Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Worship Out of Loss

Last week a handful of us from the church traveled to Frisco Texas to the D6 Conference. D6 comes from Deuteronomy 6 and is a conference to strengthen family ministry in the church. There were many great speakers and the worship was outstanding. However, Thursday evening was one of those experiences we will never forget. Steven Curtis Chapman was given an hour to speak and sing. The request the organizers gave him, in fact, was for him to talk more than he sang. He spent a lot of time talking about his family and then singing songs that he wrote out of family experiences. We learned about his family and what led them to adopt several children from China. Steven then took the painful step of sharing what happened three years ago when his son drove up the driveway as one of his daughters ran out in front of the car and was killed.

During this time, you could feel his pain as he and his family searched for answers and struggled to understand why. There was not a dry eye in the conference room as each person either empathized or struggled to understand how they would react in such a difficult situation. After he poured out the pain deep inside his life, he gently pointed us to Jesus. When he began a time of worship and we sang the words “you give and take away, blessed be the name of the Lord”, you knew that the one leading in worship knew as well as anyone what Job was feeling when he wrote, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). The openness and vulnerability of the worship leader took each of us before the throne in worship. May our openness and vulnerability with those around us help them understand why we love our Savior so dearly and draw them to experience the God who gives us strength in the good times and the bad.

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pull Them Out!

I received a very disturbing email this week. It was pictures of two men hunting for the people of their village. One man crawled down into a hole with one-armed wrapped in leather and he was carrying some grass they caught on fire. At the end of the hole was a giant python curled up around its eggs. The man let the python bite his arm wrapped in leather and the other man pulled him out with the snake attached to his arm. They then killed the snake and took it back to the village to eat. It sure brings a new appreciation for Wal-Mart.

As I urgently tried to erase the horrid image from my memory, the picture became a reminder of our job as Christians. There are people all around us who are experiencing life down in a hole. The great serpent of old is trying to bring destruction upon their life. The problem is they are hunting alone. They need someone to come along and pull them out of the hole.

As a church, we are striving to find ways to help you rescue your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The Mighty Men of God Conference was one of those ways to help men in our church. We have Bible Studies, discipleship classes and church fellowships that draw us together to encourage each other on our journey in Christ. It is dangerous to live the Christian life on your own. We are stronger together.

There are two events we have coming up that will strengthen us. The church picnic on Sunday is a great way for us to draw closer together. We do not play together enough. We need an informal time to love on each other and to get to know each other. The other event is the movie Courageous. Satan is winning the battle of the family. This movie will challenge men to be the person God desires them to be. It will show the world what it means to be a family. Use this movie as a tool to help the people in your life who need encouragement and hope.

Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

A Bold Truth in a Fallen World

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Overachieving: Part 2

We Remember

We all remember where we were on that dreadful day. I was at home with Jonathan that morning. I watched live as the second jet flew into the World Trade Center. I shed tears with the rest of our nation wondering how such a thing could ever occur. About the time, I began to get numb from the shock of the nightmare, the first tower collapsed and the pain broke free in my soul once again. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years. The memory of that day still pierces like a knife in the soul.

I guess the hard part of the memory is not what happened on September 11, 2001, but what life was like before the horrible disaster. Do you remember when the Oklahoma City bombing was the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil? Do you remember when catching an airplane meant walking to the gate with your family, kissing them goodbye and them getting to watch you taxi to the runway? Do you remember when the only friction for our military was to enforce a no-fly zone over Iraq? What about the time we allowed our kids to experience freedom without our watchful eye? Yes, the world has changed since that day and we have changed with it.

Sunday we will remember. Like every natural and man-made disaster, it is a reminder that we are living in a fallen world. Sin is ugly. Sin hurts. Nevertheless, we have a Savior who came to defeat sin. One day he will return to put an end to all this pain. Just remember, the reason he tarries is so more people can be added to His Kingdom. There will continue to be pain and sorrow until the trumpet of the Lord sounds. However, in Jesus, we live in hope.

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...