Don’t Just Listen

I think we all have, from time to time, left a worship a service where a sermon was preached and said something along the line, “I did not get anything from that message.” That got me to thinking, why didn’t we? I am sure there are many reasons but allow me to share just two.

Image result for hearing from god

1. I once heard a preacher say he believed that God has something for everyone attending that service. That”something” may be different for each person. It may be just one verse that was read. It could be just one sentence or word that was spoken. If we believe God is Sovereign, and He is, everything is under His control including what transpires in that service. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Ps 37:23 NLV 

2. I think that we are so preoccupied with other things that when we come to church we have little [if any] expectations that God will speak to us. Matthew 11:15 says, “Let anyone who has ears listen” It is like when we are having a serious “talk” with your son and you can tell he is hearing the words but he isn’t really listening and you say, “Do you understand what I am saying? The goal of the “talk” isn’t just hearing words spoken but the goal is a change in behavior.

So, the next time you come to church, come with the expectation that God has something to communicate with you personally. Don’t just listen; hear!

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Restored

One of my wife’s favorite TV programs is HGTV. She loves watching how a team of workers can take a run-down house and restore it to a beautiful home. I admire people that possess that skill because I can’t even drive a nail straight.

Restoration. That word suggests a positive change has taken place. Something has been taken from a place of disrepair and dishonor to a place of beauty and pride.

At creation, Man was created in the image of God. He was perfect in every way but by an act of disobedience (sin) that image was so “damaged” so “marred” that God had to remove him from the Garden of Eden. If you watch the news you will see just how far Man has “disfigured” that original image.  Theologians call it man’s “depraved” nature or “fallen” man. 

When a man ‘restores’ a house or an old car; he often has to remove and discard certain parts that cannot be salvaged. But when God restores a person, no matter how “fallen” they are; He does not discard any part of us. He does not refurbish. He does not remodel. He does not paint over imperfections. He makes us NEW! I cannot explain it but it is true.

  • This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person…. 2 Cor.5:17
  • Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again [made new] John 3:3

Jesus Himself said He came  to find lost people and save them.” [Luke 19:10] Jesus was saying He came to restore all that Mankind lost when he was drive out of the Garden. He restored fellowship with God. Eternal life was restored! [He restores my soul…] Ps.23:3 

Though God has made the restoration process available to all, it can only take place when people confess their sins to Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Savior. 

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.   1John 5:11

Who Is In Control?

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command

Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.

Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God.  I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”

Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.

We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.

We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.

I’m In

I have always been interested in the study words and phrases and their origin. We often use phrases in our conversations but have no idea when or how it was used originally used. For example. we tell someone to “sleep tight” but what does that mean? http://bit.ly/2lhEerY

There is a new (?) phrase I heard that I like; “Are you in?” This phrase doesn’t refer to an amusement park worker asking someone if they are secure in their roller coaster seat. The phrase basically means you are totally committed to a certain plan of action. It means you have my complete support; you can count on me,

When Jesus Christ called His disciples He said, “Follow me!” If Jesus were here today. He might use the phrase, “Are You In?” Being a Christ-follower means you are sold out, totally committed, fully devoted Passionate about Jesus.

Are You In?

What Were You Thinking?

thinking

If you have raised children, they probably have done something that was foolish, destructive or even dangerous. And you ask them the proverbial question; “What were you thinking!?” The standard reply is usually, “I don’t know!” They are telling you the truth because they were not thinking! It came to their minds and without thinking or weighing the consequences, they did it.

I wonder if God asks the same question of us sometimes. Thoughts and impressions come and go through our minds and we never give them a second’s notice. But God’s Word says what we think, what we allow ourselves to dwell is very important. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to “... take hold of every thought and make it obey Christ.” Our thoughts should not control us; we must control our thoughts. Every sin and unChristlike behavior begin as a thought. In the Garden of Eden, Satan’s strategy was simply to place a thought in Eve’s mind that God was being unfair to them. Genesis 3:1 Eve should not have entertained that thought.

“Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thought,” [Craig Groeschel] You cannot control thoughts that come to your mind but you can reject from dwelling on them.

Like It or Not…

The most often asked question that a pastor is asked is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”  I have found that the majority of people who say they want to know God’s will, want to know so they can decide if they will obey it or not. It is very unlikely that God will reveal His will to people who have that mind-set.

We sing this chorus in many of our churches:

‘ll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

It does not say, “If I agree with it, I’ll say yes.” To know God’s will, we must be willing to obey BEFORE His will is revealed to us.

“Whether we like it or not, we will obey all that the Lord our God says.”  Jeremiah 42:6

Living in Unity

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

One of the most difficult aspects of any relationship is maintaining unity. No matter if it is in the home, church or business unity is hard to achieve and even harder to keep.  

The church at Ephesus was composed of Jews and Gentiles, which was a perfect storm for disunity. I believe that unity is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only as we “walk in the Spirit” are we able to yield our “rights” and do what is best for the whole.

But there is another option. You could move to the town of Unity, Oregon (population 70). And in the truest sense, you COULD live in Unity.