Category Archives: Church

What’s so ‘good’ about Good Friday?

My son asked me recently, “What’s so ‘good’ about Good Friday?  Isn’t that when we remember Jesus hanging on the cross?  That doesn’t sound good to me.”  

Easter

I love this!  His heart is in the right place.  Absolutely, this was not a good day for Jesus.

But….in a much larger sense it really is a very good Friday.  By Jesus allowing his brutal death to occur he assured his purpose was directly in the middle of God’s will.  Isn’t that where we all want to be….in His will?

And for you and I, Good Friday was the most amazing act of selfless love in human history.  If Jesus had not given himself in this moment, eternal life and a mended relationship with the Creator would not have been possible.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.    Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

Fully aware of the unbearable pain,  the ridicule, the rejection, the shame…..Jesus gave his life for you.

He gave it for me.

Willingly.

Because of this, you can know Him today.  All you need is to believe.  The relationship grows from there.

If you want to know the person of Jesus today, ask someone.  Ask a Christian neighbor, co-worker, or relative.  Find a pastor to talk with, or feel free to connect with me on Twitter.  

Share this post with someone you know.  Also, join the discussion and leave a comment below.

God Bless

 

 

 

 

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3 Motivations For Your Work

I-Love-My-Job-handsIf you hate your job or position in life today, you’re not alone.  A recent Gallop poll found that only 30% of Americans are engaged and inspired with their work.  But this can change for you.

Three things that motivate my work in ministry.

1.  Obedience – This part is so important.  If I’m not doing what God wants me to do, I’m not in his will.  Its as simple as that.  When we have received the gift of salvation through his grace and mercy we should want to do the work he has for us.  Not only that, I’ve come to realize that we can never really be fulfilled and happy with our lives until we’re fully in line with what he has called us to do….at home, work, and with everyone around us.

2.  Love for Jesus – That’s right.  When our motives are good and we are focused on pleasing the right person, it changes everything about how we view our jobs and responsibilities.  Any time I’ve ever found parts of my job unpleasant, I start thinking about the fact that I really am doing this work to please him…not my boss or co-workers.  Just him!

3.  Love for others – For me, this includes church people and non-believers.  For you, this might be a spouse, employer, customers, co-workers, etc.  When we become focused on others we are better able to lose sight of the things we personally find troublesome or lousy in our own lives.  Our attention is now being directed outward instead of inward.

So, let’s recap.  Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?  Is what you’re doing putting a smile on Jesus’ face?  And are you keeping in mind the benefit of others while you do your thing?

What have you done to stay motivated in what you do?

As you enter into 2014, may you know and experience what it’s like to experience joy in your work.

Comments are welcome below, or you can leave me a voice message HERE.

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The Church is not a Bully!

photo by: www.itsprimalprotection.comI had one bully all through school. And this one guy was responsible for most of my middle school and high school years being less than a pleasant experience. I dreaded going to school. Always asking myself, “How am I going to get hurt today?”

Church is much the same way for many people. There are bound to be some ‘bullies‘ in every church, but don’t allow them to keep you from the maximum benefits of doing life with the rest of the Church family…God’s family.

God does his work through the church…and it is always good! ‘His’ will is always perfect. Unfortunately, sometimes people insist on doing ‘their’ work in the church and call it the Lord’s. Everywhere you go there will be those who are very passionate about their personal agendas. The Church is no exception.

But just like I would have missed out on an education and diploma if I had allowed my bully to keep me from school, you and I often allow unpleasant people or circumstances to keep us from Church. Thus, keeping us distant from much of what God has in store for us.

The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. (Acts 9:31 NLT)

Did you see that? There is strength and unity in the Church when God”s people are honestly more focused on Him than anything else in life.

Personally, I’ve been hurt as much as the next person by church-related issues. Multiple times, and at multiple churches, I can remember being frightened or anxious arriving to walk in the building, not wanting to come into contact with a particular individual. Even as a staff member, I’ve struggled in these situations.

But not anymore!

The Lord has led me to a place of healing and security in His Church that is almost inexplainable. Let me encourage you today. Don’t give up on God and His people. He longs to bless healthy Church community that keeps Him in clear focus. So find that family of believers to connect with, and prepare an overflow of God’s love.

Leave me a comment below or a voicemail.

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Don’t party with those who are absent

photo by:  dadsdish.blogspot.com

photo by: dadsdish.blogspot.com

I simply love donuts!  They kind of resemble the spare tire I’ve attained over the year.

One of my most favorite donuts is the six-count box of powdered rasberry-filled by Hostess…..well, at least until they went out of business.  When I was a kid I would take money I earned from mowing lawns and buy myself a box.  This occured maybe once every two weeks.  I could normally eat an entire box in one day, all on my own!

Sometimes, however, I’d leave one in the box for breakfast the next day.  (I know…leave me alone)  Now, I’ll be honest with you.  On those mornings I would wake up and be pretty excited remembering that I had saved one for breakfast.

But it was just one!

I mean, it’s in a box that holds six…..but I only have one.  Do you think I focused all my attention  crying over the five that were missing?  Absolutely not!  (ok, maybe just a little)  But I fully enjoyed that ONE…..down to the last crumb!

I had a party with the one I had, not the five that were absent.

I had these thoughts come to me today in church.  (hey, give me a break)  My wife and I had the opportunity to share with our church family that the Children’s Ministry team was needing to expand a bit…by about 50 individuals.  I’m so thankful for a church that values and supports Children.

I wish I could tell you that we got our 50 additional team members…but we didn’t.  We did, however, make connections with a handful of very willing individuals who are excited to learn more about this ministry opportunity.

(this is where the donut illustration comes in nicely)

You see, we could have allowed the massive void of workers to overshadow the good people who God brought to our team.  It’s like that one last donut.  I had a party with that donut.  And we’re going to celebrate (in a big way) with those few new workers…..NOT focusing on who is missing.

So, what’s your donut?

Leave me a comment or voicemail.

 

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Daddy…how should I vote?

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The other day, I was walking through the parking lot at the grocery store as I heard these exact words from behind me.

“Daddy…am I being good?”

I don’t know about you, but most of the time that’s not what is observed at the store between kids and their parents. Usually the scene is a screaming child hanging from a parent’s arm. But as I turned around I noticed what must have been a 4 or 5 year old little girl, gazing into her Daddy’s eyes, asking her question in a very cute and heart-felt manor.

After my heart was warmed by this incredibly sweet moment, a simple but profound thought came over me. Regarding her actions, this well-meaning child looked to her father for approval. She was not looking at other kids in the store to see how they were acting. She was also not concerned about doing her own thing or what she wanted. She was obviously wanting to please her father.

Christians all across America will get to cast their vote for the next President of the USA this week. If we are obedient and wanting to stay true to our faith, we will prayerfully consider God’s agenda and character when voting. As Christian believers, we absolutely cannot base the direction of our vote on what general society says is good and right. We also cannot allow our personal feelings, desires, and wishes to influence our vote…especially when those influences are clearly contrary to the Bible.

Let me recap.

Christians should vote from a solid Biblical worldview. Period!

More important, however, is what happens after the election. Believers all across our country really do need to check their character (public & private) despite who wins this presidential race. Romney or Obama…we must commit to pray for our president and support him as much as possible. Its a huge matter of character. Are we portraying God’s character in our society, or are we acting selfishly while hiding behind the title of ‘Christian?’

At the end of the day, all of us should be looking to our Heavenly Father for approval of our voting intentions and attitude. And just like that little girl, we will find ourselves asking, “Daddy…am I being good?”

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Ministry Team Retention

I’ve been noticing a bunch of blogs recently on the topic of retaining volunteers in ministry.  This is an extremely vital issue in the Church.  So, I’ve offered a small list of my own personal high points below.

–  Notice:  Many times we use the term ‘appreciate,’ and we absolutely need to appreciate all who serve in our individual ministry areas.  I will strongly suggest, however, that being regularly noticed combats the very likely thought of  “I’m being taken for granted” from entering their mind.  This is simple, but requires being intentional.  Here it is.  Make an effort to be sure they see you seeing them in action.

–  Know:  Sure, most of realize the benefits of knowing the spiritual gifts, personality type, experiences, etc. of our team members.  But I would challenge you to also know something about their life outside of the ministry.  Are they enduring a current trial?  Is there a  high point to celebrate with them?  What are their kids’ names?  This level of involvement can happen over coffee or lunch, making small talk when passing in the church lobby, or even a phone call asking them how you can pray for them this week.

–  Contribute:  Our volunteers need to know the vision and direction for their area of ministry.  Additionally, those who have input to share need to be given the opportunity to do so.  Now…being given a voice is one thing, but being heard and considered is translated as ‘value‘ to any volunteer.  It says “I care what you think.”  What I am not saying is for you to be a people-pleaser.  Lending someone an open ear does not entitle them to make changes in the ministry…especially if those changes go against the over-all vision of the church.  On the other hand,  listening to others should help keep key leadership humble and from always thinking that we need to have all the answers.

Are you up for a really bold challenge?  Ask your volunteers how you are doing in the three areas mentioned above.

Interested in other bloggers with experience on this topic?  Check out Jim Wideman and Craig Jutila.

 

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12 Days of Christmas: ‘Days 1-7’

Well, here it is….the remaining seven Days of Christmas in this blog series. Below are listed the odd items in this well-known song and the symbolism affiliated with each.  Merry Christmas…Happy New Year…and God Bless!

Seven Swans A-Swiming:  This points to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit  (Romans 12:6-8)

These are ‘gifts’…and as believers, we should what gifts we have and exercise them often.

 

Six Geese A-Laying:  The six days of Creation

A constant reminder, through our surroundings in nature, that we have a Creator among us.

 

Five Gold Rings:  The first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch)

 

Four Calling Birds:  The four Gospels

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  These are the Good News…the story of Jesus…the story of Gods love for you and I.

 

Three French Hens:  The three theological virtues  (1 Cor. 13:13)

Faith, Hope, and Love.

 

Two Turtle Doves:  The Old and New Testaments

 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree:  Jesus…the Son of God!

His humble, yet powerful, birth…offering God’s grace & salvation to all of mankind.

 

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