Archives For holiness

I love that kind of music – kind of a smooth jazz. Don’t let this be well known, but I also kinda like Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, and others. Not as much as I like Def Leppard, but sometimes you’re just in the mood.

I like this particular song by Dean Martin because it talks about getting kicked in the head. Which is funny to me for some reason.

“How lucky can one guy be? I kissed her and she kissed me. Like the fella once said, ‘Ain’t that a kick in the head?’”

Why would a kiss be compared to a kick in the head? Well, have you ever kissed someone? Remember your first kiss, or a kiss with that special someone? Yes, I just said that. It’s electric, it gets your heart racing, your mind goes numb, your body tenses up. Like if you were to get kicked in the head.

I only mention that because Cheryl busted her head real good last night. We had to go to the doctor because of it. She bent over real quick, right into the door frame, which has a huge dent in it now. I heard the sound, saw her legs get rubbery, saw her collapse. I mean, she hit it hard. She was almost completely out when I got to her. Nothing like a kick in the head – her eyes were glazed over, she was dazed, her heart was racing.

Have you ever hit your head like that? It’s a surreal experience. Out of body, metaphysical, electric. Spiritual.

Have you ever had an encounter like that with God? Have you ever had the Spirit come over you, out of the blue, and just flat out kick you in the head? Metaphorically speaking obviously. God doesn’t kick people in the head. But sometimes he kinda does. Right?

I’m thinking about myself – how hard headed I am, and the lengths God went to to not just redeem me, but to get my attention. Sometimes it’s a gentle voice, like a spring breeze. Mostly if he wants my attention it’s a bone jarring experience and we pick up the pieces together and move on.

I’m also thinking about Israel. How many times in the bible were they walking with God, turned their back on him, got overrun by the Philistines or whoever then remembered how things were before they went their own way?

We all do this. Unfortunately. It’s normal. We are so blessed, we praise God, we worship him, we get all caught up in our lives, we get to a point where our worship is just songs, our prayers are just words, and our power is our own. Then something happens and we run back to God.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be – you know that right? We are supposed to walk with God daily, we are supposed to be empowered by the Spirit daily, we are supposed to always be in a mindset of worship and prayer – continually. That’s the trick right there.

I think we all deserve a good kick to the head from time to time – it sets us straight, it reminds us what’s real, it reminds us who paid the price for us. Ideally, it would just happen once, but then again we’re human and we all need a course correction from time to time.

If you’re one of those that recognizes immediately when something is wrong and immediately correct it, good on you. Me? I’ll probably continue to need a good swift kick every now and then.

Pray for me, and with me – God is working in my life right now! He’s shaking things up, making me see the reality around me. Cheryl’s head wound reminded me that God has a plan for me, he’s not done, I’m not used up, too old, too broken – not ever – God still has a plan. I just wish it was my head that got hit - it can take a lot more abuse that Cheryl’s.

Holier Than Who?

June 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

I was never really a bad kid. Just saying that, though, negates the entire statement I think. I have generally been a “I’ve done what I’ve done” kinda guy – I do what ever it is I’m going to do and I’m happy with whatever the outcome is, good or bad. I’ve changed recently (for the better – ask my wife or my boss!), but the majority of my life was spent exerting my own will. And again, the outcome was either spectacular brilliance, or utter failure.

When I’d have one of my “spells” there were many people on hand to let me know just how bad it really was. I started calling those people “Holy Spirit” since they were trying to make me feel convicted for messing up, but they were also there to knock me off my horse when I did something really good and started getting a big head or bragging.

A long time ago, I was a youth minister in a small church in my college town. It was a wonderful experience – and the ministry grew beyond the means of the church to support it. Other youth guys from bigger churches were asking me all the time what I was doing, and I was even interviewed once by a mega church guy.  Maybe it was for a project or something. Probably. But either way, I was thinking, “Wow look at me! I’m the bomb!”

I came to the conclusion it was all about me, and forgot all about Jesus. I still preached, but it was showboating. I forgot where my source was, and (in case you didn’t see this coming) I lost everything. And when I say everything, I spent one Christmas in a broken down 1971 Buick GS behind a gas-n-sip in the middle of Nowhere, OK. I literally lost everything – ministry, home, vehicle, family.

Can I just say one thing? It was worth it. It was worth doing it my way, on a small scale, and losing what is now comparatively just a little, because now I know. I know it’s not about me one little bit, and when I am serving on church staff again, I will not be that guy. I will never again forget who it was that saved me and called me, I know who I owe everything to, I know who empowers me to fulfill the calling. HINT: It ain’t me.

There’s someone in the bible who did it right the first time, bless his heart. The Apostle Paul – so many great accomplishments, so many reasons to boast, and he did boast, but never in himself or anything he did.

Still, Paul probably had more reason to boast in his accomplishments than any other person. It was his efforts and his willingness to follow God’s plan for him that took the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Even before that, though, Paul had every reason to be proud of who he was. He was the model Jew, and the model Roman citizen. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, which was the tribe of the first king of Israel, with whom he also shared the name “Saul.”

The thing Paul would have been the most proud of, though, was that he was a Pharisee. The Pharisees prided themselves on the way they obeyed the Law of God. Nobody was as close to God as the Pharisees, or so they thought.

This is the life Paul had chosen for himself, before Jesus found him on the road one day and ruined everything. And this is the life we often choose for ourselves. We get so wrapped up in our accomplishments and our own holiness that we forget who called us. We forget that God is the source – the source of life, the source of everything. We rely on our own power, and we fail again and again and don’t understand why.

We should be like Paul! We should lay our desires aside and we should put no faith in our own accomplishments. Instead, we should boast in Christ and what he has done for us!

Read Philippians 3:1-6

Why do you think Paul says in verse 3 that we can have no confidence in our own efforts?

What reasons does Paul give for being able to have confidence in himself? Are these valid reasons? What is the reason for your confidence?

What motivates Paul to boast in Christ? What has Christ done for you that is worth boasting about?

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you right now?