Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fishin' in Heaven.

The other day my son asked me if there would be fishing in heaven. I think this came after the discussion when my wife didn't think there would be deer hunting in heaven. Can you tell that we live in Southern Illinois?

Well in my devotions today, I think I have an answer. There will be fishing in Heaven - if Ezekiel's prophecy is about the kingdom to come...


Ezekiel 47:9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.

I wonder how big the crappie are in the lakes of the New Heaven and Earth?

Enough or Excess?

We just finished our Don't Waste Your Life Series and ended on the topic of the American Dream. As we took a close look at our loves, I was reminded that this question "Enough or Excess?" is not an easy one.

Here's just a sample:
  • How do you know when to eat at your favorite restaurant or instead give that money to Feed the Hungry?
  • How do you know when to carpet your own house or pay to help carpet the church house?
  • How do you know when to pay for that nice get away trip or to pay to send your favorite missionary on a trip where they will be sharing the gospel?

The answer lies in contentment. A person who is truly content seems to make these decisions with thankfulness and ease. I am not this person.

How do you make decisions like this on a daily basis? How do you decide when to spend something on yourself and when to give it away?

I'd love to hear your answers. I do abound in the Lord's blessings. But I'm not sure if I "know how to abound" as Paul did in Philippians 4.

If you want to read a great story about contentment, check out The Rich Family in Church.

HT: Crystal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sometimes You Still Must Take Off Your Shoes

Is nothing sacred?

For most all of my life I have distinguished between the sacred and the secular. A couple of years ago we did a series called God at Work and I realized that I had been compartmentalizing my life. I had God compartments, and then compartments that were God-less or secular. After listening to some Michael Frost, I decided to try and start seeing God at Work.

I began looking for God in the secular as well as the sacred. And I found that He is there. (No surprise for most of you, but for someone who lived in an evangelical bubble this was a wake up call.)

I was amazed to see the beauty of God outside of the sanctuary. To realize that he could be present in a song by U2 or Coldplay just as much as a song by Tomlin or United. To realize that changing oil could be just as valuable to the kingdom as preaching a Sunday Sermon.

And while I think I'm getting better at seeing God in the secular, it's passages like this one from Ezekiel that remind me that just because God is in the secular it does not mean that He is common.


Ezekiel 44:23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.


There are still times we must take off our shoes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are You Celebrating Advent?

Our church family is going to celebrate Advent this year. As far as I know, our church has never participated in this celebration. As I understand it, this tradition is most common in liturgical churches. I haven't heard of too many Baptist churches celebrating Advent. I have heard of some holding a "Hanging of the Greens" Service, but not much more than this.

I'm just really curious. Does your family or church family celebrate advent? What does it mean for you? Does it help you keep Christ at the center of Christmas?

If you are a pastor that has led your church through the Advent Season, how did Advent help your church and what elements did you find helpful?

How did I miss this one?

I love prophecies about the resurrection from the Old Testament. But for some reason I don't remember this one from Ezekiel 37...

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

That's pretty clear evidence of the promise of resurrection. What a day that will be!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Never Satisfied

Why is it that we are never satisfied?

Proverbs 27:20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and never satisfied are the eyes of man.


Lord, let us be satisfied in You.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Music Tuesday - Shadowfeet

I heard a song on the radio coming home from church last night. I thought the name of it was "Still Standing." That's the only part I could remember. The voice was beautiful, someone I knew I'd heard before, but couldn't quite place it. So I looked it up tonight on iTunes. Turns out that the song is actually named Shadowfeet. Brooke Fraser is the artist. That immediately answered why I like the song.

Many of my favorite Hillsong United songs - None But Jesus, Hosanna, Lead Me to the Cross - they are all sung by Brooke. Next to Christy Nockels, Brooke may be my favorite female artist. Tremendous voice.

So if you haven't heard it already, you may want to check out Shadowfeet.



Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to reply to this post can get Shadowfeet as an iTunes gift.

Calvary Setlist for November 9th, 2008:
Great and Mighty
Holy is the Lord
How Great Thou Art
We Fall Down

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Our Gracious God...

Our God does not "enjoy" our pain. His desire is for us to turn and live...

Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?...32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”


Thank you Lord, for being so gracious.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Friday is for Photos - Serenity Now

Serenity Now
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


My daughter and I took a trip to Pyramid State Park last weekend. We did some hiking and a little fishing and just enjoyed spending the day together. There must have been 100 lakes and ponds in this park. If you enjoy hiking and water, you ought to check it out.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Overwhelmed.

Bills.

Elections.

To-do lists.

Kids.

Overwhelmed.

Sometimes life does that. But when is the last time you were overwhelmed because you had been in the presence of God?
Ezekiel 3:15 And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.

Ezekiel sits for 7 days because he was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by God.

Lord, I need you. Please help me to see you.

Music Tuesday - Justin McRoberts


The Question isn't are you gonna die - you're gonna die. Will you be done livin' when you do?

Listening to some Justin McRoberts. Another good FREE download from noisetrade.com. The album is Deconstruction. And so far my favorite song is Done Living. You can listen for free over at Rhapsody.

You can check out the video here. Or watch it below.



Tuesday Giveaway:

Are you kidding? You can download the whole album for free from NoiseTrade. :)

Calvary Setlist for November 2nd:
Above All
Are You Washed in the Blood
Trading My Sorrows
Special - One Thing.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Beautiful Frames...of Dust?

A reminder from the Psalmist - even the Sweetest Frames are dust...

Psalm 103:14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.