Friday, February 27, 2009

I Promise To Keep My Shoes On

I have a problem. Yes, it is a problem that I'm not proud of, but I have it. The best part about this is that there are a lot of people who also have the same problem that I have, so I'm not alone in this. You see, I suffer from stinky feet. Yes, my feet stink at times. I wash them with soap to make the smell nice, but when the day is over, look out! There have been times when I have taken off my shoes and socks and the smell over takes the room. I have tried baby powder in the shoes and that helps a little bit, but yes, after a while, this too fails. Changing socks, changing shoes, not wearing shoes, I have tried it all, but still I suffer from stinky feet.

Christians also suffer from stinky feet. We suffer from sin. We confess our sins and are made clean again, but after a day, hours, minutes, the stink comes back. There are times when we try to mask our sin. We think that if we cover up the stink, the sin, it will go away. We don't try to confess it, because we don't want to admit it. We try to hide it, to make it smell better, but after awhile, the stink comes back. But because of the love of our Lord and Savior, our stinky feet are gone. It is his love for us, his forgiveness that our stink is made clean. As we confess our sins, God takes takes it away and makes us clean. He does this, not because He had to, but because He wanted to. He did this because of his love for us. All it takes is for us to admit our sinful nature, our stinky feet, and it will be made clean. Our feet will smell like roses.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Different Ways

I’ve always wondered why weathermen can’t seem to agree on the weather forecast. This has crossed my mind a lot. Since moving to Michigan, no weatherman on any television channel gives the same forecast. Now today (Saturday, February 21, 2009) they all agree that there is going to be snow. Yes, they all agree that there is a winter storm warning (because the National Weather Service has issued it). What gets me is that one channel says 2-4 inches. One channel says 3-6 inches. In fact, one channel says 4-8 inches and they feel that we will actually see up to a foot of snow. It is hard to believe that all the weathermen in the Detroit area can’t seem to agree. They all look at the same weather maps. They all see the same radar. They all get the same information from the National Weather Service. So why can’t they agree, they all see the weather in different ways.

The same can be said about scripture. The words are written. The message is there. So why can’t we all agree? I’m not talking about the different denominations. I'm talking about here, in our own church. Why can’t we all agree on the meaning of scripture? It is because we all see the Word of God in different ways. God speaks to us in ways, depending on the things happening in our lives. He knows what concerns we have in our hearts. He listens to our prayers. He knows, plain and simple. Then, out of love for us, He answers. He speaks to us, each individually. One verse speaks in one way to one person, but that same verse might speak to others in a different way. No way is wrong, but it is the way that God speaks to each of us. He shares His Word at the right time for the right reason. We need to read and listen, God is speaking.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Right Tool

When we bought our house, we had visions of finishing the basement. We envisioned a bathroom, a bedroom, a family room and adding some storage. These visions started becoming a reality over the long weekend. But in order to make this happen, I needed someone who knew what they were doing. I could envision the building process and how it was suppose to look, but really, I had no idea of what had to happen. I had a book that shared how to stud a wall, but I didn't own the right tools and was kind of frighten that I might mess it up. So my Father-in-Law came up this weekend and in one day, the basement is studded and we are preparing for the next step. He had the knowledge and the tools to do it. Me, well, I had the vision, but building a wall, you can say, isn't my strength.

We all have been given gifts by God. These gifts are given to us to be used. According to Ephesians 4:12, we need to use these gifts "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up". Let's think about this. I could try to build a house, but will it stand? My gifts are not in building homes. I needed someone to come and use their gifts to help. But together, my father-in-law and I built those walls. He had the knowledge and the tools to do it. I had the opportunity to work along with him. Our church is in need of people to stand up and share their gifts. We know that we are all not gifted in the same way, but each gift is unique and can help build up the body of Christ. You may have the gift of speaking, others don't. You may have the gift of teaching, other's don't. Some can build walls, some can make banners, some can teach Bible Class, some can share with complete strangers the gospel. Now is not the time to hide these gifts; now is the time to use them. As you use them, others will work side by side with you. God has blessed Living Word with so many talented people in so many ways. Take the time and pray for God to help lead you to share your gifts or to help show your gifts. Together, the body of Christ will be built up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where the dogs walk

I guess you can say that I am a little paranoid about homes that have dogs. When I know that a home has a dog, I walk a little differently. When a home has a dog and I'm not walking on the sidewalk or their driveway, I'm looking down. Yes, my eyes are looking down. When I see the gift that the dog leaves behind, I tell others so they don't accidentally find that gift also. When we walk in parks or other areas that dogs might have been allowed to run, guess what, I'm looking down. I'm very concerned when my children run ahead. If I'm following and see that gift left in the grass, I pray that my children didn't find it also. Yes, this is a little strange. If you accidentally step on that little surprise, it not only flattens on your shoe, but it goes into the cracks on the bottom. You have to scrape, wipe and wash to get it off. Even then, there still may be a hint of the stench and you have to start the cleaning process again until it is gone. This is why I'm a little paranoid.

Each time we sin, we create that stench around us. When we sin, we didn't listen or heed the warning of God who is watching out for us. It is that sin that if not cleaned will drive people away from us. It is those unkind words, the rumors, the unkind actions, unkind thoughts, it is all these things that will keep people away. We must ask for forgiveness, not only from those we hurt, but from God. God will wash us clean. He won't ignore us. God hates the stink. He can smell it even before we do. It is beccause of His Son, Jesus Christ that the stench is gone. Jesus is the one that cleans us from our sin, from our stench all out of love for us. Sure we still have to watch where we walk and heed the warnings of God, but when we slip up, He will make clean.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dancing with Christ

Last week, I was in New Orleans with the National Youth Gathering meeting. It was a chance to discuss the theme of the gathering, to prepare ideas, to connect. A lot of work but also a chance to enjoy time with each other. The team I'm serving with went to dinner on Friday evening at a place called Mulates. It is known for Cajun cuisine and Cajun music. As a music person, I didn't know that there was a such thing as Cajun music, now I do. This restaurant has a dance floor. We were seated next to it. During dinner, many people got up and danced. Some had rhythm while others, well, let us just say that they are movement challenged. As we were enjoying our dinner, a couple comes up and starts dancing. They moved with grace. Their movements flowed together. They were outstanding. When the song was done, people clapped. The next song played and they were up again dancing. Again, true grace. They floated along, spinning, shuffling their feet, totally smooth. Again clapping when the song was done. Each time they got up, people stopped eating, stopped talking, stopped doing what they were doing and watched that couple glide across the floor.

There are times when we forget to allow Christ in our life. We fail to keep the beat, we fail to move together, we struggle, we become movement challenged. People might look, but then they turn away for there is nothing good to see. Christ isn't seen in us. When Christ leads, we move along like that couple. Our movements are smooth, our steps in beat, we move together. People stop and look, they notice something different about us. We show Christ. Our words, our actions, our life portrays Him in us.