Monday, August 25, 2014

Can you have too much money?

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)

This scripture ends a lesson Jesus shared with his followers. It's after he shares how impossible it is for a rich man to get to Heaven. He drives home the point that it is tough to handle wealth and the power accompanied by it. As a matter of fact, it's not the wealth, it's the power it provides that corrupts even the mightiest man. Money is not the problem, the hearts of men, that's the problem. Accepting the grace of Jesus Christ when you are filled with earthly power, that's the problem.

Money is not the problem in our society. The unbalanced incomes are not the problem. I don't believe God puts a limit on the amount of money we are allowed to have. You can't have too much money. The real problem in our society is the distribution of power and how that power is used. The powerful people of this world need to help the powerless. Yes, many of the powerful people of this world are wealthy. But, some of those people use that power, use that money, for good. They donate and support much of the charity work in their local communities. They help schools, churches, homeless shelters, hospitals, and numerous other organizations. If these "power" people have a heart for Jesus, their power, their money, will be used for the kingdom. We need to worry more about the hearts of people and not their wealth. We need to see that all people need Jesus. When you accept Jesus and begin pursuing a life as a servant, you will start to use your power to help the poor, widows, orphans, and the lost. 

God blesses us with financial resources, not for our good or our power. He grants us those blessing to use for his service. We all have power to help others and we all have resources to make some impact on the lives of others. Use your blessings, use your wealth, use your resources for Gods purposes. Accept the grace and realize all the power you are given is a gift from God. The only real power comes from the creator of the universe.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Exploding Joy!

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Psalm 96:11-13 NIV)

That's a pretty amazing list. I guess you could just say everything and everyone should rejoice because God is good. His creation rejoices and so should we. 

I hope it doesn't sound shallow because of my repitition. I hope I don't sound pompous and arrogant. But, I am the most blessed man in the world and I can't rejoice any more or I would explode. Why is that? I'm no one special. I am a sinner, just like everyone else and probably less worthy than most. But, I rejoice, just the same! I rejoice at the wonderful grace God has granted. I rejoice at the earthly stuff, but more importantly I have been granted a life with love, laughter, purpose, meaning, and excitement. So beyond the things I have, which are also wonderful and undeserving, I have been given a gift which dwarfs the "things" of my life like the ocean dwarfs the puddle from yesterday's  rain shower. I can never explain his grace. It's a mystery and wonderfully free for the asking. Just being in the presence of such amazing grace is enough to make you shout from the mountain tops your love of God!

Praise God for all creation! Praise God for the true gift of life and the forgiveness we receive via his son's sacrifice on the cross! We rejoice in all things, in all ways and we could never begin to express our joy enough for your love! May I share that joy, that peace, that love with all I see! You are wonderful and mighty! Amen!

Overwhelmed?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

Most people I know have experienced the point of being overwhelmed at some point in their life. It can happen on a daily basis at certain times of the year. For me, the anxiety level increases at the start of school, at the end of school, and times of confrontation. I feel powerless when I see my family going through tough times, illness of loved ones, and through tragedies in the community. The news is another source of stress and tension. I can get myself into a state of amazing stress and anxiety. Then I realize, I serve the creator of the universe, he is my strength.

All of these sources of tension, stress, and anxiety, are also sources of strength. When I get to the place where these contentious moments overwhelm me, I turn to God. He is always there. When I finally turn to the creator of all things, it's amazing how the anxiety fades away. The paralysis of life, is eliminated, I can get back to living life knowing God's strength is perfect and I feel his strength in me. My God has already conquered death, he has won the victory over evil and pain. 

The relief I feel is supernatural. It's not just some placebo. It exists in my life and can also be real in your life. I can not imagine dealing with the troubles of this life without Jesus. You can have that reality in your life. Get in your knees, ask forgiveness for your own sins, commit yourself and your life to Christ, the son of the God of all things. Turn your troubles over to him and your weakness will be made strong!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Praise God for the new paths set before us!

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NIV)

My oldest daughter McKenzie and her family are in the midst of big changes in their lives. First, yesterday McKenzie culminated her 18 hour trip to Dickinson, North Dakota to drop off my grandson Klayton at college. I know exactly the emotions she is going through and the joy, loss, and apprehension that mixes in her heart as she makes the long trip back to Indiana. On Wednesday they start another chapter as they get the process started to adopt a young 10 year old that needs a family. 

I am so proud of the family she and Jeff have raised. The entire family has their hearts dedicated to The Lord in really big ways. Even though the "old order" of things is passing away, the new order will see blessings piled upon blessings for this family. They are all headed to a time with no more death, no more mourning, crying, or pain. Praise God and I pray for his powerful hand to be upon them as they transition to a new phase of their lives!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Are you ready for some football?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37 NIV)

I love most sports in their own season. I'm a baseball fan spring and summer. If the Yankees are playing well I'll extend that to the fall. I'm a basketball fan during the cold dark winter, but the Fall is a special time for football. Tonight starts the high school football season in Indiana and I can't wait. Over the next several weeks colleges will play and then the pros join the fun. It's a great time of excitement and anticipation.

I have coached many sports and enjoyed them all for a variety of reasons. But football is special. The shear number of players needed for this great game sets it apart from the rest. You have to have a great TEAM to be successful. A superstar is nice, but he can't do it in on his own. You also can't be successful with just one coach, you have to have a TEAM of coaches to handle the complexity of each play and each position. No other sport requires as much of a coordinated TEAM effort. From all levels of youth leagues up to the pros, the sport has to be played with toughness,dedication, and teamwork. Each play is practiced over and over again to assure the beauty exceeding even the finest ballet. Yes, football is special. When you are fortunate enough to have all the pieces come together, you feel the great joy of a conquering hero. When things don't go well, you mourn the loss, shed your grief, and work even harder to conquer the next foe. Every game is an intense battle with minor victories and minor defeats leading to the ultimate outcome. There is pain, joy, heartache and exhilaration in every moment of every play.

Football is just like life. A "perfect" life is an ultimate goal, just like the perfect game. You strive for that perfection knowing it is elusive. Life takes the great effort of an amazing team of coaches and fellow players. You must have a great team to survive this life. Your team must be led by an amazing coach in Jesus Christ, a great church family, accountability coaches, team mates from small groups, and the love of your own family. Your life will be full of battles, minor victories and minor defeats just like football. You will endure with the right game plan. You will lose some battles, but you have to get back up to fight again. You fight because you know the ultimate victory has already been won on the cross. You are guaranteed to be the conquering hero, if you join the right team.Yes, life and football are exciting and thrilling to the end. 

I can't wait for the first official kickoff. I can't wait to see the season unfold. Praise God for the joy of sport and the life lessons we learn through those sports. Praise God for the ultimate victory regardless of the outcome on the field! Amen!