Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fun Run? Fun with God?

A year and a half ago if you had said that Megan and I would go for an evening run together and considered it fun...I might have laughed at you. But the reality is, we have changed our lives and exercise a lot over the last 18 months. This change allows us to go and enjoy this kind of exercise together. And man is it a change for the better! 

Before you start thinking, "you all already were in good shape," we were not as good as we may have appeared. I had never run over a 5k without stopping and Megan had never run 2 miles without stopping.  To go from that to running a half-marathon last March in less than a year is incredible when I sit back and think about it.

Now we enjoy the run. We even crave to go for a run.

I wonder if that's how it is with our spiritual lives. We all go through ups and downs spiritually. Sometimes it seems like I can't get enough of scripture for example. Other times I look at how weak my prayer life is day by day. But as we begin to put priority on our spiritual walk, God shows up. It becomes fun and exciting. You begin to crave it.

Do you crave to spend time with God? Do you desire to read His Word? Is it hard to wait to spend time focusing in prayer? God desires time with us- I dare say it's fun for Him. We should desire to spend time with Him. Do you?

Hebrews 5:11-14

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Story

Our church is about to embark on an exciting journey. Over the next 31 plus weeks we will read through "The Story" together, hear about it in sermons, study it in Bible classes and talk about it in small groups. Why am I excited? Because for most people it will be the closest thing to reading through the Bible cover to cover they may ever do. 

We have a great Bible illiteracy in Christianity. Most people couldn't tell you the last time they spent a significant amount of time in scripture. They can however tell you about the latest TV show, movie, or app they have seen or used. Not that reading scripture is the end all to spirituality, but if you don't know the scripture it is hard to know the God of the scripture.

The Bible is a beautiful love letter written to us from God through human hands, to draw us into relationship with him. Love letters are still a valuable and cherished item in society today. I still have many notes, cards and letters that Megan has written me over the years. These remind me of her heart. They remind me of how our relationship began and where the "spark" came from. Would we still have a great relationship without them, sure, but they are a great reminder.

On top of that Megan is a great poet. If you really want to get to know her heart and what she has been through, you can read it in her poetry. Looking back at her work in high school you can see the pain and anguish of the divorce her parents went through. As you look to our early years of marriage you can see her still trying to discover her place in life & ministry. In the poems that have come from her over the last couple of years, you see the maturing relationship she has with her heavenly Father. Her words and poetry tell a wonderful story of her life and heart.

When was the last time you sat down to read the Bible with the intent of knowing your heavenly Fathers heart? He longs to know you. In your heart of hearts you long to know Him too.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Community of Confession

Song and Lyrics by Derek Webb

i repent of my pursuit of America's dream
i repent of living like i deserve anything
my house, my fence, my kids, and my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent of parading my liberty
i repent of paying for what i get for free
the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent judging by a law that even i can't keep
wearing righteousness like a disguise to see through
the planks in my own eyes

i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
of caring more of what they think than what i know of what they need
and domesticating You until You look just like me
i am wrong and of these things i repent

These are tough lyrics, which if you've followed Derek's career after Caedmon's Call is no surprise.

I repent. I'm sorry. I confess. Statements like these are not quickly made in our culture. Unfortunately they are no more common place in our churches either. We all have difficulty admitting when we are wrong. That difficulty seems amplified when we are in a place where everyone seems so right, so put together. I'm referring to the church.

The people of Israel find themselves in need of a time of confession after hearing the Word of the Lord read to them. In Nehemiah 9:2, "Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors." The people confessed their sins, and then they confessed the sins of those who they knew, loved, and had gone before them.

When was the last time you confessed before God and man what was going on in your life? We all are in need of God's grace. When we do not confess our weakness, then we carry the assumption that we can do it on our own. But we can't do it on our own. I can't be good enough. I can't make it through the day fully devoted, on task and without sin. I need Him.

Confession changes us. When was the last time you confessed to a person or in a group. Chances are it was a powerful moment for you and for the person you shared your weakness with.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:9-10

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