Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grow Up in Such a Way That Others Can Grow Up Too

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a sheriff, and we were talking about neighbor disputes, because we have been having trouble with the parking in our condo complex. He told me that our problems are mild (some warnings and a couple of fines) compared to other disputes he has been called to. He told me sometimes people start damaging each other’s property because of parking disputes! I asked him what he said to them when he arrives on the scene, and he told me that he tells them to “Grow up!” “Really?” I asked. And he told me yes, that is what he says. J

The truth is that we all can be selfish at times; we all need to grow up. But we need to grow up in a way that reminds and encourages others to grow up as well. This can really only happen if we have a humble attitude, and seek to be aware of what actions need “growing up.” Are we overly selfish? Are we too critical? Do we allow others to make mistakes without judging them?

In the Bible, in Colossians 1:28 we are told by the apostle Paul: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” It is only in Christ that we can truly become mature, because Christ is the One, by His crucifixion, that gives us the power to change and mature! Christ is the One who gives us the example of how we are to be when we mature.

When others see us maturing in Christ, they too will want to become more mature in this way. Why? Because they will see us caring for others, loving unconditionally, being a forgiving person, encouraging others, and on it goes. This kind of mature behavior draws others to you, and is seen as beneficial, because it is who God created us to be in the first place. Along with that, it is so different and above the behavior of so many around us whose behavior we don’t want to be around.

So, I say to you, in a good way: GROW UP!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wash Your Hands

This phrase first led me to the text in the Bible found in Matthew 27:24, which says: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, and was giving the Jews an opportunity to fix their mistake and release Jesus. But the people were so angry with Jesus that they couldn’t think straight, and they wanted to crucify Jesus. So Pilate does what he was legally bound to do, and releases the criminal Barabbas instead of Jesus. To show that Pilate didn’t agree with their decision, he washed his hands. In essence trying to cleanse himself from this wrongdoing.

We, in essence, try and “wash our hands” every day when it comes to wrongdoing. We think that we can sin and not be held accountable for it by putting it out of our minds, or believing it when others say, ‘God wouldn’t hold that against you,’ or pretending that it isn’t wrong in the first place (relativism). The truth is, avoidance of sin doesn’t make the sin go away. Not even showering regularly will wash it away (although it is good and healthy and helpful for your friends and family for you to shower every day).

Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” But the book of Romans also gives us good news in 6:23: “For the penalty of sin is death (eternal separation from God), but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In the end, Jesus being crucified is what allows us to “wash our hands” of our sin, because Jesus removes it and makes us clean!

So don’t forget to wash your hands and keep the germs away. Don’t forget to shower and keep your body clean. But even more, don’t forget to confess your sin to God, and know that through Jesus’ sacrifice, you will be clean! Blessings.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Reconizing Friends

I love the verse in the Bible, from Proverbs 17:17, which says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” To me this epitomizes what a friend should be, along with the words from Jesus in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In these two verses we are told that a ‘friend loves at all times,’ and that a friend lays down their life for those they consider to be a friend.

Yet, if you are like me, you have had people in your life that you think are friends, but in the end they do not prove themselves to be a friend. Maybe they only seemed to be a friend when they needed something from you. OR, maybe they were there for a while, but then you had a disagreement, and they bailed on you.

So how do you recognize a friend? I think part of the answer to this is determined by what kind of a friend you are looking for. There are different kinds of friends. Not every friend is going to be there for you in your adversity, or lay down their life for you. We will have some people in our lives that are more casual friends. We need to be careful in making the determination in regards to casual friends, somewhat good friends, and “good friends.”

It is difficult to have too many “good friends” in your life, because you can only be a good friend in return to so many. Developing friendships with those who will love at all times takes time. We might develop a friendship with someone because of common interests, or because our kids are friends. But only time will tell if this person is a real friend. Only time will tell if this person will lay down their life for you.

What will really help us to determine the good friends in our lives is when adversity comes. Maybe you are having hard times financially. Are they supporting you in some way or do they distance themselves from you? Maybe you had a disagreement. Do they seek to resolve it, or run away? Maybe you are going through health issues. Do they walk alongside you? It is the tough times of life that will help you to see who your friends truly are.

Even more important, Jesus calls us His friend. Going back to John 15, Jesus says in verses 14-15: “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” How wonderful to know that no matter what, we have Jesus as our friend. And we know He is a good friend, because He gave His life for us! Blessings.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

There You Go

When my son was born, 14 years ago, I was just starting as a minister at Ecumenical Church, in Pueblo West, Colorado. Consequently, my life was very busy as I sought to get to know the members and the church, as well as visiting new attenders, and getting new programs started. I was very busy. If my son could have talked in his first year of life, he would have regularly been saying: “There you go,” because I would come home from work for dinner, and then leave again for night meetings or visits.

Lately, Tami and I have been reflecting about how busy we are. We are constantly on the go to Tyler’s baseball, Tiffany’s girl scouts, Tiffany’s choir, church, family, and on and on it goes. It is interesting to see how busy our lives get. In fact, most of society is like this as well. And Christmas only makes it busier. What are we to do about constantly being on the go?

One suggestion is to plan better. What I mean by this is that we need to set priorities; one of which should be to not get too busy. Busyness only brings stress to our lives. Now I am not suggesting that you just sit home and do nothing all the time. I am suggesting that we try and limit the kind of lifestyle where we are just running from one thing to another; especially when kids are involved. Spending time with family at home, relaxing, playing games, watching a movie, can be a good way to build a strong family bond.

Another negative that comes from our lives being busy is that we don’t make time for God. In the gospel of John, chapter 15, verses 1-5 say: “‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’” When we don’t spend time with God, we will fail to flourish and bear fruit.

Don’t let your life be such that people are always saying, ‘There you go,’ but rather live your life so that you have time for yourself, your family, and most importantly for God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finish This

To finish something is to see it through to its completion. There are some days when I find myself doing several projects at the same time. The problem with this is that it makes it difficult to finish any of them. It can make my life crazy! At some of point I have to stop myself, and focus on one project, and tell myself to finish this before I move on to the next one.

Jesus had an important task when He came to this earth. The task was to live among us, to show us how to live and to love, and ultimately to die for our sins so that through Him we might have eternal life; through Him we could be reconciled to God! In the Gospel of John, chapter 19 Jesus is on the cross, He has had a conversation with the two criminals on either side of Him, He leads one to salvation, and then in verse 30 He says these words: “It is finished.” Jesus had finished what He had come to do, and now it was time to die!

How nice it is when we finish something. I love checking it off my “to do” list. There is a great sense of accomplishment when things get done. How much more so when we know that we are doing what God is calling us to do. I love to sense where God is leading me, go in that direction, and follow it through to completion. I pray that at the end of my life, I will be able to feel like I have accomplished what God has created me to do, and I will be able to say “It is finished.’ How about you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Lost My List

Have you ever had a day where you didn’t feel like you were getting anything done? The truth is, you are probably getting some things done, but not necessarily the most important tasks. Or, you aren’t fully aware of what you have been getting done, because what you are getting done isn’t what you had planned on doing, but rather tasks that have popped up at the moment.

A number of years ago I went to a time management seminar, and one of the tips they gave was to make a list of what you need to do each day. However, having the list isn’t enough, you need to make sure you prioritize it from the most important tasks to the least. That way you will be making sure you get the important tasks done first, and if you run out of time, the less important ones can be moved to the next day. Another great thing about having a list is that as you get work done, it is encouraging to cross it off the list, which gives you a sense of accomplishment.

There is a challenge to this, however, in that you can get too dependent on your list. What happens if you lose your list? I know that if I get too dependent on my list, that if I lose it, I lose track of what I am supposed to be doing. SO, I need to be careful that I don’t let my list completely govern my life. I need to make sure that my list doesn’t trap me into being inflexible in my life.

Sometimes I get so into my list, that an interruption can cause me to be frustrated. This is not good, since the primary concern of my job, and really my life, should be the people God brings into my life, and not all the tasks I feel I have to get done. This reminds me of the story of the Good Samaritan (in Luke chapter 10). In this story, a man is beaten and robbed and left for dead. A priest and a Levite both pass by, probably thinking they didn’t want to be interrupted or get involved or be bothered with this man’s troubles, so they passed by on the other side and did nothing to help. But then a Samaritan came and attended to the man, and took him to an inn, and paid for it all!

Sometimes it might be good for me to ‘lose my list’ so that I get done what is most important (not necessarily most pressing). Sometimes it would be good to ‘lose my list’ so that I would be more available to the leading of God’s Spirit in my life. Sometimes I might need to ‘lose my list’ so that I don’t get too caught up in the “have to’s” of life. How about you, would it be good to lose your list? Blessings.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Priority Mail

Priority mail is mail that is expedited to a two-day delivery service by the U.S. Postal Service. It is for mail that would otherwise go out first class. You choose priority mail, even though it costs more, because you believe that it is important for this mail to get to its destination in an “expedited” manner. This is a great service, especially if you are on a deadline and need your letter there quickly. In this case, you decide it is worth the extra cost to ensure that you will not be embarassed by missing your deadline.

As a recipient, when you get priority mail, you know that it is important. Because of this, you probably open the priority mail before any other mail. It is mail that you need to deal with quickly. Hence the name ‘priority.’ It is sent in a speedy manner so that the one it is being sent to can get it as quickly as possible (although there is now overnight mail as well).

I found it interesting that our blog group would pick this topic, and it was probably chosen to challenge us in our thought process. I also found it interesting because so many people don’t use the mail serviice much anymore with the invention of the internet. I rarely send a hand written letter out, especially if I know the person has e-mail. It is quicker and more convenient.

As I thought about this topic, it took me to an illustration I had heard in our Alpha Class (Bible basics class). The illustration is that the Bible is like a “love letter” from God. Imagine that you were to get a letter from someone that was very near and dear to your heart. You wouldn’t set that letter aside to read days later, but rather you would open it right away to read what thoughts they had put down on the letter. You would try to take it all in, and maybe even read the letter 2 or 3 times. On top of that, you would probably keep the letter for possibly reading another time, or for remembering the words they wrote for you alone.

The correlation here is that because the Bible is God’s love letter to us, it is like getting ‘priority mail.’ It is something that is important, and something we need to get to right away. We shouldn’t put it off, or set it aside for a future day. It is sent to us as a “priority” for our lives, and should be responded to as a priority. We should act as though there were a deadline for us to act upon it, since in reality there is a deadline. Every day that we fail to read and apply the Bible, is another day that we fail to set aside our sinful ways and live for God. Every day that we fail to acknowledge that God’s word should guide us, is another day that we fail to humble ourselves and let God be our counselor and guide.

SO, I encourage you to see your Bible as “priority mail,” and go right over to it now to read. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flying Hearts

According to the Bible, the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. This is why the Bible talks about being wise in heart (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure in heart (Psalms 24:4; Matthew 5:8), upright in heart, and righteous in heart (Genesis 20:5,6; Psalms 11:2; 78:72).

When I heard the blog topic for this week, the first thing that came to my mind was being in love. When you are in love, your heart soars, or flies high. There is a fantastic feeling that comes when you are in love. People say that they are on “cloud 9.” When that love is broken, we are said to have a “broken heart.” So even though our heart is really the muscle that pumps the blood and keeps us alive, it is also talked about as the place where we “feel” our emotions.

To me, however, a flying heart is more than experiencing loving another person, it is even more in how we live our lives. What comes to mind is Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint.” Life is not just full of fuzzy feelings. We have ups and down, highs and lows. We have times when we feel strong, and times when we are weak. This verse in Isaiah reminds us that in the Lord we can have our strength renewed, and we can soar like eagles. Our hearts can “fly” with the help of God.

Where does this lead us? I believe it leads us back to love, but a love that is more complete. That is why when Jesus was asked what was the greatest command, he gave it in two parts: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told us to love with all of our heart. I believe that when we love in this way, we will truly have flying hearts, no matter what is happening in our lives.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Amazon Rainforest

Our blog group topic for this week is the Amazon Rainforest. I have to admit that if I had to tell you what I knew about the Amazon Rainforest, unfortunately it wouldn’t be much. My answer would not sound too intelligent: “I know there are many important animals and plants that live there, and that it is being cut down at an alarming rate.” So much for my knowledge.

So, I decided to gain a little information about it, and found out what I know is pretty correct, although basic. I was surprised to find out what a large area the rainforest covers 1.4 billion acres, in a region that includes nine nations (Brazil containing 60% of it, followed by Peru, then Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana). The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s rainforests, and has the largest tract of species and tropical rainforest in the world! It has currently become a candidate for the New 7 Wonders of the World.

As a wet tropical forest, it is very rich in species and has a tremendous amount of biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. Yet deprestation is occurring in the rainforest. As human expansion continues, and as humans seek to develop land, more and more of the rainforest is being cut down to make room for this expansion.

This deforestation is causing a wide variety of problems. Environmentalists are “concerned about loss of biodiversity that will result from destruction of the forest, and also about the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation, which could accelerate global warming.” One computer model of future climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions shows that the Amazon rainforest could become unsustainable under conditions of severely reduced rainfall and increased temperatures, leading to an almost complete loss of rainforest cover in the basin by 2100. This has not been fully substantiated, but shows that there is concern with the loss of rainforest.

In Genesis 1, after God had created the world, he gave Adam charge to care for the world. This is an important charge from God to man, and one that I believe is not being followed today. We are not caring for our earth as we should. I believe that God has provided on this earth all that we need to sustain life. But we must treat our world with respect. There is an important balance between all the parts of our world, and when we don’t consider the impact of one part on the other (i.e. the deforestation of the rainforest), then we will cause long term harm to our world.

The challenge is that problems like this often seem too big for one person to deal with, so we just ignore it because we can’t solve it alone. I challenge you and myself to be diligent in finding ways that we can care for our world better, and know that as we take these steps, they WILL make a difference.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why should I have a life coach?

Have you ever been talking to someone about something that is frustrating you, or confusing you, or because you are struggling to make a decision about something? Have you ever felt frustrated in the direction of your life, and feel like you need a fresh perspective? For these reasons, and many more, a life coach can be helpful. A life coach is someone who comes along side you, and because of their expertise and ability to listen and discern, can help you make wise choices in your life.

Every day we make decisions; some of them very important. And quite often we feel led to make changes in our lives. Unfortunately, too many people let their emotions be their guide. These emotional decisions can lead you to leave a job or a relationship, or incur a debt, when it really wasn’t a wise decision. A life coach can listen intently, and intuitively, and ask pointed questions, to help you make the best decision for your life.

One thing that is important to understand in regards to a life coach, is they are not there to tell you what to do, or to influence your decision. A life coach’s goal should be to help you, and with the help of God, decide where God is leading you in your life. It might mean staying at your job, or it might mean leaving. The good news is that you have someone who cares about you and your decision enough to challenge you to seek the right path, not just a different path.

I have been mentoring people for the past 5 years now, and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I have also felt that God has given me an extra gift of discernment to ask important and challenging questions. In love, I try to prod and encourage those I mentor to think through who they are, who God has created them to be, and where God might be leading them. I feel blessed that I have helped many people move further down the path God has truly designed for them, and I hope to do this more and more every year.

If you are interested in getting a life coach, I would love to talk to you. Blessings.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Angels We Have Heard on Earth

People have a lot of different ideas about angels. For some, angels are people who have died and gone to heaven, and God made them a guardian angel. For others, angels have wings and fly around. And still for others, angels don’t exist. The Bible actually tells us a lot about angels. Angels belong to a uniquely different dimension of creation than we can fully comprehend. They don’t have many of the same limitations that we do on earth. God has given them higher knowledge, power, and mobility than us. Because you or I have probably not met or seen an angel, we might doubt that angels are real. However, angel visits do happen even though they are very rare.

The truth is, we have difficulty believing in what we don’t or can’t see. This is true of so many things in life. EX. Think for a moment if you were raised in a jungle. In this setting you are oblivious to most of what exists in the world. You feed yourself by eating what is around you. You make crude tools. You travel by walking or running. You only know what you see. Then one day you meet a stranger from the outside. He tries to tell you that there are cars, and planes, and telephones and computers. You hear the words, but it is difficult to believe. Then the stranger takes you out of the jungle, and you see for yourself all that was told to you. You watch the television and drive in the car and talk to someone far away on a telephone! At this point, you believe.

This is true of believing in something like angels. We hear people talk about it, we read about them in scripture, but do we really believe they are real? What does the Bible say about angels? Angels did not come into being until God created them. As we are told in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible.” Angels are among the invisible things made by God.

The empire of angels is as vast as God’s creation. They are mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible nearly 300 times. We do not know how many angels were created, but some think that it could be in the millions, since Hebrews 12:22 speaks of “an innumerable company of angels.” And King David, in Psalm 68:17, said: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.” In another passage, Deuteronomy 33:2, we are told that 10,000 angels came down on Mount Sinai to confirm the holy presence of God as He gave the Law to Moses.

Angels are in essence an extension of the arm of God.

The Bible tells us that angels speak. They appear and reappear. They are emotional creatures. While angels may become visible, their normal state to us is invisible, just like the dimensions of a nuclear field, or the structure of atoms. Our ability to sense them is limited.

Angels are real, and they are nearer than we might think. Angels are vigorous in their efforts to deliver up God’s people to salvation, and to help protect them from evil. As Psalm 91:11-12 says, “(God has given) his angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Let us take courage and know that God has created angels to not only serve Him, but to do His work, and to help His Kingdom come. When we believe and trust, we can find strength in this knowledge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cutting Off Limbs and Gouging Out Eyes

What a topic my blog group has given me this week! It sounds pretty gruesome. It actually comes from a passage in the New Testament, where Jesus is talking about our sin. It is in Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Jesus is making a comparison between the sin we commit, and the steps we should take to not sin.

In reality, Jesus is not telling us to cut off our limbs, or to gouge out our eyes. We would still sin even if we did that. The point is, we lust for many things; not just sexual. We lust for nicer cars, bigger houses, fatter paychecks. We lust for wonderful vacations, respect, power. How can we keep ourselves from sin? One way is to realize that we are called to give up that which is sin and that which will cause us to sin. Another way is by focusing on Jesus. Jesus helps us to live better lives, and when we do sin, Jesus can take that sin away when we confess.

If you stare four dots on the nose of the picture above for about 30 seconds, and then look at a white wall, the face of Jesus will come into focus. When we are looking to Jesus, we will be guided by His thoughts, and His ways; really the thoughts and ways of God. In this way, we will have a different perspective for life. Much better than cutting off your limbs, or gouging out your eyes, is to learn to focus on Jesus. The phrase “what would Jesus do” has become cliché for many. That is unfortunate, because it really is a good thought. If we think about what Jesus would do in a situation, and then act accordingly, our lives would be much better off, and so would our world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loving Your Enemies

Enemies come in many different forms. There is the obvious enemy who is out to get you. There is the enemy who might have been a friend once, but then there was a falling out, and now they don’t like you anymore. There is also the enemy who has something against you for some reason, and goes behind your back to talk negative about you. Each one of these enemies can make our lives difficult.

Jesus has made many challenging statements, but the one we find in Matthew 5:44 is one of the most challenging: “But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” It is challenging enough to love all those who we enjoy and who love us back. But love my enemy? Where do I get the strength to do that? Where do I get the desire? Why would I even care to consider this? Why would Jesus ask us to do this?

First, it is about not paying back evil for evil. Although this bit of retribution might be in our sinful persona, it is not a good way to act. When we pay back evil, we allow overwhelming bitterness, anger and hatred to dwell in us. When we seek revenge on an enemy, we continue the process of hate and fuel our enemy’s desire to harm us. But just resisting revenge is not love. If we are to love our enemy, we have to go further than just keeping ourselves from doing harm to them.

Second, if God is love, and we are God’s children, then our being should be about love. When we are led to anything but love because of our enemy, then we fail to walk in the path that God has for us to walk. We are called to follow the example of Jesus, and we see that Jesus did not bring retribution to those who considered themselves His enemies (He knew that comes at the time of judgment), but knew their hatred of Him led them to do their terrible deeds. Jesus calls us to walk in His footsteps, which is to love others. Jesus said that by our love people would know we are His disciples. This is what sets us apart from those who aren’t Jesus’ followers, that we love at all times.

Of course, this is easier said than done. F. F. Bruce, in his book The Hard Sayings of Jesus (p. 73), said: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into a friend.” This is what love is about, rising above the hate and anger and bitterness of our world, and sharing the love of God with all. This doesn’t mean that you put yourself in a place to be hurt, but as best as you can, you love each person in the best way God shows you how.

If we could all do this, what a better place our world would be.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are We There Yet?

How many times have parents heard this statement from their kids: “Are we there yet? This is a regular question when you travel with kids for any distance at all. Twice now my family has driven to the Black Hills in South Dakota, and back. Believe me, my wife Tami and I heard this question many times a day, as we traveled anywhere from 6 to 8 hours a day!

Yet, if you think about it, it is a question we wonder about in our own lives. We might wonder about it in terms of our career: are we there yet? We might wonder about it in our spiritual growth: are we there yet? My church and I wonder it all the time: are we there yet? This question implies that there is a final destination.

Unlike a trip to the Black Hills, these other areas of life don’t have a final destination here on earth. We will always be changing careers, jobs, or at least goals within our job. We will always be needing to grow more spiritually. We will always have new goals to achieve as a church. The answer to the question, are we there yet? Is NO! We are not there yet. But that is good news, because if we ever got “there,” there would be nowhere else to go, and how boring would that be?

In actuality, the question (are we there yet?) is actually the wrong point of focus. The truth is, it is the journey, and not so much the destination, that is important. When we think about getting to the destination point, all too often we miss what is along the way. Often times on our trips, we would try and point out to the kids the beautiful sights along the way. We would also stop along the way, and enjoy other experiences. The journey was as fun, and as important as getting to the Black Hills.

So, let us not think about the destination point, but rather think about the journey we have in front of us. And let us hear the words of Hebrews 12:1-2a, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…”

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not Until You've Walked A Mile in My Shoes

There are many people who love to run. Some like to run for relieving stress. Others like to run for exercise and being fit. Still others will run because they enjoy entering 10k’s or marathons. I personally don’t like to run. Don’t get me wrong, I like to exercise. But I prefer my running to be in the midst of playing a game like racquetball, or basketball, or baseball. It’s probably good that I don’t like to run, because ever since I hurt my back (about 25 years ago), I can’t run long distances, because the pounding of the running is too jarring for my back.

So instead of running, I do fast-paced walking (some might call it power walking). The walking gives me the exercise I need, but limits the strain put on my back. As I was thinking about our blog topic for the week, it made me realize that we are each unique in this way; we like to run, or walk, or sing, or paint… It is easy for us to judge what we like verses what others like. And if what others like isn’t what we like, then we might put them down for it.

The whole idea of judging is important for us to think about, because it is so prevalent in our world. We judge people before we even know them. We judge people because we are close to them. We judge people to make ourselves feel better. The truth is, unless we know what they are going through, we can’t accurately judge what they are doing. Unless you walk a mile in my shoes, how can you know what I am going through and why I do what I do?

And what if we did walk in the shoes of others? Wouldn’t that be better than judging them? As we are told in the Bible, Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Instead of judging, which brings negative consequences in life, we can assist them, and bring about a positive consequence. We are told by God not to judge (leave that up to God), but to ‘love our neighbor as ourself.’ Then maybe we can give them constructive advice. In the end, they will have to decide for themselves how they will live. So don’t judge others unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Apologetics is a big word

The word “apologetics” means making a “case” for Christ, just like a lawyer would try to make a case for his or her client to a jury. We live in a world that questions Christianity all of the time, but when someone questions Christianity, they are questioning Jesus Himself. If you are a Christian, this should bother you, because one of our purposes here on this earth is to speak to others about our faith. As Romans 10:13-14 says,“for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” If we don’t preach Christ, then people won’t hear about Christ, and won’t even have the chance to believe.
Just like a lawyer presents ‘evidence’ in a trial to make his or her case, so we have ‘evidence’ we can present to make our case about the truth of Jesus. First, there is eyewitness evidence. This is powerful testimony, because it is first hand information. In the Bible, the New Testament is written by eyewitnesses who lived with Jesus, and saw and experienced what Jesus did and who Jesus was. A second kind of evidence is documentary. This is the written evidence we have in the Bible. If you were to investigate the writings of the Bible, you would find that there are a number of original texts that allow us to piece together the Bible that we have today.
Next, we have corroborating evidence, or evidence outside of the Bible which
mentions who Jesus is. Early historians Josephus and Tacitus make many references to Jesus Christ as a real human being, and talk about what he did, and talking about how he returned 3 days after he had been killed. A fourth evidence we have is ‘identity’ evidence. This evidence shows the truth of his identity. Jesus Himself talked about how His miracles are a sign indicating the coming of the kingdom of God. They are a foretaste of what the kingdom is going to be like. They are evidence of His identity; that He is God in the flesh.
There are many other kinds of evidence that can help us to know that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, who came to this earth, who died on a cross, and who was resurrected from the dead. This Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, and our Savior. I hope you believe this, and if you do, I hope that you share it with others!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Do you have someone that you can call a friend? I don't mean an acquaintance, but someone who you can be real with, who you can trust, who you can tell anything to? It might sound like a silly question, because doesn't everyone have friends? I have noticed that as people get older, they tend to have less friends, and the friends they have are often not close friends.
I believe we need at least one true friend. If you have a friend like this, you know what I am talking about. To have someone who can support and encourage you is invaluable. To have someone in your life who lifts you up and helps you to feel good about yourself is priceless. In fact, it is one of the prime ways that God created us, to be in relationship and fellowship with others.
Another important aspect is that Jesus is not only our Lord and Savior, but He is our friend. It is good to have friends who are flesh and blood; physically present in our lives. But it is equally important to know that Jesus is our friend. As we are told in John 15:15- "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." As a friend, Jesus makes known to us the things of God: the truth of God, the power of God, the wisdom of God. As a friend, Jesus makes sure we are never alone.
Do you need a friend? Pray to God to bring you that special friend. But also remember that Jesus is always there to be your friend.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Useful Person

In a Peanuts comic strip, Linus is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and in the middle of a bite, he says to Lucy: “Hands are fascinating things! I like my hands…I think I have nice hands…my hands seem to have a lot of character…these are hands which may someday accomplish great things…these are hands which may someday do marvelous works! They may build mighty bridges or heal the sick, or hit home-runs, or write soul-stirring novels! THESE ARE HANDS WHICH MAY SOMEDAY CHANGE THE COURSE OF DESTINY!!” Lucy comes over and looks closely at Linus’ hands, and then says: “They’ve got jelly on them.”(The Gospel According to Peanuts, p.36)
In Ecclesiastes 2:11, this verse says- “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was in vain and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
We can easily feel this way, because all too often we are not seeking to fulfill what God created us to do and be, but instead we go off and chase our own selfish dreams. We need to understand that God uses people who seek to do His will. Think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary was one who humbly sought God. We are told in Luke 2:19: "Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them."
Mary created a habit of listening to God.
God speaks to people who listen. God uses people who desire to be used. So if you want to be used by God, if you want to do something significant with your life, if you want to be chosen by God, then you need to seek to listen to God and follow God's plan. You probably need to stop thinking that you have all the answers. When we seek to do it on our own, it will seem like we are chasing after all the wrong things and that life is in vain. We need to understand that we are trying to satisfy ourselves with things that won't satisfy.
We need to gain a new perspective on life and believe that God can come to us and speak to us and choose us as God did Mary. Then we can know we will have been a useful person.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Where Did These Clouds Come From?

When I lived in Pueblo West, Colorado, I experienced clouds like I had never experienced in California. Even more, it could be clear at one moment, and then all of a sudden these clouds would come moving in, dark as could be, and start a rain storm that would last for a while, and then go away. I always wondered: "Where did these clouds come from?"
Of course, that is the nature of clouds; especially rain clouds. They not only bring darkness, by blocking the sun and the sky, but they also bring rain. While rain is good for the earth, it can at times dampen our spirit, and make it difficult to accomplish what we might have planned to do. However, in knowing that rain brings good, then we can persevere through the times of rain, and we experience the green and growth that it causes.
As I thought about our blog topic for this week, it reminded me of life in general. How often do the dark clouds suddenly appear in our lives? They come and darken our thinking for a time. Maybe they keep us unfocused for a time. Maybe they even dampen our spirits for a time. But the truth is, when understood rightly, they bring growth and blessing.
As the familiar verse in Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." We can know that God will take whatever comes into our lives, and turn it into good. Because of this, we need not worry, but rather trust in God. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus."
And so it is good to regularly evaluate: What are the clouds in my life? Where did they come from? What is their purpose? Am I giving myself over to God, and not worrying, knowing that God will work out good through them? You see, where the clouds come from doesn't matter, as much as why the clouds are there, and how God brings fruit from the clouds. Be strong in the Lord, and the clouds become a blessing, not a deterrent.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Difference Does Commitment Make?

When it comes to commitment, our world is in a much different place than it was years ago. In fact, I was just talking with some people the other day about how not only people have changed in their view of commitment, but so have companies. It used to be that companies sought to care for their employees, and employees would work 20, 30, even 40 years and then retire. Now companies lay people off to avoid having to pay full pensions, and workers rarely work for the same company for a long time.
When talking about commitment, there are so many areas we could venture:
Divorce- It used to be a very low percentage of people got divorced. When people made the commitment to marry, they usually stayed married. It is said that currently the divorce rate in America of first marriages is somewhere around 40-50%, 60% for second marriages, and 73% for third marriages!
Church Attendance- It is said that up to 76% of people say they are Christians, but only around 40% of people go to church regularly. There has been a great drop off in church attendance over the last 100 years. Less and less people make the commitment to regularly go to church, much less involve themselves in church work.
Volunteerism- Just from 2005 to 2009 the percentage of people who volunteered dipped from 29% to 27%. In my son’s baseball league and daughter’s softball league they have had great trouble getting managers and coaches. In fact, they have made it a requirement for coaches to umpire because they can’t get volunteer umpires!
I could go on, but the statistics show us people are choosing to not commit to things as much anymore. What difference does this make? The difference is that more and more we are living in a world where people are more concerned about themselves than about others. We are becoming and ingrown culture. Instead, we should live by the words of the apostle Paul, who said in Philippians 2:4- “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Even Jesus, who was God in the flesh, took on this attitude, as we are told that He came “not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
I think it is tremendously important to be people who make commitments, and keep them. A commitment is really like making a promise to others. When people don’t make and/or keep their commitments, they have lost the understanding of what it means to be people of their word. Because our world has become so selfish, we have lost the whole aspect of community and working together. What do you think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Attitude Check!

Last fall I was coaching Tyler’s baseball team, dealing with 13 and 14 year-olds. They all seemed to develop that “teen attitude.” You know the attitude? The attitude where they think they know everything and don’t need any advice from anyone (including their manager!). The attitude that makes them think they don’t have to answer questions that are asked of them. The attitude that makes them think they are super cool.
As I was thinking about the Blog topic for this week (Attitude Check!), my first thought was this attitude my son had. But then I was led to think about how we as adults have attitudes as well; attitudes that need to be checked on a regular basis. The attitude that makes us think that we are above the job we have. The attitude that makes us think that we have better ideas or answers than our spouse. The attitude that causes us to judge other people.
How is it that we come to have this attitude? Maybe in part it is the thinking that we live in America, home of the free, where we have the right to pursue happiness. Maybe it is our selfish attitude that causes us to really only be concerned with our own needs. Maybe it is because we get tired, or frustrated with life, and we gain an attitude.
While I believe it is all of these things in part, I believe even more it is about the expectations we have. More often than not we set expectations for how our life should go: a certain kind of job, spouse, and lifestyle. We set these expectations thinking they are goals, but they are not goals. A goal leads us to shoot for an outcome, but if we don’t make that outcome it is okay, because the journey is as important as the goal itself. But an expectation is something that we “expect” to happen. If that expectation does not come to fruition, then we come to have an attitude, because we didn’t get what we wanted.
Instead, we should live by what the Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make Your paths straight.” We will have the right attitude when we trust the Lord, lean on God’s strength, and look to walk the path God has for us!! Blessings.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What is Humility?

I have talked to so many people who think that to be humble you must have a poor view of yourself, or think of yourself as weak. Being strong and being humble don’t go together in their thinking. So, because of this, people have trouble allowing themselves to be humble. Even more, living in a world that stresses independence and success, we feel that we have to go out and be better than others. How can you survive and thrive if you are humble?
It is important to have a better perspective of humility, especially if we are going to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself was humble, but no one would call Him weak. So how did He balance His strength with His humility?
He was one who knew who He was and what His purpose was. In John 6:38 Jesus said: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” And in Matthew 20:28 He said: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” When we live out the purpose that God has for us, and live this with confidence, we will be both strong and humble.
Second, it is about being teachable. To think we know it all will not only distance us from people, but it will lead us to look foolish. In James 1:21 we are told, “Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted in you.” God implants His word in us, and through His word we are taught what we need to know. The word of God, the Bible, has the answers; we need to seek these answers out and regularly learn from them.
Third, humility is about being considerate to others. The other day I had an encounter with one of the all-stars on Tyler’s baseball team. He didn’t want to listen to me because I wasn’t an “official” coach. I told him that even though I wasn’t a coach, I was an adult, and he should respect that. He didn’t agree, and mouthed off to me. I am amazed at the lack of respect kids show to adults these days. But the truth is, so many adults aren’t very considerate to other adults. When we are not considerate to others, we have a self-centered attitude. This is not humility, and this is not how God would have us be.
Humility helps us to battle the pride and selfishness that is in us. It is a universal battle that we face every day of our lives. But if we can be humble, then we will think of others and not just ourselves, and we will be much more blessed for it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Letting Go of Past Hurts

Life is full of hurts. People let us down. People leave us. People hurt us in many ways. I have had my share of hurts, and once hurt, it can be a challenge to let it go. For some reason we hold on to this hurt, and let it affect us for long periods of time. But the hurt we hold on to does no good in our lives. In fact, it weighs us down. I know that in my former church I had some people who hurt me deeply with their words and actions. It took a long time to let it go, and until I let it go, it pulled me down.

One of the challenges of the hurts we hold on to is that often we have limited ability to resolve it. We can try to be reconciled to the person, but if they don’t want to be reconciled, then the conflict hangs over us. We are challenged by how much or how little we are able to fix the hurt. Depending on the nature of the relationship to the person who hurt you, you might not have much opportunity for resolution. So we carry around this unresolved issue.

What are we to do? I believe there are two things we can do: first, we can forget about it. Until we are given the chance to bring resolution to this conflict, or hurt, we need to forget about it. The only thing thinking about it will do is get you all upset again, and lead you to have angry feelings towards this other person.

Second, we need to learn how to forgive. Jesus, when He was on the cross, uttered these words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus understood that the people who were hurting Him, killing Him, didn’t really understand the reality of what they were doing, because they didn’t understand who Jesus really was. Likewise, those who hurt us don’t have the concept of “relationship.” Jesus commanded us to “love one another as ourselves.” When we seek to hurt someone else, we are not being loving.

So we forgive for two reasons: one, because in the complexity of life, people truly don’t understand the fruitlessness of hurting others. So we forgive them like Jesus, because they do not know what they are doing. But even more importantly, we forgive them so that we can let go of this hurt in our own hearts and minds. Forgiveness allows us to let go of it, and give it to God. We can know that God will take care of it, instead of us thinking we have to.
Letting go is difficult in many ways, but important for our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What is Your Favorite Color?

Our blog group has picked this topic to write on this week. As I pondered the answer to this, I knew the simple answer is “blue.” Blue has been my favorite color for as long as I could remember. But why? Is it because boys are generally given blue, and girls are given pink when they are young? Perhaps. But if that were the only reason, I think it would have changed as I grew older. For example, my daughter liked pink for the longest time, but now her favorite color is purple. It takes more than an initial introduction to a color to make it your favorite.

It could be that the color of the sky is nice and peaceful, and has led me to like the color blue. Or perhaps blue jeans have been my favorite kind of pants for the longest time. Or the fact that I like the Dodgers (Go Dodger Blue!). Or that blue can be a soothing color. To tell you the truth, I can’t nail down exactly why blue is my favorite color.

Isn’t it true, that sometimes you can like something without having to have any deep, meaningful reasons? Isn’t life sometimes to be about just enjoying something because you connect with it for some reason? I believe life needs to have moments that are frivolous and shallow. I like the color blue, because for some reason it is a pleasing color to my mind and eye.

Yet, having said that, I do have to say that I am moved by many things with the color blue in it. Like I said before, the sky; I love a blue sky. Or the blue ocean; it is so amazing to see the clear blue water. Even a blue bird or a blue fish is tantalizing.

Isn’t it wonderful has God has given us so many colors in this world, and the choice for which one will be our favorite? God has made colors unique just as He has made you and I unique. So, it might be fun to share with someone, OR me, what your favorite color is, and why. And in doing so, celebrate your uniqueness.

Our blog group has picked this topic to write on this week. As I pondered the answer to this, I knew the simple answer is “blue.” Blue has been my favorite color for as long as I could remember. But why? Is it because boys are generally given blue, and girls are given pink when they are young? Perhaps. But if that were the only reason, I think it would have changed as I grew older. For example, my daughter liked pink for the longest time, but now her favorite color is purple. It takes more than an initial introduction to a color to make it your favorite.

It could be that the color of the sky is nice and peaceful, and has led me to like the color blue. Or perhaps blue jeans have been my favorite kind of pants for the longest time. Or the fact that I like the Dodgers (Go Dodger Blue!). Or that blue can be a soothing color. To tell you the truth, I can’t nail down exactly why blue is my favorite color.

Isn’t it true, that sometimes you can like something without having to have any deep, meaningful reasons? Isn’t life sometimes to be about just enjoying something because you connect with it for some reason? I believe life needs to have moments that are frivolous and shallow. I like the color blue, because for some reason it is a pleasing color to my mind and eye.

Yet, having said that, I do have to say that I am moved by many things with the color blue in it. Like I said before, the sky; I love a blue sky. Or the blue ocean; it is so amazing to see the clear blue water. Even a blue bird or a blue fish is tantalizing.

Isn’t it wonderful has God has given us so many colors in this world, and the choice for which one will be our favorite? God has made colors unique just as He has made you and I unique. So, it might be fun to share with someone, OR me, what your favorite color is, and why. And in doing so, celebrate your uniqueness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Glorious Freedom of the Children of God

In America we are said to live in the land of freedom. So we might ask, how are we free? We are supposedly free to worship any god we so choose; the government will not dictate to us who we will worship (if we even worship any god, since there are many who don’t believe there is a god). We also have the freedom to live where we want, as long as we can afford it. We have freedom of speech, meaning that we can give our opinions in a public forum without fear of being arrested or silenced (so long as we do it in an orderly manner). We have the freedom to seek out any career we want. I could go on, but I think you get the sense that we seem to have many freedoms.
Many think that freedom means that you can and should choose for yourself without anyone else telling you what you should do. And yet, is this really the best way? Choosing what we want without any other input? Think about children for a moment: if they were allowed to make choices, without the input of their parents or a responsible adult, then they would make choices that would hurt themselves or have a negative impact on their lives many times over. As children get older, there needs to be a balance between child and parent to help them learn how to make good decisions. There still is an aspect of control and guidance.
I mention this, because so often people talk about how Christians, children of God, are not free, because they are bound by the rules of the Bible; the rules that God imposes upon us. How can you be free if you have to abide by the 10 commandments? How can you be free if you are told that so many things in life shouldn’t be done because they are sinful? There is no freedom in all these rules and regulations.
The truth is, freedom is actually being able to make choices within a controlled environment. Any environment that doesn’t have boundaries and rules would be so chaotic that you could not live in freedom. It would be a free for all, and probably controlled by the strongest, the meanest, and the person with the greatest desire to control. You would not be free, but would ultimately become the slave of those who came to power.
God is a God of love; a God who has our best in mind. God is a God who seeks to lead us into loving relationships, and into a world where we serve others, and others serve us. God is a God who desires for people to be governed in a way that is not oppressive, but offers many freedoms. But God does establish rules and laws, and calls on the people to establish rules and laws for the good of all; for the sake of allowing freedom to exist. We are free as God’s children, because we can live in the way God has designed, and established for a world that allow us to love God, and love each other. What do you think?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It is said that money "is the root of all evil." Yet, without money we cannot live. So how is it that money is evil? Well, money isn't evil in and of itself, but in how it is used, and how it affects the way we live. I've heard many people say: "If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to give money to the church,” and to this person, and on and on they go. But more often than not, people end up spending it on themselves.
It has been shown that people who win the lottery often have their lives turned upside down, and sometimes even ruined. Evelyn Adams is one such story. "Winning the lottery isn't always what it's cracked up to be," says Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), to the tune of $5.4 million. She went on to say: "Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out..." She gave it away, gambled it away, and made many mistakes with her money. Today the money is all gone and Adams lives in a trailer. This is true for many lottery winners: one man had many lawsuits raised against him, and finally he had to file for bankruptcy. He now lives on food stamps. And on and on the stories go. Susan Bradley, a financial planner from Florida says: "In our culture, there is a widely held belief that money solves problems. People think if they had more money, their troubles would be over. When a family receives sudden money, they frequently learn that money can cause as many problems as it solves," she says. (from article by
Why does money cause so many problems? Because people don't know how to manage their money, and people don't know how to use their money wisely. People in their family want a piece of it, but what they give is never enough, so it destroys relationships. OR, they spend, spend, spend on themselves, and get their focus off of God and onto this worldly living.
This is why Jesus talked so much about learning how to give of our money wisely, and in godly ways. When we are able to give of our money, then our money doesn't control us, we control it. There are only 3 things we can do with our money: spend it, give it away, or save it. We need to learn how and when to do all these things whether we have a little, or a lot!
So how about you, are you spending your money wisely, saving what you need to, and giving away generously? I encourage to think through how you utilize the money you have, so it isn't a root of evil for you. Blessings.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Favorite Book

This week our blog group tackles the question "What is your favorite show or book?" As I was thinking about that, I thought about the many shows I like to watch. But I couldn't pinpoint any one as my "favorite." The same was true of all the fiction books I read. They have their entertaining value, but don't warrant for me the title "favorite." So I thought some more, and finally came up with "The Practice of the Presence of God," by Brother Lawrence.
I have actually done a whole blog series on this book back in the summer of 2007. So let me tell you why this is my favorite book. First, other than the Bible (which might technically be my favorite book), this book has probably impacted my life more than any other. Brother Lawrence was a simple cook and custodian at a monastery, but he had deep insights into the way God connects with us in every day life. He discovered that he could practice being aware of God's presence in his life in a way that is continuous. By doing this he was able to receive God's loving presence more regularly in his life.
I learned that the key is learning how to abandon our selfish desires, and give ourselves totally to God. Brother Lawrence says: "I sacrificed all of the pleasures in my life to God. But rather than punishing me, God gave me nothing but wholehearted satisfaction." By giving ourselves to God, we can learn how to live for God, and by living for God we gain satisfaction in our lives.
From this book I also learned that in giving ourselves to God, we need to learn how to be faithful, even in the dry periods. I know that there are ups and downs in our lives and in our faith. Through this book I discovered that in those times when we don't feel close to God, in those times when we don't feel like life is going well, we need to be even more determined to surrender ourselves to God and trust God.
Because of this book, I truly feel that I have constant conversation with God, and awareness of God's presence in my life. This transforms my daily living, because I don't have to have all the answers, I know that God is there to help me with the answers; I don't have to have all the strength, God will give me His strength; I don't have to have it all together, because God is right here with me to work out the good.
I would love to know what your favorite book is. Blessings.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is Your Biggest Fear?

I am not a proponent for words like "never, always, biggest, etc...", but this was the title for this weeks blog post. So as I share with you a fear I have, I'm not sure if it is my biggest fear, but it is a significant one. The fear I have is: "Will I be successful?"
Now I could have said my fear was snakes, or heights, or being alone. While these are all fears, as I searched my heart, I believe the "successful" issue was bigger. Now the challenge with this is what is success? As a minister, is success bringing people to a faith in Christ? Could be. Is success growing the numbers of people that come to church? That has some truth to it as well. Is success giving a great sermon every week? I'm sure that can be a part of it.
You see, success can be defined in many ways. You could ask 10 people what they think is success, and you would probably get more than one answer.
So what is success? I think Jesus was clear, that success comes from giving ourselves fully over to Him, and putting our trust in Him, and loving God with all of our heart, and soul, and mind. If we do this, then the resulting success will be determined by God.
So as I write this, all of a sudden I realize I don't need to be fearful of not being successful, because it isn't based on numbers, or being the best preacher, but on faithfulness. And the truth is, all our fears are unwarranted when we put them in the hands of God. Go ahead and do that, and see how you feel about your fear; put your fear in the hands of God.
In essence then, this blog is more like a journal writing, and you happen to be in on it. I hope this has created some thoughts of your own in regards to your own fears, and how God can take away those fears.