Archive for October, 2011

Rules for Living

Colossians chapter 3 begins with some rules for holy living. Rules to help us live together in harmony and peace. Surround yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

It also asks us to forgive others, oh how hard this can be sometimes. In today’s world it is so easy to feel that we are entitled to be angry and hold grudges. I mean what else could we talk about around the coffee pot or “water cooler?” If we actually forgave those who have done something wrong to us, we could actually focus on our good relationships.

Our most important relationship is the one we have with God. However, if we are focusing all of our attention on what happened to us today, we will never have enough time to spend with our savior. Don’t get me wrong, focusing on some things that happen is ok, but if we dwell on the negative, we will have problems maintaining our relationship.

Forgiving is hard. Forgiving people who have done bad things to us is hard. Forgiving ourselves is sometimes harder. But to forgive as the Lord has, is that even possible? God forgives us and then forgets about the sins or the wrongdoings. Can you remember the last time you forgave someone for something they did to you or someone you love? Did you forget about the action? Or did you bring it up as soon as the opportunity came up? It is amazing how the human brain works. We can say that we forgive people only to bring up the past at just the opportune time.

The next time you have the opportunity to forgive someone, try also to forget the wrong doing. Don’t bring it up again. It you feel the urge to bring it up, give yourself a timeout and pray that God will take the thoughts away from you. It will probably one of the most difficult things to do. This is what God does with us everyday! I am so thankful for God’s grace that allows for this forgiveness. There are so many things that I do everyday, even as much as I try, that falls short of God’s plan for me and He forgives everyone! Then He forgets them! All of them! I’m speechless.

Passion and Worship?

Passion and worship, can the two become one? When you think of worship, do you think passion? For most people, I would think not. I used to part of this group. Until I experienced passion in worship.

Think about your church and the worship service you attend on Sunday or any other night for that matter. Are there parts of the worship that move you?

Let me explain it a different way. Have you ever experienced a time in your life when everything around you faded away? A first kiss, your wedding day, the birth of your first child, a moment that moved you so much that it didn’t matter what was going on around you. You got lost in the moment.

If these moments can happen to us during our everyday life, why can’t they occur while we are praising and worshiping God? We have many different parts to our services from the call to worship liturgy, choir and praise team music, sermons and prayer and I have experienced passion in most of them. There have been times that the world around me faded into the background as my attention focused itself on my relationship with God. There have been times that I broke down in tears because of the love I felt from my Savior. What has it been for you? Or have you not had that experience yet?

My prayer is that I can feel that close to my Savior everyday and that I can have moments throughout the day where I can feel passion in my relationship.

Instructions for Life

Beginning the book of Colossians, I find Paul expressing the way to live life. Paul speaks about many things, including; bearing fruit, growing in knowledge and giving thanks to God for all things in life.

We need to bear fruit. We can reach out to everyone around us like a tree spreads it’s branches but if the tree does not bear fruit, it is cut down. Likewise, if the people we touch aren’t inspired to either strengthen or start a relationship with Christ, we need to rethink our approach and begin again. We are called to witness to everyone about our relationship with God so that they might want what we have.

Growing in knowledge requires reading and studying God’s word. Good preaching also helps in this learning. Find a church that you feel comfortable with and attend regularly. I would also encourage everyone to join a small group study of some kind. It doesn’t have to be a bible study. A small group that studies topics relevant to today’s challenges and how they relate to the bible is a great way to learn and grow in a group that can hold each other accountable as well as help in tough times.

Finally, spend some time in prayer. Thank God for all things in your life, not just the good things. There are many things that God wants us to learn and sometimes the only way to learn is through tough times. It can’t always be about the good times because you will never learn to appreciate the mountaintop experiences without going through the valleys.

Philippians, Last Chapter

As I finish the book of Philippians, I look back over the past few days. I have experienced some fantastic worship over the last couple of days.

I had the great pleasure of attending the leadership institute at the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas. During the couple of days of workshops and training, I experienced an amazing worship service. Praise team, 100 plus choir, orchestra, chamber choir, solo artists and amazing preaching were just some of the things that lead to this passion filled service.

On Saturday night, I worshipped with New Life United Methodist Church in Machesney Park, Illinois. A great experience capped off with partaking in communion with my wife and sharing an intimate prayer with her right afterword. Thank you, New Life, for the opportunity to experience worship in a new way.

Finally, Sunday. What a moving modern worship at Beth Eden this morning. World communion Sunday was incredible and was even able to share a prayer with my brother Todd. Thank you for the words and thank you to Beth Eden for the heartfelt worship. I pray that I wasn’t the only one that felt the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Then I led our youth group on Sunday night and had an uplifting time, knowing that our church’s youth have such a heart to search out God and what their gifts and call is all about. I prayed with them that they might hear the voice of truth in their lives and follow the right path.

May everyday be filled with moments like these. They truly make life what God intended to be, passion filled from beginning to end.