Archive for the 'Experiencing God' Category

18
Oct
10

Come as You Are; But You Won’t Stay That Way (Re-post)

As I was reviewing the statistics for this blog, I noticed the post that has received the most views of all was on February 9, 2010.  It was refreshing and powerful for me as I went back to read it again.  So, I thought I would re-post it today in hopes that it will be a powerful word of truth to someone today.

Jesus was a controversial figure in His day…during His earthly ministry.  He spent time around those whom the religious community considered the scum of the earth (Luke 5:29-32).  He reached out to them in love without expecting them to “clean up” before He would have anything to do with them.  This is where we get the idea for the old hymn, “Just as I am.”

I’m glad that we don’t have to get our act together before we come to Jesus.  His love and grace calls to us to come and experience His healing touch.  Contrary to some post-modern thinking, however, we don’t come to Jesus and stay the same.  It isn’t an “addition” of Jesus to our lifestyle.  He doesn’t accommodate His truth to our situation.  It is a transformation that takes place (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Actually, it would be a cruel thing for Christ to accept us and then leave us as we are…in our sins.

I am a new creation…and I’m becoming a new creation.  It is an event (salvation) and it is a process (sanctification).  Thank God it is real!

Check out the video below “Come as You Are” by Northland Church.  Celebrate your new life as you watch.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, go here to find out more.

14
Oct
10

Making Theology Practical and Applicable

Pastor and author Josh Harris has written a book entitle, Dug Down Deep, which he describes as…

…a simple introduction to basic Christian belief. One person described it as systematic theology disguised as something readable. I wrote it so that people who might not normally read theology would be able to digest it and understand how life-giving and important it is for living the Christian life.

I haven’t read the book, but the premise is intriguing.  He is even offering to give away copies to people who will use it to mentor, disciple, or share the gospel with an unbelieving friend.  Check out his website here.

The video clip gives a great synopsis.

What do you think about the importance of theology in living our daily journey as Christ followers?  How could you use a resource like this to impact someone’s life?

09
Oct
10

“Beautiful Things” makes for Beautiful Worship!

I had one of the most moving and genuine worship experiences in a long time this past week as the band, Gungor, led us in worship at the Catalyst Conference.  Their musicianship is exquisite and their ability to lead the audience to the presence of God is powerful.  Their ministry, and specifically the “Beautiful Things Tour,” has been dubbed “God meets Art.”

Actually, God is the author of creativity and all things artistic.  So…it only makes sense that the two naturally mesh.  Check out the video below and others online.  Join me as well, in attending a concert if the tour comes near you.  You won’t be disappointed; you’ll probably be blown away!

28
Sep
10

Unclogging the Stagnant Pool

I was in a resort area a month or so ago and passed by a motel that touted its great rates and nice accommodations.  As I glanced into the outdoor pool, I noticed that the water was a very gross greenish brown color.  It was obviously NOT in a condition to be used.  As much as this place of lodging wanted to promote its value, the message of the stagnant pool said “Don’t stay here.  You’ll be disappointed.”

This morning I met Steve.  He’s a mild-mannered guy who has spent the past 20 years as a contractor, building homes and working with the skills of his hands.  About a year ago, he came upon hard times and hit “rock bottom.”  Remembering the faith of his childhood from which he had strayed, Steve turned to God in despair and God responded with love and forgiveness.  Steve proceeded to find a church to attend, devour the Scripture and look for opportunities to fill his life with worship, study and growth.  He became so engrossed in pursuing his spiritual journey that family and friends cautioned him not to burn himself out…find a balance.

It seems God was already at work to address this concern in Steve’s life.  In his walk with God and God’s pursuit of him, Steve began to feel that something was missing.  It became apparent that the missing part was service.  “I want to do some kind of mission work where I can use my skills,” Steve said.  He has found the key to the “balance” that he needs…a “drain.”

What I mean is this.  The Dead Sea cannot sustain marine life because the salt content is too high.  Although fresh water enters the sea, there is no outlet.  The lack of an outlet makes the body of water lifeless and stagnant.  With the best of intentions, we may become students of God’s Word.  We may soak in everything we can from study, worship, preaching, etc.   However, if there is no outlet for serving, sharing and dispensing what we have gained, we can become spiritually stagnant.  Steve has found a way to unclog his stagnant pool of knowledge and growth.  Fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is not only spiritually necessary, it is practically beneficial.  It keeps the stream flowing well.

Have you experienced spiritual stagnation?  Is there a nudge of the Holy Spirit calling you to serve in a particular way?  Where have you found an outlet for serving?

21
Sep
10

Helping God Out

Doesn’t God need a little help sometimes?  Well, I know that isn’t the case, but sometimes I act as though He does.  Permit me to give you a recent example.

This past weekend, my wife and I were in middle Tennessee for a speaking engagement at our former church.  It was also an opportunity to see our daughter who is in college in Nashville.  Our plan was to leave for Tennessee on Saturday morning and return to our Russellville, AR, home on Monday afternoon.  However, on Saturday night I received a call (see last post) asking me to come to Saint Croix, Virgin Islands, to help with crisis counseling for a school where a student had died in a tragic accident.  My immediate response was to begin planning logistics with the contact on the ground in St. Croix.  I needed to get my wife home, re-pack and arrange for a flight out of Little Rock as soon as possible.  The best scenario put me into St. Croix on Tuesday afternoon.  This was at least 24 hours too long under the circumstances.

The contact in St. Croix and I discussed several options, but none of them improved the arrival time…not until we realized that God had already pre-arranged my location for the best possible logistical plan.  We were reminded by the travel agent that it was better timing, a logistical advantage, and economically more practical to make our travel plans from Nashville…the location God had already arranged.  God was not caught off guard by this situation.  He had already put me in the best possible location for making a quick connection to the Virgin Islands.  So…my flight was booked for 6 a.m. Monday morning and my wife’s flight home was at 6:30.  We traveled to the airport together, left the vehicle at the airport for me to drive home, and the ministry to which I was going provided for my clothing needs since I had packed for only two days.  The timing?  I was on the ground at 2:45 Monday afternoon.

Since that initial plan began, I have continued to see God arrange circumstances and people in the right places at the right time for His purposes to be worked out.  He has a master plan that is being completed.  I thought I had to figure it all out, while in reality, He had already done so.  The next time I feel I have to devise a plan to accomplish God’s purpose, I will stop and let God show me how He is already at work to make it happen.  And guess what!  He doesn’t need my help.

How have you experienced God’s hand working out His plan in your life?

20
Sep
10

Trusting a God Bigger than the Unknown

Yesterday, I had the privilege to return to the congregation we left 15 months ago to preach for a special facility dedication service.  It was great to see old friends and enjoy the worship and fellowship.  My message, from Joshua 4:1-11, was a challenge to bring glory to God as we “stack the stones of life.”  I challenged the church to glorify God because He’s faithful, glorify Him because He’s the Great Providor and to glorify Him for the sake of future generations.  One of the things I told them was that we need to trust God and ask for Him to do what we could never do for ourselves.  This requires that we trust Him for the unknown and the “next thing,” whatever that may be.  When we do, He gets the glory for what is accomplished.

When I prepared and wrote that sermon, I had no idea that I would be changing my travel plans on the spur of the moment to fly to St. Croix, VI, this morning.  I received a call from one of our pastors there who not only pastors the church, but operates a school as well.  Tragically, they lost one of their high school students to an accident that has created a traumatic situation for their faculty and students.  The pastor requested that I come down to provide grief counseling.

Now I get to live out what I preached.  I have to trust God for the unknown…stepping out and not knowing for sure what is next.

It is my pleasure to see God at work as I trust Him.  May He be glorified in all of this and may His Spirit minister healing to hearts and lives.

How have you seen God come through when you trusted Him for the unknown and “risky?”

16
Sep
10

Let Go and Give Up

What do you pray for and how do you live in a way that trusts in what only God can do?  I mean…isn’t most of what we accomplish in the church (or our lives for that matter) that which we are able to do without God?  Don’t we usually play it safe and do only what we can pretty much guarantee will be successful based on our own ability, planning and manpower?  What would happen if we stepped out and acted based upon a plan that could only be brought to fruition by God’s sovereign power!  The following quote from an article by Francis Chan says it well.

Honestly, a nonbeliever can accomplish a lot of what you’re doing. Pray that God would lead you into tasks that can only be done by the power of the Spirit. Pray for results that can’t be explained humanly. Ask Him to do what only He can do through you. Pray in faith (James 1:6) and stop looking at the men of Scripture as unattainable superheroes. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are” (James 5:17).

I will be the first to acknowledge that I struggle with this.  I need to give up the safe territory for the journey God is calling me to.  I need to surrender and let God do what God desires to do.  He will easily get the glory when I do.

What would be different if you started living and working based on what God can do and not your own ability?




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