Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Morning 7/28/2010

Holy Lord,

May this day be one of rejoicing. You have made the stars and the light that shines forth; you have crafted the trees and the shade they give. You have filled this earth with beauty and set us here to see it--may we be moved in awe and fill our hearts, our lives, with songs of thanksgiving, that all might know of your love, of your glory, and of your offer of salvation through Christ alone.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just Because

John Stott's Basic Christianity

  Looking for an intro to Christianity?  Read the Bible!

  Already read the Bible?  Still want more?  I've got great news!  There are hundreds of Christians out there trying to explain what it means to be a Christian.  John Stott is one of the better known authors doing so, and I recently finished Basic Christianity, his introduction to life in Christ.

  This book has been written about profusely, and there probably isn't much I can say about it that hasn't already been said.  It is, as the title implies, a basis introduction to Christ.  It's broken down neatly into four parts:  1)  Christ's Person  2)  Man's Need  3)  Christ's Work  4)  Man's Response.  It's a simple, easy-to-read guide about who Jesus Christ is, why we need Him, how He has saved us, and how we are called to respond.

  As I mentioned, there are many books like this.  I would choose C.S. Lewis or Tim Keller before I read this one again, but that doesn't mean I didn't like this book.  I think there is much to learn from Stott, who urges us to choose Christ, out of a deep need and because of God's great love.  If you're looking for a way to dive deeper into faith, or simply trying to find a starting point, you could do far worse than this basic intro.  Here is a link to a study guide for Stott's widely popular book.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Morning 7/19/2010

Dear God,

On this day, may I not be afraid to start over. Teach me to go back to my baptism, to remember how you have claimed me through the waters, how you have poured your life into me, how I have been joined with Christ in his death and resurrection. As a child of the resurrection, may fear be banished from my mind, and may I dwell in your grace, living in your love, filled with wonder and awe in all I do.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Morning

Dear God,

Remind me of what truly matters this day. I know that you have made heaven and earth, the seas and skies and all that fills them. I know that you have died on on a cross, that you rose from the dead. I know all these things in my head, but my heart has trouble convincing the rest of me that this is what truly matters. I get caught up in minor trifles, and I forget about your Lordship of my life. Grant me the grace to know always that the only purpose of my life is to glorify you, and grant me the wisdom to realize that I can do so in all things.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning 7/12/2010

Holy Lord,

On this day, the rains have watered the parched earth. Leaves once more have the courage to reach skyward, as color streams back into plants once dormant. The rains renew the earth, just as my slumber has renewed my life. I have spent the evening safe in your arms--remind me that as I go forth on this day, I remain in your arms, safe from evil's work of destruction. Remind me that I go forward with a purpose, with a goal, of bringing glory to you. May the rains remind me of my baptism, and send me forth, rejoicing in God's claim on my life, and moved by gratitude to serve others.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffet, one of the richest people in the world, says the best advice he ever received was unconditional love.  Powerful stuff from a man worth billions!

He also talks a little about how he hopes the norm is that wealthy people begin to give more back to society. He has given and plans to give away untold millions.

I look at this and think about how easy it is for him to give away so much money, since he still has so much left. But I will freely admit I don't challenge myself to give more than I do, in money or in time. It's easy to get comfortable, to watch others give and not see how the challenge extends to us, to not hear honestly the words of Christ calling us to always look to do more, to love more, to give more.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

  Some of you may have heard we had some tree work done.  And by tree work, I mean we paid a tree company an obscene amount of money (I told a friend, and he said that the amount, "Sounds completely reasonable for highway robbery") to cut down a tree before it fell of its own volition onto our neighbor's fence.  It was not one of my favorite moments of the year.

  When I got to exploring (by exploring, I mean cutting & splitting) this tree, I noticed one obvious fact--it was empty on the inside.  Hollow as can be.  Termites had devoured this tree, starting at the bottom, and creating a cavity that went nine feet up from the stump.  From there, there was another ten feet of mushy pulp filling the middle of the tree.  Termites had destroyed it.

  But you would never have known from the outside.  It had every appearance (to me, a tree layman) of a healthy, vibrant, growing red oak tree.

  I can't shake the image.  It reminds me of my own faith, sometimes.  On the outside, I might appear healthy, vibrant and growing.  But on the inside, I forget to pray, leave my Bible to collect dust, and find new and various ways to sin and deny God each day.  I'm often struggling just to maintain where I am, forgetting about the need to grow, getting caught up in the day-to-day busy-ness that so often prevents me from investing in my spiritual life.  I have this hollow spot inside into which I'm trying to dump things, rather than to let the Holy Spirit work to fill that with God's heart.  And when the storms come, and the winds blow, will I buckle like my tree?  I will if God's not the strength within.

  So what to do?  I know the termites & sin are happy to continue to feed upon my core, but I also know that my God is stronger than any opponent in this world.  I know that God uses each of us to serve his purpose & his kingdom--am I willing to let go, to give up, to submit to God's will?

  Or will I keep struggling in my own futile battle?

 Luke 6:46-9:  "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.  That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house."