Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kingdom Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has officially started for me... I say that because I can't stand the stores that just blow by Thanksgiving and decorate before October is even over! If you stop and think about it, it kind of explains how our nation is in the difficult time it's in...

Angie and I took the weekend off, so it gave our family the opportunity to visit some friends who pastor as well. We had a blast and enjoyed the experience to be with them! They began their Christmas series entitled; A Kingdom Christmas, with the focus for the day on Humility.

Luke 2:6-7 "And while they were there the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them."

God Himself, came from heaven and this was His entrance. No big fan fair, no marching band, no fancy hotel or hospital, no kicking anyone out of their bed to make room for Him. It was humble, quiet, unsuspecting and very opposite to Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie with the birth of their babies! Not even a cute new baby GAP outfit to keep Him warm... just strips of cloth wrapped around Him to keep Him warm.

Instead of the normal Christmas list of presents and gifts that others could give to you, here's a different list for Christmas... (from Pastor Brian Dolleman)

How To Practice Humility
  • give credit where credit is due
  • don't name drop or experience drop to elevate yourself
  • do what's expected and don't make a big deal about it
  • do acts of service and generosity anonymously
  • stop one-upping people and their experiences

God, you didn't just have a humble beginning and grow out of it, you lived an entire life of humility. I may have moments of humility, but I want to live a life of humility. Forgive me for my pride. I don't want to be clothed in awards and accomplishments, I want to be wrapped in Christ-likeness: gentle, kind, faith-filled, strength to be silent when I want to defend or fight. Let Jesus be birthed in me, made new again. Let me experience the simplicity of that first Christmas in my life.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all, that the Lord is near. Be anxious about nothing, but in all things, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Today is Thanksgiving... for all you out there that follow; HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Hope things went/are going well.

We didn't travel anywhere, but had family over to our house. So a lot of chores were created for the big fandango. I did some painting in our kitchen and hallways, hung some new trinkets around the house for my wife... IT LOOKS AMAZING!

Getting together with family for some is very awkward, or dreadful... I'M THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY! It's not perfect, and we have our moments, issues, fights, just like any other 'Griswold's family'...LOL. We had a great time and had some great food, my wife did a fantastic Job! No turkey... prime rib, mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, crab soup (Asian style), and pumpkin pie (Costco).

My niece Lindsey has a new boyfriend, named Josh. I want to meet this punk! I love my nieces and I would do anything for them, and wouldn't hesitate to hurt some kid.

OH YEAH... no plumbing problems this year (see Joe the Plumber post).

God, thank you for a great year. There were some health issues in our family, but You have shown yourself faithful. Financially we are blessed and we love our family and friends. I ask that you continue to show Yourself awesome and present in our lives. We look to you, with a heart of thanksgiving, and keep our eyes focused on you. Thank you for your grace and care.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cleaning the Garage

Today was my first day on vacation... it felt GREAT! I slept in till 10am, and snuggled on the couch with my 4 year old daughter Jaiden and watched Cars. Then, we headed out to tackle my to do list. The Big project of the day was cleaning and reorganizing the garage.

I LOVE CLEANING... There's something about cleaning and reorganizing that makes me feel good. Mostly it's the fact that I get to see instant results. Often pastoring doesn't allow for 'instant results'. When you're dealing with people, there's a lot that happens below the surface, but when it does surface... it's incredibly rewarding!

My garage gets messy and disorganized a little at a time. Often it's me setting something down and saying; "I'll come back and put it where it belongs that later". After some time has gone by, all you see is a cluttering of things that are unfinished and misplaced items. Finally you give yourself to it, and when it's all done, you think; "I don't want to let it get that messy again."

Our life can reflect a garage in many ways. We store our unfinished goals, unwanted issues or thoughts or emotions, and procrastinate on much needed conversations . We tell ourselves "I'll deal with it later." And the more cluttered it gets, the more we want to avoid it. But once we dive in and deal with it; things feel better, balance is regained and things fit once again.

Have you been putting off sorting out things in your garage? Are you tired of those unfinished goals, wandering feelings and needed conversations stacking up? Don't delay any longer... clean the garage. It feels sooooo.... good!

God, there are things I'm afraid of, uncertain about, and don't want to deal with. I need your help to jump in there and sort things out. To get rid of those things I have boxed up because of the hurt and pain, help me forgive, even forgive myself. When adversity came, I gave up on my dreams; give me strength to face those challenges and overcome. I need You to bring balance back in my life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How To Save A Life

Part of our families Thanksgiving tradition is me taking that week off from work. I can't wait to hang out with the family and do some fun things together. But we have one more Sunday with our church family prior to Thanksgiving... I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT!

We have been in series entitled LIVE. Jesus says in John 18:37 "For this cause I was born, for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." We cannot truly LIVE without a heart of thankfulness. To be thankful and expressing our gratitude to God as well as others gives encouragement and life. Complaining and being silent in our thankfulness does nothing to promote living. Think about it... how do you feel when someone tells you that they appreciate your friendship and admire you for who you are. Now contrast that with negative comments or nothing at all.

Statistics show that during these last 2 months of the year, suicide is at it's highest point. As we approach this Thanksgiving and Christmas, give more than gifts or bringing the mashed potatoes to the family gathering. Save a life by giving life! Take the time to voice your love and appreciation.

God, thank you for Your amazing, and unlimited love... It was Your expression of love that saved our lives! Slow us down enough to look beyond our needs and see the opportunities to bring life to others through words of encouragement and genuine appreciation to those around us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Dare You To Move

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

I love music! I listen to it at work, in my car, at home, church, etc... During my workout today (that kicked by butt) I had my Ipod and Switchfoot's song; I Dare You To Move came on. I was movin' and groovin' during my workout and wanted to bust out singing! The lyrics to the chorus are:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Stephen, Karen & Brody
What are your family traditions for Thanksgiving? For the last two years Stephen (a real plumber) saved our families Thanksgiving. The first one was when my wife peeled potatoes in the sink and the garbage disposal couldn't handle it. For over an hour he worked on getting it cleared up. The second next year the disposal broke (no peels were in it), and after I attempted to play 'Tim the tool man', I called Stephen once again and he came to the rescue!
Thanksgiving wouldn't be possible without people like these... friends. God has blessed us with people we can lean on when needed, hang-out with, laugh hard enough to cry, be encouraged, surrounded in prayer and see us for who we are and still love us no matter what... our lives wouldn't be the same without them (at least Thanksgiving), that's for sure!
God, thank you for all our friends. Each are unique and special to us. Meet all their financial needs, strengthen their marriages, bless their families, give them rest and joy that they may continue to be a blessing to others.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful Feet

After a long day at work and being on my feet, I'll kick off my shoes and tell my wife; "My dogs are barkin'!" If your feet could talk, what would they say?
Some people are disgusted with with feet, especially ones that are odd in shape and unkept. It may sound funny, but the bible tells us that we can have beautiful feet. "Lovely are the feet of those that bring good news." [Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15]
During times of war, there would be foot messengers that would observe the battlefield and run back to the city to report what was happening. This was a beautiful sight because it not only brought valuable information, but hope to relieve the anxiety and fears they may have.
Jesus humbly washed the feet of his disciples before his crucifixion. As He washed off the dirt and grim, the calluses, any open wounds they had from walking dirt roads, rugged pathways covered with rocks, He was also removing the guilt, shame, worries and fears they gathered in life. He brought a beautiful message filled with good news.
Don't neglect the condition of your feet... your life. The heartaches, hurts, disappointments, regrets and everything that we experienced can be washed away by the love and blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus thank you for the good news; love, forgiveness and hope, that you bring to me. Just as you washed the disciple's feet, wash my life of the things that have made me become hurt, angry and full of sin. Help me to display that same act of forgiveness to others as I continue to walk this journey called life as I follow You!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Think Parenting

Deuteronomy 6:6,7 "These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children..."
I had a conversation today about the philosophy of parenting. It's the greatest challenge and most rewarding gift in my life.
My role as a father is to empower them to live as God has created them and release them to fulfill their destiny. This first starts with me. I'm to be the greatest influence in their life, so my life is to be an example, it must be upon my heart. None of us are perfect and we need God's wisdom and grace to walk this out everyday!
Sharing, learning responsibility, eating your vegetables, being kind to others... all this is important; but to teach them how to think is the greatest objective my wife and I can do. That ability to understand how to process and what to process in the intersections of decision critical. Right or wrong, good or best, friends, finances, facing challenges or finding comfort... all of these boil down to ones ability to think beyond the moment.
God thank you for these precious gifts, each are uniquely created by You. Help me to be the model I need to be, to walk in wisdom and grace. Give them a teachable spirit and the strength to do and stand for what is right even if others may don't understand...