Would you be willing…

Little Timothy had experienced some tough times in his life, most recently overcoming a rare blood disorder. Afterward, his body began reproducing effective antibodies against the virus.

Unfortunately now, his little sister Susie began developing the same rare virus in her blood, but her body was unable to recover. The doctors knew the only hope for her was a blood transfusion.

With a match to his sister’s blood type, the doctor’s approached Timothy. “Would you be willing to give your blood to help your sister overcome the virus?” they asked Timothy. As his bottom lip began to quiver, he cautiously, yet willingly said “yes.”

Later in the operating room, little Timothy was courageous as the doctor’s hooked up multiple tubes and monitors in preparation to transfer some of Timothy’s blood to Susie.

As the blood began to move through the tubes out of Timothy’s arm, Timothy looked at the doctor and asked “When am I going to die?”

Surprised at the question, the doctor realized at that point that Timothy believed he was giving up his life in order to save his little sister.*

Just over 2000 years ago the same event happened as Jesus hung upon the cross. The blood flowed from His body in order to save our lives. The difference is that nobody ever asked Jesus to do it for us. Instead, He willingly accepted God the Father’s plan for His life and gave His life for ours.

The only question remains is – are you willing to accept the life He gave so that you may have eternal life? That’s what Easter is about.

*Paraphrased from @ Lifeway Sunday School Literature March 29, 2015

Fix My Eyes On You

I’ve done a lot of traveling recently, and it seems like every hour I hear the song “Fix My Eyes On You.”
It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Click here to listen:

Fix My Eyes Upon You”<click HERE>
I love the beat of the song, but the lyrics also tell a great story of how to live life. First, realize that we haven’t done life right, and secondly, follow God’s script for life:

Hit rewind, click delete
Stand face to face with the younger me
All of the mistakes
All of the heartbreak
Here’s what I’d do differently, I’d

Love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on You
On You

I learned the lines and talked the talk
(Everybody knows it, everybody knows it)
But the road less traveled is hard to walk
(Everybody knows it, everybody knows)
It takes a soldier
Who knows his orders
To walk the walk I’m supposed to walk, and

The things of earth are dimming
In the light of Your glory and grace
I’ll set my sights upon Heaven
I’m fixing my eyes on You, on You
I’m fixing my eyes on You, on You
I’m fixing my eyes

Lyrics and song by For King & Country

Customer service at it’s best!

It’s spring and I’m ready to ride! I’m a cyclist by desire (not so much by activity recently). However, it’s only because I’ve had a few flats that have kept me from riding lately. And now that I’m starting to find some time in my otherwise busy schedule, I’m ready to ride again.

So…, in the course of the last week, I have ordered a replacement tire for my recumbent bike, and have been trying to find replacement tires for my CycoCycle. If you don’t know what a CycoCycle is, click this link.

Anyway, I recently contacted Dynacraft to get replacement tires for that funky looking bike, and the customer service was excellent! Not only did they respond quickly, but the reply was personalized, and they promptly supplied me with new tires so I can keep riding!

I’ve dealt with a lot of companies over the years with complaints, suggestions, and so forth, but this reply was over the top and probably the best I’ve ever received.

Come to think of it, isn’t that how the Lord responds? We call up Customer Service (Prayer), leave a message for the CEO (God), and wait for a response. What’s He going to say this time?

We all know that prayers get answered in one of three ways: 1. Yes, 2. No, or 3. Not yet.

Now, if we compare this to the story above about the CycoCycle, it’s almost as if Dynacraft has a better customer response than Heaven.

Now, let’s consider the whole truth. God is omniscient – He knows ALL things. Just because the answer might be “no” or even “not yet” – that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t answered our prayer with the BEST response. Remember, He sees the big picture and not just our little story in the middle.

We need to never forget a couple things when we need something:

1) We need to pray (call “customer service”)
2) Expect a quick response (although some might take longer, not because of God, but sometimes because of our attitudes, behaviors, or situation)
3) Accept His response as the most appropriate response.

Even more than those, we need to remember one final thing in prayer:

4) Listen! Although God may have responded to our request, there are probably other things that God is asking for from us.

Are we being obedient to His customer requests?

It can happen to anyone!

It can happen to anyone: Fraud!

From credit card fraud to hacking, criminals are rampant in today’s society. As far as I’m concerned, credit card fraud could never happen to me. I rarely use credit cards, so the chance of it happening never entered my mind until….

8:01 am, 3/11/2015 “Chase Fraud Alert – Did you use card … at a specialty retailer on 3/11/2015? If YES reply 1, No reply 2”

Then it happened, that’s right! Today I was the victim of credit card fraud. Thankfully, my credit card company noticed the unusual activity on a card I hadn’t used in years. It was such a small amount that, on an active card, the majority of people would never question the charge. But still it occurred. After contacting the credit card company, they righted the charges and closed the account. But how many others are victims and don’t know it?

It happens every day! There are people everywhere victims of fraud in the world. Most people are sucked in by the innumerable commercials that sell the latest and greatest gadget. Others have their time sucked away by hours spent behind the walls of cyber space in Facebook, or in a vegetative state in front of a flat panel TV. Fraud, in terms of not knowing the truth about God, and focusing instead on worldly matters victimizes millions daily!

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having something you want, posting an update to Facebook, or watching TV. However, there is something wrong with that being the center of your life!

Dilbert’s corporate cartoon yesterday was simply the following:

Dilbert: “I’ve got two good prospects on this dating site. One is addicted to Facebook and the other is addicted to prescription pain meds.”
Dogbert: “Sort of a tie.”
Dilbert: “But only one of them is likely to make eye contact.”*

By themselves, the little things in life won’t get you…until you let them control everything about your life. Do you let Facebook (or smartphone, TV, or something else) take the place of God in your life?

Jesus said, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30, KJV ). Benjamin Franklin said “Time is money.” I say “Where are you spending your money?”

Don’t be a victim! And don’t let your friends be victims.

1) Tell them about God
2) Spend time with God today! …and everyday!

* March 10, 2015 Dilbert.com by Scott Adams, Inc. copyright 2014

I have more friends than you!

“I have more friends than you!” Back in the day this could have been one of those heart-wrenching phrases that deserved a “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” response. However, today, in the world of digital technology, having more “friends” simply means you don’t mind people creeping on your “space.”

OK, sure, it may have to do with actually having more friends, but not necessarily.

I struggle with Facebook and friend-ing people. Do I friend everyone I see so that I can potentially spread the gospel more on my Facebook? Or do I limit my friends and utilize its functionality to truly reach people with a connection first?

Years ago, I limited who I accepted as a “friend.” Now I’m a little more agnostic about it, and don’t really care about who friends me – most times I don’t even know if I have a friend request pending or not.

So the real question then is: how can we use something the world created to teach the “unworldly” truth about the Gospel?

If I recall, Jesus didn’t have many friends (look at the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and other religious leaders). On the contrary, He did manage to have the largest speaking engagements in the country at the time at upwards of 5,000 men plus women and children (Matthew 14:13-21).

So, how should we deal with Facebook and our friends? Some people would say “first deal with who your true friends are.” I think Jesus, on the other hand, would say “Go to all the nations, make disciples of all people” (paraphrased from Matthew 28:19).

Dancin’ in church

Background: In just the past few days, I’ve mentioned that the church is not merely a building, but a group of believers trusting in our Savior.

Despite what some Baptists would have you believe, straight from 2 Samuel 6, we find dancing in the church:

5 And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals….
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord… -2 Samuel 6:5,14-16

When you are confronted with something that the Lord has blessed you with, or that the Lord has allowed you to do – do you praise and celebrate with the Lord? Or do you go about your day with a frown?

Need some changes in your life? That’s what the Lord wants! He doesn’t want us to sit and mope around. He wants us to have joy and peace in our lives (Romans 15:13, Galatians 5:22, James 1:2, Philippians 4:4, John 16:24).

Throwback Thursday – not!

1) It’s not Facebook

2) It’s not Thursday

But still, I wanted to “throwback” a verse from the Old Testament today:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.*” – Isaiah 7:14

Also see Matthew 1:23

* Immanuel = “God with Us” – He is with us everyday – it’s our job to recognize Him, praise Him, call upon Him, and witness for Him.

Home Sweet “Home”

A common saying originating in America in the early 1800’s is “Home Sweet Home.” It has come to portray how comforting one’s own domicile can be. Whether “home” is a country after returning from a trip overseas, or one’s physical house, the phrase is often used by travelers who have been away for a while. It’s an expression used to describe the familiar sanctuary and stable environment that make people comfortable.

While many people don’t travel enough to miss the luxuries and comfort of one’s own home, some people can miss home in a matter of days. I’m in the latter category. Although I love traveling and exploring, I find, like most business travelers, that it just gets old quickly when you travel to the same location time and again.

This past week after being in Canada, I missed not just the comfort of home, but the weather, my family, and my church. When people are away, it’s easy to miss things without knowing it.

Home Sweet Church: I wonder how many other people miss their “home” church. The Bible tells us that the church is truly universal, and we should understand that the building is not the church. I’ve talked to many people over the years that have left church and returned, only to say “I really enjoy being back.”

Many people when they leave church, it’s not intentional. They get busy with life, fail to make time to return, and because they’re not involved as volunteers or teachers, they don’t feel a responsibility to return quickly. Then months, or even years, go by, and one day they decide to return.

But Why?

What makes someone realize they need to return, or simply go to church? You’d be surprised what a common answer is. “I’ve never been asked.” Yes, that’s right. Surprisingly, studies have shown that 82% of the unchurched population is somewhat likely to say yes if asked to church.1 So, what are we waiting for? Well, surprisingly, another awful statistic is that “only two percent of church members invite unchurched persons to church.”2 And finally, 62% of those who have left church are open to attending church again.3

What’s the moral of Home Sweet Church? Simple: “more people would attend church if given one simple thing – an invitation.”4 Why don’t you invite somebody to your Home Sweet Church?

1,2 Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door.
3 Scott McConnell, Lifeway Research
4 Philip Nation, Lifeway Research