Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Work

 “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”” John 6:29 NIV

The other day my daughter asked, "Mommy are you a doctor?"

"No," I replied  Her response was, "I mean are you doctor of this house?"

I wear many hats throughout a week. Mom, friend, pastor, adviser, writer, spouse, and "doctor." Sometimes it gets confusing. Sometimes I'm not sure what my focus should be. Sometimes I don't want to wear a hat at all.

Then I remember who my boss is. I'm in the business of making disciples for transforming the world. And that starts with me. My job is to believe and that belief should be reflected in my way of life.

So when I put on the mommy hat, I'm putting it on knowing that I'm a disciple mommy. I'm a disciple friend and a disciple doctor. No matter what hat I wear, I do so as part of the work of God. I may have doubts at times but those doubts lead me to a greater relationship and belief in the One that God sent.

As you put on your different hats today, make sure that you remember the work that you do is to believe. Then the rest will fall into place.

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, August 27, 2012

No One Understands by Jason Ponzio


No One Understands


Scripture:
Hebrews 4:14-16
 (NIV)

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Devotional:

Have you ever felt that no one understands what you are going through?  Has the thoughts of being all alone entered your mind more than once?  Sometimes we forget that we are not really alone.  There is someone who really does understand what we are going through and what we experience. 
Jesus became fully human in order to experience life as we do.  He was tempted just the same as we are.  Jesus dealt with grief, loss of loved ones, and other sadness.  He also felt joy and happiness.  He shared intimate moments with His closest friends and disciples. The only thing Jesus didn’t experience was sin.  Yet He paid the price of all sin.  So He even knows the experience of suffering the consequences of sin.
The next time you feel alone or that no one understands just remember Jesus does.  God sends people into our lives to be with us and to help us.  Something you experience today may help you in helping someone else tomorrow.  As we receive grace let us extend grace. You do not have to bear your burdens alone.  That is your choice.    Allow Christ to work in your life.  Allow Him to use you to work in someone else’s life.  We are not alone, not only do we have Christ but we have each other. 

Jason Ponzio


Jason is the author of http://www.sgly.blogspot.com/ and maintains a web site at http://www.sgly.org/ as a resource for Christian leaders.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ssssshhhhhh!

Faith Out Loud


1 Timothy 4:15-16
New International Version (NIV)

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save(A) both yourself and your hearers.


I just heard on the radio that the majority of students entering college this year have some form of hearing loss. Because of our advancements in technology, headphones and speakers can be louder and clearer than ever. I too have often surrendered to the myth that louder is better.


I've also, at times, surrendered to the myth that loudness about the Gospel is better. There are times I'm so in love with God that I want to shout it out at the top of my lungs! I sing the song "Shout It Out!" and I want to do just that!


But while I think God does enjoy my enthusiasm, those who are watching me and listening to me will hear me more clearly if I speak with my actions. If time and repetition show that I'm being constant in my faith (and not just screaming like a banshee after an awesome mission trip), I'll be more likely to "save" people for a better life - the one that I'm trying to live in a closer relationship with God.


Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Messy Night

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV

One of my favorite yearly events in any youth group is "Messy Night." The evening consists of shaving cream, silly string, eggs, spaghetti, jell-o, and any other sort of gross thing that can be washed off before the next morning.

In America we are a bit obsessed with cleanliness. We have anti-bacterial everything and have more choices in the cleaning and soap aisle than people do for food in other countries.

We are so over-the-top, in fact, that the smallest bit of dirt can drive a mom insane with the possibility of germs. 

But we are not so obsessed when it comes to perfecting holiness. We know that it is wrong to sin. We try to avoid sin. We even condemn other people's sin. But we rarely take the time to wash off the gunk and and move toward something better. 

Practicing love and service do more for cleansing than a prayer of forgiveness on its own.

So as we purposefully got messy, we also cleaned ourselves off and started off the school year with a brand new attitude. Moving onto perfecting holiness. Its a great attitude to have.

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dining

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:14,20 NKJV


We are having a special birthday celebration for "the poor middle child" tomorrow. He will be 11. Not only is he the middle child but he will also be in the middle of the tween years and he just started middle school. Its hard being in the middle. Just ask him. He'll tell you.

But planning the birthday dinner was pretty easy. We've got the meal he asked for (hamburgers) and dessert ('not cake' was the request) and we will celebrate in style. Or at the very least Karafanda style.

We often eat together but birthday celebrations are occasions to dine. On your birthday you are no longer in "the middle." You can't claim to be ten and a half any more. You are solidly 11. And you look forward to the privileges that come with a new age as well as the responsibilities. 

Answering God's knock at the door means moving off of the threshold. It means you've been on one side and when you return your home is different. It is a cause for celebration where you aren't just having a meal but dining in style.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Value



““Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 NKJV

The other day my son was helping me unpack some things from my in-laws. One box contained Ukrainian Easter eggs that my husband and his sisters had made when they were younger. It also contained some that had been purchased at a store. If you've ever seen these or made one, you know how valuable they can be and also how fragile they are. It takes a lot of time to make one and once you've done one, you want to protect it for as long as possible.

But while we were unpacking, my son picked one up and it broke in his hands. Luckily it was one that had been blown out (ie it didn't have egg guts that had been incubating for years). I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to punish him but I realized that as precious as those eggs are, he is even more so. I knew that he didn't do it on purpose so all I said was, "And that's why we need to be careful. Good thing we don't have a stinky mess right now."

All of God's creations are important. But we are so important that He's numbered the hairs on our head! And as long as it is taking us to become perfect, He still loves us and doesn't throw us away when we mess up.

I'm so glad that my value is more than I can put a price on. There's a lot of things my son can do to make me mad but there's not one thing he can do to make me stop loving him. God loves us even more than that. And for that I am thankful.

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What it doesn't say...

1 Kings 8

41 “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, 43 hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.

I get these emails every so often. Perhaps you get them too:

"You have inherited an estate from Mr. Fancy Name in An Exotic Country. Please send us your banking information so that we may give you a small fortune."

What it doesn't say is - this is a scam. I don't need it to say that. I don't know Mr. Fancy Name. I've never been to An Exotic Country. I know that small fortunes don't come via spam emails.

Sometimes when we read scripture we often think we are reading what it doesn't say. We may think that each time we read the scripture it is telling us that we should all get along nicely and that being nice to one another is important. But it doesn't say that. It never says that. It does say to love one another but scripture is also filled with wars and conflicts that are justified in the name of God. You might not like that there is war in the Bible, but it is there nonetheless. 

The scripture above is important not just because of what it says but because of what it doesn't say.

It doesn't say


  • Only people who look like us should be blessed.
  • People who have not known about God cannot experience God's love.
  • Each person needs to make sure they follow all works of piety and mercy before God can bless them.


What it says is that Solomon asks for God to answer the prayers of foreigners that call on His name.

It is a call for God's grace. God's grace is available to ALL.

And ALL means ALL.

Until Everyone Hears,

The Trickster

There is a character in most folklore known as the trickster. The Trickster at first seems to be a bad character. Who really wants to be tri...