Archive for April, 2013

Feeding Frenzy of Cormorants and Brown Pelican...

Feeding Frenzy of Cormorants and Brown Pelicans eddy_MdO_bluff_MG_1758-9 (Photo credit: mikebaird)

A freeway at 3 AM is usually not crowded but who commutes to work at that time? Travel down I 25 into Denver from the north later, and you will wish you set your alarm clock earlier. Our life so easily can resemble 8″O clock or 5 O’clock traffic-hectic, irritating, and stressful. Our focus at these times is on survival and not the refreshing time with Jesus in our quiet time. The hard truth is that our pace of life does not only diminish the quality of our time with God but usually eliminates it.

I once told a group of University of Wyoming football players I had an assignment harder than any they would get from their head coach. I asked them how many thought they could have a quiet time with God for 5 minutes every day for a week. The laughs were out of control as they all thought they could easily do that. The next week I asked them about it. Two did that for 2 days and a couple did it one day. No one did it every day. Why, when it was so easy? The enemy will always fight to keep us from the Word and a relationship with Jesus.

When it comes to discipling another person, we must get off the freeway and on to a back road or plan to leave earlier. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking we will develop a dynamic relationship with God or help someone else until we slow our rapid pace down.

Take some time this week to meditate on Psalm 23 and 46:10. What will you eliminate from your life to really get to know God and help others along the way?

Alzheimer’s destroys our enjoyable lifestyle. It is something dreaded and I know of no one who looks forward to this illness. However, it is easy to deliberately or gradually forget the only thing that gets God dancing at the party.

Almost everyone focuses on what they believe will make them happy even though happiness has never been the prize God has for us. Joy, on the other hand is ours but if we get this dreaded disease we sacrifice the prize. It really doesn’t matter whether some traumatic event causes us to not value what God does or over time we simply choose to put our priorities on the top shelf. Either way we constantly can reach for life in things that come up short every time. The new car, dynamite stereo, unbelievable concert or the slow cruise down the Rhine River leave us only wanting more. Alzheimer’s is taking over.

Isaiah 65:11 and 12 speaks about our abandoning God, forgetting and ignoring what he hates and choosing to figure out life our way. However, if we want the prize God has for us, Isaiah 66:1 and 2 clears it up. Enjoying the life God has for us only has one condition-to reverently be responsive to whatever God says to us. God never changes the formula, He doesn’t forget, we do.

How can we not get this disease? Join with others who are listening to God and doing what he says. It’s simple but is hard to find but worth the trip.

My Joy

My Joy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italian Job

Italian Job (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

If you saw the movie you know how wicked fast those mini’s raced through the crowded streets to escape with enough gold to open a few thousand bank accounts. There was no time to think or focus on the beach you would be laying down on later and how you would roast some shrimp and lobster with a friend.

Recently, I had an opportunity to be involved in the sequel to the original movie. Racing through traffic with 4 other vehicles, dodging dogs, cars, horses and a few people while not stopping for any red lights or glancing in a side mirror for about 20 minutes did not allow me the opportunity to think about a quiet time with Jesus. Survival was the only thought.

While that experience was out of the ordinary, our pace of life can often mimic it. And there is no real justification for the breakneck pace we become trapped in on an almost daily basis. There is an exit from this pace of life but most miss it.

Knowing the point of why God left us on this planet and consistently focusing on it will keep us from the destructive lifestyle of busyness. Mark 3:14 reveals that Jesus wants us to be with him and John 15:7 adds that he wants us to stretch out on the couch with him and enjoy the relationship with him he intended. This is not a new Apple product, it has been around a while. Just think about Hosea 6:6-“I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.” The Message.

What one thing will you do this week to slow your pace of life in order to spend more quality time with Jesus?

Not everyone likes Starbucks coffee. Those who object say it is too bitter but those who disagree say it is bold and strong. But for sure it is not watered down and at every Starbucks coffee shop, it is almost guaranteed to be the same.

Our experience of Christianity can be as God intended or it can be compromised in some way that causes us to nap throughout our life and deceive us into thinking we are ok. And when our friends agree with the compromised version, our nap is extended indefinitely. Thoughts like Jesus being in the driver’s seat every day (deny yourself), or to not allow any relationship to have priority over Jesus, or to give up every right I have or give up ownership of everything can be quickly dismissed as good stuff Jesus said, but it must be translated into our culture today and for sure it will not carry those harsh implications. Before you water this down, check out Luke 9:23 and 14:25-34.

Jesus meant exactly what he said and even though compromise begins in small ways, it always ends up robbing us of the freedom and life we never dreamed possible by following Jesus. Look at John 10:10.

Think through how you may have begun to compromise what Jesus said and take back the life stolen from you by the enemy. “…don’t get blown off the road. Go for it 100%-you’re working for the Boss and you know it’s worth breaking sweat for. It’s not a waste of time. Hang in there.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Word on the Street

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being us...

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being used as a secondary logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It was just one taste”, “I was only there for a minute”, “I was  only window shopping”…and there are many other innocent ways of saying that we never intended to get trapped in the deadly pull of the culture’s distorted view of how life is to be lived. will the I Phone 6 be the last or will the  numbers keep on going? Every new phone, tablet or computer will be enhanced with features that make it really impossible to live without. Or that is what will be audibly and visually communicated to us every day.

And what about sin? We have curled up on the couch with it and it is as normal to us as going to the fridge for a coke or a beer. Compromise begins in “little” ways and we don’t recognize the changes that begin to happen to us. We’ve bought into a system that has a flawed design that sucks the life out of us.

The author of the lie does not just tickle us; he comes to eat us alive. Check out 1 Peter 5:8. And a paraphrase of 1 John 2:15 and 16 goes something like this: “I have the right to do what I want to do, have what I want to have and be who I want to be.” To think like this will pull us away from God’s best for us.

The giant magnet!

The giant magnet! (Photo credit: indigo -)

Some of us want a clear understanding of what we should do before we jump. The only explanation of what lies ahead for us is the guarantee that Jesus will be there every step of the way. Jesus is not obligated to explain anything to us unless we need to know. Check John 1:35-39.

Thousands show up at a popular concert because the only things required to attend are minimal. And really when you think about it, after the concert you just leave. The real Jesus concert is radically different. You don’t show up and then leave feeling tingly because as he walks away he says to you “lets go.” And you are thinking “my ticket price didn’t include anything but listening to the music and some rhetoric that is easily forgotten.”

So, my wife and I are moving from Northern Colorado to Boise, Idaho in 2 months. We know a few people there and know a little about a few ministries, but we are going with a blank sheet of paper. Only God knows what will be written on it and that is the most exciting part of the whole deal. It’s considered wise in America to really think through your future and make plans that will help you accomplish your goals. It’s sort of like mapping out your trip: Interstate 25 to Interstate 80 to Interstate 84 and you are in Boise (pronounced without a Z). But what if God has something up his sleeve near mile marker 247 on Interstate 80 that means you are going to have to take a different route? Personally, I believe this is where it gets exciting.

What’s keeping you from experiencing the unbelievable joy of allowing Jesus to call the shots? Proverbs 19:21 in the Message says it “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.” And then there is the always scary James 4:13-16 “…you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow…” You can thrive on uncertainty and certainty at the same time if you are completely following Jesus.

follow me

follow me (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)

In House Hunters International (TV show) I have noticed how often people in selecting a house make the same comment”I don’t like the neighbors being so close.” Disturbing our insatiable commitment to privacy keeps people at a distance. However, we can impress people from a distance but only impact them up close.

So who do we need in our life? And what needs to happen in us so we are the kind of people others need in their life? There is a word that describes this person. It is not popular, goes against the American steam of thought, and hardly ever comes up in conversation with Christians. The world is Brokenness. This describes people who are open about their sin, and protection and loss are not part of their vocabulary. 

These are people who know that to share where they get tripped up offends some but encourages others. these ar

Neighbors Know My Name

Neighbors Know My Name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While volunteering at a homeless shelter I noticed that the people we served meals to had nothing to hide and they certainly had nothing to lose. It was totally refreshing. James 5:16 is such a strong verse that we usually avoid it at all costs. Some things are better not said so we don’t disrupt the group right? The truth is you can spot a person God has broken. They walk with a limp, have nothing to prove and are the most significant people we can have in our lives. Isaiah speaks about this in Isaiah 66:1 &2.

Share something in your life with someone that will be hard for you to speak about but will probably greatly encourage them.