Well it is back to work after a holiday weekend. I had a great one! Here are the highlights:
Cookout w/ the Friday Night home group. Lots of laughs and pushing kids on the swings.
Worship w/ my favorite church family. Cornerstone . . . some of the finest people on earth.
Cooking and serving at the soup kitchen of New Hope UMC on the Northside.
Visits to the gym and kayaking w/ my best friend Carla.
Pickin' bluegrass on my Collings.
Life is good! Lord, thank you for setting me free for freedom. May I never again return to a yoke of slavery...(Galatians 5:1)
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Well it is back to work after a holiday weekend. I had a great one! Here are the highlights:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Check out 2 Samuel 9. What a cool story. David is king of Israel. He has been shown grace by God. God used him as a little boy to slay a big bully. And now, filled with that grace, seeks to allow it to overflow from his life. He remembers Saul...his enemy. You know this is God's grace, because David wants to show kindness to anyone left from Saul's family. You know who he finds? Mephibosheth. What a name, and what a guy. He is the crippled son of Jonathan. He is the nobody. He refers to himself as a "dead dog." For real...read it in verse 8. But what does David do for the dead dog? He seats him at his table...the kings table...as if he were his own son. Why? Because Mephibosheth deserved it? Earned it? Had it coming? Not so much. David did because he was filled with the grace of God.
Did you know that YOU are Mephibosheth? That I am? It is true...we are the dead dogs...the enemies of the King...and what does He do? He treats us as sons...as daughters...as worthy.
Thank you, Jesus.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I find that I am not stepping out in boldness in my preaching lately. I have gotten into a rut of complacency in what and how I am sharing. I think I need a "sermon retreat"... some time away to be inspired...transformed.
Mark 9:2 - "After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them."
Cool! Jesus' ministry was bold after that experience. May mine be as well...
Monday, May 21, 2007
It seems all my blogger friends have taken some time away!
John never started his.
Chris adopted a baby.
Jeff lost his blog's address.
Randy is taking some time off.
Greg isn't very intelligible.
Keith never got over the passing of Jerry Falwell.
Robyn got a hole in her sock, darn it.
Eric must have fallen asleep in one of the pews.
I miss you guys!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Why do we have this concept of God that says "He'll love me if..."? We feel like we have to earn His favor, or measure up, or be super-Christian or something. Well, I'm not. I'm a mess, remember? So I'm havin' this conversation with someone this morning and they're basically telling me that they're a mess. OK, so am I! So we look to some of the messes in Scripture...here's David, for one: Look at what he writes to the Lord in Psalm 51:1-12:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,according to your unfailing love;according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions,and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness;let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 10 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Can I paraphrase? David says to God, "I'm a mess, but you love me anyway!" Good stuff. So now read on to verse 13: "Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you."
Do you see that? The THEN word? David realized that God will use him, and that he can teach others, and that sinners will turn to the Lord, THEN! When? When he realizes that he is a mess, and he admits that to God, and allows the Lord to love him anyhow.
Now I'm inspired...to write my own Psalm. Here it is:
Brettspsalm 1:1 "Yo God. I'm a mess. You know it and I know it. Love me anyway, and I'll do my best to love you back. And then you can use me..."
Monday, May 14, 2007
Well, here it is, "tomorrow." I said on Wednesday that "tomorrow" I would share a followup story. Ooops...how time flies. And my friend, John Shaver, reminded me of it. Thanks John.
So anyhow, back in the 90's (I think it was 1998) on a dry, windy March day, I decided to burn the old hollow wooden doors that had graced our New Paris parsonage. Um, that was dumb. Anywho, to make a long story short, I ended up burning 45 acres! Lots of brown fields and forest, there was. And a melted garage... After helping the fire companies to douse the flames for nearly four hours, I headed back down the ridge to our parsonage. There was my loving wife Carla waiting for me. I had done the most stupid thing in my life. I was humiliated and felt so stupid...words don't adequately describe it. I faced my wife...and deserved a good tongue lashing for my stupidity. She came over to me, sweaty and dirty and tired and ashamed, and she hugged me, she kissed me, and she said "Brett, I love you." I couldn't believe my ears. I deserved the worst, but I found grace. My best friend Dick was standing right there and he was amazed. He thought I was going to be chewed out, but he just saw unconditional love from Carla to me.
So it is with God. I come to Him after having done stupid things...dirty and sweaty and tired and ashamed...and even though I deserve the worst, He puts His loving arms around me and says "Brett, I love you." Wow....
And then He says, go and do likewise. And remember, ministry is messy...but it is what I have done for you...
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
My pastor friends are apparently "profiling" me according to my blog entries! Oh, the danger of living in such a public forum!!! One of them said that I have absolutely no ability to engage in theological dialogue. True story! Greg said that I apparently have a devotional life because I sometimes post about what I'm studying. Boy, do I have him fooled!!! I REALLY need help with that. But, in a good way, I feel 'pressured' to work on my devotional life and to blog about it more. Thanks dud...I mean dude.
The people called Cornerstone share a devotional journey each week. It is one of our core values. Today's entry is from Ecclesiastes 3:4. We're in the midst of a message series entitled "The Time of Your Life." In it, we are discovering that God intends for the Christian journey to be joyful, even if it isn't always easy. In this verse, He reminds that there is a time for everything....including laughing and dancing. Why do we find it so easy to cry and grieve (and moan and groan!) and we struggle to laugh and dance?
I think I'm going to take the rest of the day off and dance. I may not laugh, but others sure will!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Saturday is the BIG DAY! After months of preparation, we will open the doors of our ministry center from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm to host Life Size CandyLand! We did this last year and had about 100 kids from our community participate. Thanks to lots of marketing and advertisement, we are hoping for 500-600 kids this time around!!! And it is way bigger and better this year!!! Each "station" of the Candyland game will be hosted by a character actor. The kids will be the players and will go through the game in search of the sweetest thing of all...Jesus. Each of the stations represents a fruit of the Spirit so the kids will learn about who God is and how He can transform our lives as they live the dream of life size Candyland!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
At the gym this morning, I was talking with a friend about Glenn Beck's global warming special on Headline News last night. I was a little disappointed in the fact that the warming temperature was given in Celsius (as 0.7). We don't use Celsius much in this country (I'm writing from the USA (that was a note to my vast audience of international readers)). I think they may have done it last night to make it sound like it is less. 0.7 degrees Celsius is 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit. See what I mean?
So another guy says that he weighs 16.1 stones and that his target weight is 16 stones. Pretty cool...this whole "other measurement unit" thing can really work to our advantage! Yes, it is true, I weigh 13 stones! Awesome!!!
So then, how do we manipulate the truth of God to suit our own particulars slants and desires....?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)
I'm sharing these verses as a part of our leadership gathering this evening. A couple of pretty neat things:
1. The veil has been taken away!!!!
2. We are to reflect God's glory!
3. We are being TRANSFORMED (or we should be!) into HIs likeness!
4. We are (or we should be) VERY BOLD!
So church...are we?