Let’s have a party at church.
Yes, let’s have a New Year’s party!
Now to those of you who have a “service” on New Year’s Eve: this may not be for you. You may already get it. But for the rest of us….
The church should have a party. Let’s share what Jesus has done for us. Let’s eat together (have communion) Let’s share, and laugh and sing, and even dance (innocently of course.) Let’s celebrate. For those who can’t celebrate at the moment, just being in the company of friends may soothe a sad heart.
The point is this: the church should be the center of all life. Even on New Year’s eve the church family can share life together. We should be the kind of people that want to spend time together. Let’s celebrate what God has done in our lives this 2014 and look forward to what God wants to do through us in 2015. We don’t need to booze it up- Jesus has satisfied us and we don’t need to get drunk or high to make us feel good.
I pray the Lord gives me opportunity to do this as a church leader…right now I am not in the position to do so. I pray that God will open up the door for me to bring Jesus and the church to the center of our everyday lives. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to, “Go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” I am tired of the church- that is the Body of Jesus- being second or third or last in our everyday lives. Our Christianity should pervade every part of our lives-school, work, celebrations and social arenas- and in that way we can invite others into the goodness and the hope we have. Let’s be so open that all can see the life- and the hope- we have.
So, let’s have a party…at church.
I pray that the Lord will continue to speak to each one of you!
May the Lord bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you…and give you peace…
Happy New Year, 2015!
One of the things that really bother me sometimes is silence- silence about the hard things: those difficult and controversial topics that we see and hear around us.
When Jesus walked the earth, He did not shy away from the hard things. Why do we?
Humanity needs the church to step up and address such things. Not in a judgmental way, but lovingly and truthfully. Yes, the Bible has already addressed these things but not everyone reads or understands it in it’s correct context, right? So as leaders, ministers and scholars in the church we need to bring the truth to the forefront. We need to talk about things and behaviors that are hurting people, destroying families and killing our culture. We can’t be shy. We can’t be quiet.
Why are we quiet? Why do we more often talk about the things that are less important? Maybe, just maybe, this is why some of our churches are empty, or ineffective.
If we love others we will warn them of dangers ahead, right? If someone is walking off a cliff won’t we try to stop them? Should we say…
“If you want to do it who am I to judge.”
“It’s not my business.”
“I can’t talk about that.”
“I don’t have time.”
“They will be angry.”
“If I say something then they would know… I did the same thing.”
Why are we quiet? Good question. Any answers?
Lord, help us address the hard things. Make us speak up. Make us shout the dangers ahead, especially if we have already been there and know truly how bad it is. Help us save our children, our neighborhoods, our communities. Our world.
Thank you, Lord. With your help we can talk about the hard things. Give us strength and wisdom and the power of Your might and Word. Amen!
It’s Sunday. An icy one at that. No church today at Five Rivers due to dangerous road and parking lot conditions.
But that will not change the Sabbath. The Sabbath: “A day of rest.” Oh how I am grateful for that! Can you imagine working each and every day without one day of rest?! Everyone likes that idea.
However the Sabbath is more than that. It is the day to love and honor God. One day out of our seven you are to give exclusively to God. If you don’t pray and worship God on the other six days of the week, you’d better do it at least this one day. God should get one day of your attention.
The Sabbath is not optional. Commandment five: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. God demands the Sabbath. However, He made it for your good to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Just like you demand your children to do certain things- not out of your own selfishness, but out of your love and care for them.
God deserves the Sabbath. He deserves some of you. He made you and everything around you. He has provided everything you need. From your great need of salvation to your simplest need for daily bread, and everything else in between: friends, beauty, love, children, companionship, nature, space, pets, water, laughter, comfort, provision, healing…
You need the Sabbath. Not only does your body need a day of rest, but your spirit needs God. Every human being is made with a spiritual component. You cannot deny there is a spirit part of man. It is this part that especially needs God, and without your relationship to God, the rest of your being- your physical, mental and emotional parts- will suffer. When you refocus spiritually- when you look to God, He reveals your spiritual condition.
Others need you to keep the Sabbath. When you refocus spiritually you see the needs around you, and not just your own. Society needs the Sabbath.
I will keep the Sabbath today even if I don’t go to church. I will pray and read God’s Word. When my clan wakes up we’ll read and pray as a family. We’ll sing an old hymn together (even to the sighs of my teenaged sons.) We’ll worship together. Then I’ll rest the remaining of the day as much as I am able.
Later on, of course, I’ll have to make dinner, do laundry and get ready for a new week, and my “resting” will have to come to an end. This evening, out of necessity, I will begin preparing for tomorrow- I will write some lesson plans and grade a few papers. I’ll check my sons’ school work and help them get ready for the week. At the end of the day, as I lay my head to rest I will thank God for this day and lay everything into His hands and sleep. Tomorrow morning, I will be off as a shot. So for today, I will rest as much as I am able.
Remember that God made the Sabbath for us, to help us. We are not made for the Sabbath. We are not a slave to it. The Sabbath was made so we can get some rest, recharge, and refocus. Do as much of this as you can.
So it’s Sunday. A day of rest. Thank God.
By the way, if you are working on Sunday, that’s ok. Just give yourself (and God) another day to be your Sabbath- pick a day, any day.
Ok, back to resting…before everyone else in my house wakes us 🙂
Upon waking I go over to my prayer spot – just a comfy chair in my sitting room – I kneel and lean upon the seat of the chair, head down, hands folded, and pray my silent prayers. Well lately, the needs in my life have become especially urgent. You know we all have those times in our lives when things are just difficult. Money is short, jobs uncertain, difficult teenagers, someone may be sick, disagreement with your spouse, a change in circumstances, add your own situation here______________…the scenarios in life that challenge us are virtually endless. There are times such as these when all our own self efforts seem pretty futile. It’s during these times of seemingly hopelessness that you have to pray more.
It’s during these tougher times that the regular routine types of prayers seem especially ineffective. As I pondered this thought the scripture came back to me…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. If I want my prayers to mean something they have to be fervent. That means when I pray, I pray HARD, and let God know I am really counting on Him. I might pray aloud, and my prayers are specific. I pray believing that the only one who can answer my prayers is God. I pray believing God is there, He cares and is listening. That’s a fervent prayer.
Fervent prayer has fervor…or fever! Pray like you are in hot water and that you need God’s help getting out. God rewards this type of prayer because regardless of what you believe about God, it’s true that God wants to help you…no matter what you’ve done. And it true that God is a rewarding of those who diligently seek him. As long as you come to Him in a humble way repenting of your past, He wants to help you. It is never correct to think that you are not worthy of God answering your prayers, no matter how many times you’ve sinned. The scriptures say to….. Cast your cares on God because he cares for you.
Hey, pray like you mean it. Pray like you need God, don’t just go through the motions. Pray and keep praying until God turns your situations around for your good as the Apostle Paul describes in the book of Romans 8:28 …And He works all things out for the good for those who love God….He will, but you must believe in Him and believe Him for His answers.
Pray today, and pray hard!
What’s going on?
This is the question I asked myself when I was (you know where) at the Y running on the treadmill as I watched in horror the news about this guy who opened fire at the opening of the new Batman movie. I’m not going to go on about what I think the reason is for all the violence, although I do have plenty of theory on the matter, or course.
But what I am going to say is that people are desperate for the gospel- the good news. Whether they know it or not, people are desperate. This is the kind of news that makes me more zealous to share that there is a God in heaven who has hope for you. That God is good, and He can heal your hurts and help you forgive. That God sees you and loves you, no matter what. That God wants to forgive you, too.
For those who are hurting, few words can soothe their brokenness. But the God of all creation, the one who sent His son Jesus to save us, can miraculously heal shattered hearts.
So pray, send, go. Fulfill the great commission in whatever way you can today. All of our lives depend on it.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all
God bless you as you just do it. Be courageous.