Archive for August, 2012

My Heart Hurts

Posted in Community on August 29, 2012 by nmpreach

For those of you who know me well, I ask that you bear with me.  For those of you who don’t, here’s some of my heart:

I believe whole-heartedly part of what it means to be created in the image of God is to be concerned about community.  In my mind, community means relationship, first of all with God, then with others.  Jesus Christ says it this way:  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second (commandment) is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.  (Mark 12:30-31 ESV)

Jesus makes the point that everything hinges on loving God and loving others – community.  For my own benefit, I like to say it this simple way:  To love God is to love others.  To love others is to love God.  We need a relationship with God of course.  But we also need one another.  God places people in our lives who allow us opportunities to grow.  For that reason, community/relationship is so important.

If relationship is what God has in mind, don’t you think Satan would like nothing better than being divisive within those relationships?  Of course, he wants our relationship with God to be severed (Cf. Genesis 3).  But we often forget that he attempts to drive wedges within every relationship possible.  He destroys relationships from the inside out.  That means he gets involved in the little things, in things that don’t seem to matter at first.  But the little things add up and become big things.  The big things often seem to become insurmountable.  And much too often relationships are destroyed.

Please hear this:  Relationships are fragile!  Relationships are fragile!  RELATIONSHIPS ARE FRAGILE!  Don’t think this can’t happen to you.  Satan wants to cause dissention in every way he can.  And he begins with relationships.  Until we understand that, we’ll never experience peace in our families.  In our marriages.  In our communities.  In our individual lives.  If we’re not intentional about realizing this truth, Satan continues to win battle by battle.  And God grieves.

Don’t be a casualty.  Don’t allow Satan to destroy your relationship with God or with anyone else.  We live in a broken world where broken people hurt other broken people.  It’s only through Christ Jesus redemption and restoration can take place.  My friends, this is what we should be about!  Love God.  Love others.  Receive grace.  Give grace.  Be concerned about what God is concerned about – relationship.

 

Quotes (2)

Posted in Words on August 28, 2012 by nmpreach

It’s Tuesday.  That means it’s a day for quotes.  Here’s some I’ve run across that I enjoy.  Any of your own?

“Our ancestors told the old, old, story with all they were.    All I want said of me someday is “He told the old, old story with all he was.”  – Leonard Sweet

“I have followed Mitt Romney & Barack Obama on Twitter for a year now. As a result my prayer life has increased a GREAT DEAL!!!”  – Pastor Jason Kraft

“Many Christians talk about living the crucified life but nothing in their lives indicates they have ever begun the journey.”  – A. W. Tozer

Quotes

Posted in Words on August 21, 2012 by nmpreach

There’s power in words.  One of my favorite things to do is read and attempt to digest quotes.  So here’s a few of my favorites.  Feel free to add your own or comment on these.  Who knows?  Maybe this can become something weekly.

“Jesus was much more interested in the quality of the people’s response to him than in the quantity of the crowd.”  – Tim Keller

“Jesus our Lord is Prophet, Priest, and King. The concept is not new, yet many preachers never preach it, and many congregations never hear it.”  – A.W. Tozer

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.”  – C.S. Lewis

 

Your turn!

Funny or Serious?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 by nmpreach

Bookstores in Heaven

Posted in Book, Words on August 16, 2012 by nmpreach

What’s your idea of heaven?  For me, it’s a Heath blizzard from DQ, Rangers baseball, and bookstores.  Of course, I’m joking.  But there’s something about bookstores.

One of the things I don’t regret doing in life is reading to my kids from an early age.  The two oldest (22 and 17 respectively) are avid readers.  The youngest (9 and the only boy) has yet to get an affinity for reading.  He’ll read when grounded, when encouraged, or for school homework.  But he’s all boy and being outside is what makes him happy.  For the most part, I’m not partial to what they read.  They were/are raised in the Church so the Bible would be something I would choose for them.  But novels, short stories, and non-fiction works would make them well-rounded people.

Books are fun.  Movies are great but books are much better.  I realize that’s somewhat of an over-generalization, but typically it’s true.  There’s so much more that can go into books.  When the reader is asked or required to use his or her imagination or a thought process, something magical takes place.  Recently, I haven’t had the opportunity to read for fun.  For example, these are books that don’t require much thinking.  They move forward at a rapid pace.  And before you know it, you’re nearing the conclusion.  There’s usually no point other than entertainment.  But they’re fun.  That’s it.

On the other hand, there are books that attempt to convince the reader of something.  “This will change your life” is included in some way in the preface or introduction.  Honestly, sometimes it does and sometimes it’s just a marketing ploy.  These are what I call “deeper” books.  They take more time to read, percolate, and come to a conclusion.  These are books I read for education, career, etc.

I’ve had friends that set annual goals for reading.  For instance, a friend set a goal of reading 60 books in one year, another 35, etc.  I’ve never set goals like that but perhaps it’s beneficial.  Anything that might keep me disciplined is welcomed.  One more thought:  I think a healthy reading hobby should include some of these and some of those – some fun and some reading for education.  By the way, saying you’re not a reader is a cop-out.  Every one can learn.  And everyone should!  If you don’t know how to read, start to learn today.  By the way, what are you doing here?  🙂

I’ll attempt to give you a few book reviews on the blog – hopefully enough information that’s intriguing but not enough where you don’t have to read it.  So what are you reading?  Is it for fun or something you hope will change your life?  Here are some I’m working on:

A. W. Tozer  The Crucified Life  – devotional, deep, really enjoying this book

Alan and Debra Hirsch Untamed  – book on discipleship, missional, Church stuff, good so far

Millard Erickson  Christian Theology  – a systematic theology book for a class, as deep as it sounds

Leonard Sweet What Matters Most – one of my favorite authors, book about community, Church stuff, challenging

I know some of you read some really good stuff.  So here’s your chance.  Give me something to read!  Go.

How Do You Respond To Stress?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 by nmpreach

A great reminder!

BG Allen Coaching and Consulting

Good Wednesday morning!!

Do you ever deal with stress? I do and unfortunately am a tad bit of a worrier. One of my challenges, is that I will have low level stress operating in me and not even be aware of it, yet it still affects me and the way I respond to my family, friends and colleagues. My countenance even changes and I am not even aware of it, until my wife or children are kind enough to point it out to me.I am usually genuinely surprised until I stop and assess myself and do realize that I am dealing with low level stress that causes me to respond incorrectly to those I care about.

So if you are like me and sometimes deal with these things and in how you deal with people, here are a few lines from Proverbs 15 (ESV) to consider:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a…

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A Thorn (5)

Posted in Scripture on August 14, 2012 by nmpreach

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.                    2 Cor 12:7-10

Paul speaks with an honesty that is refreshing.  After all, if Paul can have harassment, trouble, and hardship, what makes you and I immune?  It’s also encouraging to know that Paul found God to be silent and eventually to hear that God wouldn’t remove Paul’s trouble(s).  Yesterday, we were challenged with seeing those troubles as opportunities for growth rather than things that destroy or damage us.

It’s at this point that Paul speaks of being strong – but only after realizing he’s weak.  He’s weak on his own; however, when he perceives God moving in tough times, Paul is encouraged.  There’s nothing to big for God.  God is not surprised by anything and has our best interest at heart.  Regardless of what might come in our lives, God has our back.  That’s encouraging.  That’s empowering.  That’s good news.  And it’s a promise God wants us to realize.  His power is made perfect.  He wants to humble us.  It’s only then that He will be exalted.  Be blessed!