Wednesday, December 23, 2009
"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
I know that 2009 has been a very tough year for many. Maybe, it has been tough because of the economy, because of difficult relationships or because of challenging health issues or for dozens of different reasons. Regardless of your situation, there is Hope for you. Hope because God sent His son into the world that we might live through Him.
I don't know about you but I am putting my Hope in the one who came to rescue me. My hope is that you will do the same...
Monday, December 14, 2009
An added benefit for me was some additional time to read, reflect and refocus on my relationship with Christ. I have been going so fast trying to do so many things for the past few months that I realized that even my time with the Lord has been rushed. I have lost out as a result. I become worried and focused on many things and rush through my time with Him.
The Lord reminded me that He is not rushed, He is not in a hurry and the He longs for me to be with Him just as I long to be with my wife and family. My tendency is to be like Martha and not Mary-a passage that I spoke on the Sunday before my time away where Jesus made it clear that only one thing is needed.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
As we move into the busy rush of Christmas-my commitment is to take time to stop everything and reflect on my relationship with Christ and His love for me. What about you???
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
-I am celebrating one year of ministry here at the Bridge Church. I am so grateful to be here with so many amazing people who love God, each other and want to share the love and hope they have in Christ with this community and city. Thanks for the privilege of doing life together.
-I am celebrating new life. We have several people who will be baptized this Sunday. I never get over the transforming power of the gospel. May we be faithful to continually proclaim it.
-I am celebrating the fact that I work with a great staff and leadership team who love each other and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach a lost and dying world.
-I am celebrating God's faithfulness to provide for His ministry, for my life and for my family. God is SO GOOD!!!
-Finally, I am celebrating the fact that I can to take a couple of days off this week to be with my family and give Thanks for all that God has done and is doing in our lives. I am looking forward to slowing down a little to do this.
So, I'm curious. What are you celebrating this week? I'd love to hear from you.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Many people came to turning points in their lives as they came face to face with Jesus. They had to decide what to do with some new truth or idea that they had never considered.
This week we are going to look at Mark 2:1-12 and talk about "Our Greatest Need". Four friends brought their friend who was paralyzed to Jesus so that He would heal him. But instead of healing Him, this is what happened.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
What do you think the four friends are thinking? What is going through the mind of the man who was paralyzed? Why would Jesus forgive the man instead of healing Him?
What is the point Jesus is trying to make? Maybe he is emphasizing that his real need is not what he thinks it is. Is is possible that what we think we really need is not what we actually need? Is it possible that the things that we want the most are rarely the things that we need the most? Maybe our real need is forgiveness and maybe once we understand that, then everything else looks different.
So, tell me what you think? What do you most people think is their greatest need today? Would they or you agree with Jesus?
Monday, September 28, 2009
Women Need Thoughtful Affection:
Women want to have a sense of closeness and connection with their husbands. They want to know that they are number one in their life and that they are on their minds. Gary Smalley in his book "Love is A Decision" says there are at least five ways to communicate affection to your wives:
1. Words of Affirmation: Never underestimate the amazing power of positive and affirming words in your relationship.
2. Quality Time: Means exactly what it says that you set aside time in your calendar and schedule to spend quality time with her. I believe that you need to find a way to do this for a few minutes each day if at all possible and then you find a way once a week to have extended time together.
3. Gifts - flowers, cards,candy etc. These gifts don’t have to be large ones-in fact sometimes the small ones matter the most. Gifts are just one way of telling her how much you love and appreciate her.
4. Physical displays (touch). Hugs, holding hands, etc. And, I would add non sexual physical touch.
5. Acts of Service - helping around the house, washing the dishes, cooking dinner, taking out the trash, etc.
Take some time this week to discuss this area with the women in your life and find out what they have to say about this area of their life. Tell me what you think. I'd like to hear from you.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
You and I possess a great power that we seldom think about:
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Prov. 18:21).
Think about this: When it comes to COMMUNICATION:
7% is what you say
38% is how you say it
55% is your Body Language
My biggest challenge in communication is LISTENING... I must listen more than I speak, I must listen before I speak and I must seek to understand before I am understood.
So, how are you doing when it comes to communication? What will you focus on as you interact with your family, friends and others today? I would love to hear from you on this...
Monday, September 7, 2009
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26-27)
Relationships matter because of our design. God is a relational God who created us to be relational people. I am learning more and more the value of relationships and the need to make them a priority in my life. Relationships don't just happen, they occur when we make them a priority in our lives.
For the next few days, I am going to talk about the ways that we are designed for relationships. First of all, we are designed to connect. We are created to connect in relationships with God and each other. When we have no connection we experience loneliness and life loses meaning.
Learning to connect with others is vital for us to have the kind of life that we are designed to have. Connecting is something that takes time and attention in our lives. In order to connect with God and those we love, we must be intentional about focusing on them and getting to know them. We spend time with them and learn about them and allow them to learn about us.
So, I ask, how are your connections? Are you growing in your relationship with God and the people around you? What will you do today that allows you to deepen those connections?
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Paul committed his entire life to communicating this message of God's Grace. Communicating God's Grace is what mattered most to him and it was something that he was willing to die for and ultimately did. This was Paul's greatest passion.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
So, I've been asking myself: What is my greatest passion? What fuels my heart, what gets me up in the morning? What wakes me up in the middle of the night? I want that kind of passion for my life. This is what truly matters most in this life. I want that kind of passion for the people of the Bridge Church. I want this message to continually change me and to change the world in which I live. The message of God's Grace and hope is the message that is and will the focus of my life and of this church. May we be as passionate about living it and communicating it as Paul was.
The needs are great and the stakes are high. Why? Because every person matters to God. Every person needs to know about His grace and the Hope that comes through Jesus Christ. That is the reason why we are here.
So, I ask, what is your greatest passion????
Monday, July 20, 2009
I can spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and thinking of ways that I am better than they are. I can spend a lot of time thinking about how much better we do ministry than other churches. I can spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the best way to grow this church and advance the cause of Christ and if I am not careful, my real motive is that i want to make me look good.
So, whenever I read John 3:22-30 and listen to what John the Baptist had to say, I realize that I still have a long way to go in my walk with Christ. John had built up a great reputation and a big following of disciples. Many were coming out to hear him until Jesus came on the scene. All of a sudden John took a back seat to all of this.
Some of John's disciples were concerned that many were leaving John to follow Jesus. Perhaps they thought this would be an issue for their friend. John, on the other hand, was handling all of this quite well. John knew what his role was and was quite happy to fulfill that role and was able to celebrate all that Jesus was doing and he even encouraged people to follow him. John said...
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)
John's role was to point people to Jesus and trust God with the rest. That is what I want for my life. I want Jesus to become great and for me to become less. Pray for me to let this be the focus of my life. I will pray that it be the focus for you as well. If this is what we do as His church, then we will accomplish His purpose for our lives...
He must become greater; I must become less.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Earlier that evening Peter had declared his devotion to Jesus even if it meant that he would have to die.
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:33-34).
I love Peter because I can relate to him. He was so certain that he would stand firm and not fall away even though Jesus said that he would do so. You would think this would make Peter more aware of his actions, but he got caught up in what was happening and allowed his fear and insecurities to take over. He did exactly as Jesus had said he would.
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62).
Peter failed and when Jesus looked at him, he lost it. I believe that in that moment Jesus communicated to Peter that He still loved him and forgave him.
As I seek to follow Christ in my life there are still times when I blow it, when i fail and do something I should not do or fail to do something that I should. It is at these time that I need to be reminded that He knows all about me and yet he still loves me.
I am not saying we should excuse our sin and failure. I am saying that we need to remember that we have a Savior who knows we will do so and yet he still loves and forgives. I need to do this and maybe you need to as well...
Friday, July 3, 2009
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He first asked it of James and John who wanted Him to give them the honored positions of sitting beside Him when He set up His kingdom. They felt that they were important enough to be there, By the way, Jesus said that is not a request that I can grant. That responsibility belongs to someone else. And the other disciples were upset because they all felt they deserved to be in those positions.
The next time he asked it of Bartimaeus who was blind. Bartimaeus quickly responded that he wanted to see and that he believed Jesus could do that. And, Jesus did. He healed his eyes so that he could see.
Why did Jesus grant one request and not the other? Maybe the issue has to do with what we really want. So, maybe Jesus is asking me: What do you want me to do for you? That is a question the I will be thinking about today as I help to lead a funeral service, as I prepare for Sunday and even as I think about our celebrating our country’s independence tomorrow. I think I want Jesus to help us remember a dear saint who loved Him and loved His church. I also want Jesus to be the center of our worship on Sunday and I want to thank God for our freedom and I want to Honor Him with my life today and not focus on me-which i can easily do.
I think Jesus is asking you: “What do you want me to do for you?” What is your response? I would love to hear from you. Have a blessed and safe 4th of July weekend.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
These kinds of weeks can be very frustrating for me because I like to get things done. I admit that I am a driven person and I like to keep moving forward. Sometimes my highest priority becomes getting thing s done. So, today I came in ready to change the world. As I spent some time praying and following the Summer Bible Reading Plan that many at the Bridge are following, God reminded me of my Highest Priority.
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Today, my highest priority is not to focus on things that make me look good or even advance the mission of this church to make it look good here and in the city. I am not to try to please people and get them to like me. I am not to focus on getting a lot of things checked off my to do list. My Highest Priority today is the same as it is every day: Loving God and Loving People...
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The disciples had seen Jesus do so many amazing things and then when something happens that they were not anticipating they allow fear to take over their lives. I find myself doing the same thing several times in my day when something happens that I was not anticipating. It could be...
...an unexpected phone call
...an appointment with someone that does not go the way I was thinking
...a higher than expected bill
...an unexpected response from a friend
...changes in our world
You name it, it can be almost anything that can cause me to respond in fear. Yet, I know that I can trust Jesus to take care of each and every moment of my life. He always has and always will. SO the big question for me today is: Fear or Faith: Which one will drive me as I face whatever comes my way today? I'll let you know how it goes.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The Bible is, by far, the most unique book in all of human history. It was written over a period of 1,400 years, by over 40 different authors from very walk of life. It was written on three different continents in three different languages. Rulers and nations have tried to destroy it. Many have given their lives so that you and I can have access to it in a language that we can understand.
The Bible still remains the number one best seller each year. There are over 7 billion copies of the Bible in existence today. The United Bible Society distributed over 278,000,000 copies of all or portions of the Bible in 2007. It has been translated in to over 2,500 languages. Most of you reading this today have several different translations of the Bible in your homes.
For me, the big question for most of us not do I trust it or believe it, but am I getting into it and allowing God to speak to my life and change me? So, I simply ask: Are you getting into it today? If not , why not pick it up right now?
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I am reading a book by Wayne Cordeiro tilted, "Leading on Empty". It's a great book about our need to slow down and take time to refill our tanks and renew our passion.
In one of the chapters, he made some interesting statements. He said that 85% of what we do could be done by almost anyone else. 10% of what we do could be done by someone else with a little bit of training and education. But, only 5% of what we do can be done only by us. Pretty humbling to think as about, isn't it?
I have been giving a lot of thought to these statements over the last couple of days and I believe that he is correct. His point is that we must make certain that we take care of the top 5% of our lives first, if we don't do it, no one else can and no one else will.
So,as I have spent some time thinking, here are my top 5% that I must take responsibility for each and every day... These must get by best time and not my left over time.
1. A growing and vibrant personal relationship with Christ.
2. A genuine, healthy and authentic relationship with my wife and children.
3. Leading a God-honoring, Christ-centered ministry.
4. Taking responsibility for a physically healthy body and a creative mind.
5. Taking time to enjoy life with family and friends.
So, what do you think? What is it that you are doing that only you can do? What are your Top Five Percent? I'd love to hear from you...
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tomorrow is a day of Celebration for us at the Bridge. We are celebrating new life in Christ as we have several people who will be Baptized and we are celebrating Communion together. we are taking some time to pause, remember and celebrate our God and the things that He is doing in our lives. It will be a blast.
So, are you taking the time to pause and remember? What are you celebrating in your life? I would love to hear from you.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Last week, I had me first Memorial Service here at the Bridge Church. A dear saint who had walked with the Lord for over 60 years passed from this life into God's presence. We had a great celebration of her life. I loved hearing stories from the many people whose lives were touched by her faith.
We are in the process of looking for a home to buy and things have changed so much since we last did this that it is an entirely new and challenging experience for us. But God has provided a great Realtor to help us in this process. And we are catching glimpses of God as He closes some doors and opens others.
Then, last night we had an international experience with God's hand all over it. A couple from China cooked an authentic Chinese dinner for me and Kim and another couple from our church. The couple from China have been here for a year teaching at UNR (the University of Nevada here in Reno). They will return home in a few weeks. The food was amazing but the conversation was even better. They asked several questions about Christ and what it means to follow Him. I caught another glimpse of God as He is at work in their lives drawing them to Him.
These experiences, these glimpses of God are fueling my passion for Him.
How have you seen God recently in your life? What glimpses of Him are fueling your life today? I'd love to hear about them...
Friday, May 8, 2009
But this has been one of those weeks where I have felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the task. I have met with several people who are facing some very big challenges in their lives. I have also heard some stories of things that have brought tears to my eyes. It seems people are hurting now more than ever. Some are in pain because of mistakes they have made, some because of the mistakes of others and some because of the condition of our world.
There are hurting people all around us. In fact some of you reading this can relate on a personal level. We all can.
All of this reminds me that we desperately need each other. We need people in our lives who know us and love us. People who will reach out to us and will be available for us. People who will walk with us.
Today, I encourage you to reach out. Make yourself available to those around you. You never know what will happen in your life or in theirs as you do.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
What do you think?
Monday, April 27, 2009
Maybe what is happening is that God has his plans and He has another thought in mind for us-a thought that has never entered into our minds. This is what happened to Saul in Acts 9.
Saul is adamantly against the Christians. He has made plans to disrupt what they are doing and he believes that he is doing God's work. But, then, God steps in and changes everything. He stops what Saul is doing and actually redirects Saul's life to accomplish the plans that God has for him.
God does this. He stops us and changes things whenever he wants to in whatever way that he wishes to. That is what I think I need to remember. God will accomplish His plans and he may even change my plans today to do this. God has done this in my life more than I can count. And, he may do it again this week.
Do you find yourself at a place where your plans are not working? Are you in a situation that you never thought you would be in-but you are? Maybe, just maybe God has something different in mind for you and maybe it's in these situations that we most need to look up and ask Him for our next step. Whose plans are driving your life today?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
There are two interesting verses from Ephesians that deal with how we use our tongues and the power of our words.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:25)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
In the book, How Full is Your Bucket, the authors reference a study by psychologist John Gottman who suggests the 5 to 1 ratio. Gottman found that marriages are significantly more likely to succeed when the couples interaction are close to 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative comments and emotions. (page 55).
In fact, Gottman teamed with two mathematicians to test this. They recruited 700 couples who were just married and video-taped a 15 minute conversation between the husband and wife. They counted the number of positive to negative interactions between the couple during that time and then predicted whether or not each couple would stay together or get divorced.
Ten years later they followed up with each couple. The results were stunning: 94% of those they had predicted would be divorced were. All of this based upon a 15 minute interaction.
As you think of relationships: your marriage, your children and family, your workplace and church: think 5 to 1. We must be people who are looking for ways to encourage each other as well as challenge. It appears that people thrive and change when there is an environment that gives 5 positive comments to every negative one. What would happen if we all thought 5 to 1?
Tell me what you think...