Saturday, July 31, 2010

My 53rd Birthday Thoughts

"In him (Christ) was life and the life was the light of men. John 1:4  Send the light. Shine on me. 

If the Holy One does not reside and reign within me here at home... I would not presume to miraculously encounter him on Iona, or in church, or in the supermarket.
What makes a holy place? What makes a place truly thin? Before all else, he answer lies in our own internal landscape. Indeed, the first and best thin place must be our own souls. When, by the grace of God, that which has separated us from him has been removed, we can encounter the Holy One himself in freedom and friendship. Scripture tells us that the veil in the temple was literally torn in two when Jesus was crucified; we now have free access to the Holy of Holies... If we truly want to be open to God and hope and seek for more of him in our lives, we can find him ever nearer and ever dearer in the thin places of our spiritual landscape. Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity, Tracy Balzer, pp 38,39

Lord, I want more of you.

And the cherry pie was really good. Thanks, Bev.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recent posts on A Look in the Mirror

Although I haven’t recently posted extended blogs here, I have written several for A Look in the Mirror. Here is a brief explanation and a link to each one.  

The Rock that is Higher – Trust in God our Rock even in difficult times… especially during difficult times.
Celebrate Their Goal – Inspired by the FIFA World Soccer Cup and my four year old daughter, I look at rejoicing with those that rejoice.
Mercy Triumphs over Judgment – How should we respond to those that do wrong, offend us or take advantage of us?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Believe...

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I do not feel it. I believe in God, even when he is silent. (Author unknown)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Names of God: I AM

Notes from Sunday, March 7, 2010

God replied, "I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you." Exodus 3:14. NLT

I AM - the Self-existant One, the Eternal

Jesus in the Gospel of John used I Am to identify who He was:

  • The bread of life-6:35,41,48,51
  • The light of the world-8:13,9:5,12:46
  • The door-10:7,9
  • The Good Shepherd-10:14
  • The Son of God-10:36
  • The resurrection and the life-11:25
  • The way, the truth and the life-14:6
  • The true vine-15:1,5

I AM - John 8:58 "Before Abraham was I AM."

Five Weeks Later: any changes?

Five weeks have passed since a novel spark of inspiration lit manifestos of "revolutionary" ideas.

What were those noble thoughts?

·         Jesus mixed with the unacceptable; he shined light in dark places; and being pure and holy, he became the profane [sin] so we could receive His righteousness and know Father-God.

·         We should not be afraid to mix with undesirables; we should be light in dark places; and we shouldn't be afraid of "getting dirty" to reach a hurting and dying world for Christ.

·         Get out of our ivory towers and pristine chapels to touch the lives of others in a practical way, so the good news of a restored relation with God can be shared.

What could we do?

·         We could pray fervently in our sacred place.

·         We could write provoking ideas in our libraries and send them to others.

·         We could discuss the pros and cons of our lifestyles and debate possible solutions or actions.

None of these are adequate unless they fill us with compassion and move us to action. In the middle of having a good time and enjoying the life Christ gave us, we must take the time to help the poor, pray with the Nicodemus, forgive the adulterers, listen to the drunk, encourage the failure, challenge the rich and confront the religious. Our thoughts and faith must move us to action.

How have these thoughts affected my life?

·         They have made me more sensitive to the needs around me. The story about Lazarus, the pizza given to the street kid and the coins handed to the old lady asking for money are all results of this awareness.

·         I've experienced a deeper appreciation of the greatness the work of Christ is in my life. He took MY sins so I could live in His life. I'm thankful for his love and mercy towards me.

·         Concern for and prayer for those without Christ [those that haven't accepted his love and forgiveness and haven't made him LORD of their lives] has increased.

Daily we must continue to ask ourselves the question, "what change has our initial interaction actually accomplished in our lives?" Or is it that they were just words, a novel thought, or an impression made on our minds that poked our soul and stirred up our emotions for just a moment.

What have we done the past five weeks? What change has really occurred in our lives?

How are you doing?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ramblings on "taking God's love out of the four walls"

These are totally random and have no real order. They're just a bunch of thoughts and you must determine their value. You must allow the Holy Spirit to show you how to apply them to your life.

Why be light in dark places? Why get dirty? ...because He shined so I could see his love; He got dirty so I could be cleansed. For those reasons I love him, I want shine in the darkness and get "dirty". I want others to see his love and receive his cleansing and forgiveness.

How can I get dirty?  (Getting dirty has reference to previous thoughts shared and internet conversations with a few college students. Jesus, perfect and holy God, came and lived in the world, among the dirt and the dirty. We should do likewise. This is the reason for the question, "how can I get dirty?" Philippians 2:5-8)
  1. Pray - Jesus spent hours in intimate relation with Father God. John 8:38 "I am telling you the things I have seen while with the Father; as for you, practice the things you have heard from the Father!" NET (New English Translation)
  2. Go where the Father says go and do what the Father says do - Jesus did only what He saw the Father do. John 5:19 "So Jesus answered them, "I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise." NET
  3. Shine at all times - where ever Jesus went people saw the light.
  4. Speak God's truth and demonstrate God's love where ever you go - Jesus ministered to Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the tax collectors, the prostitute and the rich young ruler there was no condemnation, just forgiveness and the charge to change.
  5. Jesus the Christ and his life, death and resurrection are the good news, nothing else (1 Cor. 15:1-9). Never allow theology and being right or wrong to be the center and focus. I'm not saying correct theology isn't important, but Jesus' sacrificial love for us is the focus.
  6. Share the love of God; shine the light of Jesus; show (demonstrate) the power of the Holy Spirit.
  7. Do all for the glory and honor of the Father.

We can never merit God's love, but we can show him our sincere love and genuine appreciation by obeying him, sharing the good news and making disciples of all nations.

Faith without corresponding action is dead.

I came to you in the power of the Holy Spirit, not with fancy, convincing words.

Some of the darkest, dirtiest places in the world are clean, well lit offices.

Getting dirty is...
  • being generous,
  • not letting the right hand know what the left is doing (what you do, do it for God's glory, not for personal recognition, gratification or merit),
  • caring for a friend,
  • helping the helpless,
  • encouraging the hopeless.

Getting dirty is being Jesus where ever you are.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lazarus: a dead man walking

At four-thirty the curly headed drunk I call Lazarus wouldn't let me open the door at church, so I went to the store and bought us each a can of juice and a piece of bread.

As I opened the plastic bag to share the prize he mumbled, "when you left I thought you were mad at me."

I was a bit upset, but I let it go.

We sat in the van and ate and drank together. He continuously slurred incoherent words while he ate his breakfast, lunch and maybe supper for the day and I understood that he was thankful. As I said my good-byes his semi-toothless smile and dirty smelly hug let me know the twenty minutes it took and the two dollars I spent, instead of shaking him off him by dropping twenty-five cents for a fictitious tortilla, was worth it. Jesus was there.

I went inside to set up for class.

Maybe your Lazarus isn't a drunk; maybe he isn't dirty and smelly; but there is somebody in your life, today, that needs to be touched with the love, grace and patience of God.

Be ready.