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Thursday, November 18, 2010

selfishness stinks

Man, Satan sure is good at focusing us on us. As a dad, teaching to focus on others before self is something I'm desperately trying to teach my children. But it's so easy (and fun) to consider self first.

Materialistically speaking: well, there's a lot of cool stuff out there. How many people are suffering from financial difficulty today because they are not able to say no to their own wants and desires. If you're one of those people...I'm right there with you. It's tough to say no. Well, it can be easy. "Hey, there's a Ferrari. Guess I'm gonna pass this time." Yeah, but what about one little meal out here or one little trinket there. What logic do you end up using to convince yourself it's all right to get it. "C'mon. I work hard. I deserve this one little thing." Boom...focused on self.

Physically speaking: Man, this could be a long paragraph. How about eating disorders, marital unfaithfulness, alcoholism and other addictive behaviors. This list could go on forever. The bottom line, all of these things start with the whole "It feels so good" type deal. How many families are decimated because people focus on themselves in this category. Oh, and what about buying stuff to look good. See above paragraph. Or surgery to look like you want. Ok...I'll stop...like I said, this could be a long paragraph.

Emotionally speaking: Ever feel like you're treated unfairly when you really aren't. What about a job review that's tough and critical...ever sat through one of those? What's your first reaction when you are challenged? You might be able to control your outside words, but what about your thoughts? "They don't know how hard I really work! I could go work somewhere else. I deserve a promotion. This isn't fair! I deserve better than this!" There it is again...self focus.

Spiritually speaking: Have you ever been fed up with your church because you're not getting anything out of it? Do I need to go any further? Who are you focused on?

It's so easy, and it seems harmless. However, the bottom line is the more Satan can get us to focus on us the less we are going to be focused on God and serving Him by serving those around us.

1 Corinthians 10:24, "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."

I believe that if everyone truly obeyed this verse, everyone would be taken care of. Think about a society with no homeless, starving, or unloved people. Pretty powerful. Look out for each other. Serve like Christ did. Stay strong.

tim


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Boston Marathon...part 2

Boston, Massachusetts is an absolutely beautiful city. What an awesome past few days.

First of all, my brother-in-law Kirk Davis got married to an amazing young lady. Maura, you are awesome. Welcome to the family. Your laugh, smile, and love of life are infectious. Thank you for being so optimistic and full of joy. You make everyone around you better. Never stop smiling.

We all got dressed up for the wedding. Caleb was an usher, and Jude was one of the ringbearers. They both were super pumped and did an awesome job.


My beautiful wife Heather was actually a "groomsman." I guess officially she was a "groomswoman." Whatever her title...she looked awesome, and so did my daughter Kiara, the flower-girl.


The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library. The building was immense, filled with centuries of history. In the middle of all the volumes, rooms, and history, we happened across our favorite author's name mosaic-ed into one of the domes in the ceilings just to the right of the entryway.


Pretty sweet huh?

The wedding was Friday night, but Kirk and Maura hung out on Saturday to see everyone before flying off this morning to Paris, France for the honeymoon. We had dinner reservations for pizza on Saturday night, which gave us Saturday to do some exploring. We loaded up the kids and Mom and Dad Davis and went hiking the Freedom Trail through Boston. The freedom trail is a multi-mile hike through the city of Boston that takes you to several historic sights. You get to see a huge part of our nation's history...from Paul Revere's house to the church where the two lanterns were hung to let Paul know the British were coming. The trail is marked with a double brick path that takes you to all the historic sights.


One of the cool things along the trail is that in the middle of all the stops you see all kinds of different people and street performers. Here's a couple people we met that the kids loved. They were jugglers/acrobats and did an awesome job with all kinds of humor and incredible feats of balance...all right there in the square outside of Faneuil Hall. No nets, no safety air mats...this was the real deal. Fun stuff.


Another cool person we met was at our last stop...the Copp's Hill Burying Ground just north of the Old North Church (where the lanterns Paul Revere saw were hung). We got there just as a police officer (Officer Tim) was clearing everyone out to lock up. When he saw my daughter's disappointment with not being able to go in, he told us to wait a minute while he cleared everyone else out. When the gates were locked and it was only us, Officer Tim gave us a private tour of the graveyard, finishing at a couple gravestones that he pointed out the British army used to use as target practice. You can still see a the dents the bullets left in the tombstone. Thanks for the hookup Officer Tim.


What an amazing day touring an amazing city with amazing people. Thank you Mom and Dad Davis for loving us and blessing us with the opportunity to be up here. Thank you Lord for loving and blessing me with an awesome family to share relationships with on this awesome planet.





Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boston Marathon...part 1


For the next couple weeks, my family and I are on a family vacation up and back to Boston. The most important and exciting part of the trip are a wedding this Friday. Heather's brother Kirk is getting married to a wonderful young lady named Maura. The all love uncle Kirk and are incredibly excited to welcome aunt Maura to the family!

We spent the last 2 1/2 days driving the 1,482.7 miles from our home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to where we are at for the next two days...Plymouth, Massachusetts. We got to enjoy the ride in our rental van, which offers plenty of space. Mini vans were too expensive, but for some reason a full size van was 1/2 the price. Go figure!


On the way, we saw/experienced lots of cool things:
  • A flock of turkeys in South Carolina...plus eating lunch overlooking giant Lake Marion
  • Giant cotton fields in North Carolina
  • Fall started in Virginia...not a ton of leaf change but that's where I started noticing it
  • Going through a tunnel under the bay in Baltimore
  • It was fun crossing the Delaware in...Delaware. We felt like George Washington
  • Wow...what a view of New York City as we drove up the New Jersey Turnpike
  • New York City is pretty big...seriously!
  • Connecticut has some awesome rush hour traffic...and I like the fact that the welcome center is almost 10 miles after you get into the state...northern Connecticut is beautiful
  • Rhode Island is beautiful, but pumpkins are really expensive...and big. $66 for a gourde the size of Jude (see above)!
  • Massachusetts is really historic and pretty...Today's forecast is rain all day, but we braved the weather and saw where our nation got started...a rock. Plymouth Rock to be exact...1620 baby! Plus the Mayflower is here...actually, it's the Mayflower II, but still pretty sweet. We got soaked, but bring it on...we are used to rain being from Florida. Lunch with uncle Kirk at Uncle Al's Pizza Restaurant overlooking Plymouth Harbor was awesome.
Plymouth reminds me of St. Augustine, only colder. Beautiful historic buildings, cool restaurants and shops, and great ocean views, plus a cool harbor. I can't wait to explore it more when the rain lets up a little bit.

Then, tomorrow it's off to Boston for the weekend. After that it's a leisurely trip home stopping in several spots to take in all kinds of stuff. Bottom line, family time is the best time. I love it. What a cool blessing. Thanks God for creating all this amazing stuff and these amazing people to experience the amazing stuff with.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October

I love October. My brother and I were both born in October (thanks for the consistency Mom and Dad). Leaves change color in October (except in Florida...they go from green straight to brown sometime in December-ish). My brother in law is getting married in October (Yay Kirk and Maura). The weather stops being so hot in October (sometimes). Fishing on the Big O and other lakes usually picks up a little in October. You can start thinking about jackets in October (unless you live in Florida...especially South Florida). Football is in full swing in October...high school, college, and the NFL. Baseball playoffs are rocking and rolling in October. Hockey and Basketball start in October. Pumpkin patches, weird looking gourdes, and harvesty type stuff break out in October. Cinnamon is more often smelled in October. Tons of fresh veggies are harvested in October. There are a lot of fun festivals that traditionally happen in October. I love October.

Halloween happens in October. It is a lot of fun. I love dressing up and pretending to be something. My mom used to make costumes for my brother and I. Some were cool (Batman and Robin). Some were not (Butterfly and Octopus...c'mon mom). I love getting free candy...bobbing for apples...and laughing with friends.

I've been really wrestling with Halloween for a good number of years now. I grew up having a blast doing it, and I'm not blaming for parents for secretly instilling evil into my little finite mind. I think we went about it innocently and had a great time.

Here's where I struggle...I can't get past this question: "What about Halloween brings honor and glory to God?" I've really thought through, researched, paid careful attention, asked that same question to several people over the past few years, and here's what I've come up with: Nothing. I haven't found anything about how Halloween is celebrated that honors Christ and I've looked/searched pretty hard.

Here's what I have found relating to Halloween without much effort:
  • Ads for scary movies shown all throughout the day during "family friendly programming" that make my kids not be able to go to sleep, have terrible nightmares, and come crying and terrified to my wife and I...and this is with them purposefully turning the channel and/or turning away almost immediately so they don't have to watch
  • An excuse to get drunk
  • A multi-week celebration at Universal Studios where devout Christ followers go and purposefully spend their money to support an organization that pushes the two above mentioned things. The only defense I've heard when I've asked Christians about why they go to something so gorey and alcohol-filled is "to have a good time."
  • An excuse to represent sexual immorality with inappropriate costumes and often partake in sexual immorality
  • Celebration of death, killing, fear, hell, demons, etc.
  • Razor blades hidden in chocolate candy...okay, this is a little extreme and extremely dated... back to the 80s I think...however it did happen. What was up with those few losers anyway?
I'm not trying to be a killjoy. If you know me you know laughing and fun are some of the things I treasure most. However, more important than those things in my life is reflecting the attitude of Christ.

Christ came to bring life. He conquered Satan and death. He is light...not darkness. Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In the middle of challenging us to live as children of light, Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:27 not to give the devil a foothold...zero space...no focus or acknowledgement.

It just seems pretty obvious what Halloween stands for today, and what Christ stands for always. The two don't seem to mix at all.

Consider Paul's challenge to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, "...set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." and then again in 2Timothy 2:22, "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

I understand if you disagree with me and want to go to bat in defense of Halloween. A part of me is saddened as I think back about wearing my cool robot costume and getting free candy. It's hard to avoid Halloween...it surrounds us and can still be a lot of fun. I'm just asking you to consider the question I can't get past, ""What about Halloween brings honor and glory to God?" If you can find something please let me know. As you seek to answer that question, pursue Christ in all you do. Don't stop letting His light shine just to have a little fun.

I still love October :) Stay strong!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leaving Gracefully

Over the past couple years, I have witnessed several committed people in the church leave the congregation where they were serving (both paid, full-time ministers and church members/volunteers). Some of these departures have been personal choices, made by the people leaving (job switches, ministry moves, etc.). Sometimes the choices are made for them (fired by church, family emergency move, etc.). Sometimes people have chosen to leave for reasons and situations happening inside the church.

Switching churches is a decision that carries with it an incredible impact for you, your family, and the families that surround you. In the midst of such an important choice, I ask you to consider keeping one attitude central in all things you do. Christ's attitude is the one we are called to follow (
Philippians 2:5). He has called us to have an attitude of love. In fact, that's how our personal witness to the world is supposed to be established.

34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:34-35


Reputation...who will people both inside the church and outside the church think about when your name surfaces? Will they think about Christ or not? I'm not asking whether you left a fair situation...if you agreed with leadership...if you were making a point...or if you were treated correctly. I am asking what your reputation as a Christian looks like?

Do people remember Christ when they remember you? Do you love the Kingdom of God enough to do everything you can to promote Christ's cause with your speech and your actions, whether online, in a public setting, or in private meetings? How will leaving the church you are currently at impact the Kingdom? What can you do to represent Christ and develop His reputation of love among the congregation you are with...the one you just left...the one you are heading towards?

The instructions we can find in the Lord's prayer are powerful and convicting:

9"This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Matthew 6:9-10

When leaving a congregation for any reason, whether by your own choosing or not, who's kingdom will you consider first? Notice ___________ (insert your name in that blank) is left out of the beginning of the Lord's prayer. That's because it's His will that matters...it's His name that is to be set apart...it's His Kingdom that is to be considered first in all things.

If you are choosing to leave, is it to further the Kingdom of God? If you are asked to leave, will you choose to uphold the Kingdom of God no matter what people say or do? I'm convinced that words and actions based in self-focused anger (the usual emotion that gets us focused away from God's will) can NOT be the foundation for any type of positive Kingdom work.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30-31

Remember that Christ died for the church. The people that make up the church can sometimes make really bad decisions that cause us to be angry. However, when we give in to our anger and lash back, it is the Kingdom of God that suffers most. God loves the church...He died for it. We need to love it no matter what...imperfections and all.


Paul understood this when he wrote to the church in Corinth:

1"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Paul makes the simple point that nothing we say or do matters if we fail to love...period. Sometimes we get mistreated by the people that make up the church. However, if we check our love at the door to make a point, we fail to represent Christ and become no better than the people that have mistreated us.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
1 Peter 4:10

God's grace is an unbelievable gift given to us...HIS CHURCH. It's time to be thankful enough for the grace you have received from Christ to show it to others.

Sometimes that might mean leaving a congregation to move on to a new one in order to further Christ's Kingdom. When you leave, show thankfulness, love, and grace to the congregation you have had the honor to serve.

Sometimes you might be asked to leave a congregation. When you leave, show thankfulness, love, and grace to the congregation you have had the honor to serve.

Like Paul wrote, "Love never fails." Never stop showing love towards each other, the church that Christ gave His life for. Put His Kingdom first by deciding to unconditionally show patience, kindness, forgiveness, protection, trust, hope, and perseverance towards those who surround you. Trust in God and bring honor to Him. Stay strong.

tim

P.S. “A person is remembered for his entrances and exits.” - Shakespeare

Sunday, August 8, 2010

That's a shame...

Webster's dictionary defines "shame" as:

Pronunciation: \ˈshām\ Function: noun

1 a : a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety

I was blessed to have a very carefree and enjoyable childhood. I have a younger brother Matt whom I have shared a ton of awesome memories. We fought just like brothers normally do...but nothing too serious. I've said some stupid things and done some stupid things, but I don't remember ever doing anything where I truly felt shame...well, that is until I stole.

I've always loved cars...it started with Hot Wheels. never thought I needed any hotwheels until my neighbor came over one day and I saw that he had an Indy Car. My brother and I had a ton of them...plenty more than we could ever use or needed...but we didn't have an Indy Car. I had to have it, and instead of just asking my friend if I could have it, borrow it, or even better, maybe ask him to trade for it...for some reason I decided to just take it. When we started cleaning up, I buried it in with all of ours, and he had a bunch and never missed it when he packed up his cars. He left, and I dug out my brand new Indy Car. I had gotten away with it! Wow...that was easy! I thought the story was done and I could go on with my now Indy Car Hot Wheels filled life.



When dad came home, he saw the Indy Car, and being a racing fan, he excitedly asked where I had gotten the car. Uh oh...hadn't thought this part of the theft through...

"Where did I get it...ummmmmmm...uhhhhhh...(nervous pace...clear throat)...ugh...ummmmmmmmmm...at...uhhhhhhh...K-Mart...I got it at K-mart!" Nothing like stealing and then covering it up with a lie or two...surefire formula for success!

Dad turned to mom and, having noticed how weird I was acting (I'm a terrible liar...I guess that's a good thing), asked her a question, "Did you guys go to K-mart today?" Uh-oh...I hadn't thought this part of the thievery out either. I'm not a very good thief either.

Mom looked at me, then back at dad, and with one simple word she destroyed my entire, incredibly well thought out plan. "Nope!"

My parents don't really approve of stealing, or...as it turns out...lying. I was made to return the vehicle to my neighbor friend (what a great friend I was), and then returned home for my punishment (like facing my neighbor and apologizing wasn't enough...c'mon dad). Turns out...it wasn't enough.

After my punishment was over, I was sore, but also very ashamed. It was a new emotion I hadn't experienced much, if ever, before. When I saw my parents, their now lack of trust in me caused me to feel an uneasiness. I couldn't look at my neighbor...I was too embarrassed. Shame caused me to close myself off to a lot of people around me...it caused me not to act.

Shame is very dangerous to Christians. It's a weapon that Satan uses immediately after we fall prey to sin...in fact, I believe prolonged shame could be considered a sin. How many opportunities to serve the Kingdom of God do we pass on because we are too ashamed of our past or even our present? Satan wants us to hold onto our guilt and shame is his tool of choice. When we hold onto our past, we deny the love and forgiveness that Christ has waiting for us and we sacrifice the opportunities to serve His Kingdom that He has waiting for us.

Check out 2 Cor. 5:17-21: 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Christ's sacrifice has given us all hope...it's up to us to decide to accept Him and be reconciled to God for our sin or to hang on to our guilt and shame and miss out on the life He has waiting for us. Christ calls us to action (ambassadors), not shame.

Don't miss out on the opportunities He has waiting for you. Represent Him. Stay strong.

tim

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

endurance

As Paul is challenging and encouraging Timothy to start a church in Ephesus, he throws down the following statement in 2 Timothy 2:3, "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." Paul knows all about enduring hardship and what it takes to remain faithful to the kingdom, and he wants to encourage Timothy to stay strong no matter what.

Jesus knew that following and obey Him was going to be hard. He talked about the difficulties His disciples would face all the time. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." John 16:33. He was also very straightforward about what it meant to truly be His disciple. "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15. Here, we see Paul indicating and reminding Timothy that the road of faithful service is tough, and endurance is key.

This is just a simple reminder to forget about excuses. Jesus taught that we need to hold fast to Him, the Way, Truth, and Life. It's an extremely simple teaching and basic instruction, but yet excuses creep in over and over and distract us from Him. The bottom line is this, will you be a person of influence or not...will you endure like a good soldier/disciple of Christ or not? Will you compromise your integrity, grab ahold of excuses, and settle for the substitutes that this world has to offer or will you simply hold on to Jesus?

Jesus prays for you, us, the church in John 17. Part of His prayer is this, "May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." John 17:21 When people observe and listen to you, do they have reason to consider Christ or not?

Hold fast to Jesus...don't settle for anything else...ever. Endure...Stay strong.

tim

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love and Balance

Love...the most powerful thing on earth

Balance...keeping everything in perspective

These were the two things that John Wooden believed to be the most important two things on the planet. He taught those things...he lived those things...he set a quality example for anyone who's ever alive to follow.

The earth is a better place because of how John Wooden chose to live his life and the qualities of Christ that shone so brightly through him.

Here's a few of John's great quotes:

Ability is a poor man's wealth.

Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Be prepared and be honest.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

It isn't what you do, but how you do it.

It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.

Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.

Never mistake activity for achievement.

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.

There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.

And finally, consider the words of Paul as he describes love:

"1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails...13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Cor. 13:1-8a, 13

John, thanks for choosing to honor the God that made you by consistently living for Him. I can only hope that we follow your example and let Christ's love shine brightly through all of us.



John Wooden...great basketball coach, greater human being. He will be missed.

Live for Christ...stay strong.
tim

Monday, May 31, 2010

my pleasure


My family and I finished celebrating Memorial Day with a meal at the local Chick-fil-a. I've commented to several people lately how I've always been impressed with the customer service at any Chick-fil-a. I always feel important and cared about after a visit, even if it's a drive through. Yes, I'm really just buying a simple chicken sandwich, some cool cut fries, and some sweet tea (all of which are done very well, but nothing really fancy), but it always seems like the folks at Chick-fil-a treat people that go there like they are at a 5 star dining establishment.


Back to tonight...My wife had made "reservations" to try out the new spicy chicken sandwich (it's good by the way, and I'm not a fan of spicy foods). We came in and walked up to the counter, where we were greeted with a smile and were asked if we had made reservations (odd for a fast food restaurant). We said yes, and were then escorted over to a special section of the restaurant that had been decorated and set apart for those with reservations. The tables were decorated, complete with a fresh cut rose in the center of the table. We were then waited on at the table...order taken, drinks brought, food brought, condiments brought, drinks refilled, dessert offered...anything we needed or asked for (again, we are at a fast food restaurant). We were checked on just often enough, and well cared for...all this at a fast foot restaurant. I left with a smile on my face because I love Chick-fil-a food and my belly was happy, but more so because of how my family and I were treated. We were treated better than at several other places where the expectations were much greater due to reputation (and prices).

Three different times I thanked people for bringing things (ketchup, extra napkins, and ice cream...excuse me...ice dream) and all three different people answered with a simple, "My pleasure." Now, I know that's probably what they are trained to say, but there was a smile and sincerity behind each answer. I watched and heard the same response and sincerity displayed to everyone around me, no matter how loud, annoying, selfish, kind, compassionate, quiet they happened to be. No matter the person, no matter the situation, "My pleasure!" was the answer. Sincere care and a servant's heart was shown to all.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another..." Ephesians 4:32

Stay strong,
Tim

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

tie the knot

I love fishing, but it sure can get expensive. Boats/Motors are very expensive. Gas is expensive. Sunglasses can be expensive. Bait can cost a lot. Rods and reels can be incredibly expensive (I still have my first reel...the good ol Zebco 33...prices sure have gone up since then!). This list can be neverending. Bass Pro Shops fishing catalog is gigantic and filled with "must haves" in order to catch that next big one.

Here's the thing...you can spend all the money in the world, but if you don't know how to tie a good knot, you're wasting your time. You can have the most expensive boat with the latest and greatest GPS & depthfinder electronics...fastest, most powerful motor...all the right gear, and if you can't tie a good knot, you won't catch one fish all day (unless you use the good ol' boy "dynamite" method...not recommended). It's all about the basics...you've got to start there!


For centuries, people have been figuring out how to be a Christ follower. It saddens me to see all the different ways people have "figured out" and "discovered" how to get to heaven. Saying the right things, wearing the right things, being in the right buildings, having the right stuff...this list could go on for a long time too.

Here's the basic, bottom line that we too often forget in the hustle and bustle of our oftentimes overly religious society...Jesus looked person after person in the eye and simply said, "Follow me." Deep, transforming, powerful...that statement is revolutionary, if we obey it.

Jesus knows your life, this society. He knows what it takes to get to heaven and doesn't ask anyone to do anything unreasonable. He simply asks us to do what He has already done & experienced.

Take some time to search your heart. Have you gotten caught up in what the world says following Jesus looks like or are you focused on Him? Make sure you have a solid foundation in Christ and Christ alone. Tie the knot...Follow Him!

Stay strong,
tim

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

is grace enough?

grace: favor,goodwill, generosity, kindness, indulgence; formal benefaction.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
These are the words of God back to the apostle Paul after Paul pleads with God to deliver him from a difficult situation/temptation/"thorn".
I can only imagine trying to have this conversation with God if I was Paul.
Me: Um...God, that's great, but what about all the churches I've started for You? Can't you help me out a bit here?
God: My grace is sufficient for you.
Me: Yeah...I caught that. But how about the missionary journeys...they've gotta count for something. Little help here?
God: My grace is sufficient for you.
Me: Shipwrecks, floggings, beatings, snakebites...all for you God. C'mon...Please?
God: My grace is sufficient for you!
Me: I love your grace God. Really, I do...I'm unworthy...I get that...but I could do so much more for You if I wasn't distracted by this junk that keeps bugging me!
God: My grace is sufficient for you!
How many times have I had similar conversations...asking God for deliverance from something that He might purposefully have me in the middle of to be a display of His grace and love? Maybe instead, I should concentrate on letting His light shine no matter what and be content with His amazing grace.
Is it truly enough?
How about in your life? Is His grace truly sufficient for you? God will never love you any more or less than He does right now. He has given you everything you need to accomplish His will through your life RIGHT NOW! What an amazing honor! Will you delight in His grace and draw strength from Him? Is God's grace truly enough if that's all you truly have and end up with?
Be content. Give thanks in all things. Believe and live like His grace is sufficient for you.
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."2 Corinthians 13:14
Stay strong.
Tim

Friday, April 2, 2010

mockery 2

Galatians 6:7
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Stay strong,
tim

mockery

I can't stand watching someone get mocked. It angers me...the person getting mocked being humiliated by a person(s) who thinks that for some reason they are better than the other. I believe you can mock someone with words and/or actions. Mock: jeer at, sneer at, deride, scorn, make fun of, laugh at, scoff at, tease, taunt.

Matthew 27 is one of the accounts of Jesus' trial and crucifixion. After a pathetic trial full of lies and false testimony, the drunken crowd screams for Jesus to be killed. Between that moment in Matt. 27:23 and His death on the cross in vs. 50, He...Jesus...King of Kings and Lord of Lords...ruler of all nations...the Alpha and Omega...He is mocked.

27Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Jesus is mocked...

32As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots

God is dying for their sins and they play a gambling game for His clothes as He suffers. Jesus is mocked...

37Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

While the sign reads true, my gut tells me that the people who put the truth on it didn't mean what they wrote. Jesus is mocked...

38Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

Jesus is mocked...

41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.42"He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

Here are the representatives of God...the preachers of that day. Instead of worshipping the God they were supposed to welcome and represent to everyone...Jesus is mocked...

44In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

It's sad that the religious leaders acted no better than robbers worthy of the death
sentence. Jesus is mocked...

We come to church. We sing praises to Jesus. We hear the truth of Christ. We have more access to the Word of God today than ever before. And yet, when you look at our lives and the lives of so many who fill church buildings today...instead of seeing Jesus...Jesus is mocked.

Romans 6:1-4
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Stay strong...
Tim