Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Tomb Is Empty Still

I'm listening to Easter music this afternoon. No real reason. But a title caught my eye. The Tomb Is Empty Now. I have been thinking about that. It is very true. So...over two thousand years ago on that first Easter morning, the women who went to the tomb early in the morning discovered something very unusual. The tomb was empty. Now apparently there were such people as grave robbers because the women questioned where have they taken the body. But then, a heavenly being appeared and told them He is not here. Now if it was a common grave robbery, no one would have stayed behind to tell people the tomb that was occupied is no longer housing its resident. 

Well, that is not the end of the story...you can go to Jerusalem today and outside the city is estimated where Jesus' grave was...and guess what...the tomb is empty still. Thank you, God, for keeping your promise and sending Your Son to be our sacrificial lamb. Our words are insufficient to express our full and unending gratitude for this gift of your unconditional, everlasting love.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017

It's day 4 of 2017. There are 361 more days to go. I've had several ideas bouncing around my head about this first of the year post. God is doing His amazing work in my life and in the life of my family. We should be having a few changes coming within the next 2 months. After a long struggle with God over His direction for my life, I have yielded to His will and am being considered to be the next Director of Missions for Crossroads Baptist Association, which is our association we have been in the past 19.5 years. This is huge for me. I feel like I haven't stepped out in faith like this in a long time. I'm nervously excited as I anticipate the messengers' vote on February 7. Then if the vote is affirmative, I will begin serving 29 churches, instead of 1, on March 1.

I shared with our church last Sunday what God is doing in our life. Their reaction was so encouraging. They are so supportive although they are not wanting to see me leave my current ministry. No one likes change although we are constantly going through some kind of change. God has been constantly encouraging me and reminding of His plan for my life. I never dreamed I'd want to be a Director of Missions but, the last couple of months, once I surrendered to His plan, my mind has been bombarded with ideas that are beyond my scope of thought. I am thinking thoughts I'm not smart enough to think, or so it seems. 

I don't know if this will be my theme verse for the entire year but for now, Isaiah 43:19 is resonating with my whole being.

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. 
Do you not see it? 
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.

I have been reminded again of an old song...I may not know what the future holds but, I know who holds the future. So 2017, like every other year, is placed squarely in the hands of God. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Us vs Them

I had this conversation last night and thought I'd type it up and maybe expand on it or not depending on how my memory works.

We, in the Christian realm, at times have an 'Us vs Them' mentality. It is evident in some church business meetings. We saw it during this election cycle. Why are we warring against each other? 


As Christians, aren't we all 'US'? Christ prayed in the garden before His crucifixion.  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." John 17:20-21


We, as Christians, saved by grace, are all 'US'. Jesus prayed that we would be one, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. Could it be that the world isn't believing because we aren't showing unity? I'm not bashing or pointing fingers, I'm simply asking a question.


Jesus also said, "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35 We know that throughout church history there has been strife and division. We toss our hands in the air and say, 'it's who we are'. Maybe so, but is it who we're suppose to be?


We are all on the same team. We have one head coach, Jesus Christ, but we each play different positions. Some are on offense and others on defense. Some are trainers while others may be water boys. An effective team works together for a common goal, victory, a win, a championship, or whatever goal they may have. We've seen sports teams implode because they do not work together. We've seen churches fall apart because they choose to not strive toward a common goal. Again, not pointing fingers or criticizing. 


So, if we are the US, who is the THEM? Simply put the THEM are those who aren't US. The men and women, girls and boys who haven't received the gift of salvation from the God who loved them and demonstrated that love that while they we're still sinner Christ died for THEM just like He died for US.


Do we hate THEM, dislike THEM? Are we scared of THEM or ashamed of THEM? Well...we shouldn't be. Throughout His ministry, Jesus hung out with sinners. When He was questioned about it, He said "the healthy don't need a doctor but the sick". Matthew 9:12. 


We, or US, are called to be witnesses (Acts 1:8) and to make disciples of all men (Matthew 28:19). So, in all reality, there shouldn't be an US vs THEM battle. Instead we should be loving THEM like Christ and in doing so inviting THEM to become like US, saved by grace in order to share grace with other THEMS.


Just a few verses to encourage US.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Amazing God

Question...Is God amazing because of the things He does for us...or is God amazing simply because He's God? I posted on Facebook yesterday..."Wow! What a mighty God we serve." in response to our last night of revival where we saw several students give their lives to Christ. Then I've been thinking. This is not a bad or wrong reason. But, are we more likely to say God is amazing when we see Him do amazing things? Shouldn't we give Him praise all the time? Ever express affection toward someone or compliment someone out of the blue and they question you why? I'm not sure God would question our affections but there are several examples were God questions or even rejects our expressions of love and devotion through offerings. He'd rather have our lives devoted to Him than our gifts. Just maybe He'd rather have our praise for no reason at all than only when He seems to "perform" to our liking. 

God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. 
With that being said, if God was amazing yesterday, then He's amazing today too. 
If we were blessed by God last week, guess what? We're blessed by God today too. 
If we felt an extra measure of God's grace and mercy several weeks ago, we've received that same amount of grace and mercy today. 
Many of us are so conditional with our love, devotion, care, etc. that we believe God must be too. But that simply isn't true. 

If Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord before the flood, we can find grace in Him today.
If Abraham's faith was counted as righteousness to Him, then our faith will be counted as righteousness now.
If David found forgiveness for his many sins and still held the title, a man after God's own heart. Then if we confess our sins, God will call us men and women after His own heart as well.
If Jesus could love the woman at the well with her messed up life, then He can love us with our messed up, broken lives.

All this rambling just to say God is amazing...yesterday, today and forever...regarding of how I feel or what He's done for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say

If you could write a letter to anyone, what would you write? What would you say? I was asked this question this week. I gave my answer rather quickly. Why would I know what to say to someone I haven't spoken to in years and yet struggle to say what needs to be said to people I see every day? 

One of the things I've learned over the years is that words aren't always necessary to communicate one's heart. The power of presence often speaks volumes. For most of us this struggle is real because we can't handle silence well. There needs to be some noise. Something has to be said. Usually our awkward silence is broken by an awkward but well meaning joke. That's not bad but does the silence need to be broken? 

The best thing Job's friends did for him was to sit with him in silence. Once they opened their mouths, it was all down hill for them. Blame God, blame yourself, blame God and yourself. Not the most productive chapters of the Bible to read. 

Sometimes the best things to say when you don't know what to say is nothing. Let your presence be enough. Let your hugs speak louder than words. Let your shared tears bring peace and comfort. Yes, God still speaks through us today but sometimes we represent Him best when we say nothing at all.