Monday, June 27, 2005

Giong to Church

Ecclesiastes 5 begins "Guard your steps when you go to the house of God." In the NIV, this section of Ecclesiastes is entitled "Stand in Awe of God". Essentially, it's all about making sure our worship is real and not superficial. When we go to church, we are there to worship Him… to praise Him… to spend time in His presence… filling ourselves with Him. Yet sometimes we go to church as if we're doing God a favor by showing up. As if we're gracing Him with our presence. We put on the church face and hang out with the fellow saints instead of learning and growing with the fellow sinners.

Last week we prayed about focus. Focus is a good starting point as we go to the house of God. We need to remember why we're there. It's so easy to get distracted. See if you recognize any of the following thoughts and distractions:

- This service is lasting a lot longer than usual…
- I wish she'd sing softer because she sure can't hold a tune…
- That guy's nodding off to sleep…
- Can you believe what she's wearing…
- Is there a game on this afternoon…
- Those people didn't put anything in the offering…
- What should I have for lunch after this…

Many of you have probably read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Take a look at the second letter - it's a great example of distraction at church. One other distraction bears mentioning. Many of you serve at your church and that's terrific. All churches need many servants. However, it can become a distraction if your service starts taking the place of your worship. Time spent serving God is no substitute for time spent with God. If you're doing this, you need to find a balance. If you know somebody doing this, you need to lovingly share with them what you're seeing.

So this Wednesday, let's pray that we are authentic and real about our worship. That we remember we are there to worship. That we don't let distractions turn real worship into superficial worship. That we learn how to stand in awe of God.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,

Monday, June 20, 2005


Do you multi-task? I do quite a bit. When I'm at work… When I'm trying to get chores done around the house… Any time that I'm trying to clear a to-do list. The problem is that this multi-tasking mind-set carries over into areas of my life where it has no business. There are times when I can't be a proper father if my mind is wandering off to other things. There are times when it isn't fair to my spouse if she's only getting 30% of me. Furthermore, the Lord doesn't want me spending quiet time with Him or praying to Him or studying His word unless I am entirely focused on it. The following is a quote from a martyred missionary who appeared to really understand this - "Wherever you are… be all there".

This Wednesday, our prayer topic is "focus". In order to really focus on the important things in life, you may need to say "no" some times. I heard a pastor put it this way - "You can do anything you want to… You just can't do everything you want to." At my old job, we had another way of saying the same thing - "Don't try to boil the ocean." However you want to look at it, this Wednesday we are praying for the following:

1. That the things that are important to God are the important things in our lives (our relationship to Him, family, love, etc.).
2. That we don't let the fluff of life crowd out that which should be important to us. Let's learn to say "no" to some requests.
3. That these important things in our lives get our full attention. We're praying that we learn to give ourselves completely to the thing we're doing. At work, that may mean multi-tasking but when I'm sharing a conversation with my daughter, it doesn't.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" Colossians 3:23

Have a great week and a great fast.
Wherever you are this week… be all there.
Your brother,

Monday, June 13, 2005


When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.'" Luke 5:4

Fundamental to our re-birth is the process of change and growth. We don't want to get saved and then remain spiritual infants the rest of our lives. I heard one pastor state it this way, "The Christian life is like riding a bike… If you stop moving forward, you'll fall."

I think we tend to become complacent in our walk. We like to let down our nets in the shallow waters we already know. The deep water strains our comfort zone. It takes courage to go into the deep. Is there something that God has placed on your heart that you keep ignoring? Are you asking yourself the tough introspective questions? Are you hungry enough for growth that your comfort takes second place? Are there areas of your life where you know you're stepping out in faith?

If we put out into the deep, we might discover something else about ourselves that we don't like… some other flaw we didn't know about. Then again, we might discover an unknown gift as well. It's in the deep where we learn to depend on God instead of ourselves... And dependence on God is the source of true humility and utter surrender.

If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. This Wednesday we are praying for the courage to do so.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,