Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Deeper Experience

As many of you know I am an Insurance Agent. What you may not know that I also work overnights at the local Wal-Mart stocking shelves. All this to help make ends meet. For my birthday I received a MP3 player to have some tunes while I work. Most of the guys at work have one. It helps pass the time more quickly, not to mention it helps speed you up.

Last night I was listening to an old Degarmo and Key song, "Casual Christian". You may know the song. I remember singing it in Youth Group. Degarmo and Key recorded it pretty much as a worship song, while Im used to a faster upbeat version. Either way its an awesome song. Singing along, I started to really pay attention to the lyric. The conviction that they sing the song with comes out strongly and you can feel the intensity of what is really said.

"I dont want to be, I dont want to be a Casual Christian. I dont want to live, I dont want to live a luke warm life. 'Cause I want to light up the night, with an everlasting light. I dont want to live a Casual Christian life"

Ive sung those words hundreds of times. I started to think about how many people, myself included, have sang the words to songs and completly missed the meaning of what they are singing. There are so many different praise and worship songs out there and each have a specific meaning. And we say, "Ohh, I like this song". Not because of what is being sung, but because we like the beat. This is not only applies to praise and worship, but to Conterporary Christian hits as well. "Bring the Rain" by Casting Crowns comes to mind. You may say...."Yeah I like that song alot" ....but do you understand what that song is saying? Its talking about all the struggles in life and that if struggles bring you to praise God, then bring you struggles.

Casual Christian is asking God for something revolutionary. Most of us are comfortable living our casual lives. Not wanting the challenges of being a contageous christian. Living our ordinary lives just getting by allowing just enough grace in our lives to get our foot into heavens door. How would this world be if even half of christians would allow themselves to be challenged to go beyond what is considered safe. To live and tell of the words they sing every Sunday.

Next time you stand in worship on Sunday morning, turn up the radio in your car to a song you really like, or hear a song on your MP3 player as you stock shelves, really take the time to listen to the words. Not only will this allow you to gain an appreciation for the music, it will give you a new and deeper experience of worship. Bringing you even deeper into the presence of God.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Heaven Help Me

Yesterday afternoon I was putting together the bassinet for, Audrey, our baby to be. Didn't really think much of it, just wanted to get it done so I could get some sleep before I went to pick up Carolyn at work. After I was through I lied down and fell asleep. A couple of hours later I awoke. As I open my eyes the first thing I see is the pretty white baby bed with a pink bow..........and it hit me, "In less than two weeks, were going to have a baby girl".

In text-speak it would be OMG, I cannot believe its almost here. After all the waiting, after all the doctor appointments, after all the tests and finger pricks...Audrey Elizabeth Bray will be sleeping in that bassinet two Saturdays from now. I think I get little sleep now, just wait until sound is coming out of this, now, empty bed. ....(i guess sound is an understatement...right?)

I have dealt with children before. I mean three boys, we should be well experienced. Umm, not this time. This time around we will be caring for a little girl. ......Wow...... We are finally going to have a daughter. Someone who will be the complete opposite of anything I am used to dealing with. Someone who will have different ways of looking at things. Someone to bring balance to the testosterone in the house. I know how to care for boys, but a girl? I am more nervous now than I have ever been. Its an odd feeling, I don't even know what to call it.....Nervocitement?? Excitousness?? This combination is putting me in such anticipation that I can barely contain it. I have always dreamed of having a daughter. Now that it is around the corner, I can only hope that I have what it takes to deal with it.

Heaven help the boys that will come knocking on my door in 16 years.

ummm...no i mean 30 years.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Remember this

"Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to Mc Donalds makes you a hamburger."

-- Keith Green(1953-1982)

Monday, August 4, 2008

An Important Message

This last Sunday our Pastor delivered a sermon that really hits hard. I know that we all know that God is coming back soon. Do we ever consider that he may come within our lifetime? With the way things are going now, it should not surprise anyone. The Bible states that no man knows the hour or the day. Which means he can make his return a year from now, a month from now, or even before I end this blog. On the other hand he may not come for another century. Regardless, should we as Christians live our lives as if that day is far off?

  • In Luke 21 it talks of looking to heaven when we start seeing the signs prophesied. Are we looking for Gods coming? Or are we too busy in our hectic days to glance up? Whether or not we look or not, it will come to pass, and eveyone will see it. And you can guarantee that we will hear it too. Countless times the Bible speaks of hearing the trumpet of God shouting at his return. In our daily activities we need to be sure we are looking and listening for his imminent return. For as Luke 12 states, his coming will be an an hour that you do not expect him.
  • If we know that he is coming soon, and we ourselves are ready for it, what about those we come into contact with each day? The harvest is plentiful, but workers are few. So many we go by on a day to day basis who dont know the Lord. What about the coworker across in the next cubicle who constantly talks about partying all weekend. What about the friend you carpool with, the buddy you eat lunch with, or even the waitress who serves you that lunch. Eveyone at one point in their life should have the opportunity to hear about the saving grace our father gives to everyone who asks.
  • In Matthew 7 Jesus talks about not everyone who has done things for God will enter heaven. You can build your house with good deeds and works to make yourself feel good. But it all is worthless unless you have your foundation on Christ. When that day comes, what will happen to your house? What is your foundation set in.?
  • Once we begin to look and to listen for him, and we begin to labor for him with sharing his grace with others, are we then ready? Ok, let me ask you this question......Do you long for Christs return? How many times in our life do we experience a moment that is so exhilarating to us that we want to stay in that moment for a while. The day we get our drivers license, the day we graduate, the day we get married, the day that our children are born, or the day that any of these event happen to our children. We get so wrapped up in these moments that we say a little prayer....."Lord, please dont come now" Yet, when times are tough; the bills are piling up and collectors constantly call, our marriage is on the rocks, a close family member dies, or we ourselves have fallen ill. Then our prayer is, "Lord, please come now" No matter where you fall in that spectrum, ask yourself that question. Remember to long for his return in the bad, the not so good, and the blessed times all the same.

My life is about to change. We are expecting our third child. What is special about this one? Well, this time we are expecting a girl. I have always wanted a daughter. Im guilty of this little prayer. I want to experience having a little girl around. Do I long for the second coming of Christ? While the answer is normally yes, my human nature is fixed on the emotions that are accustomed to living the life of a human. Even though we experience these highs, our spirits ALWAYS should be longing for our Lords return.

Since we dont know when our Lord shall come again, we need to be Looking and Listening for his coming while we Labor for him while we Long for his return. On that day the Lord will look upon you and say, "Well done good and faithful servent"