Friday, February 25, 2011

Christian Food Coloring Now at Local Christian Bookstore

      When Cassidy was a little girl (a phrase I probably will use a lot over the next months) she loved it when daddy made the pancakes for breakfast.  Why?  Because I made it an event.  I tried to make every pancake a cartoon character.  We had Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck (never could do him very well, no one ever recognized him) and a few others.  Not only did they have "character" but we had them in yellow, green, blue and any combination of the four colors you could imagine.  You guessed it, the good ole food coloring.  Don't think me so childish, I believe more people are guilty of abusive food coloring practices than would admit it.  That's okay, we had fun.  So much fun, we also ate red scrambled eggs and of course the famous "Green Eggs and Ham" from Dr. Suess.  The coloring didn't do much for the ham.  I always thought a man could get rich off food coloring that had a flavor to match the color; red-strawberry, green-lime, blue-coconut and yellow-lemon.  Any business partners out there?  Didn't think so.  Oh well, I guess that's the whole idea; don't change the ingredients, just the appearance.
      I can see it now.  Advertisement in the local newspaper for Spiritual Stuff Bookstore, "New Christian Food Coloring: When you want to appear to be different- Without really changing anything."  Isn't that what we all do at times as Christians.  We really don't want to change the ingredients (things in our lives) to the extent that it really makes a difference.  Hey, we like the recipe just like it is.  We don't really need to make any drastic changes.  We are good people, carry our Bibles to church, even dust them off before we go, we sing loud with our eyes closed and even raise our hands occasionally.  An occasional amen and nodding to the sermon.  We know what to say and what do to appear to be growing and changing when in reality, the ingredients are the same just the appearance changes.  I know I am really good at that.
       What if God were to say to the church, "throw the food coloring and recipe out"  we are changing all the ingredients."  Sometimes I think He may be saying just that.  We don't like terms like radical, change, sold-out, Jesus freak, dangerous,costly and risky when it comes to the Christian life.  Matthew West has a song, "I Don't Want To Go Through the Motions", in other words, I don't want to just have the appearance, I want to change the ingredients so that they make a difference.  That should be all of our prayers:  God change everything in us that needs to be changed so that WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  No Christian Food Coloring allowed!  Are you willing to change or do you just want to appear to change?   Are you ready to be radical, sold-out, dangerous, risky or a Jesus Freak.  Let's do it.  Let's change the ingredients so it makes a difference.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Slick, on the bench"

      The year, 1973 and we are headed into the spring game.  It was my freshman year in college and I had had a good season.  Didn't start, but got some playing time.  I was elected one of two freshman team captains.  Everything was rocking right along, one step closer to my dream, the NFL (told you I was big dreamer) when I got called into Coach Mayo's office, our offensive coordinator and receivers coach.
      "Slick (never knew why he nicknamed me slick, guess it was easier to scream), we have made some changes going into our spring game that we feel are going to help us next year."  My heart was pounding, my palms sweating as I waited for the impending bad news.  I was expecting the worst.  Something like, "We've moved you from left end to right end (of the bench).  I didn't want any news.  I was perfectly happy the way things were.  Number two on the tight end depth chart and Jimmy, the starting tight end, had only one year left.  Well, Coach Mayo continued, "We are moving Jimmy to linebacker and moving you into the number one spot at tight end.  Think you can handle it."
      Starting tight end heading into the spring game my freshman year.  Dream right on track.  As the game got closer, I got more and more nervous.  Don't ever remember being too nervous in high school, but this was a different ball game.  A starting position and an NFL career was on the line (or at least that is how I felt).  The big moment came, when in the huddle, he called my number.  This was a play I had scored my first college touchdown on.  I was feeling confident.  Wish I could tell you I caught the ball and scampered 40 yards for a TD.  I could tell you that but it would be a lie.  No, I misread the defense and turned the wrong way.  The ball hit me in the side of the helmet.  I panicked the rest of the game making multiple mistakes, missed catches, I simply fell apart, to the point, that Coach Mayo screamed, "Slick, on the bench and don't ever come off until I tell you  to."  I had blown my big opportunity!  This is embarrassing, but I sat on the bench and began to cry.   After a bit, Coach Mayo approached me, "Slick, why are you crying?''  My response, "Coach, you've yelled 3 times more at me that you've yelled at the rest of the team."  He chuckled (I didn't think it was funny) and I will never forget what he said, "Slick, there are guys on this team I never yell at because I've given up on them.  As long as I'm yelling at you, you're in good shape.  That's my way of trying to get the best out of you."  He didn't give up on me because he sure kept yelling at me.
      The Bible teaches us that God disciplines those He loves.  Sometimes I get that same feeling with God that I got with Coach that day.  I feel as though He is being to harsh with me.  He is allowing bad things continue to happen to me when He could change things and make life much easier. 
      I continue to ask questions like, "Is this punishment for past sins?"  Finding it more and more difficult to make sense of the continued tough times.  Could it be that God is more interested in my character than He is in my circumstances.  Wouldn't I be far better off is my character change rather than my circumstances?   Is He punishing me or is He pulling me and preparing me?  Does He intend to hurt me or is He honing me?  Is He clubbing me or is He curring me?  Is He spanking me or is He sparking me?  Is He bulling me or is He building me?  Is He condemning me or is He calling me?  As long as I feel the tension between where I am and where I should or could be, then I feel Him at work.  As long as I have as big of a desire for my character to change as I do for my circumstances to change, then I know He has placed me back on the potter's wheel. 
      I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit continues to poke and prod at my heart.  The feeling that He is committed to making me better.  He allows the hard times, as a discipline, to pull me up not to push me down.  He loves me in the valley just as much as He loves me on the mountain top.  Even though times are tough, I am secure in His love.
       How about you?  Have you failed to see how committed He is to you in the difficult times?  Has it caused you to run from Him instead of toward Him?  It is in those hardest times that you can know that He truly loves you.  Submit to His discipline.  It will not destroy you, but draw you into His presence, where you can abide in His love.  Welcome everyday, good or bad, as a part of an incredible journey with a God that is passionately in love with you.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Most Valuable Player

      On June 10, 2010, Sam Bradford signed a six year, $78 million deal, which has $50 million of guarantees and has a maximum value of $86 million, the greatest amount ever paid for a rookie.  They were willing to put that kind of cash forward because they saw tremendous value in Bradford.  I always find it interesting  and humorous to hear some of the questions asked following the signing of these kind of contracts.  If you are a first round draft pick, some team laid a lot of money down for you.  One sports journalist asked the St. Louis Rams owner a stupid question,  "Do you have high hope for Sam this year?"  His answer was something like this, "Yeah.  We have $78 million worth of hope for him."  What idiot would pay that kind of money if they did see value in that player.
      I find it fascinating every year to see what kind of value a team places on their first round pic.  It doesn't take much to see how important they think that player is going to be to the future of the team.  It is reflected in the amount of money they are willing to pay for him.  Same thing goes for a CEO of a company.  Some of these guys make unbelievable amounts of money.  These companies value them highly.
      Although, I find it interesting, it always leaves me a little deflated thinking; not much demand for my talents.  I don't find a lot of incentives tied to my part time job.  Not much value placed on me.  No bidding wars for Keith Street.  I mean, those guys make more money just showing up than I will in a lifetime of working.  I don't remember which pitcher it was, but last year I read an article that showed me how much this pitcher made per throw.  Needless to say, his every throw was more valuable to his team than ten years of my services for my team.  Not a real ego booster.
      Then the thought occurred to me (something you will never hear God say, "It occurred to Me").  I'm worth more than $78 million,  more than the best major league pitcher and more than any CEO on the "top 10" list.  If their value is reflected in what their teams or companies paid for them, then consider what I am worth.  I was purchased based on my value and if I must say so myself, "I am pretty valuable."   I wasn't a check I could deposit, but something was credited to my account.  Maybe the world doesn't see my value the same as the one who purchased me, but that's okay.  Two partners saw my value and here's the deal.  God sent His one and only Son to complete the deal and Jesus made the purchase with His own blood.  Wow!  What a price!   The highest price ever paid for anyone.
       Are you feeling pretty valuable right now?  You should be.  The really cool thing about is that the price was not based on previous or future performance.  It was based on how much He passionately loves you.  That's it.  That's all.  To Him you are worth every drop. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

That's A Beautiful Dress

       Let me remind you that this part of the journey all the way through March is about how God shows us He loves us.  If you have a story of how you have seen demonstrations of His love for you, maybe we can share it on Join The Journey.
       I know in my life, people have become the greatest expxression of His love.  I had a mother that was a constant reminder of God's love.  She died when she was 43 years old at the hands of a drunk driver, yet I have a lifetime of  memories that have God all over them.  Please let me be personal and share a story about her.  She was an incredible woman.  I remember walking with her down town and she would stop at a store window and just stare.  I'd say, "What are looking at?"  She would say, "That's a beautiful dress."  "Why don't you buy it, Mom?"  "There are other things we need more than that dress.", she would say.  I later figured out what she really was saying was that if she didn't spend that money on herself she could spend it on someone else. 
      One of those "someone else" was a young girl named Glenda.  She was from a very poor and rough family.  She had been roughly handled and verbally abused for many years and never looked anyone in the face.  On more than one ocassion I saw some of those store front dresses on her.  Mom would buy material, spread out the newspaper on the kitchen table, cut out a pattern and make Glenda the dress.  I swear it was more beautiful than the one in the window, but recognizable.  She would perm her hair, do her nails and it would lift her head.  Glenda started smiling, she would greet people, shake your hand.  She became a different person.  I give my mom credit for it, but she would say, "I just showed her God loved her."  That's my mom.
      It wasn't so much the beautiful dresses, the matching doll dresses, the perms and other kind things that she did for many other girls that I remember.  What has stuck in my memory is what she gave up in order to do those things.  The personal sacrifice, she wanted those beautiful dresses for herself.  She made all her own clothes, cutting her patterns out of the newspaper from memory of a dress she had seen, so she would have money leftover, rather than purchasing the dress.      Not only her sacrifice, but her willingness to use her talents to benefit others.  She was always looking for opportunities to "show someone God loved them."  To me that reflects the heart and character of Jesus.
      He was willing to leave Glory, where He was worshipped around the clock, to be rejected by earth.  He suffered a horrible death so He could purchase something for us, REDEMPTION!  I'm thankful for His presence, His power, His provision, His protection, but I will be eternally grateful for what He gave up to show me He loved me.  He even asked the Father if there was any other way, please lets do it. There wasn't and He sacrificed.  Oh how He loves you and me, oh how He loves you and me,  so much that He would lay down His life.
      God make us willing to give up, to lay down, to turnover, to let go of anything that would give us an opportunity to "show someone God loves them."  I challenge you to look for opportunities to sacrifice.  It is amazing how he can turn sacrifice into blessing.  JOIN THE JOURNEY and share your talents, letting the world know God loves them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heavenly Post-Its

      When my daughter Cassidy was a little girl she discovered Post-Its for the first time.  She was also just beginning to write so you get the picture.  Post-It notes everywhere.  I remember leaving for a trip and she had a Post-It note for me to put on the dashboard of the car.  It said, "I love you Dabby", she had gotten her "d"s backward.  Ever since , when we exchange cards or notes we affectionately use the  term "Dabby".  Everytime I see a Post-It of any kind I think of that precious note and anytime I get a card from her I first glance to see if it says "Dabby".  She is 18 now and not quite as sentimental as I am.
      The thought occurred to me once, what if God could use Post-It notes everyday? What if every time He was trying to show us how much He loved us, we saw a Post-It note.  Think about a regular day and look for the notes.  Maybe when a friend drops you an encouraging message on Facebook you saw a Post-It stuck on their profile picture and it said, "I love You, signed God".  Or maybe it was the moment your wife or husband said,  "I know things are tough right now, but I believe in you", you saw a Post-It note on their forehead that said, "I love You, signed God". ( I never know which side of the quotations to put the period or comma)  You take the time to open the Bible and read a few verses and it just seems you opened to the verse you needed to read.  You needed a word from God and there it was, with a Post-It note on the verse that said, "I love You, signed God."  (thought I would put the period inside the quotations this time so I would be right at least once)  Flipping through the channels and you hear a worship song that really speaks to your heart and on the corner of the TV you saw a Post-It note that said, "This is God and I love You."  Or perhaps a friend calls and asks for you to pray for her.  You feel needed, connected to her and God.  As you hang up the phone you see a Post-It stuck to the side of the phone that said, "I love You and I'm using you."   Your elderly neighbor sends you thank you card for mowing her lawn and on the inside of the card was a Post-It note that said, "I love You and loved her through you today."
      I'm convinced that God would get a kick out of using Post-Its just like Cassidy did as a little girl.  Take a few moments to think back to this past week and see if you see any Heavenly Post-Its.  If you are like me, your journey is dotted with them all along the way.  That is just another way that God lets us know how much He loves us.  Not only look for the Post-Its, JOIN THE JOURNEY and start sticking them all around.  God will smile!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Performer of the Year

      The Grammies are the talk of the town.  Who did and who didn't win.   Who should have and who shouldn't have.  For example, who in the world is the girl that beat out Justin Bieber for newcomer of the year?  If I've heard that once, I've heard it a thousand times.  The awards are based on the consistence performances of 2010 for each category.  One thing I've learned, people have strong opinions about their favorite performers and they are mad if they think their guy got shafted. 
      What a way to live, everything based on your performance.  No thanks!  You don't have to be up for an Oscar, a Grammy, a Golden Globe, a Dove or a Bevo (had to slip that one in) to find yourself trying to be "Performer of the Year".  We try hard to win the approval of our peers, our bosses and our family.  Every effort is made to keep it all together, or at least to appear that way,  so people will think better of us.  Try harder, perform better and we will be more loved and appreciated. What has happened is we have also carried that performance mentality into our relationship with God and it saddens Him greatly.  I think I smell a rat in that kind of thinking.  Someone who is not committed to our well being has duped us into believing that.  You get two guesses and the first one doesn't count.  I am going to give you a clue:  It is the opposite of the way Jesus operates.
      Let's take a quick look at how Jesus dealt with people.  We will look at just a few, the most obvious ones and see if there is a pattern.  My guess is, YES!  Start with the Woman at the Well.  Jesus let her know that he knew everything about her, not to embarrass her, but to embrace her.  Jesus wanted her to know she mattered, not because of her performance, but in spite of  her performance.  He loved her as a person, not as a performer.  Not only did He know everything about her, but He knew everyone else knew everything about her, they had whispered about her and her performances for years.  Where did Jesus meet her.  At the well, one of the most visible places of the day and she was a Samaritan on top of that.  The "religious" people despised her "kind", but Jesus loved her "kind".  No, He did not approve of her behavior, but He loved her where she was and offered freedom.  How about the woman caught in adultery.  For the "religious" people this was cut and dry, black and white.   Adultery equals stones.  Jesus openly defends her, not her lifestyle.  Once again the focus is on the person, not the performance.  Not only does He defend her, but He exposes the faulty thinking of those professional stone throwers.  Remember Zachaeus, hated tax collector, Jesus went to his house for dinner.  Then the leper, who had to walk around yelling "unclean, unclean".  Total outcast, condemned by the "religious" ones.  Jesus did the forbidden, He touched him.  Legally, that was cause for His own death.
       The common thread in all these encounters is these individuals were rejected, despised, condemned and all considered poor performers.   Jesus embraced each one of the individuals openly and unashamedly.  He always had His focus on the person, never the performance.  Let me ask you an honest question.  Do you sometimes try to perform for God's approval?  We all do, to some degree, for others, but when we approach God with that kind of thinking, we so limit a vital relationship with Him.  Why?  Because it is void of the freedom to approach Him just as we are.  Billy Graham always ended his sermons with an altar call, singing "Just As I Am" because He wanted people to know that Jesus died for their freedom to approach God without first changing.  Do you consider yourself a poor performer.  Have you failed Him as much as you have served Him.  I certainly have.  Well, I have good news for you today; You are a perfect candidate for an encounter with Jesus.  One that will change you forever.  It won't be a one time experience, but with the rising of every sun, He desires to engage you.  As a matter of fact, there is nothing else on His agenda for the day.  He is passionate about us, in spite of our performance.  Pause and let Him know you are ready and eager for the encounter too.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Treasure in the Trash

Wess Stafford, Pres. of Compassion International, shares a story a young man who went with him on a mission trip to Guatemala.  Wess wanted the group to see the struggles that abject poverty brings to a child's life.  The van pulled up to mountains of debris, the local dump.  In the sweltering heat, the stench was unbearable.  Swarms of flies greeted the van.  Children were excited for the visitors.  What children?  The children who lived at the dump.  As the mission group got out of the van to visit and encourage the kids, one young man refused to get out of the van.  Wess approached him to see why he was not getting out. 
The young man answered, "You told me Compassion's ministry is about hope and dreams.  Then you bring me here.  There is no hope here.  No dreams are possible.  I only see tragedy and despair.  Nothing good could happen here."
Not much Wess could say to calm him, so he left him in the van.  I've been to Guatemala and remember hearing about the kids who lived at the dumps.  The poverty is unbelievable!  Later that night, a banquet was held with formerly sponsored children who had qualified for Compassion's Leadership Development Program.  Visitors sat at the table with these special LDP students.  As Wess made his rounds from table to table, he approached the one where sat the angry young man in the van.  "So, how are things here going?"  The young man replied, with tears in his eyes,  "Wonderfully.  We have the best table of all."  "Why is that?", Wess asked.  The young man simply pointed at a young girl sitting at the table.  "Ask her where she grew up."  She smiled and said, "I grew up on the city dump you visited today."  It appears as though God had a hand in the seating arrangements for the evening.  God is so good and smart! 
      Her name was Aury, and she shared that she had just been accepted at the university as a business major.  She was excited.  Wess wisely asked her, "What do you know now from having grown up in that awful place?"  (Stop right here, right now and go get some kleenex.  You are going to need them when you read her reply.)
"I know two things.  First, I know what it feels like for people to look at you and think you are garbage.  When I was very small, the dump trucks wouldn't swerve to avoid hitting me - the drivers thought I wasn't worth the effort.  If I had been killed out there among the dogs and vultures, probably nobody would have even dug a grave for me.  I was already where I belonged - garbage in the trash heap."  "What else do you know, Aury?",  Wess asked gently.  (Grab the kleenex!) She beamed and answered confidently, "I know that nobody is garbage. We are all loved by God and He has a perfect plan and purpose for every life.  THAT'S WHAT I KNOW."
Go to, Winter 2011 magazine to find out the rest of the story.  Marcia called me and read me Aury's story over the phone.  We both wept as we were in awe of a God who even goes to the city dump to reclaim His treasures.  This story so perfectly fit with the message of my blogs through March, How God Feels About YOU! 
      Aury is the cover story for the Winter 2011 edition of Compassion Magazine, but GOD is the author.  Her story is still being written and so is yours.  God often finds us among debris of a bad decisions, broken homes, broken hearts, failures, shattered dreams, deception, disallusionment, addictions and sin.  We cry out from within (most of us too prideful to cry outwardly) and as Amy Grant says,
He hears a melody.  He loves you and considers you a Treasure, even if He found you at the City Dump!  He won't leave you in the dump, He won't swerve to miss you, He is headed right toward you.  Grab His hand, feel His heart and follow His steps to the dumps edge.  Take a moment, look back, never to live there again. YOU ARE TREASURE FOUND IN THE TRASH!  Only return to lead others out.  What a journey.  You can be a part! Consider sponsoring a child and help them write the rest of  their story. It will be a significant part of your story too.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brain Smoking

      Do you know why faith is so important to the Christian?  The answer is simply the fact that most of the fundamental truths we live by are to magnificent to wrap our finite brains around.  We believe them, but understand them, that is a whole different story.  That is why we are told  "lean not unto your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5)  That is why Jesus had to teach in parables, the "mysteries of the Kingdom" are just to hard to comprehend without stories of common things shedding light on them.  Faith allows us to accept them as truth without having full understanding.
      If you want to see what I mean, go to Psalm 139.  That whole chapter just blows my mind.  From beginning to end, it is full of truths that are so hard to wrap my brain around .  Those who know me don't find that to hard to believe.  My brain struggles with a lot of things.  Disney challenges me!  I won't take the time to walk you through Psalm 139 verse by verse, although I would love to, but I encourage you to stop reading after the period at the end of this sentence and get your Bible out and read it.  Then come back and join the journey.  I assume you did that, so I will write the rest of this blog with that in mind.
      The first 12 verses tell us how intimately he is involved in our everyday.  He knows our thoughts, when I'm standing, sitting, walking or hiding and where I'm doing all those things.  Nothing I say, nowhere I go, nothing I do surprises Him.  He is there on every step of the journey.  Verses 13-16, talk about how intricately  He has designed us.  He uses words like "knitting", "forming", "fearfully", "intricately", "woven" to express the truth that YOU AND I are worth the care taken to create us and to keep up with us.
      That is when my brain starts smoking.  "Who am I that Thou art mindful of me?"  Sounds like some others struggled with wrapping their brains around it too.  When January 1, 1954 appeared on His "creation calendar" He cleared the table and began the careful, painstaking, specific design of  Keith Street.  He didn't take any less effort to make me than He did in making Moses (as a matter of fact, I wandered around a lot. I've probably wasted 40 years).  He didn't use a left over design sheet from when He made the Apostle Paul, He drew up brand new schematics just for me.  Even tho, He knew I would never be the President of the United States, He had every one of my days charted.  When I was born, I lived in Grandfalls, TX, population 587.  How did He even find that place?  He found it because His eyes were on "little ole me" and that is where I popped out and He has followed my every footstep ever since then.  Brain smoking again!!!  I know you are not supposed to begin a sentence with "AND" but it just reads better.  I feel like I need to take a deep breath and say "AND HE" has purpose assigned to every one of those days.  "AND HE" wants to be involved in every day and every plan.  "AND HE" designed me carefully and perfectly to accomplish everything He planned for me to do.  "AND HE" knows that no one can do it better than me.  He made it that way.  Brain smoking again!!!  Everything I just said that pertains to me also pertains to YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU...!!!!!  He has an incredible journey for you.  Let's journey together.  Join the Journey!

Monday, February 7, 2011

VIP Passes for Everyone

What a weekend! WinterJam and Super Bowl Party at the church. A thousand different thoughts I want to share with you. Difficult to choose just one, but here we go. I didn't get the treatment that 1200 ticket holders at the Super Bowl got. Can you imagine going through the excruciating decision to go ahead spend thousands of dollars to get to Dallas with a Super Bowl ticket purchase at twice the face value, only to find out they have not finished the seats printed on your ticket. The choice to purchase a multi thousand dollar memory for your family turned out to be an "expensive nightmare". Not exactly VIP treatment. On the other hand, I didn't get the treatment of hundreds who walked by me as I waited 2 1/2 hours in the cold wind to enter the Greensboro Coliseum for WinterJam. Those that stood in a shorter line, entered the building first and got first pick of the seats, and walked through a special canopied entrance with a big sign that said VIP. They were wearing T-shirts that said WinterJam 2011 and a big badge with VIP on it hung around their neck. They were Very Important People. They became very important because they paid $50 each that I did not pay. There is a certain psyche we have in America. If you have enough money or enough smarts or enough good looks or enough connections or enough position or enough power or enough something, then you could be a VIP. Good news is you do have enough and you didn't have to purchase it. It did, however, cost a lot. Your VIP status was purchased by Jesus.

The Cost: His life, the Status: priceless!
When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Christ. VIP!
We have been chosen, adopted by Christ. VIP!
We are more than Conquerors in Christ. VIP!
We are His house, He abides in us VIP!
We can do all things in Christ. VIP!

The Woman at the Well, Bartimaus, Zachaeus, the Woman who touched the hem of His garment, the leper, the lame, the blind, the mute, the demon possessed, the man on the cross, the widow with a mite, the man with shabby clothing, the poor, the imprisoned, the failures, the orphaned, the widowed and a small West Texas boy. VIP! Every one of us are Very Important People to Jesus. He is passionate about us. He offers us living water, He helps us to see the things we need to see, He asks us to "to climb down from that tree" when He walks by, He heals us, encourages us, comforts us, picks us up, strengthens us, guides us, visits us, lives in us, all because we are VIPs. The most exciting part of it all is that He walks with us daily. Hang your VIP pass around your neck and JOIN THE JOURNEY.

Friday, February 4, 2011

God is excited!

Do you ever get excited?  I know some folks that I have never seen excited.  It would probably be a health issue if they really ever got excited, those that have known them for a long time would probably run for cover, afraid they are going to blow a cork.  I sometimes think of God in that way.  He has everything under control, He knows what is going to happen, He makes things happen when He wants to.  How can He get excited when nothing surprises Him?
      One of the young people in our church had a science project.  He really worked hard on it, buying all the raw material piece by piece.  He calculated, measured, cut and recut (is that a word?), glued and tested.  He was ready for the demonstration.  First attempt it didn't work the way it was supposed to.  Tweak here and there, walah!  Keith, wait till you see what I made for my science project!  Now fully assembled, fully functional and even painted camo, I had in front of me a T-shirt launcher.  He was proud of what he made and excited for everyone to see.  I have to admit, it was pretty cool, although, I did have a sense of danger lurking in the shadows.  You would have to know this kid to know what I mean.
     It occurred to me the other day (You never hear God say "it occurred to me"), God does get excited.  He gets excited about what He has created.   I have had the opportunity to live in both the Rocky Mountains and now the Smokies.  God is a master creator and I have witnessed the work of some of His better days.  What's really cool is that YOU and I are the CROWN JEWELS of His creative talents.  He created, He looked,and He said, this is really cool, or maybe He said good.  Anyway, He was excited about what He created.  What fuels His excitement , when placed in His hands,is YOU or I being what He created us to be.  Watch out world, God is going to have some fun.  He will shoot us all over the place.  It may at times even lurk with danger.  Oh sure, He will always have to do some tweaking, but my guess is, He will never quit launching us.  He did not create us to observe us, He created us to LAUNCH US!  Man, this is getting exciting!!!(ladies too)  When was the last time you felt launched?  OOOOH YEAH, it may be scary, but boy it is exciting.  Especially for God.  See ya at the launching pad.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Starting the Journey

This is my official first blog.  I'm a little apprehensive.  Not sure I have enough to say or that anyone will gain from reading it.  This is probably an exercise that will benefit me more than anyone else.  My intent is to invite you into an incredible journey with me in a full out pursuit of God.  I promise to be honest as  I try to discover His plan, hear His voice, and uncover the gifts and talents He has given me.  I wouldn't even think I had any, except I believe everyone has them, compliments of the Master Designer.  I have wasted years in selfish pursuits and would give anything if I could undo so much of life.  I can't, so I accept the past as a part of my story and purpose in my heart to write the rest of the story much better.  It has been a long journey stoking the faint embers that the Lord never allowed to die inside of me.  Embers that I had all but extinguished with a life centered around me.  I went through a long period that I thought life was the pursuit of what satisfied me, what defined me,  constantly trying to create an image that would intrigue people.  Trying to recreate me into someone interesting all the while forfeiting the life God had intended for me.  Long story short, I failed miserably.  I didn't like me and gave others plenty of reason not to.  I disappointed my family, friends and most of all God.  However, during all of that time I was always aware of God's love for me.  That is a truth that was almost generic.  It was like, Ok, He has to love me because He is God.  It is so easy to take that love for granted.  But there was something else about God that almost haunted me.  It was a thought that became most difficult to dismiss as time went on.  The thought was this, "God is interested in Me!"  That's different than just loving me.  He can love me from up there, but He can't  be interested in me without having a desire to be involved with me.  That thought blows me away!  He is interested in what I'm doing, where I'm headed, what I'm interested in, and what I am planning to do with the rest of my life.  The thought makes me aware of the fact that He has been waiting for my return for a long time.  My favorite part of the "prodigal son" story is when the father saw him far off  and began running toward him.  He didn't even give his son a chance to give his "I'm sorry" speech.  No scolding, just excitement.  Get the robe, kill the fatted calf, its time to celebrate.  I felt that celebration.  When I turned toward home, I found Him running toward me.  Everyday is a celebration of a God who is interested in me.  The past is just a part of the story that reminds me that He was looking for me everyday.  Ready to run toward me.  I don't know who is reading this, but I do know that it doesn't matter what you have done or where you are now,  He is looking for you, ready to run toward you the moment you turn toward Him.  I hope you too will experience the celebration.   Then I want to invite you to JOIN THE JOURNEY as we pursue Him together.