Ghost – It is Better

Yesterday, we started learning about the Holy Spirit, also called the Holy Ghost. He glorifies God, empowers us, and leads us into all truth. Check out our look at John 15:26-16:15, for it is better that Jesus ascends to heaven because he has sent the Helper.

Self-Awareness & the Story of David and Goliath

The story of David and Goliath has been on my mind lately. Malcolm Gladwell has published a book about the story. And he has completely changed the way I understand the story. At the same time, 2018 and goals have been on my mind as well. How do these two come together? In my view, awareness. How might you ask? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to highlight a part of Malcolm Gladwell’s new understanding of the David and Goliath story.

Goliath was over nine feet tall. Medical researchers have studied this. They have tried to figure out how this was possible. They’ve concluded that it is most likely a condition called agromeglia. The same condition that Abraham Lincoln most likely had. Agromeglia can cause vision problems. When we look closer at the David and Goliath battle, it becomes evident that Goliath most likely had vision problems. For example, when David approaches. Goliath responds in verse 43, “Am I a dog? That you come to me with sticks?” But David didn’t have sticks. He had one sling in his hand. Goliath most likely was either near sighted or double visioned due to agromeglia. Also, his armor bearer, had to guide him on the battlefield. This is mentioned in verse Why is this? Why is this fearsome soldier, this giant of a man, being brought by the hand toward David and the Israelite army? Again, it’s most likely because he couldn’t see well. We can picture how this affected the fight. Did Goliath see David’s stone fly at him? The point is, the battle was not going to end well because of Goliath’s agromeglia.

Awareness. Goliath lacked awareness of the situation. He lacked awareness that David could easily kill him. Around New Years, we look back at the previous year. We look forward to this year. This makes me wonder, what are places in my life where I lack awareness? Granted, I’m not on a battlefield like Goliath was. I don’t have an Israelite slinger, David, in front of me. But each of us need awareness in life. Awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of the people around us. Awareness of how God is at work. So as you look to 2018, take a moment to pray. Ask God how you are doing with awareness. Are you blind like Goliath? Or, do you have situational blindness where you can see most things but lack awareness of details or specific people? If you are brave, you can even ask friends, family, even your spouse, how are you doing when it comes to awareness?

David vs. Goliath: A Closer Look

David and Goliath is one of the most well-known Bible stories of all time. It has become a metaphor for any sort of uneven competition. But recently, everything I though I knew about David and Goliath was challenged. Yesterday, I shared David and Goliath in a way few have heard it before. This Friday, I am posting the Malcolm Gladwell video that informed it.

Friday Favorite – Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

We’re diving into a teaching about the Holy Spirit starting on January 14th. Today’s Friday Favorite is the book that I’ve been using to prepare. It’s a book that will reignite your understanding the Holy Spirit and draw you closer to a deep connection with the Father.

One Day There, the Next Day Gone

This past week I lost someone who I highly respected. His name is Paul Heidebrecht. He is what Presbyterians called a Stated Clerk. Since most reading this won’t know what that means, think of him as the our district administrator. But he took it further. He had a love for the Lord and his people that I respected. He had a desire to see new, young leaders lifted up and involved. As I sat down to think of a few weekly words for those who read here, I thought a simple, short encouragement would be best. Love those in your life well because you never know when they might not be there longer. And for those who have lost someone dear, we shall see them again when we all are in glory. Check back next week for more!

What Will be New for You in 2018?

How many New Year’s resolutions have you made? How many have you kept? Each year, many people try to set aside bad habits when they start the New Year and turn a new leaf. Generally, these last about a week, maybe two. Did you know that the first quarter of the year is the busiest time for gym memberships. We resolve to get ready for summer, to lose a few extra pounds, or to simply get in better shape…until we don’t. In a recent Washington Post article entitled, What Your Gym Doesn’t Want You to Know, one gym reported a 40% increase in attendance (people using their memberships) in December and January. One report, from Planet Money, says that half of the members at one gym never use their membership. So where is the disconnect? Why do people pay for memberships they don’t use? Why do we start out the year with good intentions, then fall back into our old routine? More importantly, how do these good intentions affect our spiritual life?

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, we do more paving than ever this time of year. The above example is about being physically fit, but our New Year resolutions cover the gambit of life. We want to grow closer with those who are important to us, grow deeply spiritually, read the Bible more, get out of debt, move forward in our business, or strengthen our marriage. I believe that the reason we do not follow through is found in Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (ESV) This may sound a little different from what your used to. If we simply talk about the vision and perishing, we may forget about the God part.

So, as you look toward 2018, here are a few ways that your dreams can become goals, then your goals can become your new reality. First, ask God. Pray and ask the goals that he desires for you. As you sense his leading, ask your tangible next steps. Did you know that you are 42% more likely to accomplish your 2018 if you simply write them down and review them regularly? As you pray for goals, use a journal to write down what God brings to mind. Next, intentionally ask people to support you and hold you accountable for your goals. If one of your goals is bible reading, the YouVersion app has a feature that allows you to read the Bible in community and to be held accountable. Check it out in your Apple or Google AppStore.”Blessed is he who who keeps to the law.” God desires for us to look to him and his Word as we follow his vision for our life. So after you pray about and write down what God is telling you, look to his Word and see if your goals line up with God’s teachings. Finally, celebrate what God has done as you achieve in your year ahead.

Advent – What Child is This?

What Child came at Christmas? That is question that we

Advent – Christian Freedom

Someone recently said that freedom from shame and guilt is the missing piece of the Gospel. Here is this past week’s sermon where we discuss how Christ’s birth relates to our freedom from our shame and guilt.

Friday Favorite – Take Heart YZ Prayer (Arranged by Bill Senyard)

God, my shame and guilt are pretty deeply rooted. I messed up again. I am a mess. What is wrong with me? I don’t feel right. I have given You a thousand reasons to be disappointed, or to turn Your back on me. However, 2000 years ago You poured out Your anger, and justice, and disappointment, and criticism upon Jesus, Your own Son, in my place. So now, You can’t be critical of me, or disappointed in me, ever again. Make me really get that in my head and heart so that my guilt has less power over me right now.

I see again that Jesus’ record of doing everything right is now, for some crazy reason, put into my biography, my resume – and everything His life earned- heaven, eternal life, Your love, forever. You can’t ever love me more than You do, as much as You love your Son and He loved You. You can’t love my any less, ever. You have to like me, no matter what I did or didn’t do last week, no matter what I suspect that others feel toward me. It may feel like it. Yet the messiness is on my end, not yours.

Give me power to undo my fear that I am unlovable, or likeable. Give me, through the Spirit of Christ in my inner being, the power to be able to overcome my shame, guilt, and fear. Quick, before I go and mess up some other relationships again. Simply put, make me feel loved by You. Make me see Your smile and hear Your voice. Fill my beat-up, emptied cup. Now please.

(2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 3:14-21)