Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The touch of the Master's hand

I am typing up a pile of hand written notes I had stacked up since 2008 on bible studies I had done or books I had read and I came across this note:

We are not the old dusty violin that simply needs to be dusted off and tuned up by the master. We are a stone, some sticks and a bit of yarn that can be transformed into a violin by the master. Or a violin that has been run over by a car, or has yet to be carved from the block of wood.
I have no idea what promted me to write this but it struck me today when I read it.
How hard it is to be truthful about the state we are with out Christ?

Even harder still to be truthful about our state when we know Him but aren't obedient.

You are a living breathing testimony, giving account of what you believe in every choice you make.
Do you give the impression that God needs your help to manage others?
Do you give the impression that parts of your life don't need to be under God's control?
Do you give the impression that just around the corner is a time you will "have it all together" and you are diligently working toward that?
Those impressions will not impress a world with out Christ.
God help me to stop strapping self to the Gospel, I am just slowing it down. (Casting Crowns - What this world needs)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are you in the wrong Church?

Here is a simple survey to determine if you are in the wrong church:

· Do you feel a burden, a strong urgency for the community surrounding your church, to reach out to them, to share the gospel specifically with those people in that town?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you feel a care and concern about the members of your church- a maternal, paternal, brother or sisterly feeling in which you can look past the faults in them and see talents and potential that you want to invest in developing?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you think about the future of your church and how you can ensure that it continues to grow and become a strong influence for decades to come?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Do you worry that new members may not be getting enough care and teaching after they join your church? Does it bother you so much that you speak with your pastor about how you can help to provide this for them?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

· Are you willing to suffer for your church? To not have a need of yours met for a time because you are needed there?

If the answer is no, you may be in the wrong church.

If you answered no to any or all of the questions above you may not be in the right Church.

From what I have gotten reading the New Testament you may need to seek out a Non Christian Church to attend. I am pretty sure a Christian Church will not be a good fit.  You will only go from one to another in frustration at the poor fit, possibly never able to match up or make a connection. I hope this survey helps you to prevent that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been is what will be,
 and what has been done is what will be done,
 and there is nothing new under the sun.

One of those cliche sayings we use that actually comes from the Bible is the phrase "nothing new under the sun".
By it's very nature, a cliche- "A woman's work is never done" or "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink" for example gets used so flippantly by people we begin to forget what it really means or to think if it is really true or not.

Well something happened to my yesterday that makes "nothing new under the sun" seem so real and true it shocked me.
The Bible has a way of doing that, for a text thousands of years old.

I was given a box of books by a friend that she had collected over the years. In this box were many hardcover books from the early 1900's - Anne of Green Gables, Emily Post etiquette, etc...
It even contained a school book from before the civil war, an 1850's tattered and rebound school primer.

I also found a small black book entitled "Quite Talks on Power" by S.D. Gordon copyrighted 1903.
That makes this book 109 year old.

It's a nice little book in very good shape with a ribbon book mark built in and a lovely embossed cross on the cover.
I thought to myself:
How quaint.
How adorably old fashioned this book will be. It seems to be on Christian living.
I will amuse myself on how out of date the ideas in it are.

So I began to read.

It almost took my breath away.
It read like a blog written on a I-pad yesterday by a preacher down the road.
It brings to light how a Christian can live with power, real power in their lives.

Here we have a man who traveled the country asking people "What kind of Christian are you?".
Now, it's true 109 years ago most Americans he encountered would have identified themselves as Christians, but the honest responses of the people questioned sound very modern.

As I read further I became so convicted about the kind of Christian I am, that I started to read parts of the book to my husband. He could not believe this book was 109 years old.

I have again come here to this blog to recommend a book that I have not finished reading but I heartily do so with this book

I googled this 109 year old book to find it is out of copyright so you can read the whole thing or down load it on this web site: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20731/20731-h/20731-h.htm
You can also buy a reprint version on Amazon.

109 years ago people did not get how their little everyday choices had eternal effects.
Are we any different?

I just want to leave you with this small section from the book that struck me as being a truly timeless observation.

Quoted from Quiet talks on Power:

And so I thought I would just ask the friends here to-day very frankly, "What kind of Christians are you?" I do not say what kind you are, for I am a stranger, and do not know, and would only think the best things of you. But I ask you frankly, honestly now, as I ask myself anew, what kind are you? Do you know? Because it makes such a difference.

The Master's plan—and what a genius of a plan it is—is this, that the world should be won, not by the preachers—though we must have these men of God for teaching and leadership—but by everyone who knows the story of Jesus telling someone, and telling not only with his lips earnestly and tactfully, but even more, telling with his life. That is the Master's plan of campaign for this world. And it makes a great difference to Him and to the world outside whether you and I are living the story of His love and power among men or not.

Do you know what kind of a christian you are? There are at least three others that do.

First of all there is Satan. He knows. Many of our church officers are skilled in gathering and compiling statistics, but they cannot hold a candle to Satan in this matter of exact information. He is the ablest of all statisticians, second only to one other. He keeps careful record of every one of us, and knows just how far we are interfering with his plans. He knows that some of us—good, respectable people, as common reckoning goes—neither help God nor hinder Satan. Does that sound rather hard? But is it not true? He has no objection to such people being counted in as Christians. Indeed, he rather prefers to have it so. Their presence inside the church circle helps him mightily. He knows what kind of a christian you are. Do you know?

Then there is the great outer circle of non-christian people—they know. Many of them are poorly informed regarding the christian life; hungry for something they have not, and know not just what it is; with high ideals, though vague, of what a christian life should be. And they look eagerly to us for what they have thought we had, and are so often keenly disappointed that our ideals, our life, is so much like others who profess nothing. And when here and there they meet one whose acts are dominated by a pure, high spirit, whose faces reflect a sweet radiance amid all circumstances, and whose lives send out a rare fragrance of gladness and kindliness and controlling peace, they are quick to recognize that, to them, intangible something that makes such people different. The world—tired, hungry, keen and critical for mere sham, appreciative of the real thing—the world knows what kind of Christians we are. Do we know?

There is a third one watching us to-day with intense interest. The Lord Jesus! Sitting up yonder in glory, with the scar-marks of earth on face and form, looking eagerly down upon us who stand for Him in the world that crucified Him—He knows. I imagine Him saying, "There is that one down there whom I died for, who bears my name; if I had the control of that life what power I would gladly breathe in and out of it, but—he is so absorbed in other things." The Master is thinking about you, studying your life, longing to carry out His plan if He could only get permission, and sorely disappointed in many of us. He knows. Do you know?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are you talking to me?

Yes self, I am talking to you.

(Dear Blog reader, small yet amazingly cool group that you are ;), if you get something out of today's post, Yea! If not just remember sometimes I have to have a heart to heart with myself)

So you think it was a coincidence that you heard the same sermon twice in the past two weeks?

I mean come on, how many times have you heard the "Ezekiel and the dry bones sermon" these days?

Well, not at all lately, to be honest.

And you know you were thinking, "Hey dry bones brought to life by the word of God's prophet in a vision, cool".
But the second time you heard it you were thinking "Weird, is this a personal message?".

Well, yes I was.

You know you have been slogging through a molasses of fear and worry. You know you are grabbing at every branch of Truth about God, to get you through with your Faith intact and (Please, oh, Please) stronger.

"Jesus + nothing = everything"- gave you the boost you needed to feel satisfaction in an uncertain place.

But, the waves continue to roll, the boat isn't steady, and you keep whispering "You see the storm, right, Jesus?".

Yeah, (head down cast) it's true.

So Jesus, patient loving perfection that He is, whispers back "Dry Bones, Kiddo, Dry Bones".

He tells you the story, Ezekiel 37:1-14, like a daddy taking his little girl on his knee.

The battle was over, long over. The ground was littered with an end game story- many dry bones.
He makes the point, we are not talking about a valley of injured people, even critically injured barely clinging to life, no. We are talking about a valley full of DEAD people. Not just DEAD but no flesh on the bones. Bleached bones working on becoming fossils.

"I ressurect DEAD things" He says. I don't just handle hurts and pains, I dig up fragments of things that used to be living and make them into walking talking living things.

Ezekiel 37:11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

You get what He is saying right? You get His response to the "Woe is us, all hope is gone" talk right?


If it's His will to dig something or someone out of a grave, He will do it. That's who you serve, kiddo.
If you're His, "Hope is gone" becomes impossible. Not possible. Unable to exist.
You don't have to grab that branch, it grabs you.

I need that, Thanks God, Thanks Holy Spirit, Thanks Jesus- I am so eternally grateful you are here with me.