Friday, November 26, 2010

Running on Empty

Before technology in vehicles, you had to guess how many miles you had left when the gas gauge was low. Today, we have the luxury to look at the dashboard and see what the computer estimates is left. Knowing that is a good thing. It helps you from running out of gas. How do we know if we are running on empty? Often times we don’t know until it is too late. One of my favorite songs is “Everlasting God”. It’s a song that is based on a passage from Isaiah 40 that reads, “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”

Many times we try to see how far we can get, unintentionally, without spending quality one on one time with God. Our egos get in the way of the ever- present Holy Spirit that is beckoning our attention. Many of us try to get through the whole week with just spending one hour on a Sunday morning with God and filling up as much as we can during that hour`. Meanwhile, we remain on cruise control. We try to fill our tank with everything but what is necessary to function: fellowship with friends, insightful books, worshipful music and “drive-by” encounters with God are all things we look for and try to do. While these are all positive activities, they are not sufficient enough for sustained spiritual growth.

In the book of James, we find where our dependence, our source of strength, should come from. We need to be completely, solely dependent upon Him. He is our strength, our fuel. Subjecting ourselves to Him, our motives and our desires to His, leaves us full and confident to continue our journey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Can Do It...He Will Help

I saw this shirt the other week. It was a bright orange shirt that looked like a billboard for the Home Depot. Actually, it looked just like the Home Depot sign. Instead of reading, “Home Depot” it read “Holy Spirit”. For years, the Home Depot has had the slogan, “You can do it, we can help.” Well on this shirt it says, “You can do it. He can help.” And it is true, you CAN do it! Whatever it is. Too often we limit the potential of the Holy Spirit by saying things like, “Oh I can’t do that.” We face resistance and we sometimes give up. But there is a voice that tells you, “I believe God is at work in you!” What would happen if we let go of our need to control? What would happen if we truly relied on the power of the Holy Spirit? What would happen if we truly believed God is at work in us? What would happen to us? What would happen to our churches?  We know what it is like.  We go to a conference, hear other speakers, read about new ideas only to have them squashed by other people. “Oh there’s no way we could ever do that,” some would say. “Oh people won't like that," others would say.  “But we’re Lutheran,” comes the response. So!?!   Why limit what we can do? Why limit the power of the Holy Spirit? Because when we do, we end up declining or happy with "status quo".  We end up being half disciples only producing half of our potential. Because here is the truth found in Scripture- Jesus promises a coming Advocate (The Holy Spirit) and that Advocate is present with us. God has given us a God sized vision and we can’t let the present realities overshadow the possibilities of tomorrow. You CAN do it, and he WILL help!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Show It to One Another

God is doing amazing things. It’s hard sometimes to stop and realize what God’s Spirit is actually accomplishing in our lives. Too often we focus on the negative and let others drag us down. The culture in which we live in always tells us, “It’s not enough.” But when is it ever enough? If we stop and think about it, the more we gain and acquire, the more we demand. Dallas Willard, Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, once said in an interview, “We are designed to be creators and initiators, not just receivers.” What do you have to celebrate? How is God’s Spirit moving in your life? If you need a reminder, read the book of Philippians. Paul reminds this community in this letter about the encouragement, comfort, tenderness, and compassion they enjoyed in their relationship with Christ, and then directed them to show that to one another. I, like Paul, celebrate the good things that God is doing in the lives of others, and am blessed to see others blessed by God.