Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It is hard to grasp the concept of eternity. To realize that our earthly existence is but a moment in the vast space that is time is mind boggling. Knowing that we are poised at the presipice where people decide the direction of their eternity is hard to keep in mind when we get sidetracked in living in this moment. But keep it in mind we must. As Christians we must embrace a new urgency, we must choose to see the truth that is somewhat hidden rather than live our moment of this life as if this is all there is. The Apostle Paul rightly states that if we have hope in Christ in this life only we are miserable and so we are. We must be eternally minded or we will miss the opportunity we were born for. When we are saved we are translated into the Kingdom of God and take on a new citizenship. We also take on a new focus in this life. Our time on Earth changes from the business of living to the mission of glorifying God and connecting people to Him. For me that translates into seeing each day as an opportunity and every encounter as part of a divine appointment. The more we approach life with a mind that is set on God the easier it is to see those around us as He does. As I take the time to listen to those around me God shows me ways to minister to them and show God to them. It is life that is so much richer and fuller than living merely by a calendar. It does not happen by accident and I find myself having to remind myself to stop, listen, and see what is around me each day.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:10 PM
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"And now we live, if you stand firm in the faith." So states Paul in I Thess. 3. Sometimes when I read God's word I don't feel like I am finished with it. That was the case yesterday with this passage. This verse kept coming back to me and I read it over and over again. I was struck at how we affect each other by how we live. I am so encouraged when I see my fellow Christians serving God and standing firm, when they make serving God the meaning of their lives and the passion of their existence. It is as if it breathes life into me. I can see what Paul meant by his words. Watching those around me exercise faith and passion pulls me through the afflictions of this life that Paul also addressed in this chapter. It is like fresh air when I am feel the drag and sludge and smog that is this world. This was day 3 of soccer camp and I love working together with other believers to bring Christ to kids and hopefully their families. I was moved by Mr. Matt's obvious passion and call and encouraged by his obedience to that call. I am encouraged as I see the enthusiasm of the volunteers that are laboring in the hot sun and the kids who are turning out and having so much fun. I know it is breathing life into me this week, much needed life. I am glad that I am privileged to work at Adventure Soccer Camp for the week. I feel blessed to have that life of the gospel poured into me and out into the kids who are coming and the other volunteers. What a blessed and exciting week!
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:54 PM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I have been reading in I Thessalonians this week. Today was chapter 3, all about suffering and affliction, and of course I wanted to skim through it. Suffering is not fun and I didn't feel much like reading about it today. It was too hot to read about affliction! But I stopped as I read that Paul was comforted in his afflictions as he saw the faith of the Thessalonians. He encouraged us as believers to grow and abound in love for one another. I know why. It is because it is the encouragement of each other that gets us through every affliction in our lives. One other part stood out to me. It was that God is establishing us as unblameable in holiness before God. Sometimes I believe the lie that since I'll never be perfect I don't have to worry about it. Everywhere in scripture God encourages us to press harder, aim higher, work harder, be like Him, and throw off the weight of sin that so easily takes over. This brings me to thoughts gleaned at soccer camp today. Under the blazing sun God spoke to me about himself through this camp. I am not a bit athletic as you all know. But God spoke to me while watching our camp leader, Matt Rainey encourage both the kids and us about being better and striving to be the best we can be. Matt is one of those guys who while encouraging the kids in soccer is encouraging the kids and leaders to excell in character and in Godliness. He uses the sport of soccer to teach us to press higher to be the best we can be. While he is obviously athletic and a great soccer player he understands what is most important and is using what he loves and is good at to proclaim Christ. He is sure to be met in heaven by many who found their Savior at soccer camp. Which brings me to the question. What do we love? What in our lives and gifts can be transformed and used to bring others to Christ? It may not be an obvious thing, but God gifts us and makes us the way we are for His glory and not just for our personal use. This week I have been and am being blessed by Adventure Soccer Camp. It is ministering to me as well as the 45 plus kids. Me at soccer camp, a strange combination but a good one.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:20 PM
Monday, July 20, 2009
Today I know I am old. I woke up at 5:30 this morning, sure I had overslept my 7:00 alarm time. Alas,it was too late and I was up. It was hot at soccer camp and I found myself envious of all the younger and thinner helpers who moved so easily and freely. I felt slow and leaden and tomorrow is just supposed to be hotter. Small decisions, made over time, have left me quite out of shape. I could have made different small decisions over time and been much healthier today but alas did not. While I do not have oodles of time like I did when I was younger I can still make better decisions with the time I have left. So it was salad tonight, a beginning of healthier decisions hopefully. There is also a spiritual analogy to this which I am sure you can all guess. We make decisions every day, small ones but still important. Most of those decisions are very small but if we look at them closely they tell us which place we put our God in our lives. My Pastor does not come to work without reading his Bible. That tells me what place God has in his life and gives me confidence in him. I never go to sleep at night without doing the same and rarely leave the house in the morning without doing so. I try to visit the prayer room at least five days each week. I call it my sanctuary for there are no interruptions in that place when I seek the Lord. I need God's direction. How can I know His instructions and will without reading His word? How can I develop wisdom without spending time reading His wisdom and knowing Him who is wisdom? My life is His. I must have His direction, I need it and I will fall without it. I put that boldly because it is true. Some merely fall to the point they are useless and some are taken out completely but without God we fall. Small decisions, made over time, make all the difference in the world. What decisions are you making? What choices are you making by default that could derail your life? The good news is that each day is fresh and we are able to make corrections to our course. It is a good idea to periodically assess those decisions that we are making and do what is needed. I know that I am going to pick up and try again.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 8:21 PM
Friday, July 17, 2009
Christians follow Christ. Seems like a simple enough statement, but it is not an easy statement. The idea of a person calling themselves a Christian and not devoting themselves to Christ may seem ridiculous on the surface but in practice the church is full of the half commited. In Revelation 3:15-18 tells the tale of the lukewarm believer and what their end will be. The passage tells how Christ will spit them from his mouth. I recently read a book that shed light on that word for spit. It is a Greek word used only once in scripture and connotes gagging, hurling, and retching. The scary part is that many believe that this scripture talks about Christians but I can't believe it does because of what the rest of the scripture says. It tells the lukewarm one to "buy from me gold refined in the fire so ou can become rich: and white clothes to wear so you can cover your nakedness." If this passage were talking about believers they would already be dressed in white, they would not be "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, or naked," because they would be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Please don't believe that a person can be a "lukewarm believer." God asks for our lives, all of our lives. We dare not hold anything back. And why would we want to? He is good and gracious. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling. Luke 14:33 says that "Anyone who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." There is no rationalizing around that scripture, no softening it. The good news is that there is no better life than giving up ours for the one He gives! No better life! None! We are called to be His disciples and to live for His glory, the glory of the everpresent, all powerful, creator God who loves us and desires our best, not to waver on the fence, come to the end of our lives and have nothing to give our King.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 8:46 PM
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I have been reading in the book of Ezra this week and I must confess it is not usually a favorite stop on my journey through scripture. Today I was struck by how Ezra wanted to "repair the walls" and "restore the foundations" of the temple. I started thinking about how often men get off track, how they lose their foundation and find themselves with broken walls and in need of repair. I thought about how difficult it is to stand with a brother whose very foundation is broken, even if that brother wants desperately to be restored and rebuilt. Our foundation as believers is crucial. It is hard to rebuild once broken. Ezra and Nehemiah faced intense opposition as they endeavored to rebuild the walls. It was like a battle. Guards were posted to fight the enemy next to others who did the building. It would have been far easier for the walls to not need repair in the first place. You see, the walls of Jerusalem were broken because of the Children of Israel's disobedience that led to ruin. If the Children of Israel had obeyed they would not have been taken into captivity and would not have needed restoration and rebuilding. That is true in the lives of many believers who are taken captive. God can and does restore but it is not easy. A broken believer loses so much. Trust is eroded. Relationships are affected and those left in the wake can struggle to make sense of it. There is a desire to rebuild that which was broken but it is hard to regain that same place that had been. The picture is not all bleak though. God is the ultimate restorer. Ezra and Nehemiah overcame all opposition and the building was completed. Much like that work is the work God and the body of Christ do in the life of the believer. When other believers come alongside and speak belief and faith against all opposition that comes there is restoration. When the body of Christ lift each other up and refuse to admit defeat, calling upon God, then walls can be rebuilt. When we let patience have her perfect work, then believers become 'perfect and entire', whole and complete. Rebuilding and Restoring is part of what we do for one another, how we show our love to each other and to Christ. It is part and parcel of the story of redemption. It is about the mission of God to set those who are captive, free.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 11:35 PM