Month: September 2014

Amazon.com

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I shop on Amazon.com. In fact I think I have bought more things online this year than I have in an actual store.  A friend of mine, Bryan Lakey encouraged be early on (because he reads most if not all of the reviews on a product before he orders it) to read the reviews before I purchased a product.  That is when I stumbled into a whole new world.

The world of the Amazon Review.

There are several types of people who write reviews on the Amazon site.  Those that are angry with the world and they take that anger out on the product they have bought.  ( I am sure that if they could do negative stars they would.) There are those that see life through rose colored glasses and talk on and on about how great the product is as if it was THE THING that changed their lives.  There are those who write because they are promoting their product (because they seem to know way too much about it) and those who are trying to down play a product so their product may be purchased instead. (Don’t ask how I know this, just trust me.) Then there are those that take a product and write a comic review of the product. ( It is these that I now look for from time to time when I need a break from things and a good laugh.)   Finally there are those that are balanced in their review and you can glean much from what they write as you try to determine whether to buy the product or not.  Each of these (regardless of their emotional state) give a written testimony of the product that is in consideration for purchase.

Your personal testimony is no different.  Each of the types of people stated above exist in your life and often give their own ratings to others of what they think of you.  There will always be group of people that will lie about you – they will say negative things that aren’t true while others will say great things about you that aren’t true either.  These people do not really count (though if someone is going to lie about me I would rather it be the positive group) what counts is the people who aren’t trying to butter you up or tear you down.  The “normal” people you come into contact with on a daily bases that see how you live, what you do and hear what you say.  What do they say about you?  What rating do they give?  For me and those that are married and have a family hopefully it starts with your spouse and your children and branches out to others.  Is there something those people see in you that they do not see in other people?

Do they see Jesus and His impact on your life and the way you live?

You + What You Do = Your Testimony

Everything that you have done in this life goes into this equation.  The question is have you had a point in your life where things changed in your heart?  Have you had a moment where you encountered Jesus and the way you had been living changed as a result.

The direction you were going before you met him changed.

What people said about you early in your life is now different from what they say now?

Kind of like, but not totally like (because you are not Paul, few of us are) Acts 26?

1 Peter 3:15 – Be ready to give a reason for the Hope that is with in you….  The question for this post isn’t can you do that?…

the question is, Do you live your life for Jesus in such a way that people would ask that question?

Can people tell a difference?

 

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What do you think Friday…

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Yesterday I had a conversation with another pastor in which we disagreed on a particular point but after talking a while about it and not coming to a firm agreement on it we parted….

as friends

going to lunch again next week.

I’m not sure when the last time that has happened to me.  Where you had a discussion, there was disagreement but that disagreement did not get in the way of the friendship.   Where as I am not sure when the last time that has happened, I do know the people in my life that are like this and they are a blessing.

I spoke with him a little later in the afternoon and I think as a result of that discussion and the rawness of it, it actually strengthened our friendship. This is how it is supposed to be. So what makes other conversations different?  Why is it that with some people you can give your view point and they turn on you while others discuss it and think nothing of it when the conversation ends?

What do you think?

One Reason (Why Bad Things Happen)

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In this life you are either being tested by God or tempted by your flesh or “the devil”.  Why these things happen is sometimes, well… most of the time unclear. But what we do know is regardless of whether it is a test or a temptation it definitely drives us to prayer. Maybe that is the reason the thing has been allowed into our lives.

Prayer during a tough time does several things.

It deepens our faith and our relationship with Jesus.  With our crying out to Him we realize at a deeper level than we have before, our full dependency on Him and His power.

It draws us closer to Jesus.  We get to know Him better, even when he doesn’t answer our request the way we intended Him too.

It intensifies our willingness to serve others and care for them.  We begin to connect with other people, that are having or have had the same life experiences, in a more meaningful way.  We relate better with them.

It keeps hope alive.  Not just a hope that God will make everything right in our current situation but also hope in our future, that one day we will be taken to a place where bad issues never disturb our lives again.

So I do not know what you are going through today, and you maybe still looking for a purpose in your suffering.  I can’t give you the specific answer to the specific purpose God has for that test, but what can be said regardless, is part of the purpose is to give you an amazing opportunity  to draw close to your Creator…

and that’s a pretty good start as you search for the rest of the answer.

 

 

The Day Was Young

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The day was young, I had just gotten up the sleepers were nearly out of my eyes and then…

phone ringing

picked up

not so good news but not to bad either

The day was young, I made it to the bathroom. Shower was cold, floor was wet and then…

slipped

fell

But now hurts

The day was young, hard to move, clothes finally made it on my body and then…

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could not believe it

How could they be so…

Yea

The day was young, hard to move, hard to think, heart very heavy and then…

prayer

and more prayer

Expressions deep with in my soul, vocalized, out loud, echoes of the Psalmist, asking for God to move and render the adversary powerless, for all arrows that are shot to return and do him harm instead, for restitution to occur, for God to move with justice for the Glory of His name and then…

a whisper

a voice so silent it could have been missed but didn’t intend to be

comfort flowing down like a hard but soft rain, relaxing, lifting the burden – the sleep robber – from it’s effects.

The day was young, God was already at work, solving, doing, answering prayer for my benefit and for His glory. And then…

Head

Body

and soul

were healed and strengthened

The day was young but not as young when I backed out of my garage, but it sure felt younger than when I first woke up

that’s  the power of God’s love and His response to prayer.

Amazing

James 5:16

Reach Out

The question for the church is…

Can we reach out?

or maybe the question is…

Are we reaching out?

Or maybe the question is…

Do we think we are reaching out but we are really only reaching in… to ourselves?

Is it bad to reach in and minister to each other in the church?

No, we are commanded to do that.

Do we sometimes confuse reaching out the lost with events and ministries that are only reaching in?

Yes…

If we are reaching out maybe we should ask…

Who outside of the church do we want to touch? Do we want to minister to?

Are we really going to our community to show them we care?  Do they know it?

I think sometimes we just do things that are safe and easy for us.  The real hard work of connecting to the community we would rather not do. It would mean going and doing things that might not be convenient for us.  It would take an extra effort on our part to reach out…

reaching out is hard.

Its easier to just reach in.

WWJD?

He would reach out…

WWJW?

He Wants us to reach out.

Are we?

or are we just…

reaching in?

An Implication of being Created

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We are created beings.

This means that at sometime in the past, recent or otherwise, we did not exist. Neither did planet Earth, the Moon, our Solar System or the Universe for that matter. There was a point in time where nothing occupied the space we now live in.

But today, I exist and so do you. We live breathe and move in “space” that someone designed for us to live in.  “Space” someone cared enough to provide for us.  We live with other created beings  and we are capable of having relationships with them.  For they are created to be like us and we like them.  Because we are created (and everything around us – earth, moon, solar system and universe – are also creations), we know someone created it all.  It means there is a creator and he owns all the real-estate from the farthest  star in the universe to our very own bodies. For since he created it, he owns it.  It’s his and he “might” be “the center of the universe”, what it all revolves around. A place that some of us want for ourselves but can never have.

This point of truth stirs up an array of questions and has profound implications.  Including the question….

Why did he create us in the first place?  What was his purpose in doing that?

Well, There are several answers both theological, practical and philosophical we could explore. But the answer I am thinking about today is this one…

God created us so we could know Him, so we could commune with Him, so we could have a vibrant relationship with Him.

Man was not to be alone, was not to have an isolated existence. Man was to develop and maintain relationships. So, God created male and female in His image.  The creator, created us so we could commune with each other and learn from that experience so we would know how to commune with Him.

Think on that a little bit…

it’s an amazing thing.