RSS

Everywhere a Sign?

Sign from God

Continuing with my last two sports-themed posts, anyone who watches ESPNs GameDay is familiar with the weekly segment on signs accompanied by the catchy song Signs.  This is one of my favorite segments because of the song and specifically the line “sign, sign everywhere a sign.”

The kids make fun of me because one of my favorite sayings is “that’s a sign” meaning that God is trying to communicate with us. My favorite “sign” story occurred in 2007 when we were trying to decide if Derrick should transfer from Fellow Christian School to Roswell High School primarily for baseball reasons.

We were down to 1 week to make a decision and we were having a very hard time deciding as we carefully weighed the pros and cons. I was very neutral on the decision believing that God would make it clear – that He would give us a sign.

With 3 days left to decide, we were helping a client find a house and we chose 10 homeowners to call to schedule appointments. This is what we heard on the very first dial: “This is…………., head baseball coach for Roswell High School.”

Derrick transferred the next day.

At Christmas time I think about how God spoke to Joseph letting him know that he should still marry Mary rather than divorce her as he was contemplating:

Matthew 1:18-24 “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”

While God can still communicate to us through dreams, He communicates with us more clearly through more reliable means:

  1. His Word – I believe this is the best way for God to communicate with us. It is not always easy to know if thoughts are our thoughts or God’s. But He provides us with clear instructions and wisdom via His Word. 
  1. Prayer and the Holy Spirit – Through prayer, God communicates with us if we listen and allow Him to conform us to His purposes. God’s Spirit speaks to us through our conscience, helping to make the right decision. When we’re tempted, that same Spirit warns and nudges us to do the right thing. 
  1. Community – God can communicate with us through other believers. We do need to ensure any advice is validated through the Scriptures. I love Andy Stanley’s quote about wise counsel: “Who you hang out with is a picture of the future you.”

God is constantly trying to communicate with us through various ways; the question is are we listening?

Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

In His Service,

Ed

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 13, 2014 in God's Plans

 

Tags: , , ,

Separation Friday?

separation saturdayMost college football fans recognize the term Separation Saturday. This refers to one or two Saturdays during the college football season when several meaningful games are played between top-ranked opponents that will separate the real contenders from the almost contenders.

Often, the outcomes of these games truly separate the teams and provide a glimpse into who will be in contention for the national championship. This year with the new playoff system in place it seems every Saturday is Separation Saturday.

The most recent Separation Saturday occurred last month when there were six matchups of top 20 teams including Oregon – Utah, Alabama – LSU, KSU – TCU, MSU – OSU, Notre Dame – ASU, and Baylor – Oklahoma.  On that day, Separation Saturday provided great clarity as five of the six winners are still in contention for a playoff berth while the six losers and ASU have been eliminated from contention.

More than 2,000 years ago, another type of separation occurred on a Friday. The night before Separation Friday Jesus prayed:

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:42 – 44

Jesus’ anguish was not primarily about the physical pain he would endure in the next 24 hours.  Yes, what he went through physically was grueling but his “overwhelming sorrow” was primarily about his pending separation from His Father in that instant when all of humankind’s sins were placed upon him:

Matthew 27:46 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus, the man, was expressing His feelings of abandonment as God placed the sins of the world on Him – and because of that had to “turn away” from Jesus. As Jesus was feeling that weight of sin, He was experiencing separation from God for the only time in all of eternity.

Jesus was made a sin-offering, and He died in our place, on our account, that He might bring us near to God.  As recorded in John 19:30 Jesus said, “It is finished.” The Greek word for “it is finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” When Jesus uttered those words, He declared that He wiped away our debts forever. Separation Friday provided the most decisive, important outcome in history – Jesus saved the world.

As we start the Christmas season and we celebrate Jesus in a manger also remember the cross. Remember what Jesus chose to do on the cross for each of us: He chose to carry out his most difficult moment of being separated from His Father for each of us.

1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

In His Service,

Ed

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 6, 2014 in God's Love

 

Tags: , ,

Idol Threats?

 

screenshot

There are many types of threats in the world today: terrorist threats, virus threats, economic threats, infrastructure threats, natural disaster threats, global warming, meteoroids, earthquakes. The list goes on and on.

Do you think about these types of threats? Do you worry about these types of threats? Are these threats real or just idle threats? I recently read a quote from Tim Keller regarding a different type of threat. Paraphrasing him:

Atheism is not a problem for most.  But allowing God to live side-by-side with our idols – that is our biggest problem.

In his book, Counterfeit Gods Tim defines an idol as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…”

John puts idols in three categories in 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh (possessions), the lust of the eyes (pleasure), and the pride of life (power)—comes not from the Father but from the world.” We all struggle with one or more of these types of idols.

My idol is sports. I spend way too much time reading about sports and watching sports.  Above is a screenshot of my iPhone. You notice my ESPN app is right next to my YouVersion Bible app. In addition, if you look carefully at the screenshot, you will see a capital G in the background. No, not G as in God, but G as inGeorgia logoeorgia football.

It is very easy for me to put sports ahead of God. I imagine most of us struggle with placing stuff above God. So how do we put God in His rightful place of being #1? I believe there are three keys:

  1. Complete an assessment. How are you spending your time and your money? What occupies your thought life? What do you obsess about? What do you put into your mind? 
  1. Put a governor on your idol. It doesn’t have to be cold turkey but limit your spending on your idol, limit the time you spend on your idol, and control what you put into your mind.  Be intentional.
  1. Most of all let God transform you. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

God promises to transform us if we do our part – renew our minds by reading his Word, control what we put into our mind, and control how we spend our time. This is not easy – most likely, these are long term habits that we need to break. But the benefits are so worth it for only then can we receive what only God can provide…peace, purpose, and a passion to serve Him.

1 Thessalonians 1:9b “…you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God.”

In His Service,

Ed

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 7, 2014 in God's Word

 

Tags: , , ,

War and Peace?

war and peace

A few weeks back I wrote about how Madison Avenue is playing off of Paul Revere’s famous ride (Start Spreading the News?). This got me thinking about Madison Avenue more broadly and the overall purpose of marketing.

The main objective of any marketing, of course, is to convince us to buy their products. And one of the main methods advertisers employ is to try to convince us we are not good enough, we don’t have enough, and we aren’t significant enough.

The basic message is we deserve whatever they are selling and we will be happier if we buy their products. The result is an internal battle between what we need and what we want; between what we can afford and what we spend; between being content with what we have and constantly seeking more.

This is also the main strategy of Satan – to convince us we aren’t good enough, we don’t have enough and we aren’t significant enough. Satan’s main purpose is to deceive us into a lack of peace so we will buy what he is selling: Lust of the eyes (possessions), lust of the flesh (pleasure) and the pride of life (power).

Satan wants us to be at war with ourselves; a war between what is right and what is wrong; a war between selfishness and selflessness; a war between peace and discontentment.

So what exactly is peace? According to Webster’s the definition is: “Freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations; in a state of concord or tranquility.”

What is the source of peace? According to the Bible: John 14:26-27 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

How do we attain peace? Here is a something I recently read that is so good: “True peace comes as a gift from God to those who seek his will alone for their lives. It comes to those who give their lives in service to others, who are honest and humble, who care and trust. It comes to those who forgive.”

How do we know if we have peace? I believe there are three traits of person at peace.

  1. A thankful heart. Ephesians 5:20: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  If we are thankful then we won’t be searching for what we don’t have.
  2. A lack of anxiousness. Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  By trusting Him we are given supernatural peace.
  3. Reaction to trials. James 1:2–4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” We trust Him because we know there is a greater purpose to our trials.

 Lastly, if you are not at peace I would challenge you in three ways:

1.     Are you spending enough time in prayer, in the word and in community?

2.     Do you really believe that God only wants the best for your life? In other words do you trust Him?

3.     Are you loving people by being selfless (humble), by serving, and by sharing the Good News?

Philippians 4:8–9: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

In His Service,

Ed

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 26, 2013 in God's Peace

 

Tags: , , , ,

Start Spreading the News?

Paul RevereI have been writing about how the Bible instructs us to love people. I wrote about loving others as Jesus did by being humble – by putting other people and their needs ahead of our own needs: Humble Pie?  Then I wrote that we are to love people by using our gifts to serve: Football Dynasty?

How else are we to love people?

Some of you may have noticed that Paul Revere is in vogue on Madison Avenue in NY, NY – at least two companies are playing off of his famous ride. In one ad an insurance company uses the line “Happier than Paul Revere with a cell phone.” In the other ad a car company modifies his famous line to “The Italians are coming.”

Not sure why Mr. Revere is so popular at the moment but it caused me to think about his famous ride and his warning that “the British are coming.” I did a little research and found some interesting facts:

  1. Revere did not shout the phrase attributed to him “The British are coming!”, but rather “The Regulars are coming out.” ***
  2. The “alarm and muster” system that was developed to warn the colonists was so effective that within an hour people in towns 25 miles from Boston were aware of the British army’s movements.
  3. The message was ultimately delivered by not just Paul Revere but by over 40 riders.

What does Paul Revere have to do with loving people? Getting the message out and spreading the news to the colonists was critically important to saving the lives of thousands of people.

Another Paul had a critical message to get out as well – a message that has saved more than 2 billion lives: 

“They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.” (Acts 28:23, 24 NIV)

Paul was acting on the last command Jesus gave before ascending into Heaven. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Paul Revere had thousands of lives to save. The message of Jesus communicated through Paul and countless others has saved billions.  You may not have that many people counting on you but there may be 1 or 10 or 100 people depending on you to share the message of Jesus’ salvation.

How are we to love people? We are to love people by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. While it is not our responsibility to save it is our responsibility to share. While we don’t know who will believe and who will not believe just as Paul experienced, we do know Jesus was clear on our assignment.

Who is your person? Who is counting on you to start spreading the news?

In His Service,

Ed

 *** Paul Revere’s mission depended on secrecy.  Since the countryside was filled with British army patrols shouting “the British are coming” would not have been the best approach. In addition, most of the Massachusetts colonists (who were predominantly English in ethnic origin) still considered themselves British. Revere’s warning, according to eyewitness accounts of the ride, was “the Regulars are coming out.”

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Community

 

Tags: , , ,

Football Dynasty?

duck dynasty

Last week I wrote about loving others as Jesus did by being humble – by putting other people and their needs ahead of our own needs: Humble Pie? How else are we to love people as Jesus did?

There is a story circulating around church circles and in the media about Terry Bradshaw (Hall of Fame and 4-time Super Bowl winning QB) playing backup quarterback at Louisiana Tech to a country boy named Phil. Phil was a good QB but football was not his passion – his passion was hunting and fishing. He loved to hunt and fish so much that he gave up his senior season of football and a possible NFL career to go hunting full-time.

Well you know the rest of the story – Phil Robertson started Duck Commander in 1972 and now is the world’s largest duck call seller. Phil has been quoted as saying “Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks.” By chasing the ducks, by chasing his passion, and using his talents, Phil not only created an empire and is a star of the reality show Duck Dynasty, he is now leading people to Christ through his ministry. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Community

 

Tags: , ,

Humble Pie?

humble pie

I have been writing about how the Bible can be summarized in Matthew 22:36-40 as love God; love people. I covered the love God part in: Love Rules?, Love Hurts?, and Less is More?

So what about the second part – how are we to love people?

Before being crucified, Jesus gave His last commandment to his disciples in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So if we are to love people as Jesus loved how did He love? What is the model of love? Sure Jesus took care of needs, He provided, He taught, He heeled, but most of all He loved by being humble: Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in God's Love

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: