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Thinking About The Golden Rule

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about the Golden Rule lately. Not really sure why, except that I have been thinking about ways to apply it to my life. So, I think these are ways that others can apply it as well. 

One way I’ve been thinking about is politics. If you haven’t noticed, we are in an election year. Soon there will be a new president-elect in the old U.S. of A. So, I’ve been thinking about how the Golden Rule applies to my voting choice.

 Now, you may be wondering what the Golden Rule has to do with voting for president? Here is how I’ve been thinking about it. Would I want the person I’m voting for to be the president for everyone? Most people usually look at it as how it will affect themselves. What if everyone really took the view of it would be best for everyone else to have this person as president. You throw out your past party affiliations. You throw out what you like in a candidate and really dig down and ask, “Would I want to do this to someone else? Would I want to elect this person, not for my own sake, but for the sake of my family and neighbors?”

 Another way to apply the Golden Rule is much broader. It takes some hard work on your part. Are you on the lookout for the good for everyone? I miss this more often than I get it right, but I might have actually done it recently. I know someone who is a deer hunter. I heard about a website that has well produced, television quality videos for deer hunters. It’s not just like the hunting shows on TV. It actually goes into deer management and explores deeper issues. I texted my friend the website so that he would have it available. I got nothing out of it. Or did I? I would want him to do the same for me. If he knows me well enough, I would want him to pass along something similar.

 We really try to make living this Christian life hard sometimes. We look for BIG ways to do Godly things in our lives and for the benefit of others. Instead, maybe it’s just doing the normal things of life in a Godly way. That’s what I’m hoping to do going forward.

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3 Keys To Following Jesus In The World

September 19, 2016 1 comment

There are reams and reams of paper used to write books on how Christians to live lives that follow Jesus. Rarely, though, is there anything that as simple as what we actually find in the Bible. Paul gave us three good pieces of advice in 1 Thessalonians that too few of us actually heed. 

1. Live Quiet Lives

One could probably write an entire post about this. In today’s world filled with social media, it is easy to live a noisy life clamoring for attention. Few of us are immune to this. Many of us need to take this piece to heart and spend some time that is focused outwardly, putting the spotlight on others. Give others credit and point toward the Lord instead of ourselves.

 2. Mind Your Own Business

What would happen if we took this one to heart? Instead of getting involved in every controversy, what if we truly focused on making our own lives better? What would the world look like?

 

3. Work

When I was a kid, I worked on farms located around me during the summer. I hauled hay and worked in tobacco. When I turned 16, I went to work in a grocery store and had another part-time job watering plants at my church during a dry summer. Plus, I still had to mow the yard and do chores around the house. God expects us to work. He does not expect us to live entitled lives. One time my dad’s job went on strike. He used that time to work around the place and even thought about finding work to do that would bring in income.

 Why should we do these things? What benefit is there to them?

 So that we “may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on on one.” These are three keys to living the kind of life that God ordains for us. Instead of looking for some magic bullet, let’s do what God’s word tells us to do.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

The Shade of the Kingdom

September 13, 2016 1 comment

If you haven’t noticed lately, some don’t think America is great anymore.

The solution for some is to protest, though their freedom to do so proves the point is moot.

Others seek to make America great again by running for office.

What about those of us who follow Christ? What are we to think and do? I think we can find some clues in Mark 4.

Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It’s small, but grows into a 15 foot bush. So big, in fact, that the bird see the comfort of its shade.

Jesus, it seems, doesn’t focus on earthly kingdoms. His concern is for His Father’s kingdom.

Where do the birds turn for rest? The kingdom. Not the nations of the world, but God’s kingdom.

America isn’t great? Seek the kingdom of God.

America’s great again? Seek a kingdom that puts it to shame.

The birds seek the shade of the kingdom. May we follow the birds’ lead.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

Why Worship Needs To Vary

September 9, 2016 2 comments

I mentioned yesterday that I tweeted recently that we are called to make disciples, not music. I mentioned that my expanded view is that we are really called to glorify God and that can come by making music or disciples. Today, I want to follow-up up a bit on that.

I once had a conversation with a family member who said that they would be happy if church services were only comprised of music. I just kind of shook my head, but realized that I was not that far from that view. I would be happy if church services were only made up of preaching. That’s just how I’m wired and geared.

We were both wrong.

Imagine if that actually took place. We would have churches full of people who were there only to hear preaching. Other would just be full of singing. Others might pray the entire service. Still others might take an offering…..and then what? 

I’ll tell you. We would all miss out on different ways to worship. We would miss out on the various types of people. We would also miss out on the variety of gifts within the church.

 Mostly we would miss out on being part of the Body of Christ. Arms don’t exist alone. Neither do legs, knees, throats, mouths and you think of a body part.

 I don’t like all parts of church services. That may sound like sacrilege, but I’m just trying to be real. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see the benefit of the things I am not naturally inclined toward. Those things help connect me to other members of the Body. They help connect me to Christ. They help me maximize who I am in the entire Body of Christ.

 

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Make Love, Not War

September 8, 2016 2 comments

I’m sure you’ve seen the title of this post before.  It came into the national conversation during the Vietnam War, back when I was barely a  glimmer in anyone’s eye.

The thing about this statement is that it is saying that these two things are mutually exclusive.  It’s as though one cannot hold love and war in their life at the same time.  I’m not going to speak for everyone, but I don’t really think that to be the case.

I feel the same way about something I tweeted the other day.  My tweet was some like this:

We are not called to make music, but to make disciples.

I felt pretty proud of myself after sharing this on the Twitter.  Here is the funny thing.  I got several likes when it made its way to Facebook.  However, I got some push back on Twitter.

The push back came because someone took exception to it.  They said THE way to discipleship is through making music, mainly because that is how it happened for them.

Sorry, but I can’t buy that one either.  But I did change my mind a little.

I don’t think the main thing we are called to do is to make disciples or make music.  It’s not either/or.  It’s not one or the other.  Instead, I think we’re called to something greater.

I think we are called to glorify God in everything we do.  How do we do that?

By making disciples.  By making music.  And so much more.

We might glorify God through every bite of food we take, through every swallow of drink we take in.

We might glorify God by running a marathon or walking to the mailbox.

Maybe it’s by driving the speed limit and stopping at yellow.

It could be anything.

It could be by making love or making war.  Or both.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Why You Need To Take A Day Off

September 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Jan and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary a couple of days ago.  We did the normal things, like going out to eat at a special restaurant.  However, next year is the big one and it deserves something special.

We began tossing around some ideas and if we do what we talked about, it will take some planning.

That’s the thing about a lot of things in life.  They take planning.  Vacations.  Buying a car.  Weddings (yeah, my daughter is getting married next year).  Life.

Yes, life takes some planning if you want it to end up the way you want it.  That’s why I’m taking a day off today.

I’m going to spend the day planning my life.  I’m going to start with the end in mind.  I’m going to plan my funeral.  Who I want to be there.  What I want to be said about me.  How I want to be remembered.

Trust me, I’m not there yet.

Then I’m going to define my values and what’s most important to me.  My priorities.  My life accounts.

Finally, I’m going to write my purpose statement.

None of this is anything original that I have come up with.  I’ve attempted this before based on some seminars I’ve attended.  The latest motivation to do this is the book Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.  I commend it if you wake up one day and realize that you are drifting way too much in life.

Now, I could encounter some push back.  Someone could say that they just want to live free and by the Spirit.  I want to as well.  Trust me, I’m praying my way through this.   Plus, I tend to see that God gives life plans to His people in the Bible.  That the life plan comes from the Spirit.

I don’t know if you are interested, but I commend this type of exercise to you.  Take a day off.  Get out of your normal routine and surroundings.  Quit drifting and plan your life.

Summer’s Gone (Or Something Else I Did On My Break)

September 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Happy Labor Day.  It’s the unofficial end to Summer.  Sure, we have a few more weeks until the season is truly over, but let’s face it.  Our Summer plans are over.  We have moved into a new season that I like to call football season.  Summer’s done.

Today I want to delve into some other things that I did this summer besides just be busy.  The big thing is that I did a lot of thinking and reflecting.

I spent a lot of time thinking about who I am.  Not that I don’t know, but life is in a bit of transition these days.  My daughter is engaged and getting married in a few months.  My son is starting college.  My life is changing.  I’ve been asked to take on a position at my church that I’m trying to get my arms around.  All of this is really causing to me to look at who I am and what I should be doing.

The other thing that I did on my break was question the existence of this blog.  Should I continue it?  Should I change the focus?  Should I start an entirely new blog and do something completely different?  Those were just some of the questions I asked.  What did I decide?

I’m not sure.

I think the big thing is that I want the focus to be something like this:  A real guy pursuing a real God.  Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing for the past five years or so, but maybe I just want to slightly shift the focus.  What I realize everyday is that I don’t have this whole thing figured out.  Whatever I write about is usually what I’m trying to figure out.  Sometimes I’m trying to discover what I think about my topic, even as I write it.

So, that’s another brief glimpse into what my summer was like not writing this blog.  Let’s move forward now that summer’s over.

Now get out there and doing some grilling on this last day of summer.

Categories: Blogging, Faith Tags: ,