YOU CAN’T HANDLE DEEPER!!

You don’t want deeper:
YOU CAN’T HANDLE DEEPER!

cropped-deep-water-1Can you hear Jack Nicholson in, “A Few Good Men,” screaming at Tom Cruise in the courtroom as you read that? No? Read it again, I’ll wait.

I bet you did that time.

“The church is a mile wide and half an inch deep.”

Does that sound familiar to you?

How many times have I heard someone say that the church in America needs to go deeper? Seriously, this is not new, I have heard this since 1977; the year I surrendered my life to Jesus.

Delirious the band had a song out a while back that began, “I want to go deeper, but I don’t know how to swim.”
What a great lyric, right?

What did Jesus tell us?

I hear people describe deep as theological and somewhat complicated, and yet it was my Jesus that said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt 29-30 NKJV

My yoke is easy and My burden is light? What is it that I am being told here? Jesus went out of his way, all the way from the throne room of God almighty as a matter of fact, to make things simple and uncomplicated.

My YOKE = my interpretation of Scripture

My BURDEN = my expectation of living it out.

It would be very much like Jesus saying today, “Hey, come learn from me where we will keep it simple stupid.” KISS.

Did Jesus say, “We need to go deeper?”

There are stories upon stories, interactions upon interactions, recorded even as primary sources in the Bible. These people were there, yet I cannot find one instance of Jesus “Going Deeper.” I cannot find one time that Jesus waxed theologically eloquent to be perceived as deep, intellectual, educated or even holier than thou. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus came 2,000 years ago and stood against the “Spiritually Elite” of the day, and we dive into the shallow end of the spiritual pool trying to make it “look deep” so we can become the very elite Jesus lined out? Trust me, I have met people that believe they are spiritually elite. Before you say “Not me,” take a good look at your attitude. What about your actions? I’m not ranting, I am challenging you just like I challenge me. We are so easy on ourselves and so hard on others aren’t we?

Jesus kept it simple and avoided “Deep;” Love God, love people as yourselves he said. It isn’t complicated but it can be hard.

Wrestle with it

So I’m wrestling with what it is that people are saying when they say we need to go deeper. I think it has to do with becoming more “Biblically literate.” I would be a big advocate of that. (But Sunday mornings are not for your Pastor to put you through Bible College because you don’t want to quit your job, sell everything and go yourself.) As people dive into their bibles, however, instead of taking Jesus’ yoke, people make up a new yoke all on their own because it fits the narrative they want to follow. They make their own Jesus and accessorize him like a Barbi Doll: God wants me happy, God wants me wealthy, God says my sin is ok. God is a Calvinist, God is an Armenianist. We have to be Jews to be Christians. It goes on and on.

Really, Prosperity?

It is very sad when people tell me “affluence is a sign, the proof, of the favor of God.” What a lie. Surely all good gifts come down from the father of lights. Truly I believe that. What of the Christians around the world that die every day at the hands of heathens andindex_barometer001pagans though? They die in poor, third world countries, martyred, are they hated of God? Prosperity is wonderful, but as an indicator of God’s favor it is a poor theological barometer. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are not Christians, are they more loved by God than me? Does not the enemy appear as an Angel of light? Doesn’t he exist to distract us and lead us astray? Wouldn’t he be most successful if he were to do that with sparkly, shiny baubles and prosperity?

Name Names

Honestly, I do not believe that most of the people crying out for a “Deeper Church” really know what they are asking for. Let’s wade in just a bit. Jesus commanded us in Matthew 28 to go into all the world and make disciples. Now let’s go deeper. Name the disciples that you have made since you personally have come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Name the people that you have poured into and drawn close to Christ with and then baptized or attended their baptism. See what I mean, if you cannot name names, then I am telling you that you can’t handle going deeper. Surely Jesus is still doing what he was doing when he commanded his actual disciples to make disciples. Right? Why would he take up residence in you just to stop doing the very thing he came to earth to do? No, no he wouldn’t.

Jesus commanded us to give a cup of cold water to those that need it. When was the last time you did that? Feed the hungry rather than explain to your children that they just givingneed to get jobs? Sound familiar? Give your cloak to someone who needs it? Sell everything you have and give to the poor then hit the road and tell people about Jesus? No?

Go and Do the Doing

You aren’t even serious about going deeper are you? (I have met some that are) But let’s just be serious here, you can’t handle deeper if you won’t even do the simple and obvious. To people that cry out against the church I say, it is time to get over your self, get off your pew, or chair, and show us you are serious. You want the church to go deeper? Jesus made going deeper doing the doing. Go do it. He didn’t make it about knowledge, but love, and love is a verb. Plant a church with the people you have led to the Lord.

Jesus said, we do. That is the Jesus definition of Deep

You want to go deeper? I really do think it is a good idea. Let’s try this, take time each day to read Jesus words in the Bible; you pick the version. Then, when you see that Jesus saysimg_8534to do something, make it a part of your prayer life and your serving life and your giving life to DO IT. Watch what happens when that begins to take place in the lives of the church.

 

Stop struggling, stop striving today!

Joseph's Pictures 219Psalm 29:10-11 (NIV)

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

 

Today I want to share a moment of serendipity with you, a moment that occurred as I was reading my Bible. I opened up to a passage and as I prepared my heart I saw a passage above that I had marked previously. As I gazed upon my marks and read the words, God poked my heart and said, “Good morning Joe.” So I pass this on that God may also poke your heart and let you know that he is here. Now matter what it is that you are about to face, big or small, he is here. No matter how loud the noise, how dark the night, how evil the valley, he is here. He knows your name. He loves you. He prepared a place for you near him. Like the swallow that builds her nest near the altar, God has a place for you as well. It is in his blessing.

“The Lord sits…”

Notice that with everything that is going on in your world and mine. With all the false media, the lies, the hate, the wars, the hurt, the rejection, and all the meaningless activity of the mass of humanity, God sits. He isn’t running around threatening, shaking his fist. God is not scared or worried. No, God sits. He is relaxed and watching his children. For some he is sad, for some he rejoices but for all he sits and is working for our good. The scripture says he sits enthroned OVER the flood. He is not worried about the turbulent waters that are crashing down and destroying the earth that time he “started over” with Noah. God is not spazzed or even remotely worried about that flood will do anything other than what he will allow. No, in all our worry, and as we try so hard to get God all wound up in our drama, he sits above the threats. Close your eyes and look at how peaceful he sits on the throne. God is at peace always.

“The lord is …”

I cannot make you believe that God is. I know he is. I cannot prove it to you any more than you can prove he isn’t. I entered this world as a self-absorbed narcissist and until I realized that I am the one that is responsible for my sin, I had no hope. When I saw the God sent his son to die for my sins so that I do not own them, so that I do not suffer the consequence of them nor will they keep me from the throne room any longer, when I surrendered to that truth, my life began to change. You see, In my life, “The Lord IS …” Not only is it true that God is, he is enthroned as the King of the universe. I do not have to be able to answer all the “Why’s” and all the “How’s” or anything else, to know that I am created. The cake doesn’t have to thoroughly know the baker to know there is a baker and the cake is not it. God is too grand, to beautiful, too wonder-full for me to comprehend. Any one that says otherwise is a liar and the truth is not in them. I cannot fathom the depths of God other than to try to understand what he has revealed and reveals to human kind. The lord is King over all that he has made, he is alone is judge, not me.

“The Lord gives …”

Of all the “deities” in this world that have been made up, the God of the Bible is hands down the most generously giving and the most loving. The Lord gives. God wants to give. It is his love language. He gives life, he gives a place with him in heaven, he gives forgiveness when we slander and crucify him. He gives when we need help, he gives when we need knowledge, he gives when we need love, he gives when we need a family, he gives, and gives, and gives. We on the other hand take, and take, and take, and take. It’s our humanity. It’s our sin. You cannot out give God, but you do not want to understand how stingy he can be. When God asks for us to give back to him, he is serious. To ignore obedience to the Word is to prove that we esteem God as nothing more than a spiritual vending machine. It only proves the depth of our self-centered depravity; shame on us. Sometimes what God gives is the strength to face giants, kill lions, strike down serpents, overcome disasters and face adversity with grace and hope. That’s more than any other clay figurine on a shelf is going to give you. My God says he will give you the gift of his presence; You will not be alone. The Lord gives.

“The Lord blesses …”

As we consider “The Lord gives,” what ever the Lord gives is a blessing to you and I. We may always know why he allows the pain and struggle, and it certainly was not his initial plan for humanity, but he come-follow-mecan work it out for our good. The blessing of God is gold in the hands of the righteous. The joy of knowing that the favor of the King of the universe rests upon you brings peace. It doesn’t mean there are no problems in your life. It isn’t a reflection of the absence of struggle and hurt, no, it is the knowledge that he is your father, and he is doing what is best for you at every turn of the sun. It I knowing that though you are outside in the playground called earth, he is intimately aware of what you are doing and going through. Not only is he watching you, but he is “standing” right here while you are preoccupied with all that is going on. His blessing is his gift to you. It is for eternity, but you need to take it. You need to receive it and open it. Know this peace that in the face of death, carries you through all the darkness you may face and all the joy you may encounter.

Today, as you go through this day, remember,

“The Lord sits …”

“The Lord is …”

“The Lord gives …”

“The Lord blesses …”

and YOU are the object of all this love today.

 

 

 

IT COULD BE ME?

Lion roaring1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I want to go HOME

I sit here in my favorite coffee shop looking out at the world and I struggle to even want to be here. When I say “here” I mean, “on the planet,” not here in the coffee shop. The coffee shop feels safe, it feels friendly, it feels comfortable. It is small and for whatever reason I feel protected, like I do in my home. My home is safe, my wife makes it a refuge. When I am here or there the “ugly” is far away. There is no hate allowed here at the coffee shop. Everyone is welcome to come here. They will love you and serve you and make you a coffee that will rock your world.

But I cannot live here in this oasis and last week was terrible in our hemisphere. I don’t think it compares to things going on in other parts of the world: the starvation, wars, kidnapping, mutilations and the bombings and genocide. But that doesn’t make it less real.

I CAN FEEL IT

I feel the evil affecting my soul again and I have to reach deep to shake myself. Then today I woke up to a pastor falling to alcoholism and it just touched me hard. I don’t idolize him. I have been to his church conference and it was good. I don’t care for some of his theologies, (surely the kingdom of God is not about punching people in the throat or shooting them if they enter his home) but hey, I like his preaching and I like that he is sold out to the kingdom work in a large, get off your butt and do it big, sort of way. I love that he appears to spell faith, “RISK.” I appreciate that he gave and gave and gave. I really appreciate that he inspired me at one point in my own ministry. But, my heart hurts for him and I feel afraid, and yes, I know this fear is not from God.

There have been times

This pastor IS still a leader; as pastors we are all leaders. Leaders in a war we can barely see, but we see better than the average church go-er. The battle worn, the mutilated, the broken, the chewed upon, they walk into our offices every day. At times we can jump to it and bind up the weary and the broken hearted, comfort and bless, and at times we have no clue what to do or how to help. Sometimes we watch people switch sides in the battle and at times we watch people walk away wondering, “What could I have done better?” Beating ourselves up believing we failed, or thinking we “could have, should have,” and yet, we aren’t God. And If I can be honest without being needy, at times I have envied those that could throw up their hands and walk away. I would dare say there are times I have longed to be able to do that.

As I think about this man and his ministry to so many, I am aware of Peter warning us all that Satan, a very personal accuser, is a roaring lion, but he is not just running around or laying around making noise, no, he is seeking some to devour, to destroy.

Could that be me?

I cannot help but glance around and wonder when and how he will come after me. For I know my calling is to give him reason. Will he wreck my life today? Can I remain focused through the negativity thrown at our local leadership, the world attacking our local church and the hate being spewed across all the news venues, as well as standing against my own temptations? Will he sneak up when I least suspect it and destroy everything God has allowed me to be a part of? And if he were to succeed, then what of the church (the people), what of those that work here and have their income here? The weight, the fear, it can be incredibly unbearable at times.
This is the fear that haunts me daily as I hear King David saying,

                   “5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
                      sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
                       6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
                      you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
                      7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
                      wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
                                                      Psalm 51

He has given me a hope

What is our hope then? Who can be called his son or his daughter that is born of this world? There is none, no not one, that is righteous enough in and of themselves to enter heaven; to dwell with God. We all stand condemned whether it is in thought or deed; we all were born evil, sinful and lost. We all need a rescuer, a savior and I for one am grateful that God sent one.

I am in need as well

I have not yet preached a sermon, done a deed, planned an outreach, sacrificed, given or paid for something, nor led a person to Christ, or any other thing that would even catch God’s attention, let alone impress him to allow me to enter his presence. My good “things” will never outweigh the dirt on my soul, the selfish intent of my heart nor the greed in my spirit. I need a savior. I need Jesus more than anyone else on this planet.

lion in the grassSo today I look around and tentatively, with great fear, I stare into the tall grass of this world, looking for a telltale sign of a lion. Is that a shadow of something prowling? Is that the swish of grass, dragging down the side of my soul’s predator, as he moves closer for the pounce? Today will I be the focused attention of such a vile spirit? Is it greed, or lust, pride, or idolatry about to break forth from the grass and kill me?

Of the tribe of Judah

My hope is in the Lion next to me: The Lion of the tribe of Judah in whose shadow I run. In whose name I have life. Praise God his love was sacrificial and daily transforming. Praise God almighty that his name is

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

Praise God he knows my name, and though the enemy may wound me, he cannot take my life, for I have given it freely to my Lord, it belongs to him. But I still fear the wound the enemy may cause; so I watch.

Cry with me, pray with me

Today my souls cries in pain for this pastor that I love, that does not know me. Today I know, there but for the grace of God go I. Today I do not get haughty or take any joy, for that could just as quickly be me.
Today I am aware that I need your prayers just like this pastor does.

 

 

 

Peace be with you

feet of JesusThe “Butt-inski”

As two of Jesus’ disciples walked along on that very first easter day, they were met by a traveler. A guy. A man headed in the same direction they were going. He walked along with them for  a while as they were headed to a town named Emmaus. This man walked up into a conversation they were having about Jesus himself. They were disturbed by some things that the ladies had said to them, and honestly, based upon this description of the conversation, I would say they appeared to have serious doubts.

He hears their doubts and challenges them

As the stranger interacts with them, they end up kind of incredulous that he appeared to be uninformed about the weekend events. In true hospitable fashion they take it upon themselves to inform him. So they tell him all about Jesus, what he did, the miracles, how he was arrested and killed, then buried. I’m sure they told him what Jesus meant to them personally. This guy, this stranger that walked with them, listened, interacted, asked questions and heard them. The stranger hears their doubts. He then challenges their doubts and unfolds the scriptures for them. When it is all said and done, He ends up at their supper, breaking bread with them, and it is only then that they realize Jesus has been walking with them all along. Immediately Jesus disappears.

Out of their element …

They were walking and lamenting the loss of their leader, their lord, their friend, and there was no way that they were going to believe he was right there. I have often asked myself why Mary at the tomb, and these guys here on the road, didn’t recognize Jesus? Then I remember all the times that I have been somewhere and someone comes up to me, or I go up to someone, and realize who they are.  Out of their normal element or relationship, I do not recognize them. Then it hits me, this is “Bill!”

I think that is exactly what is going on here. They saw Jesus buried, he cannot be here, so that doesn’t even enter their minds. I don’t know what a post burial, resurrected, but pre-ascension body looks like, but they certainly saw him when he broke the bread, when he was “In his element.” Handing out communion he was Jesus again, and Jesus alive!!

What about you?

I wonder how many times we miss God in our lives, miss Jesus doing a work, miss the Holy spirit because he belongs in Church on Sunday morning. Here we are going through our week, maybe we have a spouse and we are doing our daily thing, chasing kids, a quick kiss before we leave for work, maybe a fight and we are immediately in a tension. A flat tire and the day feels wrecked, or work is just piling up and we don’t feel appreciated, no one cares so we melt into the old pit of wallowing; no one likes me, no one notices, I’ll never get ahead. God where are you?

“… and I know that there are angels all around …”

It is at times like these that we miss seeing God in our lives. We end up so focused on our want, our need or our loss, or our problems, that we don’t lift our eyes up and look at who is walking around us. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Look!

The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus said it is near, it is coming and it is in you. Jesus is in the Kingdom, so Jesus IS here. The Holy Spirit is in the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit IS here. Angels are in the kingdom, so angels ARE here. I want to encourage you to lift your chin and look around. God is here in your midst. In the middle of your daily struggle, in the middle of your need to make a decision, in the middle of your fight with your spouse. He is here at work. He is here in your doubt and despair.  He will never leave you alone, but we may be choosing not to believe he could be here.
Cry for nigeriaAs you travel on this road to your Emmaus, that stranger, that song, that group pf people, that church, that co-worker, God is using them to speak to you, to support you, to love you, but you have to open your eyes and believe. Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to open your eyes.

 

Your Marriage doesn’t SUCK, but you might suck at marriage.

1967 Mercury Cougar, that’s HOT!

1967 CougarAs much as I talk about owning a Corvette, my real dream is a 67′ Cougar, 289 with a three speed. I believe the color is called “Cinnamon Toast with a chocolate vinyl top. My parents owned one when I was very small. I have since owned three 67′ Cougars in my life: 1 was an XR7, one had a 427 and a 4 speed, and one was the classic 289 with a three speed.

Just Rusting away

I noticed there is one over in Irvine, Ky on St Rt 89 North on the left, setting up in the weeds. As I pass it by occasionally I am reminded that, when we have something precious and just ignore it, don’t pay attention to it, or abandon it, the precious thing will decay; slowly at first and then it will escalate. That was a magnificent car at one time. It was cool, and fun, and probably exciting to drive.

If you ignore what you bought, you’ll hate what you got!

Marriage is a lot like that car. It is fun, and exciting, and cool, and we loved it when we began. Then time goes by, jobs change, maybe a couple kids come and you begin to neglect it a little. The paint fades and we begin to wonder, “What happened to the shine, the sparkle?” And the truth is not that the car stopped being the car, it’s that you stopped paying attention to it, you got too busy. Then the rust sets in and when you look at your marriage, you begin to see the faults rather then the shine. Soon, with no care, and disdain rising, it won’t run right, and it leaves you setting, leaves you completely broken down.

It’s the little things that keep it shiny

That’s what happens when you stop doing the little things in your marriage that value and support your partner. You know, when you were young, in love and enthralled with that Cougar, you didn’t see a one of its faults, and when people pointed them out, you quickly wrote them off by directing the conversation to the positives. You could expound for hours on how this was the greatest car in the world. Same is true with your spouse. You used to see all the good and CHOSE not to see the flaws. So let me ask a question, why not go back to that kind of relationship?

There are newer models out there

2015-Toyota-Supra-side-e1411579898600
Let’s be honest, there are some newer and faster cars out now. The 67′ Cougar pales in comparison to them; The toyote Supra (above), the R7 Audi, the 07′ Corvette (not being greedy), I’m not even looking at the “supercars” yet. But here’s a point, why compare mine to the new models? Why not instead invest in the Cougar and enjoy the ride?
When the Cougar came out it was amazing. It was only about $2500 dollars. I recently priced one in immaculate condition, low miles, shiny, you get it right, well cared for; $28,000.00! more than ten times the value of when it was first produced. Ten times!

Keep doing what you used to do

This is why I will always try to keep doing the things I did for my wife before we married. I’m not blind, there are “newer models” out there, (see how I threw in the double entendres?), and let’s not pretend they aren’t pretty hot. But the value of my marriage grows every time I invest a moment, a kiss, a date, a dusting of the living room, or make the bed, our bed. Every encouragement, every inspiration just shines
our marriage that much more, why stop? Oh, I get she doesn’t look exactly like the girl I married, but she at least respects herself enough to care for herself while I do as well. She sees my faults, my struggle, my sin, and she loves me and makes me feel new. She invests in the relationship in little ways that are important and at the same time, might seem insignificant. She values the marriage. I work to keep it running, I work at making sure it doesn’t let her down or leave her setting. I invest. I may have a flat tire one day, need an oil change, maybe even a new part, but I won’t let it decay from lack of attention.

Why am I writing this today?

I’m sitting in my favorite spot in Richmond, Ky, pondering my marriage. I opened my Bible and there is a note from my wife. It’s PG but the sentiment is beyond. It was a very simple thing to do, and yet a very powerful way to shine the “car.” I cried, I’m not
The little thingsafraid to admit it. It is the little, inexpensive, things that you do now that keep it running through all the “laters.”
So, what are you going to do today to maintain the joy, the lust-er, the longing, and the adventure in your marriage? If you don’t, you will come to hate it and you can blame whoever you want, but at the end of the day YOU stopped caring for it.

Do that one thing today that will value, or say “I love you,” to your spouse!

#changetheworldchangeyourownlife

I’m sick of doing NOTHING about Planned Parenthood!!!!

This morning I saw a post from someone that encouraged us all to do something, to make a difference. Have you ever actually decided to look for an opportunity to make a difference? I mean have you ever stopped your “so-very-important” busy life? I’m talking about right now stand on the brake and bring your day to a screeching halt! You ever done that so that you could intentionally, with great purpose, change the world?

MY ORDER MY WAY

latte artMy barista does that every time I show up at the coffee shop. He or she, depending upon the day, takes MY order, makes it the way I LIKE it. For the time that I am at the coffee sop I get to stop and these people help me to regain my mind so I can go out and hopefully make a difference.

LIKE A ROTTWEILER IN A CAT POUND

I was down in Orlando one time and I’m telling you!! Three lanes of traffic and the “elderly person” in the far left, high speed, “what-the-heck-are-you-doing-in-this-lane-lady?” lane, realized at the last second, that she was AT her exit!!! She slammed on the brake and completely stopped in order to let traffic stop, or thin out, or dissipate, so she could drive laterally across three lanes of traffic to that exit. I’m telling you all those tires sounded like a Rottweiler in a cat pound! Boomer and AvaThere was more squalling, bawling, and screeching then a Haunted house at Halloween full of middle school girls. In my mind, every one spilled their morning coffee in their laps. I can only imagine that even the most pious of drivers was inflicting this person with thoughts and descriptions, as well as questions, concerning the Underworld, and the legitimacy of someone’s birth.

That lady stopped, for all the wrong reasons she stopped. All the world, that was on that highway, at that moment, had no choice, they stopped with her! (you are making stopping and screeching noises in your head right now aren’t you, come on, admit it!!)

DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE

We often are sold into the lie that there is nothing we can do, or we are too busy, or it won’t matter. I want to assure you that it is a lie. Just like that lady in Orlando, if you do in fact choose to stop, I promise you that you will affect the lives of the people around you.

I felt the same way about the whole Planned Parenthood video debacle. Inside my heart I want to scathe, flay, and/ or eviscerate this organization. Not the people, that would be un-Christian: the organization and the activity, definitely. That desire coupled with social media can raise awareness, but sooner or later we have to actually DO something. I mean, stop complaining, stop shaking our fists at the computer screen, stop screaming for all in our cubicles to hear, and actually do something.

I had an epiphany a couple weeks ago. (when I was little I used to think an epiphany was like a symphony, some kind of orchestra thing) Sitting at my computer with my blood boiling, my sarcasm working it’s way up my throat, going back and forth with some of my own family even, I believe the Lord spoke to me, to my heart. He didn’t speak to me like he did to Charlton Heston in 1956 when he said, “Let my people go!” No, he simply spoke to me and asked me what I was going to DO about it. I did the usually dance; “There is nothing I can do but keep it in the forefront Lord.” He pushed me and pushed me. I ended up going down to the Pregnancy Help Center in Richmond Kentucky and talking to the Director there, her name is Heather and she has an excellent staff.

They are trying to open a clinic with an ultra sound machine so they can help care for pregnant, wed and unwed mothers. They are training parents together and separate on parenting, and the skills needed to raise a child. They provide care, material care, and support for these people. They are showing them the life giving, sparing, and life saving options that are available, other than to end the child’s life. They are making a difference.

clear-vue-350-clearvue-350-clearvue350So, they are making a difference, I want to make a difference, our church wants to make a difference. EPHIPHANY!! We could do something together, like get this clinic up and running. $13,000.00 is all they have left to raise for this project. One the one had, you stop and say, “Whoa, $13,000.00, that’s a ton of money. It would in fact buy a real nice car, I’m not gonna lie. And maybe you are saying, “I don’t have that much money to give.” I think it needs to happen, but we can all own it. I think that our community can get together across denominational, religious or societal lines and we can make this happen. Think about it, this is your chance to DO something instead of TALK ABOUT something. I’m talking about each of us in our community stretching ourselves for $25 each. (More if you can, but no pressure)

What if we all came together and knew that because we chose to stop and do something, lives were spared, lives were made whole and wholesome, families were cared for and loved on. What if you were to look at the picture and realize that your gift, regardless of size, helped get that tool into the hands of people on the front lines of saving little people’s lives. You CAN do THAT!!

GIVE A LITTLE BIT, GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR LOVE …

Go to this site, click on what ever sized gift you would like to give and then designate it to the “Operation Ultra Sound.”

https://connect.egiving.com/operation-ultrasound/madison-county-pregnancy-help-center-inc

Today, when you think there is nothing you can do, go ahead and stop what you aer doing, where you are going and make a difference. It may be something entirely different that this particular project. Maybe you just need to love on some one, pray for someone, encourage someone, buy a meal, a tank of gas, what ever.

If you will STOP, we can change the world. BE intentional!

#changetheworld

AN INVITATION FROM GOD

Eagle Landing at Nest LRPP1

Psalm 36 (NIV)
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.
1 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

As we read this Psalm David speaks of evil persons in the world: “The Wicked” he calls them. They appear to be marked in this particular Psalm by a number of characteristics:

-There is no fear of God in their eyes.
-A narcissism that causes blandness to his own sin
-A filthy pattern of speech and lies
-A failure to act wisely or do good
-He is committed to an active sinful course
-Finally, he does not reject what is wrong.

Admit it, the world isn’t getting better

Let’s admit it, this world isn’t getting better. When you look at corporate greed, self-actualization, narcissism, violence, abuse, racism, sexism, this list can keep going for say, about a week? What humanity chooses to do to each other is very sad. The manner in which we can hurt one another and the reasons we have for doing so are heartbreaking. We haven’t even begun to describe what our humanity is doing to the Earth.

The “Wicked”

David initially describes the “wicked” as those who do not fear God. He is speaking of a very proud man. Notice it doesn’t say that there is no knowledge of God, nor does he say that the man doesn’t believe in God. What David says is that the man does not have a respect or honor for God. He very well may believe in him, the point is that he shakes his fist in the face of God. He will not bow down, or yield to God as ruler.

That is a tough place to be, but let’s not be too proud to admit that we may have been there ourselves a time or two. You may be reading this and find yourself mad, or shaking your fist in the face of God right now. Take a breath and ask him to be your God and then let him be your God.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you

David ends this part of the passage by describing the wicked as “not rejecting what is wrong.” David is saying he doesn’t do anything about the problems, the sin, in his life. It can also be understood that he is speaking of the fact that a wicked man doesn’t do anything about the evil and sin around him.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you. Love is the nemesis of the evil around you, the archenemy of all that is bad in the world. In an entertainment world ripe with superheroes, Jesus is my superhero of Love. Love is a verb; an action; a movement. It is what you DO not what you say.passion-of-the-christ-nail

David describes God love as unfailing. He can do that because God IS love. He is not loving, or lovely, rather he is love. Christ proved that when he went to die on the cross for you and my sins.

If love is an action that is taken on your behalf, then Calvary was the greatest. When someone who owed nothing died for people who owed everything, well, you get it.

Look at what David goes on to say in Psalm 36:

Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

David says we feast on the abundance of God’s house. I don’t know what you think of when you think about the abundance of God’s house, I think of abundantly abundant. For some reason my mind goes to leftovers, but that isn’t what it says, it says it is the abundance.

There is plenty of food iKings feastn my house. Sometimes we come in and there is enough food that we cannot decide what to eat. Other times there is food but not what we want. In both cases there is ample food. God has ABUNDANCE to feast upon. That word abundance is “midesen” and it refers to the “fatness” of God’s possession and provision.

Today I want you to focus on a God who himself, through the Prophet King David, Says you get to eat his abundance and drink from his RIVER OF DELIGHTS. Bring it on Tuesday, you are mine!!!