Danger!

Last night I was teaching road safety to my Cub Scout den. We went over walking on the left so that you face oncoming traffic, crossing the street at crosswalks, looking both ways when crossing the street, etc. It struck me that there are a lot of hazards to consider when just walking in our neighborhood. Why do we spend the time discussing and practicing these things? Failure to follow safety rules can lead to injury and death.

It stirred me to think about our “other” walk. You know the one to which I’m referring. Our spiritual walk is often like an untrained child playing and running in the road with no thought about possible hazards. We often do what feels right at the moment, or what we see others doing. We are often too careless and haphazard in our walk with Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-16 HCSB says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time,[a] because the days are evil.” We are advised to pay careful attention to our walk. We can’t afford to coast and drift through life. That way surely leads to dangers. We must be wise and walk with a purpose. That purpose is to glorify God. In all things, we must carefully choose our steps. What dangers lurk out there in the spiritual realm? The sudden oncoming heresies, those teachings, which may seem harmless but are hurtling toward us and can wreak havoc upon our faith. There also ditches to avoid. When we stray from the path the Lord has laid out for us, we can land in sin and error. In addition to all that we can bring on ourselves, Satan, our advisory, is a lion roaming around looking for easy prey. If we are careless, we could be his next victims

IMG_0160.PNG

Change is in the air!

I’ve noticed something. It is dark when I head to work every morning, it was dark when we finished up Nib,e study Wednesday night. Football season with is crazy themes a ad pep rallies have invaded the schools. Now they are discussing a cold front on the way. I believe a change is in the air. Fall must be drawing near!

It is refreshing to see changes happening. A new season comes in and brings different activities. With Autumn, comes the start of holiday season. (Was that a Christmas tee I just saw at Wal-Mart?)

Change can be good for us as well if it is a change for the right reasons and to get us headed in the right direction. There are times in our lives when we can feel burned out. We can feel dry and used up like the land at the end of a Texas summer. When we get to that place we need the refreshing and renewing that can come from God. When we have been living in the flesh, we exhaust our spirits and starve them. When we repent, He is faithful to forgive us and heal us.

Unfortunately, God knew that Israel’s sin nature would win at times and Israel would forsake Him. He had warned them if judgment when that happened, however, God also instructed them in what to do to turn back to Him and experience revival. He said in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”NKJV.

Just like Israel, when we need revival, we can follow this pattern,
• Humble ourselves- Submit to our sovereign God. Acknowledge His lordship cover you.
• Pray- take the issue to God. Ask His forgiveness and for Him to heal our land.
• Seek God’s face- earnestly seek Him. Long for His touch and fellowship.
• Turn from our wicked ways- repent! Turn away from our sinful lusts and begin to follow Him anew.
That is what our church needs. That is what our community, state, and nation need as well. Sin is the disease which is strangling us and Jesus, the Great Physician, is the only one who can heal us.

IMG_0018.JPG

Questions

 

Image

Not long ago I was hit with a question which felt like a Mack truck running me over.   For 17 years I have pastored the same church and for the last 13 I have been bivocational.   This question out of the blue set my head to spinning.  I panicked,  and my palms got sweaty.  It sparked in me a fire that has led me to rethink a lot of things.   What question could be so earth shattering?  I was asked if I would ever be willing to transition back into full time ministry.  Don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t a job offer or something demanding an immediate life changing answer.   However, it was a question of “would I”.  Why was that so earth shattering?  Because it caused me to stop and examine my heart.  It was a chance to say, “I will do whatever God sends my way”, or “I can’t see God ever doing that…” Or some other way to stay in my comfort zone.  That answer was revealing.  It showed the condition of my heart.

Have you ever pondered the power of a well-timed question?  In education, questioning is recognized as a great tool for provoking thought and getting students to make connections for themselves between different pieces of information.  It is also a powerful tool in our spiritual walk.

That well timed question and my honest answer has been used by God to shake me up and renew my call to the ministry.  Oh, I have been holding the position for years, but I am sad to confess that my other job had been dominating my time and energy.  This innocent question got me studying what would change if I was full time.  What is it a pastor does?  What priorities are used to schedule their lives?  What is the focus of their labors?  After reviewing these things, I realized that I had no valid reason not to do most of those things now.  A simple question has called me out of my rut and revitalized me.  I have no idea if we will be blessed by growth to the point that I will be needed full time at the church and we can reasonably do that, but I know that pastoring is why I am here.  It is why God put me on this planet and in my current community.  It is a switch in my mind and heart.

Jesus obviously knew the power of questions.  One example is found in Luke 9:18-19 HCSB 18 While He was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 They answered, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back.”

He engaged their minds by having them relay what answers others would give about who Jesus was.  They went through the list, and then Jesus went in for the kill.  He asked in verse 20,  “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”

This took the discussion from the theoretical to the real.  It wasn’t just about the crowd, not it was personal.  I love Peter’s enthusiastic response, “Peter answered, “God’s Messiah!”  That statement of faith still echoes today.

Have you ever had a question hit you like that?  Have you ever asked someone such a life changing question?  That is one of the great things about the family of God.  We can stir up each other and call each other to new levels of faithfulness.  Often all it takes is asking a well-timed question.   I don’t know if my questioner had any idea the impact it would have, but I’m glad they asked.