What is God’s Will ???

Have you ever wondered “What is God’s Will for MY life?”

That’s a tough question!  I’ve seen Pastors lead series of sermons on that topic.  I’ve even seen churches explore the “Spiritual Gifts” assessment to help people determine the best place for them to serve. Regardless of how it’s done, the question seems to elude some people.

When I was pondering that question years ago as an interim youth pastor at a former church, I pursued the answer for almost a year. I knew God was calling me to something, but I just couldn’t figure it out. It culminated on April 23, 2007.

In March of that year, just one month prior, we conducted a week long team building event with the youth in Tennessee. We had taken about 10 youth to the middle of “Podunk” nowhere, with limited phone reception and NO televisions. It was just us, nature, and God. It was a powerful time, and both Kimberly and I could feel the presence of God calling us to something bigger – but what was it?

The next 4 weeks was a long journey as I prayed feverishly for God’s Will.  What does He want?  I knew what I felt, but what was it that God wanted?  Finally, on April 23rd, it happened.  As I sat in my office at work that day, I finally opened my eyes and saw the vision of what God had planned.  It wasn’t much of a surprise, but God showed me in the ministry. No longer was it my idea, it was God’s. And when I accepted His calling, I could feel the stress in my life disappear.

The next 4 years were a whirlwind of events, with me starting Seminary, starting a family, and not stopping anything.  I was still working full-time; Youth Pastoring part-time. I became “Daddy,” and stayed loyal husband. But I didn’t do it alone!  It was a long trip down that road, but with Kimberly and God – it was possible, and very worthwhile.

Today, I sit in Greenville, in my office once again, wondering what is God’s Will for my life now?  I’ve been here now almost a year, pondering this question. Still seeking.  Still listening.

I believe the following song is suited for those of us that ask that question in our life.

Maybe you too have that same burning question in your life.  God, Please Help Me Find It!  <<<  CLick Here

 I don’t know where to go from here
It all used to seem so clear
I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here
As long as I know that You are near
I’m done fighting
I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You
You’ve never failed before
I will trust in You

If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it . . . *

* Lyrics from Sidewalk Prophets “Help Me Find It”

Time Travel

After traveling to Alabama two weeks ago and an hour behind Eastern time, springing forward with Daylight Savings time the same weekend, then driving to Greenville – an hour ahead, flying to Canada – another hour ahead, back to Greenville – an hour back, then to Mexico – two hours behind, my sense of time is really messed up.

Thankfully, my travel is coming to a stop after one more jump two hours forward as I fly home tonight.

We like to think of “time travel” as impossible, except of course if you believe in the movie “Back to the Future,” which I think most of us remember.

But the neat thing is that we can all experience time travel! 

How? Glad you asked.

While I don’t enjoy reading history books, I do enjoy the glimpses I get into history when I read the Bible.

I know some books may seem tedious and possibly unnecessary in the Bible, but I feel that each of us can relate to the Gospels. When I read them, I like to picture myself there, in the scene, like when Jesus healed the paralytic that was lowered into the house by his four friends. I like to imagine myself a fly on the well when the Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked for some water from her.

I can picture the story of Zacchaeus in the tree as Jesus walked by. Unfortunately, I can even picture myself at Golgotha when Jesus was crucified. But thankfully, we know that’s not the end, but only the beginning of the story. The rest is told in the remaining books of the New Testament, and more specifically in Revelation.

Next time you sit down and read, find yourself in the midst of the Bible and experience Jesus in a different way.

Something different!

As a Youth Pastor, I regularly said that we would do “something different,” which seemed necessary to get the attention of teenagers. Today is “something different” day – a look into the book of Revelation.

Sure, yesterday I gave you a simple verse from Revelation 3:20; but today, let’s look deeper into the book. I’ve discovered that many Pastors avoid preaching from the book due to its extreme amount of imagery and debate surrounding what is literal and what is symbolic (just look at chapter 6 concerning the Four Horsemen for example).

Nevertheless, I’ve found that people WANT to know what is going to happen at the “end of time (on earth).” Sure, we say that we want to know how to live life now, but how many of us strictly follow every command given in the Bible? – and I’m not just talking about the 10 Commandments.

Sometimes I think we go to church because it’s what is expected. Some people go for the great praise and worship time. Some go for the preaching. But how many would go to church, and even be more obedient to Christ’s teaching if they truly understood the end of times and how that what we do now affects our lifetime tomorrow?

The Bible says in Revelation 20 that there will be a millennium (1,000 years) following which Satan will be released and “deceive the nations.” Immediately thereafter, John describes seeing the great white throne, and the “dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev 20:12 NIV).  John continues his vision saying “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15 NIV).

Throughout Revelation we can read about advice that Jesus gave to the Seven churches, the 21 Judgments (Tribulation Period), Christ’s return, the war between the beast and Jesus, and the creation of a new earth. Despite what critics and experts say about how to interpret the book, the book is filled with a wealth of information. And interestingly, it focuses on one major concept: God is Sovereign!

Furthermore, the book opens and closes with a reminder:

Behold, [Jesus] is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. (Rev 1:7 ESV)

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev 22:12-13 ESV)

And as most newscasters say prior to their broadcast “you’ll want to hear this story;” John merely states:

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Rev 1:3 ESV)

Read it today, and do not worry about whether you understand it completely, God will help you understand what you need to know.

Did you see that?

reflectorOn my drive in to work today, it was still dark (I left the house early).  One thing I noticed quite visibly was the brightness of the reflectors on the Stop signs at 2 major 4-way intersections. It was almost as if there were lights on the sign, shining toward me. They are there for safety, but also to bring attention to the sign.

It got me thinking: what if we were that bright when we reflect Christ. We could serve as a safety notice, bringing attention to others about how Christ has affected our lives.

I wondered, what Scriptures relate to “reflecting,” and this is what I found:

Follow God’s example (Ephesians 5:1 NIV)

Be imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV)

As all of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like Him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 ISV)

We might not all shine as visible as a highway road sign, but why can’t we?  As we drive down the road of life, I hope you are reminded by reflectors to be a Christ reflector in your life.

Is THIS the END?

With all the talk about extreme weather, earthquakes, and diseases in the world, many are wondering: ‘Is this the end?’ …and the news about war torn countries and diverging politics contributes more to this uncertainty.

The Bible does truthfully predict the end of the world. In Matthew 24, Jesus speaks of wars, earthquakes, and plagues. In 2 Timothy 3, we find Paul preaching on many moral subjects that have already lapsed in our society such as love, pride, and respect. Other verses throughout the Bible will reflect actions that have already happened, or are soon to occur. But….

While we may feel the end is near, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Honestly, if we truly think about it, it does not matter when the end comes. When it does, it will be too late anyway. We don’t know when it will be here, and we can’t predict it (and shouldn’t try).

Instead, we should be living for the moment – knowing that every minute counts.

Don’t worry about the future. In fact, if the end is near, we should if nothing else, celebrate! – for our reward will be upon us shortly.

In the meantime, let’s make sure that we continue to obey God.

Read His Bible: the instruction book, there WILL be a test!

Déjà vu

Wow, did anybody really think that just 2 weeks after the southeast gets snowed in, that it would happen again so soon?

Because it is so hard to believe that it’s really happening again, I figured I’d just re-post the same blog from 2 weeks ago titled “Winter Weather Advisory.” Maybe everybody might think they are just stuck in the movie “Groundhog Day.”

But then again, that’s not what God would want.  And after quickly dismissing that idea, this blog came to me:

Should I cancel my trip to Atlanta? You may ask what I mean….

Two weeks ago, I was traveling to Atlanta on business. I had left my house, after a quick sermon from my wife about how I should pack for the forecasted cold weather, which I quickly dismissed – I mean, after all, I was traveling south – I didn’t need clothes for cold weather.  Obviously I was wrong, … again! (I really should listen to her more often).

So, this past weekend my wife says, “Can you postpone your trip to Atlanta?” At this point, you probably realize that here I am again, yes, in Atlanta.  And here comes the snow…. (I really ought to stay away from Atlanta, I guess).

I could have postponed my trip, but I probably wouldn’t be able to reschedule it anytime soon, considering it took 4 months to set this trip up. Anyway…why do I ramble on?

Simply this: Déjà vu.

You’ve probably experienced it before. I have several times in my life. It’s so cool (and a little strange) to recognize that you’ve been somewhere before, getting that sensation that you know what is going to happen next.

Wouldn’t it be great to know how to react in all situations in life, especially when things go horribly wrong.  What should you do next? It would be so great to know what to do next to solve the problem facing you.

The cool thing? You can. How? By trusting in God.  He will carry you through every time. And deep down you know it! You KNOW He can and WILL pull you through. It just takes faith to realize it.

And when you get to the other side, that’s when the feeling should hit you: He did it again. God pulled you through. Deja Vu!

Know what? He will carry you through every time!

10Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. 12 You shall seek them and not find them— Those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. 13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ (Isaiah 41:10-13 NKJV)

I’m a visitor today…, and always

I’m a visitor at work today.  Today I spent most of my time in one of our manufacturing facilities.  I had the opportunity to meet with their IS Manager, a project manager, and some Industrial Engineers.

All of them were very helpful and professional in their interaction with me. In fact, many were very willing to share their problems with current computer software and other faults that they see in their facility.

And like most people, none of them were overwhelmingly supportive of corporate driven projects that had recently been implemented in their facility. It seems that the big brother of corporate that once made a company successful no longer knows how to manage its plants.

Isn’t that just like the world?

God attempts to implement His projects; the world sees them as problems and can only see the difficulties associated with His great ideas.  Yet, HE grew us to become the people, nations, and world that we are, and yet all we see is problem after problem.

Rarely does it happen in either scenario where I (or you) present a solution to one of life’s challenges.

I keep my focus on worldly things and how can I change such small items that I miss the big picture.

Yet, the Bible tells us that we are not part of this world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. – (John 15:19 NIV)

Remember the big picture – GOD’s big picture! We are visitors in His big idea. Let’s act that way. And REMEMBER where your home is!

 

Oops, I did it again

Ok, sorry for the title, I know that it probably isn’t proper to bring that subject up. 

But it’s true for me, I did it again.  What? Well…, yesterday, as many of you loyal readers know, I missed a day of blogging.  My apologies!

But there is good news!  Despite the fact that I did make a mistake, I have already repented and asked for forgiveness from God.  Maybe I have taken this forgiveness thing overboard, just maybe.

Months ago when I restarted this blog, I committed to blogging 5 days a week (Monday-Friday), because those are the days that I feel that we (as Christians) need an extra boost, or motivation for the workday. And then, here I go, and miss a day.  Sorry!

The good news is that God is a God of forgiveness.  He knows we are going to make mistakes.  He knows before we do it. And He is waiting to forgive us. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9 ESV)

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19 ESV)

I could list over a dozen more verses, but you get the point.  God loves me. He loves you. And He is willing to forgive us no matter how many times we make a mistake. 

Thank you God for forgiving me of all of my sins.  You SAVED me.  I owe my life to you.

Years ago, Kimberly bought me a ring just because. I don’t think she knew how special that ring would become to me. I love what it says:

He died for me, I live for Him

That’s why I blog. It’s for Him. Those of you that read this are just a special gift that God gave me because I blog. Thanks for reading; and I am truly sorry I missed yesterday.

Don’t look back!

We have heard the advice before: Don’t look back!

In our everyday lives, we sometimes have the notion to look back on past successes, failures, and great memories that we have from our lives.  There is no harm in this; at least that’s what we think.

Let’s look at what Jesus taught to a new follower:

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

… 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57, 62-62)

This illustration was given to a farming culture; it was simple to understand that if they looked back, that the plowing would veer off course and be unfit for planting. The implication is that the row would need re-plowed, which would take time and effort.

In this passage, Jesus implies that following Him is more important than family. He tells the new disciple to follow Him first, putting family second. This is a hard concept for many people.

When we prioritize our lives, we almost always put something above God. Think about the time you spend on a daily basis, how much is given to God?

Both positive and negative aspects of our lives can become distracting to our Christian walk with God. An easy way to keep these in order is thinking of what God provides for you.  We tend to think about the good things in our life, and forget the great things that God has done for us.

Warning – GRAPHIC Content!

For Christmas I received one of the popular alarm clocks that uses your iphone/ipod to play music, versus the loud and annoying BEEP, BEEEP, BEEEEP of normal alarms.

This morning my favorite song was in rotation playing: “The Great I AM.”

I have attached the clip here from youtube that plays with video. One warning – it contains GRAPHIC content from THE PASSION.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFa4Q6elRgE (Make sure your volume is up on your speakers) [I apologize in advance for any advertisement that Youtube may play at the beginning]

“Great I Am” by Phillips, Craig & Dean

I want to be close, close to Your side
So Heaven is real and death is a lie
I want to hear voices of angels above Singing as one
[CHORUS] Hallelujah, holy, holy
God Almighty, the great I AM
Who is worthy, none beside Thee God Almighty, the great I AM
I want to be near, near to Your heart
Loving the world and hating the dark
I want to see dry bones living again Singing as one
[CHORUS]
The mountains shake before You
The demons run in fear
At the mention of the name
King of Majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM
[CHORUS]

How close do you want to get to Him: The Great I Am? He is Holy; He is Worthy, God Almighty, the GREAT I Am!

 

[ The same song is attached here without the graphic video (I just don’t think it has the same impact): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9yWgU8SZa8 ]