Just some random thoughts I had this month.
Can you have true kindness and compassion without Christ?
We Built This City is possibly my least favorite rock song of all time.
Do you remember the show, Alice? I never wanted to kiss Flo’s grits. I prefer to eat grits with salt, pepper and butter for breakfast.
A friend of mine forgot to pray until he was halfway through lunch one day.Does it still count or is it, like, half a prayer?
This Sunday brought new experiences to our journey in our first church year.
First, Sunday School was a good time. One person needed prayer and we gathered around to pray this person and their circumstance. From there, we had a lesson on unity. One thing we all agreed on is that we cannot go through this life alone.
I have a college friend who is a member of this church. She came over and talked with Jan before the service began. She was checking with Jan on her recovery from surgery a week ago.
The worship service was another good one. It was a mixture of contemporary music with some old hymns. I would give you more details, but the flow goes from one song to another. I don’t have time to stop in the middle and write down the song titles. I also don’t want to in the middle of singing.
The sermon was about the demon possessed man from Gerasenes. My friend on staff preached about how this man had a story, but had an even greater story once Jesus had healed him from the possession. The point was that we all have a story to tell as well. We all have a story that we can share with people about how we came to know Christ and what He has done in our lives.
Following the service there was a fellowship lunch. We were able to eat with the church and get a better picture of what the church is really like.
That was it for yesterday. Jan is still recovering and does not feel 100%, so we did not return last night.
How was your church service yesterday?
I would like to kick off February in two ways. I’m going to tell you a little about me. Then I want to know a little about you.
I’m 43 years old. I’m working on my twentieth year of marriage to my lovely wife, Jan. I have two outstanding kids, Lauren and Andrew, who will both be in high school next year. I came to know Christ when I was 25, even though I had been in church all of my life.
I surrendered to a call to ministry in 1999. I thought that meant I had to go to seminary and be a pastor. So, that’s what I did. I went to seminary for a year and then returned home. However, I never became the pastor I thought I would be.
Now, I preach in a campground from late spring through fall. I teach in church any time I can. We are also in the beginning stages in a new church. You can follow those adventures every Monday.
I love to write my blog and interact with all of you good folks who choose to visit Deuceology. I’ve made more mistakes than I care to admit while blogging. I love this community that I have become a part of in the blogosphere.
That’s my story.
What’s your story?
I don’t know if you have ever heard anything like this before, but I have several times in my time in church.
Someone will give a testimony about their life since becoming a follower of Christ. They will say something about how Christ is building them a mansion in heaven. They will say that they don’t deserve that and that He doesn’t have to do that. All Christ needs to do is just build them a little cabin over in the corner of Heaven. That will be good enough.
Do you know what I say to that?
The truth is that none of us deserve a mansion built for us in Heaven. We deserve nothing associated with grace. That’s what makes it grace.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that God lavishes His grace upon us.
God doesn’t just nickel and dime grace to us.
Here is how Paul describes it.
“In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us.”
Did you catch all of that?
If you still can’t get the full picture, imagine it this way. Valentine’s Day is coming up. Imagine a husband giving his wife a dozen roses. He does this because he loves her and on this day wants to lavish his love on her. When she gets the roses, she says, “A dozen roses are too many. I don’t deserve this. A single rose would have been good enough.”
That doesn’t happen, does it? No. She displays them prominently. If she received them at work, she sets them so that everyone sees them. She wants everyone to know how much her husband loves her and lavished his love on her.
That’s the way it should be with us and the grace that God lavishes upon us.
Let’s display it.
Let’s show it off.
Do you have trouble accepting the grace God lavishes on you? Do you show the world how much He lavished His grace on you?
Ask most folks about their salvation experience and what will they say?
Most will refer to some time when they were a kid and walked down an aisle during the invitation. Perhaps they will refer to a night during VBS when they were in elementary school. Maybe they are referring to going one night to a revival meeting.
It could be any point in the past.
How about you? Do you look back to your salvation experience?
I refer to my salvation experience as now.
Now, if you want to refer to a specific point when I was born again and justified, I’m with you. That happened when I was twenty-four.
Salvation hasn’t ended though.
Salvation is a continuous event. I continue to benefit from that moment. I have life. Not just any kind of life. It’s abundant life. It’s eternal life.
He continues to sanctify me. That is part of salvation.
One day He will glorify me. That is part of salvation.
You want to say that your salvation experience is in the past? I’ll argue that point with you.
If you know Christ, salvation is a continual experience.
I never had “a” salvation experience. It’s still going on.
Tell me about your salvation experience.
It’s that time of the week again. The weekly round-up. Let’s get right to it.
I had plenty of traffic this week. I wrote some pieces that I really liked and others seemed to like them too.
Sunday’s post was A Church By Any Other Name.
Monday brought First Church Year #1 to Deucology.
Tuesday’s post was God Is Not A Gentleman.
Wednesday asked the question, Is Your Pastor Being Fed?
Faith, Hope And …… was Thursday’s post and of all of this week’s posts, needs some love.
Yesterday’s post was Don’t Say No To Dope.
How are you doing on your goals for 2012? Mine are a mixed bag. I haven’t lost weight, but I haven’t got my training for the marathon going good yet. I read the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia. I haven’t signed up for the Killer Tribes conference. I have several ideas for the book and I get additional ones each week. I need to complete my Bible reading I started in the next five weeks so I can begin again in March.
Depending on when you check out Deuceology today or tomorrow, you will notice a change in the look. I am going for a cleaner look. Eventually I want to do what my friend, Jon Stolpe, did recently and go to my own blog without the WordPress in my URL. I’m just beginning to figure some of that out.
How was your week?
I grew up in the 80′s when Ronald Reagan was president. It was back in the day when the Evil Empire was Russia, not the Boston Red Sox. (Yes, I am a New York Yankees fan and have been since 1977.)
If you were around back then, you might remember that Nancy Reagan had a campaign that said Just Say No to drugs. I’m happy to report that I never consumed any illegal substance or drug. I’m not sure that this was because of Nancy. I think it was just a fear from when I was a kid that I would become addicted, end up in jail or die.
No matter how you slice it or dice it, I was never involved with dope.
So, for all you kids reading out there in Deuceology land, Just Say No to dope.
Unless you have a friend like Moe. Moe is a blogging and Twitter friend. He liked one of my blog posts the other day. He tweeted it out to all of his followers. I thanked him. Guess what his response was?
Moe said that it was a dope post.
Now, I’m not the most hip guy in the world. I’ve never gotten jiggy with anything to my knowledge. But I could understand that what Moe said was a good thing.
Moe was encouraging me.
We all like that, don’t we?
We in the Church really need it some days. We need someone to come along and encourage us. We need someone to tell us that something is “dope”.
I appreciate Moe’s words.
Don’t say no to dope.
Now it’s your turn. It’s Friday and it’s been a long week. Encourage someone today. However you want to.
Who would you like to encourage today? What have they done? Tell us about it.
One of the excuses that I hear for being dissatisfied in a church is that the person is not being “fed”. They are not happy with the pastor’s sermons. They are not “getting anything” out of the sermons. There are a million ways to say it.
How do I know?
I’ve probably used most of them.
I’ve got a question for you. For all of us. When you have that feeling. When you just don’t think you’re getting anything out of the message anymore.. When you’re not “being fed”.
Is your pastor being fed?
Is your pastor focusing on the things he really needs to focus on? Does he have the opportunity to spend time in the word of God and in prayer so that he can do what he is called to do?
Do you and your church allow him to do the things that are most important for his ministry?
Or is he tied up in tons of meetings?
Do you expect him to make all of the visits?
Do too many people drop in on him at the office because he “doesn’t have anything else going on”?
A friend of mine is a world-class mandolin player. When he was growing up, he would wake up in the morning and play mandolin until it was time to go to school. When he got home, he would pick up his instrument and play and play and play. When he looked up, it would be around 1o pm. He would go to the kitchen where his mother had left him a plate of food.
He neglected everything except what was most important to him.
What a lesson for our pastors.
What a lesson for all of us.
We should expect that our pastors are primarily too busy for most things other than spending time in God’s word and in prayer. Do you want to be fed?
Make sure your pastor is being fed.
What kinds of things do you or your church do to make sure that your pastor is being fed?
Welcome to my new series. We are not in Church Search mode any longer. We have found a church where we feel welcome and where we believe we can worship. We believe that the Lord has led us here.
I’ll be honest. I was distracted during Sunday School. Jan stayed home due to the surgery she had Friday. I felt just a little out-of-place without her since I still don’t know many of the people there.
I had lunch with a couple of the staff members this week. I was told that there is another couple that wants to begin a home bible study. I’m looking forward to getting to know this couple and seeing if this is something we can participate in. We will need it since I will not be able to be in Sunday School for half the year.
One of the strengths of our church is the worship through music. It is definitely planned, but there is enough latitude and spontaneity to veer off from the path if it seems right.
The sermon was about Sanctity of Human Life. Just before the sermon began, a lady gave a spontaneous testimony about a time earlier in her life when she had an abortion. She testified to God’s forgiveness and grace for this event in her life. Another person came up and testified to her being pregnant as a teenager before marriage and keeping her child. Both spoke to mistakes in their lives and how God loved them despite this.
A time of prayer at the altar continued from there. Many people went down and prayed together.
The sermon was a good challenge to value all human life. It ended with a video called 99 Balloons. It was about a little boy who lived 99 days and 99 balloons were let got at his funeral.
The thing that is greatest about this church is that despite some issues and problems that have occurred recently there is a sweet spirit of love and caring there.
On a side note, we have been going there for four weeks. A couple prepared us a meal today since Jan had her surgery.
What attracted you to your church? What are its strengths?
One of these days I’m going to write a novel. Two of the characters are going to be named Shirley Goodness and Mercy. They are going to be stalkers who follow the main character around all the time. Some of you will get that in a minute.
Lots of people name their children with biblical names. I did. My daughter’s middle name is Elizabeth. My son’s name is Andrew. Good biblical names.
There are lots of others. Mark, Peter, Paul. You don’t find many Zaccheus’ these days, but if you did they would probably climb trees.
There are a lot of Faith’s, aren’t there? And lots of Hopes. However, you don’t find the third of that series getting much action for a name.
You don’t find many Loves out there.
Why is that?
Of course, I am referring to these in 1 Corinthians 13;13. Paul writes, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I wonder. We love to name a little girl Faith. We love to name a little girl Hope. We just don’t seem to love to name a little girl Love.
Could it be that if we had three girls and names them Faith, Hope and Love that we are declaring that one of them is greater than the others?
Do we subconsciously know that Love is the greatest of these three so we leave Love out as a name?
Do we somehow know that we really fail at Love sometimes and we don’t want to place such a burden on someone? They are supposed to be the greatest. We don’t want them to fail at Love and not live up to that high standard?
I don’t know if that’s the answer. Perhaps it just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.
Or perhaps it’s because someone else already has that name. After all, God is Love.
What do you think? Why do we have girls named Faith and Hope, but not Love?