Sunday, December 27, 2009

Statement or Question

In many areas of my life I have struggled, what I know now is a result of not asking questions, but beginning to make statements. All my life I have wanted people to show me the way to, through or around something. There comes a time in spiritual growth when making a statement has to take priority to the question. The statement precedes the question. With a statement you will begin to find answers. Someone answering my question are still their answers, answers for them and only advise for me. My tendency is to look for the easier solution, if you have already gone through it can save time and  pain for me. You may in fact have a significant impact in my journey, though you are not responsible for my spiritual growth.

Have you ever made the statement, "my prayer time is lacking," or " I just do not have any quiet time." They sound like statements, however their intention is a question, can you tell me what I am missing? Or that somehow your relationship with God is allusive. When in fact a statement will prioritize the questions by accepting responsibility. Maturing in faith requires us to stop living as we are entitled, start receiving by engaging. Make the statement "my prayer time is lacking," stop looking and start doing something about it. Asking question limits your liability and responsibility, it is your relationship. You are the one who stands to receive the rewards of your effort.

Stop searching for the answer when you have the solution. When you take responsibility you can invest in the solution. Looking around can help but ultimately looking up will provide hope. Stop asking a question when a statement should be made revealing truth that only comes from accepting responsibility.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Constitutionally incapable...

Today is a new day, a great opportunity to see where He has brought me. Reflecting upon my past I see clearly where I have been. I was awakened with words from "How it Works" from the Big Book of AA. It is the words that deeply resonate inside on me. Read the first few paragraphs, simple brilliance, descriptive of my life in Christ, not just in struggles defeating the demons of alcoholism. For those of you balking, substitute the word "sin."

I was consitutionally incapable of being honest with myself. I want to be blame others, parents, situations or many yea but's keeping me back from progress. That only left me in greater bondage of my past, paralyzing the present. The fact was I am not constitutionally incapable of being honest, I wanted to be. It was easier to wear concealer, avoiding who I really was, the pain that is real. I was empty, void and alone no one will understand. What happens when faced with a choice to be honest, I lacked confidence, the bondage of shame and fear prevented it. I asked myself questions like "what will they think of me?" Someone understands this thinking, it is not right, but they were my thoughts.

I will go as far as to say, my shame and unworthiness may never have changed if it had not been for people showing grace, over and over. There is no substitute for the Throne of Grace, however often you need someone to lead and tell you "He believes in you and so do I."
 I look at life now and know those struggles, I had never been equipped with confidence to be honest. Many people will never understand not being able to be honest, but there is someone who I can offer hope. If you ever encounter someone like me, be patient allow God's grace to fill that heart, you've got your own baggage! It may very well be the grace you give another person that is the turning point to their transformation. It will not be easy, but is it worth it! As I have heard it said, "speak life," we are all broken and defeated in need of a Savior. "There is no easier and softer way."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

what's your name....?

Have you ever met someone and forgotten their name only to pass them pretending that you remember? You will never have a relationship based on the pretense of knowing them. It is so much easier to simply say, I have forgotten your name. I rely on myself to remember and even resist asking others to help me remember. Eventually time goes by and  it is even harder to humble yourself before them to admit the simple truth, "I have forgotten your name!" I will never know what I am missing or even know what could have been if I do not ask your name. This is what it takes to value someone even more, admitting our weakness & shortcomings.
I was introduced to Him, even had an encounter with him. I was just too busy with other things to have heard his name. I kept passing him in the halls, on the job and in church. Many spoke of him, even I told stories of him. It's what everyone else was doing. They were not my memories of him. I began to speak less of him, even forgetting about him. Perhaps, he could have helped me the most, but I did not actually know him.
I was feeling alone, afraid and empty. It's like when you buy a car, suddenly you see them everywhere. Everywhere I was, He was looking back to me. The pressures of life were collapsing in on me, but I stopped looking up since I was ashamed of what I had become.  Then one day, I realized who He was and that He had always been there waiting for me. He was not concerned for what I had done. He already knew me! Ever since that moment, I have never forgotten His name!

Do you know His name? If you don't, just ask Him. He'll be glad to tell you, He longs to tell you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

example of Faith....

I am humbled to be another life that is in a significant way touched by Matt Chandler. I have never met Matt, because of his obedience to serve the Lord I am another life impacted. I have listened to the podcast messages of Village Church. Inspiring to me with confidence as he had no formal education when he stepped into the pulpit. His messages are powerful & truth filled because the Father using him to minister. A testimony of transformation when we submit ourselves to Him. Thank you for the very generosity that you have sown into my life.

This story and testimony on this video are powerful. My life transformed because of people like Matt who stand up to preach, teach and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Part of living the Gospel is sharing the Gospel with others, by this, I was given hope that this love was available to me. Thank you Village Church and Matt Chandler for again challenging me with the uncertainty & truth of living for Him. There are no gaurantees as to what the path looks like as we follow Him, that should not change the way we honor and serve Him. I look forward to personally thanking you as your faith is richly blessing me.

Now watch this.... thank you for allowing us to be a part of this miracle. It is an honor to lift your family in prayer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

let's get together....

Last night on The Office, Michael made an incredibly profound statement to my spirit, I laughed so hard yet realized the truth it really spoke. "I have made 1,000's of empty promises and none have ever been as generous as this!" still makes me laugh.....

Seems I have a few friends in my life who continue to request time. I have made repeated attempts to actually schedule time, call when I find myself with time or simply reach out and make time! I am beginning to believe it is just not their time! I know this feeling of procrastination.

Let's call a spade a spade, in these particular requests, you want to change but clearly are just not ready for change. Change will require you to move, take action and deny your selfish desires. I am honored that someone would desire to spend time with me, because ultimately I believe they see life change in me. This is what attracts their attention, I am humbled that I stand out because I stand up for Christ. I will always make myself available as time allows, know I am not simply standing by waiting for it to be your time. His time is far too valuable, I realize this now, because I am living for Him.

Bottom line I kept making those empty promises, reaching out does not make the change. Stepping up, making the connection, reaching to Him, actually doing something for Him will lead you to the change you seek. Whether you find yourself at the computer struggling, feeling alone and that God does not answer prayers, that you find no relief to the shame you feel, you're not alone as long as you take that action to move to Him. Continuing to do the same things over and over, expecting different the insanity cycle.

In my life it used to be difficult to embrace change. I continue to remain faithful to Him; now it is welcomed. You see I once saw something in others too that I wished I had, requesting their time. So know that I know how you feel, and if only you would let go of what you see in others and begin to seek it in yourself you too will find yourself being used by Him in time.

Fill your promise with commitment to change, follow through and you will find expty promises are a thing of the past!

Learning from the crowd...

John Bishop's blog title was "leading from the middle of the pack." I have been intriqued by that thought since I first saw the words. I was a follower never knowing how to lead. Today, I believe those words to be true in my life.

I have needed to be a part of "the crowd." Always it was the wrong one, because it was the wrong reasons. Not equiped as a child, my parents struggled to find their own purpose. I never seemed to find affirmation, so my best shot was a group of people. Surrendering anything I had in constant pursuit of fitting in, ending empty and hollow just as I had started. Loosing more of what I once knew and believed. I wanted to do whatever it took to be noticed, recognized, fill a frightening void. To mask the pain of being Fatherless. Ultimately the crowd was a buffer & distraction to the pain inside.

It will never matter what crowd it is, if I'm seeking self worth outside of a personal relationship with Christ. Even as a new believer I did not know how it worked. So I sought a group. I served, studied, joined, participated and gave only to remain empty and void. I could never completely give myself to living right, because I did not know how to reach out. I was following the crowd, not even knowing the purpose of the crowd. I did not know the theology of my beliefs, I was seeking others to build and do for me what I could not do for myself.

Then I was profoundly impacted by Luke 8:40-48. Here's another crowd following Jesus, many of them too may have been following for unknown reasons, just to be a part. What I see in this story was the fact that this woman would stop at nothing to be healed, she had tried everything with the same results. It was not enough to simply "rub against Christ or just catching a glimpse,"  as part of the crowd. She "engaged" by reaching out, touching the Son of God. When He acknowledged that power passed from Him asking "who..." the crowd probably stepped back from Him & she could not hide. By her reaching out she ended up with a personal relationship with Christ.

Bottom line where ever you find yourself engage personally with the Savior. When everything fails you, when you are alone and empty, reach out, the King of Glory is merciful and mighty. Then it does not matter if you're in a crowd, any crowd or all alone...your strength comes from above, the power will flow from Him. And now it has come to pass...I can lead others from the middle of the pack, so they know to reach for Him.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ugly jars....

Too much for Twitter!

It has been a long time since my last post, so here's just a thought!

If I have learned anything from Pastor Steven & LB;  it is to leverage every opportunity to share the message of the Gospel. This week will be filled to live in contentment with what He has provided and not complain about anything. It will be a perfect opportunity to gain perspective.

Don't be a thermometer as it can only register the temperature. Be the thermostat in your environments this week, a thermostat regulates the temperature effecting everything around it.

In Philippians 2:25-30 Paul speaks of Epaphroditus who's life was balanced in both fellowship and furtherance of the Gospel. It is important that we remain balanced in our daily lives. Like Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. It takes both to build the Kingdom. As you bring the peace that transcends understanding into your lives it will disclose itself in your personality & relationships. We will do more to impact others, building the walls for our Lord and furthering the Kingdom for His glory. Live what you speak and speak what you live! The Lord has called us to see joy in all our circumstances, that starts with our perspective. Our perspective is reflected in our actions, our actions are what witnesses to others. Be the joy that others see, reflect His glory and beauty.

Be more than others expect, start today,  thanks for the most recent challenge Pastor. Should be an interesting week with the "Ugly Jar's" and may Jackson Park be blessed in our shortcomings!

Monday, September 21, 2009

this man's vacation exercise...

Ok, truth be told I have this habit of going on vacation to catch up on the exercise I have put off all year. I put long hours in the saddle! Strapped up the cycling shoes, filled the water bottle, earbuds in. I have it in my mind I am off on another adventure, slipping through the mean streets here on the island. Poised to pass upcoming motor vehicles, like a tornado, I am focused, driven with a vision. Hop on my steed, push play, crank up the volume... watch out
Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train,"
Crazy, but that’s how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it’s not to late
To learn how to love
And forget how to hate.....

Yes, focus, now even inspiration, "learn how to love....," I am off. Watch out golf carts, I'm on yo 'ash, the blaze that just rode past you, is me. Cop-per's catch me if you can, lightening I am. Harmonious sounds of gears, chain and testosterone! Man and machine in unison, well oiled...

Gasp, wheeze, hack.... ouch, it burns, aaahh, I think I am gonna throw up.
"due to a man's stupidity, arrogance and pride that tell him he is capable of doing today what he could do yesterday." quoted by chris pollard 4/8/08. Yes, why is it I get on vacation every year - peddle, skate and run as though I'd been doing it all year long. Only to remember I could not do it then either! What a numbskull, think I just blacked out from a lack of oxygen, did that happen last year too?!!!! Perhaps I will stick to riding with the girls!

At least I was not wearing the Lycra wind suit!!!!!!!!!
It's great getting old, people expect the mind to go, I can finally deliver, it is!
Yes, appearing soon at a mall near you, ready to rock those socks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

hope rests in Him....

Dearest Friend's,

Thank you for all the prayers you have lifted in response to our needs for my mother. They are showing great harvest, as yesterday I was overwhelmed and burdened by the barriers of my capabilities. You have shown how spiritually He provides answer to prayer, even more, shown how community in Christ reflects that love. Tears well in my eyes just typing this to you, humbled, changed and loved by you and our Savior. When I walked into my mother's Sunday after church, my breathe was taken by the mountain. Your prayers have put in perspective the truth Pastor shared 3 weeks ago, "stop telling God about your mountains and start telling your mountains about your God." An absolute truth as I witnessed overwhelming pressure yesterday and after seeking His presence; my heart was transformed and filled with JOY.

No less than amazed by His power and glory through you....

blessed by you,
changed by Him,
living in His peace,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rebuilding brick by brick....

In the Book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah felt lead to rebuild the walls surrounding the city of Jerusalem. He had a great job the "cup bearer" to the King. He had access to the king and was provided the good life, there was no earthly reason for Nehemiah to rebuild the city walls hundreds of miles away. To move from the the palace of the king to a city in ruins, yet Nehemiah knew what was on His heart and said "Here I am Lord - send me."

I pray that I may have that faith, that the comforts of today will not hinder or distract the potential for the future He has for me. I rejoice for brick by brick the Savior has changed me, the walls are being rebuilt strengthened from the enemy. More than fortified, I feel hope. It is a feeling that for many years escaped me because of  bondage, behaviors and self serving desires. The brick I thought I would not place, I placed it anyway. It becomes easier to place the other bricks.

God called Biblical heroes on ordinary days. Moses was out tending the sheep when he heard God's call and became a Prophet. David was called home while with his flock and anointed king. Peter, Andrew, James and John were mending nets after a night of failure, but that was the day that Jesus called them to become fishers of men! I read the expression that "like large doors, great life changing events swing on very small hinges." So by the very acts of what we do in honor and service to Him has everlasting impact. We never know the significance of that handshake, conversation by the pool, joyful heart in the classroom, persevering spirit in the boardroom, steadfast for what you believe and how that commonplace conversation will manifest for His glory.

Allow Him to use you, let Him press His plan into your very being. Trust and persevere as Nehemiah, know that the Lord has plans for you. He loves, cares and protects you. Seek His wisdom, Nehemiah sought prayerfully God's plan, waited on God's timing. Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

I am challenged to place more bricks on that wall this week, have faith to challenge others, be more than you believe you are today. Trust what you are doing in honor to Him will harvest great change in our city....