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!”

 

What do you want?

My kids are funny. They each get an allowance so they generally have cash on hand. If we are at a store, they might ask if they can have something. We, in turn, say to them, “Did you bring your money?” It has helped with the begging and whining that kids at so good at doing.

What makes them funny is what they really want. My daughter craves candy.

candy

And my son, a Playstation 4.

ps4

In fact, we all desire something. That is just the way we are made. So while my kids are saving their dollars for candy or a PS4, what are you desiring?

But this post is not about what we want.

The Word – longing

The Worth – More than my kids wanting their things. More than my dog wanting cheese popcorn. More than my wife and I desiring a healthy marriage or strong family. More than anything us mere mortals could possibly want is the fact that God wants us more.

He is longing to be with us. He yearns for a relationship with us. He craves our company.

Simply put, he loves us.

I chose the word longing for 3 reasons.

  1. It starts with the letter L
  2. It gives a sense of something desired but not yet obtained.
  3. It also implies that action must be taken.

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden of Eden. He walked with them. I tend to be literal in my thinking about that scene.

What would that have looked like? Did God take a physical form? Did He speak in a regular voice?

But then the fruit was taken and eaten. The relationship was broken. And ever since then, God has been longing to walk with us again.

He desires us. Sure, we can have communion with Him now but with sin still in the picture, perfection is still not possible.

But God took action. He did something about His longing.

Desire drives decisions.

Pursuit proves passion.

He made a way for us to come back to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 gives more detail on God taking action to make things right again.

Ultimately, the rapture will occur and we will be united once again! 1 Thessalonians 4.

God loves us so much! Even as I type the words, I feel like that statement does not encompass God’s love enough! He is longing to walk and talk with us.

And because He first loved us, we can love Him in return.

He took action so we can take action.

The Work – You might ask, “How do I take action?”

Ask God for help. Read your Bible. Then act on it. Do something about what God tells you.

take-action

God loves you and the Bible tells you so. That is a fact.

Do one thing today that reflects this truth.

 

 

 

To my mom…

I have been blogging for just over three years. What a journey! But in all my posts, I spoke very little, if any, about my mom. My dad has had plenty of mention and he even helped me edit my posts when I first began. So today, I honor my mom.

honor mom

The Word – Helen

The Worth – If you have been following me this year, you have no doubt noticed that all the posts have described God. Each post has a word that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. With the word I have chosen for today, let me add a few disclaimers:

  • I am not saying that my mom, Helen, was God.
  • I am not saying that God is a woman.
  • I am not supporting a women’s empowerment agenda here.
  • I am not saying that women are better than men.

Here is what I am saying by using the word Helen;

  • Helen loved me unconditionally.
  • Helen showed me the way to heaven.
  • Helen prayed for me.
  • Helen guided and directed me when I was going astray.
  • Helen taught me.
  • Helen advised me on the female species.

I could continue. My mother was pretty awesome. God used my mother to help shape me into the man I am today. No, I am not perfect but I could be a whole lot worse!

So if I say that God is Helen, don’t misunderstand me. There were times when I saw God because I was looking into my mom’s face. It might be more appropriate to say that Helen is like God. Yep, that sounds about right.

The Work –  Three things to ponder as I try to connect The Worth (ideas and concepts) with The Work (practical application) regarding The Word.

  1. If you are a mom; God can use you in tremendous ways that you cannot even fathom. Please let Him.
  2. If you are not a mom; Know that your mother could quite possibly be the greatest influence in your life. I hope and pray that it is for godly things.
  3. My mom passed away in January of 2011. I love you mom. See you (and dad) in heaven when I get there. Not any time soon though because God is still using me down here.

mom

My dog peed on the carpet!?!?

My dog, Murray, peed (sp?) on the carpet today. Frustrating. This picture is when he is nice and cute.

Murray

He is still a puppy. But it is still is very frustrating when he relieves himself in the house. For the most part, he goes outside but we still can’t trust him 100%.


Sometimes (maybe more than we would like to think) are like Murray. We pee on the carpet. Figuratively speaking.

Jonah went west instead of east. He got swallowed by a whale.

David was home instead of out fighting. He couldn’t handle the temptation.

Saul (New Testament) killed followers of Christ. He was on a rampage.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3

You see, all of us have a ‘Murray-peed-on-the-carpet’ streak in us.

It is called sin. And sin will kill us.

But God is gracious.

The Word – Gracious

The Worth – As I have learned over the years, the word grace is complex and multi-layered in its meaning. I want to suggest to you that there are three types of grace when speaking of God and spiritual things.

  1. Saving Grace – This is the type of grace that is present for all of the human race. It is the barrier that keeps us from dying in our sin. Read 2 Peter 3:9 and you get the picture of God waiting for us to come back to Him. Surely, because of His holiness, he hates the sin and wants to eradicate it from creation. But, he also loves us so He is long-tempered (extremely patient) and is longing for us to return to Him. However, this saving grace will not be enough for the purification of our sin. It only buys us time.
  2. Sanctifying Grace – At some point, a person can make the choice to live for God. They surrender their life to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells about being a new creation. Ephesians 2:8-9 explain how grace is the saving agent, not our works. This grace will bring the change in our life that only God can work. At this point, construction begins on our heavenly dwelling.
  3. Strengthening Grace – Now that we have a new life, we need power to live that new life. This third type of grace empowers us to be the man or woman God has created us to be. But how can we live up to God’s standards? He sets the bar really high. Read 2 Corinthians 12. Paul was stating that he was weak. And really, all of us could argue that we are weak. We cannot always go forward. We stumble and trip. Sometimes daily. But in our weaknesses, His strength is made perfect. His grace is sufficient.

The Work – Can I challenge you this week with The Work?

Meditate on His grace. Think about how His grace has saved you. Dwell on the times when you felt God’s grace filling your heart and mind. You were invincible. Remember  the times when you messed up. You fell. You were weak. Did God’s grace abandon you? No. And it never will because…

God is gracious.