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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Matching up the visible you with the real you

The reality of it is this:  There is the visible you and the real you.
 
The visible you is the you that everybody sees and interacts with.
 
In a certain sense, we allow people to see the "visible you" by learning how to act and speak in order to fit in with people, in both small and large group settings.
 
While some people have the ability to "fit in" to any kind of group, most people only stay in groups that they are comfortable, in part because it takes a lot of energy to relate to different types of people.
 
The visible you is the known you. 
 
But the visible you is different from the real you.
 
The real you is the you that is known by God.
 
We are who we are in our minds first, before we speak or act.
 
Our speech and our actions are the result of our thinking.
 
Here's what I know:  You and I are only as spiritual (real) as our thought life.
 
Pointed question:  What if you and I were to put all of our thoughts from this week on the screens in the chapel?  The answer is:  we wouldn't.  It would be embarrassing, disconcerting and too vulnerable for any of us to handle.
 
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?"
 
That is an insightful verse.
 
What is implies is this:  To protect our self-image we kind, trick and fool ourselves into believing that the visible you is the real you.
 
But to see ourselves as we really are, we must acknowledge that we need God's help to do so.
 
The mind is where the battle takes place.  It's a battle between the flesh and the spirit.
 
Ephesians 6:12 describes the battle for the mind:  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." 
 
So my thought today is this:  Spend some time examining your life.  Is the "real you" matching up with the "visible you"? 
 
Let the Holy Spirit help you with this today.
 
Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The stronghold of unforgiveness

Jesus says it plainly:  If we want forgiveness from God - we must forgive.
 
Easy to say, hard to do.
 
Grudges die hard.
 
Time does not heal all wounds.
 
Time can only make the wounds more ingrained in our spirit.
 
Here's what I know:  Even if I have suffered a horrible, terrible injustice, I am still responsible for my response to that cruelty in my life.
 
Why?  Because unforgiveness keeps me bound.  It is the strongest of strongholds in the life of a Christian.
 
And, to be candid with you, it is at the core of most of the issues that Christians are struggling with - or minimally, at the core of their "dry season" or stagnation in their walk with God.
 
During the Nazi occupation of Holland, Corrie Ten Boom and her family were sent to a concentration camp for hiding Jews in their home.  (She was Dutch).
 
She soon came to hate the guard who mocked and sneered at their naked bodies as they were taken to the showers.  His leering face seemed forever seared into her memory.
 
Her sister died in the camp, but Corrie survived and vowed never to return to Germany.
 
However, years later, she returned for a speaking engagement, and gave a talk on what?  You guessed it - forgiveness.
 
To her dismay and horror, there was the same guard sitting in the audience. 
 
He could have never recognized Corrie as one of his emaciated, sick and shorn prisoners.  His radiant expression even suggested that he had since been converted.
 
After the talk, the smiling man extended his hand and said, "Ah, dear sister Corrie, isn't it wonderful how God forgives?"
 
Corrie only felt hated and anger toward this man who had wronged her family - and her.
 
Yet, at the same time, the Holy Spirit spoke to her and told her to stick out her hand.
 
She said, "It took all of the years that I had quietly obeyed God in obscurity to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
 
I put out my hand. 
 
It was only after my simple act of obedience that I felt something almost like warm oil being poured over me.  And with it came the unmistakable message:  "Well done, Corrie, that's how my children behave - and the hate and bitterness in my heart was absorbed and gone."
 
Two lessons:
 
If bitterness lingers in your heart, continue to repent of it daily and release to God's justice anyone who has offended you.
 
Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right - forgiveness sets you free.
 
Just a thought for a Wednesday.
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple obedience

Here's what I know:  Never underestimate the far-reaching ramifications of simple obedience.
 
A powerful example of this is found in the life of Esther (in the Old Testament).
 
Esther remained faithful to God - and obedient to Him.
 
In the face of tremendous negative circumstances - her simple obedience saved a nation.
 
(I encourage you to read the book of Esther this week).
 
Esther "seized the moment" that God gave her.
 
Ask yourself this question:  What if this timid Jewish girl had been afraid to speak or too shy to say anything to the King?  The results would have been devastating.
 
If Esther had not been "simply obedient" there would be no Jewish people, there would be no birth of Jesus Christ, there would be no church, no apostles, no kingdom of God on earth - and you and I would not be connected to Christ. 
 
Wow.
 
Do you see how important it is for you and I to remain obedient to God?
 
I encourage you today to never, ever resist the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit - to trust and to act.
 
Don't sell yourself short!  You can have an impact that will last throughout eternity by simply being obedient today!  You can make a difference!
 
Because of your obedience today:
 
Somebody may be in heaven.
 
Somebody may keep going when they are tempted to give up.
 
Somebody may be in church because of your life.
 
Somebody may be in ministry because you lived and prayed in a godly way.
 
I want to be like Dr. John Geddie, a Presbyterian missionary, who went to Aneityum, an island in the South Pacific in 1848 and worked there for God for 24 years.
 
On the tablet erected to his memory these words are inscribed:  When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians.  When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen."
 
Just a thought for a Tuesday.
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:
 
After attending our leadership summit this past weekend - I am excited about the present and future of our church!
 
(I think it is a wonderful thing when the lead pastor gets excited about the church!) :) :)
 
Friday evening, close to 50 volunteers and leaders gathered together to discuss momentum in the church - and truly we have momentum!
 
It was wonderful to sense the energy in the room and the passion and vision of our volunteers!
 
(Lots of exclamation points today)!
 
And then - on Saturday, we as deacons, elders and staff gathered together.  Dick Hardy (our church consultant) had us do an exercise where we all went around the room and "said something nice" about each leader.
 
A lot of tears were shed as we all realize - "hey, we are a good group of guys"!
 
It is a privilege to serve with our leadership team.
 
It is a privilege to serve with our ministry leaders.
 
It is a privilege to serve with our volunteers.
 
Everyone's faithfulness, commitment and work is a continual source of encouragement to me!
 
Friends, know this:  It is right, proper and healthy - to stand back everyone once in a while and say to ourselves, "we have a good thing going on here"!
 
If we were all together, I would, at this point, encourage all of us to turn to the person next to us and say, "We have a good church."
 
We have a good church filled with good people.
 
Easter is coming soon.  I encourage you to brainstorm with the Holy Spirit on who you can invite to our Easter Sunday services, April 5th.  Everyone is welcome!
 
Many, many thanks to Dick Hardy (our guest speaker/consultation) this past weekend. 
 
I believe that "inspirational" is the word that comes to mind.
 
Why not contact Pastor Brian about attending a life group?  You won't regret it.  Connecting with others will enrich your life - and theirs.
 
Membership "Saturday" is this coming Saturday, March 21, 2015.  Child Care provided.  8:30 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.  If you haven't signed up yet - no worries - we encourage you to come!
 
I want you to know that our entire church pastoral staff (and spouses) love, appreciate and pray for you on a continual basis.
 
Love you all........
 
 
 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The power of song (to our children)

The Bible continually teaches us about the power of song.

Music can move even the hardest heart to both tears of joy and sorrow.
 
But here's what I also know:  Music learned as a young child never ultimately leaves us.

Last Sunday, I busted out in the song, "Sweep over my soul," a song that I learned when I was a little boy.  Not many knew the song, but it just came to me as God was moving - and came from the smallest part of my memory - one of the songs that I learned as a boy growing up in church.

Here's what I offer you today - especially parents of small children:

Sing to your child (children).

There is power in song
 
Evelyn Knowles writes about this.  She writes that the very first time she held each of her newborn grandchildren check to cheek and heart to heart, they heard their grandmother softly sing - "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Why?

Because she wanted to be certain that they would never remember a time when they hadn't known Jesus.
 
Listen to this story form the book "Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Women.":
 
"Soon Ok Lee grew up in North Korea and devoted herself to its communist party, only to be “rewarded” with 6 years of brutal, inhumane prison life. When she was released and escaped to South Korea, she was aided by a kind, Christian gentleman.
 
She heard him sing songs that were somehow familiar to her, and was puzzled that she knew these songs well enough to sing along. One of those songs was “Amazing Grace.” These hymns were certainly not sung in godless North Korea!

Ah, but a faint and long forgotten memory was triggered—a memory of her own mother singing these very songs when she was a tiny child.
 
So tiny, in fact, that she hadn’t realized they were hymns. But gospel seed had been planted in her wee heart—her mother’s secret way of teaching little Soon Ok Lee of God’s love.
 
Secret, because under their North Korean government, children were taken away from parents who taught them the Bible. Yet after years of trying to live up to Communist ideology, the message of her mother’s songs comforted her and brought her to Christ."
 
Good stuff....I would add, moms and dads, sing to your children!  Even or especially as they are babies.  I firmly believe that God's Word (as the Bible tells us) will never return void - but neither will the tunes of the Spirit that are ingrained in our children's hearts.
 
Just a thought for a Thursday.
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sharpening our blades

Before I share with you a quote that illustrates what I want to offer you today - this coming Friday evening, we will be having our "once a year" Friday evening training seminar for all the volunteers, ministry leaders and leaders in the church (everyone is welcome to come BTW).
 
Rather than just "one more thing" on our schedules - let me tell you why I believe it is important that you come - we all need time to slow down and sharpen our "axes" so to speak - so that we are even more effective in ministry than we already are.
 
I encourage you to take the time to read Gordon McDonald's thoughts below - he probably says it better than I can - and plan on coming this coming Friday evening, March 13, 2015, from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.  Child Care provided.
 
Gordon McDonald once wrote:
 
"Once, when my wife, Gail, and I were hiking the high meadows of the Swiss Alps, we saw two farmers cutting the high-standing mountain grasses with scythes, a hand-mowing tool that has been around since ancient times.
 
Drawing closer, we noticed that both paused periodically and produced from their pockets something resembling a flat stone. Then in the same graceful manner, they drew the stones back and forth across the scythes' blades. The purpose? To restore sharpness.
 
The sharpening done, each returned to the cutting.
 
We observed them repeat this process—cut and sharpen, cut and sharpen—several times: ten minutes (give or take) of cutting followed by five minutes of sharpening.
 
[But] why waste five minutes sharpening the blades? We're talking here about 20 minutes of unproductive time each hour. Why not keep cutting, get the job finished, and head home at an earlier hour? Because with every swing of the scythe, the blade becomes duller.
 
And with the increasing dullness, the work becomes harder and less productive. Result: you actually head home much later. Cutting and sharpening are both part of a farmer's work.
 
In my [younger] years, I didn't appreciate this cutting/sharpening principle. I'm embarrassed to admit that I usually gave attention to the sharpening (or the spiritual) dimension of my life only when I needed something beyond my natural reach or when I found myself knee-deep in trouble.
 
The cumulative results of a life lived like this became alarming. It led to dullness of the soul.
 
While talking a lot about God, I had very little practice in listening to him …. I tended to become bogged down in matters of secondary importance, neglecting truly important things.
 
I often complained of fatigue: not only physical fatigue, but spiritual and emotional emptiness.
 
Sometimes I became flooded with temptations to envy, impatience, ambition, discontent, wandering thoughts."
 
We all need time to sharpen our blades.......
 
Good stuff....Hope to see you Friday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Listening to the right person

When Debbie and I go to see a movie, I generally look at the critic's reviews to see as to "whether or not a movie is good or whether it is bad."
 
A lot of times they are right - a movie can be good, or a movie can be really crummy.
 
After all, they are the professional critics.
 
At the same time, however, what might seem to be a bad movie to them - could be something that Debbie and I really like.
 
And what might seem like a good movie to them - could be something that Debbie and I do not like.
 
Even all of the professional critics do not agree with one another. 
 
So, the thought of the day is this:  be careful who you listen to.
 
There's the story of how one day a farmer grabbed his shot gun to shoot at a flock of pesky crows.  Unfortunately, he didn't see his sociable parrot that had joined the crows.  After firing a few shots, he walked over the fallen birds and was surprised to find his parrot badly ruffled with a broken wing.
 
When the farmer's children saw the injured bird, they asked, "Dad, what happened?"  The farmer simply replied, "Bad company."
 
The Bible encourages to avoid harmful influences. 
 
Regardless of our age or spiritual strength, over time, unwise influences will negatively affect our walk with the Lord - and our opinion of anything in life - especially our local church.
 
Satan is determined to pull us into sin and wreck our lives, and he often uses wrong influences to accomplish his goal.
 
Here's what I know:  Whatever I talk about - I become.
 
If all I talk about is sports - I become a sports person.
 
If all I talk about is politics - I become a politician.
 
If all I talk about is Jesus - I grow in Christ.
 
Here's my encouragement to you today:  Be willing to form your own opinions
 
The Bible does say that there is wisdom in a "multitude of counselors," but be careful who you listen to.
 
One negative, critical word can persuade you to miss the will and calling of God for your life.
 
Just a thought for a Tuesday.
 

Monday, March 09, 2015

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Debbie and I had a great time with Becky (our daughter) this last Friday evening and Saturday!

We are thankful for three wonderful children!

I really like Francesca's pizza - reminds me of the pizza in France.  (Quattro Staginoni).

I don't know how many attended the Upward Celebration last Saturday - but I do know that many raised their hands - signifying that they accepted Christ as their personal savior!

As our guest speaker stated, leading people to Christ is the "end game" (my words) of why we have Upward Basketball!

Again, huge thanks to those who participated and served the past few months - your time and help is much appreciated!

Looking forward:  Upward Soccer begins in August!

I was thinking today about how time "slips by" - Easter is coming soon.  Spring is coming!

Every so often, we need an "infusion of the Holy Spirit" into our lives, corporately, at Stone Church.  Yesterday was just such a Sunday!

The Holy Spirit is like a wind (that's a metaphor the Bible uses), and the wind blows "where it will".  Our responsibility is to pray and seek more of God's ministering presence in our lives.

Not every Sunday can be a "home run" - concerning the moving of God - but we do desire many more "home runs" of God touching our hearts and lives with his power and presence!

Two people shared of how they felt a "wind" blowing through the altar area during our time of prayer.  Could that be the wind of the Holy Spirit that we read about in Acts 2?
 
This coming Friday evening, March 13th, we are thrilled to have Dick Hardy with us - a nationally known speaker on the subject of ministry, leadership and ministry effectiveness in the local church. We encourage everyone to attend - especially all volunteers, and ministry and church leaders! 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Child Care provided.
 
I am looking out the window of my office as I write this:  Sunshine!  Warm weather is coming!
 
I would encourage you to begin to think about inviting someone to come with you to our Sunday morning Easter services on Sunday, April 4, 2015! 
 
We are anticipating many come to Christ!
 
Can I leave you with this?  I love our church - and I know you do too!
 
With much love.......

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Just a reminder

Disclaimer:  This blog is not written in response to anyone or any situation in our church.  Just a reminder for all of us for the future.
 
You know what can hinder the effectiveness of any organization (especially the church)?
 
Pettiness.

Michael Yaconelli has written, "The problem with the church today is not corruption. It is not institutionalism. No, the problem is far more serious than something like the minister running away with the organist. The problem is pettiness. Blatant pettiness."

I just looked up the word "petty" in the dictionary and it means, "trivial, trifling, narrow-minded, mean."
Kind of sounds like some Christians that I know.

He goes on to say:

"Petty people are ugly people. They are people who have lost their vision. They are people who have turned their eyes away from what matters and focused, instead, on what doesn't matter. The result is that the rest of us are immobilized by their obsession with the insignificant.

It is time to rid the church of pettiness. It is time the church refused to be victimized by petty people. It is time the church stopped ignoring pettiness. It is time the church quit pretending that pettiness doesn't matter."

"Pettiness has become a serious disease in the Church of Jesus Christ--a disease which continues to result in terminal cases of discord, disruption, and destruction. Petty people are dangerous people because they appear to be only a nuisance instead of what they really are--a health hazard."

His words have caused me to pause and look in my heart and ask the question, "am I petty?" Do things have to always go "my way"?

I especially want to avoid (as I grow older) the trap I see so many fall into. Becoming sour. Critical. Mean. Petty.

May God help us all to remain flexible, pure, walking in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
 
Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Outer and Inner man

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
 
I would suggest that as you get older, that verse, that word from Paul gets more and more meaningful.
 
For instance, did you know that if you are over 30 years of age, you are losing about 3,000,000 brain cells every day - and if you are very quiet as you read this - you probably can hear some of them dying right now.
 
Have you ever felt like you only had two brain cells left and one of them wasn't working?
 
I have.
 
I'm around people every day (6 days a week) (at the fitness club) who work on their "outer man", their physically bodies - and there is nothing wrong with that.
 
Some will spend, literally hours, in making sure that there bodies are fit.
 
However, Paul is saying that ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, what really counts is building up the "inner you" the spiritual, emotional and mental part of you that will dwell for eternity.
 
Here's is what I offer you today - and word of challenge:  Spend at least as much time and effort and intention of your inner being as you do on your outer being.
 
Give at least as much focus, at least as much attention to that part of you that will live for eternity as you give to that part of you that is going to wear out one of these days. 
 
You can say, "I am wasting away on the outside, but on the inside, I am truly coming to life."
 
Let me leave you with one way to do that.  Trainers at the fitness club talk quite a bit about diet, watching what you eat.  A healthy body can normally lead you to a healthy life.
 
It is the same way in the spiritual realm. 
 
I encourage you to be intentional about what you eat - what you feed the real, inner you.
 
Fill you the "inner you" with spiritual things, godly things, holy things. 
 
And God will bless you for it - for eternity.
 
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The obvious - prayer

First of all, let me state the obvious:  God calls us to pray.
 
Which means, simply, that God calls us to have conversations with Him.
 
Prayer is not one-sided; it is a two-way event.  I speak.  God listens and answers me.  God speaks, I listen, and answer him.
 
And here is what I know:  conversation is good for the soul.  For the emotions.  For our mental health. 
 
Prayer is more than "just" a conversation to "get something from God," but it is a time when I build my relationship with Him. 
 
Spending time with God will not build my relationship with Him, but I can't build my relationship with God the Father, the Holy Spirit and with Jesus, unless I spend time with Him.
 
Pastor Cho (of the mega-church in South Korea) once wrote, "Americans will give their money, sing songs, build building and preach, but they will not pray."
 
While that can be true, my prayer is that - that change. 
 
Our Tuesday evening prayer meetings are going well - numerically, it is going down slower than any other prayer meeting that I have attended.  :) :)
 
Jesus said to ask, seek and knock
 
To ask, I must window out a time to converse with God.
 
To knock means to strike the obstacle, like a friend knocking at the door of your home. 
 
To seek means to keep on having conversations with God.  Don't stop.  Keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on seeking.
 
If I come to your house, and knock on the door, I don't just knock once and expect you to hear the knock and come to the door.  I knock several times.
 
Sometimes the answers do seem long in coming.  And when that happens, please know that God cares - and is still listening.
 
Sometimes a "long labor" - a period of travail - is required before we see the "birth" of what we have been anticipating.  But be certain:  the promise will be born.  What may seem long on the earth side of things is often but a moment in glory.  Persistence is needed - mainly because God is preparing you for the answer. 
 
As with the birthing process, so prayer's travail often involves a time of contractions.  During that season - don't give up.  come to God boldly.  Keep on praying. 
 
Keep on looking to God and not your mountain.
 
John Wesley said, "God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer."
 
I guess I need to say this negatively - and with affection - if we truly believed that, Tuesday evenings would be packed with people seeking after God.
 
Just a thought for a Tuesday (Prayer this evening at 6:30 P.M.)........
 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

There was a great spirit of relationship and family yesterday morning during our services!

Isn't it great to be a part of the body of Christ at Stone Church - where you are loved and accepted!

More and more, we are observing people from our surrounding neighborhoods "check us out."

I love it!

Applause to our Teen Bible Quiz team for sharing the book of James yesterday morning (from memory) - there is nothing like implanting the word of God into our spirits.

Pastor Charlie did a wonderful job of "bringing the Word". 

We love you Charlie and Heather!

Reminder:  If you would like to join our church family in membership - there will be two times in the coming two months to do so.  Saturday, March 21st and Saturday, April 18th.

Reminder:  Volunteer ministry training.  Friday, March 13th.  7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.  Child Care provided.

It was a true treat having our oldest daughter, Christie, with us over the weekend.  She is a wonderful wife, mother - and daughter to Debbie and I! 

I can't tell you how thrilled I have been to walk into our church gym every Saturday morning and sense all of the energy of kids, parents and family watching and participating in our Upward Basketball games! 

Many parents have commented as to how well the ministry program was run - and I would like to thank Mike Muchowicz and his staff of volunteers!  Well done!

Children remain a priority at Stone Church!

I really liked the way Pastor Charlie incorporated the book of James and our church vision in his sermon yesterday.

Derek Rose hurt.  Patrick Kane hurt.  Chris Sale hurt.  Three superstars.  Okay, "injury bug" go away.

I believe that I am in the majority in that I am really, really ready for Spring.  For those of you who continue to pray for snow and more cold weather - please stop.  :)  :)

Early reminder:  We go to Daylight Savings Time this coming Sunday morning, March 8th.  What you lose in an hour's sleep - you will gain by being in the presence of the Lord!

Wasn't worship meaningful yesterday?  Many thanks to Pastor Brian and our worship team.

You are loved - you are needed - you have purpose - walk this week in the knowledge that you are a child of God.

With much love........

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Warning signs

Signs along the road are not there to prohibit us but to protect us.
 
When you see a stop sign - that is there so you aren't injured or killed or so that you won't injure or kill others.
 
When you and I see speed limits on the highway, those are there to protect us - not to prohibit us.
 
We need warning signs as we drive - and we need warning signs in our Christian life.
 
All of us want to be real and authentic - none of us wants to be "fake."
 
We all long to be transparent, and hang around people are "real" as well.
 
Let me give you some questions that you can ask yourself - to see if you are living the "real thing" in  your walk with God.  These questions are five "warning signs" in your relationship with Christ.
 
Question number one:  "Am I being spiritually authentic?"  Or am I caught up in what I "should" say as a Christian - or what I am supposed to say?  Do you have a hart time talking about God without trying to convince people that you are spiritual?  Do you work hard at hiding your sins? 
 
Question number two:  "Am I becoming judgmental and exclusive and proud?" Some people think they are so spiritual - they are looking for a spot in the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Here's how human nature is:  As soon as we achieve some kind of holiness, we begin to wonder why others aren't as holy as we are!
 
Question number three:  "Am I becoming more approachable or less?"  Jesus drew people (especially the disadvantaged) to himself.  The Pharisees and Scribes pushed people away.
 
Question number four:  "Am I growing weary of pursuing spiritual growth?"  If you are like me, sometimes the "weight of perfection" (that is self-imposed or imposed by others), can become so heavy you almost can't bear it. 
 
Question number five:  "Am I measuring my spiritual life in superficial ways?"  Dallas Willard writes, "Spirituality, wrongly understood or pursued, is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God."  All the self-effort in the world will not draw you closer to God.  The way to spirituality is not to try to be like Jesus, but to train to be like Jesus (Ortberg).  We don't change from the outside in but from the inside out.  Holiness is an "inside job".
 
I encourage you to take some time this weekend (in your prayer time with God) and ask yourself these five questions - and then ask the Holy Spirit to nudge you in the right direction - the direction of growing in Christ and being authentic.
 
Just a thought for a Thursday.
 
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Being put on hold

Nothing can drive you and I "nuts" quicker than being "put on hold" by someone (i.e. Comcast, or any organization, group or person).
 
Am I right about that?
 
None of us likes to wait with a phone next to our ear - I mean we all have better things to do with our time.
 
But what if we are waiting on God to answer our prayer?
 
The cartoon character Ziggy is standing, looking up on a mountain.  The sky is dark and there is one cloud up there.  Ziggy says, "Have I been put on hold for the rest of my life?"
 
We pray.  We ask God for something.  And then we wait.
 
And we metaphorically shake our hands to the heavens and cry out, "Have I been put on hold for the rest of my life?"
 
You've been praying for your spouse - and there is seemingly no change.
 
You've been praying for a job, but no one wants to hire you.
 
You've been praying for a friend to come to Christ, but they remain separated from God.
 
You've been praying for a healing from a disease or sickness - and are still struggling physically.
 
"Have I been put on hold for the rest of my life?"
 
We don't wait well.  We are into microwaving, God, on the other hand, is usually into marinating.
 
I can't possibly (in one blog) give all of my thoughts about this - but here is what I know:
 
Sometimes God waits because we are thinking too small.  He wants us to ask for something bigger and He wants to give us something better.
 
Recently, Debbie and I were praying with our son, George about an unpaid internship that he was offered (for four months).
 
None of us felt good about it.  He said "no" to the company - and it wasn't long before God gave him a full time job with benefits.  If he had immediately taken the "first thing to come along," he would have missed the full time opportunity. 
 
Sometimes God waits because he wants us to be prepared for a bigger and better answer - and we are not yet ready.  God desires that we grow into our "big boy pants" so that we can use what he has given us.  Before God changes our situation, he wants to change us.
 
Sometimes God waits because our timing is off.  His timing is always perfect.  His ways are not our ways.  We think we have to "have it now," when we don't.  When the timing is right, God will say, "Let's go!"
 
My encouragement to you today is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and let God "do His thing" - all the while knowing that God will answer - and the answer will ultimately be what is best for you and for me.
 
Just some thoughts for a Wednesday.