Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking for Action

“It was boring.” Those were the words I heard more than once after attending the Nascar race on Saturday evening. Why would fans be so critical? It all has to do with expectation. When it comes to entertainment people become strange creatures. Each of us travels over the highway daily praying for safety. Yet when it comes to racing we want to see wrecks and plenty of them. Most of the time we avoid conflict at all cost, but when watching a hockey game we anxiously await the moment when the players take off the gloves and go at it. My wife says this all has to do with a male’s perspective, but as dangerous as it is I disagree. All of us engage in this ironic twist for the sake of action. We want to walk away from a venue having been thrilled and fulfilled. Why would I bring this up? We feel the same way about church. No one wants to attend our worship services feeling like they need a double shot of espresso in order to stay awake. It has been said that people want to feel satisfaction, and to do so they must have a sense that at some moment in the service they have encountered God. Although there are many things I can do, producing that God moment requires something way beyond my ability. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit. We have those encounters when we step back and surrender to His will allowing Him to take complete control. You want action? Then let this be your theme song the next time you attend church. “Come Holy Spirit I need you, come sweet Spirit I pray, Come in your strength and power, Come in your own special way.” Singing this song may not provide you with a lot of entertainment, but when the Spirit feels welcome he comes bringing all the action we need.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Be Filled With the Spirit

A few years ago my brother owned a small house and farm in the White Pine, Tennessee area. He rented it out for a while but after being unsuccessful playing the role of landlord, he decided to put the property up for sale. After weeks of frustration and securing a court order to get his delinquent renters out, the property was vacant and ready to be put on the market. While in the process of selling, several days passed and one day my brother decided to go check on the house. When he pulled into the driveway there was a man sitting on the front porch. My brother asked, "Who are you?" The man replied, "We needed a place to live and we came by here and this house was empty so we moved in." My brother responded, "Well this is my house and you will need to move." The amazing thing was that it took several weeks to get that family out of his house. Although this was frustrating to him, I thought it was hilarious. So what is the point of the story? Paul in Ephesians 5:18 said, "Be filled with the Spirit." The opposite of being filled is to be empty, and emptiness leaves one susceptible to any intruder that desires to trespass. Even greater is the fact that once we allow the enemy to trespass, getting him to vacate the property is no easy task. That's why we must daily take Paul's admonition seriously and make sure that we are not found empty but "filled with the Spirit."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Refining Purpose

Quite often we misunderstand God and the purpose behind all the things we experience in life. I read the story recently of a few ladies who were meeting to study the Bible. While reading in Malachi they came across a rather remarkable verse, "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Taken by this statement one of the ladies proposed to visit a silversmith and report back to them what he had to say about this subject. She went accordingly and without sharing the reason for her errand asked the smith to tell her about the process of refining silver. After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "But sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?" "Oh yes, madam" replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured." The lady at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." God sometimes sees it needful to allow His children to go through the refiners fire. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying and His wisdom and love are both engaged to provide the best for us. Our trials do not come at random and He will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can endure. Before the lady left she asked one final question, "When do you know the process is complete?" "Why, that is quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished." Although difficult at times we must always remember refining has a purpose. God enjoys seeing himself, especially when that reflection is coming from you and me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Power of Forgiveness

The medical world is just now finding out what Jesus knew centuries ago; there is power and healing in forgiveness. No wonder he said, “Forgive and it shall be forgiven you.” The human system was not made to harbor offenses. They will break down the body and confuse the mind. That’s why we have to let them go. I heard the story recently of a woman who went to the doctor and discovered she had rabies. She asked for a pen and paper. The doctor assuming she was writing a message to a loved one or writing something regarding her last will and testament asked, “What are you doing?” She replied, “I’m making a list of all the people I want to bite before I die.” It sounds like she may have had a problem with forgiveness. What about you? Do you have trouble forgiving? One person has said, “Failure to forgive another person may or may not hurt them but it is certain to destroy me.” I encourage you to forgive those who have offended you and consider making the following promises.
• I promise to not dwell and think about the situation.
• I promise to not use it against you in the future.
• I promise to not talk about it with others.
• I promise to not let it stand between us.
For in the words of Jesus to forgive is to be forgiven, which means you discover the power of forgiveness.