Friday, February 25, 2011

Take a Shot

When I worked in athletic training we would say that taking a shotgun approach to therapy might work, but it wouldn't be the most effective or efficient way to go about it. The point was that if you try multiple things you might get lucky and see one of them produce the results you were looking for.

It's easy to do that in our faith, in our families and in our careers. If we try enough things and throw enough options at a situation, something is bound to work. It actually takes more effort to work with precision and to be very focused on what you are doing.

It's the difference in shooting at something with a shotgun and a sniper rifle. You have to be more clear on what you are aiming at and how you are going to get there when using the rifle, but the results are more rewarding in the long run.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We will inevitably have times in our lives when things don't go as well as we hope and expect. When that happens I tend to strategize and come up with solutions. I talk things over with those that I respect and get moving on a plan of action.

When things are going smoothly in life I tend to relish those moments and enjoy the ride. It's comforting to know that my family is blessed, ministry is productive and I am at peace.

What is my instinct in both sets of circumstances? If I am committed to following Christ it should always be to pray. To pray in times of need and also in times of blessing should be my natural reaction and what Scripture urges when it tells us to pray continually.

I'm not there yet, but I keep asking God to help me make my first instinct to always turn to Him.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Super Powers

When I was a kid, I liked to play the superhero game. Running around with a cape tied over my shoulders I would pretend that I had incredible powers to save the world. When picking which powers I had there were always some that were more popular than others. The ability to fly was always near the top of the list along with super strength and speed. The power to be invisible was always attractive too-being able to go places and do things without anyone seeing you certainly has its merit. Even as an adult, that concept is still intriguing.

Here's the deal though-we all have the power of invisibility. It's the difference between the visible us-the one that our family, friends, co-workers, classmates, fellow church goers and accountability partners see-and the hidden us-the one that only God and us really know. The invisible us hides our sinful thoughts, shame, insecurities, addictions, doubts and fears. It's the part of us that we struggle with on a daily basis and one that doesn't show up in our public (or even private) persona. We can live out the visible part of who we are fairly comfortably and no one will ever know about the invisible aspects-in fact, we are all doing it in some way right now.

That has never been God's intent for us though. Erecting the wall between our visible and invisible selves only widens the gap between who we say we are and who we truly are. Allowing God to break down that wall and bring healing and restoration will start to finally make us whole. It's the story of God's great plan to bring His people back to Him-not in pieces, but in our flawed yet forgiven entirety.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Living in Harmony

I stumbled across a new band this past week called The City Harmonic. I have to admit that their sound is really doing it for me and I have listened to their album multiple times in the past few days. I was inspired to download their album after seeing the video for their song "Manifesto." As I watched the video that first time, it evoked emotions and stirrings within me and I could see a glimpse of what God intends His church to be. It is a multi-generational, multi-ethnic group of redeemed people who understand how His story superimposes over ours and our response is simply to worship. My prayer is that what we call church will start to be transformed and be a people of pure devotion and true harmony.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Next Step

I see a glimpse (some times more clearly than others) of what God has for me in the future. There are days when I can feel that I am right on track and maturing and growing in my faith. Then there are those other days when the things that I do become perfunctory and there really is no growth taking place. It causes me to think about my efforts and the heart behind them.

What is it that is keeping me from the next step? What area of my life do I need to increase (or start) obedience in? What attitude of mine must change before God will reveal more of His will to me? I see a big picture in the distance of what my faith and the faith of my family could look like, but I know that the steps before reaching that destination are key. The beginning of that revelation starts in keeping my focus on the things of God and not allowing the temporary restraints of this world to dominate my heart, thoughts and actions.

"So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides.Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ--that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life." Colossians 3:1-3

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Intentions

It has been over a week since my last blog and while that may not matter in the scheme of life, it is still longer than I intended to go without writing. It has actually been on my mind to do and I have planned on blogging several times, but it hasn't happened. The busy schedule, battling illnesses, flexibility in staff due to illnesses, family times, lesson & sermon prep and other things have squeezed out the time (and creativity) to sit and write.

It represents so many things for me spiritually. I have the best intentions, but the follow through is what suffers. I intend to pray more deeply and purposefully and instead find myself praying for the same things I always do. I intend to delve deeply into God's Word and really seek His wisdom and instead find myself reading along and checking it off my to-do list. I intend to have more direct conversations with my children about God's blessing and purpose for their life and find myself tucking them in again at the end of the day without having done so. I intend to show more compassion and patience with people and yet my initial reaction is nothing close to that.

I am thankful that God manages to fill the gap between my intentions and my actions. That doesn't take me off the hook and allow me to blame all of my shortcomings on my "sinful, human nature" and never take action. What does happen is that I am even more grateful for the daily newness of God's grace and mercy that He is willing to pour down on me in spite of my weakness.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who Owns You?

We don't like to think about anyone owning us. We would rather focus on our freedom of choice and our ever-increasing desire for independence. Starting from when we are children, we want to say what we want to say, wear what we want to wear, go where we want to go and do what we want to do. We even convince ourselves that we have no master and that our self-ambition, personality, intelligence and abilities will bring success and happiness.

The truth is that we are all slaves in one way or another. We may believe that we are fully independent, but instead we are serving one of two masters.

In Romans 6, Paul presents the parallel paths. You are either a slave to sin which leads to death, or a slave to God which leads to righteousness. You might disagree with something so absolute and insist that you are a slave to nothing, but your verbal/mental denial doesn't change your status.

One type of slavery is true imprisonment-trapped in addictions, expectations, shameful sin and ignorance. One type of slavery is ironically one of the most freeing ways to live and brings hope, mercy, grace, goodness and love.

Unlike slavery in the physical world, we get to choose who will own us and in fact already have.