What is success?

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 in Pastor's Blog | 0 comments

Most of us want to feel successful in life, but before we decide what to strive for, we need to think about the question “What is success?”  Is it making a certain amount of money, attaining a certain position in our vocation, being a recognized leader in the community, or accumulating earthly goods?

A study of the subject in the Bible tells us that none of those things should be the way we measure success.  Rather, success comes by expending all of our energies to glorify God.   Whether we design websites, scrub floors, teach pre-schoolers, or research cures for cancer, we can do it for the glory of God.  Otherwise, we have to agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes, who says all toil under the sun is “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”   We are assured in Matthew 7:21-27 that if we build our lives on any other foundation than the solid Rock of Jesus Christ, that when the storm comes, our lives will come down with a great crash.    If we are to be wise in how we define and attain success, we need to be sure that we are basing it on a foundation that will last through every storm of life.

“GET UP!”

Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 in Pastor's Blog | 0 comments

All of us need healing of some kind:  some need physical healing, some need spiritual healing, some need emotional healing, and some need relational healing.  When we look at Jesus, we see the model healer.

 

This past weekend, I heard a great message by Reggie Dabbs at the United Methodist Youth Rally in Ocean City.  He talked about how in John, Jesus confronts an invalid who sits day after day by a pool waiting for the stirring of the waters, hoping he can get in before someone else does.   Jesus asks him a simple question: “Do you want to be well?”  The man starts in with his excuses as to why he isn’t well yet….no one to help him…someone always gets there before him.  Jesus dismisses all the man’s excuses and gives him a command:  “GET UP!”

I think that too often we sit passively by the “pool,” wanting to be well, but making excuses as to why we’re not.   Let’s hear the command of Jesus to “GET UP!” and move out in faith.  The invalid didn’t know he was healed until he tried to put weight on his once useless ankles, and found out that they could actually hold his weight!   Take a step in faith and hear the voice of Jesus to “GET UP!” – to take action – to be a part of the healing, and do whatever it is God is asking you to do in order to be healed…including forgiving others, denying yourself, or choosing God above the things of this world.  Take the challenge!

Variations on a Game Plan

Posted by on Dec 31, 2011 in Pastor's Blog | 3 comments

At my house, ’tis the season for watching college football.  I have been married to a football coach for over 16 years, and it’s amazing how much football I have watched, and yet it never seems to get boring.  I guess it’s because there are so many things that can happen within the structure of a game plan.  One time I saw one of my husband’s game plans, and it listed several different plays for each possible situation they might find themselves in.  And depending on how each play goes, so many things can happen to change the course of the game.  Now that’s a lot of variation!

I think this gives us insight into our lives in Christ.  While God has a master game plan for each of us – to be in relationship with His Son Jesus – there are so many variations that can take shape within the master game plan.  When we factor in our individual choices, the mistakes we make, where we live, who we marry (or don’t), what do choose for a vocation, (etc) we can see the opportunities for an infinite number of variations in our lives.  But regardless of how many changes we experience, we need to keep our eyes on the master game plan – of living our lives in relationship with our Best Friend and Savior Jesus Christ.  That theme colors each variation with hope, joy, and purpose.  Stick with (or get with) God’s Game Plan!

 

Against the Wind

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Pastor's Blog | 0 comments

Ienjoy bike riding as a variation from my normal workouts, but you might call me a fair-weather biker, because I don’t like it when it’s too hot, too cold, or too windy.  Even when the temperature is nice, wind is particularly uncomfortable because there’s just too much resistance.  But I keep reminding myself that the resistance makes for a better workout…that both my legs and my heart must work harder when I’m riding into the wind.  And if the goal is to get a workout, then I should welcome the unwelcome resistance.

I think in life we also try to avoid resistance…  Our human nature, if not unchecked by the Holy Spirit, looks for the easy road.  But Jesus didn’t take the easy road, and as His followers, we shouldn’t either.  I have found that the times when I have experienced the most significant spiritual growth have been when I was “riding into the wind.”  Difficult and challenging circumstances force us to our knees.  It is there that we are reminded that only God can carry us through whatever we’re facing, and that God always has a better plan on how to navigate the turbulence.   Resistance keeps us humble and yielded.

Next time you’re riding into the wind, remember the one who holds the wind and humbly seek guidance to navigate, the strength to endure, and the wisdom to learn and grow from the experience.

 

Life and Death at Christmas

Posted by on Dec 22, 2011 in Pastor's Blog | 0 comments

Having to conduct two funerals in the week leading up to Christmas this year has forced me to look closely at the juxtaposition of life and death around the story of Christ.  We do not ask to be born, and we do not ask to die. Both events happen to us.  In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul said “For we do not live to ourselves alone and we do not die to ourselves alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:8-9)  Percy Dearmer said: “The good is that the Christmas story is not just a narrative about events in a stable 2000 years ago, although it is that, it is about God forever holding together birth and death, despair and hope; it is about the way we live life in every sense as we, and as our incarnate Lord, know it.”   The message of Christmas is inseparable from the message of Easter:  That Jesus was born – in order to die – so that we might live forever.  If you have been touched by death this Christmas season, know that because of Christmas – and Easter – that death has been swallowed up in victory!