Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Rescue is Coming

I read a very familiar passage today, but it hit me in a new light.Esther 4:12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”“Relief and deliverance WILL arise..”God is coming… Salvation is coming… Rescue is coming.You can stay quiet if you want. You can perish if you want. Or you can be part of something special, something miraculous.This makes me think so many wonderful things. God raised His son from the dead; He’s already started the rescue operation. I want to be a part of this. I want to be a part of the miraculous. Esther’s faith was incredible and it changed the world for her people. How I would love to h…

Israel

Not sure why, but I really like this video...


Why Can't We Change?

I think this may be one of the most frustrating things for me. Sometimes it is so easy for me to see my weaknesses, sins & transgressions. And yet I cannot seem to change.

Why can't we simply repent and be changed.

Daniel 9:13 “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth."

Dear God,

I am a sinner in need of a Savior. My inadequacy is ever-present. I cannot be what I know I need to be. Please rescue me. Please hear my prayer of repentance and my cry for help. There is no way I can live the life you want me to live unless you live it through me. Please come Jesus. I need you.

Confrontation at Walmart

Image
Sometimes you don't know what you can do until you try. This weekend we held a Diaper Drive for Birthright of Cicero at our Noblesville Walmart. Kevin and I set up a couple of tables and we had about 500 flyers to hand out. Our hope was that as people entered the store they would accept a flyer and then consider purchasing some diapers or wipes and then donate them to Birthright.
When I setup my table all I had were a few flyers and a blank table. As people were passing me by my over-analyzing mind was on overdrive. All I could think is "How are we going to make this work?" We had to stay out of the main flow of traffic, and we didn't want to be obnoxious, but it's not like anyone was going to just stop at our table and pickup the flyers. Isaiah and I both wondered if anyone would take a flyer about diapers from two old men. :)I am not a salesman, and the last thing I want to do is bother someone. But I knew something was going to have to chang…

HDR Video

This is pretty cool - especially the HDR video of a person.

Jesus Culture - I Exalt Thee

Image
Ragamuffin Soul had a post on What Songs Are Working In Your Church Right Now. I started digging through the songs and found some new stuff that I really like. Kim Walker singing How He Loves is one of my favorites, but this week I have loved listening to Kim and Jesus Culture do an old classic called I Exalt Thee.

As usual they sing with incredible emotion and passion and I love the harmonies during the quiet parts of the song.



What songs have you been singing in church lately that you are really enjoying?

Fighting the White River

Today Isaiah and I finally got the old boat registered and put out on the White River. If you don't already know, we seem to always have an adventure whenever we get out on the boat. I even got my ear pierced on one trip.I think this was the first time we've had the boat on a real "river", though we've been on a few creeks with it. It hasn't rained here in a while, so the river is way down and doesn't have much flow in most places. It was only about a foot deep in many places so we didn't use the big motor. We did run into some floaters and one of the girls was singing "Father Abraham." :)We made our way upstream pretty well until we got close to the bridge. We saw some boaters flying down the stream on their canoes and we realized that we were in for a ride. Our little trolling motor couldn't push against the current, and even though we tried rowing as well as using the trolling motor it just wasn't working. We w…

Beautiful Things - Gungor

Sometimes the sadness is overwhelming.
And yet the Lord is gracious.

My brother has spent this week in Florida with his in-laws after the loss of a nephew. We have hurt and prayed for my brother's little girls as they deal with the loss of another cousin.
It's not right, little kids should not have to hurt like this.
In the midst of this pain my brother shared a song with me that he said had really ministered to his in-laws during this time. It's called Beautiful Things by Gungor. All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new
Such a great reminder of hope in the midst of Sadness.

Even If I Fall

I love to find a song that the very first time I hear it, I love it.

We were spending some time with my brother in Decatur and he mentioned a song that they sang at camp. He said they were having a hard time singing How He Loves, but this song became the camp favorite. It's called Even If I Fall by Mike Cowart.

The chorus is:
(Ladies) -
Even if I fall, I'll rise again for You are my God
Even if I fall, You lift me up

(Men) -
When You're with me, I will rise up
When You lift me up
The lyrics are simple, but a great reminder that there is always hope in Christ. I can't wait to do this at The Heights.



Cross-posted at The Heights Blog

He Never Said It Would Be Easy

Some weeks are just harder than others. Sometimes life throws you curves or sliders, or even the dreaded knuckler. I don't enjoy weeks like that. Recently, I often find that Monday's after a long weekend are harder, not for the usual reasons necessarily, but because on those Mondays I really seem to exam myself and where I am at and why I am here and most of the time I come up short on the answers.

Those days I need extra grace.

This week I read this from Habakkuk...

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
The Lord reminded me that He gives strength, in the worst of times and for me, even on those dreaded Mondays.

Cross posted on the Heights …

A New Day is Coming

Image
This was the main headline picture for msnbc news last night. As I was reading Isaiah 15 about Moab, this was going through my mind. Why all the needless violence and injustice and killing?


But Isaiah 16 reminds us of hope...

Isaiah 16:5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

Lord, please let Your kingdom come quickly.

Glorious

This whole chapter is amazing. A picture of the reign that is to come. But right now, this may be the thing I'm looking forward to the most...

Isaiah 11:10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
The place of rest will be glorious. I can't wait to see and experience this place.

Reap Love

Sometimes a verse hits it's target. I needed this today...

Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

Lord, thank You for Your willingness to speak. Help me to obey.

I'd like for you to meet Al.

Al Plummer is one of my new friends here in Noblesville. I first met him as he led All Pro Dads breakfasts in Isaiah's School. We ended up on the same Alpha Team working in the Hamilton County Jail. It has been awesome to watch God work in Al's life and he's already been an inspiration in mine.

If you have five minutes you can check out Al's story on his home church's website.

http://www.wrcc.org/multimedia/view_169.php?v=AlPlummer

My Way

Naaman is desperate for help. But when he finally receives it, he doesn't like the instructions. It wasn't the way he had planned.


2 Kings 5:10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.
How many times must I learn this lesson. I'm desperate for God, and ask for His leading, but then He leads me places I wasn't expecting to do things I wasn't expecting. "I thought you were going to do it this way, Lord."

I thought you were going to do it my way.

Lord, please help me to trust You and to follow after Your way.

Those with us...

Such a clear reminder that there is so much more going on than meets the eye.

2 Kings 6:16 “Don't be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Lord, open our eyes - remind us that there are more with us.

Praying for a Post

I've had a lot on my mind that last month. Please pray for me that I'll be able to write out what God has been placing on my heart. I've been listening and learning. Hopefully I'll be able to share soon.

Thanks.

Thinking

I've never really noticed this verse before, but now it has me thinking...

2 Samuel 14:14 Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.

What does it say to you about God?

HOPE

This is the HOPE we've been looking for...

Practicing the Resurrection

A quote from Eugene Peterson’s latest book, Living the Resurrection...
“Church is the appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines: death of nations, death of civilization, death of marriage, death of careers, obituaries without end. Death by war, death by murder, death by accident, death by starvation. Death by electric chair, injection and hanging. The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and partciate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word. Jesus Life…”
HT: Todd Hiestand

1 Corinthians 15: 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Tired.

"I'm tired." Ever said that? Ever heard that? We seem to hear it in our house a lot more since moving to the Eastern Time Zone.

Today's reading reminded me that whether well-rested or tired, we need to be persistent in our efforts in the Lord, because they are not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Lord, give us rest as we need it. Give us strength and power to accomplish those tasks that will bring glory to Your Name.

Someone Still Keeps His Word

In a world of broken promises - God still keeps His.

Joshua 21:45 Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Tricky Gibeonites.

"Tricky" is probably a little mild. "Liars" might be better.

In Joshua 9, the Gibeonites trick Israel into making a treaty with them for peace. Israel buys the lie for one reason

Joshua 9:14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.


What a powerful verse. How many things I do without inquiring. I am so hungry for action, that sometimes I forget to inquire.

Lord, forgive me for when I forget You.

The Day the Manna Stopped

I've heard a message on this text before, but it was good to read these words again this morning...

Joshua 5:12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.

The manna is a reminder of God's presence. He will sustain. He will provide. Israel had enough to eat for all those years in the wilderness. But on this day there was no more manna, because their hope was being realized.

Right now we live in a sin-sick world, but God sustains; He provides. But there is a hope of what is to come, and when the manna stops it will only be because the hope of heaven is being realized.

Why isn't this Song in the Worship Top 25?

What songs do we sing that condemn or correct to bring us back to God? Come Thou Fount comes to mind. "Prone to wander, prone to lose..."But it doesn't come close to Moses' song in Deuteronomy 32. Read the purpose of the song in chapter 31 and then read chapter 32. Is there a place for a song with this tone in our lives?Deuteronomy 31:19 “Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their forefathers, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant.21 And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. Here's the song:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 …

What Counts

This was just the reminder I needed this morning. It's not about my church attendance, my abilities, my alignments with right doctrine - even though sweet frames like these are important.

Galatians 6:15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

It is about the demonstration of the work of God's Spirit within my life. It's Jesus' Name. It's His glory displayed in me and in the lives of those who are people of faith.

Numbering Days.

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Lord, we don't want to waste our lives. Help us make the most of all that you share with us.

The Way to Bless.

I always love reading and hearing this prayer:

Number 6:23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 “ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
May the Lord bless you this day.

The Big Red Tractor Parable

I thought this was pretty good. Anybody read the book Forgotten God?


The Big Red Tractor from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

Godly Mourning

My cousin Stacey Higgins passed away this week after her long fight with Cancer. She wanted her funeral to be a celebration, and in many ways it was.

From the moment we sang "My Savior, My God" I knew this service would be something different. It was very comforting to worship together during this service. Her testimony is amazing. She really started living when she found out she was dying. And I don't mean that she just started to cherish her days more - she cherished her Lord.

It's hard to "celebrate" when someone dies. And sometimes I think as Christians we feel like we are not supposed to mourn or weep because we know their life is better with Christ. But I found great comfort in the passage from this morning...
Acts 8:2Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.

Godly people mourn. They mourn deeply, even for the godliest of men and women. It is only right for us to weep when our loved ones go to be with Christ. We just mourn a little d…

Where are You God?

This is the speck of dust speaking here.

God, where are you?

Your power is incredible. The stars, the sunshine, the rain and lightning - you made them. You put the 2 in H2O. Galaxies are spoken into existence by your very word.

But I'm down here. On this little spinning ball. And some things are pretty messed up. We have beautiful people - people of integrity and character and people who delight in Your Name dying painful, tragic deaths. We have little kids battling leukemia. We have mothers and fathers who have lost sons and daughters.

I know I'm probably really not ready, but I'll go ahead and say it... I'm ready for Your kingdom to come.

Diabetes and Cancer and Aids. A poverty stricken nation with a death blow. People in power fighting for more power and money.

Where is the King?

Why doesn't he come and rescue his own?

Lord, forgive me for such thoughts. You have been beyond merciful to me. You are faithful morning by morning. I know You will make all…

And They Believed...

Moses has a big task to do. God equips him with some amazing signs. He is reluctant, God is angry, and at one point God would take his life if it weren't for his wife coming to the rescue. But Moses obeys and meets with Israel and then this incredible thing happens.

They believe.

4:31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

We're waiting here, trying to live and love and preach and serve and show mercy. And we know God has something to do in this place. We want to see the days where more believe.

Thank You Lord for equipping us. Please continue to push us to do Your will so that others will come to believe in Your Son.

What's at Stake? Life.

Sometimes it's the simple phrases that speak.

Luke 21:19 By standing firm you will gain life.

This chapter starts with a widow who gives all. It's not easy, but it's right. Then we see the prophecy of those who will stand before councils and will be hated by all men. It won't be easy, but God will provide. Then there are those who are just facing the day to day anxieties...

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.

There is the warning, and ultimately a reminder that we will stand before the son of Man.

Be careful. Be on watch. But don't worry, just stand firm. Life is waiting.

Repaid at the Resurrection

I bet since we moved this summer I've encountered this passage 5 times.

Luke 14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

It is a constant reminder to me to seek out the helpless and hurting. It has not been as easy as you would think. My soul gravitates towards itself. That part is a constant battle.

Lord, please help me find the hurting around me. Then remind me to invite them into my life.

Forgotten Sparrows

Image
A sparrow isn't worth very much in this passage in Luke. It's less than a penny. But here's the point of this passage, God counts the pennies.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. God counts the pennies; He cares about the smallest of things. But the chapter ends with the same truth, except that this time counting pennies means that you will pay everything you owe.
57 “Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Lord, let me be reminded of Your love and Your holiness whenever I see a penny.

Consoling Myself...With The Thought of Killing You.

Anger will eat you alive. As I was reading this morning from Genesis, you could feel the hatred that Esau had for his deceptive brother.

Genesis 27:41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, "Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you.

Esau is finding comfort in the hope of destroying his brother. How do you forgive someone who has lied and stolen the most important things you have?

All Creatures of our God and King and Psalm 62

(This is a cross post from the Heights Blog)

This is our second week of doing Psalm 62 at the Heights. I love this song. Today we started with All Creatures of our God and King, and then we used the bridge of Psalm 62 to make our transition. I think in the future we might also use the the Kristian Stanfill chorus that he adds on to Jesus Paid It All along with Psalm 62.



What's your favorite transition right now? What two songs do you think would go really well together?

Lonely Places...

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
My kids class on Sunday reminded me that the Savior experienced great sorrow as he entered Gethsemane. He hoped for another way, yet he ultimately submitted to the Father's will. All without sin.

This passage reminds me that Jesus made a habit of spending some time in lonely places.

Lord, You know that I need to spend more time in lonely places in prayer. I believe. Help my unbelief.

Is God Enough?

I really needed this...

Gen 15:1
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Yes. God is enough. He is our protection, our security and our Hope.

In Spite of Our Hesitation

I don't want to step ahead of the Lord, but I don't want to hesitate when he says it's time to move either. I love this passage, because we see God's mercy in spite of our sin. Sometimes He just rescues us.

Genesis 19:16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.

Lord, thank You for Your mercy.

Missionaries to the Congo or the Suburbs?

After a team meeting the other night, I realize just how little I know about missionary life. I am more resolved than ever to try and figure out what it is to live life as a missionary - no matter what the context is.

I know that being a missionary will look completely different in different contexts. Some contexts require a whole different language and culture, and some are more subtle. Some contexts require learning to live in a completely materialistic culture and others a poverty stricken culture.

And yet sometimes principals apply across the board. Be intentional. Pray. Eat with people. (I really like that last one.)

Right now I'm looking for ideas that fit American Suburbia. How do we make disciples in the suburbs? We've already met some people here that want nothing to do with religion or Christianity. We've also met some people who are involved in a completely different religion such as Islam or Buddhism.

If Jesus sent the 12 into the Suburbs what would he…

Crazy Old Man

The path to Crazy Faith is actually simple... do what you are told.

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

"I know you've never seen rain, so build a boat. Fill it with animals. I'll flood the whole earth, but I'll rescue you and your family." So what does Noah do? Everything God commanded him.

This still amazes me every time I read it. He did what God asked of him even though to everyone and maybe even to himself it sounded ridiculous.

By the way you may want to thank God for this crazy man - without him you may not even be around today.

Good and Evil

Lot's of questions today, not many answers...

Was it God's desire that we never know good and evil?

Genesis 3:22 And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever—23 therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

I wonder what life would be like if we didn't know good and evil. Which also causes me to wonder to what level we will understand good and evil in heaven.

Any thoughts?

A Man with a Plan

It's that time of year - time to decide if I want to use a Bible reading plan. Two years ago I did a reading plan from the good folks at Good News Publishing called Every Day in the Word. I really enjoyed this plan, and actually made it through the plan for the year.

Last year I tried the ESV Study Bible plan. I hope someone will find this encouraging - I didn't finish the whole plan. I basically ended up reading different portions of the daily readings, but not all of them. I know sometimes that when you miss a few days and can't catch up you are tempted to give up. But even a little bit of the word each day is life changing. All that to say, if you start out and aren't able to keep up, hang in there and do what you can.

This year I'm going to try You Version and use Wayne Cordeiro's Life Journal plan. The folks at LifeChurch continue to impress me with their tech savvy. They have over 20 plans to choose from. And they will actually help you track your…

Hallowed be This Day...

Hallowed.

That word in the Lord's prayer has really worked me over. It reminds me that life is all about God's Name. Today I found it in an unusal place - Genesis 2 (ASV)

Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

Why did God make a day to be sacred and holy? Because we need to rest and reflect. We need some downtime to remember what is important. I've not been able to keep up on my blog reading like I used to, but I still follow a few. One that I've been tracking recently is Soul City Church. One thing that they constantly remind us is that we need a sabbath - we need a day to rest and reflect.

After all, if God hallowed a day, it must be pretty important.