Monday, October 30, 2006
You know, I really love being a part of Cornerstone Church. I was in Chicago last week for a conference at Willow Creek. It was a lot of fun, mostly because I was traveling with some great friends. I laughed until I cried...several times! All these serious people are sitting around us in the conference and there Chris (who wrote a great review of the conference) and I are giggling like little girls with tears streaming down our faces. Oh well, lighten up world!
We had a great worship service yesterday. I just love being able to be ME! Our church is so neat in that we really are a "come as you are" kinda people. I had the privilege of preaching from Mark 2:1-12...one of my favorite passages. We were talking about how we who are in Christ need to be on the corners of the "mat" of our unsaved friends carrying them to WHO they really need....Jesus. It is just so good to be home. Can you tell I'm happy?!?!?
Monday, October 23, 2006
This is my last entry until the weekend...I'm heading to Chicago. A few of my fellow pastor friends (yes, I do have a friend or two!) are going to a Conference together. I will miss you in blogland. If I get to a 'puter out there, I'll check in.
PS: I can't wait to preach this Sunday at Cornerstone. I will be sharing one of my favoritest passages: Mark 2:1-12. Read it....very good stuff. See you then!!!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
A friend recommended the following blog entry to me this week. Please go there now and check it out, especially if you're a man or a woman!
This is really good stuff. It just reminds me that as the culture in which we live is ever changing, so we who are leaders must be constantly aware. And so we must be persistent in our pursuit of understanding. As a man, my soul resonates with much that has been written there, and yet I could not have authored it myself.
I thank God for those around me who enlighten me, who broaden my perspective, and who challenge me!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I meet this morning with four of my UM pastoral colleagues for our twice-monthly breakfast. We spend time just sharing our joys, our struggles, our issues, and our Savior. We share resources, books, ideas, and encouragement. We share laughter, anger, sadness, and hope. We don't always agree, but we are always in unity. That is because we find our unity in Jesus Christ. I am blessed to have this circle of friends with whom I can share the journey.
Do you have this kind of support? Do you belong to some kind of small group? Who is walking the Christian journey with you? How can I help to hook you up with someone?
Psalm 133:1 "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" NIV
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
OK, now that I have your attention, let me redirect. First read this:
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (NIV)
Harsh words from Jesus. Does He really mean that we need to "hate" our families in order to follow Him? I don't think so. But what He does expect is that we put Him first. Always. No matter what. Over everything. Over every relationship. Period.
And that will cost us, because we cannot serve two masters. As a Christian, the call is to turn it all over to Christ. All of it. Even the things we hold the most dear. So, Lord, help me!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Yes, if you showed up for worship at Cornerstone yesterday, you'll know that I was curiously absent! That's because I was at the wedding of my cousin in Albany NY. I had a great time...traveled by car with my parents and older sister on the way up. It was neat to have the chance to reconnect with them (although they labeled me as obnoxious...can you believe that? How unfair!) Then I rode back with my twin sister and her husband, who also tried to abandon me along the highway somewhere along route 80. (I feel loved!) The wedding was great. It was held in a gorgeous Roman Catholic Cathedral in Albany. The ceremony was really nice...very "high and holy" and meaningful. I was blessed to be able to read Scripture in the service. The reception was at a beautiful country club with much good food! It was nice to spend some time with extended family members that I too infrequently see.
Now I'm back. And I'm happy to be...there is no place like home. I'm looking forward to a new week of opportunities after a weekend of true refreshment...
Thursday, October 12, 2006
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, God uses Paul to say this: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV) My favorite way of understanding that is by looking at the pickle. If you cut one open, it is as green and picklish on the inside as it is on the outside. Why? Because it has been cooked in the brine. It isn't just dipped in there for a while, but it is salty through and through.
So I am the cucumber. But oh, how I long to be the pickle. I want to be so "in Jesus" that I look like Him on the outside as well as on the inside. I want to be salted with His presence, His love, His grace so much that my whole being is consumed by Him. I am struggling with only dipping myself in His brine, instead of being cooked in His glory.
Lord, pickle me today. Set me apart...from this world and into you...
Monday, October 09, 2006
I received this list from a friend...some very helpful advice!
1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and presto! The blockage will be almost instantly removed.
2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.
3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by simply using the sink.
4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.
5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.
7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget all about the toothache.
8. Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really are: You only need two tools - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (NIV)
I need the shield of faith these days (see v16). I guess it is because God is doing so much good here in our ministry that I seem to be under attack. The flaming arrows are coming in every form, but there is only one defense: the shield of faith. Lord, I am believing in you, by faith, to forgive me, correct me, and to use me. May I put on your whole armor today and to stand strong. And in the midst of it all, please be the center of my JOY!
Monday, October 02, 2006
With each passing week I see more progress in my weightlifting. I made several strides this morning, doing 210 pounds on the pectoral fly machine and 180 on the overhead press. These were 20 and 10 pound gains respectively. I am enjoying my morning workouts and it fun to see the progress. I am up to 150 pounds on the bench press, only about 25 pounds from my goal. At this rate, I should be able to do that in 5-6 weeks.
Yet, I do not find my true strength in my morning gym workouts. I find my true strength in Jesus Christ alone. In our Cornerstone devotions for the day, we are reading Nehemiah 8:10. This is where we are reminded that having joy in the Lord is true strength. I am joyful. Today I am happy, but that is subject to change. I am joyful, though, which is NOT subject to change....only in the sense that it will grow. As I deepen my walk with the Lord and learn to trust Him more, my joy increases! As it does, so does my strength to face all that the world might try to throw at me today.
How about you...are you feeling "strong"?