there for you. Take heart you are loved by God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thanks Sis!

Bill Hybels wrote a book titled "To Busy Not To Pray." Over the past several weeks I have gotten extremely busy. Well, it has been a couple months really. I have gotten very busy and one of the things that has been neglected is this blog. Now, I am not saying that this is any way equivalent to entering into God's presence, listening for him to speak, and speaking to God. But, I have been reminded of Hybels' book again.

The busier we get the more that we need to make sure that we are taking time to be with God. The busier we get the more we need to slow down and communicate with God. The more we need to stop and listen. The more we need to reach out and reach for God.

This blog has always been, for me, a vehicle to get me to stop and listen. It is not about the readers as much as it is about me being intentional about connecting to God. The habit of writing daily on the blog reinforces the habits of prayer, scripture reading, worship and fellowship. If it is possible to get so busy that I allow that habit of blog writing to slip, is it possible to get so busy that I let the other, more substantial habits, slip as well? Discipline is tough.

I am thankful that my sister sent me a little email today and told me she missed my blogs. I was missing writing them and wondered if anyone noticed I had not written any lately. I am thankful that she nudged me to reflect on my busyness and my need for God.

How about you? Are you allowing busyness to crowd out time with God? Have you let some habits slip that you want to, or need to, pick up again?

Is there someone that God might be nudging you to encourage today like my sister did me? Make the phone call. Send the email. Say a prayer.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug