OMG!!!

Food, fun, and worship with a bunch of smelly dudes! Yep, that was me and about 250 other men joining together for a men’s conference this past weekend.

salad?

There was plenty happening in a social setting but God was also moving spiritually. I have many things swirling in my brain that God needs to help me sort out. But I like learning so this was a great weekend for me.

I want to share one thing that God gave me.

The word I need to use for the letter O is obedient.

The Word – Obedient

The Worth – Philippians 2: 1-11 gives us an account of Jesus and also the attitude that he possessed. Verse 5 uses the term mindset. Jesus had his mind set a certain way. I feel like we should strive to have this same attitude or mindset.

Here is verse 8 “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” NIV

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus talks about His relationship with His Father. He only wanted to do what the Father told Him. He was obedient. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked to have “this cup taken from Him”. But then immediately following that statement, Jesus showed His Phil. 2 attitude. He told the Father that His will was secondary to the Father’s will.

It is amazing to me how Jesus was able to do what He did. With all the miracles and then raising from the dead? There was a connection with a great power source. He was always talking with His Father. The relationship was constant and frequent. That was how he was able to be completely obedient in the face of horrible circumstances!

The Work – If I am being honest here, the section has been the most difficult to write.

The Word and The Worth come more easily to me. I may be waiting tables or driving and a thought will come to me. It never seems to be in the The Work part of this blog though!

I think I know why. Because it involves work. I, personally, am not a big fan of work. It is more fun to have fun.

But God didn’t call me to have fun all the time. Yes, I am full of joy and there are many things in my life that bring fun, joy, smiles, etc.

I don’t think Jesus considered sweating drops of blood while praying in the garden something that would be fun. He was working. Hard work.

But his relationship with his daddy was inseparable. This is how he was obedient.

When my relationship with my daddy is strong, I am obedient as well.

So to end this post, I have one question:

How is your relationship with God your Father?

not my will

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The letter N stands for…

“Behind!”

This is something I hear and say every day at the Olive Garden. When I am carrying a tray of pasta, salad, and bread sticks, I need to let people know that I am walking through the dining room. They do the same for me as well. We all let each other know that we are literally, right behind when we shout out, “Behind!”

dropped food

Saying “Behind” serves a purpose. It lets the hearer know that they have someone directly behind them. We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads so this is a good thing. Now, I am aware of the presence of that person.

Trust me, it is no fun when a 15 or 20 pound tray of food crashes to the ground because someone was not watching what was happening around them!

dropping a tray


The Word – Near

The Worth – God is near. Near to me and near to you.

The Bible is filled with examples of how God has chosen to be near His people from the very beginning.

Genesis – He walked with Adam and Eve

Exodus – He gave Moses blueprints for a tabernacle to be built.

The Prophets in the Old Testament – They spoke the message that God desired relationship with His people.

The Gospels – Jesus being born as a baby. Immanuel means “God with us”.

Acts and the New Testament – The Holy Spirit is given to all who seek Him. The authors describe how we can have a relationship with God.

Revelation – God will take His children to be with Him.

All because He loves us. And He is near to us because of that love. All through time, God has proven His love because He keeps making arrangements to be near us. We can’t get away from Him! Even if we tried, there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

See Romans 8 for a deeper look on this idea.

How is it that we can be so distracted that we miss the fact the He is near?

The Work – As for the practical application of this blog…it really seems simple.

In a word, relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He has taken the first step to be near to us. God is doing this so we would be aware of His presence.

But what then, is our part?

Look for Him. Take the time out of your day and look, listen, search, and seek out this one who loves you so much. The bible says that if you seek, you will find.

After all, He is near you saying “Behind!”

 

The letter J is a tough one.

God is Jealous! God is Just. God is Jolly? So there are not as many J words to choose from as there are for other letters. But even when I decided on this word, there was still a doubt in the back of my mind. Jealous and Just were both the leaders for a while. In fact, the word I am blogging about here almost did not even make the list. Why?

There was simply too much information about Jesus.

Yep. Jesus.

The Word Jesus

The Worth – There have been thousands of books written about Jesus. In my life alone, I’ve heard hundreds or even thousands of sermons about him. Millions, perhaps billions of conversations have revolved around Jesus.

What am I going to add in two minutes? Not sure but here goes!

In John 8:58, Jesus says this confounding statement, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” NIV, Underline is mine. 

Here is a link to the whole chapter for more context.  John 8

These are the thoughts about Jesus that I gather from that passage.

 

  • The Creating Jesus was at the beginning of the world. The Old Testament contains numerous verses about this Jesus.
  • The Crucified Jesus is illuminated in the New Testament specifically Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He died and was then risen from the grave.
  • The Current Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us right now. See John 14.
  • The Conquering Jesus is found in Revelation. When He returns, watch out bad guys! There will be a great battle but Jesus will be victorious!

God can be misunderstood. He can be unclear to us. We don’t always agree on what God is, does, or looks like.

So in order for us to have a better picture, God gave us Himself…

…in the form of Jesus. And He was born as a baby. That way we could completely identify and understand who Jesus is.

If we understand Jesus, then we can understand God.

God is Jesus. Jesus is God. I like how it is stated in Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”

The Work – Action must be taken now that we know God gave us His son. Jesus died for us. We must choose Him or deny Him. Access to our hearts can be granted or denied. Remaining neutral is not an option. If I am not choosing to grow and move forward in Jesus, then I am declining or going backwards.

When I started writing this, I was not sure how it was going to end. Apparently, I have brought a challenge to all who read this blog. I myself am included in said challenge.

Let the timeless Jesus whom I have briefly described overtake your heart and mind. Allow Him to soak into your dry soul. Give Him the key to every closet in your life.

You will never regret opening your heart to Him.


Thanks for two minutes of your time. See you soon for the letter K.

 

 

The 5th letter is…

March! I missed it! Wow, how did I not post the last month? Not sure exactly…

Regardless, I am moving forward in this series, Alphabet soup.

So far this year, I have posted 4 times (5 including this one). As you may have already noticed, I am following a pattern. There is a word for each post and I started with Absolute. Breathtaking, Committed, and Diligent followed.

All of these words describe God. Today the word will start with ‘E’.

letter e

The Word – Essential

The Worth – Sometimes people use words in the wrong context. I work at an Olive Garden. I hear the phrase, “I am starving” literally everyday! Sometimes from the customers and sometimes my co-workers but usually from both! Do these people know what starving means!?!? Starving does not mean that you are so hungry because you have not eaten since breakfast! These people are not starving so I wish they would just say that they are hungry!

Essential means ‘absolutely necessary.’ Water is absolutely necessary in order to live. It is essential. Food is also essential. These are things that needed in order to live.

God is essential. In John 15, Jesus spoke some words. In this sermon, he did not exaggerate. He did not speak out of context. The words he spoke were accurate. So much so that we need to take heed and listen. Here is verse 5 from that chapter;

5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

john 15-5

Jesus said that without God, we can do nothing. Again, no embellishment in these words. The Son of God chose these words specifically and with a purpose. God is essential!

He wanted us to know that God is essential. We would not even be able to breathe unless God gave us the ability to do so. Death would happen. We just cannot do it on our own.

That is the penalty of sin. It is death. Physical and spiritual death.

But he gives more grace.

By the grace of God, he sustains us. He lets us live. He bestows grace so that we can come to Him and surrender our lives and follow Him.

The Work – Too many times, we try to live and succeed on our own power, talent, or perseverance. Stop it! I think that you and I need to try to abide (stay connected through consistent and constant relationship with Jesus). If and when there are mistakes, we can go to God for more grace. He loves us and the Bible tells us that His anger is only for a moment but his love is forever. see Psalm 103 

Stay tuned for the letter ‘F’. I am guessing that it will be a word that one usually does not ascribed to God. And, it just might be the best two minutes of your day!

2 minutes

Thank you and enjoy His grace today!

 

 

It is finished…?

When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were not structured. Sleeping late was common. I never really worked early on Saturdays so the mornings were free.

Many times that my dad would be out running his errands on these mornings. Almost every time he was gone, a note would have been left on the dining room table. He would have instructions or chores for us to do.

It was on one of these notes that I first learned a particular word.

Now imagine a 14-year-old boy who is supposed to do his chores. Let’s pick vacuuming. Nothing would ever get moved. I would just hit the large, open areas of the floor. It seemed that I only would hit roughly 50% of the carpet!

Ironically, my son vacuums the way I used to. Anyway…

So on this specific morning, my dad included a word that described how I am supposed to do my chores. I was instructed to be diligent.

The Word – Diligent

The Worth – Here is the definition from Dictionary.com:

adjective

1. constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything:

2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking:


My dad was frustrated with my chores because I was cutting corners and taking shortcuts. Yes, I would vacuum but certainly not with any care or diligence.
Transition with me here. Diligent can be used to describe God. The work that he accomplished through sending His son to die on a cross and then be resurrected was an amazing thing. He took attention to detail. Every little problem or issue was taken into account. God did the job and saw it through unto completion.
Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.NIV
I added the underline because those words tell me that the job was complete. I do not have to work for my salvation. I do, however, continue to work out how I live for God. It is a maturing process. But my soul is saved! He loved me enough to send His son. He was diligent enough so that the work of salvation is finished.
Jesus said so on the cross. It is finished!
The Work – By all means, keep seeking God in your life. He will answer prayer for you. He will guide and direct you. You are not alone! But sometimes there can be sad or discouraging times. Be encouraged as I close with some familiar verses.
Philippians 1:3-6, ” 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.NIV
it-is-finished