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Monthly Archives: October 2010

The curiosity of Facebook

I recently reconnected with some friends from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away through Facebook. One of them contacted me out of the blue and it prompted a “Whatever happened to . . . ?” series of questions. Crank up the search tools and my “friend” list increased. That in turn led to some “Facebook stalking”–as my daughter calls it–cruising through my friends’ friend lists to see who else I’ve forgotten. That in turn led to another raft of questions about relationships.

  • When _____ lists their relationships, how come their father is listed, but not their mother? Did they have a falling out?
  • Why is _______’s siblings not listed? Are they not on Facebook? Do they block their relationships?
  • Why does ___ list their kids, but not their spouse? Are they still married? Divorced? What happened?

Now that I have more questions than answers, how do I satisfy my curiosity without directly asking the questions? That being said, does Facebook really promote community or is it simply a tool for stealth networking?

 
 

Don’t take matters into your own hands

When life doesn’t turn out as we hoped, we can become frustrated and impatient. We are tempted to take control and force our will in our time. Rushing into marriage, giving our boss a piece of our mind, moving forward without permission, changing jobs on a whim, getting even with enemies, and seeking fulfillment through drugs, sex, and alcohol are but a few examples of attempts to get our way in life.

In 1 Samuel 24, David provides an example of how to resist that temptation. When King Saul steps into a cave to take a royal bathroom break, he unknowingly places himself in David’s hands. David can kill the king and take the throne or he can practice a “catch and release” approach. Rather than taking matters into his own hands, David does what is right and waits for God’s timing.

Here are the principles that guided David’s actions:

  • Don’t rationalize (4). Far too often we employ the “it must be the Lord’s will” to justify our actions.
  • Listen to your conscience (5). God gave us a conscience for a reason–to keep us from sinning.
  • Don’t ignore God’s instructions (6). If Scripture is clear on an issue, obey it.
  • Resist peer pressure (7). Just because everyone you know says, “Do it!” doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. Stand for your convictions and do what is right, even if it is not popular.
  • Graciously speak the truth (8-11). You may need to confront your accusers. Speak truth, but do it with grace and love.
  • Honor the position even if you can’t honor the person (10). Despite the fact that Saul repeatedly tried to kill David, David still treated him with respect because he was “the Lord’s anointed.” Salute the rank even if you can’t salute the man.
  • Trust God for the outcome (12-15). Trust the just judge to settle the accounts in his time.

When we do what is right, God can make our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). That is evident by how Saul responds to David in the remainder of 1 Samuel 24. He exonerates David (16-17) and notes that he showed grace instead of the typical military strategy of destroying one’s enemies (18-19). Saul acknowledges that David will be the next king of Israel (20). When that occurs, Saul asks David to be merciful to Saul’s family (21).

Rather than take matters into your own hands, do what is right and wait for God’s timing.

 
 

Preaching + Prayer = Power

“All preaching must be prayerful, because no preaching is effective unless God is at work in it. We can plant and water as much as we like, but without God there will be no growth (1 Cor 3:6). Indeed, without the powerful work of God’s Spirit within, there will be no understanding of the passage by the preacher, and no understanding and conviction within those who hear. We need God to be at work at every point in the process, and so we need to be in prayer at every point in the process.”

The Archer and the Arrow: Preaching the very word of God, by Phillip  D. Jensen and Paul Grimmond

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Books, Preaching, Quotes

 

Pre-blessed food

Watch the video of the latest idea in time saving prayers. As the friend who sent it to me said, “The sad part is that might be a few people who think this is a good idea.”

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Fun, Prayer

 

Living with a sense of purpose

My wife came across the encouraging story of Henry Peterson. It appears in numerous places on the internet. I hope it encourages you as it did me.

The Georgetown Coach Lou Little stood on the sideline watching the players practice shaking his head in disbelief. It was a Monday morning and to say that some of the guys were tanking it in would be an understatement. He blew his whistle, called everybody together in the center of the field, and started to let them know his feelings.

After ranting about commitment and desire he turned and pointed to Henry Peterson. “Look at this guy” the coach, said “He’s been on our team for four years and never played a down. He’s first at practice and last to leave. He studies film, works out in his spare time and never complains when he doesn’t start. This guy is the glue that holds our team together. I wish you guys could follow Henry’s example more often.”

In Henry’s senior year, Georgetown had the best season in the school’s history. They were due to play Fordham University with their last game to win the state championship. This was the biggest game in the schools history, and excitement was at fever pitch.

The Monday prior to the game Coach Little was walking off the field after practice when Henry approached him. Henry said that his father had passed away that weekend and that there was to be a memorial service for him that Saturday. Much to the coach’s amazement, Henry apologized and said that he needed to be at the service.

Coach Little told Henry to go with his blessing and as a mark of respect the team would say a prayer for his dad before each practice and they’d also dedicate the game to his memory.

On the morning of the big game the Coach was in his office going over some last minute plans for the game when the door burst open and Henry walked in.

“Henry, what are you doing here, I thought it was the memorial service this morning.” Coach Little said.
“It was coach, but I felt like I had to be here. This has been my family for the last 4 years and I know my dad would want me to be here”
“Well ok, if you’re sure. Of course it’s great to have you”
“Coach, can I ask a favor?”
“Sure Henry, anything for you, you know that”
“Coach, I want to start today”
“Well Henry, I know I said anything, but I’m really not sure about that. This is the biggest game in the schools history”
“If you start me coach, I promise that the first missed assignment, dropped ball or mistake of any type you can pull me out the game.
The Coach looked hesitant, but he could see something in Henry’s eyes that made him believe that this young man wasn’t going to let him down.
“Well, ok Henry, but one mistake and you’re out, ok?”
“You got it Coach” and with that Henry turned and left the coach looking rather bemused.

That day Henry Peterson made 15 tackles and assisted in 11 more. He caused one fumble, recovered another and had an interception for the winning touchdown as Georgetown beat Fordham. He was voted Most Valuable Player and in short played the kind of game that people are talking about 60 years later.

After the game Coach Little ran onto the field and hugged Henry.

“Henry, why didn’t you tell me you could play like that, I had no idea. I could have used you for the last 4 years, but I never saw it in practice.”
“Did you ever meet my father Coach?”
“No, I didn’t have that privilege. I saw you walking round the field arm in arm with him a couple of times and I’m sorry now I didn’t come and say hello”
“Well coach, my father was blind and today was the first time he got to see me play football”

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Character, Passion

 

The task of a preacher

In their book, The archer and the arrow: Preaching the very words of God, authors Phillip D. Jensen and Paul Grimmond set about to explain what they call the preacher’s mission statement:

My aim is to preach the gospel by prayerfully expounding the Bible to the people God has given me to love.

I like this statement. I also found their explanation helpful as well. They explain that we need to remember that

pastors don’t preach to the church they create but to the congregation that God gathers and places under their care. The people in our ministry are God’s not ours. The goal of ministry isn’t to grow our personal kingdom but God’s kingdom, and the pastor’s job is not primarily to rule the church, but to love God’s people–to love them by preaching the gospel through prayerful Bible exposition.

The keys to this statement are the words, “preach the gospel,” “prayerfully expounding the Bible,” and “the people God has given me to love.” Taking this statement to heart could transform how a pastor serves God’s people and preaches the Scriptures. I hope it changes how I preach.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Books, Ministry, Preaching, Quotes

 

God’s generous provision

Less than seven weeks after I sent out my fundraising letter, God answered prayer. My trip to Russia in February 2011 is now fully funded! People were extremely generous, both in cash given and airline miles donated. So much came in that my wife is now able to go with me. I’ve spent the past two days booking airfare and lodging.

I will be teaching a course at the House of Grace in Tsibanobalka, Russia, just off the northern coast of the Black Sea. Now that the fundraising is out of the way, I can focus on preparing for my class. I will be teaching the book of Joshua and the leadership principles in the book to a group of Russian pastors and emerging leaders.

Thank you Lord for your gracious provision. Thank you that there is a team of people supporting and praying for me. Thank you for your generous gifts. Thank you that my wife is able to go with me. May your name be praised and glorified in this ministry.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Ministry, Prayer

 
 
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