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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 Scary Words

"Here am I. Send me."

I'm not sure where a statement like that leads.  Well…I do.  I 've said it before.  But it has to be five of the scariest words ever spoken to the God of Creation.  But where does a statement like that lead?

Does it lead to people and places far from home?
Sure!

Does it lead to inner city anywhere working with the less fortunate in potentially dangerous neighborhoods?
Absolutely!

Does it lead to serving with two year olds, 4th-6th graders, or leading a Bible study group?
Yes!

Does it lead to pain, persecution, and imprisonment?
Maybe!

Does it lead to death?
Possibly!

Does it matter?  

Did it matter to Isaiah when he uttered these very words to the Lord?  Don't think it did.  I believe Isaiah surrendered his life…all of it…because it's the thing to do when a person encounters the powerful presence of God…YHWH!  How could Isaiah NOT surrender his life after experiencing healing like he did.

And us…you?  What about you?  Have you uttered those words?  Scared?  I bet!  

Yet it's exactly what the Lord is wanting you do.  It's the perfect response to the God of Heaven who has done everything in His power to pursue a love relationship with you.  

Go ahead…say those five magical words, "Here am I.  Send me."  


Mike

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Community and Growth

Last night our 242 Small Group met.  It's an eclectic group of couples that gather together every Wednesday night during the summer.  I look forward to meeting with them each week.

We begin every lesson with an ice-breaker question that get's everyone involved.  Usually, they're fun and insightful.  This week's question was a little different.  Last night's ice-breaker question was, In one word how would you describe your relationship with God today?  Here are a few of the responses:
  • Hungry 
  • Lacking
  • Distant
  • Thankful
  • Trusting
  • Blessed
  • Thirsty
  • Prioritizing
These are courageous answers.  These are honest answers.  These are the answers of a group of people who have spent the summer getting to know one another and sharing life together.  

I was so blessed to hear our group's answers.  They not only represent our relationship with the LORD, but they showed us that not everyone is at the same place with God as everyone else.  We are all at different places on the relationship/discipleship spectrum.  

During our study we discovered the need for one another to help us in our relationship with God.  Growth and a deeper relationship with God doesn't occur in a cocoon.  Growth takes place when we live life with a group of believers that can encourage us, pray for us, grow with us, and challenge us.  This is why I believe small groups are so important to the life of the church and the Kingdom of God!

Small groups rule!

Mike


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waiting

Waiting…one of the hardest things for me to do.  In fact, I despise waiting! Yet, Christ-followers are called to wait upon the Lord.  Wait for His plans. Wait for His timing. Wait. Wait. Wait.

It probably bothers me so much, because I'm  a control freak and so task oriented.  There!  I said it!!  My mantra is taken from Larry the Cable Guy, "Get 'er done!"  Make a plan, work the plan.  That's me.

Waiting requires me to trust…trust God. It forces me to trust in the Lord's promises, plans, timing, etc., not in my abilities or timing, or plans.  I get tired of waiting.  It wears me out and frustrates me! Can I get a witness!!!! Ok, maybe it's just me.

Waiting in the Lord, on the other hand, strengthens me.  It puts me under His authority and power.  It places my future into His hands.  It transforms worry into joy and chaos into peace (Phil 4:4-7).

This morning I am reminded that Jesus modeled waiting.  He trusted God.  He put His own life into the the hands of His Father.  He waited on God's timing and the fulfillment of God's plans.

I had to confess to the Lord that I don't wait well…really, not at all.  And in my inability to wait upon Him I placed my plans, my timing, my will over His.  Honestly, I think this is a struggle for many who follow Christ.  Maybe you're one of them.


Wait Well…

Mike


Thoughts for this post were influenced by Gene Wilkes and his book, Jesus on Leadership.  Check in out!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Peace

This morning I was in my office with Chris Tomlin's You're a Good, Good Father playing in the background and my Bible open to Romans 1:18-20.  And I sat there…just sat there.  It was okay.  I was not hurried or feeling the need to rush into anything.  I was just soaking it in.  There was a great peace in that moment.  Honestly, I wished these moments came more often.

As I reflect on my time with the Father, I wonder if that's not what our time with Him is supposed to be like?  Peaceful, even in the midst of life, especially our hurried life.

What was playing and what I was reading really wasn't the focus.  That's just what I happen to be listening to and reading at the moment.  Then again, maybe they do have an impact.  I don't know.

Your thoughts?


Mike

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Light Among Light?

In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, "You are the light of the world.

In John 1:5, John writes,"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

I was thinking about being light and darkness this morning.  I wondered how many of us Christ-followers are more apt to be light among the light rather than light among the darkness? 

I mean, it's soooo much easier to be a Christ-follower among other Christ-followers.  Isn't it?  When you think about it, you don't even have to be the brightest light in the room, there's no need.  If someone's light is brighter it will drown out your dim light.  Even a bunch of dim lights will appear to give off so much light there's no need for our light to shine any brighter.

Gotta admit, it's a much bigger risk to be light among the darkness of this world where the ruler of evil reigns.  Think about it, how many lost friends do you have at work…in your neighborhood…in the community?  When was the last time you stood up against wrong, even if you were the only one?

Yet, Jesus' own words challenge us to be a light - the presence of Jesus - in a dark place.  And in case you haven't noticed, our world is very, very dark.  His very words are to you and me…WE are to be the light of the world.  Am I right? Or am I missing something here?  My pastor, Don Pucik, often reminds us to be a light in a dark place.  Great reminder, Don.  Don't stop reminding us.

This is a challenge for me, as well.  I often find myself being light among light.  It's easy…and comfortable.  There are times when I'm more fearful of the enemy and the darkness around me than I am of God who has provided me victory and the assurance of such victory (1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4-5).  My prayer today has changed.  May the light of men (John 1:4) shine so brightly within me that others to see the visible light within me and see the difference that light…Jesus…makes within me.

And you?

Gott go and turn the switch on…

Mike


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Faith Heard Around the World

This Thursday (Jan 21) at 5:45 am our men's Bible study will kickoff a new study entitled Romans:  The Power to Change.  If you're a guy in the Wynne community you are invited to join us for breakfast and Bible study.  Yep, breakfast is your reward for getting up that early.

I'm reading ahead and was walking through chapter 1 when verse 8 kinda struck me:
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world."
 Ok, you gotta understand that Paul is in Corinth about to head to Jerusalem and he has been hearing about the faith of the brothers and sisters living in polytheistic Rome.  They were living dependent upon God! Is that some of faith or what?

Man, that ain't my faith.  It's not being reported across the known world.  If I was honest, it's barely being reported outside of my home.

You see, I live in a pretty safe environment.  It doesn't cost me anything to say that I am a Christ-follower in our community.   It's a place of churches of several denominations.  Each call themselves Christians.  Proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus doesn't affect me negatively.  I have lived in communities where that isn't the case, but here in Wynne, it is.  As I often say, "It is what it is."

Ok, so I don't live in an difficult or antagonistic culture.  But what about everyday life - relationships, work, play, finances, health issues, ministry, or any of the myriad of circumstances I find myself on a daily basis?  Do I trust God in and through any of them?  Great question, eh?

You see, God doesn't want me to have the faith of the Roman believers or even of Paul.  He does expect me to have the faith…my faith… to follow Him…to trust Him no matter where and what I find myself.

What about you?  How are you at trusting God?  Is your faith growing deeper and stronger?  Are you learning to trust Him in new ways and circumstances?


Mike

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Discombobulated Days


Ever wake up and feel like your ready for the day?  Your organized, got your "To Do" list ready, and begin marching through the day like Derrick Henry running through Auburn's defense.  I'm like that on occasion…on occasion.  Today is not one of those days.  I am so discombobulated.

Woke up late and felt like I've been trying to catch up ever since.  The good thing is that I have routines.  Yes, routines.  I have them because of my A.D.D.  If I don't then I'm all over the place and nothing gets done.

When I wake up I have a routine.  Even if I'm running late I do my best to stick to the routine.  When I get to the office I have a routine…it's printed and taped above my computer so I will see it when I get there. It is purposely very specific.  Since posting it I have become so familiar with the steps that I can get through it without looking at it.  But it's still there, just in case.

This morning I'm working the routine, but my thoughts are all over the board.  Things I need to do keep coming to mind:
  • people I need to talk to
  • tasks that need to be added to my list
  • tasks that have to be done
  • phone calls to make
  • emails to return or send
  • lessons to write (three this week)
  • meetings that I am a part of
See what I mean?!  Holy Moly!!  Now try to keep that straight in my head?  Go ahead, I dare ya!  Never mind, I don't wish that upon anyone.  That's one scary place, y'all.

But that's where my routine kicks in and helps me put my mind to rest, focus, and be productive.

What do you do when things begin to get off track?  How do you re-focus?

Squirrel!!

Mike