Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Stair-Master “Faith”

10/12/2011
Church of Christ at Wedderburn, Victoria

Image via Wikipedia

Today is part one of a two-part message, I put together to describe two different kinds of “faith” people like to follow, or tend to, and it is unfortunate that they chose either.

Have you ever been on a stairmaster? Ever gotten off of one, realized how much work you had just done, and acknowledged the fact that you are standing in the exact same place you were, pre-workout?

That is the crummy faith life that many in our modern society have. They show up for church on Sunday, maybe even two or three more times during the week, but as soon as the key is in the ignition and they drive out of the parking lot, followed by unlocking the door and walking into their homes, it’s over until next time.

They built up a spiritual sweat during service and worshipped with all of their hearts while learning with all their minds. But when the lights of the church go off for the day, so do those people’s faith.

The workout in the gym might be great, but living your faith life that way is absolutely counterproductive to what Christ instructed us to do. We are instructed to serve the purpose of Christ in all aspects of our lives, not only at church.

My advice for you today, if any of the above applies to you, as your personal spiritual trainer for the day, get off of the stairmaster, and hit the spiritual cross-country track of the world to share the love and redemption of Christ.

 

Chris

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Step 1: Blaming God

09/21/2011

Thanks for stopping in for Episode 21 of Inspired Audio, you can listen to today’s audio by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Lose your faith in five easy steps!

09/20/2011

Today is the first in a five-part series I am titling “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. That probably sounds a little counterproductive to what we normal shoot for at I.M., but I think it is far past time we talk about the five main things that immediately kill our faith, and these things aren’t even the BIG things people normally think about, these are the small things, that eat away at our faith like a cancer slowly but surely over a long period of time. I was inspired for this series by reading the book Weird, which I recommend, Craig Groeschell is an awesome Christian author.

Have you ever found a piece of glass on the beach? Probably not, but trust me, they are there. The thing about glass shards dropped on beaches is that over time, the elements smooth the rough edges, grind the piece down, and eventually, it just looks like another smooth-sided pebble on the beach. We have a choice to avoid becoming like very other pebble on that beach by resisting these five things.

First on the list is our title for today, BLAMING GOD. We will be getting in to that tomorrow in our audio section, stay tuned!!

Standing in the storm

04/11/2011
An enlargeable topographic map of Mexico

Image via Wikipedia

A missionary from my home town left for Mexico some time ago. Her name is Amy Mussell, and is from Liberty Baptist Church, where my friend David attends. He (with the rest of the church) recently got some inspirational words from Amy and he shared them with me. I knew that my readers could benefit from her writings so after requesting and receiving permission….Here it is:

“In a recent Bible club, I shared the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. Throughout the story they listened closely, their eyes growing big as they contemplated the ferocious storm, laughing when they thought about the tough fisherman screaming for fear of a ghost, breathing sighs of relief when Peter stepped out in the storm and didn’t drown, and looking disappointed when he did start to sink. What I remember most though, was their faith that everything was going to end well. When Peter cried out in fear, they sat there with quiet smiles. When Christ reached down and pulled him to safety, they nodded knowingly. When everyone was back safely in the boat and the storm was gone they had proud looks on their faces. To them, there was never a question of “What’s going to happen?” There was only the realization, “Jesus can make everything alright”.

“Right now here in Mexico, there is a major drug war. Over 35,000 people have been killed in this war; police officers, soldiers, cartel members, and innocent civilians alike. If ever there was a storm in Mexico, this is it. It is easy to look at the scary circumstances around us, easy to view the storm and her effects, easy to get distracted by the howling winds and driving rains. It is much harder to have such a faith as the kids in my class, to sit back with a knowing smile and peaceful heart thinking ‘It’s okay, Jesus can make everything alright”.

“A building we rent for one of our Bible clubs has now been vandalized and robbed several times. Each time, the kids are extremely sad to see the damage. Each time, they simply grab a broom and start sweeping, pick up the pieces of broken glass, and set things right. The last time this happened, we knelt on the sidewalk outside and asked God to intervene. A little boy named Kevin prayed earnestly, ‘God you know that someone keeps robbing us and you know it makes us really sad. So just please don’t let this happen anymore!’. We finished praying and Kevin and the other kids went home happy and convinced our building was now safe. I, on the other hand went home fuming about the robbery and convinced more damage would occur before I could replace the busted window. Such faith, huh?”

“In the end, Kevin and the kids knew better. Our little club hasn’t been robbed since!”

“The faith of these precious kids continues to teach me that it doesn’t matter how scary the situation, how high the waves, how dark the night, how loud the storm, or how hard the rain is falling.”

Drug war? Shootouts? Vandalism and robberies?”

“No problem.”

“I need only keep my eyes focused on Jesus and remember one thing with child like faith. It’s okay. Jesus can make everything alright.”

In the event she is reading, I want to thank Amy Mussell for all that she is doing for the cause of Christ on behalf of myself, my co-ministry workers, and the roughly 2,500 of you awesome readers. If ever a noble cause there was, hers is one. God bless you Amy.

Stay blessed everyone,

Chris

Pastors that let you down

01/10/2011
A statue of Saint Paul the Apostle at the pari...

Image via Wikipedia

Demas was a strong Christian man in the beginning. So much so, that the Apostle Paul took him along during the early days of his spreading Christianity throughout the world. He was even in jail with Paul the first time. Paul first met him in his home town of Thessalonica. However, in Paul’s darkest hour, sadly, Demas abandoned his friend and mentor because “he loved the ways of the world so much”. He may have been afraid to continue being that half the civilized world was out to see the death of Paul and anyone who followed him. There are two kinds of post-Christians. Those who leave the faith, and then live to ridicule it every chance they get. And those who quietly pursue interests of self instead of interests of God. We have no way of knowing which one he would end up being. We also would love to believe that some time later in his life, Demas returned to the faith which had brought him so far as a man. Sadly, the Bible is filled with stories of men that fell from grace to eventually return to God. We never hear about this of Demas therefore we are forced to believe that he was left out on purpose because he did not.

Simple point here friends, churchgoers come and go. Some stay. Some are only there for a brief period until God helps them back on their feet and then they go back to their old ways believing that everything is alright. Then there are those, just like Demas, who come into your church family, and leave a major impact on many lives only to fall from grace, and disappoint them all in the end by turning back to their old ways. I had this happen with one of my mentors earlier in life. I was a teenager and my youth leader was the coolest guy, he inspired dozens of youth to change from the ways of the world. He gave sermons on Sunday nights for the main church that were so powerful they could have set the very pews we sat on aflame. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he changed overnight and let everyone down doing things that nobody saw coming and leaving us all feeling abandoned. I have no desire to get personal or offend any of you guys, but I believe God had a plan. A much larger plan. Someone very close to him was left behind to carry the torch of our youth group. That person is now one of the greatest pastors I have ever had the literal priveledge of learning from and someone I view to be a mentor to me.  A friend. An absolutely amazing leader in the Faith. To my knowledge my original youth leader never took back up the torch of ministry. It is sad indeed, God works in very strange ways. Truthfully though, I realize that God had his hand in it all along and now, that amazing pastor is happier than I believe I have ever seen them and stronger than ever through Christ.

Food for thought, God Bless

Chris

Your hands are too small

01/09/2011
A nineteenth century picture of Paul of Tarsus

Image via Wikipedia

We are told throughout Scripture, that if we need something or need something done to ask God for help. He does not care how big or small the issue is. David said to God “Do not keep silent, O God of my praise” (PS110). If King David, someone who close to the Father would speak to God as if he were speaking to a personal friend, then we who have a relationship with God personally as our Faith indicates, should follow suit.
If the Apostle Paul’s words to the Galatians “We live by faith in the Son of God, who loves and died for us” apply to all Gentiles then why not put that same faith to work in our prayers. We say that God can make anything possible, but so often we do not act as if we truly believe that. We see so many great men and women fall victim of self-made depressions. All because they spend so much time worrying about things that “they” are too small to handle. However, as I write this now, I am certain that the God above is BIG enough to handle all of their issues. Just as well as he can handle yours and mine. Don’t let the co-worker next to you who doesn’t have any faith in anything other than himself hinder you. To paraphrase Romans 12: Don’t be brainwashed by the world, let God transform your mind. In doing that, and fully surrendering, you give him the problems and remove a world of hurt from your heart at the same time. Trust me, what he can do with your issues is far beyond the power of the hands you hold them in.

“God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes(Ephesians 3)”
Chris

pastor pride

11/10/2010

-If you put a small value on yourself, please do not be alarmed when nobody else raises your price. Self worth is something you must create within yourself. Being surrounded by a good group of people who care about you and having a strong work ethic can most definitely help in this department. But, if you are one of the many people I know who do not believe you have a massive value and include yourself in the “average” grouping, it is your own fault. Do something to set yourself apart from the herd.

-A common misconception about churches is that they are after your wallet. This is something many people feel unnerving about churches. If my pastor were to drive a nicer car than me (which if he is still driving the same tiny little Dave Ramsey car, he most certainly is not) I would not let it bother me one bit. He works weekends, visits hospitals, deals with church business, is the spiritual leader of over 500 people, gives more money away a year than I do to those who truly need it, runs a small group from his home one night a week, oversees more than the majority of the church has a clue about, is personally debt free thanks to outstanding dilligence, is a great husband, father of two great kids, saves countless marriages a year outside of his own (wether he would take direct credit or not), on top of many other things like generally being a caring and genuine person as a whole. This on top of a pretty hefty work schedule, in my book, would be plenty of reason for him to drive a nicer car, I despise that argument against church. I will go on record with agreeing that many “pastors” are in it for the money, and sadly so. But I am comforted to know that mine, more than earns everything he has recieved and the following quote does not apply to him. “The more I know about business, the more I’m convinced that it is conducted in homes and churches far more than in office buildings.” (Laura Moncur) But I repeat, sadly this is true for many of them.

In closing:”Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.” (Elmer G. Letterman)

-Chris

fences

11/09/2010

I want to start out by thanking everyone who read yesterday’s post. Apparently the NOW Sunday night carried into reading and tons of feedback from yesterday’s post. At the very least, I hope I was able to generate a little carry-on from the previous night wether you were able to be there or not. If you were not, I sincerely feel sad for you. Was quite the experience. For all who were able to attend, I wanted to comment on a few things I have read/learned this week so far. First a random fact that really has nothing at ALL to do with the night of worship. I learned earlier today that Sherlock Holmes never actually said; “Elementary my dear Watson”. Struck me as odd being that the particular selection of text is one that resonates with the stories. Funny how stigmas can stick to things they do not belong with. For instance, I have an atheist friend. We caught up today after not seeing each other for a while. He was quite sympathetic to my wife’s recent illness. Generally people of faith stick the label of uncaring or insincere to people who have no faith. This is so far from the truth it is not funny. I also have a few agnostic friends. I have recently decided that I respect atheists more than agnostics. This is because the agnostics among us ride the fence of indecision. At least the atheists have made a firm decision on where they stand. Many agnostics “closetly” believe that if God is real they can make up their minds just in the nick of time to find salvation after living the life they wish to. Unfortunately, it does not work that way as the scriptures clearly state that God’s return shall occur as a theif in the night, and over just as quickly. I truly hate the thought of my close friends who have not made that leap of faith yet, being comminated one day. But in that same respect, light cannot effectively function without darkness and vice versa. Back to the NOW, “Music is an art form. It is a way to wordlessly communicate” (Ken Hill). I read this today and thought back to Sunday night. To be fair, we did use lyrics and even a read-over but the music itself set the tone, very proud to be a part of a group of musicians as talented as ours.

In closing, a quote from the editor of the first King James Bible. “Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.” (Sir Francis Bacon)

God bless,

-Chris

NOW

11/08/2010

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” (Mark Twain) Reading this after being surrounded by a few hundred of my closest friends for a couple of hours last night hit home for me. The audience was amazing. Our tech and sound teams were as close to flawless as possible. The musicians raised the bar. And the vocalists, were unbelievable. Two vocalists stood out even more. To avoid names, our lead singer and a male tenor both suffering from vocal problems from the changing of the seasons dug down deeper than either thought possible and pulled their voices back from the deep end. A slight scare with our drummer, two youth giving testimonies, and an outstanding guest vocalist all made it back quite literally right at the buzzer from a youth retreat. I still greatly miss one of the on stage presences and believe that the particular person will be back soon as prayer is quite powerful, but this is neither here nor there. Last night was the strongest service I think I have ever participated in. The partaking of the protestant Eucharist (communion) before the night felt incredible. And the way it was set up for the congregation was just as much. I used the Twain quote to begin the blog today because it speaks of GREAT people making you feel great as well. And from the smallest newborn (which was possibly mine) to the oldest person out there in the crowd, I truly felt as if I were surrounded by the greatest people I have ever had the priveledge of being around. It was quite a production and I look especially forward to the next.

-God bless

Chris

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Tammy Walker Dyer likes this.
    • Brandon KellerGlad you liked it.

      November 8, 2010 at 5:56pm ·LikeUnlike
    • Steve WoodsonIncredible blog and even a more undescribable evening. The presence of God and the Holy Spirit cannot be merely described but must be felt by those who are willing to allow His presence into their heart. Many youth before have felt God’s power and seen his hand at work and turned from his presence. I pray for every young person who wore glow bands last night that God will continue to burn an eternal glowing light in their hearts and it will grow brighter and shine longer FOREVER Amen.

      November 8, 2010 at 6:07pm ·LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
    • Brian David WoodsonAmen Amen and Amen. I am so in Love with our Savior. He gave us all a voice last night. Almost every person on that stage last night had been struggling with vocal issues. The enemy’s been defeated and death couldn’t hold Him down. We lift our voice in victory. We will forever make His praises LOUD.

      November 8, 2010 at 8:47pm ·LikeUnlike · 2 peopleBeverly Reynolds and Tammy Walker Dyer like this.
    • Cindy WoodsonThat was an awesome blog. I really wish that I had felt like going Sunday night. Daddy hasn’t stopped talking about it yet and you know it takes a lot these days to get him excited about church. I can’t wait until Sunday so that I can go back. Really looking forward to the new series. Love you.

      November 9, 2010 at 8:17am ·LikeUnlike

wounds

11/05/2010

I was thinking today on exactly how cruel people can be. I can think of times in my life where I was truly evil towards people and at the same time I can think of times where the exact thing happened to me. Often times we say things before speaking and later regret it. “No regrets” was my life’s philosophy for a very long time. The majority of my life to be more precise. All of that changed very recently. As you more than likely already know, I almost lost my wife recently due to pregnancy complications that most of her Doctors can still not entirely explain. Earlier this year we were looking at a potential divorce thanks to many bad decisions and communication issues on both parts. The entire ordeal lasted roughly six months, the first six months of this year to be exact. I said horrible things to her, never wishing her ill but I just was not a nice person at times, and I am sure she would say the same of herself. When the news came from her Doctor that she could potentially not make it through the storm of her illness, I was comforted in knowing where she would end up if the worst happened. I was riding in the car with Mom one morning leaving to hospital briefly to make a run to the store. During that drive I lost it, I pulled my sunglasses as close and tight to my face as possible to try and hide it. It hit me at that moment that if she did not make it, my biggest regret was not having the neccessary time to go back and fix things with her, make them right so to speak. It dawned on me that all of the drama, fights, cold stares, etc., wasted away valuable time with her that we could have been spending and enjoying together. In all of this, I learned a very important life lesson. That being that wounds heal generally fast, but words can never be retrieved. Once heard they do not disappear. The damage inflicted by ones words and actions is permanent unlike a gash that heals, scars over, and eventually is barely noticable anymore. Hope you got something out of that, if not then I apologize, I felt this needed to be written down.

God bless,

Chris