Archive for August, 2003

God’s Call for Justice – Amos 4-6

Amos 5:21-24
21 “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. 22 I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fundraising schemes, your public relations and image making. 23 I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? 24 Do you know what I want? I want justice–oceans of it. I want fairness–rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

These verses in Amos cause me to reflect on what it is the Church should be to our world, to ourselves and to God. It is easy to get caught up on mission statements, vision statements, slogan, fundraising and other church growth mechanisms and forget about why you are there. I don’t believe God is saying these things are wrong. I do believe he is saying these are the tools of connecting with our world for evangelism, connecting with each other for fellowship and connecting with God in worship. The church exists to bring glory to God. Every thing else must be viewed as a tool, means or method or bringing this glory. The church is in real danger of focusing too much on the methods instead of the message. The church must be about justice and fairness in our world. We can use ethical methods to achieve it, but the goals must be to achieve fairness and justice in God’s name. We should utilize and be thankful for all of the tools God has given us, but we must never let the tools over take our primary concern of bringing glory to God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all of the wonderful and useful tool you have given us such as marketing, fundraising, visioning and seeker meetings. Thank you for the wisdom to see these as tools and methods, but not the ends. Thank you for loving us enough to forgive us when we sometimes get caught up in the means and forget the ends. Help all of us to remember our real purpose – to bring glory to God. Help us remember you receive glory when we fight for justice and fairness in your name. Help us to remember the worlds of Matthew 25:34-45 and James 1:27. Father, I love you and thank you for the call on my life to be a bringer of fairness and justice. Use me to build a representation of your church which truly builds a community of faith that embraces your ideals. Thank you. Amen.

God’s Call for Justice – Amos 4-6

Amos 5:21-24
21 “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. 22 I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fundraising schemes, your public relations and image making. 23 I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? 24 Do you know what I want? I want justice–oceans of it. I want fairness–rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

These verses in Amos cause me to reflect on what it is the Church should be to our world, to ourselves and to God. It is easy to get caught up on mission statements, vision statements, slogan, fundraising and other church growth mechanisms and forget about why you are there. I don’t believe God is saying these things are wrong. I do believe he is saying these are the tools of connecting with our world for evangelism, connecting with each other for fellowship and connecting with God in worship. The church exists to bring glory to God. Every thing else must be viewed as a tool, means or method or bringing this glory. The church is in real danger of focusing too much on the methods instead of the message. The church must be about justice and fairness in our world. We can use ethical methods to achieve it, but the goals must be to achieve fairness and justice in God’s name. We should utilize and be thankful for all of the tools God has given us, but we must never let the tools over take our primary concern of bringing glory to God.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all of the wonderful and useful tool you have given us such as marketing, fundraising, visioning and seeker meetings. Thank you for the wisdom to see these as tools and methods, but not the ends. Thank you for loving us enough to forgive us when we sometimes get caught up in the means and forget the ends. Help all of us to remember our real purpose – to bring glory to God. Help us remember you receive glory when we fight for justice and fairness in your name. Help us to remember the worlds of Matthew 25:34-45 and James 1:27. Father, I love you and thank you for the call on my life to be a bringer of fairness and justice. Use me to build a representation of your church which truly builds a community of faith that embraces your ideals. Thank you. Amen.

Our Choice To Be One of The Chosen- Amos 1-3

God created humanity. God then gave us the opportunity to follow his perfect plan, which we rejected. Next, God chose a people (the Israelites) to be the path through which he would welcome the whole world back into the fold. This time his chosen people rejected him and killed him. However, in his divine plan this death was the pathway for all to know God again through his son, Jesus Christ. However, most people have still chosen to reject God choice to have us in his family. The real problem seems to be a lack of fear of God. Amos 3:3 says, “Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?” God has given us a perfect destination, but we chose not to follow. Yet we often complain that we do not have God’s help in our lives. Amos lays it on the line. How can we expect to receive Gods blessing and help when we chose to not walk hand in hand with him? We want to do our own thing and have God bless it. It simply does not work that way. God gives us the perfect way and we chose to take his hand and walk along, or we chose to follow our own path.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for loving each of us enough to extend your hand of acceptance, forgiveness and peace. Thank you for loving us enough to keep your hand out there even though we walk right by it time after time. Thank you for loving us enough to make sure the opportunity for walking with you is presented many times throughout our lives. Help me to never let go of your hand and the path you have set before me. Help me to clearly see the way you are leading. I thank you for loving me so much that you use my hand in yours as a gentle guide when needed and a forceful push or pull when necessary. Help me to see your love and grace every day. I love and adore you. Amen.

Our Choice To Be One of The Chosen- Amos 1-3

God created humanity. God then gave us the opportunity to follow his perfect plan, which we rejected. Next, God chose a people (the Israelites) to be the path through which he would welcome the whole world back into the fold. This time his chosen people rejected him and killed him. However, in his divine plan this death was the pathway for all to know God again through his son, Jesus Christ. However, most people have still chosen to reject God choice to have us in his family. The real problem seems to be a lack of fear of God. Amos 3:3 says, “Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?” God has given us a perfect destination, but we chose not to follow. Yet we often complain that we do not have God’s help in our lives. Amos lays it on the line. How can we expect to receive Gods blessing and help when we chose to not walk hand in hand with him? We want to do our own thing and have God bless it. It simply does not work that way. God gives us the perfect way and we chose to take his hand and walk along, or we chose to follow our own path.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for loving each of us enough to extend your hand of acceptance, forgiveness and peace. Thank you for loving us enough to keep your hand out there even though we walk right by it time after time. Thank you for loving us enough to make sure the opportunity for walking with you is presented many times throughout our lives. Help me to never let go of your hand and the path you have set before me. Help me to clearly see the way you are leading. I thank you for loving me so much that you use my hand in yours as a gentle guide when needed and a forceful push or pull when necessary. Help me to see your love and grace every day. I love and adore you. Amen.

What We Do In Darkness – Luke 22-24

“…But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.” These are the words spoken by Jesus in Luke 22:53b when he is taken by the guards of the Chief Priests. It is ironic that the Chief Priest and the other Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious and supposedly righteous leaders of the people, have to take Jesus in darkness if they hope to not face resistance from the people. It is a prime of example of people who are so blind to the truth they are willing to do unjust thinks to accomplish what their warped minds consider to be just. How often do – even those of us who are Christ-followers – do things behind peoples backs or in the dark of night because we believe what we are doing is for the greater good. As Christ-followers should we not be held to a higher standard of conduct? Even those who follow Jesus will never be perfect, but we do need to make sure our motives are truly pure and are methods are just as pure. Doing the right thing in the wrong was is still wrong. As Christ-followers we must make sure we do not have to do our actions when darkness reigns.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for setting a standard that is higher than any other. Thank you for calling us to the same standard. Thank you for calling us to be beacons of light to our world. Thank you for calling us to be examples to all those around us. Lord, help me to be that kind of example each and every day. Help me to live a life as you would want me to live it. Thank you for making that possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. I love you. Amen.

What We Do In Darkness – Luke 22-24

“…But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.” These are the words spoken by Jesus in Luke 22:53b when he is taken by the guards of the Chief Priests. It is ironic that the Chief Priest and the other Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious and supposedly righteous leaders of the people, have to take Jesus in darkness if they hope to not face resistance from the people. It is a prime of example of people who are so blind to the truth they are willing to do unjust thinks to accomplish what their warped minds consider to be just. How often do – even those of us who are Christ-followers – do things behind peoples backs or in the dark of night because we believe what we are doing is for the greater good. As Christ-followers should we not be held to a higher standard of conduct? Even those who follow Jesus will never be perfect, but we do need to make sure our motives are truly pure and are methods are just as pure. Doing the right thing in the wrong was is still wrong. As Christ-followers we must make sure we do not have to do our actions when darkness reigns.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for setting a standard that is higher than any other. Thank you for calling us to the same standard. Thank you for calling us to be beacons of light to our world. Thank you for calling us to be examples to all those around us. Lord, help me to be that kind of example each and every day. Help me to live a life as you would want me to live it. Thank you for making that possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. I love you. Amen.

Giving From the Heart – Luke 19-21

I a fundraising professional, I often think of the reason why people give. There has been much written about the “face of philanthropy.” It is interesting because while there are many wonderful reasons to give, there is only one true motivation. Giving must come from the heart. In Luke 21:1-4 Jesus tells the story of the poor widow who gave to copper coins. These coins were not worth much by worldly standards, but they were worth an amazing amount by heart standards. A friend of mine is selling his prized Ford Mustang so he can give the proceeds to the church. The car is probably worth about $10,000. This will be a nice sized gift for the church, but more importantly he is giving up something very important to him for the work of God. That is true giving. The value of the gift does not come from the monetary sacrifice; it comes from the heart sacrifice.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for giving us stories such as the Widow’s Mite to show us what is true giving. Thank you for dying on a cross to show us the true meaning of giving. Thank you for showing us unconditional love as an example of true giving. Help me each and every day to accept that love and become a person who can truly give. Help me to serve you out of a heart that is giving and not always looking to receive. Help me to love you more completely every day. Amen.

Giving From the Heart – Luke 19-21

I a fundraising professional, I often think of the reason why people give. There has been much written about the “face of philanthropy.” It is interesting because while there are many wonderful reasons to give, there is only one true motivation. Giving must come from the heart. In Luke 21:1-4 Jesus tells the story of the poor widow who gave to copper coins. These coins were not worth much by worldly standards, but they were worth an amazing amount by heart standards. A friend of mine is selling his prized Ford Mustang so he can give the proceeds to the church. The car is probably worth about $10,000. This will be a nice sized gift for the church, but more importantly he is giving up something very important to him for the work of God. That is true giving. The value of the gift does not come from the monetary sacrifice; it comes from the heart sacrifice.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for giving us stories such as the Widow’s Mite to show us what is true giving. Thank you for dying on a cross to show us the true meaning of giving. Thank you for showing us unconditional love as an example of true giving. Help me each and every day to accept that love and become a person who can truly give. Help me to serve you out of a heart that is giving and not always looking to receive. Help me to love you more completely every day. Amen.

Would We Listen to the Dead? – Luke 16-18

Would we listen to the dead? This seems like a strange and impossible question. As a Christ-follower I know it is not possible to talk with the dead (no matter what John Edwards or anyone else say), but the question is still valid. In Luke 16 the rich man who has died asks Abraham to send the dead beggar (who sat at his gate everday) to go and tell the rest of his family what has happen to him. He wants them to know the agony of hell he will experience for eternity. However, Abraham says that they should listen to the law and the prophet. If they will not listen to the law and the prophets they will not listen to a man returned from the dead. This leads me back to the question – Would we listen to the dead? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be NO. Jesus returned from the dead for our salvation, yet most will not heed his call. We are so wrapped up in ourselves we conveniently ignore the signs God places before us every day that prove his is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We ignore the signs that prove he is the one true God as expressed in the Word of God (Bible).

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your willingness to reveal yourself to all those who seek you. Thank you for giving each of us the opportunity to discover the truth of your Word and deed. Thank you for loving us enough to submit to death on a cross for our salvation. Help me to accept the true meaning and ramifications of that death each and every day. Help me to live as a person forgiven and regenerated. Help me to follow your voice and move in your direction. I love you. Amen.

Would We Listen to the Dead? – Luke 16-18

Would we listen to the dead? This seems like a strange and impossible question. As a Christ-follower I know it is not possible to talk with the dead (no matter what John Edwards or anyone else say), but the question is still valid. In Luke 16 the rich man who has died asks Abraham to send the dead beggar (who sat at his gate everday) to go and tell the rest of his family what has happen to him. He wants them to know the agony of hell he will experience for eternity. However, Abraham says that they should listen to the law and the prophet. If they will not listen to the law and the prophets they will not listen to a man returned from the dead. This leads me back to the question – Would we listen to the dead? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be NO. Jesus returned from the dead for our salvation, yet most will not heed his call. We are so wrapped up in ourselves we conveniently ignore the signs God places before us every day that prove his is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We ignore the signs that prove he is the one true God as expressed in the Word of God (Bible).

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your willingness to reveal yourself to all those who seek you. Thank you for giving each of us the opportunity to discover the truth of your Word and deed. Thank you for loving us enough to submit to death on a cross for our salvation. Help me to accept the true meaning and ramifications of that death each and every day. Help me to live as a person forgiven and regenerated. Help me to follow your voice and move in your direction. I love you. Amen.