Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Morning Musings ...

It has been a while since I gave a Monday Morning Musings post. Between getting away for a couple of days, having a couple of funerals and volleyball season starting I just haven't gotten it done. Sorry about that, but here we go again.

Yesterday was a very good day. The highlight was our annual outdoor baptism service yesterday afternoon. With the sun blazing we celebrate the baptism of 4 wonderful people. Their testimonies were very moving and encouraging. Being able to be a part of this special day with them was outstanding. I have had the privilege of seeing 2 of them come to faith in Christ and watching all of them grow in their faith in Christ. We then had a great picnic together after the service. The food was good and the fellowship and sharing was great.

In the morning our worship was good. Musically we enjoyed great participation and a very good spirit during the service. We had good attendance again this week. Our attendance has been pretty good since I started this series, don't know if the series has anything to do with it or not.

This week was principle #6 of the series A Celebration of Healing/Recovery. This principle is "Evaluate all my relationships, offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I've done to others except when to do so would harm them or others." This obviously deals with relational repair. We examined Ephesians 4:29-5:2 for this principle. If we live verse 29 out in our relationships we solve many of our issues, it says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Wow!

Why should I forgive those who have hurt me? Because God has forgiven me, Colossians 3:13. I am forgiven therefore I need to forgive. Because resentment doesn't work. Let me repeat that, resentment doesn't work. At least it doesn't work in having healthy relationships, it works in destroying relationships, Job 5:2 says, Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple." Because I will need forgiveness in the future. That is guaranteed. Check out Mark 11:25.

How do I forgive those who hurt me? Reveal your hurt,you can't get past a hurt until you admit it hurt. You can't forgive what you don't own up to. Your options are to repress it, ignore it or confess it. There is no closure to a hurt without disclosure of the hurt. Then you must Release the offender. The word release can often be used in place of forgive. Read through some of the verses on forgiving and see how it reads if you insert the word release. Releasing someone is part of the act of forgiving them. You must forgive them. According Matthew 18:21-22 you don't keep track of the number times you have forgiven them, you just forgive. Forgiveness and trust are not the same thing, but that is subject for another post sometime. Then you must Replace your hurt with God's peace. Colossians 3:15 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, ..." Let God deal with the offender you forgive them so God can bring healing to your heart.

You also need to make amends to those you have hurt. Why? Because unresolved relationships are often at the root of our problems. Read Hebrews 12:14-15, great words on this subject. How do I make amends? Make a list of those you have harmed and what you did. That is in case you have trouble remembering and to make it concrete for yourself. Then think about how you would want someone to make amends to you, Luke 6:31. Think through is it the right time? Make sure there is time and it is not when there are other pressing issues, but don't use "not the right time" as an excuse forever. Make sure you have the right attitude? Do it privately, humbly, sincerely and simply say what you did wrong. Don't try to justify it, just assume responsibility. Don't do it to try and get a return apology, do it without expecting anything in return. Then ask is it appropriate? There are some situations where it would be inappropriate to contact the person. Don't contact an old boyfriend or girlfriend after either of you is married. Do not contact someone you had an affair with. You obviously cannot contact someone who is dead. You can write a letter that you never mail. You can talk to an empty chair as if they were there and get it out of you.

Then you need to refocus your life. If you continue to resent someone you will begin to resemble that person. So, refocus. Put your heart right, release and forgive. Reach out to God and make sure that relationship is right. Face the world again, don't hide, live as God created you to live.

So what will you do?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow marks our 35th wedding anniversary! Wow! What stands out most to me is that I cannot believe it has been that long. I am thrilled and in awe that our marriage is much better today than it was in the beginning. I am more in love with my wife now than I was then, and I thought I was as in love as was humanly possible when we got married. God created the concept of marriage and I say a loud and enthusiastic "YEAH GOD!"

It has not all been easy, in fact not much of it has been easy but that is one of the reasons it is so awesome. We have worked at our marriage and our love. We realize that you cannot take each other or the marriage for granted. We have been blessed much more than I deserve.

My wife is beautiful, talented and one of the hardest working people I know. She was my biggest supporter when I was a public school teacher and coach. She is my partner in ministry, a true support, work alongside partner. Since I am doing some coaching again she is right there supporting and encouraging. Ask the my volleyball girls, they when she is present and when she is absent from our matches. They don't know it but she prays for them regularly as well as yells for them. She laughs at my jokes, even my corny ones. She is an incredible mother and wonderful grandmother. She is always seeking to grow in her relationship with Jesus. She loves when I grill our meals (okay I am not sure if that one is because she supports me or because she likes that she doesn't have to cook when I grill).

We have been blessed with 3 outstanding children. They all love the Lord and are active in their churches serving the Lord. We have been blessed with 2 tremendous kids-in-law, our kids made great choices. We have been blessed with 6 (soon to be 7) of the greatest grandkids in the universe. We have been blessed to serve some of the greatest people in the world in the churches we have pastored. Most of all we have been blessed by the love and grace of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I have more to say, but not to all of you. Jody will receive a note just for her, if she chooses to share any of it with you that is her decision. We are going to get away for a couple of days after this morning's worship. Just time to be together. Jody doesn't know where we are going. Even after 35 years I still have a few surprises up my sleeve.

I am so fortunate and I just wanted to share some of that with you and to let the world (or at least the small portion of the world that reads my stuff) about my awesome wife.

Happy Anniversary honey, I love you more.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Monday Musings .../ Tuesday Thoughts ...

We enjoyed another outstanding day yesterday. God really took over the service and people responded. Our time of singing was great and the worship team made a seamless adjustment. Our normal worship leader found out Saturday night that he wasn't going to get back home in time to lead worship. I made a call got someone to take over, we had some people missing from the worship team and someone stepped in Sunday morning to help and the music went very well and the spirit was wonderful.

This was part 2 of an 8 part series "A Celebration of Healing/Recovery" leading up to beginning our new ministry entitled Celebrate Recovery on September 20. Our attendance was good again this week which was encouraging for the first Sunday of August.

We examined principle #2 from Hebrews 11:6 "Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover."

It is impossible to heal/recover from our hurts, habits or hang-ups until we overcome our natural denial. We have to admit that there is an issue. A couple of denial busters are crisis and confrontation. Crisis forces us to face the facts of whatever the crisis is, we can no longer there is no problem. Confrontation done by those who care about us should cause us to own up to our issues, especially when several people say it to us. An old Texas saying is "If someone calls you a horse's rear ignore it, if two people say it, look in the mirror. If three people tell you, buy a saddle." If it keeps getting repeated there is a good chance there is a problem. At the very least use the confrontations to take a good look at whatever they are pointing out in your life.

Knowing a principle is nice, but not life changing, we need to put the principle into practice. As I used to tell my kids "don't tell me you know, show me you know". To put principle #2 into practice you must 1) Acknowledge God's Existence - the real question is what kind of God do you believe in? There are some strange ideas about God, there a lot of attempts to create a mixed up God. Romans 1:20 and Psalms 14:1 help to see this need. 2) Understand God's Character - this goes beyond believing God exists and seeks to understand Him. Realize that God knows all about your situation, Psalms 31:7-8 and Psalms 69:5. Realize that God cares about your situation. God goes way beyond just knowing and in fact cares deeply about you and your situation, look at Psalms 103:8-13. Realize that God can change you and your situation. Or he can you in your situation look at Luke 18:27.

The longer you postpone your pain the further away from healing you get. In fact you are shortening the number of days in which you can be all that God created and has called you to be when you postpone giving control to God.

3) Accept God's will and allow him to heal you and help you recover, II Timothy 1:7. So how do you plug into God's power? Believe, receive then surrender and follow him, his Word and his will.

Will you surrender and follow?

We had our youngest grandson with us for 5 days including Sunday. It was a blast and we are blessed by all 6 (soon to be 7) of our grandchildren. Last night without hearing a little voice say "good night grandpa" followed by a smile and a twinkle in the eyes that is remarkable. There were many times of our home being filled with the unbridled laughter of a child. The kind of laughter that comes from deep within and is completely unashamed, it is just pure joy. I pray for him, as I do for all of my grandkids that they will surrender control of their lives to God and follow him at an early age. Some of them already him and my heart is full as I think of this and my eyes are filling up as well.