What Are You Waiting For?

Many of us know when we need to make changes.

Maybe it’s after that Doctor appointment. Maybe it’s after another fight…one more job loss…when the bills outlast the money.

Changes rarely happen with we’re comfortable. In fact, changes almost never happen when things are going well and we’re ‘safe and secure’ in our own lives.

That could be why I see a couple realities as I look around:

  1. People generally like where they’re at…and they want to stay there.
  2. When changes do happen, it’s often only when we ‘have to’ make them.

In those cases, the changes can feel traumatic…forced…difficult.

When it comes to FAITH, however, God is more ‘invitational’ to us.

He invites us to change, and asks us to respond because we ‘want to’.

Think of it this way:

If you’re a parent, you love your children. You want them to obey your rules…because you know what’s best for them. You know how to avoid danger better than they do. You know how to stay healthy more than they do. You know how to maintain relationships more than they do.

When your kids are little, you can ‘compel them’ to obey. In fact, as a parent, there are times you must do so.

However, as they get older, you don’t want to keep doing it that way–rather, you hope that they will realize that you are inviting them to a healthy, safe, relationally-sound lifestyle because you love them and want the best for them!

In the same way, God the Father invites us to move closer to Him…not primarily out of ‘fear’ or mere ‘obedience’ (although, as the God of the Universe, He deserves both). Rather, He invites us to move closer to Him because He created us, He loves us, and He genuinely knows and wants the best for us.

He loves us with a sacrificial love–one that sought to ‘rescue’ us from the dominion of darkness in this world.

In fact, that’s what Christmas is all about!

That’s why the cry of ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel…’ still rings true.

 

We know we need Him…and the great news is that, He Came!

So…what’s it going to take for you to respond?

Is it going to take a crisis? Is it going to take a setback? Is it going to take an illness?

OR…is it possible for you, instead, to respond to His love through faith in Jesus, the Son–who was sent to ‘Rescue’ us that first Christmas.

He is holding out an invitation to you…will you respond?

I want to invite you to come and hear more about it this weekend at our Christmas Program, “RESCUE!”. Saturday @ 7pm or Sunday @ 9 or 11am.

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Getting Warmer!

Ahh, winter.

A beautiful time of year–from the indoors!winter 2

I love to watch the snow coming down out the back of my patio door…or my office. Beautiful!

Seriously, there are very few feelings that are nicer than coming from the snow into a warm house…chili waiting…or maybe hot chocolate, wrapping yourself in a blanket and sitting by the fire.

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There is just something satisfying about warming up when it’s cold outside.

When the world is cold, a source of warmth is most welcome!

Well, we all know that there are more ways that this world is ‘cold’ than merely the temperature.

This world can be a ‘cold’, mean-spirited, critical, self-centered and nasty place. It can be a place that bullies, abuses, and discourages us.

At times, we can feel alone, isolated and exposed–like a person locked out of their house with no coat and no keys on a winter morning. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also dangerous!

So, how do we ‘warm up’? Where do we get our ‘fire’ and our ‘blanket’?

It may not surprise you that I believe it comes from God.

As Augustine said,  You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee’. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “He has planted eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). As Physicist/Philosopher Blaise Paschal wrote, that the human heart has an ‘infinite abyss’ within, and that  “…this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself” (Blaise Paschal,  Pensées VII(425)). The Psalmist wrote,

“As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God. 
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?” (Psalm 42:1-2)

This winter, let the cold outside remind you of the harsh evil of the world…but let the warmth inside remind you of the Love of God, the Father in heaven, who wants us to experience the warmth that comes from knowing Him–through Jesus, the Christ.

“This is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”–John 3:16-17

Let this thought sink in: God–the God of the Universe–wants you to know Him! He created you, He loves you, and He has ‘Life to the Full’ planned for you–as you love Him and move toward Him by faith in Jesus. hot chocolate

My prayer is that, no matter how cold the world is outside, you would experience the Love of God on the inside…and that His love would change things for you!

 

 

 

I Wonder…

I wonder what will happen tomorrow…or the day after tomorrow.

Will the ’causes’ that I agreed with have passed? Will those I disagreed with have failed?

Will the candidates I voted for have won, or been defeated?

Obviously, I don’t know that, and no one does-despite what all the conspiracy theorists out there say!

One thing is true: No matter what happens, it will still be UP TO ME to choose how I treat my fellow humans.

If my opinions prevail, and every vote I cast is part of the winning majority, I will still be responsible to love, respect, have compassion for, and pray for, everyone–even those who vehemently opposed me.

If my opinions fail, and every vote I cast is part of the losing minority, I will still be responsible to love, respect, have compassion for, and pray for, everyone–even those who vehemently opposed me.

This truth is something we simply must grasp–all of us! Each of us!

After all, the only way we can hope to get out of the cultural quagmire and the animosity so prevalent in our culture is if each one of us take responsibility for our own actions. Not the Government–not the President or his cabinet, the the US Congress, not the State Congress, not the courts…and so on.

YOU and I simply MUST commit to civility, discussion, respect and yes, love for one another.

From my perspective, as a Christian, the most loving thing I can do–no matter what political events transpire around us–is to point people to Jesus the Christ. He is “The Way, The Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except by Him. (John 14:6). He is the “Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His Sheep.” (John 10:11). While our enemy comes to ‘steal, kill, and destroy”, Jesus has come “that they might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but will have everlasting life! For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so the world could be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

None of those things are changed by our temporary (and yes–important) politics.

All of those things are true for everyone in the world–not only in America.

Keep that in mind tomorrow…and the day after, and the day after, and the day after….

We are here…for Him!