Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gotta Trust

It's funny how sometimes we feel God is telling us something and we don't know how it will turn out. There are tons of Bible stories about this (we're kind of even mentioning one on Sunday at Fishers UMC).

But I thought about this last night. Every Friday night Lorie and I have decided instead of eating out we will cook some sort of fun meal at home. So last night we baked something that we've wanted to try for a long time, a recipe we found for Red Lobster biscuits (they are soooo good!). The recipe is quite simple, but it really doesn't make sense when you look at it. So Lorie was mixing the ingredients and it looked bad. Then we made lumps of dough (if you can call it that) on the baking sheet, and they looked worse.

For the next half hour, Lorie was worried the recipe was wrong. It looked wrong. The ingredients didn't make sense, and it was way to simple. However, a half-hour later, we tasted them. And they were perfect!

I think sometimes that's how we "trust" God. We say we trust Him with something, but it doesn't look the way we want it to, it doesn't feel right, it doesn't make sense, so we doubt and start to question. But if we'd just stick with it, the product at the end may be exactly what we need (and it tastes great too!).


Friday, August 27, 2010

Prayer In The Wilderness

I was reading in Luke a little verse I see all the time, how Jesus would go off to the middle of nowhere to pray (Luke 5:16). And it just kind of hit me different today.

I've read that verse before and in context it's talking about people coming to Jesus for healing, but He chose to sometimes leave them to pray, how prayer is important. Got it. Even told other people that. But I wonder if there's something to the wilderness.

The idea of the wilderness is it's a big empty space o' nothing. There is no one there but Jesus and God. And I wonder if there's a message in that. It seems like (at least for me) we try to fit prayer into where we are. In the car, out and about, we pray in the midst of distractions. I wonder if Jesus is modelling something different, purposely go to a place where there are no distractions so you can be alone with God. I've heard about this before, many people have what they call a "prayer closet", a place they have dedicated to God and when they are in that room they want to be left alone with God.

Just something to think about the next time you go to pray...


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Holy Pride

Another thought from Romans before I leave it behind for a while. This verse stuck out at me, one of Paul's farewell verses:

Romans 15:17 ~ So I am proud of what I have done for God in Christ Jesus. (NCV)

I guess it hits me because I literally work for Jesus, I'm serve at a church and I sometimes wonder if I am doing a good enough job. Have I put my best foot forward? Have I done the absolute best I can for God that I can? Am I able to one day look back on what I have done for God and be "proud" of what I have done?

But we can all do that. You don't have to work in a church to be proud of what you have done for Jesus. You can do that in your family, in your job, with the people around you, and yes, maybe even at your church for a few hours here or there. As Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (NLT). I have that verse taped to my monitor at church to help me remember to do my best all the time for God.

So live a life for Jesus you can be proud of. It will make looking back a whole lot better!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do You Think About It?

I was finishing up the book of Romans today and came across a verse that I'd never really thought about...

The end of Romans (chapter 14-15) speaks about doing what is right. It talks a lot about it doesn't matter so much what you do as long as you do it for God, do it with the right attitude. There's a famous verse where it says if eating meat causes your brother to stumble, don't eat meat. The idea is if you think it's okay to eat meat, that's good. If they think it's wrong to eat meat and choose to give that up for God, that's good. But respect each other's wishes on how to serve God and help them do what they think is right to the best of their ability. Then there's this little verse that I didn't really remember too well...

Romans 14:23b ~ Anything that is done without believing it is right is a sin. (NCV)

That's a heavy verse. Because now it asks if you've actually thought about what you are doing or do you just do it and justify it afterwards. Go back to eating meat. Is that okay? Either answer is right as long as you know why you have chosen to do that for God. Just doing the one you want then coming up with a reason later once challenged, that's what Paul is trying to avoid here.

It's a challenge for today. Why do you do what you do (kind of a good thought in light of what we have been talking about Sunday nights)? Is it acceptable to God? Why? Just some things to think about...


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Common Sense Chain

I think I figured out why I liked that mission statement I posted yesterday. It makes sense. I mean, think about it. If you are going to put in the effort to save something, you must love it in some way. You can't love something you don't know (at least not nearly as well as if you did know it). So, the goal at Animal Kingdom is to inform people, help them know about the animals in our world, in that way they will learn to love them, and once they love them, they will learn to save them.

It reminds me of one of my favorite verses in Romans. "But how shall they ask Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?" (Romans 10:14, LB). It's another common sense chain. Too often the church acts like we want people to just magically start trusting God. But how can they trust in God if they don't even know who they are trusting in? They can't trust if they don't believe in Him, they can't believe if they don't know who they are trusting in, and they can't know unless someone tells them.

It's almost Sherlock Holmesish...


Monday, August 23, 2010

Do You Know?

I was reading about Disney's Animal Kingdom today (I know, shocker) and came across a little tidbit I'd never heard before. It's one of the parks guiding purpose statements when they built it. It goes like this:

"You will only save what you love, and you will only love what you know."

Now, they were thinking in terms of conservation, but it really goes to the core of Christianity in my mind. Think of it in terms of who you have told about Christ lately. Maybe even Christ Himself and how you treat His people, His house, maybe even yourself, His temple.

Perhaps this attitude would help people share His love with others. We need to get to know people, and once we do, we will love them. And once we love them, we will want to save them.

Quite the purpose statement...


Saturday, August 21, 2010

How Did He Do That?

This is one of those stories I wish I could have seen.

Luke 4:29-30 ~ Jumping up, they mobbed Him and forced Him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push Him over the cliff, but He passed right through the crowd and went on His way. (NLT)

How does that work? Did they change their mind when Jesus changed direction? Did He kind of float through them and they were scared to touch Him? I don't get it. It's just one of those things I wish I could see and understand...


Friday, August 20, 2010

Belief Trumps Disappointment

I was reading a piece of Scripture today, one from the Old Testament that seems to be so important twice it is referred to in the New Testament (by Peter and Paul). It's from the end of Isaiah 28:16.

Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed. (NCV)

"It" being the cornerstone of faith, or in this case, the coming Messiah. Basically, Jesus. God promises that if we have faith in Him we will never be disappointed.

That seems so Sunday School answerish, but in reality it's true. For one because the Bible says it's true. But I wonder how many times we are disappointed with God, but in reality it wasn't God's fault at all, maybe it was ours.

Just something to think about and inspire hope. God is always faithful!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Canada

I don't know what's going on, but I turned on the Colts game tonight, and I realize I recognize the field. They're in Canada! And then they have a punt return by a Canadian!

I think the Colts have found the key to winning, the cold white north (if they would ever win in the preseason)...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh To Hear So Clearly

My apologies for not blogging yesterday. I made the mistake of lying down "just for a second"...

But today, I was reading through a passage I will be speaking on at NewSong in a few weeks. It's in Jeremiah, 13:1-11. it's fun to read, if you don't understand it, we will talk about it in two weeks at church :)

But for me, I just wonder what it would be like to hear God that clearly. Go and buy this. Do this with it. Months later, go get it. What would it be like to hear God so precisely...?

Ah, my usual meanderings with no answer.


Monday, August 16, 2010

How Hard Are You On People?

I was reading a magazine today that combined two of my favorite things, church sound and massive amounts of sarcasm. But with some good thinking behind it. Enjoy.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why We Do What We Do

For all those interested, at Drink Deep (Sunday nights at 6:00 for Sr. High students) we will spend the next few weeks talking about why we do what we do at church. It's a great thing for people who are new to church or even for those who have been in church all their lives but could use a refresher course (and it will help you explain things like why we sing at church to your friends).

All Sr. High students are invited tomorrow night. See you there!


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Temptation Of Jesus

I was reading this story in Luke 4 today. It's one of those stories that gives me hope but also messes with me. On one hand, I see that not all sinful and stupid thoughts that enter my head are mine, there is a deceiver and he is trying to mess with me. I also see that there is a way to not fall into sin, Jesus managed to make it out, and each time He quoted Scripture, I think that's a key to fighting sin.

But then on the other side, I suck at it. I think of all the times I am tempted and how often I don't quote Scripture, I don't even do what I should. It doesn't make me feel very Sanctified (as we were talking about yesterday). It also makes me feel bad to know although it's not my fault, there is evil in this world that wants to work against me.

I don't know. The magic Sunday School answer is I wish I were perfect like Christ, and I'm not. I just hope I am doing all I can to be living up to His gift that He gave me when He died for me...


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I was reading about this today. For those unfamiliar with this big word, a simple explanation is the process of being made holy. There are people who believe there are two steps to knowing Christ. One is salvation, the point where we surrender to God, ask His forgiveness and are made clean.

Now some people believe that sanctification happens right then and there. From now on you are perfect. Some people even believe that they do not sin after that initial point of sanctification. Any "sin" that happens happens because of a fallen world, not their choices.

Others believe that sanctification occurs later. That at some point later in your walk with Jesus you are made holy. You are again made perfect, just not at the point of salvation, and you again cannot sin, but this happens much later and some people never reach it.

The other view is that after salvation people are constantly in the process of sanctification. You will never be completely holy, but you will be striving for it. You will be doing what you can to live for God and in that way be continually sanctified.

It's funny, in reading Romans 6 I can see where all three of those views come from. But I think the key is your choices. The key is living like you are either sanctified or are in the process of being sanctified. I don't know which one is 100% right, but I know they both say that we should act in a way that we are holy. Romans 6:13 says "Do not offer the parts of your body to serve sin." (NCV). We should be making the choice to not sin, the choice to live as holy as we can.

It's interesting to think about. Personally, I would love to say I'm perfect and holy, but I don't think I'm there yet... :)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Start Well

A little shout out to our students who are starting school today! You have many people praying for you and supporting you. Start the year well, do your best, and shine for Jesus!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Website

I heard about this last night, laughed just a little. It hits too close to home.



Monday, August 09, 2010

Inviting Spaces

Yesterday was our Back To School Bash, a last party before school starts (2 more days, yay!).

We had a fewer people than in the past last night, but there were a few highlights, one being almost $200 raised for our Compassion Children. But we had another one. Our new room. Last week we updated room 173 (the youth room) and have now dubbed it "The Wharf" (this week we are finishing "The Pier" where the Jr. Highs meet). We changed out the chairs, painted, changed lights, added smells and sounds, and the crazy part, it worked. Last night we had more people hanging out at The Wharf than in the gym with the "fun" things.

The question is why. Well, we wanted to make a place that was inviting, somewhere we knew people would want to come in and hang out. We do it in our homes. Almost every room has a living room or family room (or both), a room that is meant to be inviting to people, a room where the family and guests can come and just be together.

So... do we do this with God's house? Is God's Church "inviting" to you? To your friends? To people who have never been there? We try so hard to make sure our homes are inviting, presentable, clean, smell good, whatever it is when company comes, do we work together to do this for our Father's House where people come to visit?

Just a thought...


Saturday, August 07, 2010


All morning is Fire & Water Sunday where we tell the church about what we do, followed by our Back To School Bash, a huge party and the unveiling of the new Youth Room (well, same room, new look). See you all there!


Friday, August 06, 2010

True Believer By Your Actions

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. We seem to have dumbed down the Gospel into "if I say I'm a Christian I am".

The other day I was reading Romans 2, and I started to look at it from a different light. Basically Paul is saying to the Jewish people they are not Jews because they had an operation performed on them. It's how they live that tells everyone (including God) they are His people. There are verses like these throughout the chapter:

Romans 2:13 ~ Hearing the law does not make people right with God. It is those who obey the law who will be right with Him. (NCV)

Romans 2:29a ~ A person is a Jew only if he is a Jew inside. (NCV)

What if we started believing this and living like this as Christians? As ones who say we know the true God personally, that we have met and talk with the Son of God? What if instead of worrying about telling everyone what we believe and making sure people hear what is in our heads, instead we started living what we believe and let people make their own judgements? I bet if we were living right the people watching wouldn't have a hard time guessing who God really is.

And I know, I'm not perfect either. I'm not preaching that we all should be perfect, if not, we aren't really God's. Grace is part of that. But I think we need to be making an effort. If we are truly doing our best to live for God, people will see it, those around us will sense it, and then another verse in Romans may come true.

Romans 1:12 ~ I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you. (NCV).


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Still Thinking About The Mission Trip...

Last night we had a post-trip meeting where we looked at pictures and talked about what we miss on the trip, what we remember, things of that nature.

What always interests me is when we start discussing the things we'd like to change. This goes far beyond the mission trip or the people in the circle for me, because it's fascinating to me how often people say they are going to change, and within a week old habits return (myself included here, why can't I do what I say I will?!).

Like a simple one for me, I thought I would try and get up earlier like I did on the trip. A few other people mentioned daily schedules and doing more in their day. It seems like a pretty simple thing to do, but somehow we seem to lack the self-motivation to really do it (summer vacation may play a hand in this one).

It all goes back to change and the things that have been going on at our church lately. If someone wants change bad enough it will happen. The problem is, comfort is soooo much easier.

So for those that went on the mission trip, don't give up. Aim for the changes you wanted less than two weeks ago. You can do it, we all can!


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Curse Of Knowledge

I've been reading about this and the experiment that proved it.

In 1990 two brothers at Stanford, Chip and Dan Heath, did a little experiment. They separated people into two groups. One group had to tap out the rhythm of famous songs, like "Happy Birthday" and "The Star Spangled Banner". The other group had to guess what songs were being tapped.

In 120 different tappings, only 3 were guess right. 3. 117 the listeners guessed wrong.

Now, that's a little astounding, but the Heath brothers took it a step further. They asked the tappers before to guess if listeners would recognize the songs. They tappers guessed 50% of the time the tappers would know it.

So why? Why the big difference. That's the Curse of Knowledge. The tappers already know the song, they can hear the melody in their head, they can't understand how no one else can know this. The listeners, they don't know it. All they hear is confused Morse Code.

It makes you think how often you assume someone knows something, but they really only know a tiny bit, and maybe don't even understand it. We think since we understand it, they just should too (Lorie and I have this discussion quite often when I don't understand why she's not following me, even though I'm six steps ahead in my head and forgot to include her, my bad).

Do we do this with faith? Do we assume people know God as we do, believe as we do, think as we do when it pertains to God? Do we have a Curse of Knowledge? Do we give people the message of the Gospel in confusing taps rather than a message that can be understood? Just something to think about.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

II Acts

Why is there no Second book of Acts?

No I mean it, why not? It's really been frustrating to me. I've read the book a couple of times, just finished reading it again the other day. Paul is on trial, he has been sent to Rome to stand before Caesar. We know he goes to Rome, we know he's under house arrest but the people are nice to him, he can rent a house, he has visitors. And then, the end.

Really?? What about the trial? What about Caesar? What did Paul say? Was he freed? Who visited him?

I know there are stories and legends, but come on Luke, you left us hanging on this one.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Guiding A Horse

I was reading a short little diddy from a woman who trains horses the other day. She was showing what she has learned about leadership while bringing up these fine animals. The lesson I was reading focused on leading rather than dominating.

An example of this is when a horse is first born. Horses are prey animals (like my bunny, it means they run from everything because they think it's going to eat them) and a baby horse learns right away to run.

Now there are two ways to teach a horse not to run from you. One is to put a halter on it and force it to go wherever you tell it to. The problem is, it's a prey animal, it thinks you're forcing it to do something so you can eat it. so he wil buck, he will pull, he will fight. You have basically taught the horse that as the leader you are going to corner him and coerce him into doing what you want.

The other way works much better. You lead the mother. You befriend the horse. Soon the horse learns to follow because mommy does and eventually will follow you because he has learned to trust you. This trainer writes that this is the hardest part for people to do, to lead without pulling, to lead on faith.

And I started thinking this is so true in many areas. Leadership, obviously. But do we do this in faith? We don't lead, we put a halter on right away and teach someone they have to believe what we believe, how we believe it, act the right way, and if they deviate at all, coerce them. It's almost like we're scared people won't have faith in us or God if we have faith in them. So we force faith...

Something to think about. I know for me, I work with high school students. Try forcing a teenager to do something, even something good for them, even something they like, and see what happens...