You are currently browsing the archives for June, 2009
Recently, I was finishing up a Bible study on Colossians and the last couple of days the teacher had us rewrite the entire book of Colossians by hand. It has been a great experience!! During the final day this is a portion of what I wrote:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Three little verses in a tiny book at the end of the Bible. A quick little command from Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit. 54 words that we have all read and maybe even memorized. Four sentences that if we applied to our moment by moment living would transform every relationship in our lives.
How does this look in day to day living?
1. When giving criticism, we need to show compassion, kindness and gentleness.
2. If someone uses a tone or words that seem demeaning, we need to bear with him or her and forgive as we have been forgiven.
3. But above all that put on love. Remember that our spouse loves us; our children love us; our friends love us; we love our spouses, children and friends. If this is not true then we need to start praying for it and acting like it is true.
The writer of the study said this, “The ultimate witness to the world is how members of the body of Christ love one another.” May we be amazing witnesses!
But before we think that this is just some big love fest – look what Paul said just one verse later:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (v. 16)
The Word of God has to be in us deeply! (How are you doing in your quiet times, my friends?)
As the Word dwells richly, we will need to teach (to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, to impart instruction, instill doctrine into one) and we will need to admonish (to caution, advise, or counsel against something; to reprove or scold, especially in a mild and good-willed manner; or to urge to a duty, remind) one another. But then we wrap it all up with the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God. This is why church fellowship and family devotions are so important. It gives us the chance to enter into that sanctuary where all that really matters is the Father’s amazing love for all of His kids.
My prayer is that we all may walk out this Christian life in such a way as to draw others to Him. May our humility, love, forgiveness and correction of one another be so different that others will want us to give a reason for our hope.
It had been a busy day and I was starved! Normally I would order out at Cafe Express or run through the drive thru at Jack in the Box but since I was trying to be a good steward I decided to go home and fix something. There was no meat thawed but I did have a frozen dinner…a Weight Watchers Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla. Understand that I purchase the dinner for conveninece way more than to watch my waist line. This was a new product so I had to read the cooking instructions much more carefully and that is when I busted out laughing.
No more than 4 times is it indicated on the box that the dinner is TWO servings and not one. Even in the cooking instructions area it says “Place 2nd quesadilla back into the freezer.” As a self proclaimed food addict, I know exactly where they were coming from. It reminds me of something Horatio from CSI: Miami would say with his gun drawn, “Place your hands in the air and slowly back away from the freezer” or my friend’s refrigerator magnet that says, “What you are looking for is not in here!”
But once I started cooking both quesadilla (remember convenience not waist line), I realized that Weight Watchers is sticking to their mission. Stouffer’s mission is to sell more TV dinners to produce more profits but Weight Watchers’ mission is not to sell frozen food but to help people lose weight. How easy would it have been to rationalize not putting all the extra “warnings” on the package? If we sell more TV dinners, we will have more revenue to reach more people. If we sell more TV dinners, more people will know about us and will want to join.
With 90 seconds still left on my dinner, I wondered how I was doing with my own mission. Was I regularly influenincg people for Jesus or was I just busy? Was I spending quality time with those I love or catching up on missed reality shows? Was I investing in the here and now or in the future? I realized that it was time for some course corrections in a few areas of my life.
What about you, moms? Is a clean house the mission or is it making great memories for your kids?
What about you, dads? Is providing a new car when Junior is 16 the mission or is it supporting him at his 8th grade band concert?
What about you, employees? Is getting a paycheck the mission or is it doing all things as unto the Lord?
Would love to hear about your mission and how you are doing sticking to it!
One of the most amazing statistics from the LifeHouse ministry is the number of unbelieving residents who accept Christ. Over half of our residents who do not know Christ accept Him while living at LifeHouse!!
What is interesting is that evangelism is not a major “push” of the ministry. There is no plan to share Christ after so many days or the third Thursday of each month is revival Thursday. We simply try to do what Christ would do and the residents usually come to a staff member and ask how to be saved. Recently, a resident, Michelle, turned to a staff member during the church service and asked if he would walk down front with her to receive salvation. Later he said, “I felt like I was walking her down the wedding aisle.” In many ways, he was—at that moment, Michelle became a part of the bride of Christ and will be eternally changed.
The quote by St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words” aptly describes the LifeHouse ministry. The Gospel is preached through a hot meal, a listening ear, a clean bed, a ride to the doctor’s office and even discipline as the resident realizes that there are consequences to choices made. May I live a life that both demonstrates the Gospel and at times speaks the Gospel. Have you had a chance, recently, to preach the Gospel and not use words?
Finally, the last part of this blog series concerning the impact abortion has on our great country. In closing, let’s consider two quotes:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.”
- Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the US Senate in the 1940’s
I believe we are at a watershed moment in our country and I desire to give my all to make it happen. Do I have the extra time? No. Do I have the extra money? No. Do I have the extra energy? No. But as I look down the corridor of time into the eyes of future generations of spiritual children and grandchildren, these excuses do not hold water. I am determined and will get in the arena and fight for a worthy cause and whether in victory or defeat I can say I gave it my all.
Would love to hear your thoughts?