Archive for the ‘Understanding God’ Category

Great Assets   Leave a comment

Image provided by

Image provided by

One of the most important bits of knowledge that should be learned in a person’s life is the great assets found in people.  As I reflect upon my life, I become acutely aware that the greatest assets in my life are the people who I have been blessed to have entered my life.  Some of these individuals remain in relationship with me for long periods of time and some are only short time spans.  However, there is not a one of them that has not added to my life in some way.

When I think of the blessings of life which have been afforded me by the Lord, I cannot think of any blessings which are greater than the ones of relationships with others.  I often have stated that I believe that the most important thing for the Lord is relationships.  I believe that we see this demonstrated strongest in the events which are recorded in Scripture regarding Jesus’ life.  However, I believe that when we look at Scripture as a whole, relationships (whether they be between God and humanity or between humans) are central to the whole message of Scripture.

I am spending some time today to reflect on the great assets of people in my life.  I hope that you might spend some time doing the same.


Hope Within Tragedy   Leave a comment

Image provide by

Image provide by

This past weekend, tragedy struck our community.  A car accident claimed the lives of two young adults in their early 20’s.  The accident also left physical and psychological injuries on the one young adult that survived.  During times such as these, there are so many questions and aspects of life can seem so senseless.  A whole community grieves.  A whole community feels a sense of loss.  A whole community wonders why.

The grief comes from the pain that is inflicted upon the families.  Families who we see on the streets on any given day.  Families who we have had some sort of connection with or have witnessed as children grow into adulthood.  While we never can understand their pain, we understand that life is now completely different for them.

We also grieve because we sense a loss.  Most obviously, we sense the loss of life.  However, I think that we also sense a loss of innocence.  Instead of hearing a sad news story on television or reading of an accident in the newspaper, the story becomes our own.  We know these individuals and we no longer can keep a distance that creates for us a feeling of innocence.  The innocence of youth also disappears when faced with this type of tragedy.  We know that the individual who survived will have to face each day with the knowledge that two friends did not survive the accident.

There are so many questions.  Why did it have to be on that road?  Why did it have to be that night?  Why didn’t they take a different road?  Why were two killed and one survived?  Why did anyone have to die?  Why did this happen to people who are so young?  Why?  WHy?  WHY? No matter how loud or long we scream the questions, the answers never seem to materialize.

Yet, in the midst of tragedy, we still are able to find hope.  The sun continued to rise and set.  The physical healing has begun.  One DID survive.  There is truly One that has the answers to all of our questions.  The One is the One who is in charge.  The One is the One who can bring healing.  The One is the One that was there on that night.  The One is the One who provided a life after this life.  The One is the One who cradled the injured.  The One is the One who welcomed the two home.  The One is the One who gave them all life in the first place.  The One is God.  Our hope is found in the One.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

Whirlwind   1 comment

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

The last week has been just a complete whirlwind for me.  This may seem evident since I  have not posted in over a week.  Last Monday I traveled to St Louis for a conference.  The trip was relatively uneventful and had some fun aspects to it.  The conference ended on Wednesday and I left to make a long, unplanned trip to central Nebraska.  Being in the car for over nine hours is not something that I want to do frequently.  Then it was back to my home location on Thursday.  Friday was my only day in the office (although I did work all of Saturday morning) and so it was definitely a day of “catch up.”  The busyness continued into the first part of this week.  I would have to say that this is the first “calm” day in my office.

Last week caused me to ponder the true meaning of Sabbath.  Traditionally, Sabbath is considered the one day each week when we are to relax and not do work.  This follows a pattern set by God and affirmed by God in what we know as the Ten Commandments.  However, many of us find it very difficult to set aside a specific day every week for Sabbath.  Life seems to have so many demands that we often are always on the run.  So we often feel guilty that we do not honor God’s commandment of keeping the Sabbath.  I would caution us not to let the guilt overwhelm us.  Especially since the guilt does not seem to lead us to change behavior.

In my devotions this morning, one part of a passage that I am reading throughout this week actually reminded me that the concept of Sabbath is far more important than the “day” of Sabbath.  The passage I was reading was John 9:1-41.  Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath which causes some Jewish leaders to label him as evil.  It is clear to me that Jesus was more interested in caring for the blind man than he was about honoring the day of Sabbath.  People always came first in Jesus’ life.

So I am convinced that the day of Sabbath is not nearly as important as the concept of Sabbath.  The concept of Sabbath is to take a break.  It is an opportunity to quiet the whirlwind which we call life and to spend time focusing on people, relationships, and our relationship with the Lord.  Each person has their own way of relaxing and creating calm in their life.  The key is to make sure that you are consistently taking Sabbath and benefiting from stopping the whirlwind even for a short period of time.  God knew that we could not keep up a crazy pace of life and so God modeled and then instructed us to find some calm.

I am going to work hard on honoring Sabbath in my life, I hope you will do the same.

A Gentle Reminder   Leave a comment

Today, I was called upon to comfort some friends who have received tragic news.  Every once in a while, I need a gentle reminder that there is One that can be trusted.  Maybe you need that reminder at times.  So I have chosen to share this video with you since I needed to hear it myself.

Ash Wednesday   Leave a comment

Image provided by

Image provided by

Today is the day in the Christian calendar when we pause to take inventory of our lives.  As people, we often seem to run from our mortality and often try to run from our sin.  This day is a day when we acknowledge both.  Throughout the world, Christians will attend a worship service where ashes are placed on their foreheads and they are reminded of both of these facts.

Some view this day as a day of sadness.  I would agree that it truly could be a day of sadness if it were not for the reality of the cross.  If we believed that at death everything ended and our existence was gone forever, then sadness definitely would fill us when we think of our mortality.  If we believed that our sin is every with us and there is no way to have it removed, then sadness would fill us.

However, we do not believe those things.  We believe that through the actions of Jesus Christ, both of these concerns are removed.  First, through his death on the cross, we have been given forgiveness for any and all of our sin.  Second, through his resurrection on Easter, we are given eternal life beyond the grave.  So this does not need to be a day of sadness.

Instead, today is a day that reminds us of why Good Friday and Easter are so very important.  We are reminded of our sin and the resulting death.  Yet, we are also reminded of our forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.

What Do You Offer?   1 comment

Image provided by

Image provided by

Individuals who are contemplating starting a new business have to consider what their business is going to offer.  So they may do some market research in their area and compare that to what they feel they are capable of providing before making a concrete business plan.  Companies that have been in existence over a period of time often arrive at a time when they must evaluate if what they are offering to the general public is something that remains of value or if they need to adjust and offer something new.

Now I am not one that believes that the church should operate identical to a business.  In fact, I see a whole variety of flaws in this type of thinking and approach.  The church is not a business and using all business practices in a church setting leaves out space for the Holy Spirit.  However, there are some aspects of business behavior that can shine some light on the decisions and activities of the church.

One place that I find might be helpful for the church to adopt some business-like approach is in regards to what we have to offer the general population.  The easy answer to that is that we have God, as known through Jesus Christ, as the item that we have to offer.  However, I am not always convince that many churches actually do offer that to people.  I also think that the ones that attempt to offer God to the people need to re-evaluate their methods for doing such offering.  Sometimes I feel that the church offers their human concepts and approaches much more than they ever do God’s.  At other times, I find the offering of God to be according to the church’s interpretation of God and how they feel God should behave.

I am finding it more and more important to realize that God does not have to be offered by the church.  I strongly believe that God does a perfectly fine job of marketing and presenting God’s self to the world.  Instead, I feel the church should be offering opportunities for people to explore and discover God.  Exploration means that we do not define or judge a person’s discoveries but instead, we provide support for them along the path.  We cut down the branches and move the boulders so that they can safely journey toward God.  Along the way, we demonstrate that love of God which provides the nourishment and encouragement necessary on what can easily become a difficult journey.

So I would have to say that I do not believe the answer to the question that headlines this post is GOD, but instead it should be a partner on the journey to discover God.

Unseen Power   1 comment

Wind_farmThis week has been a week when we have seen a lot of wind power in our area of the country.  Tuesday was an extremely windy day with gusts of 50+ miles per hour wind.  Today is shaping up to be that and some say even more.  I have watched many different objects being blown down the streets and yards.  All of this made me ponder the power that exists but cannot be seen.  There are two examples that come to mind.

The first example of unseen power is one that exists in many organizations.  This is the power that individuals who do not have official titles or offices sometimes own in groups.  They are the ones that usually have quite a bit of history with the organization and a personality that can persuade other individuals.  Many people will listen to what these individuals have to say even though they have no official capacity in the organization.  As a leader, it is vital to identify who falls into this category.  If you are not aware of the person or persons, you can easily get blindsided in regards to decisions that the organization needs to make.

As a believer, the other unseen power that comes to mind is the power of God.  Just as God’s Spirit is not visible to the eye, the power of God is not usually visible to the eye.  Yet this power definitely exists.  In fact, it is the greatest power in all of creation.  The impact of God’s power is definitely visible much like the box that the wind blows down the street.  Often, it is only during a time of reflection upon the past that we are able to truly identify the power of the Spirit.

So as the wind blows and impacts us once again, I encourage you to consider the unseen power in your life.