Friday, November 25, 2011

thanks expressed in giving

It is amazing how Thanksgiving is lived out.  There is traveling, cooking, eating, watching, visiting, sharing, talking, walking, planning, implementing, and a gazillion other ings.  One of my favorite is the art of giving.  So many give themselves to serve and help others as well as give food and money to provide for those who are in need.

Thanksgiving has become more known for the day before Black Friday sales than for an appreciation of our blessings, which by the way we have many.  Giving is an expression of thanks.  Giving is a way of telling and showing a heart of gratitude for what really matters.  I have been scanning the news feeds tonight reading of people getting assaulted while shopping on black Friday.  Really?  We have reduced ourselves down to pepper spray as an advantage to get an extra game, gadget or deal?

Our hearts are getting more and more consumed with food that doesn't satisfy and gifts that don't give back.  I desire to have a giving spirit.  I desire to give God my thanks while giving myself to serving others with the love of Christ.  How do you define thanksgiving in your own life?  I'm hopeful it is expressed in giving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

fairy tales and crutches

So much of what we do is about meeting people.  We get to meet people from all walks of life and dispositions.  We meet those who have some belief in God, those who have a fair amount of belief and those who believe God is a fairy tale.  I met such a man a few days ago.

A man I have become good friends with has treated me to some rounds of golf and great conversation.  He is a former navy seal who has known his share of pain.  He is also a man of faith.  We played golf the other day with a friend of his who has no belief in, nor use for God.  It was fun visiting with him and hearing about his life and family.  I will confess though that I left feeling very sad.

His foundation for everything is belief that science explains everything and it is a cosmic mishap that brought us into being.  He has obviously been spoken to harshly by some along his past.  His demand that I need a crutch and have bought into a fairy tale was sad.  The world around us speaks of the intricacy of life and design of a creative God.  Their is great complexity and beauty all around.  In my humble opinion, far too much complexity and beauty for God to be a fairy tale.

I realize there is great mystery and things beyond my comprehension.  I don't fathom all the details of genetics nor bio-chemistry.  What I do understand is that in my life, God is the only answer to what I see as well as what I don't understand.  Scripture declares that the creation cries out of the glory of God.  By the way, I don't need a crutch, I need a savior.  His name is Jesus!  And that is no  fairy tale!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

that time of year

Well it is nearing that time of year.  The time of year where stores bypass one holiday to get to another.  Where marketing gurus and advertisers come up with every way possible to get our attention.  The season where churches market Jesus and make sure people know "they" have the best angle.  We are nearing that time of year I dread.  

I love the attitude of giving and sharing, family, friends, and welcoming new people in our lives.  I want for my heart to not get lost in marketing and advertising.  I am hopeful that I enjoy with joy the season of thanksgiving and Advent.  The joy of sharing with another a cup of coffee and bread brings a smile to my heart.  How can we break the mold of "marketing" Jesus and just simply live out the joy of the Incarnate Christ within us?

Let's live thankfully by sharing gratefully!

Monday, November 7, 2011

fried mind

I am coming off a really incredible weekend.  I had a great time with my men's bible study friday morning and then headed up to Camp Alta for the Bridgeway Men's retreat.  I thoroughly enjoyed being with this great group of guys.  I spoke four times on the theme "leaving there".  They jumped right in with the metaphor and wow the Spirit of God was so evident.  The group that led worship did a great job of engaging the men's hearts.
We were able to take a few hours on Saturday afternoon and play a game of "has been" football.  With temps in the low 40's and a little snow, it made for a kid like atmosphere.  I am delighted to say I didn't re-injure nor injure anything.
After my last lesson Sunday morning at the retreat, I jumped in my vehicle and headed down the hill to preach at GCC.  I arrived just in time to witness Jim Lunetta redeem "Joe Cocker's" you are so beautiful... WOW, what a great song to have everyone engage before you speak.  I was even more blessed before speaking as Phil Boyte spoke of the miracle of his sister's recovery from a heart attack.
I will admit my mind was fried from a weekend of speaking.  I don't know that a six lesson weekend is a wise thing, but it was amazing, fried mind and all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the six week lesson

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  The blessed six lesson week.  I am honored to be doing a men's retreat for the Bridgeway Church this weekend.  I only know a few guys from this church so it will be a great opportunity to meet new people and share the story of Christ in my life.  That is fun, but challenging.  This is a large church with a really good teaching Pastor so they are used to good material.  Over the weekend I will share with them four times and I am really excited about that.  Before heading up the hill to the possibility of a snow covered retreat facility, I am leading my new men's bible study on the book of Ephesians.  This is our second week and I am loving this opportunity.  The sixth lesson of the weekend is for GCC.  I will speak at 9am Sunday morning for the retreat then drive down the hill to E. V. Cain and share with our church.

My mind is running in all directions and at this point the file folders are more than a little unorganized.  I am thinking through the material and praying for a divine movement of the Holy Spirit to make sense of it all.  Oh and the Saturday evening session of the retreat is in the middle of the Alabama vs LSU football game.  What was I thinking???  Oh well, the six lesson week will be fun and exhausting.  Prayers gladly welcome!