Archive | November, 2013

Go Home

30 Nov

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Praise the Lord.

Praise the name of the Lord;
.    praise him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
.    in the courts of the house of our God.  Psalm 135:1-2

Each psalm toward the end of the Book of Psalms seems to get ever more jubilant, until the crescendo reaches its apex at Psalm 150. Back in Psalm 135 we are just getting started.

As I read this Psalm today I found my praising revving up, knowing where the book is headed. But my wheels ground to a complete stop at the beginning of verse 2: [Praise him] you who minister in the house of the Lord.

We who minister in the house of the Lord are the ones who know how to praise him. Don’t we?

Then why are we being told, even commanded, schooled like first year choir students, to praise God?

Because we forget what we’re about. We ARE the pros… and sometimes we get wound up in all that goes with the position and job and forget for whom we do all this.

Do I come to the house of the Lord to do a job? To lead others? To get everything I’ve been practicing correct?

Or do I come for Him?

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READY FOR SUNDAY

Do I do a job or have a relationship? Does what I do overshadow whose I am?

If I ever get to the point that what I do is more important than the relationship I have with my Lord and Savior, it’s time to give up and go home.

Go home, and run into his arms.

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Heavenly Econ 101

15 Nov

accountingThink of at least two ways God has made you rich. If you can’t stop at two, even better.

Paul gets excited for the blessings the Corinthians will receive from God because of their generosity in 2 Cor 9. His context is finances, but the larger application of giving and receiving intangibles is also valid.

As you read the following, think about the ways God has made you rich:

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Cor 9:8-11

Did you see the reason we are made rich? So that you can be generous on every occasion!

The blessings God gives are not for us, but in order that we can bless others.

Continue reading:

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Cor 9:12-15

What a lesson in Heavenly Economics 101!

  • God gives me what I need and more,
  • Which supplies the needs of others,
  • AND he gives us his indescribable gift: his Son, grace, the Gospel.

No need for a calculator or an accountant to figure out this balance sheet – God gives me more than I need, or I deserve.

And I give him praise!

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READY FOR SUNDAY

God supplies my needs abundantly. That means that I lead out of abundance. All the time. (Even if I don’t feel like it.)

As I serve him by leading generously, thanksgiving to God results – in fact, it causes overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. In addition, as I serve others by sharing what God has given me with them, God is glorified!

It just keeps getting better and better…

Set Back

9 Nov

Clock

It doesn’t take much. It’s the little things that get me out of whack. Like a one-hour time change. I’m still not adjusted after leaving DST last weekend. Why is it I can get my body clock back on track from being in a time zone half way around the world in a few days, but adjusting that same internal clock to a one-hour change takes weeks?

The same is true for me in life. The big things seem easier to handle. An adrenaline injection comes with them that sustains me in them.

But the little things sneak up, unnoticed, like a stealthy saboteur and sink my ship before I know what happened. Little things like not sleeping well, critical remarks (made by me or directed at me), heavy traffic, being late… you get the idea. You have your own list, I’m sure.

My humanness works against me so often! However, my humanness is also my greatest asset.

Without being bound by the limits of this world I wouldn’t need God. I could handle anything, and handle it well. But my human limitations constantly remind me that I am needy and unable to get a hold of my life.

Many passages come to mind that both comfort and instruct:

  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet 5:6-8
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt 11:28-29
  • Jesus speaking: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

That’s my short list. What’s yours?

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READY FOR SUNDAY

My best defense is a powerful and intentional offense. Lately, especially on Sunday mornings, I wake up expecting annoyances, issues, and conflict. I anticipate these with curiosity and hope. For just like my humanness is an asset that drives me toward God, these little nasties are blessings with opportunity for glorifying God. There’s nothing like a leader who handles this kind of stuff with grace, refocusing the team toward praising God.

My offensive weapon is the Sword.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Cor 10:4-5

Before serving our King, let’s sharpen our swords tonight, eager to see what He will accomplish through us tomorrow.

So you want to go to heaven?

2 Nov

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Almost everyone will say he hopes to go to heaven when he dies.

Many people think heaven will be a place of pleasure and peace– and where they can do what they want. In this thread people hope for everything from a Jesus hug to sex with angels to playing baseball. Even some believers feel this way: “i will have plenty of time to do what i want to do when i get to Heaven, but right now, i am His servant, i do as He wants me to do.” ChristianChat

Translation: In heaven God will fulfill your deepest desires.

But think about what we know about heaven:

  • No more tears, crying, or pain – Rev 21:4 (Yes!)
  • No more night; God lights the place up – Rev 22:5 (No schedule or deadlines? Count me in!)
  • Lots of angels and the heavenly host (army) are there – 2 Chron 18:18 (Looking forward to seeing this!)
  • All will bow before Jesus and say that he is Lord – Phil 2:10-11 (Well, OK.)
  • Giving away everything we worked for – casting our crowns at his feet – Rev 4:10-11 (What?!? That’s hardly fair!)
  • Serving God all the time, day and night – Rev 7:15 (Um… no time for me?)
  • Full of saints (Christians) – 1 Cor 1:2; Dan 7:27 (Only annoying people?)
  • God’s will is all that will be done – Matt 6:10 (Seriously?)

Why would anyone who doesn’t follow Jesus want to go to a place like that?

Maybe the expectation that God will fulfill our deepest desires is true. The questions is, what is your heart’s desire?

To please yourself? Then you will probably be happier someplace else.

To please God? Then heaven will be the time of your life – or at least the fulfillment of it! Eternally and perfectly praising and serving God.

Complete bliss!

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READY FOR SUNDAY

Every time we gather together to worship God we participate in a shadow of what is to come in heaven! I don’t know if we’re practicing or anticipating (or both), but this world has nothing better to offer those (everyone!) who were created in God’s image and likeness.

While I know what happens in the spiritual and heavenly kingdom is not dependent on what I do or don’t do, there is a responsibility to lead well– to be right with God, worship him only, and as much as possible, get out of the way so God can speak and people can worship him. This can’t happen if the other six days of my week have been self-seeking and pleasure-driven.

There are many things in life that we can’t control. How we get to praise God is one of those. I have a friend whose wife is on her deathbed today. They didn’t choose their circumstances, and yet, they continue to worship God, even in this. When it all comes down to this, we get to choose very few things in this life. Whether we will praise Him, and with what attitude are two such choices. Jesus died for me, bought me back, and owns me for eternity. I will praise him with my whole heart now, tomorrow morning, and in heaven forever.

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The idea that people who don’t follow Jesus aren’t going to like heaven is from Pastor Steven Post’s 10-13-13 sermon entitled “On Earth as it is in Heaven” preached at the Grand Marais Mennonite Church.

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