Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nuts and Bolts of Growing in Faith

So I write a lot of theological and principle stuff, but today I want to hit some nuts and bolts type stuff. Stuff that works in everyday life. I was asked once if I have ever seen God and my answer was "yes". The person asked was a little taken back, wondering where and how I saw God. I told him that God is seen in the person of Jesus. That Jesus said when we've seen Him, we've seen the Father. I've seen Jesus in His body, the church. The church is the visible incarnational representative of Christ on the earth. When you see the church, you see Jesus.

To get closer to God, we get closer to the church. I'm not talking about being at every event and hanging out in the building whenever the doors are open. Those are fine, but being closer to the join means getting close to His people. There are some things you need to do. First, you gotta be there and worship with, study with and celebrate with the people. It may be a small group, Sunday School, mission opportunity or a Sunday morning worship service. You need to be there with the people. Second, you need to contribute. Talk to people, pray, and sing, and serve, and work, and be open and sharing. Get to know people, find mature Christians and talk with them, spend time with them and learn from them.

When the Pastor preaches on Sunday, pay attention. Listen and take notes and follow along in your Bible. Talk to your family and friends about the message. Meditate on it and let it get into your heart. Spend time reading the passage that was preached from. Spend time in your Bible reading and studying and understanding what it really says. Find some tools like commentaries and study Bibles.

We grow muscles by using them. We grow faith by using it. We pray and read scripture and attend worship, but there are things we can do that really will cause great growth. Evangelism and sharing your faith will do amazing things for your faith. When you begin to share with others what God is doing in and through you, it will bless you more than you can imagine. It's simple as just telling people that God is good because He loves you. Tell someone today that God is good. Tell them that Jesus loves them.

Nuts and bolts, practical. Fall in love with the church, love people, learn all you can and share it with others. If you do these things, I guarantee your spiritual life will become the most fulfilling part of your life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An Open Letter to The Church

Dear Church,
     You are beautiful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, you are the bride, washed in the blood, pure and spotless. You are loved, adored, protected and cherished. You are doing great things. People need connected, they need family and support and you are those things. You are a light on a hill, a city and house of refuge for many. You help, support and encourage and most importantly, you lead people to the Cross. People need Jesus, you are the one that Jesus left on earth to tell the Gospel. You are so valuable.
     You need to see yourself for who you are. You are not a building, you are not a room with nice chairs and cool lighting and a nice sound system. If those things go away, you are still who you are. You are a body, a singular entity made up of distinct parts. Value your parts, don't elevate the mouth and the hands and ignore the internal workings like they are of lesser value. Cherish your entire being, take care of it and honor it, just like Paul commands. Don't let parts of the body fall away and disappear, care for the body, go after the body.
     You are a living being, the body of Christ and you need to grow. I'm not talking size, I'm talking in wisdom and virtue. You are the incarnational representation of Jesus Christ on the earth today. Walk like Jesus would walk, talk about the things Jesus would talk about. Serve those Jesus would serve in a way that Jesus would serve them. Pray like Jesus, love like Jesus. Stop wounding yourself and stop diminishing yourself. You are the body, you are the bride. You are the church, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper, so go and make disciples. You are loved.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Has Social Media Destoryed Civil Discourse?

Ever been in a Facebook fight? I am sure you have, and they are awful. It's a back and forth of cut and paste from stuff in articles that may or may not be real news. It's tit for tat in insults and a barrage of things that no one would actually say to another person's face. This type of argument just causes anger and frustration, and it seems to be bleeding over.

We have seen anger bleed over. We have a President who uses twitter quite often, and it's caused anger to boil over. The day of the Facebook fake news, the 30 second sound bite, the tweet and retweet and the shared post on Facebook have erupted. Violent protests, rioting and anger to the point that a speaker has to abandon his presentation at a college because of the violent acts of protest.

What has happened to America? We have all seem to regressed to teenagers when it comes to civil dialogue. I saw today that even churches are beginning to behave in this manor. There is something they didn't like, so they are pulling funding in a very public way.

Maybe it's time for you and me to take a step back. Begin to engage one another with respect, even on social media. Let's face it, Facebook and twitter aren't going away, and they have changed the way the world operates. We as individuals need to make sure we are being civil and decent to other human beings. It's the only way things will ever begin to improve.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Can Setback be Triumphs?

Well it's Sunday morning and I wish I was worshipping with my family, but instead I'm home. Just a quick update on my physical issues, the back feels pretty good. I went to physical therapy last week, and somehow managed to irritate a nerve on my right side. Same type of pain, same issues, other side of the body. It can't be a disc bulge, cause there isn't any disc left. Could be inflammation, could be scar tissue. Whatever is causing the pain (and I mean serious pain) it's like a swift kick. Seems like I take a step forward and then fall back a few feet.

I don't know why I am struggling physical like I am, but it may be a blessing and a triumph. I have felt called to do a few different ministry things, like The Revolution Inversion stuff. I'll admit that it's scary to try to start a non-profit that you will make you living from. I want to do ministry for kids in Sioux City and I want to be able to serve people God has put in my life. Instead, I just went and found a job. I didn't do what I feel like I should because of fear. God may be removing my ability to avoid what I've been called to do.

I don't know for sure what is going to happen. I know there are some opportunities that God has given me. I am going to continue to pray and move forward and make wise decisions. It's important to me to take care of my family, to meet my obligations and pay my bills. On the other hand, I also know that I need to trust God with my life, finances and well being. It's a hard line to walk. I am praying that I will have wisdom to make the right choice. Please pray for me too, that I know what I should do and how to proceed. Pray for my family that we can have unity in purpose and mind, that there isn't fear or strife created by any decision that is made. Life and family and work and income, it's all a balancing act, and I don't want to upset the balance. On the other hand, I can't ignore the call God has given me and just pretend like my life is my own that I can do what I want. I gave Him my life, I am His servant, and I cannot be disobedient and be blessed.

When a shepherd has a lamb that wanders and won't follow, he breaks the leg of that lamb. He then carries the lamb everywhere so it becomes dependent on the shepherd. My bones are in tact, but I still need to be carried, so maybe I need to learn to be dependent on the shepherd more and on my own abilities a little less. I hope you can relate and are learning to be dependent on the shepherd too. I'd love to hear your story if you would like to share.