On Monday, April 15th a horrible event again happened. Two bombs caused death, destruction and chaos at the Boston Marathon. In the aftermath, many people rushed in to help, others dropped to their knees in prayer. And many continue to pray. And we should for Psalm 46:1-3 says:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Brothers and Sisters, pray for those who were injured. Pray for those who mourn. Pray for those emergency workers. Pray for those who are investigating this act. Pray for our nation, and yes, pray for our enemies that their hearts be changed.
May God bless us all.
This video made me laugh my collar off (clergy’s version of “lmao”!). Yet in a way it is so real. So many of us want church to remain the same because we like it that way. Years ago, while seeking a church call, I read one church’s profile that essentially said “we are an aging congregation that likes our old hymns and worship style. We want a pastor who will not change it and find people like us to join.”
While not many churches are that honest, many have the same feelings. Growth is fine, as long as it is limited to “people like us”. Change is not allowed unless it meets with the expectations of every member, meaning change never happens.
But no matter what we want to happen, change happens. Look around you – everything changes. And I think that is the reason people want their church to “stay the same”. When all around us changes, we want that firm rock, that comfortable place. But it is an illusion. Every day we change – we grow older, we get glasses, we gain or loose weight, our children grow (far too fast) and the church changes along with it. The key is to be involved in the change, to make the change for Christ in an effort to grow His (no my or your) church.
So, how can you help to positively change His church? How can you help do a God (see Acts 5:27-41) thing to spread His church?
After far too many months of inactivity, I made it to the gym this morning. We are committing to rescheduling our lives to take time for physical fitness. And one Tuesday morning certainly does not mean I have achieved anything, but as the saying goes “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.
It is so easy to get out of doing something as important as exercising. For me it was a family crisis. Last May I was heading home from the gym when I got the call that my mom fell and needed surgery. Life completely changed since that day and I’ve been unable (unwilling) to find time for exercise.
Life with God is the same way. It is so easy to get out of a habit of devotional reading, prayer and just soaking in God’s presence. It is easy to say “I will read scripture later, right now I have something important to do.” But it is hard to start up again when all the “important” things overtake the important relationship we have with God. After all, what is more important than our relationship with God? If we let that fail, all of our other relationships will fail as well.
So, please pray that I continue my goals of physical and spiritual fitness. Pray that I take the necessary time to go to the gym and work out, and that I take the necessary time to go to God and work out with Him as well. For both those things will make me a better pastor, person, husband, father and friend. And if you ask, I will pray for you that you make the time for the important things as well.
Who are we really? Deep down, who are we? Can we change? I was watching the T.V. show Revolution – which tells the story of a world which loses all power. There are no phones, no lights, no motor cars (5 points to the first person who recognizes the cultural reference), no power at all. This causes the governments to fall and small militias to form. In one episode we meet Jim Hudson, a former militia member, who was trying for a new life. He changed his name, found love, and a quiet place to live. But when militia member turned renegade turned rebel Miles Matheson found him, Jim was forced to return to his killing self. This suggests the question can we really change who we are?
Simon Peter was a man who changed. During his time with Jesus, he was brave, yet sometimes fearful. He was sure of Jesus’ identity (“you are the messiah”), yet denied Jesus’ destiny. He promised Jesus he would stand by him, yet denied him three times after Jesus’ arrest. But Peter changed. After the gospels, comes the book of Acts. And in the second chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit comes upon the people and Peter becomes a totally different man. He is filled with God’s power. He is an eloquent speaker, confident in his mission. He becomes the leader of the new church.
So can we change? Can we truly change who we are? Not by ourselves. We cannot change ourselves by ourselves, but God can certainly change us. When we allow God to enter our lives, we will be changed. Will we slip up once in awhile? Of course, but the more we trust God, the more we allow God to lead us, the more we will change. When we study God’s word, participate in worship, and spend time in prayer, God will change us more into the likeness of Christ. And that is a power we can tap into whether the lights are on or not!