Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Grace

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

I was chosen by God,
Not because of any good thing I have done.
I have a robe and a ring. I’m a son.
Not because I deserved it.
Or, had enough ends to earn it.
Or, could go to enough classes to confirm it
From the beginning he’s been wooing me,
Pursuing me,
Luring me
Something’s brewing inside of me
His grace was chasing
And pace-making my dead heart
He bought me.
Sought me.
Finally, caught me.
It is finished.
Accomplished mission
Naw, I am not some strange breed of Christian.
I am simply filled with gratitude,
Expressing my love for His grace
and my transformation.

Popularity: 21% [?]

When Prejudice Meets The Word

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Last weekend’s message was simple but very difficult for me to deliver. Remember the major point from the weekend, as Malachi helped us to Reset Justice?  – “Correcting injustice in the world, begins with God correcting injustice in me. “  It was a heavy message for me to deliver, but God lifted my spirit in an amazing way as someone literally allowed God to immediately deal with the injustice in their own hearts.

After the 11:00 service a man approached me and said he needed to ask me to forgive him. Immediately, I wondered what it could be. He told me that when I was introduced as the candidate for the position of Senior Teaching Pastor, he didn’t vote for me. “I am sure that many people didn’t vote for me.” I opined. So, his comment was no big revelation to me. What he said next was. He said, “You need to know why I didn’t vote for you.” I continued to listen. Because of his experiences in the past, he had developed a spirit of prejudice and racism against black people. In essence, he was saying he didn’t vote for me because I was black. He began to weep and asked me if I would forgive him. I said it wasn’t a problem. He retorted, “Listen! You don’t understand. I really need you to forgive me. I don’t want the junk of prejudice and racism spilling over into my kids’ lives. I didn’t vote for you and I was wrong. God has been and is using your preaching to impact my life.”Wow! To His glory!

I realized what God was doing. This man heard God and was acting on what he heard. I forgave him. We hugged for a good while, weeping in one each other’s arms (Glad we weren’t in the men’s bathroom doing this – Smile! It was a joke). I was moved, humbled, and I rejoiced as I was reminded that God has me in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. God, thank you for using Malachi to help us see that: Correcting injustice in the world really does begin when we let God correct injustice in us. For His glory!

Popularity: 31% [?]

New House

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

House 300x225 New House

Here is a picture (Yes! I was the photographer.) of our new digs in Haslett, Michigan. God is really gracious toward his children.

Yesterday morning, around 10:20, Tonia and I began signing a 2 inch stack of papers to close on our new house in Haslett,  Michigan. By 11:30, we had carpal tunnel (At least it felt like it), a bunch of brand new keys, a few gifts from the realtor, a lot of handshakes and congratulations, utilities transferred over to my name, and a stack of signed papers reminding us of our long term relationship with the bank (we will certainly try to shorten that relationship through some wise stewardship practices). We are humbled that God would provide for us the way he has. We thank him for his gracious provision to us and all those who journeyed with us in prayer and encouragement through this long and sometimes frustrating process.

PRAISALLEUIA! The commute is almost over! (I had to throw that in there).

The big move date is scheduled for Monday June 28th. Why on a Monday? Tonia looked at our schedule – kids at Spring Hill Camp, Tonia starting class, me doing everything under the sun – and determined that was one of the only free days for us to get it done. Plus, we want to get our tenant into the house as quickly as possible. Tonia has been right so many times in the past. So, I trust her judgment. I will forward more details of the move in the next few days.

Rejoice with us as God has proven once again that he is faithful. Again, thanks for your prayers, encouragement and support.

Popularity: 34% [?]

Editing My Life

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

 Editing My Life

I am always looking for powerful questions I can use or that my closest friends can use to edit and vet my life. Though I will add to this list, here is a list of questions that I think am going to settle on for a while. These questions were produced by the Church Multiplication Association.  The ten questions are as follows:

1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?

3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honoring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?

10. Have you been completely honest with me?

What do you think about these questions? Are there others you can add to this list? Do you have someone in your life who can edit your life with these questions?

Popularity: 15% [?]

Greater Things

Friday, April 16th, 2010

My ten year old son asked us if he could have friends over. We usually say yes. But, this time we said no and reminded him that he had not been responsible in the small every day, normal things:

cleaning up his room
separating the recycling
picking up his clothes
helping with other household chores
going to bed on time

Because Micah had been irresponsible in smaller things, what made him think that we could and would trust him to be responsible in greater things. When he showed greater responsibility in smaller things, then we would be more apt to give him greater responsibility in bigger things. I think we miss opportunities of greater things because we cannot be trusted with the smaller things.  

However, sometimes I think God gives us greater responsibility, not because we are deserving or even because we are the most responsible people he could have chosen. Sometimes I think he gives us greater responsibility simply because he is a gracious Father and desires to bless us. But, I think he also gives us greater responsibility to expose our inability to handle the greater responsibility without him and to move us to break ourselves on his unconditional grace, creating the habit of humility.

I am readmitting today that, without God, not only can I not do the greater things, but I can do nothing. His help is not just nice, but it is absolutely necessary.

What assignments have you been given? How responsible are you in carrying out those assignments? What do you need to do to be more dependent on God in carrying out those assignments?

Popularity: 12% [?]

Jesus, Stop Blocking!

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I was reading Mark 5 and the story was about Jesus casting out demons, and God gave me pause as I came across these words from the demon: “Why are you interfering with us?” That question intrigued and convicted me.  I begin wondering if I have privately and secretly mouthed or lived these words to Jesus.

Jesus, why are you interfering? Why are you getting in my way? Why are you interfering with:

my career?

my family?

my plans for the future?

my agenda?

my time?

my success?

my kingdom?

my money?

my profits?

my sleep?

my day?

my life?

“Why are you blocking, Jesus?! We like you, and I might even say we love you, but not enough for you to get in the way of our lives. In fact, when following you becomes too inconvenient and involves too much sacrifice and suffering, we might just tell you to leave us alone, at least until the next time we need you. We apologize in advanced.”

The interesting thing is, when we were sinners on our way to hell, he interfered and rescued us, and we were grateful for his amazing grace, weren’t we? Well, if he was good enough to save us, he has to be good enough to lead us as well, right?

Here is what I’m learning: If he is my King, and I believe he is, then he has the right to get in the way of my life any time he desires. He has the right to interfere with my career, my 3 to 5 to 10 years plans, my family, and even my money. He can interfere because it all belongs to him. He can interfere and redirect if he so desires, without my permission. The assurance I have is, that his interference is designed to make his name famous through me.

Have you ever asked Jesus, “Why are you interfering with me?” How has his interference advanced his kingdom through you?

Popularity: 17% [?]

Save Me from Me

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Lord, do not leave me to myself, but save me from myself, and help me to daily depend on your divine power.

This prayer expresses a healthy distrust in my own ability to resist temptation or stand up under trial. It acknowledges my inclination to sin and to run away from trouble and adversity. This is a prayer of humility and total dependence on God to preserve me under heavy trials and seductive temptations. When I trust myself to always make good and godly choices in the face of trials, temptations, and distractions, I live a delusional existence and typically fail miserably.

This is a prayer that recognizes and exposes my spiritual weaknesses, flaws in character, a desperate need for God’s daily deliverance from the power of sin. Moreover, it is a prayer for guidance and strength to live close to Jesus through the Word of God, community and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I hope you will join me in praying this prayer.

What is your take on this prayer? What part of it is most relevant to you?

Popularity: 30% [?]

Seizing Your Moment

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Over the next couple days I would like to discuss what it means to seize the divine moments God brings our way. God presents us with divine moments and opportunities each day. He longs to touch reality with eternity, and he wants to use us to do it. What does it take to seize the vision that God has given you? What does it take to embrace God’s vision as our own and impact the world for his glory?

I believe it begins with a divine encounter with God himself. Seizing our divine moment seems to always begin with being seized by the Holy. His love and grace arrest our attention and call us from a life of sin, bottom-feeding living, and selfish quests, to a higher purpose of living – living in covenant relationship with Him and pursuing his mission and vision.

Has his grace seized you? Melted your heart?

Read and ponder these verses: Acts 9:1-6; Philippians 3:12

Popularity: 12% [?]

Dance

Monday, November 9th, 2009

This past weekend my kids had friends over for a two day visit. While the boys played video games, my daughter and her friend, Joy, giggled and laughed and danced. The interesting thing is, they danced without music. There was an innocent joy and delight stirring within their little hearts that caused them to spontaneously move their bodies all over our house.

As I watched them express joy and delight with the spontaneous movements of their bodies, I thought about what should cause us to dance.

When God delivers us from bondage, we should dance.
When God exchanges our mourning for joy, we should dance.
When God gives us victory over our enemies, we should dance.
When God gives and restores our hope, we should dance.

Think through these questions with me:

When was the last time I danced?
What are the things, attitudes, behaviors that tend to steal my groove?
What are some other things that should cause me to dance?
What has caused me to spontaneously move my body with joy and delight lately?

Popularity: 16% [?]

Good Morning

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

morning sunshine 300x225 Good Morning

Have you ever thought about the simple but powerful greeting – Good Morning? I was forced to think about it as I ran on the white sand beaches of Aruba one day. I must have said Good Morning at least a hundred times. Sometimes I initiated the greeting, and many other times my fellow vacationers initiated it.

Once we locked eyes, it seemed like we were compelled to say, Good Morning to one another. It didn’t seem like it was an obligation, but a human privilege. Some Good Mornings cheered and brought smiles to faces that were otherwise somber.  Some Good Mornings surprised others. Some Good Mornings were cheerful and some muffled.  Some Good Mornings were forced and others just gushed out

It didn’t matter if the vacationers were from Chile, Columbia, Brazil, Egypt, Poland, United Kingdom, Nicaragua, or Costa Rica, Good Morning was Good Morning! It was a universal phrase that was understood by all, pretty much like love and music.

This phrase is a powerful one because, whether we realize it or not, underneath it is gratitude. We say Good Morning because we are acknowledging, for whatever reason, there is something good about this morning, for which we can thank God.

If you woke up and you’re breathing in and out, Good Morning!
If you still have a job or your spouse has a job, Good Morning!
If you woke up healthy and to a healthy family, Good Morning!
If you are able to read and think, Good Morning!
If you can feel the warmth of summer, Good Morning!
If you can feel the cool breeze of autumn, Good Morning!
If you can feel the chill of the winter, Good Morning!
If you can feel the refreshing drops of spring rain, Good Morning!
If you can walk and talk and reason, Good Morning!
If you can taste your food, Good Morning!
If you’re making a contribution to the world, Good Morning!
If you have people in your life who care about you, Good Morning!
Even if you are going through this and enduring that, it’s still a Good Morning!

That this morning is another gift from God, makes it not just another monotonous morning. It’s a Good Morning because it’s God’s Morning!

For what reasons do you say Good Morning? Do you do it out of habit or courtesy? How can you deepen your Good Mornings?

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