"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Monday, November 28, 2011

Making Room

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"Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way." - Oswald Chambers

The Christmas season reminds me of many things, all of which requires room and the space for life to enter. Two thousand years ago, an unnamed innkeeper made room (unknown to him) for the Messiah to be born in the last space available…a stable. Perhaps it was compassion for the young pregnant woman and her distressed husband that moved the innkeeper to “make room”, perhaps it was simply a business deal. Whatever the innkeeper’s intent, this much is true…

When you make room for God, the miraculous happens.

And here is my challenge (and perhaps, yours as well) that despite the business of the holiday, the stress of my struggles and the difficulty of my journey…

I will make room for Him.

When I make room for God, miracles do happen, and things I may have not seen as miracles, shine with star power. When I make room for God, I have more space to dream, to love, to give, to follow and to be all I was created to be. When I clear out the soul clutter and open every room of my heart (not just the spare room) I’m ready to open myself to the people in my life (love-ones and otherwise). This is miracle time, when relationships strengthen, when lives are touched with the Good News, when prayers are lifted…all because I make room…for Him.

Let every heart prepare Him room…

 

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gatekeeper

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“Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”  Proverbs 31:23

“A distant enemy is always preferable to one at the gate.” Emile M. Cioran

My perspective on the recent Penn State revelations of abuse and moral failure is twofold. Being a father of seven and the history of abuse I suffered gives me a unique dual look into what is going on that Pennsylvanian campus and in the lives of the victims.

A national figure, a legend in college football lost his job and perhaps his place in college lore. Worse than losing his hold on college football immortality was the fact that people under his authority hurt innocent children and other authority figures tried to cover up those horrible actions…seeking to protect not the victims, but an image…a brand.

Joe Paterno (and others at the university) failed those children because he wasn’t doing his job as an elder at the gate. His power, his influence over the “city” of Penn State was legendary in its own right; yet, somewhere a decision was made in favor of a coach abusing children in his care…that is not administrating justice at the gate. And there lies the danger for all of us.

In the Old Testament, elders met at the city gates to decide civic matters and make sure justice (right relationship between people) was upheld in the community. During my reflection time this week I read the following:

“In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, (6) and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.” Isaiah 28: 5-6

We all have a “city” (our family) to protect, a “Happy Valley” (our community) to defend. Our personal comfort, our position and our preferences are secondary to that role of gatekeeper. We have been given huge responsibility, tremendous influence and according to the passage in Isaiah…a spirit of justice to judge fairy and wisely. We have also been given strength to turn back the battle at the gate. We can’t let anything interfere with that duty that God has given us.

This time of meditation led me to some deep questioning…

What, who am I responsible to guard?

Who do I let in my “gates”?

What do I hear, ingest, see and experience that potentially causes harm to my “city”?

These are important questions to ask and allow the Holy Spirit to change our hearts in order to be wiser elders at the gate. This is why a company of men is God’s ideal for leadership in a community and to stand together in the defense of our families.

What battle are you turning back at your gate? How I can pray with you?

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

You know a long sermon is coming when...

 

meoutdoorpreachfun I was going to write a serious (seriously, I was) post tonight but I decided to re-post one of my famous Top Ten Lists...hopefully it will bring a chuckle or two to your face...which I pretty sure, needs one.

You know a long sermon is coming when...

1. You’re asked to bring a covered dish to share during the sermon.

2. There are coffee pots on the communion table.

3. All the clocks in the sanctuary are missing and you’re asked to surrender 
    watches at the door.

4. The ushers hand out snacks and cold drinks during the sermon.

5. The sermon notes are carried in by seven ushers.

6. An ambulance crew is standing by.

7. The pastor is hooked up to an intravenous coffee line.

8. The ushers ask if you’ll need overnight accommodations and a wake up call.

9. Your kids ask if it’s still Sunday.

10. The bulletin announces that the longer the sermon goes the more frequent
      flier miles you’ll earn.

God Bless!
Jay

Friday, November 4, 2011

The With-ness of Christ

 

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"And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach." Mark 3:14

This is a loud Scripture for me, it speaks to the core of who I am. In this passage Jesus speaks purpose (appointed) and identity (named), which only happens...with Him. The journey as a disciple has to be WITH the Master, there is no purpose or identity without Him.

There's more..."and he might send them out to preach."

He also promises a direction to go, a mission to help complete the disciple's journey. This relational transference of purpose, identity and direction gives us life...empowering us to walk the talk, and live a life that IS the Gospel, not just sharing but imparting.

That's the with-ness of Christ...a closeness, a tightness, a understanding that I am no longer my own. It's following Him with my entire life wrapped up in Him.

No man can follow Christ and go astray. - William H.P. Faunce

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