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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Speaking Blessing

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In my last post (Full Circle, you can read it here) I told you I was invited to give the Invocation at my home town Chamber of Commerce. The opportunity to speak a blessing over my home town was more exciting than I first realized and I enjoyed it immensely. Everybody was warm and sincere in thanking me afterwards, even mentioning to my wife how beautiful the prayer was. So, I thought I share the prayer with you all…and ask an question along with it. First the prayer.

The Old Testament contains a Scripture I’ve adopted for my home town of Hyde Park. Jeremiah 29, verse 7 says this:

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

With that thought in mind, would you please join me in prayer?

Dear Heavenly Father,

We seek Your Blessing on our gathering tonight, on the food and the fellowship we share together.

We are thankful for neighbors, friends and family here with us tonight, enjoying laughter and conversation, that Father, is a huge blessing.

I ask that you would bless all the businesses of Hyde Park; along with the wide variety of political, community and religious leaders also. I pray that every facet of their lives will prosper; their finances, their health and their relationships. Empower these leaders with all that they need to make wise decisions in all those areas, so that the blessings flow into the lives of others as well.

Father God, help us all work together to provide economic opportunities, places to learn, grow and develop. Enable us by your wisdom, to live and serve together as part of a healthy community, continuing to make Hyde Park a place we’re all proud to call home.

We ask all this in the name of Jesus,

Amen

So, how important do you think it is to bless and pray for your hometown?
Does the verse in Jeremiah speak to you?

 

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Full Circle

 

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Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, approximately 90 miles north of New York City, is my home town of Hyde Park. Except for a year of early marriage adventure (when my bride and I lived in Florida) I have lived here my entire life (to date anyway!).

I’m a free range, organic type of person. I usually don’t fit well into a box or a formulaic pattern of doing things… it just doesn’t work for me.

For years this town didn’t work for me.

I was an outcast to most… the poverty I grew up in kept me from social success (whatever that is). The abuse I suffered at home stunted my personality and kept me in the shadows. I existed on the edges, roaming the outer rims of life, hoping for a chance to be accepted. The dream of leaving this place of curses was always present but always teasing me with false expectations. I knew I wasn’t going… anywhere.

Then Messiah came.

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Living on the edge took on a whole new meaning, it wasn’t meaningless exile… it was the adventure of discovering who I really was. The desperate years of wanting escape has been replaced by a love for the town that seemed bent on my ruin.

Here I am… full circle.

Tonight I give the invocation at the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce meeting. I get the honor of praying a blessing over the town that once held nothing but curses for me. Over influential movers and shakers of my small community, I get to impart words of life… the Messiah’s words.

Would you join me in that prayer?

 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Showtime

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There's no business like show business. - Irving Berlin

I recently made a remarkable discovery about myself. It seems that (and you may find this hard to believe) for 50 years now I’ve been in show business…yep…show business. April 23 marked my 57th year on this planet and 50 years of following the Messiah.

My wife and kids would tell you that I have a flair for the dramatic, that I do, and say things that border on the dramatic side. Maybe it’s my artistic side or just that I’m a crazy man…I’m not sure. I like to think it’s because I’m like the Father. I think God has flair for the dramatic and for the spectacular.

I like to connect with God by water…primarily by the ocean. However, the Hudson River is a great substitute, especially since we are far from the ocean here in Hyde Park. Over the years I have found a few isolated areas by the river that I love to go to and be alone at. As I was trying to do some sermon prep time this past Friday, I found myself getting frustrated because every access to these spots were closed off because of construction or unknown reasons. I had to settle for a backup… a pond in the middle of a meadow…I was not happy. As I pulled into the parking lot to this little park and stepped out of my car, I was met with an explosion of beauty. It seemed like every song bird in the world had gathered there to greet me. I paused, sitting on the hood of my car, listening to the concert prepared for me.

All this time I didn’t realize the playfulness of God in “thwarting” my plans for the day or how I would orchestrate our time together. He wasn’t blocking access to himself…he was wooing me with beauty to connect with Him in a new place. God can really put on a show! I think it’s out of this heart we need to operate. In others words…

A disciple needs to invest in show business.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,(8) and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

Lately, I have been challenged about being a follower of the Messiah more than any time in my life. I’m wondering what 50 years of me following Christ looks like to other people?

When Jesus gives the call to come follow Him, it’s an invitation to Show Time, it’s a casting call to fulfill the role we were designed to play. That role is to go into all the world and make disciples. Our lives are designed to change the lives of people, to make an impact of eternal worth.

Powerful stuff…show business… showing people the way to the Father.

During His days of ministry on the earth, Jesus preached the gospel to multitudes of people, however He spend the bulk of His ministry time with just twelve men. The funny thing is that Jesus didn’t concentrate on improving the skill sets of the disciples. He concentrated on changing their hearts. When He did that…gifting and talents were released. They were being prepared for ShowTime…showing how their lives were different because they were with the Master.

By the pond He spoke these words….

“Prepare to have your heart enlarged.”

There is a season of heart enlargement coming for me and for the Church; I believe it’s a good thing. I shared this prophetic word in my church this past Sunday and I believe it challenged us all. The power, grace and love He wants to show through His sons and daughters will show the world His true heart. I wonder…

What do you think about being in “Show Business”?