Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How old do you have to be when it dawns on you? How far from where you know you used to be are you now? How much has the culture, like an invisible magnet drawn you to a place where you wonder what happened?

When was the last time you knew God spoke to you about something so relevant to life today that it stopped you in your tracks? Maybe a more practical question might be- has God ever spoken to you?

Genesis 17:1 is almost out of reach for many of us. God shows up and talks with Abraham when he’s 99 years old. Check out God’s conversation with him. Abe got it, and fell flat on his face.

There’s never an age or distance you and I are from God in which we are free from His outrageous love for and challenge to us to live life to the max (which is to live it as He designed it). Our sophisticated or rationalized choosing to live as we want results in erasing God from our life.

WHAT THIS MEANS: One reason we don’t want God to speak to us is that when He does, it always means something will change in our lifestyle. How serious are you about wanting to hear from Him? Be honest with yourself about this one.

8th Street on a summer Friday night in Boise, Idaho is filled with people. It seems everyone is having a great time together. Laughter, jokes, who’s going to win the game Saturday dominates conversations. No problem-there are friends you play games with and have fun with. These are sort of like artificial plants-nice but not real. But are there friends we share hard stuff of life with? Sometimes, we have a friend we do both with, but that is rare.

Imagine Jesus throwing a Frisbee and yelling to Peter “go longer.” I can see it; but then there is the ultimate rebuke to Peter in Matthew 16:23. Jesus and his “real” friends slept outside together many nights and ate countless meals in various places. They shared life together as friends.

Acts 15:25-26 gives a glimpse of the deep friendship Paul and Barnabas had with each other and Jesus. They risked their lives together.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Think about the people you know. Who do you really share life together with? Who can you talk with about the things that keep you up at night? Who can you flat out share your emotions with? Ask God to bring someone close to you like this.

There is no problem with talking with someone about the ball game, movie or the weather. However, it is far easier for “trivia” to become our middle or first name in another’s mind, if that’s what we focus on.

When we truly love someone, our conversation will necessarily include what serious matters we are passionate about. Our thought provoking ideas, vision or dreams become a consistent part of our vocabulary. When was the last time you told someone about an ache in your heart?

Check out how much Jesus loves us in Matthew 26:36-46.

WHAT THIS MEANS: What keeps you from sharing your heart with others? Tell someone this week something you have never shared with anyone. Be a person who deeply loves others.

It’s midnight, you’re lying down, not sleeping, the blaring noise of people, music, traffic…and that damn dog barking…

At times you really want to know if God makes sense or has any relevance to the demands and structure of the life you have made. At least, you think, the busy pace of your life does numb the nightmarish thoughts you have about wasting your life.

Elijah steps into a discussion with God in 1 Kings 19:9-13. The Word on the Street puts Elijah’s perspective this way…”I’ve worked my butt off for you God…” God is the leading act in this and throws out an earthquake and a Wyoming wind before He whispers and Elijah hears him. Now, God can talk with him about what really matters in his life at this time.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Is the pace of your life keeping you from really hearing God speak to you? Are you sure you want to hear from Him? Amazon has cool noise reduction devices or you could go to a park with your Bible, but leave your laptop and phone at home…only if you are serious about hearing God speak to you.

It looks real in someone else’s life, they talk about it as though it is, and we can’t get it out of our mind, but ultimately we may conclude that we don’t think we’ll ever find it.

We may have even memorized John 17:3 which says in The Word on the Street “Limitless life is knowing you’re the only God and that I’m the Liberator you sent.” Our ongoing and deepening relationship with God seems to be a mirage, just when we think “finally.” Do we believe this is attainable?

WHAT THIS MEANS: There is no magic formula for knowing and experiencing God more completely as we grow as Jesus’ disciple. But pursuing God with an honest and committed heart while listening and expecting Him to speak to us increases our awareness of His continual presence with us. He becomes a friend , not an acquaintance.

In the last 3 years, I have had two angiograms and one resulted in placing three stints in an artery. I felt nothing as I was anesthetized with an injection and a U2 song I had requested to be played. It was great-no pain and successful surgery. The cost however, was a changed diet and consistent exercise.

Isaiah 58 sounds like many today who sometimes seem eager for more of God but with a different set of conditions. Maybe they wanted surgery without pain-they wanted anesthesia. Jesus’ formula is different-“no pain, no gain!” And he’s not talking about sporting events.

Check out Proverbs 14:12 in The Message “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again-it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: Real growth as a disciple comes with the surgical removal of aspects of our life that are contrary to the abundant life Jesus promised. This surgery is not without pain. Be careful of doctors/hospitals that provide painless remedies to life’s hard challenges.

Whether it’s camping or traveling, you can’t take everything you love from your closet or garage with you. It’s guaranteed to slow you down and cause issues.

Some of our old, yet comfortable ways of thinking about life have to be left to take the ultimate trip God has for us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 in The Word on the Street says: “Anyone with this God-link to the Liberator is a brand-new human being; not genetically modified-brand new! The old categories don’t work; it’s a whole new ball game.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: What’s your big fear of leaving something behind and going with what really matters to God? Maybe that’s where to start-“What matters to God?” Get some other opinions and not just from Believers.

We wake up at 4:30 AM and we don’t want our thoughts televised this morning. Around 10, the rest of the day is wrecked with what happened at work. We wonder what the spank is really going on anyway.

1 Peter 5:8 reminds us we have an enemy who doesn’t come up to us purring. This is a bigger cat. The Message puts it like this: “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: We often don’t remember that our enemy has one plan-to wreck our life. If we forget this we will never walk the tightrope of life. We’ll wonder how we fall off so often. Why not memorize 1 Peter 5:8 if you haven’t? And, share it with a friend.

What is it that causes you to hang on every word as you listen to someone describe a trip they took, an encounter they had, or something they’ve been thinking about? It raised questions or challenged old explanations you had held, but there was just something that caused you to think in a way you never had before.

Conversations Jesus had were not alarming for him, but for those hearing him, they were moved to anger or an alarming expectation that this is what they had been looking for, a long time. Check out Matthew 7:28-29 in the Message translation and John 7:45-46.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Our life and what we talk about should cause people to pause and consider what they are hearing and seeing in us. People around us are trying to figure out life. Give them something they’ve never thought about.

Maybe it’s a book you ordered that you couldn’t put down after two hours of reading or it could have been that conversation, you know the one you weren’t expecting, but it seems to have changed everything…for you!

What do you do when something you thought was true or right has been displaced in an instance and you never expected that? Somehow the disciples and others Jesus hung with had experiences like that and they almost seemed routine after a while.

Take Mark 4:35-41 for example. Jesus is out for an evening sail with the main guys and a storm threatens to keep them under water for a long time. Jesus is sleeping. The disciples are scared. The Word on the Street is beautiful here. “…Some of the team go down and shake Jesus. Boss, you not bothered if we drown or what?” Jesus gets up and says “…Whoa! Calm down, that’s enough! The wind holds its breath and the waves sulk like told-off toddlers.” The team wonders who this guy is. Everything is changing.

WHAT THIS MEANS: When is the last time you had a conversation with someone and afterwards you realized you had to make a real change in how you thought or how it would alter your perspective on life? When did your life or conversation do that with someone else? Something may seem strange but if it is biblical, you’ve got to deal with it.