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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts...11-18-10

Today as I'm continuing to prayerfully prepare for the new series I'm starting at church on Sunday called "Purposeful...What Jesus came to do." I was thinking about how many times in life our assumptions, traditions and even things we've grown up believing can sidetrack us from embracing the truths of why Jesus came to this earth. 

 I know for me there have been times in my life where I said the right things, did the right actions, prayed the right prayers and went to the right church service but my heart was far from what my actions were conveying. 

 One of the things that Jesus came to do was replace rules with relationship, and if I'm honest sometimes keeping the rules is much easier than being in relationship. 

 With rules it's straightforward and cut & dry. With relationship though, true sacrifice and devotion for my Savior who is my number one priority is what I want to bring because of what He did for me. Not in a robotic "must repay to earn Savior's love" kind of way but in a "He did that for me? No Way! Wow! You gotta be kidding me! How could I not worship Him and live my life for Him?" Kind of way. 

 So, as I'm thinking and praying about this series, and how many times our assumptions and beliefs shape and ultimately drive our actions, I was reminded of a time when I entered a 10 mile road race and then on race day didn’t show up. 

 Yep, you heard me right, it was 1989, and I was 21 years old, serving as a Youth Pastor intern in Flint, Michigan. 

 It had been a great summer of ministry and it was beginning to wind down. All summer long I had heard about how some people from the church were training to run in the 10 Mile Crim Road Race that was sponsored by Buick. 

 Apparently it was a big deal, and in my zeal to belong, be liked and be respected I foolishly shelled out the dough to purchase the number that registered me in the big race. 

 The only problem though is that I'm about as far from a runner as you can be. In fact, I hate running, I'm terrible at it and I get tired very easily! 

 When I was in junior high I tried out for the school soccer team and literally asked the coach "what position can I play where I don't have to run much?" He said..."goalie" Guess what position I played until I graduated? 

 So, the day came to run the race, I was registered but didn't show, I paid my money, got my number but didn't participate...so even though when I got back to college that following fall and told all my buddies about my great intern experience when it came time to show them my Crim road race number I could only tell the story from an observer's point of view, not a participant's point of view. 

 I think sometimes an assumption that causes us to miss what Jesus came to do is one that says; "as long as I go to church, pay my tithe, say the right things and be good" I'll be all set. 

 I've seen that mindset many times over the years, and as I look at this road race number that I paid my hard earned cash to get, it's about like that assumption for a person who thinks they can just obey the rules and God is good with that. 

 In order to be a runner in the Crim road race I needed to show up and run...in order to be a follower of Jesus I need to accept the free gift that Jesus gives (my analogy breaks down here for sure, because I had to purchase my road race number on a summer intern's salary at that...what was I thinking?) and start the race with my Savior leading the way. 

 This is going to be an interesting series, I'm looking forward to it, because I believe that Jesus was very purposeful in what He did on this earth, and I'm so glad that because of what He did I can finally be a runner (at least in the Christian life.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughts...11-11-10

Spending some time reading, reflecting, contemplating and trying to process how faithful and true God has been in my life not just this past year but every single moment of my life...I came across this Psalm of Thanks and as I was reading it the song "Strong Tower" by Kutless kept coming into my thoughts as well.

I pray that the words of the Psalmist and the Words of the band Kutless will encourage you as they did me today!

David’s Psalm of Thanks
1 Chronicles 16:7-36

7 That day David first committed to Asaph and his associates this psalm of thanks to the LORD :

8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 O descendants of Israel his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15 He remembers [b] his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,

16 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
18 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
19 When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it,

20 they [c] wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.
21 He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:
22 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.

28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his [d] holiness.

30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”

32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
33 Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise.”
36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.”

HE IS WORTHY OF OUR THANKS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLYnN3rRC1Q