Friday, October 12, 2012
Thursday, December 8, 2011
How many times have we, as church leaders, dropped this week's songs and sermon into a familiar template without even thinking to ask, "Does God want something different this Sunday?" I appreciate these guys highlighting a danger that every church faces - substituting an experience for God.
Please don't misunderstand. If a church has a nice building . . . great. If a church has cutting edge technology . . . fantastic. There is nothing wrong with having a top notch music program and you can be so progressive as to broadcast a hologram of yourself preaching to 100 satellite campuses, at the same time. I get it. But if God is not there then what's the point? When the pastor preaches, it better be "Thus says the Lord" and not a psyco-babble sermon. When the musicians play and sing, their offering must be in spirit and truth if they want God to be pleased with it.
Watch the video. Have a good laugh. Then do your best not to go there.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I told him I was a pastor and he asked, "What kind of church do you pastor?" Knowing that this man preached to tens of thousands every week, I humbly said, "A small one." He laughed, hugged my arm and introduced me to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will never forget how genuinely kind Dr. Rogers was to me personally. He made this small-time minister feel at ease in the midst of spiritual giants.
Since then I've had the opportunity to talk to others who knew Adrian Rogers personally and confirmed that he was the real deal. He always took time for people and never looked past them when they were speaking. While pastoring a great church he never saw himself as anything more than a humble servant to a great God.
This morning I went to lwf.org and listened to one of Dr. Roger's messages, The Sin That Lost A War, while working out on my elliptical. Every Christian should hear this message for sure, but I would especially recommend it for the men. If you are concerned about the legacy you are leaving for your family, please take the time to listen to this sermon - proclaimed by one of God's finest pulpiteers. You won't be disappointed.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I heard of one husband who said to his wife, “Why are you always worrying? It doesn’t do any good?” His wife said, “Oh yes it does. Ninety percent of the things I worry about never happen, so it must be working.” Sound familiar?
As I mentioned in my last post, we worry about whether our needs will be met but there might be a greater worry that Jesus eludes to in Matthew 6:33 - a life lived without purpose. Like Solomon, many of today's Christians have sampled everything the world has to offer and come up empty. They desire a life filled with purpose and meaning, but are looking in the wrong places.
Jesus says that our physical needs will be taken care of as our spiritual purpose is fixed. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness . . . then all these things will be added to us. The word first gives the thought of that which is before, prominent and best. The children of God are wandering around searching for meaning and purpose and the whole time, God is saying, "I am your purpose. I am your meaning. I am what is best." You cannot have a greater purpose than living for His Kingdom and righteousness.
So what does it mean to seek His Kingdom? It is to recognize God's reign and live with a passion of bringing people into God's family. Seeking His righteousness means to look for in hopes of obtaining. It is not saying that we will attain God's level of righteousness, but God has called us to be holy as He is holy.
The Lord wants us to focus on the spiritual purpose He has designed for us and when we do . . . some astounding things will happen.
- God will meet our physical needs.
- We'll live a life of fulfillment since we now have a purpose to live for.
- There will be a peace that comes from knowing that God is pleased with us, because we have made His priorities our priorities.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Now we think we need a lot of things. And if I don’t get what I think I need then I'm forced to make a determination. Either God wants me to have it but is testing my prayer life and patience, or He doesn’t believe it is a genuine need in my life.
And that is what we have a hard time accepting.
The truth is, if it’s not something associated with our livelihood (food, clothing and shelter) then it really isn’t a need – but a want.
How many of us pray for God to give us something we think we need, and when He doesn’t, take matters into our own hands? How many of us say to God with our actions, “God, I really needed it and you weren’t moving fast enough (I know how busy you are) so I just went ahead and took care of it. If you would still like to help then please send money so I can pay the credit card bill when it comes.”
I think it happens all the time and that is why Christians, who should be the most content people on the planet, are mired in constant worry and stress. And because of this . . .
- They are living with bills they were never meant to have
- They are living with material things that they were never meant to have but are now responsible for. When you own something . . . it own you as well.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We could spend hours asking questions about every area of life and probably end up depressed. However, joy is not dependent on happenings - but on our relationship with God. It might be rainy outside (and it is at the time of this writing), you might be living from paycheck to paycheck, you might be stalled in your job, you might be desperately in need of a date night with your spouse, the kids are getting Cs, the car needs new brakes, you need to lose ten pounds and can't seem to find time to exercise - but there are some things you are doing right.
You are spending time with God each day, in His Word and in prayer. You are seeking to please God in how you live your life. You are not perfect, but when you make mistakes you quickly ask for forgiveness and believe God grants it based on 1 John 1:9. You are more concerned about what God thinks than what other people think about you. You recognize that your self worth is not determined by your appearance, education, social status, position, possessions or bank account - but by God Almighty.
Isn't it interesting that the Macedonians, who were living in abject poverty (2 Corinthians 8), were able to give to the Christians in Jerusalem - and do it with abundant joy in their hearts. I'm sure it did not make them happy to be poor, but the Macedonians loved God so much that their joy overcame circumstances that would devastate most people. God meant all the world to them.
And by the way, if you ever doubt how much you mean to God, don't forget that the Lord of all things had you in His mind and heart before you were ever created. The God that has universes to drip from His fingertips thought on you and ultimately gave His only Son to die for you. When we can remember God's love for us, and see our relationship with Him as our sanctuary, then we too can abide in abundant joy.
So if you can be happy then do it. And if you can have joy and happiness at the same time . . . that's a win-win. But if you must strive for one then strive for joy and more times than not, you will find happiness as well.