Thursday, December 23, 2010

Genuine Faith

Genuine faith is made up of thoughts, words and deeds focused on serving God and our neighbor.  Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Genuine faith is connected to God through prayer, service, worship, discipleship, ministry and a whole host of other things.  We call those spiritual disciplines.  An often noted phrase to Christians lacking in faith is to "fake it till you make it".  Not a big fan of that phrase.  There is some truth in it though.  Some of us don't work on our faith.  We ignore God's precepts or calls and then when things go awry, we go back to God.  We kind of live by the seat of our pants.  We put stuff off until the very last minute.  A friend told me a story of a poor pastor (not financially poor) who would get up early on Sunday mornings to write his sermons.  He was a huge procrastinator.  He would say he was most inspired when he was up against the wall.  And if he didn't have anything come to him that morning, then God would just have to help him out.  Well eventually it caught up to him.  He overslept and well, he stumbled through a mess of a sermon and sadly, God did not help Him out that day.  Or did he?  Some times we put off our faith so much that when we go to find it again, it's gone.  And it's tough to get it back.  There is a practice out there of some pastors to purchase sermons and preach them nearly word for word.  If not word for word, more like 75%.  Again, not a big fan of that either.  Why?  Plagiarism.  If I passed off the work of someone else for my own in school I would probably be kicked out.  In your walk of faith are you relying on the good works of others, people in your family, your children, your husband or wife, or someone else to carry you?  It's good to have someone walk with us, but when we allow others to do the heavy lifting in our spiritual walk then we are lying to ourselves.  Our faith needs to be genuine and honest.  It's needs to be something that helps others.  It should be dynamic and growing.  Yes we have tough days, but friends, our relationships with Jesus Christ is the light in our life.  Then we become the light.  Be a light in the darkness.  Shine brightly every where you go. If your faith is genuine then you are already shining.
Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Christmas Wish

What is your Christmas wish this year?  We all have hopes and dreams and at Christmas time many of us give them over to God.  Maybe it's that time of year and we feel more open to speak to God.  Maybe we have no other answer than to give it to God.  
This year many people are praying for a job.  Others are praying for a home.  Still others are praying for direction.  How can we all help those in need?
Do something.  A few years ago we shared a simple, yet profound, sermon series with several churches.  It was called "Do Something".  In it, we asked members of our congregations to go out and do something.  We asked people to help those in need (mission), invite people to church (evangelism) and grow in their faith (worship/discipleship).  
I have lots of dreams and hopes for people in my life.  Too many to share here.  But if I could ask for one thing it would be that all of us go do something for someone else.  
I know many are focused on what we might get for Christmas.  I hear that Apple products like I-pods, I-Phones and I-Pads are at the top of many lists.  
We have a statement we like to share at Grace every now and then and I would ask you maybe read it to help us remember why we are really here.

It's Not About Me,
It's About God.
It's Not About Us,
It's About Them.
It's Not About Here,
It's About There.
It's Not About My Needs,
It's About Their Needs,
It's Not about Now,
It's about Eternity

Go in peace and go with God.