Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 NIV

The opening phrase "For this reason" suggests we ought to know something more. The reason Paul prayed for the believers in Colosse was because of their faith and love. The verses leading up to this passage tell us that he had heard of their faith in Christ and their love for other believers. That's why Paul prayed for them and his prayer was filled with thanksgiving.

That makes me consider my own prayers; perhaps you should do the same. When you pray, do you pray for others? And when you pray for others, are you thankful for them? We probably pray for others. Intercessory prayers are great because we lift up their needs to our Father. We are supposed to pray that way. But we are also supposed to pray prayers of thanksgiving. Paul was thankful for the believers in Colosse.

Look at the specific requests Paul made. He asked God to fill them with the knowledge of his will. Knowing God's will is a big deal - and a big challenge - for most Christians. We want to know what God has planned for us. We want to know what God wants us to do. "What is God's will?" is a question I ask and hear others ask a lot. So how do we begin to know God's will?

Paul teaches that we know God's will through spiritual wisdom and understanding. Not just any wisdom and understanding - it must be spiritual wisdom and understanding. We have to admit that the ways of the world are not the ways of the Lord. What seems to make sense from a worldly perspective often is a huge mistake. So to move forward as a Christian or a church based upon human thinking is a tragedy. We can know God's will when we apply spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Just knowing God's will seems to be the goal for many Christians. We have to go beyond knowing God's will and actually do it. The subtitle to Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King is "Knowing and Doing the Will of God." Knowing is hard enough; doing is actually the goal.

Remember that spiritual wisdom and understanding are the keys to knowing God's will. If what we do is determined based upon human wisdom and understanding, it will fail. A wise Jew advised the opponents of the early church that anything of God will succeed no matter what the opposition is, and anything of human origin will fail.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sharing Your Faith with Muslims

Volunteers Make It Happen

The people are what make any organization great. You never hear a CEO say, "Our technology is what make us who we are. The people? Eh, not so much." He would be blasted with email, social media messages, blog posts, phone calls, and office visits. He might not survive the next board meeting.

Whether it's a for-profit business, a non-profit organization, or a church, the people make the difference.

That's the case at Cross Road Baptist Church. We have two people on payroll: the pastor (me) and a person who cleans one of our buildings. Everything else that gets done gets done by volunteers. From those who teach to those who cut the grass to those who keep the nursery to those to keep the books to those who cook the meals...did I leave anybody out?...our volunteers make it happen.

Thank you for giving your time and abilities. That's part of Christian stewardship. Each Christian is called to manage his resources (time, talent, and treasure) in ways that glorify God. So many of the folks at Cross Road are doing just that. That makes me happy. Probably makes God happy, too!

Are you looking for a way to volunteer? We always need volunteers for something. Here are some examples. We provide nursery care during the Sunday morning worship service for babies through 2-year olds. We now have six volunteers rotating week to week. You can volunteer to join this team. You'll be serving families who choose to worship at CRBC.

We also have a group of four or five who rotate month to month leading our children's church for toddlers through 5-year olds. If you volunteer to serve here you would lead children's church for a month twice a year.

We've had a wonderful group of men who keep the yard mowed. But we can use another volunteer or two. The men (women are also welcome) sign up to mow and trim for a month at a time beginning in March and going through October. You can help us in this way right now or start next year.

Every Bible study class could use a second person who can facilitate the lessons. Everyone has to miss from time to time and having an automatic substitute would be very helpful. And the experience would prepare you to start a class when the need arises.

These are a few of the ways you can volunteer in our church. I'm sure every church has similar opportunities. Contact your pastor and get involved because volunteers make it happen.

That's My King

You've probably heard this before but it's worth coming back to...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Her Bark Is Worse than Her Bite

Lexi (our dog) is very protective of our property. She's a 13 pound Pookie (Deana calls her a Yorkiepoo) that spends upwards of twenty hours a day sleeping on the back of the couch. Really, she's not much of a threat to anyone or anything that nears the property line.

On a potty walk the other day she stopped near a big tree that shades the house. She looked straight up into the tree and cut loose with a barrage of barking and growling. I laughed at her. Then I looked up, too. I didn't see anything but Lexi was sure she did. And she went on for several minutes letting the hidden invader know it should leave the premises immediately. As far as I know nothing flew or crawled away.

Lexi is like a lot of Christians. You know who I'm talking about. Those people will raise their voices about something that is not the point. They can raise money and followers who will show up at just about any venue at any time to protest. These folks rant and rave in blogs and social media posts to stir up others who are like-minded.

The point of the Christian's life should be to know Jesus and make him known. Sure, social issues can come into the realm of what we might talk about but the main thing is to share our faith in Jesus. The tangent topics can become a distraction keeping us from making disciples. Or we might hide behind those topics to avoid making disciples.

Let's clear our agenda and adopt God's agenda. The most important thing is to let people know how they can find forgiveness and redemption through the love of Jesus. In the process of helping them learn to live to honor Christ we can talk about the other issues. Otherwise, we bark a lot but don't accomplish much.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Media Mess

Heard on the radio that Zimmerman may be in trouble again. Besides the Trayvon Martin case, the report said he had other run-ins with the law: a speeding ticket.

My question... Is a speeding ticket a "run-in with the law" or is the media hyping the ticket because of the Trayvon Martin case?

The current issue is domestic violence. If he is guilty he should be punished, no question. But what does a speeding ticket have to do with it?

The report came from a source that more than likely disagreed with The Trayvon Martin ruling. Do they have an agenda? Are they trying to say, "I told you so"?

Maybe media has never been unbiased but these days you'll be hard pressed to find a journalist that reports the facts without first filtering the facts through his bias. Unbiased reporting may be too much to ask for. And if it is, can they stop pretending to be fair and just admit it?

On the bright side, I surfed into Morning Joe just long enough today to hear them applaud Vogue magazine (I think) for dropping Miley Cyrus from an upcoming cover. Good for them - both the show and the magazine.

I've plugged into more news today because of the situation in Syria. I remember now why I usually avoid it.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Gospel

Take a look...and listen...

Cleaning Up a Mess

I make coffee on a regular basis. This morning I made a mess.

Ed Meux used to stop by my office occasionally so I would almost always have a pot of coffee ready. He passed away over a year ago so it's just me drinking coffee now. So I swapped out the 12-cup coffee maker for a 4-cup machine. Still, I should not have had the problems I had this morning.

I still don't know what happened other than to simply say I made a mess. And the coffee wasn't that good, either.

Five trips down the hall to the bathroom sink to rinse things off and about half a roll of paper towels later... You can imagine.

Why is the clean-up always more involved than the mess-making?

I make a mess of my life from time to time. Not always big messes; sometimes just a little mess. Do you do that? Do you make decisions without praying first? Do you rush to a decision without waiting for an answer? Do you do what you want to do even after hearing from God?

Sometimes I don't need to pray - please hear what I'm saying - because my understanding of God's word should already be guiding my steps. Yet I act in ways that do not honor or glorify him. Or I act in ways that harm other people or take advantage of them. Do you do that?

What a mess we make when we don't seek God's guidance and don't follow his word! It would take more to clean up those messes than a few trips to the bathroom and some paper towels. Actually, those messes are called sin and you will never be able to clean it up yourself. God knew that and at the same time still demands that sin be cleaned up. That's why Jesus - God himself - came to earth, lived among us, died for us, and lives again. Jesus cleaned up our mess!

Now, you can continue to live in the filth and squalor of sin or you can turn to the Lord. Confess you sin (which means to agree with God that what you did is sin), repent of it (turn away from the ways of the world and turn toward the ways of God), and commit to live your life his way with Jesus as Savior and Lord.

The messes you make with your sin are too big for you to clean up. But Jesus will do it for you. Ask him to do it and he will. Then let me know so I can rejoice with you...maybe over a cup of coffee.