Has the Turkey worn off yet? Its only been a few days since Thanksgiving, and for most people I would think that they are kicking the Christmas plans into high gear. Thanksgiving is over. Turkey and mashed potatoes and some pepper spray on black friday. Done and done.
I want to encourage you today to not forget about being thankful. Thankfulness is an attribute that has the capacity to drastically influence our happiness and mood every day. Often times when people spend time thinking about what they do not have, instead of thinking about what they do have, their mood improves.
Do you practice thankfulness on a daily basis? Here are some quick tips to increasing thankfulness in your life.
1. Genuinely thank anyone for anything that they do for you. Make it a point to look them in the eye, send them a message, call them on the phone. Let people know that you appreciate whatever they did for you. Don’t let anything slip by.
2. Spend a few moments reflecting on things to be thankful for first thing in the morning. Thank God for these things. There are big things to be thankful for, and small things to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family, but bless God, I thank him every day for my hot cup of coffee in the morning!
3. Get excited about the little things. Maybe the load of laundry equaled up and no socks were lost. Perhaps you got the coveted front parking spot at work. Somehow your sandwich got an extra piece of meat in it today, whatever it is, be thankful for the small things, not just the big things.
Hope that helps. Don’t give up on Thanksgiving. Its not just for one week a year, you should do it every day.
This is the lesson that I have learned from my father. We should never place limits on God and we should always be open to the opportunity to do something slightly crazy for God’s glory.
My father has always been a collector. From the working stoplight, to a chair that has the shape of a hand, to the giant wooden marlin, you never quite knew what dad was going to bring home. About a year ago however he started bringing home more and more fossils. Maybe to some people that might sound strange but to my family that sounds perfectly normal. You see dad has always had a passion for rocks, science, and archaeology.
For some people science and God don’t mix, but for my Dad it’s always been a passion to make people realize that they do. So as he was collecting rocks as fossils and thinking and praying he came up with the idea of creating a Creation Museum. The idea is little crazy when you type it out on paper.
My father is going to open a Creation Museum in Broken Bow NE (population 5000).
Undaunted by such minor things my father has pushed forward and is not only opening this museum sometime in the spring of next year, but has also managed to construct a giant replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (made out of irrigation pipe) to place in the front just so no one could possibly miss what he was trying to do.
When I asked dad what was the reason you decided to open the museum. He said “To show that the bible is the authoritative word of God. To do that, I need to show that Evolution is not true.”
I look at that and I think “wow” that is so cool. He took his passion and his desire and transformed it into something that is supporting one of the bedrock principals of our faith. The bible is true.
This is the essence of what it is to be Christian. You take your time, your energy, your money, your passion, your talents and you give it to God. You surrender it all. Granted most of us will never be able to open a Creationist Museum, but we can choose to glorify God with the things that we are good at.
So whatever your talents are I hope that in the back of your mind your thinking, I wonder how God could use this to further his kingdom. Also if you ever happen to make your way to NE stop on by the Boneyard Creation Museum and take a look at what happens when you are a little crazy about following God.
I don’t get it. It happened again this week. Someone wanted to fight me. Seriously, I’m not joking.
A couple of days ago, we were walking through the walmart parking lot ( I needed a new pillow for my big head) and apparently Crystal and I did something wrong as we were walking. Or at least that is what we gathered from the yelling.
We got there and parked, and got out of our vehicle, and began to walk towards the door. As we walked, I did notice another vehicle with its engine running and its reverse lights on immediately as we began to walk down the line. So when we got to it, we didn’t stop, we kept walking, because it hadn’t begun to move. (it had been in the same position for 20 seconds).
I’m not exactly sure what parking lot etiquette is, but I think that in most cases, pedestrians have the right of way.
Or maybe I am wrong, because a few moments after walking past this vehicle, what sounded like an irate man began to holler in our direction (there wasn’t anyone around us) and berate us for not letting him out of his parking spot. He called out about what we were wearing and appeared to be encouraging me to interact with him.
So I didn’t what any 6 foot 5, 250lb pastor would do. I turned around, cocked my neck, and said “what did you say?” as I was walking towards him. Then, I proceeded to take him down to the asphalt and put him in a rear naked choke.
How you like me now? Services at 9 and 11 sucka!
Okay, I didn’t do that, but I thought about doing that. What did I do? Absolutely nothing. I just kept walking. I didn’t turn around. I didn’t look. I didn’t speak.
I have learned in my short life that turning around to confront an irate person that far from you makes it worse. It never goes well.
Why am I telling you this? Proverbs 17:19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin.
Sure, I’m sharing an altercation in a Wal Mart parking lot, but I am sure that you have interactions in your life that are quarrelsome. Times at work or at home when people try to get you to argue or fight with you. Here is my advice- don’t even get into it with them. It never turns out well.
When you are a person that walks away from a physical or verbal altercation, things turn out better. Getting involved with them rarely turns out well. Granted, you have to swallow your pride to be able to do this, but in the end you will end up honoring God, and not getting yourself into trouble.
If you love a quarrel, you love sin. That’s what the Bible says, and I’m sure you don’t love sin.
I think that the occupy people are slipping. According to a recent article about the NBA it appears that there are over 4 billion dollars in profit revenue available that they have not addressed. Some of them need to pack up their stuff and go to the NBA headquarters in Mid-Town. Its only about 5 miles. They could probably walk it in an hour or so. You can read the article here. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e119fa50-0eff-11e1-b585-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2fNWb373P
I figure that if these guys are all about going after greedy people that have too much money that aren’t sharing it with the 99% and this is another stream of untapped revenue that they should seriously consider. There is no shortage of people who are making ridiculous amounts of money that they should be protesting in the NBA.
Do they realize that these people are making millions for bouncing, passing and throwing a inflated round ball? Furthermore, they have burdened the American people with higher taxes to pay for civic centers in which they play and they are making even more revenue selling licensed products to kids and adults alike. I tell you that if Freddie Mac was making money on $75 dollar jerseys that kids were wearing to school they would be protesting that lickety split!
Or maybe they aren’t doing it because the know the reality- they don’t have what it takes to play in the NBA. If LeBron quit tomorrow, there isn’t a person in one camp at any occupy event that could fill those 200 dollar Nikes.
Here’s the issue- I can completely understand that natural tendency that we all have to find someone or something to blame for our problems. Often times, we find a person or an organization that we decide is the reason for our problems and then we ‘set up camp’ and protest them. Either in person, or in our hearts. This search for a reason for our problems will always leave us empty, because the reality is that most of our problems have been created by ourselves.
Deep down inside a lot of people know that we don’t have what it takes to be in the NBA that’s why we don’t protest them. For me, I don’t have the level of dedication, or the natural ability to throw the inflated ball through the wire hoop. I can’t jump. I know this about myself. I don’t blame the NBA. I don’t protest those guys.
So what do we do? Trust God in the midst of our challenges. Realize that he can take care of us. Do not be angry at people who seem to ‘have more’.
What am I saying today? I’m not sure- but this is what I got- I love the story of the fishermen in Luke chapter 5. These guys were struggling to catch some fish and they listened to what Jesus said, and then they had so many fish that their boats almost sank. Part of that lesson was that Jesus wanted them to trust him for their increase and provision. Jesus didn’t say “go and take someone else’s fish” he said “trust me and you will get more fish”.
The NBA can do what they want. I don’t care. Jesus can fill my nets.
Money is an awesome thing, and by awesome, I mean that it has a whole lot of power over people and institutions. People feel as though money equals power, therefore they clamor to get as much of it as they can. They will do whatever it takes to get it. Think of all the news stories that center around money. Political clout attached to money. Books about money. Money money money. It truly makes the world go round.
Take these guys-http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/nov/09/four-men-rob-barona-casino/ they tried to rob a casino for 250k and found out that the display case they tried to rob only had about 3k in it. Oops. Better luck next time.
Money in and of itself is not inherently evil. Its just cotton fibers and paper with ink on it. We place the value on it, its not valuable for the substance that it is. There is the same amount of paper in a one dollar bill as there is for a hundred dollar bill. But people will still do anything for it.
This should not be so.
People who spend their life seeking after riches often find that it is not as satisfying as they had initially hoped. There is a bible verse that talks about money that I think says a lot ” People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” (1 peter 6:9). Often times people who want more than anything to get rich find themselves in ruin and destruction because of the things that they were willing to do to gain money. It can destroy you.
Why am I sharing this with you today? Because I think that people think about money a whole lot more than they talk about it. They worry about it, fret about it and focus on it. Money is a good thing in that it can pay some bills, put some food on the table and get some clothes on your back, but it is not everything that it is cracked up to be.
I am writing this today to you as an encouragement if you are a person who focuses too much on your finances. Here’s the encouragement- don’t get so wrapped up in it. Its just money. You can’t take it with you and it is not everything in the world. Your value is not connected to your bank account and your purpose is not to amass wealth.
Be free from your love of money today. Sure, make money, pay your bills, but do not love it to the point that it brings your ruin and destruction.
The Gallup polling organization released its latest data yesterday and revealed that 52% of the democrats that they polled, seldom or never went to church. While this number is only 2 percentage points away from being half, and 3 percentage points away from being majority in the other direction, the number to me is still interesting. You can read all of the data here- http://www.gallup.com/poll/150611/Democrats-Liberal-Less-White-2008.aspx
As I was going over the data, a different number stuck out more than what a political group is doing. Of the United States Population, only 33% attend church weekly, and 46% attend seldom or never. Almost half of the US never goes to church.
Almost half of the adults in the United States of America seldom or never attend church.
That means that only one in three people go to church on a weekly basis according to this poll. So I ask the question- do you go to church? Actually, I ask that question to a lot of people that I meet. I think that they expect it from me, since I am a pastor. Often times, it is fun for me to watch them go through their mental Rolodex (I just dated myself) and try to come up with the name of some church in hopes that I will leave them alone and not invite them to church.
It doesn’t work. Its easy to see the people that are trying to act like they attend a church when they don’t.
One of the most common statements that people make in regards to church is that while they believe in God, they don’t believe in ‘organized religion’. And by organized religion, I am assuming, to them that means, they don’t want to miss sleeping in on Sundays, or having to leave their house and commiserate with other human beings.
I can understand and sympathize with people who don’t want to go to church. There are hypocritical churches. There are charlatan preachers. There are whack-o churches. There are churches out there that shouldn’t exist. But, just because that is true, doesn’t mean that there aren’t good churches also.
Just because you got food poisoning one time you ate at a restaurant doesn’t mean you will never eat out again. I’m sure of it. You’ll just stay away from that buffet place.
Democrat, Republican, Independent. You need to find a church and attend.
Church is awesome. Its a place where the Spirit of God moves in the midst of the people that attend. God never intended for people to believe in Him on their own apart from other believers. From the beginning of time, God has always desired for people to be in community, and in that community, no matter how big or small, they are able to connect with God as a collective whole. Church is the place to do this.
Do you go to church? If not, you should. I tell people that churches are like restaurants, you just have to keep looking, and you will find one that you like. The best church for you is the one that you will attend on a regular basis. Church isn’t supposed to be a place you stop in, is a place that you become a part of. A place where you are able to connect. To give and receive love. To hear from God and worship Him.
If you don’t have a church, find one. If you have a church go to it. Regularly.
I do not care if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, and God doesn’t either. He wants you to go to church.
And so do I.
President Obama yesterday, while talking about a ‘jobs’ bill that he was trying to push through congress made the claim that “God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work”. Carney, the White House press secretary followed up by stating “I believe that the phrase from the Bible is ‘the Lord helps those who help themselves,'”.
Clearly politicians. Clearly not theologians.
I can understand that desperate times call for desperate measures, and Mr. Obama is doing whatever he can to try to influence the members of congress to push through a bill that could possibly affect the unemployment rate, but more importantly affect his re-election campaign. It is no wonder that he has invoked the name of the most high as a top level endorser of his plan for America.
There is a problem with this tactic, and Mr. Carney’s statement about the good book. God never said that he helps those who help themselves. Its a good idea, and it sounds really biblical and all, but its just not in there.
Here is a verse in the Bible that speaks about work that I would like to share with you this morning.
Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
I think that is a more important statement about work and one that is actually in the Bible versus making something up. I love this verse. Not in regards to the Jobs bill, but in regards to our own lives. I think it is a great idea to be people that work hard. Now, there is a point of working too hard, but we still were designed to get some work done. It was never intended for us to sit around.
There is a huge difference between talking and doing.
This verse specifically is not talking about a Congressional jobs bill, but I think that the essence of the verse may have been better for the President and Mr. Carney to quote. Perhaps they should have said something to the affect of “God doesn’t want us talking about work, He wants us to get to work”. I think that would have been better.
Application for today? Are you a talker or a doer? Do you merely talk about what you are going to do, or do you do it? Don’t be a person that talks a big talk and then doesn’t put any action behind it. I believe that God does want us to work. That he does bless the work of our hands, and that we should be more than just talkers. We should be workers.
Search your heart. Shut your mouth. Get to work.
You can read the article here- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/03/biblical-blunder-at-white_0_n_1073011.html?ref=politics
Complaints. We all got them. There is a list of things that we can complain about at any given time of the day. What we have. What we don’t have. What we want. What we need. Who hurt us. What is wrong. So many things to complain about. Things to worry about. Things that need to be fixed.
I try not to complain if I can help it. It does not seem to help my situation when I complain in the midst of them. Usually it just makes them less bearable and really annoying for the people around me.
I was talking to a friend yesterday who is going through some stuff, and I started asking some questions about his life to see where he was at in a few areas. He indicated to me that he had never thought about these three areas of his life that directly impact his emotional well being. Therefore, I thought I would share them with you, because perhaps you have never thought about it also.
Here’s the deal- I am a pastor. I believe in God and the power of His word, but I have been serving him long enough that there are few things I have figured out along the way. I know that the way he made me directly influences my ability to deal with every day life. My body is part of the equation. I am sharing these 3 nuggets with you in hope that they can help you also.
So what are the three areas?
1. Sleep. Dude, you have got to get enough sleep to make it in this world. Life demands so much from you that if you are not well rested when dealing with it, it is going to throw you into such an emotional tail spin that you wont be able to deal with the tiniest of tasks. Have some discipline in your sleep hygiene and make sure that you go to bed at around the same time every day and get the amount of sleep that you need to function. For some people it may be 6, for others, it may be 8. For me, I know if I don’t get a consistent 7.5 I am worthless. Even God rested. Get some sleep.
2. Eat. Seems simple doesn’t it? Of course you are eating! But what are you eating? Is it healthy? Are you eating consistently? Do you starve all day and then gorge at the end? Are you restricting your caloric intake to the point that it is making you angry? If you are not eating a consistent healthy diet throughout the day, it affects your mood. Trust me on this. If you are not eating well, it has an effect. Be diligent to eat something, however small, at least every 3 hours or so.
3. Move. I don’t run marathons. I never will. But I know that if I am sitting around in front of a computer screen all day, or sitting in a chair all day that I get cranky. Motion creates emotion. If you are not raising your heart rate on a regular basis, you are going to become depressed and lethargic. You have to get out there! Get up early for a walk. Go to the gym. Ride a bike. Take the stairs. Whatever it takes to get moving, get moving!
What is the point? I am all about believing God for the miraculous, but I am also about operating in this life and this body the way God intended. Often times I find that those small insignificant things that bother us in our lives are minimized when we are doing what we can do to influence our emotions. To control what we can control.
The truth is if you are tired, hungry and sedentary, it makes everything else in your life seem tedious. Trust me on this.
It happens every year. The Christians of the world come out in full force against Halloween. I know that my commentary on it is the day after, but I’ve got such a ridiculous chocolate hang-over its all I can think about this morning.
I made the decision ( for you Calvinists, I came to the realization of my election) to follow Jesus in August of 1990. Since that time I have been around for 21 Halloweens. Every year, there is a camp of people who ‘rise up’ against the ‘evil’ of this holiday and decry the Christians participation in it for its pagan roots and demonic influence. Many of these people appear to believe that people who take part in this holiday are worshipping at the footstool of Satan and becoming one of his minions for a night.
Now, I don’t have the time in this blog to go into the historical record of Halloween or come up with any scriptural references for it or against it, but this I will say:
If you are mad about Halloween there are few more days and a lot more things that you should be upset about and boycotting besides the annual feast of the chocolate.
Here is the arguments I hear- that I am teaching my children about evil. I am taking part in something highly spiritual. I am supporting the work of the devil. I am part of a day that is wrought with destruction. And of course, my personal favorite- what would Jesus do?
As a Christian, I believe that it is my God-Given right to infect and over take any and all spiritual forces of wickedness in any way shape or form. I am not called to become evil to do this, but am called to bring the light of Christ into every dark corner of the world and spread the love of God into it.
I was thinking last night as I was sitting in my garage, where were all the trick or treaters? I only had one come by in 1.5 hours. I’ll tell you where I think a lot of them were- at all of the Church sponsored trunk or treats. The church has seen this ‘evil’ holiday as a opportunity to share the Gospel. I know, some of you hardliners will say that we don’t have to become evil to share the Gospel, but wearing a Ewok suit and grubbin’ on some Junior Mints isn’t as evil as every is saying.
Should we praise Halloween? No. Should we try to make it a holy day? No. Am I saying that it is a Christian holiday? No. But, can we, as Christians infiltrate that day to the point where it loses all of its perceived spiritual power and it becomes a innocuous as it truly is? We can take this day and make a National Christian Candy Outreach day.
Going down the slippery slope of declaring and decrying will eventually make us all Amish. But, then again, those Amish sinners with the belt buckles and the cellphones are probably in the danger of the pit-fires of hell anyway.
Heck, we took the pagan day of Ishtar and made it into Easter. (you can google that one).
I don’t love Halloween, but I do love that it is the only day of the year that I can knock on someones door to share the Gospel and they will answer it and that I can invite them to my church for an event and they will come.
Eat some candy. Live for Jesus. Praise his name. Don’t worship the devil.
ps. comments and facebook shares are appreciated!