3 Things I Know About God

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12)

As I read the Scriptures, here are 3 things I know about God:

God wants people to seek Him – From the beginning of time, God has been calling His creation into fellowship with Him. Before a person ever seeks God, God has first sought after that person. (John 6:44, Acts 17:26)

God is easily found – Remember the story of the boy Jesus where His parents misplaced Him for a short time. Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple, learning from the temple leaders. When questioned, Jesus responded, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” God desires that same attitude in our hearts today. I have never known anyone who genuinely searched for God who didn’t find Him, because God is always waiting that we may call on Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. He will never hide from you. (Jeremiah 29:13, Acts 17:27)

God desires to change our lives – God’s design for us is to be righteous. He wants us to have the mind of Christ so that we might receive the full blessings of fellowship with Him. Being perfectly Holy, God cannot accept sin; any sin. He wants to clean us up and mold us into the image of His Son. He wants to turn over the “unplowed ground” and make it fertile enough to bear good fruit. He wants to change us so we may better experience Him and all of His glory. (Romans 8:29, Ephesians 2:10)

What thoughts does this post trigger about what you know about God?

NOTE: If you’re seeking God today, don’t be surprised if you find He’s already been seeking you!

10 Signs You May Not Understand Worship

The volume or tempo of the music determines whether you think it’s a worship song.

A slight change in the order of the service makes you think they’ve harmed “worship”.

You think raising hands or not raising hands determines the depth of a person’s worship.

You believe the “proper” length of a “worship” service is dictated by your lunch schedule.

You think worship has to be in a service or part of a programmed event.

Certain instruments keep you from thinking worship is possible.

You think worship is confined to a certain place or a certain time.

The clothes you wear determines the quality of worship…for you AND others.

You think worship always involves music.

Your attempt to worship has more to do with a personal preference than the subject of worship.

Any additions?

7 Measures of Personal Success

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1. Honoring and obeying God with my life.

2. Attempting to realize my full potential.

3. Truly being who I claim to be.

4. Being loved most by the people who know me best.

5. Getting up every time I fall.

6. Making life better for the people around me.

7. Ending at peace with God, my family, and friends.

What are yours?

A Dying Tree

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” Luke 6:43 NIV

We once had this tree.

Over the time we owned the house, every year I thought it was one year closer before we would have to cut it down. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the tree. The tree really wasn’t in the way. I could easily mow around it. The tree just didn’t seem to be making it. It barely had any leaves on it and whenever the wind barely blew I had to pick up all kinds of broken branches. The tree was going “bad”. The only reason I didn’t cut it down yet was because I had sentimental attachment to it. Plus, it used to be such a beautiful tree.

We’ve since moved from the house, but, honestly, I know believers who are like that tree.

They used to have excitement in their faith. There was a time when they got motivated at just the thoughts of going to church. They were eager to hang out with other believers. Something happened to them and now the enthusiasm is gone. I’m not saying they no longer believe, but they certainly aren’t producing much “fruit”.

Are you one of “those” believers?

One of the saddest things for me in ministry is witnessing people who once were vibrant, blooming, growing church members. Now, I never see them. That breaks my heart.

Has your motivation for church, for God and your fellow believer waned in recent years? Ask God to “prune” you back to vibrancy in the Kingdom of God! Ask God to give you back your fervor for His glory.

If you are a part of the body, we miss you when you aren’t with us.

See you Sunday?

I sure hope so.

And while you are praying…say one for the tree! As far as I know, it’s still standing. There is still life in that tree. Hopefully there is for you too!

 

Mature Christianity

Knowing truth does not make one spiritually mature.

Knowing the Bible, even memorizing Scripture, does not make one spiritually mature.

I have known many in churches who have lots of experience with church, lots of Biblical knowledge, but I wouldn’t consider them spiritually mature.

They aren’t self-feeders. They don’t demonstrate the fruit of the spirit. They don’t consider others better than themselves.

Granted, we are all a “work in progress”, but…

A mature Christian doesn’t just know truth…doesn’t just know the Bible.

A mature Christian is striving to live truth.

In fact, a mature Christian is striving to be truth. Truth is a person. Named Jesus.

(Just some thoughts from reading Philippians 2 & 3.)

What do you think of when you think “spiritually mature”?

7 Suggestions for Processing Pain

I tweeted recently: We all make a decision how we respond to the pain in our life. It is one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make.

Someone tweeted back a great question. What’s s great way to process (emotional) pain?

Here are 7 biblical ways:

Expect God to use pain for good – Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28

Use it to comfort others with similar pain – 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Reconsider your perspective on the pain – Romans 8:18

Receive the honor of suffering pain – Philippians 1:29

Accept the normality of pain – 1 Peter 4:12

Celebrate His sufficiency during pain -2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Look for the reward in suffering through pain – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

How we respond to emotional pain is a choice we make. The promises of God are real, even during our times of suffering. In the earliest days of any trial, we may not see any of these truths at work. That’s okay. We are frail people. The key is as we move forward, what we do with the pain in the days to come. Painful times are not going away in this earthly life. Jesus told us that. Learning to rest in Him is part of maturing as followers of Christ.

Suffering reminds us that His grace is sufficient for all our pain. In fact, though I don’t completely understand it, His power is perfect in our weakness, but only when I surrender the pain to Him.

We are not intended to handle pain alone. Thankfully, by His grace, we don’t have to.

Are you learning to “cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you”?

When you lose a good friend…

One of my dear friends died last week. He was 54 years old. Too young. Although, it’s always too young when you love someone.

I loved Steve.

Steve came into my life and almost instantly became a good friend. We met together every week, at the same time, on the same day, for several years. It was one appointment I looked forward to every time I saw it on my calendar.

I walked through seasons of life with him. He walked through seasons of life with me.

We talked marriage, (Both of us had great marriages thankfully.)

We talked about our children. (Both of us had great experiences as parents, thankfully.)

We talked about our work. He walked with me through the transition from secular vocation to ministry vocation. He walked with me through pastoring a church, and another, and the planting of a church. I walked with him through times of change in his church work and transitioning to a new church.

We traveled to conferences together. One time we were headed to a conference in California and the conference cancelled. We already had plane tickets and a hotel room, so we went anyway. We visited a dozen churches. I can still remember some of the things we learned on that trip. If was life changing for both of us. Mostly because we got to spend so much time together that week.

We played golf together. He was one guy who could get me out of the office and onto the golf course. I needed it. Steve was the consummate teacher, so he’d teach me something new about my golf swing every week.

We dreamed together. Steve always had a new idea about how to do ministry. I’m kind of wired that way too. It was a good partnership.

Mostly we just shared time with each other. It was nice knowing there was a guy I could always depend upon. We’ve lived in different cities for a while, but no matter how long it had been since we saw each other or talked, conversation was always easy with Steve.

I miss him. I miss him a lot.

My life is not the same because of Steve. My life won’t be exactly the same again.

Life is always different after you lose a good friend.

Thanks for being a good friend, Steve.