Archive for April, 2006

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Free Money

April 28, 2006

Free money

My father-in-law is better known as Bob the UPS man around Troutdale where I live, even though he is recently retired.  He hates dogs and snow.  He’ll learn your address before your name.  And he has a special ability to find money.  Everywhere.

Rumor has it that he’ll stop on the freeway for a penny. (He actually has).  He scans parking lots and routinely finds quarters, nickels, and dimes.  Occasionally he finds actual bills.  Rarely does a week go by where he is not splitting up his findings among his granddaughters, including my daughter Macy! 

What if wisdom was that available?!  What if just by looking you could spot and gain wisdom almost everywhere you looked?  Would you bend down and pick it up?  Would you pull over on the freeway of life for just a little more?

Proverbs 2:1-8

1My child,[a] listen to me and treasure my instructions. 2Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3Cry out for insight and understanding. 4Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. 5Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. 6For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. 8He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him.

This week finds me realizing I have not been diligently looking for wisdom.  Proverbs has reminded me its there, in every situation, and I am to search for it.  How exciting that God grants us wisdom!

What’s so crucial about this wisdom that is so readily available?

9Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. 10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. 11Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.

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The routine of the cross

April 17, 2006

Wednesday I was at church, practicing for tonight’s Maundy Thursday service.  There was a scene at the end where we are all to look at the cross and reflect.  So we turned, and looked in silence.   I don’t know how many seconds went by, 10 maybe, when this thought entered my mind.  “The cross isn’t stirring my emotion.”  That sickens me to write.  But there was this moment where I was just staring at what might as well have been a rock on the ground, and I had to remind myself that I was looking at a symbol of the cross that my Savior hung on.

Do you know the feeling?  If you have known the Lord most of your life like I have, sometimes you have to fight through the routine, the religion, the symbolism of our faith to get back to the place where His actions impact our soul. 

How?  Ask God to renew the meaning of his death and resurrection to you and don’t stop asking and seeking until you find it again. 

God, please forgive me for all the times I don’t give you the honor you deserve for what you have done for me, and for who You are.  Please renew in me a sense of awe, a sense of reverence, and overflowing gratitude for the price you paid for me on Maundy Thursday. 

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Walking Billboards?

April 7, 2006

Human_billboard_1 Isn’t it amazing how much we judge people by their clothing?  I do it.  For us, clothing can be like billboard sign on the freeway, with a specific message it’s sending.  Here are all types of messages I may receive from simply ones clothing.  They’re smart, they’re a rebel, they’re trendy, they’re poor, they’re rich, they’re desperate, they’re conservative, they’re not so conservative, they’re color blind J!  I could go on and on.  One thing of for sure, people are sensitive about what they wear.  Start to question someone’s clothing choice or use it as a target for insults and people take it personally really quickly. 

Thankfully, God is not like us!  He does not look at people and judge them by their appearance.  He alone can instantly determine a person’s motivations and heart behind what they wear.

“People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions." (I Sam 16:7)

I have been thinking a lot about this lately, in regards to what we wear here at church, what is our culture when it comes to dress and why?  As with anything else, multiple opinions abound, ranging from “Dressing up is a sign of respect”, to, “Dressing down is more friendly”, and everything in between. 

So as I contemplate this, I wonder if our church, Sunset Presbyterian, could get to a place where we as a ministry shared the same heart behind the message we send on weekends with what we wear?  What is our heart?  Does it matter?  Should we consider these things?  Is it important?  I don’t have any easy answers for you, I’m in the journey with you, learning as I go.

As we wrestle with these issues together, as a family, in love, and we will wrestle with these issues as long as there is a church and the Lord has not come back yet, there is a passage that sticks out to me for us to consider. 

In Romans 14 Paul is talking about very similar issues, and how Christians differ in what they feel is proper or not. This passage honestly for me creates more questions then answers, but that’s o.k.!  One thing is does settle for me, is how I am to treat my Christian brother and sister when their opinion differs from mine.  Here are a few verses from the passage to chew on. 

  2For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord.

    10So why do you condemn another Christian[a]? Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God.

    12Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God. 13So don’t condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path.

    17For the

Kingdom

of

God

is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. 19So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.