Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What does Easter mean to you?

What does Easter mean to you?

In his book If I Should Die Before I Live, Joe Lomusio writes: "If I were to ask you to describe Easter without using any words, and you could only use punctuation marks, which punctuation mark would you choose to describe this Easter for yourself?
"Maybe this Easter is a comma for you. It makes you stop, pause, think, and listen, but that's about it.
Perhaps today is a downer -- a big bold period. You thought you'd feel excited, but instead it seems to be more like empty ritual. You feel like you're not on the inside, but on the outside . . . an onlooker. It was day when life felt like a period for Jesus' disciples. He was dead. He was buried. An end to expectations.
"But wait -- news of an empty tomb . . . the period is no longer a period, it's a question mark. That's worse than a period. Now they're beginning to doubt. Where is He? They're perplexed. the guards are gone, the stone is rolled away. He is not there. And if not there, where? An angel speaks, 'Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and how He must be crucified, and the third day He must rise again?'

"Of course they remembered! The periods are gone. The question marks are removed.
There is one massive exclamation point! That's what Easter is all about . . . an exclamation of gratitude and of praise for the resurrection Jesus Christ and for the salvation His victory over death brought to us."

So what does Easter mean to you?

( if i knew who to give credit to I would -- had this for a while now)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When the chips are down....

“Did you teach hawks to fly south for the winter?” (Job 39:26)
birds fly southThere once was a bird that lived in Canada. One winter he announced to the other birds, “I’m not flying south for the winter. I’m staying right here!” All the other birds said he was crazy, but he answered, “You’re the ones that are crazy. You’ll get down south, turn around and fly right back up here again next year. What’s the point?!”
The other birds shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders, and took to flight; leaving him behind.
Wondering what winter in Canada would be like, the lone bird was pleasantly surprised at the stretch of Indian Summer that lingered long into the fall. “Aha!” he said to himself, “I was right to stay. This is wonderful!” But then, winter hit full force in the middle of December. Shuddering in the cold the silly bird finally realized, “I must hurry and leave before I freeze to death!”
He took to flight and made it as far as Montana. There, in mid-air, he froze up and tumbled to the ground; landing in a farmer’s barnyard. “Oh, what a stupid bird I am,” he moaned to himself. “I should’ve flown south with all the other birds, but now I am about to die.”
Just then a cow in the barnyard strolled past the fallen bird and without realizing it dropped a big cow-plop right on top of him! “Oh, this is just great,” mumbled the buried bird. “It’s not bad enough that I’m about to die; now I’m covered with cow manure!”
But then he noticed something he had not expected. The warmth of the plop actually began to thaw him out and restore him to life. “Why, what do you know about that?” said the bird. “This ain’t so bad after all!” Then he began chirping and singing under the pile of poop.
Meanwhile, the barnyard cat was passing by and heard the sound of singing coming from the pile. Curious as a cat can be, he pawed around in the pile and uncovered the thawed bird. Their eyes met, there was a silent moment of suspense, and then the cat ate the bird.
The moral of the story is three-fold. First, not everyone who dumps on you is your enemy. Second, not everyone who cleans it off is your friend. Third, when you do get dumped on, it is best to keep your mouth shut.
The bottom line is this. When the chips are down, the Lord is up to something good. Take heart, and place your trust in Him. You’ll be blessed in every way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What We Worship Defines Us

What We Worship Defines Us

A pastor friend of mine made this blog article the other day and I thought I would repost and share it with you.
N.T. Wright said, “You become what you worship.” 

If I worship health… then my money, decisions, and time  
toward health dominate my life.  People describe me as a “health nut.”  I see myself as      
"health conscious.”
If I worship my reputation… then I will protect my reputation at all costs.  People describe me as a “prima donna.”  I see myself as “highly moral,” and quite proud of it.
If I worship success… then the bottom line for me in my all I do will be driven to being successful (Which also speaks to reputation).  People describe me as a “typa-A personality“.  I see myself as "driven,” and am proud of it!
If I worship power… then I will only care about people and social constructs in terms of how I can control them.  People describe me as ruthless.  I see myself in being a leader… and am proud of it.
If I worship family… then they are the only thing that matters to me… to a fault.  People describe me as “overly protective.”  I see myself as “caring deeply about my family’s lives,” and tell everyone how good they all are.
If I worship intellect… then the only people I give respect and honor to are those more intelligent than me.  People describe me as pompus.  I see myself (secretly) as an intellectual…. and am proud of it.
If I worship status… then I disdain those who don’t measure up to “the kind of person I am.”  People describe me as arrogant.  I see myself as “a good person,” and am proud of it.
If I worship God… then what matters above all things is: Obedience to Him… Honoring Him… Glorifying Him… Faithfulness to Him.  People describe those kind of individuals as godly or holy.  They see themselves as sinners under the grace of God.

If/when anything becomes more important to me than God, it is an idol.  If/when I worship anything other than God, I am in the flesh and cannot please God.  If/when I worship anything other than God… then I become that thing.  When I worship God… I become more like Him and His Son Jesus Christ.

Thanks to Pastor Ron....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wondering why God created allergies.

John Acuff 's blog article the other day posted the question,"Why did God create allergies?" Have you ever stopped to think about that? Why do they exist? He gave five possible Reasons God Created Allergies
1. Keep me humble.
One Sunday at church, I was snorting so much that the lady next to me just handed me a tissue. She didn’t ask if I needed one, I didn’t ask her for one, she just thrust it in my hand, which is church aisle language for “Shut up, please shut up already with that nose of yours.” Maybe God created allergies to keep me humble. It’s my thorn in the flesh or thorn in the sinus if you will. Seems a little extreme that he would create a planet impacting form of pollen just to keep me humble, but me even thinking that probably proves why he needed to do it.
2. Support pharmacies and pharmacists
My sister in law Marci is studying to be a pharmacist. I have friends who are drug reps. I’m sure someone I know worked on one of the bajillion allergy commercials you see this time of year. There are tens of thousands of people with families and kids and lives supported by people who have allergies. Maybe that’s why God invented them.
3. Teach me patience.
Have you tried to buy allergy medicine lately? In order to prevent illegal purchases, you now have to fill out a form, show your driver’s license, buy one small box at a time, submit to a retinal scan and write a 300 word essay on why you feel you deserve the Claritin D. Maybe this is all just a lesson in patience.
4. Bees need pollen.
In the current issue of National Geographic there’s a story about pollen and bees. I didn’t read it because just looking at the photos made me sneeze and there was an article on kung fu that I found very distracting/awesome. I like honey. Maybe that’s the tradeoff. God created allergies because honey is so fantastic. I think I can get down with that.
5. In all things God works for the good
Is this a Romans 8:28 situation? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Should I recite that verse every time I feel my itchy red eyes tearing up?
It has to be one of those reasons. Or maybe allergies are part of the fall? Was the Garden of Eden hypoallergenic and then when Adam and Eve got kicked out they were expelled to a pollen filled land of woe? Am I overthinking this? Probably.
Why do you think God created allergies?

Sometimes you just have to ask the tough questions?