Archive for January, 2016

Walking through the narrow streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand can be exciting but also challenging as well as scary when you realize you have no idea where you are and, who you are going to ask where you are. Who can you believe and what can you believe when someone points you in a direction and maybe says “go that way?”

Life can get interesting real fast and become a confusing mystery when it comes up against something you thought you completely understood. Hebrews 13:8 encourages us to believe that Jesus isn’t going to change the map on us when we need direction in life. I mean, he’s always the same. Who he is and his love for us never does change, but if we’re to grow as a follower of Jesus, we better get ready to live with some things that perplex us on our trip.

For our faith to become stronger, we’ll have to go through some life events that will confuse us until we realize God is using this to further introduce us to who he is. Isaiah 55:8-9 in The Word on the Street is fun to read but do we really get it? “My thoughts are totally “other” compared to your thoughts. My methods are not in any of your manuals…” The mystery becomes magnetic, but it can draw us to God or cause us to get out of town now! It puts our faith on the witness stand.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Most of us like things to be clear and understandable but God often doesn’t work this way, especially when he wants us to go deeper in our relationship with him. How willing are you to live with wondering “what’s going on?” How do you know you have a faith that can take life without explanations from God?

 

We are at the beginning of a political cycle where all kinds of crazy claims, promises and lies told by would be presidents, senators or whatever’s invade out lives through the media. But when was the last time you took a trip, had lunch with or went to a ball game with one of these making these claims?  There is simply no way to get to the truth of who these people are without spending time with them in ordinary life events. And, without up close examination of their lives, trust is hardly going to make an appearance in your vocabulary as you describe your reasoning to vote for them.

Titus 2:10 focuses our attention on what makes our sharing about Jesus and God’s unique and completely satisfying truth attractive to an unbelieving and confused world. Being a believer who is trustworthy is more qualified to share the benefits of following Jesus and that God can be believed.

As you read this blog, the words may ring true to you and even compel you to believe what I just shared. But, if you spent time with me at Blue Sky Bagels where I am typing this, you would have a better evaluation of my behavior and whether you should trust what I am writing about. Trust has to be developed and strengthened through ongoing observation to see if words match behavior.

WHAT THIS MEANS: As you and I try to influence others to consider Jesus or even follow him, others’ willingness to consider this will either be enhanced or destroyed through time with us. Trust must be given the right stage in order for us to decide if the message is worthy of believing.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone is Qualified

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

Source: Everyone is Qualified

Everyone is Qualified

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hospitality expresses as much as anything that we accept, value and love people.

We don’t often think of hospitality as a spiritual gift, maybe because it’s something everyone is qualified to be hospitable. It’s not reserved for the outgoing personality types because it’s too valuable as a way of life God uses to draw people to himself. It expresses the value God places on every gift.

Hospitality says “I want you in my life” and touches something deep in each of us that longs for connection with others. It eliminates class or monetary distinctions our culture places on us. This is one of the most practical aspects of the gospel.

Romans 12:13 challenges us to practice hospitality. God is always looking for people who have learned this aspect of his heart and allow God to intersect their lives with unexpected opportunities to reveal his heart to those searching for a safe place.

Jesus experienced the opposite in the opportunity that his people had seen in John 1:11. Do people feel welcomed into your presence? Take a look at John 3:17 along these lines.

Hospitality often comes at inconvenient times but our practicing it during these times only further allows God to impact a life. 1 Peter 4:9 describes the attitude God expects as we invite people into our life. “No grumbling” is replaced with “Unexplainable joy” as we open our heart to others.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Ask God to search your heart and tell you whether he sees a hospitable heart in you.  Don’t let satan be the thief who steals the joy you will experience in welcoming others into your life.