This ark don’t float!

“But we will get wet! This thing is heavy and we are supposed to go in the water!?!? You must be crazy. Is there a plan B?”

what-are-you-crazy

I  wonder what the priests really said before they actually stepped into the Jordan river.

Joshua 3 shares a fantastic story. The story of the Israelites going into the Promised Land for the first time! But there was a river in the way. This was the first obstacle to taking over the land of Canaan.

Before I jump in (no pun intended, =-)), I want to explain something. The post prior to this one, which you can click here to read, dealt with the idea of control. This post is a follow-up. Why do we want control?

Why is it so hard to let go and give control to God?

I am going to try to answer that particular question.


Back to the Israelites…

Moses is dead and Joshua is now in charge. Joshua 1

Israel sent spies to check out Jericho, the first city in the Promised land. Joshua 2

Now, in chapter 3, the Lord is telling Joshua that they need to cross the Jordan river. But more than fording their way across, God has them do it in a specific manner.

Here are the priests, carrying the ark of the covenant on poles. They are directed to step into the water.

8“Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’ ”

What would you have said?

And that, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road.

God asks and we ask back.

Remember the question I am trying to answer? Here is t is again;

Why is it so hard to let go and give control to God?

My answer is simply this; we don’t trust God.

Sure, we may have trusted Him for salvation but there is more. There is always more with God.

*The Israelites just got done wandering around the desert for 40 years because they did not trust God.

*God provided manna and quail when they did not trust Him.

*He made water flow in the sand when they didn’t trust Him.

*Remember the Red Sea? They didn’t trust Him there either.

It seems that you and I are like those Israelites. God does a great thing and before too long, we go back to not trusting. Be encouraged because God still gives us grace and mercy-even when we don’t always trust Him.

In these next few posts, we will dissect Joshua 3 and learn how we can trust God again.

In the meantime, grab your swimsuit because things are about to get wet!

jordan-crossing

 

 

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Let it go…and not the song from Frozen.

Life is not as complex as we think. More to the point, being a Christian is not as complicated as we make it out to be.

Now here is something that is complicated:

complex math

Don’t we tend to live life this way? Relating to this picture, we have the chalk and are creating what we think our life should be like. Graphs for finance, charts for careers, equations for relationships, formulas for God and spreadsheets for kids’ schedules!

How does it all make sense?

Truth is, I don’t think it does make sense. Sure, some people juggle life better than others but at the end of the day, we all fall short. I think one word sums it up.

Control.

We want to be in control. Every choice we make reinforces this idea. The food we eat. The clothes we wear. Where we live. The people in our lives.

We dictate it all so that the control stays within our domain.


The psalmist said it so precise and clear, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

As a shepherd himself, David knew what he was talking about. He understood that when God is in control, everything else makes sense. Yes, David still had to do the work as a shepherd. The sheep needed him.

I am not suggesting that we stop working. There are things in life we need to do.

The Lord gives us the clarity, strength, and motivation for the work in our lives. If we let God be in control while we work, then our life can make sense. Kind of like this:

simple math equation

I want to close this post with three thoughts

  1. As you read the opening lyrics to this hymn, try to grasp the simplicity in the words. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word;” ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, Louisa M. R. Stead (1882)
  2. This post, more than most that I have written, is directed at me. I write about things that are matters of the heart, for me.
  3. If you find encouragement, comfort or challenge in these words, then God is at work in you too. Looks like we are on the same journey. Stay true to Him. As the saying goes, let go and let God.

 

Blessed. 1 syllable or 2?

Recently, our pastor has been preaching a series entitled, “Upside Down Kingdom”.

He is drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. The first 12 verses of Ch. 5 are called the Beatitudes. You can listen to the first sermon here.

central church logo

This morning, I woke up with a moment of clarity.

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

How easy is it to think that if I have stuff (money, home, car, kids, wife, dog, talent, good looks, job, etc) then I am blessed. The result of God’s blessing is reduced to things. This type of thinking is how the world thinks.

Well friends, that kind of thinking is wrong. We live in an upside down kingdom. Jesus clearly mentioned what it means to be blessed. Here are his words from Matthew,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (underline mine)

This is not the time and place for a full explanation of these verses. But there are two things that I will highlight:

***The word blessed means happy, fortunate, having received God’s favor.

So yes, one can argue that being blessed means you have stuff.  After all, God is giving you His favor. He likes you. He can give you things. But I don’t think that is the primary evidence of a blessed life. That brings me to the second point.

***All of the things in these verses are internal properties, not external possessions.

Do you see the contrast?

My first blog of 2018 said that I was going to try to answer the question, “Who Am I?” Click here to read it.

And to answer that question today, I would say that I am blessed!

blessed 2

Not because of what I have but because of Christ’s work in me. His Spirit has enabled me to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty, merciful, pure in heart, peaceful, and persecuted.

His work on the cross is what makes this type of living even possible. It would be absolutely crazy and foolish to think that I could be blessed (according to Matthew 5) due to anything that I could do.

Jesus did it all. I did nothing.

As I get ready to sign off, remember this:

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

Go out into your world and have the right attitude.

God will help you.

Then He will bless you.

And that is a good thing.

 

Me and Trees

Yesterday, my daughter was asking about carbon dioxide and oxygen. She wanted to know how the trees made oxygen. Is carbon dioxide poisonous? How long would we live if there were no trees? As I was driving, I kept thinking about the process. Truthfully, I had no strong answers for all these questions.

And then I decided to answer my daughter. All I could come up with was this,

“That is how God made it.” She seemed to be content with that answer.

photosynthesis

The real answer is Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the name of the process by which plants turn sunlight into food. The byproduct of that process is oxygen. Good, now we can continue to breath!

The Word – workmanship

The Worth – God made trees. He made the plants as well. These living and green organisms are essential to life for us. I love it that God was detailed in His workmanship of this world.

I find it extremely difficult to think that our world and all of the creatures and plants that inhabit it are here by accident or evolution.

God made it all. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

You know what else is considered God’s workmanship?

Me. And you.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

The word handiwork or workmanship, could also be replaced with masterpiece. In this verse, the word created is the verb. God created us to be His masterpiece!

I am a masterpiece!

Not a piece of junk.

Not second-rate.

Not an after thought.

No, I am fantastic and wonderful in my creation. God designed me perfectly.

The Work – Who am I? I am God’s workmanship. A product of His hands.

So now I get to go out into my world and do the good works that Jesus has for me to do.

This is how I will bring glory to God, by being who I am; His workmanship.

Last thought: What if the Mona Lisa was stashed away in a cellar somewhere?

mona lisa

The world would be missing a masterpiece.

Is your world missing its masterpiece?

 

 

For all you men out there!

This is the creed I wrote (more like adapted from the Army’s Airborne Creed) for our church. If I ask the question, Who Am I?, I could answer Heirborn! There is great joy and excitement to be a part of something that is living and active. This is the start of the ministry to men at our church. We need God!

untitled

I AM HEIRBORN!

I jump by Faith into the fight. I have chosen to do it, knowing well the hazards of my choice.

I serve a Divine Creator who goes before me and follows behind me. It is my pledge to uphold His honor and prestige in all that I am and all I do.

I am an elite trooper; a Praying trooper, a Worshipping trooper, a Word-wielding trooper. I blaze the way to far-flung goals, all behind, before, and above the foe’s front line.

I know that the fight will last until the return of Christ, my Captain. Therefore, I keep mind and body always fit to do my part in any HEIRBORN task. I fight hard and excel in every art and artifice of war.

I never fail a fellow trooper. I cherish as a sacred trust the lives of brothers with whom I serve. Leaders have my fullest loyalty, and those I lead will never find me lacking.

In peace, I do not shrink the dullest of duty nor protest the toughest training. My weapons and equipment are always combat ready.

In battle, I fear no foe’s ability, nor underestimate his prowess, power and guile. I fight him with Prayer, Worship and the Word of God.

I belong to a proud and glorious team; the HEIRBORN, Central Church, and the global Church. I am its chosen vessel to fight where others may not or cannot go, to serve them well until the final victory.

In peace and war I never fail. Anywhere, anytime, in anything,

I AM HEIRBORN!

 

The Word – Heirborn

The Worth – Because of Christ, I have an inheritance awaiting me in heaven. I also have the power of God in me right now. This is so I can live like the man I was created to be!

The Work – Because God’s power resides in me, I have a duty. I should not go to heaven by myself! My world can be influenced for God because of God in me. Because I am Heirborn, God can flow through me to win my world!