Archive for November, 2010


November 30, 2010 1 comment

What’s the good word? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well sort of. Yesterday was the start of Advent. You see, we can’t get to Christmas without getting through Advent. But what’s up with Advent? Why all the waiting? Advent is about anticipating the birth of Christ. It’s about longing, desire, that which is yet to come. That which isn’t here yet. It’s important to go through. We remember that in Scripture there is a natural rhythm to things. When God created the universe, there was a natural rhythm, and then God rested. Our church calendar is set up to create a natural rhythm. Advent also confronts this corrosion of the heart with the insistence that God has not abandoned the world, hope is real and something is coming. Rob Bell puts it this way: “Advent charges into the temple of cynicism with a whip of hope, overturning the tables of despair, driving out the priests of that jaded cult, announcing there’s a new day and it’s not like the one that came before it.” Advent’s purpose is to open us up, to soften us up, and to turn our hearts in the direction of that day. And so we wait  for that day when the baby cries His first cry and we, surrounded by shepherds and angels and everybody in between, celebrate that sound in time that brings our Spirits what we’ve been longing for. And that’s the good word for today!

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Running On Empty

November 19, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? The other day I looked down as I was driving an noticed that my fuel light was on. Uh oh! How long had it been on? I noticed my dashboard said I had 32 miles until empty. That was good to know. Funny thing is, we don’t have that luxury do we? Often times we don’t know we are running on empty until it is too late. One of my favorite songs is “Everlasting God”. It’s a song that is based on a passage from Isaiah that reads, “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.”

Many times we try to see how far we can get, unintentionally, without spending quality one on one time with God. Our egos get in the way of the ever- present Holy Spirit that is beckoning our attention. Many of us try to get through the whole week with just spending one hour on a Sunday morning with God. Fill up as much as we can. Meanwhile, we remain on cruise control for the week. We try to fill our tank with everything but what is necessary to function: fellowship with friends, insightful books, worshipful music and “drive-by” encounters with God are all things. While these are all positive activities, they are not sufficient enough for sustained spiritual growth.

In the book of James, we find where our dependence, our source of strength, should come from. We need to be completely, solely dependent upon Him. He is our strength, our fuel. Subjugating ourselves to Him, our motives and our desires to His, leaves us full and confident to continue our journey. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll get on that right now! And that’s the good word for today!

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You Can Do It, He Can Help

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? I received this shirt from a good friend of mine the other week. It’s a bright orange shirt that looks like a billboard for the Home Depot. Actually, it looks like the Home Depot sign. Instead of reading, “Home Depot” it reads “Holy Spirit”. For years, the Home Depot has had the slogan, “You can do it, we can help.” Well on this shirt it says, “You can do it. He can help.” And it is true, you CAN do it! What ever it is. Too often we limit the potential of the Holy Spirit by saying things like, “Oh I can’t do that.” We face resistance and we sometimes give up. But there is a voice that tells you, “I believe God is at work in you!” What would happen if we let go of our need to control? What would happen if we truly relied on the power of the Holy Spirit? What would happen if we truly believed God is at work in us? What would happen to us? What would happen to our churches? I am at a conference right now, and so many times either myself or staff would come back full of ideas, only to have them squashed by people when we get home. “Oh there’s no way we could ever do that,” some would say. “Oh we don’t have the funding to pull off something like that,” others say. “But we’re Lutheran,” comes the response. So!?! Why should we let all the non-denominationals have all the fun? Why should we settle? Why limit what we can do? Why limit the power of the Holy Spirit? Because when we do, we end up where we are now, a declining denomination. We end up being half disciples only producing half of our potential. Because here is the truth found in Scripture- Jesus promises a coming Advocate (The Holy Spirit) and that Advocate is present with us. God has given us a God sized vision and we can’t let the present realities overshadow the possibilities of tomorrow. You CAN do it, and he WILL help! And that’s the good word for today!

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November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? I am a big fan of Rob Bell’s Nooma series. The word Nooma is really a play off of the greek word for spirit- pneuma. Any way, I am a big fan of Rob’s but also of these little 10 minute videos that I use as often as I can in retreats and class settings. The makers of the Nooma series now have another series out called BasicBASIC is a new seven-part film series hosted by Francis Chan (another one of my favorites). Each film explores important questions about the nature of the Church and how it can reach its fullest potential.

In BASIC. Follow Jesus, the second addition to this compelling series,  Francis Chan asks what it really means to follow Jesus—and why it’s worth it. Enjoy!

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