Clear Vision

And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing and violent people are attacking it. Matthew 11:12

I don’t know what Bible you’re using to read today’s Scripture verse, but mine says that “violent men” take the kingdom of heaven “by force.” What a bold description! The first-century church had issues, just like the church does today, but they were full steam ahead. They had a clear picture of what they wanted—God’s reign—and they went after it.

Men need something to fight for, something to fight against. It’s how we survive the storms that are bound to batter us now and then. Without a vision, a man will waste his life. But with a clear vision, he’s a force to be reckoned with. I believe that the reason men do not attend church is they don’t see anything to challenge them.  

I love the classic scene from The Blues Brothers when Elwood Blues announces: “We’re on a mission from God.” It’s a mission from God that keeps us on the straight and narrow. When we are busy with the Father’s business, we can’t be sidetracked. A mission from God not only motivates us to do the right thing, but it also demotivates us from doing the wrong thing.

If you aren’t on a mission from God, you aren’t really living—you’re dying. You aren’t just wasting your God-given potential, you’re wasting space. You’re dead weight.

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On A Mission

I love the classic scene from The Blues Brothers when Elwood Blues announces: “We’re on a mission from God.”Image result for blues brothers It’s a mission from God that keeps us on the straight and narrow. When we are busy with the Father’s business, we can’t be sidetracked. A mission from God not only motivates us to do the right thing, but it also demotivates us from doing the wrong thing.

If you aren’t on a mission from God, you aren’t really living—you’re dying. You aren’t just wasting your God-given potential, you’re wasting space. You’re dead weight.

You need a vision for a mission. Ask God to give it to you.

When I Grow Up…

As a parent, we look at our children as they are growing up and wonder what profession, calling or job is in their future. Michael Jr., the Christian comedian, tells of a time when one of his children came to him and declared when he grew up he was going to be a doctor! Michael Jr. said to himself “My son is going to be a doctor!” As his chest began to puff out, his son added, “or a dinosaur.” Kids!

An elementary teacher was having her students come to the front of the class and tell them what they going to be when they grew up. The students said they wanted to be a policeman, a pilot, a nurse, a doctor, a cowboy, or some profession you would expect a child to say. Just as almost everyone had shared, the door at the back of the class opened and in walked the District School Superident. He had the habit of making unnoticed visits to classrooms to observe the teachers. He sat down quietly and motioned for the teacher to continue. It was then that the teacher realized everyone had spoken that is except Billy.

Now every class has a “Billy.” You know that student that always causes trouble and does not the meaning of being quiet. When asked a question; his answer would usually embarrass the teacher and the rest of the class would roar with laughter. She was hesitant to ask Billy to go up front and share some crazy notion he wanted to be. She did not want to be embarrassed in front of the School Superintendent. 

But in all fairness, she had to let Billy participate. As Billy shuffled his way to the front, the children started to snicker in anticipation of another of Billy’s dumb answers. As Billy stood in front, ringing his hands, he said, “When I grow up, I want to lead a blind man.” No one was laughing as Billy made his way to his seat. You could hear a pin drop.

But isn’t that what Jesus is calling all Christ-followers to become? 

The greatest one among you must be your servant. Matthew 23:11

blind

The Perfect Pastor

The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8am until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched. 

So Far So God

chase-the-lion

After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. The altar was a way of saying to the people, “The God who did it before can do it again.”

We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there. That the God who did this will do that. An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way in pursuing our dream.

You’ve got to celebrate those milestones by building altars. Then you’ve got to surround yourself with those life symbols so you don’t forget what God wants you to remember.

I don’t believe that our greatest shortcoming is not feeling bad enough about what we’ve done wrong. I think our greatest shortcoming is not feeling good enough about what God has done right. When we under-celebrate, we fall short of the glory of God.

Taken from the book – Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson

The Plan

plan

Years ago, there was a TV program called the A-Team. The A-Team was always portrayed as acting on the side of good and helping the oppressed. Their leader, Colonel “Hannibal” Smith, used plans that tended to be unorthodox but effective. When his plan came all together, he always used this quote; I love it when a plan comes all together.”

When someone gives their life to Jesus Christ, they are often told that God has a plan for their life. Jeremiah 29:11. And that is true. As I reflected on my life, I was amazed how God’s plan came about, how He brought it “all together.”

I was a young man from Pennsylvania, who served half-way around the world in Vietnam. I returned state side and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, where I met a girl from South Carolina. We were married 46 years ago and have six grandchildren.

God later called me to serve Him as a pastor. I have served and lived in several states where I was privileged to minister to some wonderful people. I have seen places and met people that I never dreamed of but God did. I could never have worked out a plan such as God’s plan for my life.

The amazing thing is that God has a plan for everyone of us. He has personally designed a plan for you! One of the most important things you can while on planet earth is to discover and follow God’s plan and purpose for your life.  Have you found it?

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out
 before a single day had passed.       Psalm 139:16

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Two Basins

[Thanks to Pastor Carey Pratt who provided the basis for this blog.]

In John 13, we have the interesting story of Jesus’ washing the disciple’s feet.  The background is that it was the custom for those hosting a dinner to see that the guests feet were washed before the meal. Remember that people wore sandals not shoes as this time and their feet could become very dirty from walking the unpaved roads of Jesus’ day. It was the

basinresponsibility to see that a slave (or servant) washed the guests feet but for some reason there was none present.

No one, except Jesus, wanted to assume the responsibility of serving others. After Jesus washed their feet he said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” The example Jesus spoke of was not the act of washing feet but an example of responsibility to serve others.

Not less than twenty-four hours, we find another person using a basin. But this time, it is not the basin of responsibility but to wash hispilate hands FROM his responsibility. Pilate tried to release Jesus but the mob would not allow that. So, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”  He had the responsibility to see justice was carried out.

From these two accounts, that appears only two options for the true Christ-follower. Take up the basin of responsibility or refuse the responsibility of serving others.