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Archive for November, 2014

Matthew 6:21-23 NIV
[21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [22] “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. [23] But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Observation:  Jesus points out that what one treasures, one thinks about, focuses on, concentrates one’s energies on, puts the bulk of one’s time into. What one focuses on, what one sees as important, or sees at all, matters…deeply. Lost (invisible) people matter to God. Lost (invisible) sheep are sought and found. Lost (invisible) people are to be warmed and fed.
Application:  I think about church – a lot. I focus on Jesus in prayer and Bible reading – first thing in the morning – sometimes. I put the bulk of my time into committees, teams, leaders. But, I worry about family; am concerned about finances; cry over the lack of a house. Jesus and His Kingom are A priority for me. But, can I honestly say they are THE priority? No, I can’t. Yet, the call is to seek FIRST the Kingdom.  I see found people far more than i see lost people. I see church people far more than un-churched people. What God sees, I often miss (overlook-purposely?). Just like Abraham saw 3 strangers and God knew/saw that it was YHWH and 2 others (angels?), I see things far differently from how God sees them. His ways and thoughts are much different from my ways and thoughts. And, I am not right. The Lord of the Universe is.
Prayer:  Lord, my eyes are still too full of darkness. They are better than they once were because You have given me Your eyes. But, far too often I keep them shut against the need and pain of the world lost without You. I turn my eyes to what I want to see, and turn my eyes away from what You want me to see. Help me have Your eyes, Your heart, Your hands. When I am unfocused, when I see what I want to see, when I overlook what You see, change me. I pray in the strong and loving name of Jesus.
Galatians 4:19 NIV
[19] My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Observation: Paul wants Christians who think like Christ, love like Christ, look like Christ, act like Christ, live like Christ. Instead, what they have become is people who obey all the rules, hoping that will allay God’s wrath against them. Paul wants life-transformation, family transformation, business-transformation, community-transformation. Paul deeply desires that they would be changed, and so he anguishes over where they are heading, what they have become.
Application: So do I. I want to be conformed to Christ. I want my church filled with people conformed to Christ. I want a community conformed to Christ. I want a nation conformed to Christ. I want a world conformed to Christ. And I anguish over a church that has strayed far from our beginnings, strayed far from a life-transforming gospel of grace.
Prayer: Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Make me long for a church that truly reflects a trust in you, not our own righteousness. Make me hunger and thirst after righteousness. Make me labor for the gospel in the hearts, minds, lives of the people of Charlotte Harbor, I ask in the strong and loving name of Jesus.
Mark 3:13,33-35 NIV
[13] Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.

[33] “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. [34] Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Observation: Jesus calls into relationship, not based on anything they have done, but based on who He is – King Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world. But, He asks us to join Him in His revolution to transform leaders, communities, and the world.
Application:  Something in how we are wired means that we need significance; we need meaningful work; toil (work that makes a Kingdom difference in the world) is not a four-letter word; drudgery (mind-numbing, soul-killing work which makes no difference) is perhaps the dirtiest of all expletives. We need not only to be loved, but to be creative as God is creative…redeeming, transforming, making all things new. Jesus calls me into THAT. Not busywork; not stuff that doesn’t transform; but living, loving, relationship with Him and His team, the Body of Christ.
Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I want to be your brother. King Jesus, I want to do your will. I want to join You in Your mind-blowing, heart-warming, life-changing revolution. I am thankful that You want me (tho’ sometimes I get tired and wounded); I am grateful that You have entrusted to me the work of Your Kingdom in this place. Make me more loving, more burdened for souls, more bloodhound-focused on Kingdom matters.
Luke 15:4,8,20 NIV
[4] “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

[8] “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
[20] So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Observation:  Jesus’ triple stories of lost things being actively sought for and found reminds me not just that things/people get lost, but that God is the searching God who cannot let the lost stay lost. Like a text message from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, God is actively searching for those who are Missing and Endangered.
Application:  Am I actively searching for those who are Missing and Endangered? Do I care about lost sheep/coins/children? As much as the stories point to things once in the sheepfold/purse/family home that have been lost, I think this reminds me/us of those outside the church. The church is neither a home for saints, nor just a hospital for sinners, but a M.A.S.H. unit to fix us up and get us back out into the fray.
Prayer:  Lord, I forget about those who are doing life without You. For whatever reason, they are lost and endangered-sometimes by personal choice, sometimes by the circumstances of life which they have faced. For whatever reason, they are lost, and I act as if I don’t care. Often, I don’t. I am far too consumed with me-my wants, wishes, desires, problems-to care all that much about messy, dirty, stubborn, stupid sheep.
Sheep You died for. Sheep You gave up everything for. You are the God who is sheep-ish. And I am not. Not enough. And Your church is not. Not sheep-ish enough. Help me, Lord, be a true shepherd. Help me, Lord, be sheep-ish, just like Jesus. Break my heart for what and who breaks Yours. Help us, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray.