Tag Archives: Love God

OASIS WEEKEND.NEWTON TEXAS.07-31-2016

Oasis_9Last weekend we went to First United Methodist Church in Newton, Texas.  The kids at John Wesley UMC, from grades 6-12, did a weekend mission trip.  We built a wheelchair ramp, and did a good deal of mowing and cleanup for several people in the community.  We had a Vacation Bible School for 49 kids. We worked in the Food Pantry (and Clothing Shop) of Newton, stocking and sorting. We had entertainment: A Youth Rally on Friday night, with live music, games, toys and free tee-shirts; and a movie for all ages on Saturday night, on the lawn in front of the Church, an animated feature called “Inside-Out”.  Popcorn, candy and drinks for all!

May not sound like such a big deal to some; but it was a big deal to us.  It was a memorable event.  We get to develop personal relationships with people in the community.  They love us, and we love them.  Everybody is happy to be nice to each other.  And the SPIRIT  is moving in Newton!  On Sunday morning, members of the church served the team breakfast, then we had church together, with the youth band leading the singing.  At the end we had a few testimonies from people in the community who were touched by the service of our kids.  No doubt, when it was over, everyone was blessed, and God was grinning!

 

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CATS ‘N’ DOGS.071016

American staffordshire terrier dog playing with little kitten

I’ve had people tell me that I oversimplify things, that I try to reduce everything to the most elemental level possible.  They’re right.  I actually LIKE to do that; to find ways that simple things CAN explain, do explain, complicated matters.  Here’s one for you: “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  I’m sure you’ve heard of this idea before.  It’s not new, just true.

Take cats.  They’re an independent lot.  Fascinating.  On a good day they’ll purr and rub up against you, even crawl up in your lap and let you pet them as long as they want.  They’re soft and cuddly.  Often they’re very expressive.  They have any number of different “meows” to tell you what they want or need.  But don’t get crossways with them.  They may not talk to you or get close to you for a week.  And when you try to get them to do something they don’t want to do, forget it.  If you’re wondering who is the master and who is the pet, you obviously haven’t been around cats much.  Oh and have you noticed the disdain they have for dogs?  You’ve probably seen an 80 lb dog back down from a 10 lb cat.  And what about quick response to direction?  Even when they’re accustomed to doing something you want them to, they have to take time for a little grooming.  Their timing, their rules, their game, their way.

On the other hand, take dogs.  Some little, some big.  Almost all are just DRIVEN by this desire to please their master.  They may have been in the crate for hours, but when you come home and let them out, they try to lick you to death.  They’re wagging their tails so hard they can hardly stand up.  They run in circles to entertain you and let you know how much they missed you.  If you let them, they’ll follow you wherever you go, wind, snow, sleet, rain, or dead of night.  And they’re really protective of the master and his or her clan.  Again, little or big, old or young; if anyone attacks, they are ready, willing and often able to defend.  Even when the master is old or broke or really cranky, even when he beats his dog for something he didn’t do, the dog is there to please, to worship the ground he walks on.

You probably already know the punch line:  “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  It’s almost exactly like that other line: “Some people are believers, some are skeptics.”  Continue reading

IF IT’S GOOD FOR PAUL AND SILAS, IS IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME? 110615

Two young girls having conversation in the park

You’ve heard that old song, “If it’s good for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.”  There’s lot of stuff from “the good ole days” that IS good enough for me.  I mean not from ‘their’ era, but from the days of my youth.  Good ole Gospel singing.  Billy Graham preaching.  Maybe even a tent revival with preachers speaking the truth of God, and the people truly rising to the occasion and meeting the Spirit with their hearts.  It’s been a long time since I experienced the movement of the Spirit like that.

But as it applies to ‘making disciples’, what I experienced when I was young fell short of what I now perceive as God’s will for our lives as disciples of Jesus.  Even now-a-days I find much of the teaching in churches about discipleship is pretty dry and academic.  I hear about programs for college kids where they spend the summers working at jobs and spending all their ‘free’ time walking the beaches talking to people about Jesus.  High intensity training in making disciples. In six to eight weeks each kid gets to talk to several hundred (200-300) people.  People are getting saved, making a commitment to Jesus.  Their lives are being transformed;  the kids (the evangelists) as much as their contacts.  No matter what they do for God in the future, it changes their whole perspective on what it means to “follow” Jesus.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART FOUR.102415

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightSURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE (every day)  In some Christian churches you can ‘get saved’ by walking down the aisle at the end of a service and declaring your allegiance (devotion) to Jesus.  Maybe you fill out a card with some personal information.  Then the pastor introduces you to the congregation and they vote you in on the spot and you’re saved. You’re a full member of the Body of Christ.  You’re going to heaven.  What more need be said?  Well . . .where’s the teaching and the understanding and the commitment?

In other churches you’re baptized into the church as an infant, then when you’re around 12 you go through confirmation, with the intention that you learn the basic principles of the faith and then you make a commitment to follow Jesus, with baptism by the clergy, and hopefully of the Holy Spirit.

Clearly either of these systems is dependent on concerted effort by the church community to teach the Bible, to demonstrate the fundamentals of the faith, to show ’em what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Living God.  It requires all of us having a consistent commitment to Jesus and to our brothers and sisters in the Body. Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND.100115

Handsome man playing guitar. Close-up of young man playing acoustic guitar while sitting in front of the window

Been stressed lately.  My main source of income dried up.  Had way too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Not getting enough rest.  Not enough exercise. Heck, I don’t even have time to talk to my one kid still at home.  He’s too busy too.  Long days and short nights.  Need a little relief.  What can I do?

Well, I can think a little about God.  Max (Lucado) says, “When you’re down, think of all God has done.”  Oswald (Chambers) says, “We think everything should be turned into useful teaching.  In fact, it is to be turned into something better: character.” Charles (Stanley) says, “When you need help, thank God for all He’s done.”  Alistair (Begg) says, “All God has done for us should be saved and remembered, to bring honor and glory to Him.” Wow!

And I can pray and tell God I love Him.  I really do thank Him for things He’s done for me, both long ago and in the last few days.  I’m thinking about how I could use a little relief; a little peace and quiet; a little rest.  Continue reading

THE GOD PRINCIPLE.060415

Boy celebrating mother's day. little child lad giving flowers yellow tulips to his mom mother studio shot on blue

In Psalm 18:25-27, David says, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.  For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.”  In Matthew 5:3-12, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed (happy) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the meek (the humble) for they shall inherit the earth.” Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? 052115

[This is an excerpt from a Kairos Talk: Tomorrow]

Bible Group Praying TogetherCan we be changed?   Yes, but not by ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”  To be changed, we must accept the gift of God.  We must realize how badly we need Him, and then give our whole selves to Him, and trust Him to take care of us, because we finally figured out we can’t take care of ourselves.

The guys at your family table are your brothers.  Christ’s challenge to you is to take care of them.  To stick up for them.  To meet regularly with them for prayer and share group. Continue reading