Monday, July 25, 2011

Being "Real"


There are very few things our culture values more than being "Real". I think perhaps it's a reaction to all the lies and deception we see around us. But just like the crafty guy he is, Satan actually slipped the word "Real" in on us. He really wants "Real" to take the place of Truth and Appropriate. For example check out this one of a kind fellow:

He is the pastor at a Baptist church in Tennessee. I even checked out his Church's website- pretty normal if a little "old school" for a baptist church with the exception of a blaring country music song playing about going to church on Sunday morning.

The comments on K-love when they posted this video on face book pretty much were either- "wow, that's horrible and barely connected to the bible" or "Wow, how funny and 'Real' he is. I bet he really reaches out to the lost".

He was praying before a Nascar crowd so I doubt "church talk" would have been clear or relevant to them and I know he got their attention with his "real" language.

I have no problem that he really thinks His wife is attractive, but he lost me a little on the extreme thankfulness for the companies that make car engines and fuel.

But whom, I ask, got the attention? Old pastor Nelm- not God.

I think that's my worry about being "Real".
I am Really not very nice without Jesus, I Really am pretty selfish without Jesus, I Really mess things up big time when I put Jesus in the backseat of my life. That's Real.
If you want to talk about me, think about me or make me the center of a philosophy - you are going to end up "Really" disappointed at what it gives you.

I don't know what that preacher should have said, but God does and I have a sneaking suspicion that the pastor did not ask God for that information.

I will not lie to you about my struggles, or the joys in my life but I will do everything I do for the Glory of God and for that only. Feel free to correct me if I get off that track.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Apple Adventure

Not actually in NYC, but in VBS (vacation bible school). That summer right of passage, a week of song, activities and messages about Jesus. Our theme this year was missions work in the Big Apple.

I some of my clearest summer memories are of that special week where kids were the focus of the Church, where Kool-aid and cookies flowed like the proverbial "Milk and Honey" and I had some of my first chances to stay at a friends house overnight.

The music this year was great and as usual I eagerly sought the job of "song leader". I love learning these songs and the motions that go with them. They are exactly what I love- stealth spiritual growth. They are the spoonful of Sugar to scripture memory. What kid likes to memorize things during the summer? For that matter what grown up really memorizes scripture as we know we aught? But give it a beat and fun steps and Viola! You tuck a few words of life away in your heart.

"Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes from the message about Christ" Roman 10:17

Minus the verse notation, I sang this all week. I know it by heart now. Nifty little trick.
Now before you dismiss my single verse (I learned about six others), from my catchy little ditty, think for a minute how deeply profound that verse is.
Kind of puts a crimp in the "let my life say it all" plan of witnessing.
Connecting with others- unavoidable.

What do you connect about: The message about Christ. The hope He personally gave me in my life.

I connect with folks that don't know Christ but I also connect with those who do.
I spend most of my time teaching young Christians and even there it's still all about the Message about Christ.

The kicker is, few want to trust the real news. The real news for the Christian is OBEDIENCE.

Yeah, boring, lonely, hard to understand, takes too long.

Everyone wants to feel power, see unexplainable salvations and miracles to build their faith, but the message of Christ was Obedience and Faith are so connected that you don't have one without the other. Romans 16:26.
When we do the "work" of obedience (Memorizing scripture, Reading scripture, prayer, fruit of the spirit, slaying the desires of selfishness, cultivating hope and trust in God) then our sin blacken eyes open to the wonders in His will.

It happened to me! I didn't just play Lady liberty this week but I have found liberty in obedience of all things.

 I want to be like the Mom sneaking veggies on the plate, except I want to sneak fruit in on people.

Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

God really put this on my heart this week- maybe it was talking about the Big Apple all week ;).

At times if you stop and listen in your church you may have a hard time locating the forbearance, or the gentleness or the peace, or the faithfulness. I found myself uttering words of frustration to someone Sunday as they listed the advantages of a plan I found to be illogical. I felt the spirit tugging at me, whispering "this is not the battle to fight". I needed to bring a little forbearance into the mix. God stirred on my heart that the more I just pour out the fruits all over everyone, they may be catchy, contagious and spread. Speak words of Life, Trust in God, Hope and Love all over the people around you. Friend or Foe- whether it's easy or hard.

It is my deepest prayer for us all.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Summer mini-vacation has come and gone. We have been saving over the past two years for a newer vehicle for me to drive. Mine was 16 years old after all. So we have not had the money for an official vacation.

In an act that just proves how powerful little kindnesses are, some family friends in the Houston area invited us to have mini-vacations with them over the past three years. Especially for the past two years these trips have been a major source of family memories. This year Galveston Beach pocket park #1 was a huge hit.

The Houston Aquarium was a blast with petting tanks, an amazing white tiger, a Ferris wheel and a carousel.

We saw our first Drive-in-Movie double feature. We swam, ate BBQ and generally had an awesome 4th of July weekend.
I feel challenged to find acts of kindness I can do to contribute to so generously to a family's happiness.

The Bad comes in, in a way I think most families struggle- The family photo. How to create that Milli-second where all aligns to make a good family photo. Well, we don't really have that down yet. But it was a great Sunday morning at Church so "C'est la vie".


 I struggled with where it gets Ugly this week. I was thinking about this before vacation and it stayed with me all week as I watched my family. Lately I have seen so many people talk about God's blessings in their lives, yet they openly defy all He has told us. They speak of God and disobey Him without seeing any connection.

I hear people asking blessings for marriages founded on living together long before the wedding, families with children and no plans for marriage, and singles seeking mates with no plans to wait on God. To the eyes of God this is a distortion of His design, as ugly as mud splatters on the Mona Lisa. It's not a control thing, it's a Love thing.

There is one thing God cannot do.
Yes it is true. He cannot bless sin. He cannot prosper what is destructive.

1 john 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Might seem harsh at first sight but it's actually spoken in pure love. Am I walking as a perfect reflection of Christ? No, but that is my goal. My aim in all I choose to do, is to obey. Why? Because every time I have it has brought me joy and blessings.

He keeps His promises.
He can be trusted.
Take a chance on Jesus, please.