Monday, August 31, 2009

Excuses For Not Reading Your Bible

Yesterday I mentioned a few excuses I hear for not reading your Bible. Here are the most recent ones and my response.
1. I'm too busy
2. I don't have time because of work.
3. I don't own a Bible
4. The Bible doesn't make sense
5. I'm good enough
6. I don't like to read

Ok, first of all- being too busy is never an excuse- we make time for the things that are important. Reading the Word of God is important.
Two, you are probably working too much, we all probably work too much so stop working too much ;0)
Three- you do not own a Bible. Ok, you can purchase a Bible for $5 at the local Christian bookstore- if you can spend $5 at Taco Bell, McDonald's etc..don't you think you can buy the Bible for $5.
Four- Yes, the Bible is not the easiest book in the world to read but is anything valuable or worthwhile ever easy?
Five- Simply, no you are not.
Six- Alright, this is the most difficult excuse for me to deal with because at one point and time I was not a reader. So, let me tell you a secret....the Bible is available on ......CD. Yes, that is correct, you can download mp3's or purchase a cd version. Wow, and I know several people who don't like to read that purchased the audio version and they listened to THE WHOLE BIBLE.

Finally, the Bible is fully of history, story, teachings, letters, prophecy and lots of other stuff that is deeply beneficial to Christians. Spend a few moments every day in the Bible and I promise that your life will never be the same. Some changes are good in life, especially making "every effort" to draw near to God.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Unassisted Triple Play

There are some rare things in the world. You might even say there are some oddities. One of those rare and strange occurrences happened yesterday in New York. Eric Bruntlett, 2nd baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies completed and unassisted triple play. He was able to catch a hit from the batter (out 1), touched second base as the runner had left for third (out 2) and tagged the first base runner because he was near 2nd base already and was unable to run back to 1st (out 3). Not only that, his play ended the game. Now that is rare. Ending a game with the unassisted triple play has not happened since 1927. Was it the right place right time for Eric? Was it luck? Who knows. But it is rare.
What are the rare things in your own life? Is there something rare that should not be...like...is it rare to find you serving in mission to help others?
rare to find you sitting in church?
rare to find you being kind to others?
Friends, rare things are not always good. Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Need Back Up

Zack Greinke is an all star pitcher. He should have won 20 games this year. Instead, he is 11-7..maybe 11-8 now. He might win a few more, but will not make it to a 20 game win season. Why? He is maybe the best pitcher out there. Because...he has very little back up. You could be the best pitcher, quarterback, running back, goalie, setter, spiker, bball forward and if you don't' have back up---you lose. Barry Sanders was probably the greatest running back of his generation and how many Superbowls did he win...zero. How many did he play in...zero. Team matters. We need a good team of people around us to help us win. We need wins in our life. Victories for some come all the time. Victories for others rarely come. I often wonder of those on a losing streak, is it the coach (pastor), players (church leaders), fans (members and visitors) that drags the team down? The Bible tells us that bad company corrupts good character. Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are people cheering you on or dragging you down? Being on a team means we help each other, back each other up and help each other succeed. Sadly, I know some people are on a team and play as if they are the only one on the team.
Be a member of the team. Pray that wins come, not losses. When the losses come, be there for each other and be prepared for that next victory because you never know when it's your time to shine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meetings

I have been in numerous meeting lately. Usually I don't like meetings. Many of the meetings I have attended in my life end up making very little difference. Here is the deal- some people believe you can go to a meeting and change things- some people believe that you go to a meeting to get your two cents in- others might believe it's fun to go to meetings to cause trouble (trust me, I have seen it happen). When meetings are a redo of whatever was talked about in the previous meetings, or if I go to 3-4 meetings and they have the same general information, I am bored! It is a waste of my time. This often happens, but does it have to happen? No. We made a general rule, a policy you might say, that we do not meet at Grace without purpose. We follow a very strict agenda of reporting and discussion. Most meetings do not last more than an hour. If they go over an hour, everyone who attends is free to leave after the hour, but usually, we know when we have pressing issues, so going over the hour is ok. I'm sure many of you have sat in meetings that have no outcome and no application to anything relevant in your life and as such, you don't like meetings. I have enjoyed several of the most recent meetings here at Grace. Whether it's talking about evangelism or the new building (tedious though), I have enjoyed listening to the thoughts and dreams of our members. Next time you attend a meeting here do so with passion and joy. Share your hopes and dreams. Be a positive influence in the church and in your community. Spend time getting to know the others around you and listen to their hopes and dreams. Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is the Water Rising?

Yesterday as I drove home I noticed one of the creeks was full. Now I drive over this creek nearly every day and I have never seen it full. It was over the banks and flooding into the trees. No where near the road, but it was full. The water was rising even after the storm had passed...and that was a storm. We all experience the storms of life. Are you waiting for a storm, in the midst of a storm or is the water rising after the storm? If so, find a good place to watch, some shelter and maybe a boat. Jesus calms the storms of our lives if we let Him. We need to go to Him. We find Him when we call upon Him.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Woodchuck

As I was reading the amazingly popular 2nd book by Ron Ostlund (Squirrels in the Mist), I was startled to my feet by Rheau (roo-our puppy) who was fussing at the front door. I walked over to the front door to see what was the matter. I saw what can only be desribed as big ball of fur with claws. I was not sure what it was. I could not get a great look at it, but it was taunting Rheau so I persisted. After some time I was able to snap a shot of it with our camera.
Over the past few weeks I have seen glimpses of him. I assumed it was a rabbit, big squirrel or a cat, never seeing him fully. I had only previously seen some fur sticking out from under shrubs or under our Blue Spruce. Rheau has been going crazy these past few weeks. And of course, something has been eating tomatoes in the garden. For approximately the last 4 weeks an animal has been devouring tomatoes. Six in all. We thought- rabbit, squirrel, opossum, raccoon, but never good ole woody woodchuck- otherwise known as the Marmota monax, the Ground Hog.
After some discussion, animal control was called because of his aggressive nature- sitting on the front step staring at Rheau. They set a trap and caught....a baby opossum. Since it's raining, they don't bait traps in the rain, he persists on our front porch. He has eaten none of what was left from the trap. Just comes out between 2-6 pm and sits on the front porch.
It's been a busy and hectic week and I anticipate as much this week. We would have never noticed this little guy if Rheau hadn't been so stirred up. It is so easy to miss stuff when we are busy. Take a few moments today and enjoy the rain. Don't curse it even though some of your are moving. It will let up every now and then. Enjoy the day with family and friends. And remember to always go in peace and go with God.
p.s. Will keep you updated on the Saga of the Woodchuck who likes to sit on the front porch in the afternoon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House serves families who have children receiving treatment for a serious illness in an area hospital. Many of us have heard about what they do, and you probably know someone who has actually stayed at a RMH. They are in constant need of volunteers. One opportunity that we can all help with is serving a meal. They have a website http://www.rmhckc.org/ that lists if a evening meal is being served or not. If no one is listed, that night is open. You contact them and they set you up to serve a meal. The Cherry St. house serves about 30 people on average. Could you make a meal for 30 people and drop it off up there? Probably so. It's another of numerous opportunities in the Kansas City area that we all have to reach out and help others. If you have time and have a few friends willing to help, give it a try. Four of us cooked a meal for the folks at RMH last night. All the families were so gracious and very thankful. It was an honor to serve those who are going through a tough time. Churches, corporations and civic groups sign up every day to help. Prayerfully consider helping others. I know we are all busy and time is something difficult to find. Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meteor Showers

This week was the Perseid meteor shower. Basically the earth is running through a debris field of stuff left over from a comet named Swift-Tuttle. Every August we pass through the debris field and we see some really cool streaks of light across the sky. For the record, I was up at 12 am watching and I was able to see 5 streaks of light (meteors). It was pretty cool I must say. I did not stay up much past midnight, but I had to get out there and see the wonder of creation given to us by our everlasting God. It was beautiful. As the meteor shower grew closer this week I started reading "A Briefer History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. A rather interesting read for me, but none the less, quite fruitful. There is so much beauty around us and yet as you drive in traffic it is really difficult to see. Grab a lawn chair and sit outside tonight instead of watching tv. You probably have a dvr and if it's that important you can record it and watch it later. If you don't watch it later...was it that important? The meteor shower is over but you can still see stars, planets, satellites and a bunch of other cool stuff. Experience some of the beauty of creation given to us by God. Look up to the skies. From Genesis 26- 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws."
Imagine Abraham looking up to the sky. At that time in history, there was a much better chance of seeing "all" of the stars in the sky. We see only a glimpse due to our city lights.
Get out there! Look out there! Search the skies. Inspiration will come.
Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Different Pace of Life

There is a different pace of life in the country. I grew up in a county seat town (relatively small) in Kansas. My grandparents lived and worked on a farm. Their office was out the back door of the house. City life is very busy and we always seem to be driving somewhere. My grandparents would only "go to town" if it was vitally necessary, or for church on Sunday. In the country there is time to listen to the wind while working. You can see the clouds roll in off the prairie. I can't even see the horizon from my house because it's blocked by subdivisions. Don't get me wrong, living in the city affords us so many opportunities and conveniences. It's great. But the pace is sometime daunting. There is not much traffic in the country. Traffic in the city is described as a "nightmare". What is truly amazing is that many of us long for a slower pace of life, wish we were not running, running, running and yet, we keep doing it. We have bought into that pace of life. Sometimes we are running so much that we sleep in on Sunday and skip church because we are tired of running. We push and we are pulled. We run on empty for weeks and never refuel our spiritual body. We are running so much sometimes we don't have time to rejoice or to grieve. Do me a favor. Take care of yourself. Spend some time this week looking up at the sky (there are shooting stars this week). Spend some time in God's creation. Just because we chose the fast paced life doesn't mean we can't stop and enjoy creation. We just have to put it into our calendars and schedule the time to enjoy it. Go in peace and go with God.


James A Reed Memorial Wildlife Area (not in the country, but a slice of heaven in our backyard)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Storms Come Whether You Are Ready Or Not

Last night some big storms moved through Lee's Summit. I mean, BIG, HUGE, LOUD! The rain and lightening was not all. No, there was hail to really drive hope the point that there was a storm going on. I had not seen anything in the forecast for the weekend that indicated rain on Sunday night. Forecasts said that the rain would be up north. So I watered the lawn yesterday. I took the advice of who I considered the best people in the weather biz and they did not predict what happened. Oh well, my lawn has twice the water. Storms pop up in our lives whether we are ready or not. I might be prepared one day for a storm and then no rain. Next day, not ready, and BOOM, big storm. I've heard the line about choosing to dance in the rain during storm, but I don't always like to get wet. So what do you do with a storm that comes when you are not ready. FIND SHELTER. Seek it. Look for it. RUN FOR IT. I'm usually prepared for storms because I been living like I should. But you just never know when a storm will come. Sometimes they arrive at our lowest moments.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Are We In Christ?

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

That passage of scripture continues to inspire me and help me focus when the path of God is unclear. Written to the church in Ephesus, Paul describes to them and other Christians that whether you were a Jewish Christian like the Apostles and Paul or a Gentile (non-jewish) Christian that you have received the same gift. There is no secret password or knowledge held by others. Do not feel as if your faith is less than that of others. No Christian is better or worse than each other. We are not foreigners or aliens, but we are the fellow citizen with the people of God and have become God's children. Through out baptism we have been claimed for God, our sins have been washed away and we have new life. God's spirit now lives in you.
Hopefully that inspires you to remember that no matter how far you feel you are from God that you are part of the body. God is with us. You are not alone. Stand firm with other believers. If you are going through a spiritual storm or a time of sadness, hold to your fellow citizens of heaven. We are here to help you through your storms. We are with you as Christ is with you.
Go in peace and go with God.

The Library in Ephesus

Baptismal in Ephesus.
Rev. Doug Kraus, Bishop Ann Sherer and me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Walking in the shoes of someone else

I am going to try to walk a mile in the shoes of someone else today. I am going to attempt to discover their life by hearing and understanding their story. When I find myself confused a bit in the faith it helps to try and walk in another's shoes because mine don't seem to fit too well. It helps us all develop a better sense of empathy and understanding. Not sure who I will choose (not a specific person) but more of an example. Maybe a monk, one of the disciples...how about someone famous (no thanks).
Is there someone right now you are frustrated with? Has someone upset you or hurt you? Well maybe it's time you slip out of your own self righteous shoes and walk a mile in the shoes of someone else and hopefully you might figure out that the road they are walking is a bit more difficult than yours.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Say it Like You Mean it

Ahh, the dreaded phrase beloved by parents and teachers. When we were younger we probably heard that phrase a few times (some more than others). When something comes between you and someone else there comes an important time in the life of the relationship--decision time. Time to decide if you are going to bolt or stick it out. Then the something needs to be dealt with and quickly.
Joey was a good kid, but had a knack for getting into trouble. One day Joey hit another kid on the playground, tripped a girl, ate half of the sack lunches and hid the teachers purse. Joey had a knack. Several of the teachers who supervised recess took Joey straight to the Principal's office. Karen had seen Joey before and knew that he had a knack for getting into trouble. So, she marched him down to his classroom and made him apologize to the kid he hit, the girl he tripped, the kids who did not have a sack lunch, the teacher who still could not find her makeup contained in her purse, and all of the teachers who he cussed at during recess as they carted him off to the Principal. Needless to say, Joey had a knack for getting into trouble.
As he apologized a girl in class noticed that his apology was not sincere. She raised her hand and the Principal called on Gwen, "Mrs. Principal, Joey is making faces while is saying he is sorry. He doesn't mean it."
And there it was, just hanging there like a storm cloud dumping inches of rain on him. "Joey," the Principal said, "Say it like you mean it."
Who do you feel sorry for- everyone who was terrorized by Joey or Joey?
This week we talked about Repentance. To repent is to know you did something wrong, ask for forgiveness/say you are sorry and then choose to change the behavior.
What transgressions do you need to repent of?
Go in peace and go with God.