What are we going to do with the rest of our life?

“What are we going to do with the rest of our life?” That is the question that seems to be popping up in my mind most these days. In the days we (Mary Anne & I) have left, we don’t know and have never known how many that will be, what are we to do? If it is a week or 30 years, what are we to do? I think God has given me an answer that really seems pretty simple. It is not a Christian motto that never really seems true or the slogan that would make sense on a bumper sticker. It is really just two things. 

  1. We must accept God loves us unconditionally, that is without any conditions. This results in joy, freedom and celebration. 
  2. We need to respond to God’s love faithfully. God demonstrates His love in many ways and circumstances. In each of those our greatest act of love is to join Him. 

So simply put if each of us will accept God’s unconditional love and respond to God’s love faithfully we will walk in the fullness of the Spirit and make an impact in the world in which we live. 

Advertisements

Heaven Will Have Surprises, Lesson #16 of 50

50

Lesson 16

Heaven Will Have Surprises

Our lives consist of label. We have labels on everything. We know the makeup of the food we eat and the cars we drive. What would we do if labels were removed from our lives? Imagine buying ketchup without a label. How would you know it was ketchup? The problem with label is that we have also put them on people. If we label them, it makes them much easier to compartmentalize. Because the label helps us know if we like them or not. You know most of the labels we have for people so I want go through the long list. But, I would like for you to read this poem and think about this.

I was shocked, confused, bewildered

As I entered Heaven’s door,

Not by the beauty of it all, 

Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven

Who made me sputter and gasp–

The thieves, the liars, the sinners,

The alcoholics and the trash. 

There stood the kid from seventh grade

Who swiped my lunch money twice.

Next to him was my old neighbor

Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought

Was rotting away in hell,

Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,

Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?

I would love to hear your take.

How’d all these sinners get up here?

God must have made a mistake.

And why is everyone so quiet,

So somber – give me a clue.”

“Hush, child,” He said,

“They’re all in shock.

No one thought they’d be seeing you.”

Let’s remove the labels from people and once again see people.

 

Is Christianity Wearing You Out? Lesson 13

20130121-054504.jpg

Lesson 13

Wrong Motives Create Tired Lives

I can say I have lost my focus more times than I really want to admit. It watching the move Won’t Back Down this weekend I heard something like, “What are you going to exchange this one life you have for?” That will make you think. A life is about years and years are about months and months are about days and days are about hours and hours are about minutes and minutes are about seconds (you also get a free education by reading my blog). There are 86,400 seconds in a day. How I live each second is prompted by some motive.

This past week in prep for Sunday’s sermon and reflecting back on the previous weeks sermons God revealed a powerful truth to me, at least powerful for me. We are going through the beatitudes and this week were were looking at “merciful” (Mt. 5:7). God taught me:

Many Christians try to start here. They try to start here because this is where Christianity become visible. They try to live out merciful lives. They seek to love, forgive, heal, give, etc. They do it because they know they should. But if you have not been through the process of poverty in spirit, mourning, meekness and hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy will wear you out; it will make you tired. The reason is that the motivation is wrong. We find ourselves seeking to show mercy in an effort to be obedient because we know we should be obedient. The motivation for mercy has to be motivated from a seed planted in your soul and spirit at the time you experienced poverty of spirit and finds itself ready to bloom in “hungering and thirsting for righteousness”. If you have never came to the place to realize the gravity of your sin (Rom 6:23) you will never see other people’s sin correctly. You will find yourself judgmental instead of compassionate, bitter instead of forgiving, hurting instead of healing, greedy instead of giving. You will live saying “I Can’t!” instead of saying “I Care!”.

You are tired because you are not feeding on Jesus and His righteousness. You are not spending time with Him in His Word and prayer. So, you get caught up in doing all the right things for all the wrong reason.

How will you spend your 86,400 seconds today? What will motivate you?

Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder, 50@50 #10

20130121-054504.jpg

Life Lesson #10

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

If this is true you have waited for me to return posting with baited anticipation! This is one of those lessons that are true sometimes. One definition for this phrase is, “The lack of something increases the desire for it.”1 Somehow this line picked up momentum and people began to use it and believe it. Here is the real life lesson I have learned. 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, sometimes!

Here is a list that is just as true:

Absence makes the heart wander, sometimes.

Absence makes the heart glad, sometimes.

Absence makes the heart weep, sometimes.

Absence makes the heart wail, sometimes.

Absence makes the heart forget, sometimes.

People walk into our life and walk out. Absence from my wife, children and a few others makes my heart grow fonder. If you will be honest, you will have to agree that in most instances the heart does not grow fonder. I have found that in most relationships the heart wanders, celebrates, weeps, wails, and forgets.  What makes the statement true is love. Not a casual love but a deep love. A love greater than our forgetfulness. A love greater than our selfishness. A love great than different lifestyles. A love great than our comfort. A love greater than our business. A love greater than our laziness. A love greater than our fears. This might be why God told us over and over in the Bible, “Love one another

God knew that His people could and would forget Him, so He instructs them not to leave Him. This is it plight of mankind.

 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

(Deuteronomy 6:10-12, ESV)

Either you missed my posts, or you forgot about them. But the greater question is:

Has your heart forgotten God or has it grown fonder?

You Can’t Do It All 50@50 Lesson #9

20130121-054504.jpg

Lesson #9

You can’t do it all!

Could you determine to do one thing and be the best in the world at it? Just one thing? I know you can. You might be concerned about the “world” part. Here is what I am asking. Could you determine to do one thing and only one thing and be the best in your world at it? You cannot do it all! I have often used the illustration about riding a horse. You have seen one man ride a horse with great skill. You have seen one man ride two horses for entertainment but not productivity. You have never seen a man ride three horses. Find your one, best, horse and ride it. Ride is skillfully. Be the best. Quit trying to do it all! You will wear yourself out and disappoint others because you are giving a little to much instead of much to little.

What is that one thing that has captured your heart?

People & Poop – 50@50 – #7

20130121-054504.jpgHere is the best way I can put this lesson:

Lesson #6

If you want people, you will have poop. If you don’t want poop, you have no people.

Let’s go to the farm. Okay, you see that barn way over there? Go over there and open the door. What does it smell like? If it smells like poop, there are animals in the stalls. If it smells clean, there are no animals in the stalls. The animals are what gets the work done. The mule pulls the plow. The horses are ways of transportation. They also poop in the stall. I don’t think anyone likes the smell of a barn full of animals and poop. So if you want to get the smell out, you have got to get the poop out. If you want to get the poop out you have to get rid of the animals.

So, here is our lesson. People are messy but it is people that get things done. Solomon put it like this.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, 

but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. 

Proverb 14:4 (ESV)

An African American Made a Huge Difference In My Life – 50 in 50 #5

20130121-054504.jpg

“Everybody is Equal”

I was born January 5, 1963. It was cold, but that could be because I was naked. I really don’t remember that day but I do remember the 1960’s. The ironic part is that, as a child, I don’t remember racism. It was not because it was not present, for I lived only about 60 miles from Birmingham, Alabama. In September of 1963 the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing took place in Birmingham at the hands of evil men. On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the hands of more evil men. I don’t remember these things being talked about in my home. I did not realize the reason no “blacks” went to elementary schools with me was because people didn’t want them there.
What I do remember is a woman that I called Margaret. Her name was Margaret Watson. She raised me. I don’t recall exactly when she came into our home, but I think she was the wife of a James Mills, a man who worked for my dad. They had kids around the age of my brother and I. Their family was like part of our family. Mom and dad would buy their Christmas and we would take it to their home and celebrate with them. Margaret loved us as we loved her. She would make sure I got dressed for school. She would make sure my clothes were clean. She would draw my bath water. She would make sure supper was cooked. She took me on walks to protect my heart and my eyes. She protected me. She wiped my tears and made me laugh. She would beat my butt when needed. She what some called The Help. She was our maid, but she was more like a mom.
As a child I did not know what a maid was. I knew she got paid to come to our home everyday, but she was like family to me. Mother always told me she was no different from us. If I would have used the “n” word I would have gotten my face slapped. I guess mom and dad were protecting me by not talking about civil right but I’m not sure not talking about it was the right thing to do. Ignorance is not the answer, education is. Many of my good friends in high school were African America’s. One of those guys was Curtis Winston. I don’t know where he is today but he was a true friend.
Racism makes me cringe. It is amazing how people could be filled with such hate because someone’s skin is a different color. Their is one thing I think about today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, that will stick with me as long as I have a memory.

An African American made a huge impact in my life. Most of all I thank her for protecting me. I love you Margaret Watson.

LINKS TO
LESSON # 1 LESSON # 2 LESSON # 3 LESSON # 4