Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

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: 22% [?]

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: 32% [?]

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: 42% [?]

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: 13% [?]

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% [?]

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

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Crucify Him!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

cross 300x211 Crucify Him!

Crucify him!

These were the words that came from the mouths of the mob when Pilate asked them what they wanted him to do with Jesus.

Why?

He was innocent.
He had not committed any crimes.
What had he done to deserve such a sentence?
He was the Son of God.
Why would they lobby and vote to execute an innocent man.

If I was in that crowd, I would have lobbied for his release. If I was in that crowd I would have gathered a group and picketed for the liberation of this innocent man. Free Jesus!

What delusion! What self-righteousness!

I was in that crowd!

For there is none righteous, no not one
I was born in Adam
I was born a sinner
I was far from God
I was dead in my sins and trespasses
I was a child of wrath
I was an enemy of the State – of heaven

I was in that crowd, yelling

Crucify Him!

I am still in that crowd!

Each time I live below my position in Christ, I yell Crucify Him!
Each time I prefer myself over my brother or sister, I scream Crucify Him!
Each time my agenda takes precedent over his agenda, I vociferate Crucify Him!
Each time I don’t love my wife like Christ loved the church, I bellow Crucify Him!
With each willful thought, and act of my sinful nature, I shriek Crucify Him!

I desire to live these powerful words each day, so that I don’t crucify him all over again:

But, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

In what areas of your life do you desire for Christ to have more control? What part of your sinful nature do you need to crucify today?  What more do you need to do to live by faith in the Son of God?

Popularity: 6% [?]

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: 17% [?]

I’m Sorry

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

im sorry 300x213 Im Sorry

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

I was taught that if you hurt someone or offend someone, you apologize and ask the person to forgive you. The other morning I was impressed with the thought of how I have hurt and offended my heavenly Father, and how I needed to tell him, “I’m sorry.” So, here is a portion of my apology note to my heavenly Father: 

For the times I taught your word in my own strength and for my own glory, I’m sorry.

For the times when I thought I was You, I’m sorry.

For the times I said You existed, but lived like You didn’t, I’m sorry.

For the years that I was angry at how “church people” treated me, I’m sorry.  

For the times I was jealous/envious of another’s gifting or their success, I’m sorry.

For the times I let days go by without talking with you, I’m sorry.

For the times I was more concerned about my blog traffic and stats than about your glory and honor, I’m sorry.

For the times when I thought it was all about me, I’m sorry.

For the times I embarrassed the Kingdom with my words/actions, I’m sorry. 

For the times I crucified you all over again, I’m sorry.

For the times I took the “second look,” I’m sorry.

For the times I had the attitude of the older brother, I’m sorry.  

For the times when I used people for my own benefit and gain, I’m sorry.

For the times I put the church before my first church (family), I’m sorry.

For the times I was self-righteous and judged others harshly, I’m sorry.

For the times I knew what was right but did what was wrong, I’m sorry.

For the times my motives were tainted with personal gain and security, I’m sorry.  

For the times I harbored unforgiveness and bitterness toward others, I’m sorry.

For the times I placed my priorities ahead of yours, I’m sorry.

For the times I posed and managed an image to impress people, I’m sorry.

For the times I clouded the truth to save myself, I’m sorry.

For the times I simply went through the motions, I’m sorry.  

For the times I breathed your air, ate your food, used your gifts, and enjoyed your blessings, without saying thank you, I’m sorry.

1 John 1:9 says: if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

James 5:16 says: confess your sins to one another that you might be healed.  

Proverbs 28:13 says: People who cover their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy.

What about you? How would your apology note to your heavenly Father look?

Popularity: 54% [?]

Enough

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

This morning I woke up with this weighing heavy on my heart. Have you ever cried out: “God, Enough!”

Enough pain

Enough hospital visits and surgeries

Enough medication

Enough tragedy

Enough depression

Enough stress

Enough directionless living

Enough family crises

Enough lay-offs and being let go

Enough of not having enough

Enough ridicule

Enough loneliness and isolation

Enough suffering in silence

Enough visits to probation officers

Enough arguing and fighting

Enough unfaithfulness in my marriage

Enough separation and divorce

Enough non-commitment

Enough complaining about what’s not right

Enough being invisible

God, Enough already! I’ve had Enough!

I hear Him saying to us during these times: “My grace is Enough for you. My power works best in your weakness.” (2 Cor.12:9) Read those words again and let them wash over your heart like a fresh rainfall.

About what else have you cried, God, I’ve had Enough!?” How have you experienced his grace being Enough lately?

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