Archives For hope

Shiny and New

February 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

shiny and new

There is something so nice about things that are new. Sometimes, new things are hard to explain. What makes them so great? Is it the feel of new fabric against your skin, the excitement of bringing a new baby home for the first time, the smell of a brand new car? People talk about “new” often, but rarely can they explain “new” – we explain our experience with the new thing, but why we feel the way we do escapes us.

We all long for new. New is preferred to the old, the worn out, the unusable. New, as such, is more of a concept that an actual thing. New could also be described as a state of being.

Those who reach a certain age often complain of various aches and pains, and remember back to the good old days when bringing in the groceries didn’t result in a trip to the chiropractor. How many times have we seen older folks struggle to walk a flight of stairs, or stand after sitting for a while?

The fact is, everything wears out. Clothes, cars, shoes, minds, bodies and universes.  Science has predicted the inevitable heat death of the universe – it will continue to expand, molecules will separate, and everything that generates life will cease.

God has a different plan – for us and for every bit of his creation. While science would teach us that we are not the center of the universe, God’s word says that at His chosen time in the future He will make everything new – a new heaven, a new earth, new, glorious bodies such as Adam and Eve had in the beginning – the first time everything was new. What God makes new will never decay, never rot, never grow old and never wear out. And He is bringing all that New right down to where we are!

What would it be like if nothing ever wore out? Do you think this is how God designed things in the beginning? If they had never sinned, do you think Adam and Eve would still be around?

Before all this “new” can come to be, many things will occur. Evil will seem to prevail. The very foundation of the earth will seem to crumble. People will lose hope. People will be hurt and killed for their faith in God. His Word is true, and it will endure, and His promise to His people will come to pass – Jesus is preparing a place for us and when the time is right, we will be where He is!

This is the final piece of God’s plan. He will restore everything to its pre-fall state. Our earth, and everything upon it will be changed. God will walk with His people again, and we will see Him face to face. We know that as believers, we are living in the Kingdom even now, but then – Heaven will actually be on the earth, and all believers will live there. For all eternity, no death, no sickness, no sadness. Just new.

This is His promise for His people – that we will live with Him in “new” forever.

Now!

November 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

jesus-statue

For a lot of people the future is unclear. It’s like we get a glimpse of what could or should be, but it’s only that – just a glimpse.

Sometimes we have a good couple of weeks – the car doesn’t break down, things on the job are smooth and you don’t hit every red light in rush hour.

Most of the time though we need help and we need it now.

Sometimes it’s a relationship issue, sometimes it’s a bill that came due that there’s no way to pay. Maybe it’s a call from the doctor that you don’t even want to take.

Sometimes life and the future can seem so foggy. Who can you trust? Who can you call on? Who has the answers you need – not next week, not a year from now, not even tomorrow, but right now?

We need a God that’s bigger than all that. We need a God that stands outside and above everything. We need a God that’s in control.

That’s the kind of God we have! The question is do you trust him? We all have the right amount of faith – it’s just that we misplace it. We trust ourselves to provide the unprovidable. We can’t be our own source of anything – except disappointment.

I’ve spent so many years disappointed in God and that disappointment was misplaced. I was upset at myself for not being good enough or strong enough or talented enough. My faith was in me, in my abilities, in the people around me and again and again I was let down and again and again I blamed God.

I blamed God for my shortcomings, and the hole I was digging for myself got deeper and deeper, until I couldn’t see any light at all.

What changed that? I learned the truth. Over a period of three years, I learned to see God for who he really is, and me for who I really am. I am strong, smart, stubborn – which is why it took so long. God is love, he gives grace and peace and he forgives and chooses not to remember.

The peace I have – right now – is what keeps me going. That little nugget of faith that I have – it’s moving mountains because I have it focused on God now. The result of that is blessings and peace.

Peace – that’s what you need too! In all those situations that pop up in life. When the unexpected happens, you can have peace, regardless of the situation. That’s what God wants – and he wants to give it to you now! The question is, will you place your faith in him?

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Things I’m All In Favor Of

September 22, 2012 — 1 Comment

happy-dog

I’m pretty sure by now we all know what everyone is against. It’s all over twitter, facebook and the news. And it’s really getting me down. SO…here’s some stuff I’m FOR. I’ll update as I think of new things, and you all can add your own in the comments – you don’t have to like or agree with my list to play – seriously – you can make your own list -

People

Grace

Freedom

Love

Acceptance

Forgiveness

Truth

Peace

Honesty

Transparency

Breaking strongholds

Overcoming obstacles

Destroying barriers

Sleeping late

Greasy tacos

Unexpected checks in the mail

Firearms

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.

water balloon

My daughter Trinity just got back from Crazy MixUp Camp 2012. Looks like she had a great time! This was her first camp experience, except for those years when I was a Youth pastor – I think she was 6 months old, 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 during those years, so I’m sure she doesn’t remember.

I saw a pic or two that the camp posted on their Facebook page. Seriously – I’ve said this for years – the thing I miss most about ministry is summer camp! I never missed a year between 1979 and 2003.

Trinity came home with all kinds of ideas for games that we all had to experience as a family. As a former rec guy, I saw a spark in her – creativity, fun, organization skills. It all kinda falls apart when you take a game built for 500 and try it with a family of 4 though. Still, we had a great time tonight just playing!

The culmination though was when Trinity nailed me in the head with a water balloon. She threw, I dodged, it was a fake, she really threw and it got me good – one of the only ones tonight that actually popped on contact. The look on her face was priceless, then I pretended like I was mad and about to throw her over the back fence – even more family fun!

While Trinity was at camp, I went into her room every night and prayed for her – just like I have every night since the day she was born. She wasn’t in her room, obviously, but I still prayed – that God would speak to her, that the Holy Spirit would teach her, that Jesus would walk beside her. I know people always think great things about their kids – but Trinity is very special. God shows her things, she speaks the things she is shown, and they come to life.

I don’t know what God is going to do with my little girl, but I pray it’s big things! I pray that she won’t be weighed down by worldly things. I pray that her sense of curiosity is never satisfied. I pray that God would inhabit her praises and that no matter what, she will walk with him her whole life.

My Grandmother used to pray for those things for me. Looking back, it was just around the time she died that I lost my way. I know she prayed for me daily, and I prayed for her, too. She was an exceptional woman – loving, kind, gracious, forgiving. Even when I was the opposite, she still loved me, and in that she showed me that God still loved me, too.

While Trinity was away at camp, I had the opportunity to go to a special service at my church called Habitation. Many people have been healed physically and spiritually during this time, many people have heard powerful words from God.

When we got to the church last night, I immediately felt tension – like I was being pulled apart on the inside. I went into the worship center and there were already close to 1000 people there – and I was an hour early! They do a prayer service right before Habitation, and all during that portion more and more people poured in. By the time the actual service started, the place was full! They had printed 1500 handouts and were not even close to having enough. I mean the place was full! At least 3000 people, all with one thing in mind – growing closer to God!

Back to my feeling of tension – All of a sudden I didn’t want to be there. People talked to me and I was grouchy. I was really being attacked I think – and I generally don’t think that way to be honest. I wanted to go home. I wanted to watch reruns of House. Anything except for be at church.

They prayed, they sang, people testified, and then I knew what it was – the whole night was revolving around gratitude – to God for the wonderful things he has done and for the things he has given us. And it dawned on me that I am so ungrateful!

My expecation was that God would provide, that I would be successful, that if I did what he wanted, nothing would ever stand in my way. And when it didn’t happen the way I wanted I shut God out – I stopped praising because the blessings stopped coming. Or maybe it was the other way around, now that I have some perspective.

I stopped praising because I got full of myself. I stopped praising because I was in charge of my life. I stopped praising because I became my own god. And when I put myself on the throne, God stopped blessing. Oh, he still loved me, he still gave me a good job, he still gave me life and breath. But the rest was all me and under my reign it all fell to pieces.

I was reminded last night that every good thing comes from God and that there is so much good in my life, so much to be grateful for! My beautiful wife Cheryl, my beautiful daughters Trinity and Zoey, my house, my job, my truck – and beyond that, my health, the health of my family, that God loves me in spite of me being me, that he loved me enough to forgive me, that he called me to do great things!

I often wonder if it’s too late – if I’m too old, if anyone even cares – then I remember that it’s not about who cares or my age or how much I have failed in the past. It’s about my willingness to praise God and show him that I am thankful for the little things. When I can praise him, from deep within, when I can meet with him, spirit to Spirit – that’s like getting busted in the head with a water balloon! It comes out of nowhere and changes your perspective on everything! When God invades your space, there’s no telling what might happen – he might even renew your calling, let you know you’re not a has been, you’re not too old or too broken – he might just give you hope!