Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

Hey…Over Here! Distracted?

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Ever ponder what Satan might personally be doing to you as enemy #1?  I have.  I mean, I know there are those weaknesses that we all have.  Might as well put a K-Mart flashing light on top of them and loudspeakers around them because everyone else knows them too.  But what about those things that we don’t see?  What about those subtle things?  What about the little things that keeps us from serving and glorifying God every day?  What about distraction?


Here’s a quote from a man who cut a guy’s ear off in a passionate attempt to protect his King, and then late that same night denied he even knew this King…3 times.  Peter says this in his first letter, 5:8, “Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.”  I think Peter knew a thing or two about how sneaky Satan can be and how weak we are in our flesh and bones.


So what might this prowling lion like to do with you?  How could he take you down?  How could he easily keep you busy or distracted so you don’t hear God well or see His direction?  How could he, Satan, cause us to think we’re doing “good” things yet neglect the “better” things God wants us to do?


Distraction is huge!  It doesn’t seem ‘evil’ does it?  Sometimes we’re distracted with things that seem very worthy in our eyes.  But remember, the devil doesn’t need us evil…he just needs us separated from our God.



Love-Serve-Spread the Word,



What if ?’s for the American Church

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s what’s behind this new “What If?” page.  I recently was challenged…probably by God…at a conference.  I was sitting in the back in a dark corner so I could think away from the noise of 13,000 people.  Guess what?  It was anything but quiet.  I should say it this way.  I think everyone in that small crowd of Jesus followers could hear God loud and clear.  God was not letting anyone get away to a small corner to just think.  There was a real question/challenge/gut wrenching move of God going on.  I’ve done some study since, and I’m not satisfied with something.  Below you’ll get an idea of where I’m coming from.

I did some research online recently about the American church.  I did this alongside looking into the Scripture at what God considers “true religion” as James writes.  I have to say that I’ve been feeling very guilty since looking into this stuff.  Gasp.  Cough.  Ugghhh.  This feeling is not good.  But guilt, if used right, can be a good thing.  So here are some things running through my cranium.

To begin with, there are well over 300,000 church families in America.  That’s pretty incredible!  Picture it.  There’s a ton of people bowing to remember Christ around us each week.  Oh, the number of church membership…just under 145,000,000…in America.  Let’s assume that 1/3 of them are not active. They are just on a membership card somewhere.  Let’s simply go with the number of 100,000,000.  That’s a ton of energy, muscle, dollars, dreams, talent, passion, grace, salvation, and blessing.  The number of money given to individual church families, not organizations like Salvation Army, equals near 100,000,000 (yes, that’s billion) dollars.   Lutherans alone count for 16 billion, which would put them at number 152 on Forbes 500 just above AFLAC.

Now here are some other basics to set beside those simple numbers pasted above.  There are nearly 149,000 children on the adoption roles within the USA.  What if the church decided to do something about it?  There are 300,000 congregations.

It takes about $5000 to drill a well in Africa for a village.  What if the church decided to do something about it?  We gave over $100 Billion…much of it going to infrastructure and building maintenance.

It takes between 25 and 40 dollars per month to support a child in a 3rd world nation.  What if the church decided to do something?  The Lutherans’ giving alone would take care 400 million children.  Nothing against my Lutheran friends…just a number for all of us to think about.

Habitat for Humanity, in 34 years, has helped put 350,000 new homes on the planet.  What if the more of the church, Jesus hands and feet, got behind projects like this?

About 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year in the USA.  Just imagine what the church could do if we asked and acted one the question, “What if?”


Just some things for you to think about.  Help me struggle with this.  It’s a good struggle.





No Pain No Gain

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Pain in the Side

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, Johnny what is the matter? Little Johnny responded, “I have a pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife.”

Ok, that was more a cute one than a belly laugh-er. But it does bring out a point that we are going to work through this week. Sometimes we misunderstand pain and suffering. The little boy just put two and two together and got a wife. Often times, we humans tend to put pain and suffering up there with most unwanted things in life. It’s natural to do that. My knee doesn’t like to be bent backwards. My finger doesn’t like it when I’m less than accurate with a stapler. When my toe rams itself into the table leg, I scream…and maybe say some other things in my brain. When I have a headache, I take aspirin. When my acid reflux boils, I remember to take my little purple pill. When I slam my hand in a door…I remove it quickly.

We don’t like pain. We pull away from it. We take stuff for it. We yell out at it. Pain is sometimes useful, as in when a splinter is in our heel, but it still hurts. We want it gone.

This brings up a problem. Sometimes it hurts living Christ-like. Sometimes it feels as though the world is against us…not tolerating Jesus followers (pressed on every side). Sometimes we don’t understand why God is allowing us to go through something (perplexed). Sometimes we’re made fun of or taken lightly or threatened when we live out Godly morals and values (persecuted). Sometimes we here of Christians in the world who are imprisoned, beaten, and killed (struck down). By a human standard, Christianity is not too appealing. Through the eyes of God, our pain is our gain…and Jesus’ gain as well.

The more we’re able to withstand pain, confusion and suffering, the more the light of Jesus shines through us. Some people will not see Christ in us. Some people refuse to see it. Some will shut us out. Some will jump on board with both feet! We take that risk. Chapter 4 verse 4 says that the god of this world has closed the eyes and ears of unbelievers. With this Biblical revelation, we see that we’re not fighting against people. Our pain is not coming from people. Ephesians 6:12 and following says that we’re in a spiritual battle. It is a battle for souls, and with that knowledge, my understanding of pain changes. Pain is worth it. Through my pain and suffering Jesus can shine…maybe bright enough and loud enough to get through to those Satan has influenced.

As leaders, our followers need to hear of our pain and suffering for Jesus, and they need to see it. They need to see that it is OK and worthwhile. We are the church. The gates of Hell cannot stand against the church. Therefore we need to live like that. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us a spirit of timidity. God gave us His spirit…which is a spirit of power.

I often think of sports illustrations. I used to run a lot. Running down a road for 5 miles at a time…not listening to anything, not talking to anyone…taught me a lot about life. There are safe pains and not so safe pains in athletics. Most cramps are not debilitating, you just need to run through them. If you don’t, they clamp down stronger. Some leg cramps are debilitating. You need to stop immediately and let it run its course. When running cross country and track, the mindset was to blow through a shoulder or abdomen cramp. You pushed through and actually came out better. It spurred you on.

Jesus went through a lot of false accusations. He walked through a lot of criticism. He was captured, beaten and then killed on a public cross. He died. I think my pain is worth it. His pain was. What are you willing to go through to get the Truth to someone’s heart?

Teaching it: This lesson lends itself well to discussion groups or pairs. People could share their personal times of hardship for Jesus. Not all hardships are because of the Gospel, though, so one needs to be able to separate these things. Focusing on what is growing in us…the spirit of Life, Christ himself, is a skill to be passed on and talked about so that when that growth begins in other, we can help them recognize it and nurture it.

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