Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Distractions. I struggle with them. Things that move around me…I just have to look. I am easily distracted. I actually have to work to stay focused on things. When I was younger, I played football. This wasn’t the big time league, but pee-wee football. The coach comes out and tells you the play in the huddle. Well, you can guess it. I was distracted. I wasn’t listening, but watching a squirrel on an electrical line. So I missed the play and the coach took me out of the game. Distractions…I’m distracted writing this. Noises, movement, lights…so many distractions.
It is amazing how distracted we get in worship. We come to worship and our focus should be on God, but then, there are distractions. People moving, people talking, doors opening, cell phones ringing…thoughts about the day, things that have to get done…so many distractions. We fail to focus on the reason of worship. Distractions, one…God, zero. Worship is work. It isn’t easy to focus on one thing for one hour. We need to work on keeping our focus on His word. We have so many opportunities to focus on Him. We have songs, readings, children’s message, the message, communion, prayers…all these things so we can focus on Him only. We have to put aside those things that distract us. We have to work so our focus is on Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Father's Arms

I'm sitting outside on this cool Tuesday evening thinking about what to write about. I'm watching my daughter practice with her soccer team. There are players running around. There are parents watching their children practice. There are parents playing with their other children as we wait for practice to be done. But as the practices continue, one thing caught my attention. To my right, there was a cry...not that normal I'm not getting what I want, but a cry of "it hurts and it hurt bad". Like most people, I look over to see a little boy crying and holding his arm. His father reaches down, picks him up and whispers something in the his ear. The boy sobs a little and the father hugs him and is talking to him in his ear. Soon the crying stops. The father continues to hold the child and soon, the child is running around again as the father watches him and smiles.
That is prime example of our Christian walk. There are many painful times in our lives. We walk through our life, thinking that things are going alright, then...we fall. We fail. We sin. We let out a "cry" to our Lord. No matter the situation, when our Father hears our cry, he doesn't just ignores us. He reaches down and picks us up. He holds us in his mighty and loving arms. He whispers in our ear. Maybe He tells you that it is going to be alright. Maybe He tells you that He loves you and will hold you until the pain is gone. Maybe He tells you that you are forgiven. Our Father makes sure that you are going to be alright before He lets us continue on. I have felt this in my life. I have felt His loving arms around me. I have heard His words in my ear. He is there...watching, loving, holding, and comforting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dashed Hopes

“I had intended …” David had wanted to build a temple. And who better than he to do so? Hadn’t he, literally, written the book on worship? Didn’t he rescue the ark of the covenant? The temple would have been his swan song, his signature deed. David had expected to dedicate his final years to building a shrine to God. At least, that had been his intention. “I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it” (1 Chron. 28:2 NASB).Intentions. Preparations. But no temple. Why? Did David grow discouraged? No. He stood willing. Were the people resistant? Hardly. They gave generously. Then what happened?A conjunction happened. Conjunctions operate as the signal lights of sentences. Some, such as and, are green. Others, such as however, are yellow. A few are red. Sledgehammer red. They stop you. David got a red light. I had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, “You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.… Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts.” (1 Chron. 28:2–3, 6 NASB, emphasis mine)

David’s bloodthirsty temperament cost him the temple privilege. All he could do was say: I had intended … I had made preparations … But God … I’m thinking of some people who have uttered similar words. God had different plans than they did. One man waited until his midthirties to marry. Resolved to select the right spouse, he prayerfully took his time. When he found her, they moved westward, bought a ranch, and began their life together. After three short years, she was killed in an accident. I had intended … I had made preparations … But God … A young couple turned a room into a nursery. They papered walls, refinished a baby crib, but then the wife miscarried.I had intended … I had made preparations …But God … I had intended … I had made preparations … But God … What do you do with the “but God” moments in life? When God interrupts your good plans, how do you respond? The man who lost his wife has not responded well. At this writing he indwells a fog bank of anger and bitterness. The young couple is coping better. They stay active in church and prayerful about a child. And what about David? When God changed David’s plans, how did he reply? (You’ll like this.) He followed the “but God” with a “yet God.” “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.” (1 Chron. 28:4 NASB) Reduce the paragraph to a phrase, and it reads, “Who am I to complain? David had gone from runt to royalty, from herding sheep to leading armies, from sleeping in the pasture to living in the palace. When you are given an ice cream sundae, you don’t complain over a missing cherry.David faced the behemoth of disappointment with “yet God.” David trusted. His “but God” became a “yet God.”Who’s to say yours won’t become the same? (from Max Lucado's book Facing Your Giants)

Monday, April 5, 2010


Honesty. I wasn't the most honest person in grade school. It took a lot of talkings, punishments, and tears to help me realize the value of honesty. God cares so much about truth that he gave us a walking, talking, living, breathing example of it. His Son came to earth "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Jesus frequently said, "I tell you the truth," or as some translations put it, "verily, verily (truly, truly) I say unto you." Honesty was Jesus’ policy even when it was unpopular. He refused to let the crowd manipulate his message or re-direct his priorities. Jesus was honest with his enemies. He unmasked the Pharisees and called them hypocrites because that’s what they were. He called Herod a "fox" because that’s what he was. He challenged longstanding religious traditions that were doing more harm than good. Jesus was honest with his friends. When the Twelve engaged in quarrels, he confronted them with the hard truth that in God’s eyes servanthood always trumps self-promotion. Jesus was honest with everyone. He didn’t woo potential followers with sugar-coated promises of how easy their lives would be if they believed in him. He told them right up front about the cost of discipleship. Anyone who proclaims God's truth has a big responsibility to be honest. We are to be honest in every situation in life. Can you say that your actions and speech are honest and straightforward? Would you say that you tell people what they want to hear so that you can get ahead or to get what you want? When we stay honest to the Word of God and His calling...His kingdom will flourish.