Friday, July 1, 2011

Babies in Bangladesh

"There are some things that are just hard to put into words. Even though we live in this impoverished nation of Bangladesh, we are still shielded from some of the everyday tribulations of life of most of the 150 million-plus people. I was talking with my sweet Bengali house helper one day about how God values life and how He forms us and knows us each by name. She then went on to tell me how she recently saw a newborn baby on a trash heap, still alive. She was walking over a bridge with her husband and looked down to see a wiggly newborn lying in filth and human waste. Someone had thrown this precious child away. Her husband had sympathy on the baby and wanted to take it, but she convinced him that they could not afford another baby, and so they walked on. She then told of another time when she walked by a crying baby in a bag on the street. She said it was a beautiful baby but no one would take another child to raise, and so it remained in a tossed-out bag, passed by hundreds, as the whimpers grew silent. Please pray for the salvation of this nation. Ask God to bring hope to those living in desperation. Give praise to our God, who sees each life and loves each one. He is the light for this darkness"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Last night I watched a little bit of the SBC Pastor's Conference. I so would have loved to have been there, but it was not possible this year. What I heard was inspiring. Listening to these leaders talk about what God can do and desires to do and is doing in the world and how we can join Him as His people gives me hope and makes me excited to serve Him all the more.

I especially enjoyed Louie Giglio's comments about the church being the Lord's and that He has promised to build it. It is so refreshing to remember that I am simply an under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd and only need remain faithful and loyal to Him by following His Word and living on mission for Him to have peace and fulfill my destiny.

Thinking about the work reminds me that the work is war. What God has done has saved a people for Himself to fight against the darkness that is destroying the lives of people. He has armed us with grace and truth and given us His Spirit to fight with Him. He has called us into regiments called churches where we are trained, comforted, healed, and made holy through the work of the Word and Spirit in the accountability of the church.

All wars end. This morning I was reminded of how the war for this world will one day end. One day Jesus will be given the deed to this planet and make all things new.

What should our response be to that?

Here is how it is described in the Bible...
Revelation 5:6–9 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

The response to those that saw Jesus take the scroll was worship. That is the right response for us now who look forward to the end of this war and the beginning of the new heaven and new earth. We worship now to be strengthened in the fight against sin and death and in preparation for the way we will worship one day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One Day This Will Be Said of You

I just read this from a blog I follow to pray for a young man that has been sick for some time. I am removing the name, but would ask you to imagine this is being said of you. In the blank put your name.

"_____________ is going home with an oxygen tank, and hospice has already been suggested. So pray for us as we transition. We still hope beyond reasonableness for a miracle, but sometimes that hope is hard to find. Considering how far downhill he/she has gone just in the past few weeks, I would not delay in sending your words of love and encouragement to _____________ as soon as possible."

What kind of confidence will you have on that day? Will you be ready to face your Maker and be judged? Will you enter heaven or hell? What kind of confidence will your love ones have for you?

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kill It!

Colossians 3:5–10 "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."

In the Old Testament God told the children of Israel... Deuteronomy 7:1–5 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, 2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire."

A lot of people wrongly believe that the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament. There is one God who is revealed in three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. This holy God hates sin. It is contrary to His nature and Kingdom purpose. God is vanquishing sin from the lives of His people and will soon remove it from the planet when He makes all things new (Revelation 21).

God invites us to join Him in killing sin. In the OT it was a flesh and blood battle. Now it is an internal battle within us that the Spirit of God is fighting in us and with us to gain complete control and set us free.

Pray for God to set you free from the sins that so easily entangles and put it to death so that it does not control you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Moment to Remember

One of my favorite Vince Lombardi quotes is..
I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.

When I look at this picture, I think of those words. This is my daughter's soccer team from yesterday. This is one of those pictures that we will look back on and remember the circumstances, the challenge, and the outcome and smile.

This weekend this team played in the first round of the State Cup. Yesterday they played the so-called best team in the state. I say that not to be sarcastic, but I don't understand the ranking system and I was told that at least two other teams were the "best team in the state." Our team never received that designation:-)

Yesterday we tied the "best team in the state" and will now advance as the wild card team this upcoming weekend in the final round of the State Cup.

Our car's exterior temperature said it was 100 degrees, while the girls were playing. It was so hot, and yet, they played their hearts out.

As a parent, this is a good moment. It lets me know that she can face hardship and keep going. This experience has given her another taste of what it is to lay it all on the line with others and leave nothing left in the tank. These days are moments to remember because when life happens and you want to quit it's nice to have a memory and a picture that tells you that you have done hard things before and you can do them again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's Your Story

"Our nature consists in movement. Absolute rest is death. To the extent that we are always following some direction or other, our very lives are "indoctrinated." The only question is whether the doctrine that informs one's life is governed by the Christian gospel or by some other story, some other script." ~Kevin Vanhoozer

I love good movies. There is something in me that gets stirred when I watch something on the big screen that grabs my heart and mind and makes me think about my life and the direction it is going. Stories are powerful. They inspire, educate, and in some ways define how we see life.

My favorite movie is The Return of the King from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In this movie I see so much of what I desire to live for. I see a seemingly weak servant willing to lay down his life in order to save others. I see a King defeating evil to bring peace. I see a creature that was once enslaved to an idol that was his "precious" that defined him and gave him purpose having the opportunity to find a new life and hope. He ultimately rejected that new life and came to a burning end. There is so much Biblical imagery in it.

I have come to realize that the movies I like the most provide the same storyline as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are people lost and in need of saving. A champion or hero leaves the safety of his home and goes on a mission to save the people. In the process he has to sacrifice so that others can be saved. This is the Gospel.

The Gospel is the power of God to save and redeem the lost. This wonderful truth defines reality. It tells us that God is good and that we are not. It tells us that God is loving and will save us. It tells us that we are responsible to choose to love God or live empty lives and die as enemies of the King of heaven and face His wrath for our treason.

That is the story of the saints of Christ. What a glorious story to live by and in and for.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Learning New Ways

I had to get a new computer this week. It was purchased several weeks ago, but I did not have time for any interruptions to the schedule then. We scheduled the big change to the new computer this week. Our amazing IT man, Bryan Young, has been working with me all week to make sure the new computer is up and running well. And for the most part it is. I am able to run my Bible programs, access my sermons, get email, and access the internet. We still can't locate music I've added in the last two years and I cannot download pics or get my googlereader to do what I want, but not big deal. We'll get it figured out.

What I will have to do over the next few weeks is learn new ways. This computer has a new operating system so I am having to learn where things are. The way this computer feels is even different. As I type this right now my fingers are hitting other buttons causing me to have to pause and delete. Where information is stored and how it appears is very different.

Within a couple of weeks I will have figured this thing out. I'll be able to listen to my music while I work and access information easily. Until then, I have to deal with that transition phase in between.

God uses transitions to remind me that all of life is a transition. My family is transitioning. My friends are transitioning. My work is transitioning. My body is transitioning. All of this stuff is going to change and each change will require me to learn new ways of enjoying the blessings and responding to the challenges.

But that's life. If we ever stop having to learn new ways, we're dead - literally. So I guess I'll just be thankful and ask you to pray for me.