February 23, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to share: You don’t need to beg ME. You don’t have to convince ME. You don’t need to make a presentation to ME. Just come to ME and cry “help”. I’ve had the answer prepared for you before time began. I have been waiting on you to step into this moment so that I could display MY faithfulness to you. I AM prepared to show you how much I love you and how willing I AM to be everything you need.

Isaiah 65:24 (NLT) I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Psalm 91:15 (NLT) When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

 

 

What HGTV taught me about church.

I love to watch HGTV. I love Fixer Upper. Property Brothers. Love it or List it. I even like House Hunters. I like looking inside someone else’s home.  I enjoy seeing all the different ways homes can be decorated.

I love seeing the uniqueness of each home. I like seeing the personality of the owner come through. I enjoy their creativity and the different ways each home owner, designer and decorator expresses their vision.

I love that Abba made us all so different with distinct preferences. Some like the costal look, while others like shabby chic. There are those who like an English-country feel while others gravitate to the Americana style. And there’s always those who love eclectic design; a smattering of everything. But regardless of the style, if done right – it’s cohesive, warm and inviting. It’s comfortable. And you feel welcomed.

While I wouldn’t duplicate everything I see on HGTV in my own home, I do find pleasure in appreciating the owner or designer’s giftedness. I can appreciate every style because I can see their vision to make a plain space beautiful. Regardless of the technique, colors and materials they use, their purpose is to bring change and enhancements to a home.

And I appreciate their expressions of creativity because that means we don’t all live in cookie-cutter homes with identical couches and lamps. Because of their expressed imagination, I can choose home décor pieces that appeal to my personality and fit my personal style. A style that works for my family.

That’s how I see church. There are so many different types of churches. You can find anything from the small country church to the sprawling mega-church. And inside you’ll find all types of unique touches. Some have pews and others have chairs. Some have Sunday School and others have small groups. You’ll find some have a fellowship hall, while others have a café.

Some take communion every Sunday, some once a month and others partake based upon their sermon series or special occasions. Some baptize on Sunday and others on Wednesday.

Some enjoy singing the time-tested hymns and others from the hymnal (red-back anyone?). Others gravitate to the pop-worship you hear on the radio, while others like Hillsong or the rockish sounds of Jesus Culture. And some may have a smattering of it all.

Some are very traditional. Others are very relaxed.

Some present the message with flair, using colored lights, skits, music, painting, dance and other theatrical tools. While others present both worship and the message in a very straightforward method.

Some services touch the intellect, while others tap into the emotions. And some do both.

But regardless of how it’s presented, if it’s done right, it’s cohesive, warm and inviting. It’s comfortable. And you feel welcomed. And the results are lives are changed and enhanced, displaying the beauty of Christ in their everyday lives.

So what does it mean to be done right? The answer to that is lengthy. And subjective. But I’ve got a few quick thoughts to share.

  • Everything must be done in line with Truth.
  • Everything must be done in love.
  • Everything must be done in integrity.
  • Everything must be done in excellence.

Regardless of the way the message of the Gospel is presented, how it’s presented is the key to everything.

I think we get so hung up on fog machines, choirs vs worship bands and preaching styles that we miss the point. The point is: not every church should be alike. Paul says in Ephesians 4:4-7 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. (The Message)

We’re supposed to be different because we are all created with uniqueness, diversity and different ways of learning. Every church will be anywhere from slightly to greatly different because all leadership and all people are not alike. Just like we don’t all want to own identical couches, we don’t all want to go to identical churches.

Some people like liturgy and some don’t. Some like the comradery of a smaller church and others thrive in the hustle and bustle of a large church. Some are moved by music and love extended worship, while others don’t connect with music. Some are drawn to the lights and others prefer simplicity.

None of it’s wrong – it’s just different. And different is OK. Abba made us all unique with different preferences. We’re moved and inspired by different things. So our churches should be a reflection of our uniqueness with the presentation of the things that move and inspire us.

So if you find yourself in a church that presents the Gospel in a way that’s different from you – it’s OK! They are not wrong or bad. Ask Abba if this is where you’re supposed to be. And if not, don’t criticize and bash just because it’s not how you relate or prefer to participate in the Body of Christ. Appreciate the differences and then go to the place that He leads you.

Let’s stop criticizing churches that are different than us. Let’s appreciate those differences. Let’s celebrate their uniqueness and the creative ways God is using them. This will go a long way in building unity and solidarity in the body of Christ. And we could certainly use that.

Who knew you could get all that from HGTV.

February 16, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to share: Who are you? Only I know. Because I AM the One who formed the intricate parts of you in your mother’s womb, I know every molecule of your being. I know what you were created for. I know your purpose. I know what gives your life meaning. I understand you, better than you will ever understand yourself. Don’t look for your purpose anywhere else. Find your identity in ME. I AM the only One who really knows who you are.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Romans 8:26-28 (The Message) Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

February 9, 2016

tuesday text

For several years I’ve been sending “thoughts to share” each Tuesday to friends via text. That list of friends has grown to more than 100! So it’s time for me to simplify the sending process. So each week, I hope to send you the Tuesday Text Thought to Share via the blog. As always, feel free to comment. Conversation is always good for the soul.

 

Thought to share: If your focus is set on problem solving, you will be consumed by your problems. If your attention is given to resolving issues, your issues will overwhelm you. But, if your focus is on ME, MY Presence will surround you and you’ll experience MY peace. If your gaze is locked on ME, your problems shrink in size as you realize MY great capacity to handle any issue you may have. I have every solution. Look at ME and let ME lead you in peace to the resolution.

  • Luke 18:27
  • Psalm 85:8