Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cease teh Opportunities!!!


Christ-followers must be people of courage. To be courageous is to grasp the opportunities that are available because of God’s blessings. That does not mean we are not tempted to be afraid. Courage simply means we keep on doing what’s right even when we are afraid.

When the firemen and policemen entered the World Trade Center on September 11 they were afraid. But they were heroes because they did their duty in spite of their fear.

The church is not just interested in getting people out of burning buildings. We are interested in keeping people out of a burning hell! This task is going to take courageous heroes of the faith that will wallow in God’s blessings and share them loudly with our friends, neighbors, and family.

All too often, we forget the hour we spent in church and act like the man who had a fight with his wife so they were giving one another the silent treatment.

Problem was the man realized his wife would have to wake him at 5:00 am for an early morning business flight to Chicago. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me up at 5:00 am."

The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 am, and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go let his anger out on his wife when he noticed a piece of paper by his bed...it said, "It is 5:00 am, wake up."

The time is up for the church (For you and for me) to stop the silent treatment of the world and start demonstrating the power of God’s blessing. Jude 24 states, “Now to Him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us without blemish.” Do you believe those words??? Than cease the opportunities God has blessed your with!!!

You know I love ya...so get out these and cease the opportunities!!! Don

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Favorite Benedictions (NIV)

These are some of my favorite Scripture Benedictions:

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Aaronic Blessing: Numbers 6:22-27 - The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:“ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Jesus Blessing: Matthew 28:16-20: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Personal Blessing: Romans 15:13 : May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Unity Blessing: Ephesians 6:23-24 : Peace to the brothers and sisters,c and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Equipping Blessing: Hebrews 13:20-21 : Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s Power Blessing: Jude 24-25: To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Getting above the rats!


Airplane and a rat! An airplane pilot was flying his plane one day when he heard a scratching sound behind him. Knowing he was the only one on board, he quickly realized that it must be a rat. Putting on his oxygen mask, he began to increase altitude and continued this until the scratching and gnawing sounds stopped. After concluding his flight, the aviator searched his plane and found the dead body of the rat next to a hydraulic line that was almost chewed into. He had killed it by taking it to an altitude where there wasn’t enough oxygen to sustain its life. Had he not done so, that little rat could have taken the pilots life.
When we study the truths of the apostle’s teaching, we elevate ourselves to a place that eliminates the unrighteousness from our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 states, “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
It could be that you are having trouble in your life because your altitude is too low and you need to rise above the muck of the flesh and allow the Word of God to lift you up.
You know I love ya, Don

Monday, May 18, 2015

God's story includes you and your story!


Look at the entire bible from the beginning to the end, and you will see that it is a story. We call it the story of redemption. God’s rituals of communication tell how we were created in God’s image, how we fell away into sin, how God worked in history to restore our relationship to him. God worked through the patriarchs, through Israel, and through the prophets. Finally God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ who lived among us, He was rejected and crucified for our sake, overcame the power of death by being resurrected from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will return again to restore the created order and make it new.

The story extends from Genesis to Revelations and on through your and my life. And REDEMPTION in God’s story is the key through which all other stories of the Bible are to be understood.  

Unfortunately, we often get lost in the particulars of the stories of the O.T. or of the Gospels. We want to know the moral of the story of Abraham or of Moses or of David of the prodigal son. But forget the story is there to reveal God’s nature…the primary purpose of these stories is not to teach morals or values (Although most do and we accept that). The ritual acts of communicating in worship are to reveal God redeeming love manifested ultimately in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The parts and pieces serve the larger story as part of the plot and action, as well as teach us how to live…

Romans 10:17 states, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

So, are you in God's story? If not, you need to be. You know I love ya, Don

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Prepare to Worship - Acts of Entrance


Solomon brings all the “stuff” 2 Chronicles 5:5 – “They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishing in it.” They were preparing to worship.  It took a great deal of prep work for this hour of worship this morning… Someone prepared the communion trays, Kathleen cleaned the building, the praise team rehearsed, the deacons unlocked the building, Nancy prepared and printed the bulletins, communion meditation, prayer time, and I had to study for this message. It takes a great deal of time and effort and PRAYER to prepare for our worship. The very first act of any worship service is to prepare the people. The anticipation of worship defines the attitude of the worshiper.

I recently read an insightful story that would serve as a good reminder for us in the area of preparation. The story is about a group of climbers who set out to scale a large mountain in Europe. The view boasted a breathtaking peak of snow capped rocks. On clear days the crested point reigned as king on the horizon. Its white tip jutted into the blue sky inviting admiration and offering inspiration
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On days like this the hikers made the greatest progress. The peak stood above them like a compelling goal. Eyes were called upward. The walk was brisk. The cooperation was unselfish. Though many, they climbed as one, all looking to the same summit.

Yet on some days the peak of the mountain was hidden from view. The cloud covering would eclipse the crisp blueness with a drab, gray ceiling and block the vision of the mountaintop. On these days the climb became arduous. Eyes were downward and thoughts inward. The goal was forgotten. Tempers were short. Weariness was an uninvited companion. Complaints stung like thorns on the trail.

Worship is like that. As long as we can see our dream in Jesus, as long as our goal is his grace and mercy, there is no mountain we can’t climb or summit we can’t scale. But take away the goal of Jesus, block the view with mediocrity, and complacent bias, and worldly desire or our personal preferences, and the result is as discouraging, lifeless worship.

I pray that you prepare your hearts before you come to worship. In our house, worship preparation starts on Saturday evening. Karen and I treasure the value of worship in our lives and we want to pass that along to our children. So, on Saturday evening, we start to prepare for Sunday Morning. We start to settle down, get our Sunday clothes out, write out the offering check, typically Karen will have what Sunday dinner is going to be may it has already started in the crock pot. We will turn down the volume and be ready to rest. I read through the sermon again, and she will be studying her lesson and the music. In the morning, I get up early, read and pray, and read through the sermon again.

As the children get up and we are preparing to come, we play praise and worship music while we eat breakfast. Then, in the car, we pray together as a family before pulling out of the driveway.  This is our family preparation.  We prepare to draw near to God.

James 4:8 states: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” 

There is a direct ratio in James' statement. God does not arbitrarily bless some and curse others. God is open to everyone and seeks to have a relationship with everyone living soul. God encourages us to seek first His kingdom and all will be revealed. Drawing near to God is dependent on your attitude in drawing close to him. 

You know I love ya, Don

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Typical Time should be changed because of Sacred Time!

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The origins of  the sacred view of time is found in the Jewish background to the Christian faith. The Hebrews perceived two kinds of time: Kairos and Chronos.

            Chronos is ordinary, moment-by-moment (secular) time. (Chronology) But
            Kairos is time that marks a crisis or a turning point in history.

For the Jew, the Exodus was a kairos event because it marked the moment God decisively entered into their history, brought them up out of the land of Egypt, chose them as his people, and entered into a corporate covenant relationship with them.

In Israel, Chronos was given meaning by the kairos events. Festivals that celebrated and relived historically critical moments had the effect of lifting ordinary time into redemptive time. Thus, God’s people lived by a sacred year, which was rooted in what God had done for them. To celebrate a festival meant much more than just having a good time. It was a way of continually connecting day-to-day life in the world with God’s redeeming and saving acts. Feasts were celebrations of the God who was for Israel. They were God’s feasts by which his saving action for Israel was constantly present.

The Christian approach to time is similar to that of God’s people in the O.T. Like the Hebrews, Christians also have a kairos moment that informs and gives meaning to historical sequence. It is the Christ–event–––the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of the Savior. As Christians, we confess that al time has a center. And that center is Jesus Christ himself who has redeemed all things (Col 1:15-23). From the center, this kairos event is history, the meaning and significance of all time radiates.  It is through the remembrance of the Christ-event in worship that we are able to sanctify all time.

Therefore, time in worship now becomes a means through which we can enter into the service of the King. The church, by recapitulating the kairos event, can mystically and symbolically represent time as redeemed in the blood of Jesus. The worshipping community knows what worship is by the important sense of time… The worship experience is a “re-experience” of the true meaning of God power in that the God of all eternity came into our time. We live because He lived…The KAIROS event defines our Chronos events. 

You are a blessing! You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter is a time of new beginnings.


Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, a student nurse found one elderly gentleman–already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet–who insisted he didn’t need a wheel-chair to help him to leave the hospital.

After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let the student wheel him to the elevator. On the way down the student  asked him if his wife was meeting him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “She’s still upstairs in the bath- room changing out of her hospital gown.”

Maybe, we need to listen more and talk less...Easter is a place of new beginnings. Let Jesus' hope transform you!

You know I love ya, Don