The Smell Battle

- - Uncategorized

Ya ever think about how life is one long battle against bad smells?

Every day we shower off that sweaty bacteria that starts growing on our bodies (some of us have to do this multiple times a day).

We brush our teeth (and tongue) daily. We rinse with mouthwash. Throughout the day we battle halitosis with gum, mints and Listerine strips.

Don’t forget all the applications of deodorant, nice-smelling lotion and cologne.

Each day, the routine stars over. Skip a few days and you’ve lost the smell battle!

As soap is to stink, generosity is to greed – it’s the antidote.

Greed smells. Stinginess is odiferous. Selfishness reeks.

Generosity keeps us smelling good.

“The gifts you sent… are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” – Philippians 4.18

Giving isn’t a one-time thing – just like showering or brushing your teeth isn’t a one-time thing. Our natural tendency is to start smelling (bad).

The smell battle must be fought on a daily basis.

Take a whiff. How do you smell today… greedy or generous?

The Generous Eye

- - Uncategorized

Before I had LASIK on my eyes I was nearsighted (couldn’t see anything far away). After the surgery, my eyesight was corrected. No more contacts and glasses!

I’ve always loved this verse:

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed.” – Proverbs 22.9 NKJV

It speaks of the person who has a generous nature and is constantly looking for opportunities to give, bless, invest and make a difference.

Maybe the opposite of the generous eye is a “stingy eye.”

Some people have a stingy nature and look for ways to hoard, keep, hide, stash and protect their money.

Greed is no good. Look at every New Testament list of evil sins and you will find greed mentioned. Greed messes with your vision, erodes your faith, makes you fearful and paranoid.

When you’re nearsighted, your eye is oblong-shaped. The LASIK procedure burns away some of that extra tissue – making the eye more round, correcting it’s shape.

Sometimes we need spiritual LASIK: to be reshaped, getting rid of the greed that impairs our ability to see clearly.

God, give us generous eyes; help us to say with conviction: “we live to give and we love to give!”?

Blessed… for What?

- - Uncategorized

We are blessed. We really do have so much.

Don’t feel like you are blessed?

Consider what happens in just 1 minute around the world:

250 babies are born,

113 are born into poverty.

The average person in the world makes $0.013, while the average American household makes $0.096.

The average person in India with an IT career makes $0.025, while the average person in the United States with an IT career makes $0.13.

Someone working in a Nike factory in Vietnam makes $0.0014.

120,673 pounds of edible food is thrown away in the United States; there are 107 deaths in the world – 18 will die from starvation.

Yes, we are blessed and we have more than enough.

“He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” – 2 Corinthians 2.10

“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous.” – 2 Corinthians 2.11

We are blessed so that we can be generous.

We are blessed in order to be a blessing.

Let’s break free from greedy, selfish, fearful, tight-fisted management of the resources God has blessed us with.

Let’s go on new adventures in generosity!

What Kids Pray…

- - Uncategorized

A parent shared with me on Sunday:

My favorite prayer I’ve heard my daughter pray was “B!  I!  N!  G!  O! And Bingo was his name-oh! In Jesus name, Amen.”

How about you? Do you have some memorable kid prayers to share?

Sometimes We’d Rather Just Complain

- - Uncategorized

Sometimes we’d rather just complain.

It feels good. It’s kind of addictive too – once we get going, it’s hard to stop.

One complaint inspires another.

Speaking out the complaint seems to boost our confidence that we’re right.

Complaining is nice because it places the burden of responsibility on someone or something else.

I think we often choose to complain because it’s safe – it ensures that we won’t have to change.

But maybe safe isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:6-8)

Don’t worry (stress, whine, complain, freak out)… instead, pray!

Something happens when we pray. The circumstances may or may not change… but WE are certainly changed!

When we pray, God gives us a peace that goes beyond all our thoughts, cares and concerns about the situation.

When we pray, we take on a responsibility… to trust God and to get our thoughts right (to fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise).

I know, sometimes we’d rather just complain… but if we have enough energy to complain, we have enough to pray.

Live dangerously and pray!

The risk is that God might change us… but it’s a change for the better anyway(being stress-free, worry-free and filled with a peace that supersedes our circumstances).

Live the adventure. Pray about everything.

Adventures in Prayer – Talk Like a Child

- - Uncategorized

Prayer is simply talking with God.

It’s not reciting a script or repeating a mantra.

It’s honest and real.

It’s spoken in everyday language.

In prayer, there’s no need for Shakespearean language!

There’s no need to speak in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic or Latin.

You don’t have to put on a southern accent or preacher’s voice when you talk to God (He hears you all the other times you speak – just use that same voice).

We’re His kids! Kids don’t come to their parents and use fancy language or unusual voices. In fact, parents are especially gifted at understanding and interpreting what THEIR kids are saying.

Here’s what it says in Romans:

(This life you received from God) is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “what’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. (Romans 5.15-16 MSG).

God knows and loves the real you.

You’re His child.

He wants to hear from YOU.

We don’t have any reason to be shy.

Kids aren’t shy around their parents.

Our parents have seen us naked, changed our diapers, bandaged our wounds, caught us lying, wiped away our tears…

Parents know their kids, flaws and all, and still love them.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Ephesians 3.12 NLT).

Be bold.

Come to the Father confidently.

He’s inviting you into His presence…

Come on in and have a conversation with your Heavenly Father!

In a Funk? Try This…

- - Uncategorized

First, let me give proper credit. This post is from Steven Furtick and can also be viewed here:  http://www.stevenfurtick.com/

If you’re in a spiritual funk today, you might want to…

Pray out loud.
Write your prayer out.
Read your Bible out loud.
Apologize to someone.  Even if it’s not primarily your fault.
Talk to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone, hire a professional.
Rest.
Exercise.
Start eating better.
Drive around listening to a sermon.
Turn up some worship music really loud. Shut the door. Sing along.
Go back and do the thing you know you were supposed to do.
Get organized.
Repent.
Encourage somebody who would never expect it.
Get back in church. Serve somewhere.
Quit complaining.
Go on a date with your wife.
Tell somebody thank you.
Give some money away.
Call on the name of Jesus.
Remember how far He’s brought you.
Realize that He’ll never ever leave you.

Just a few ideas to get you started.

You can take it from here…

Adventures in Prayer – Take a Hike!

- - Uncategorized

The Gospels often mention Jesus going somewhere to pray – into the hills, out in the wilderness, to an olive grove and on a mountain).

What a great idea: go on a prayer hike, prayer jog, prayer walk, prayer bike ride, etc.

I enjoy jogging a trail that runs from my neighborhood in Maple Valley out to the “wilderness” of Black Diamond. It takes about 2 hours round trip. I have some of my best conversations with God along the way!

Go on adventures in prayer. Get alone with God. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Him to speak to you. Listen.

Take a hike with God!

“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” (Matthew 14.23)

“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1.35)

“After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.” (Mark 6.46)

“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.’” (Mark 14.32)

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5.16)

“Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” (Luke 6.12)

“One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone.” (Luke 9.18)

“Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.” (Luke 9.28)

“Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 22.39)

Grace Reaches Across Boundaries

- - Uncategorized

In Jesus’ day, lepers were separated from the rest of society. They were outcasts and labeled “unclean.”

People were more afraid of getting what lepers had and less concerned about the needs of the lepers.

Jesus reached across the boundary.

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy.

When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. (Luke 5.12, 13)

Jesus reached out and touched the man even though he was unclean. That’s what grace does… it reaches across boundaries.

When grace and the “unclean” collide, grace always wins.

We need to be less afraid of people and more full of grace for people!

Enlarge your circle of influence. Reach across boundaries. Love. Bless. Include.

Reach out with grace towards others and live the adventure today!

Unexpected Friendships = an Interesting, Adventure-filled Life

- - Uncategorized

If you want safe, boring, routine and mundane, don’t ever invest in “unexpected friendships” (people outside your usual circle of interest, comfort and preference).

Want an interesting, adventure filled life? Get outside the circle! Reach for unexpected friendships.

Jesus did this with Zacchaeus. When Jesus went to Zach’s house, it shocked the religious crowd – “they all grumbled: he has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19.7).

Here’s what Jesus had to say about it:

“If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that.”

“If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that.”

“Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us: generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is Kind; you be kind.”

“Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

(Luke 6 selected verses MSG)