Interesting Day at Church

be the church

So I went to a local community church and an interesting message was delivered. One that I was actually taken back a bit.  The message was about looking at a real check list of how we may be perceived.  Are we haughty, snooty, judgmental.  Are we coachable, teachable, easy to supervise.  The Pastor went on to where it was hard to not see yourself somewhere in the description.  After the quick internal inventory he encouraged us to approach the lofty and the lowly with humility.  To engage with those regardless of standing with kindness and humility.

Church always talks about reaching their community, but this message was a about reaching out of your comfort zone in humility and sharing grace that grace that God has so freely given us.  The immediate application was to reach out to any new folks like myself that strolled in the church on this particular Sunday. Being new, I did not know who else may be a first timer.  Apparently, there are some people that are naturally gifted in that way of connecting with others and then there are your typical introverts where that kind of reaching out is tremendously difficult.

I was invited by the guy that was fixing the shattered screen on my cell phone at Albany Cell Phone Repair a couple of weeks ago, but I did not see him there today.  I looked for him for my first five minutes, but then accepted that he was likely not there and stayed in the moment.
Continue reading Interesting Day at Church

Trunk or Treat

Last year our church was approached with an idea of participating in a Halloween Activity in the church parking lot. The event happens nationwide and the attempt is to bring kids to a safe and fun place for treats.  The first year we had 19 cars decorated and all in all it was an unbelievable event.  Hundreds of people from the community came out and the 19 cars fully decorated were all members of the church.  Many did not have children in that age group any more, but joined into make a great event.  The event was so rewarding that everyone tried to out do what they did last year.

Having full-size hot wheels, meaning cars that had been modified to look just like a hot box sports cars were on display.  Next to that was Herby the Love Bug. This was not a kit car, but rather a 190’s bug made with the fully outfitting for the original movie buffs.

We had castles and pirate ships and thankfulness trees. This was a car where every child could put on the tree something that they were thankful for.  We also had movies running outside, a bouncy bounce and over three hundred people attend.

Our church dialed it in on this event and made it fun, safe and hand out to the community that knows if thy come on Sunday that it will be fun and safe. Outreach is loving one another where people are at the time. At this time, hundreds of people from the community came to our church to see something a little different and hopefully we planted a seed as to what these people talk about on Sunday Mornings. Then on Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays…

Love people where they are at. The idea is how to we have trunk or treat enthusiasm every day of the week in the actually community and beyond the safety of our own sanctuary.  Our cross needs to travel.  Let’s pick it up and go out.

Being a Vessel

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the wedding for the daughter of a gentleman in our Men’s Ministry.  I have a great time with this individual. He literally has a new story every week how God is moving in his life.  The testimony is always fresh and always reminds me of how great God is and how He desires to use us.

Before the wedding my friend got a text about someone from back in the day had stage 4 cancer.  That is horrific news to hear. Of course he prayed for this person.  The funny thing, he did not even know who sent the text.

Then after the wedding he and his wife decided to drive through the old neighborhoods that they knew growing up.  There was no house or street they were looking forward, but rather just taking in the memories from decades ago.

Then as they are driving he sees a face on one of the porches that kind of looked familiar.  the face had been worn down from decades of life since my friend last saw this person.  He parked the car with his wife and made his way to the porch.  As the woman saw these two approaching the door, they stopped and just stared at her until she made out who had parked themselves in front of her house.

My friend asked how she was doing and it turns out that she had been feeling a bit under the weather and went to see a doctor. the doctor sent her to a specialist a week later. The specialist confirmed that she had Brain cancer and she could die at any moment.  This was a divine appointment that my friend was sent on.  The woman only has a very small amount of time left on this earth and she is asking my friend about this saving grace that comes from Jesus and what he accomplished on the cross and through the resurrection.  My friend has no magic words other than God loves you and so do I.  The woman looks at my friend a one who can point her in the right direction.  Recommend what to read, what to pray and who she can be in her final breaths.

My friend did not know where God was sending him, he just where ever it is you can send me.  Being a vessel is about listening to God and obeying his will.  Be a messenger that freely shares the hope that we have in Jesus.

Do You Believe in Doctrine

sound doctrine pathInteresting sermon today at our local community church.  The premise was to we believe in sound doctrine.  The elements were taken from the Apostles Creed that is a statement of the Christian Faith.  In my mind, I was going through the lyrics of “We Believe”, by the NewsBoys.

“We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe”

However, Our Pastor was talking specifically about the Apostles Creed, beginning with the first two sentences.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Our Pastor wanted to know do we believe this doctrine.  There are many competing religions and world views.  Do we believe it, if not then the following conversation is meaning less.  The issue becomes in whom do we trust.  Our doctrine can be changed and we need to be on guard for that.

We were taken to Genesis 3, where the serpent changed the doctrine given by God to Adam.  We see the doctrine was changed in Exodus 32 when Moses was on the mountain and Aaron relented to the masses and made a golden calf as a token to the God that took them out of Egypt.  God gave us the ten commandments and while waiting the devil crafted an idol in the ind of Aaron and other Israelites.

What in our culture or worldview is shaping our doctrine.  Are our beliefs a reflection of our understanding scripture and applying them in all aspects of our life.  While trying to prove to everyone how open minded we are, do we tolerate a doctrine that is really a trap for those of the faith.  Again, who do we trust.

If you dropped your child off at the airport and they were flying into Mexico City to do mission work.  Would you trust the taxi service at the airport to get your 15 year old daughter to the home of the missionaries about three hours outside of Mexico City.

When we go on a trip, do we leave our house unlocked.  Who do we entrust our pets to when we leave for a couple of weeks.  Do we check references before having someone serve as a a consultant.

Do we trust someone to drive us a across the Chesapeake Bay, because our nerves will not allow us to do it ourselves.  Time and time again, where are we putting our trust.

Our homework was to explain what does Jesus mean to me today.  Then what does Jesus mean to me in Eternity.  I deem this a worthy exercise, because I need to come to grips with what in the culture and in the world that I tolerate and put my obedience to scripture on the back burner.  Sunday cannot be the refocus point.  It needs to be a culmination of a week full of worship, spilling over into the body of believers at our local church.

Co-existing with scripture and the world is a bad mix.  We need to a path marked out for us to allow us to navigate through the culture, which is scheming to alter our doctrine at every turn.  God has created a path and a light unto our feet.  Without a daily walk in scripture, then we will see our doctrine completely change and do not even recognize what our new doctrine is or how we got off of the path that was once so clearly marked.

 

Ceiling on your Joy

Our country has a malaise that it has not had since the carter Administration.  I look at the political similarities between our current administration and the one in the late 1970’s.  We had strained relationships with Iran and the Soviet Union.  There was a complacent element that easily can be attached to policy making in the government, or Supreme Court Ruling s or corruption in government, wall street, military and or the Police Force.  It could be the unsafe and violent cultures of the street.  It is easy to blame all of this on policy, but can the real blame come to men in the church.

I think about the rioting in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray incident.  Baltimore was on fire.  Politicians stood down as the city burned.  Police were told not to engage and became targets.  The moment that no one captures is the men of the church in the city of Baltimore standing between the crowds and the police.  this was the men of church who were men of color standing up for truth and justice.  We all saw the results and looked at Baltimore as a complete failure, however there were men who stood up and were accounted for.  That is stepping out in faith.

I look at the churches around the country that have survived the most challenging of times like the massacre of the folks in the South Carolina Church.  that was forgiveness in action and grace abounding even n sorrow and grief.  Let’s contrast that with our own local church.  Outside of our family and how it is served by the church, how do we step up as men of our church and man of God in our community.

This leads me to what men of action looked like. What were the Church men of God doing in Baltimore and South Carolina that caused them to step out in faith and exhibit love and grace in the midst of chaos.  My guess is that they were men that lived in the Word of God.  They likely men who lived in Prayer.  they were likely Men that did not stand alone. meaning they stood with one another shoulder to shoulder.

Back to our local church.  What does mentoring program look like at your church. Yikes, may be we do not have a formal mentoring program.  Okay what about Men’s Bible Study, what does that look like?  Is it okay just to know the Word of God or must you put it into action.  Does your Bible Study group have a sufficiency of knowledge of scripture?  Are your men superficial or go there in terms of their personal challenges? Are there other smaller groups where the men not can go deeper and actually do.  If your men stand silent when the conversation of addictions come up, then repentance should be at hand.  For us to be men of God and be able to step out in Faith, we have to live in the abundance of God and not the prison of our addictions.

If we are open with our struggles then God will cleanse us.  I think about about what it means to care and share one another’s burdens.  I think about the four friends that carried their friend to the house where Jesus was staying and lowered him in from the roof.  If we carry one another;s burdens, if we bring our struggles into the light then God will give us abundance.

I am not sure whatever happened to the roof back in that biblical story.  I know if it were today, then I would expect the Carpenter to heals my friend and then I would call my friends at Top End Roofing to repair the roof once the mending on the inside was complete.

The light is good.  The truth is good.  Our God is great and we who believe are saved.

 

Plane Down

I think about when I fly that we as passengers put a lot of faith in the technology of the air craft and the skills of the pilots.  When in the plane we have a planned ascent, a cruising altitude and a descent.  Hopefully a gradual descent.  During the flight we are surrounded by strangers that can be a mix of ages, ethnicity, religions, genders… The only thing in common is departure from and arrival to.

Now imagine the plane’s engine goes down.  Then you see a fire coming from the other engine.  It has not seized yet, but everyone knows it will.  The Pilot tells every one to get the flotation device from below the seat, because the plane is going into the water.  The plane takes a rough splash into the ocean and everyone is now in the water.  The only thing everyone has in common now is that they need to be saved.

Everyone knows that death is around the corner.  They can not see the sharks circling below.  They know they will either drown or be eaten by sharks unless they are saved.

At this time where there peril is right in their face, they know exactly what they need.  However an hour before when the flight was just a normal flight and the day was just a normal day, a savior was not top of mind for many of them.  If we knew for certainty what was about to happen, would we have wanted to be right with our savior.  I think so.  God is patient and life will giving you moments of clarity on the need for a savior.  If that is not the case, then you were blind by your own decisions and taken off track by strongholds of your own choosing.

That being said, God stands at the door and knocks…Open the door!

Conviction

Do you ever figure out what your real guiding principles are?  What are our convictions and do we have them.  Convictions are those stubborn little things that we are going to follow no matter what the cost.  That is  really penetrating question, because we can think that we do, but our actions may tell another story.  We can have red lines in the sand that we continually move so that we can avoid confrontation.  We are neither hot or nor cold and just blowing in the wind.  Imaging us on the water with a storm coming and we have no anchor and end up where ever the storm takes us.  That could be because our beliefs were guidelines and not convictions.  That can be because they are choices and options, but not convictions.  The truth is that we may not have convictions, but we can develop them.

So how do we develop convictions?  We start by deciding whether we are going to live by Biblical principles.  If the answer is yes, that we have to go to His word and spend time and we invite the Holy Spirit to shape our beliefs.  If we we ask God, to be with us you best bet believe that he will show up.  He says that he stands at the door and knocks. Whomever opens the door he will come in.  This we bet our faith on.  That a Holy and Loving God wants a personal relationship with us.  So much so, that he sent Jesus to take on human form and to die for our sins.  The good news is that is rose from the grave and conquered death. Whomever believes in him shall have eternal life.  That is our God who seeks to interacts with us through His Word.

As we learn of God’s instruction for us we must turn that knowledge into action. Other wise it is just Knowledge, but it is not obedience. that is calling on God to be your Savior, but not your Lord.

In Ephesians 4:14 Paul states “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.  We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lives so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like  Christ, who is the head of the body, the church”.

Instead Jesus give us a new way of thing. In 1 Peter 2: 9-12 ” But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people.  You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into the light.

Once you had no identity as a people, now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy, now you have received God’s mercy.

Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners, to keep away from worldly desires that wage war on your very souls.  Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then if the accuse you of doing wrong,  they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world”.

As my Pastor was telling the congregation today that if you have no convictions, then start building them one at a time.  Do not think that you will create 15 convictions and obey them all.  The first step is to open the word of God.  Ask the Holy Spirit in.  If you do, then He will show up.  Then the word of God is part of you. However if you do nothing with it, then it is only in your head.  By obeying it, is when we follow Jesus and we have convictions that we will follow no matter what.  Once you have a conviction, then is becomes easier to build on that.

The key is to press into God, listen, believe and obey. No turning back.  All in.  All thrusters on maximum speed.  Since we are children of light, let us go In God’s speed. Let us go a light speed.

 

 

Real Life Inspirations

Have you ever wondered why people who are suffering keep it to themselves or do not want to tell the children.  I remember when my mother was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, she died within a year of that diagnosis.  I remember that my parents did not want to worry the kids so they kept us in the dark a bit.  Then goes that Cancer Battle Plan.  Whoever is in the fight needs to determine what that battle Plan is but it entails getting your game face on and being all in.

I know that my parents cracked and we learned what was happening and we rallied behind her.  I was impressed with my mother being spiritually prepared to be with God through this last year.  She also took that year to get closer to my father than she has ever been before.  I remember the two of my roughest moments were when I had to go into the room with my Mother after hearing that they were unable to get everything.

I could not stop crying long enough to be able to go in and be an encouragement.  I remember afterwards calling my Mom everyday and telling her how proud of her i was and that she was going to get through this.  Then the news that she was on Hospice.  I was not ready to concede anything and angry that others were.  I learned later that Hospice is merely a phase to try and ease the pain with medication and top of the line health care.  This end of life process is so difficult to get through.  I remember my Dad really not leaving my Mom’s side for a year. he slept at the Hospital right next to her whenever she was kept there.

It was that commitment that he made to her in that last year that was awe inspiring.  I know my wife had a health scare and it took a long time to get definitive information on whether she had cancer or not.  We would not know until she had a biopsy.  When we got news that she was all good I could not even call my Dad to tell him the good news because I was crying uncontrollably for 15 minutes. My wife had to give him the news.

Now in the world of Facebook, we see our childhood friends battling these same tragic life experiences.  I have a friend that was there until the last moment and the last breath with his wife.  After the funeral he had to go in and deal with his own medical issues that he had put on hold so that he could not miss a moment with his wife.

I want to remember these moments and these people as a reminder of how we need to cherish our loved ones now and not try and cram an entire lifetime in the last moments.  With Valentines Day coming up, do something great for your wife everyday leading up to Valentines Day, not save it up for that one day.  I am inspired for those that live with reckless abandon and put others before themselves.  To you folks, thank you for inspiring me.

Belong

i belong

Belong is the word I want to spend some time with.  Everybody has a desire to fit in and belong somewhere.  The feelings of loneliness and rejection when we do not feel like we belong.  Even though we may feel desperate, we do not have to seek out other desperate people to create a pity party.  To sit around and discuss how none of you feel like you belong.  In that moment you may think you are walking alongside of them to help them, but your negative MOJO will likely rub off on others.  I think about Belonging to my wife. My wife who I felt was a blessing from God. I also thought that God has a sense of humor.  We are oil and water, but over time we have made it work.  What we both got was that we belonged to one another.  I cannot talk highly enough about focusing your efforts on growing and improving your relationship.  To be betrothed to my wife is a big big deal.  Slide on down five to ten years and now you have a couple of kids that belong to you.  The pet dog that needs to be fed and housebroken belongs to you. All of the bills belong to you. Now when you have a couple of kids maybe your spouse feels that their is so much to do with the children that the language changes from the kids belonging to US. Meaning the management style of divide and conquer that keeps you isolated from the spouse you Belong to.  All of a sudden a rhythm has been created without me and everyone else seems to flow and work better when I am not around. That is not to say they do not want me home, they just confess it is easier.

Outside of the family we have work, sports, bigger family functions, clubs and events and all kinds of things that pull us away from our spouse to the two that belong to us.  We are trying to belong in so many places.  The crux of it is that we always want to belong, but their is only one place that belonging really matters.  To know that I Belong to Jesus, Because he was and is the Christ and came so that I would be saved.  It is my belonging to Jesus that ensures my belonging for eternity.  If I belief that to be true, then how I interact with others should change.  Because if other people who I belong to, do not understand the most important one to belong to, then my fruit is rotten and I need to push back into the one I belong to and have Him take me to fertile ground.

We have choices of where we want to belong.  The first choice, the first true love should in turn show you the light and the path and the truth, which will abundantly bless others that you belong to and they to you.at choice

What’s the Word

Each year creates a new opportunity to better know who we are, as well as get to know who God is.  There are many different books that help you experience God more. there are many ideas on how to better apply God’s truth in our lives.  We understand that we cannot succeed alone and that is why the body of Christ exists.  So I know I want to invest in people more this yea and stay open to God’s calling upon me.  The practice that I want to start this year is to pick one word that I will study all year. i will post different thoughts or understanding on that word. it could evolve over time or it could be a mechanism for me to witness God more fully through different perspectives. So what word should I choose as the very first.  It could be sacrifice.  I could focus on Jesus’s sacrifice. Then better understand the sacrifice that I should be making toward purposeful living.  I could study obedience in that God prefers obedience over sacrifice. It could be freedom that comes from Jesus payment on the cross.  It could be renew.  That takes on a fresh renewing of the mind focusing and thinking of things that are good, pure and noble. There are so many words like justified, sanctified and glorified.  It could be the word all as in that Jesus came so that ALL could be saved.  It could be remember and God reminds time in again to remember. the last supper was to partake in remembrance of me.  The word could be light, path, truth.  It could be awe, in that we need to understand the position of an Almighty God compared to his creation.  It could be many grand words.  I think the word that fascinates me the most for the year is renew.  I will keep you posted and I look for depths of understanding. This is likely a personal revelation, but I am happy to share.

New Year’s Resolution

Every year I go through the same process.  What am I going to stop that is not good for me and what am I willing to replace it with.  I know I will have to do that new habit 7 times before it becomes a habit.  Since I am in middle age bracket I have a series of cause and effect realities that have to deal with like not feeling well, being overweight, having no energy, feeling foggy from current medications, insomnia and the sleep eating that comes with insomnia.  Oh boy, what should I do to tight this ship?  I have all of 2016 to wave a flag saying mission accomplished.  But this is going to require the first steps I do consistently at last 7 times.  I know I need to exercise, but happens when you feel too ill to even exercise?

So my resolutions is to wake each morning a give glory to the Lord.  I am then going to take the Bible into a quiet place and study who God is what he has called me to do.  Once have God’s instruction on my heart I purposefully live in discipline that will impact what and how I eat, it will impact my physically activity because this is just not about me, but going to the gym and be an encouragement for others while I am there.  I will commit to clean eating for January, February, and March of 2016.  That will mean by April, I ill be ready to start taking short hikes with my wife. By the end of the summer, we will go on at least on high Peak.  So let’s remind.  I am currently a physical, emotional and even spiritual wreck. I am going to address that by Going to God early and Often.  Then I will address how to eat, how to exercise, how to interact with the outside world.  Doing this on my own for decades has kept m having the same results time after time.  This time I am running to Jesus and seeing what plans of radical transformation he has for me.

The Sunday After Christmas

The steady rise of excitement and build up crested Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  Now the big exhale.  We got it all done and now the metabolism has slowed and life can all of a sudden have malaise as we are in the limbo stage of post Christmas pre-new year.

Our church service took a completely different form, which was a great change of pace.  The Pastor facilitated a town hall style service where he asked a 5 year old to stand before church and asked him mundane questions.  The site lesson was that at some point Jesus was 5 years old.  Jesus was different 5 year old because of what we read in Collossians 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.

God was pleased

all of His fullness

dwell in him

Breaking that down and spending time with each part of this sentence is remarkable.  He was pleased shows God’s heart.  God wanted to dwell in him and be with us.

All of His fullness.  Who can understand that mystery. As one said, there is more there than meets the eye.  Unpacking that could take forever to even scratch the surface. Who can comprehend the fullness of God.  If you can, then how can you now see it reside in human form.

Dwell in Him.  Again a mystery as to the self-aware nature of Jesus and at what levels was his interactions totally in sync with his Father in Heaven.  Was it always or were there awakening points along the way.  Regardless, God the Father dwelled within Jesus fully.

That speaks to a Loving God who wanted to be with us and make the unseen tangible and pay the price that he knew we could not pay.  What a great service to follow up on Christmas for us to consider how great our God is.

Christmas Eve-Eve

The excitement is building because all of the Christmas noise is just about complete.  That is all of the shopping, buying, cleaning and decorating are done. The Christmas Tree is up, adequately sized and pruned for optimal display.  The lights and ornaments went up with very little conflict.  Now that the stress of the season seems to be letting up, now I can concentrate on The Savior who came into this world to save me.

Many Christ followers would say that Christ should have been in your midst all through the struggles and trials.  I would argue that the stress was due to the fact that Christmas I was participating in was not about him, but the expectations of family and friends and the World loom large.  I relent, but is there a middle ground.  Should there be. How do I Glorify Him when I put him on the backburner until Christmas eve-eve-eve.

So, I would not expect a peace in my inner being when I am taking a joyous remembrance and making it something that it is not.  So now that the grind of Christmas is in the rear view mirror, I can take an extended period to celebrate the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and ponder how Christmas-eve-eve-eve could start the Day after Thanksgiving like any normal Christmas season.

 

Christmas Show

This is the time of the year when the Christmas lights come out, the shopping starts in earnest and the anxiety of the season comes out.  The church I have been a member of has put on a really top notch Christmas Concert, with drama, music and a real message of Hope.  This year I was asked to be in it and I said no 4 times, before asking for more details.  I was being asked to do a skit and I was casted for my over the top personality.  I did not want the additional stress of having to memorize lines, but once I saw the script and understood the rest of the cast I was in.

Now aside from a tremendous effort by so many that participated in the concert, I was a couple of things stood out.  Once was an 8 year old that had memorized the Christmas story and spoke as though it were coming from the lips of an angel.  The Choir sang, but more importantly they worshipped the Christ in a spirit that was alive and vibrant.  The drama was delivered incredibly well, but the scripts tht were working from were inspired.

That leaves me to the 5minutes where the Pastor gets to speak.  Every year you pretty much hear the same thing, that Christ is Hope and in Him is forgiveness, in him is Salvation and in Him is peace.   These are things that become like white noise to the luke warm brethren of which I have been a member of more often than I would like to admit.  But this year,  the Christmas story was personal. It was Jesus seeking me out. It was Jesus walking with me, it was Jesus walking ahead of me and protecting me from the enemy behind me.  It was Jesus who died in my place.  This year was Jesus seeking after me,  and me stopping for a moment, which was enough time to be overwhelmed with the God of all things pursuing me.  I did not have to seek him out.  He sought me out and I said I believe.

 

Living in the Moment

Notes from Noah Elkrief

We want to live in the moment. We may experience the moment but not live in the moment. What is preventing me from living in the moment?  Simple we give attention to thoughts instead of what we are experiencing.  If we interact with someone and they tell us something, then we will either believe it or not.  We will decide whether to give credence to that and if we do those words create thoughts and those thoughts create emotion and then are attention will be on that and not living in the moment.  Conversely if we give no credence to those words then we will not think about them or have emotions related to it or be distracted from living in the moment.  So the exercise is to change the words you have in your head that spurs thought, that spur emotion that takes your attention away from the now.

Based on a previous post by Matt Killingsworth from ted Talks, he tied unhappiness to people’s whose mind wanders. Mind wandering is what kept people from living in the moment and kept them from being happy.  Noah drives down a couple layers in saying the words we listen, lead to thoughts.  One would think this was healthy, unless the actual thoughts were not healthy or productive.  But is drives us to ponder it and do deep brain cycles on those thoughts.  In doing so we are take precious time, mind share, energy and attention away from more important things like you job, friends or family who are right in front of you, but you opted to see them as white noise until you solve the problem.  Noah stated that these thoughts lead to emotion.  Those emotions could be happy or sad.  But toggling back to Matt’s work where he said that those mind wandering or those lost in thought on less happy than those who mind does not wander

So the important self-improvement thing you can do for yourself is to decide what words roll around in your heads.  To do that successfully, Find better friends that won’t bombard you with their negative mojo.  Think on the things that are noble and pure. Use Jesus as an example and put into action what we saw and read that he did.  Everything Jesus did was pleasing to the father.  He was the very image of the Father.  We need to walk as heirs to the Holy throne.

Walking with Jesus brings peace and joy and they are better barometer of a good life than perceived happiness.

Elizabeth and Zachariah

As we are coming into the Christmas season and we strive to keep Christ at the center of all we do, it is nice to have a bit of a back story on the Baby Jesus and the Culture that he was being born into.  It started with a women named Elizabeth who came from a line of Aaron,  priestly line which gave her standing in the community.  Elizabeth married Zachariah who was also from a line of priests.  This couple had double standing in the community and apparent double blessings from God.  Both Elizabeth and Zachariah were getting up there in years and the 800 pound Gorilla in that town was why that had no children.  According to Luke 1:6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.

So if they were so righteous, then why no heir.

Well, Zechariah took his rotation and drew lots to go into the temple and burn incense.  Getting this honor was a big deal. This was like winning the lottery for priests.

Then an angel appeared and relayed the following:

  • Your prayers have been heard
  • Elizabeth up in years will bear a son
  • His name will be John
  • He will be a joy and a delight… He will be great in the sight of the Lord
  • He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born
  • He will bring the people of Israel to God
  • Will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah
  • He will ready the people for the Lord

So as we prepare for the birth of Christ, let us remember the favor that fell on Elizabeth and Zachariah for they walked righteously in the sight of the Lord.  Perhaps this season God will hear our prayer and we will be a delight to the Lord, so that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit and ready the people for Jesus the Christ.

Slowing down to be in the moment with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

I Want To Be Happy

I want to be happy.  So I thought that I would see if anyone had some enlightened path to happiness. I went to Ted Talks and look for a topic in or around happiness. Matt Killingsworth presented Want to be Happier? Stay in the Moment. Here are my notes from Matt’s presentation.

 

 

 

Most people want happiness. Aristotle called it the great good. The ends towards what all other things aim. We have been conditioned to believe that a big home, nice car, great job will make us happy, but that is the paradox, because that does not prove to be true.

The scientific model can look at demographics and see the impact of happiness. However helps us to determine that its’ better to have more than less, but more does not ensure happiness.

Happiness could be the contents of moment to moment experience. It seems as we are going through our lives, what we are doing, who we are doing it with, what we are thinking about have a big influence on our happiness, but these factors have been very difficult and almost impossible for scientists to study.

Continue reading I Want To Be Happy

Christmas Tree Time

Every year it seems like we are the family that has waited so long, that we have to go to multiple locations to see if they even have a tree left.  Somehow, every year we find a tree that we determine is awesome.  This year was going to be different.  This year we were going to buy the tree early and even put up Christmas Lights.  We have not put up lights frankly because we have a tall house and if your are going to put up lights, You want to go big or go home.  Well on a step ladder I feel comfortable up to the third rung.  That is correct, I have a fear of heights.  If i put up the bigger ladder, i can get to the sixth rung, but because I am gripping the ladder so tight, I cannot carry anything up much less do any work up there.  So the pressure is on to get going with letting our little Christmas light shine.  We bought the tree a week ago with its fresh cut and it has been sitting in my garage that entire time.  To be fair, I had a lot of time conflicts and the tree stand was broken.  That still means a week has gone by where we have a Christmas tree hiding in the Garage.  I went to Target to get a new tree stand and much to my surprise, they were out.  Let me get this right, every year I am so late that I can barely find a tree.  This year I am way early as it relates to our family history and now I cannot find a tree stand.  I still have other things to do that are relationship driven and are a priority over Christmas Symbolism.  To that end I am going to yield to the spirit of Christ and honor my friendships and let the symbolism and tradition get addressed in the timeliness that we always deal with this time of the year.  Tis the Season everyone.