Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My desire for you. Yes you!

If you are reading this, I have a single, focused desire for your life. I have an agenda with everyone, that you have a love and passion for God in your life that is second to nothing. That you love God more than you love anyone or anything. Jesus said:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

That verse is hard, but the reality is we must be willing to give up anyone or anything for Christ, even our lives. This doesn't happen by being religious, by being legalistic, by going to church or by having the will power. This happens by the Holy Spirit fanning a flame in your heart until it engulfs your entire being. You will be willing to toss aside everything for Christ. Even those you love the most will pale in comparison to Christ.

The result will be you love deeper, live better, laugh more and experience joy richer. Real life come from Christ, real joy comes from Christ. If you look for joy or completion or happiness in a person other than Christ, you will suffer. If your love for Christ is not far greater than your love for anyone or anything else, you will be incomplete.

Like I said, you can't work for or earn this, but you can ask for it. Pray for a love of Christ than engulfs your life. I pray for it in your life. I pray that you are so consumed that you burn and ignite those around you. I pray you have love, life, joy and peace. I pray for you because I love you and want you to feel real love.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Dire Threat to Marriage

There is lots of talk today about the state of marriage and the fear it's being eroded and destroyed.  The fight between advocates of same gender marriage and those who support traditional marriage are at war. Under all of these headlines, there is a threat to marriage that is invading, has come in under the radar, and we don't discuss it.

When I was in my 20s, all my friends were getting married. Now, in my 30s, my friends are splitting up, getting divorced, starting new families. It's like someone yelled "switch" and we all run for new partners. I don't want to make light how incredibly painful this is on people, children, families and homes, because people are hurting. Marriages are coming unravelled all around, the devil is winning in the quest to destroy marriage.

I don't want to turn this into a discussion about the current marriage fight in this country, because the reality is marriage and the home has been attacked for decades by the enemy of the family. The family is weak, the church, government, country are all weak. We need to reclaim the home, the family, but not through politics, laws and amendments.

First, we need community. A couple needs people they can talk too. People mess up, affairs happen, abuse happens, financial crisis happens, disease and death, all these things tear people apart. They need a support group they can lean on and turn too. They need help and support from their friends, older and wiser people, and the church. They need prayer and encouragement.

We need to be taught ho to forgive. In too many situations, I'm sorry doesn't mean a lot. You must forgive your spouse when they fail, when they mess up. Couples can recover from betrayal and hurt if they are willing to work through the process of forgiveness.  We have to teach our kids to forgive, how to love without condition and make family work.

Finally, love each and treat each other like they deserve love. Treat each other with respect, with tenderness, treat them like they are your spouse. Give honor and support to one another. Care for each other and love them like you love yourself.

If we will put work and effort into our marriage, then we can begin to turn the tide of marriage's destruction. We can begin to shore up the foundation of our country, churches and community. We need to care for one another, support one another and pray for one another. We need to cry out to God and admit, we are in trouble.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What Am I Learning?

We have been in a place for around 9 months where you are making less than we need to really get things done.  We have done everything we can, Elaine and I both work 2 jobs, but there just isn't a big opportunity for someone with my skill set and educational experience.  I have tried for some chaplain jobs, but I am trained and educated for educational ministry.  The Non-profit has sorta hit a standstill, between the lack of jobs and the funds required to get all the stuff filed.  We look at a pile of bills, knowing there is no way to pay them all, try to get some sleep and get up to and go to work somewhere.  I don't believe for one second that my current situation is an accident. God is refining us, moving us in a specific direction.  My heart burns to plant a house church someday.  I am longing to launch this non-profit and help people live out their ministry desires, help students start Christian Clubs on campus, help people have Bible Studies where they live and work.  My heart burns to serve God in those areas, but God has me working outside those areas.  I love my jobs, but there is always more month than money.

I don't think God is incapable of meeting my financial needs.  I think God is letting us struggle for a purpose, for a reason and to be more conformed into the image of Christ.  For the three years of His ministry, Christ was homeless, telling His followers that foxes have holes and the birds have nets, but He had no place to lay down and take a nap (Matt 8:20 and Luke 9:58).  Jesus had need, and we don't know if and when He went without, but I know He took a couple of fish and some bread and made it go a long way.  I could do without bread and fish, but if he could multiply my tank of gas, that would make me very happy.  Like the widow who's oil never ran out, I could use a gas tank that never runs dray.

So, I am learning humility, dependence and strengthening my faith in this whole experience.  I don't know what I am learning, I don't have a great summary statement about what God is doing. I have worked to turn over anger and bitterness for where I am, tried to learn humility as best I can as kids 20 years younger than I am tell me what to do and my new title is "kid".  I have learned that I have no ability to fix or take care of anything on my own.  I can work had, work long, get degrees and experience and apply and be a self starter and a go getting, but my effort will never be enough.  Let me phrase that the different.  I am incapable of making life work on my own.  The idea of the self made man is a myth, and in one sense the President it right, you didn't build that.  God built it and entrusted you with the stills to manage.  If He saw it fit, it would all be done in a moment, just ask Job.  God is the master building, He owns it all and you are the steward of it.  Be thankful for what you have, and learn what He is teaching you when you are without.  That is what I am trying to do.