Had so many great things happen this year. I'll be working on my list of 2012 Memories and Blessings over the next few days. I'd encourage you to do the same. Thinking about and writing down our memories and blessings is a great way to remember all the things God has done for you.
It is too easy to forget how much we rely on the Lord. The Israelities had that same problem. That is why the Lord told Joshua to make a memorial after crossing the Jordan River.
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua sa…
Maturity. This world needs more of it. Agreed? In 1 Corinthians 13:11 the Apostle Paul wrote, When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Too many men (and women) are speaking, thinking and reasoning like children. They are self-absorbed, unrestrained, undisciplined, and irresponsible. They blame others for their problems, refuse to acknowledge reality, and show no signs of wanting to grow up. I see people like this at the store, I work with them and I read about them in the paper.
I've been thinking about my own maturity and what I need to do so that I continue growing as a man, husband, father, etc. With another birthday coming up soon I want to take time to reflect not just on the people around me but on my own life as well.
How do you know if you're growing in maturity?
- you plan ahead and show up on time
- you are aware of your situation and your words
- you know your w…
Winding down after a couple crazy days of Christmas celebrations. Sunday night at the neighbors, yesterday at my in-laws house, and today we hosted my family here in Northfield. The following are a some memories I don't want to forget.
- So full from the food! Meatballs, shrimp, taco dip, authentic Italian spaghetti, jalapeño poppers, stuffed mushrooms, cheese and summer sausage, cookies, monkey bread, and mini hotdogs!
- Finding Andrew's DSi3D under the front seat of the van. It had been missing for 3 weeks!
- Going sledding at St. Olaf and watching my brother-in-law from Guatemala sled for the first time.
- Taking the kids ice skating at the neighborhood rink.
- Playing Farkle with the neighbors.
- Playing the card game Wizard with my family.
- Watching The Inn Keeper with the kids before opening gifts.
- Andrew asking to say the Lord's Prayer before lunch today.
- Seeing the shock and delight in Stephanie's eyes when she opened "Santa's" gift toda…
What is the difference between a great leader and an average one? Many things of course, but here is very poignant assessment taken from a really good interview about Good-Enough Managers:
Average leaders generally have mediocre engagement and don't have much sense of ownership of their organization. Their team is not motivated, and they tend to deliver whole periods of not terrible but not great results. They basically keep going, not pushing boundaries and not raising the bar. They don't get obsessed with improving results and performance and creating an atmosphere where people can perform at their best. But they don't get much attention because they're not messing up.
(HT: my brother Jeff for sending me the link to the article)
If given the choice to eat spinach or broccoli, you may choose broccoli. But that doesn't mean you love broccoli. It may only mean you don't want to eat spinach. Heaven is not for people who just want to skip hell. Heaven is reserved for those who love Jesus, who have been rescued by Him and who long to praise Him.
- "Creature of the Word" p. 40
This "Creature of the Word" [church] is an eclectic group. We are immature, but maturing. Struggling, yet with hope. Hypocrites, yet covered by grace. Some of us are sick and in pain, others of us are as healthy as can be. We are rich and poor, educated and uneducated, of all different ethnicities and backgrounds. And yet we've come together as a "city on a hill," as a "light to the world," showing what redeemed rejoicing looks like. The Creature of the Word exposes the weak, futile worship of the world by worshiping the only One who can satisfy every longing of the human heart.
- "Creature of the Word" p. 38
I started reading Creature of the Word today. I'm loving it. Came across a few insights regarding worship that I wanted to share.
In the first chapter of the book the authors take a look at the encounter in John 4 between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. In the passage the woman offers to draw Jesus a drink of water from the well and Jesus replies that if the woman understood the well from which Jesus draws that she would be asking him to draw her a drink instead (v.10). Jesus tells the woman that she is drawing water from the wrong well.
The point: in our lives we often are guilty of drawing water from the wrong well. Instead of drawing life from Christ we look for life in lesser things.
There are three wells identified in the book as the wrong wells which we attempt to draw our life from.
1. The well of money and comfort.
2. The well of sex and relationships.
3. The well of respect and success.
All three of these wells fail to give us what we are looking for.…
This morning I attended a breakfast and the speaker read this verse, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (1 Peter 1:15 ESV)
I've been thinking about this statement since the meeting ended. It seems like such a tough calling. Temptations to unholiness are all around. Media, print, television, online. How do you keep yourself from unholiness or from the influence of unholy things? How can I make sure all my conduct is holy?
Regarding this avoidance of the unholy, Romans 13:14 warns, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:14 ESV)
To live a life of holiness, to be holy as Christ is holy, we need to make no provision for the flesh in our lives. Our flesh is that part of us that is not conformed to the will of God. It encompasses the drive inside us that we have for independent living apart from God's design and desires. Our flesh says, "I will decide what is ok, what i…
Many people struggle with their true identity. Our lives are spent being who others want us to be, or we attempt to find ourselves in so many things besides that which really sustains and fulfills us, namely our position as children loved, forgiven, redeemed, and adopted into Jesus Christ's family.
This looks like a very helpful book coming out soon that will address these issues.
We've all been there. We engaged in a conversation and we say something that we wish we wouldn't have said. Maybe it is something that makes us embarrassed. Maybe we let informations lip out our mouth that we wish we wouldn't have. Maybe we don't think someone is around and as the words are coming out of our mouth, there they are! I'd bet almost everyone has had a moment or two like this before.
Our mouths, and what the Bible sometimes calls 'the tongue,' can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. The Book of James, chapter 3, in the New Testament compares the tongue to a small fire that can quickly set ablaze an entire forest. There is a great responsibility that comes with how we speak. Jesus said that one day people will be accountable for all the words they produce. A warning that I believes covers not just what we say verbally, but what we write on Facebook and blogs and Twitter, as well as the many words we think in our minds.
Oh Christian, what do you do, when thing aren't going smooth around you?
What do you do, how do you react, when you feel you're life is under attack?
You quickly have to make a choice, who it is behind the voice.
One voice is soft and tells what's right, the other voice speaks coarsely for the night.
The task of discernment can tough, but hearing God's voice is possible enough.
If you are committed to the Word, the Heavenly voice can be clearly heard.
But you must choose each and every day, to follow Him along your way.
You'll have screw-ups and some mistakes, but returning to grace is all it takes.
So be courageous and very bold, know lies from the enemy will be told.
He tries to soften your conscious everyday, by contorting all you do and say.
To make you feel like you're who's bad, when your resound faith makes sinners sad.
Don't stop, don't quit, not one small bit, or your crown of righteousness may not fit.
Know your standing, God's adopt…
Have you ever had your entire day wrecked by one conversation?
It is amazing how much power we give other people over our lives. Today I had a pretty serious conversation at work with someone. I didn't feel supported and I walked away from the conversation pretty frustrated and upset. As I drove away in my car I could feel all kinds of anger and discouragement building up in my spirit as I stewed on the words that were exchanged. Then something amazing happened.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "You don't have to let this one conversation ruin your day." That encouragement from the Holy Spirit began to push away the feelings of darkness like a light on a dimmer switch lights up a dark room. Slowly, and steadily, the angry feelings went away as I began to dwell, not on what made me mad, but on what God was saying to me.
Maybe you're having a bad day as you read this. Let me encourage you to put your mind on Jesus and take it off the problem you're…
The following paragraph was written as a warning to pastors. I don't think it ends with pastors though. Read carefully and see if there isn't something for you in the words below.
If you are ever going to be an ambassador in the hands of a God of glorious and powerful grace, you must die. You must die to your plans for your own life. You must die to your self-focused dreams of success. You must die to your demands for comfort and ease. You must die to your individual definition of the good life. You must die to your demands for pleasure, acclaim, prominence, and respect. You must die to your desire to be in control. You must die to your hope for independent righteousness. You must die to your plans for others…You must die to the pursuit of your own glory in order to take up the cause of the glory of Another…You must die to your unfaltering confidence in you. You must die.
-Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, pp. 189-190 (HT: Justin Buzzard)
This passage isn't just for pastor…