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Posts Tagged ‘God’

the real ‘American Idol’

I often find the title of the popular talent search show “American Idol” a little bit controversial. Sure its a good show about the young people of America showing off their talents, but really what comes of it. The goal is to be the star, the winner and just another idol for people to worship.

I read in passages like Exodus 32 and Isaiah 44 how people are drawn to inanimate objects to worship. I read this and I laugh. However, its at this point that I realize, nothing has changed. I read in a book this week that the idols still exist today, they are only more glamorous now. Instead of worshipping a log or a golden calf, we worship money, security, fame, we worship people and potential and a number of other things.

Even those of us who are self proclaimed Christians and followers of Christ fall into this trap. Now, the scriptures make it explicitly clear that the items themselves are not evil. The scriptures say in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” It’s the love of such things, when we place money or any other object above God is when we sin.

The most grey area of the idols are in our relationships. We date, we marry, we are constantly searching for relationships which fulfill our needs. We enter in these expecting to beomce complete. Guess what, you will be sorely dissapointed. The second part of the Hebrews 13:5 verse says, “because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” If you are not receiving your complete fulfillment from God and God alone, you are fishing for something other than what God designed you for.

Look at your life very carefully, what defines you? What can you not live without? These are the things that we worship. Is it your car, your bank account, your wife/husband, your kids? What is it? What are you placing above God?

The book I was reading described these type of relationships as “two ticks and no dog”. I love this, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized the author was right on with this analogy. We are in need of something. Sometimes so much that we can suck the life out of something. If we are looking for this fulfillment we won’t find it in something that sucks the life out of us. Basically, that is anything except for God.

If your priorities are out of whack, its time to get things in order once more. Put God above all else. He should be the only thing we cannot live without.

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A Good Conversation

Last Sunday morning, my men’s group arrived at Ephesians 5. We’ve been working our way through Paul’s letters and I would say that this week was some of the best conversation we had. Why? I am not really sure, beyond that I believe it gets close to what we as followers of Christ have been called to. It was a great conversation thought and I wanted to bring you in on it.

The title of Ephesians 5 is “Be Imitators of God”. I think its important to start with this because this will be our challenge. It’s not an easy task, nor one to take lightly, but its one to aspire to daily.

Paul opens his letter with this:

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

It’s a challenging passage. However, its one that as a follower of Christ I am called to live this out. There are a lot of negative influences around us and by succumbing to any of those, we put ourselves in danger of withdrawing into the darkness as opposed to living in the light.

I do want to draw the attention to a very small verse in this passage. It’s one that caught my eye after reading through this a second time on Sunday morning. It’s verse 10, “and find out what pleases the Lord.”

What does please the Lord? If he were to look at my life, all parts of it, would it be pleasing to the Lord? If not, how do I find out what is pleasing to Him? Where do I look for such things? Well, the first place I know not to look would be in the darkness. I feel Paul is clear about staying away from there. I need to be looking at the illuminated things. One comment that was made was, “If you need to ask if something pleases God, then it probably doesn’t”. I think this is wise. Too often we try to stretch out what God means for our own benefit and guilty pleasure. But I believe this verse is a bit more cut and dry than that. I believe it should be clear what pleases God. We need to continue to look at His word and we need to be in tune with what He says through it.

When we shape and bend the rules, we are opening ourselves to be deceived. I have seen it many times. Too many people fall because the sin in their life leads them to believe its more about them then it is about God. It’s a lie. When I read verse 10 it leaves me with a good feeling. I don’t feel as if this is something I will be searching for forever, but its something that is clear, something that I can find.

Have you been searching for what pleases the Lord? What have you found? Have you left the darkness or are you still sitting on the edge dangling your feet in it? If you haven’t left it, now is the time.

It’s not the goal

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been corrupted. It’s true.

I’ve bought into the idea that my happiness is somehow a primary concern to God. I’ve been sold on the idea that this life is about me. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s true. I can’t even begin to trace back when the transition occurred from God-centered to Me-centered. I am sorry its happened though. It’s affected my ministry, my marriage, my friendships, how I read the Bible. It’s effected everything.

I was challenged yesterday with the idea that what God wants for and from me is my heart and worship. Honestly, if he doesn’t have that he doesn’t care about my happiness. It’s not in the Bible. You can search, its not there. It’s through my worship that happiness may be a by product, but its not the point. Its as much a by product as contentment, as security.

Have you been corrupted? Take a long look at your life. How has  this thought of your happiness superseding the worship of God affected your life? I wonder if as a Christ follower I can stand up for truth. This is one of those areas I believe Christians are duped nine times out of ten. We are suckers for this worldy theology and its driving us apart. We begin to introduce this stuff into our marriages, our workplaces, our church and its creating division between all of us.

What happens when our worship begins to take precedent over our happiness? What happens when we set our eyes on God and nothing else matters. How dramatically does this change our world?

Over this Christmas season, I challenge you with this idea. Are you like me? Have you fallen for this too? What can you do to put God in first place?

Categories: Worship Tags: , , ,

Radiant Glory

October 21, 2010 1 comment

I think of those times that I feel as though God is right there in front of me. I think how wonderful those times can be. It’s a feeling like nothing else. It’s a presence that you cannot deny. Maybe it’s happened to you in worship or in an encounter with Jesus. Wherever it may have been, hopefully you know what I am talking about. It’s a moment of goosebumps and a joy that can only come from God. It’s not the same as finding out you get to leave work 15 minutes early, or that you just got a free drink at Starbucks, it’s a feeling that can only be described as “supernatural”.

The Old Testament tells about a story of a man who came near to God. In fact God came so close that it left a mark on his face. It was evident to every person. While Moses had just encountered God, he did not know that his appearance was different to the Israelite’s. He came and continued on with his work as though nothing had happened. How sad is it that even someone like Moses could encounter God and not even know that He had been changed.

What would happen if God came so close to you or I and we hadn’t realized just how its changed us? What does that say about you and me?

I love singing praises every Sunday with the congregation. I love singing in my car, worshipping God by reading His word and seeking Him in prayer. How am I changing though? Every time I walk down that mounting from seeking God, have I changed? Do people notice something different about me?

After Moses walked down the mountain it says that Aaron and the other Israelites were afraid to approach him. I love that! Moses face was so radiant that he needed to put a veil over his face. He only removed it when he returned into the presence of God. It’s kind of like when you walk by someone who’s wearing too much perfume, even many minutes later you can smell the lingering scent in your nostrils. His radiant face continued and everyone knew it

Think about this next time you spend some time with God. How is He changing you to be a “radiant light”  or maybe an “aroma” to others. 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. (the Message). Read that carefully and see what we have been called to by Christ.

How is God changing you when you are with him? He is forming you into something that can only be described as “supernatural”. He is molding you into something more like Himself. He is drawing you closer and closer to Him and calling us to be an aroma that others simply cannot deny.

So whether its a lingering aroma or a radiant glory you are exhibiting, give God glory for the wonderful things He does in our lives. Be aware of the encounters you have with God so when people ask how you have changed, you can simply say that it’s God!

Lessons from a boy named David

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I love digging into the Old Testament. It’s a great reminder of God’s promises, of God’s forgiveness and of the people God used. David is one of those people who I am often inspired by. Not necessarily for the great things that he has done, but more for the mercy that he was shown on a daily basis. I’ve found myself in so many situation where I thought my life was ruined, yet when I look at God I gain a sense of hope that I have not found anywhere else.

David was a the typical person that God used. Someone no one was expecting. He was the yo0ungest and smallest in his family. He was the last person anyone would have expected to be used in such big ways by God. During the episode of fighting Goliath, he is told the “he is just a boy.” Those five words sting. When I hear those words I think that I am too weak, to small, to inexperienced, not good enough, and can’t succeed. In otherwords, I am useless. They are the words that non one wants to hear.

David seemed to be inspired by what was goign against him. He seemed to thrive off of it. In an argument with his brother, he tries to explain all that he has done in killing  lion and how Goliath will be just like that. His brother tears him down though saying he is not good enough. That would have beat my confidence down enough to force me out, but not David. He kept on. He had the one thing on his side that could not be defeated. He had God. He knew that God does not lose and will never be defeated. He took that confidence with him and won!

A while later, when David was at his peak, we saw a different side to him. We saw that while he was King, he was still just a man. He failed God and failed those around him. The slippery slope got the best of him and he was on the road to isolation. He was alone in his struggles and quickly he was on his way to meet his doom.

By God’s grace, Nathan entered his life and saved him from himself. I think of those times that when I was most alone, God put someone in my life to help me up. David’s contrite heart helped him undertstand the hole in that could only be filled by God.

When you are feeling down and out, who do you turn to? When you feel alone are you responding to those God is placing in your life? Who does your contrite hear cause you to turn to?

David was a  great example of no matter are place in life, we need God. We need him at every turn. Nothing else can fill that hole but Him.

Categories: Discipleship Tags: , ,

From the Plains to the Mountains

Last week I was in the Wyoming mountains near Laramie. It was my first time spending any considerable time in that area. One of my favorite things about heading west from Nebraska is the mountains. I don’t know if its the shear size of them that I am in awe of, or if it is the fact that its definitely not flat out there. Either way, it was a good change for a week.

I have been spending time outdoors since I was an infant. By outdoors, I am not talking about parking lots and outdoor malls, instead I’m referring to National Forest, National Parks, wilderness, wild animals, sleeping in a tent and enjoying God’s creation! I’ve always said that some of the most beautiful places on earth are not accessible by car. You need to hike.

The part I love most about the outdoors are those places where you just know God is present. Even when you are miles away from the closest church, you just know God is present in His creation. The mountains have always been my getaway from the typical structure of a day. It’s my time away from my phone, my email, the dishes, and the general busyness of life. It’s all about immersing myself in what God has carefully created for His glory.

Upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, scripture says, “the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully praising God in loud voices for all the miracles that had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

As I spend time in the wilderness, I love hearing the sound of nature. I know that if I can’t praise God for His creation, the rocks will cry out.

So as I return to the normal life one thing I keep with me until next time I am able to retreat for a few days, is that God has called me glorify Him in all I do and to sing praises as often as I can. I have seen His miraculous creation and its up to me to not keep quiet!

Categories: Worship Tags: , , ,