Thursday, November 30, 2023

It's ALL About His Work Through Us

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“It’s ALL About His Work Through Us”

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.


This passage is the benediction that we end with at church each and every Sunday morning.  The past few weeks as I’ve thought more about this passage, one phrase really sticks out to me. “according to his power that is at work within us.” 


So much of our daily lives get focused on things that we can do and what we can accomplish.  We often get so busy doing our daily routines that we often forget God gives us the ability to do what we are able to do.  Each day we awake, every single thing we are able to do is because God has given us another day with the abilities to do what we are doing.  Every single little thing we have the ability to do, He gives us that ability.  We so often forget this.


When I think about the work God has called us to as we serve Him, it can easily become about what cool things we can do for Him.  In reality, it’s absolutely never ever about us.  It never has been and never will be.  We have to understand this and realize that life is never about us and never will be.  It is ALWAYS and will always be about what God does first and foremost.  It is about Him choosing us and working in and through us with a willing heart to accomplish what He wants us to do. 


As I drive to church many Sunday mornings early to practice for the praise team, I think of the ability God has given me to play drums.  I ask God to humble me and help me focus on helping lead people into worship.  As much as I like to play drums, I need to be reminded it’s never ever about me.  It’s about Him and how He uses me and the rest of the team to play, sing and lead the church in a very worshipful experience.  When you’re up front on stage, it can so easily become about you and your abilities.  This is something I have asked God repeatedly to remind me of and to humble me so that I’m not thinking about how cool it is that I’m playing. 


The team I play with each week is really amazing and I’m so grateful and thankful each time I get to play alongside with them.  It is truly and honor and blessing be part of such a wonderful group of people with a love to lead and worship! 


Friends, I hope we never ever forget that our daily lives are never about us, but about what God can do through us.  Let us never forget and be reminded daily that life is all about how God can do immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine. 



Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thankful During And Past Thanksgiving

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“Thankful During And Past Thanksgiving”


Well, it’s that time of year again where we are planning to take off a couple extra days (for many, if not most) off work to enjoy time eating lots of turkey and all the fixin’s!  Some of us may be traveling many, many miles to be with family while others of us not traveling much or at all.  I’ve always enjoyed the time I look forward to each year being with family.  I’m usually with my wife’s family, while missing my family back in Indiana. 


As many of us will probably sit around a table and mention things we are thankful for, I want to encourage all of us to go a bit further.  I am going to challenge and encourage us all to think of AT LEAST 10 things we are thankful for.  Make a list of 10 things and see if you can keep going.  The other challenge is to hang this list up where you will see it every single day as the days, weeks and months roll on.  Continue to lift up prayers of thanksgiving every day for the these things God has blessed you with so much. 


There’s nothing wrong with being thankful at Thanksgiving, but the challenge is to carry on and keep that thanks going on and on every day.  Sometimes it’s good to keep a list that we’ve made to remind us to be truly thankful on days when it’s easier to complain about what we want and do not have. 


I highly encourage us all to be thankful during and past Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

From Intentions To Action

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“From Intentions To Action”

Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.


Friday morning last week, I was reading through a devotional series from some guys sharing experiences and that day was focused on the topic of making priorities in their lives.  One guy shared how he made it a point to be an example to his daughter and how he needed to be intentional about what mattered in life.  He talked about unplugging from the world for one whole day (Sabbath) and focusing on everything that doesn’t involve work. 


I remember how powerful this was and how hard it hit me that morning.  I kept thinking about how I wanted to be intentional with each day of my life and how I want to be wise and not foolish with my time.  I want to be wise as I do my work each day and when I’m home with my wife and kids.  I want to be very intentional and making the most of every opportunity. 


I find myself so often not being intentional and becoming so scatter brained and overwhelmed with all that needs to be done each day and each week.  I don’t want to act thoughtlessly and be in my own world oblivious to people around me who need encouragement. 


So often we find ourselves intending to do this or that, but those intentions often stay as intentions and don’t turn into actual actions played out in our lives.  As I sat in the quiet in my personal morning devotional time, I had this overwhelming feeling of the desire to make a difference in each day of my life with people around me.  I want to be more intentional about being the light of Christ and giving encouragement to others. 


Each day now when I start my day, I am trying to be intentional about how I am living my life and how I look at my day.  I don’t want to be focused on just what all I need to get done for the day, but I want to be sure I’m being intentional with my time and being the husband and dad I need to be at home, employee I need to be at work and the servant I need to be at church. 


I absolutely do not want to be foolish with my time each day.  I don’t want to be thoughtless in the ways I act.  I want every action and every word I speak to encourage others around me. 


I encourage all of us to put our intentions into action.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Assuming Can Bring Trouble

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“Assuming Can Bring Trouble”

James 1:19-20 NIV

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.


Last week in our apartment parking lot, there was a car that was parked crooked in a space.  My wife and I reacted to that and shared with each other how dumb and disrespectful it was for someone to park that way so that no one could safely park beside them.  As that night and the next day approached, the car was still there and we were tempted to leave a note on their car for them to please park respectfully.  We just shook our heads and felt frustrated at someone else being inconsiderate of others in their parking.


I believe either later that day or the next evening, we saw a cop pull into the parking lot and some people getting out of another vehicle to meet up with the cop around that vehicle that had parked bad.  We watched from the window and speculated what had happened and what was going on.  My oldest said, “You guys watch too much of the COPS shows!”  That was funny….and true!  Something we forgot about was that there was a pile of broken glass down by the rear of the car.


All of a sudden, the lights on the badly parked car flashed and we realized that was their car and what actually had happened.  Someone hit their car, left some glass shattered on the ground and then drove off.  That had caused their car to slide over.  After we realized this, I felt guilty.  The whole time I was frustrated with these people, the whole scenario I had assumed was totally WRONG.  It was a huge learning time for me as I remembered that we need to not assume things about situations we are not fully aware of.  We just never really know what’s going on.


I share this to hopefully encourage all of us to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than we do.  It’s not to say that situations are always different from what we think happened, but sometimes they are and it’s so easy to assume.  God wants us to slow down, take a breather in life and look at things with a different perspective.  We get so consumed with our lives that we easily assume things and see things from what we think is right.  Often times, we can be so wrong, as I was.  What if I had left a note for these people?  I would have felt even worse knowing I had assumed and left a note.


Friends, let’s try to be better about jumping the gun in our assumptions and conclusions and be more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.  We are all called to love people with Christ’s love, but when we come up with our own idea of why things are how they are, we can often be wrong.  We need to try to be positive always and not assume people are always doing dumb things.  It does happen, but not always.  Let’s become slower to become angry and assume things.  Let’s be quick to listening and be more understanding.