Saturday, May 04, 2013

Undivided ...

Undivided is an interesting word. It isn't really used a lot, or at least I don't hear it used a lot. In fact as I sit here typing I can only think of one way in which I usually hear it used. That is when it is connected to the word attention, as in "undivided attention". When we want our hears to listen to us and really focus on what we are about to say we might tell them "I want your undivided attention". The flip side of that is when we want someone to know that we were really listening and focused on something, or someone, we say "I gave it/them my undivided attention".

Is there any other way in which you use "undivided"?

I found another one that should be used a lot more often. I found it in scripture, in Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name."

An "undivided heart"is not a normal heart. We usually operate with a very divided heart. We divide our heart, our attention and our affections in many directions.We often operate in this divided state by often "loving" whatever, or whoever, we are with at the moment. While working we love our work, or while participating in a hobby we love that hobby, or when at home we love our family and when at church we love the Lord and at least like our church. The fact is that this way of living leaves us divided. In fact, we usually aren't even momentarily undivided in our attention or affection. We find ourselves thinking of our family while working, or our hobbies while with our families and about everything while at church. We don't even live undivided in short bursts. It seems that we are always looking ahead and beyond our current circumstances.

I am beginning to understand that this is not how Christ desires for me to live. I am to live undivided, with Christ being who has my attention and affection. This translates into Christ being my focus. It means that Christ is not the first among many in my life, but that he is the one. It means making sure I don't operate with a multi-seated throne in my life, but a single-seated throne with Christ alone on it. It means loving my wife and family better because Christ is in control. It means being a better worker because Christ is in control. It means living a life of true joy because there are no divisions in my heart or life.

So how are you living? Is your heart divided? If your heart is divided then so is your life. Imagine what you could do if you lived undivided.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

We can have a revival ...

Our church has scheduled some special services that we call revival. I have been emphasizing that we have simply set aside some times and invited a speaker and a musician to come and lead these services. But whether or not we have revival is our choice. Each individual must seek revival of their own hearts. God can use special speakers and singers, but we must still be willing. There has been a group that has been meeting for a few weeks studying about revival and praying for our scheduled time of revival.

I am encouraged in my study that God really desires for us to have revival. I am encouraged that at least a handful of people are praying for us to have revival. I am encouraged by things God is showing me personally for my own revival and I certainly need one. I am encouraged that our scheduled time is just a few days away.

I am discouraged by the fact that only a handful of people have been praying for revival. I am discouraged that it appears there are a lot of scheduled distractions that can keep people away during these scheduled times. I am discouraged and praying not to stay that way.

I have been rereading some older books from my library about revival such as "Revival Fire", "Critical Mass", "Revive Us Again" and some others. In my reading I came across this poem and I believe it summarizes what is needed for revival and it is all doable if we will do them. It requires a humbling, a confessing and a choosing to begin with personal revival in order to see corporate revival. I am praying for this to be true.

We Can Have a Revival by Frank Knox
If all the sleeping folk will wake up
And all the lukewarm folk will fire up
And all the dishonest folk will confess up
And all the disgruntled folk will sweeten up
And all the discouraged folk will cheer up
And all the depressed folk will look up
And all the estranged folk will make up
And all the gossipers will shut up
And all the dry bones will shake up
And all the true soldiers will stand up
And all the church members will pray up
And all that are in debt will pay up.

So let's have revival. Will you join me?

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Quit ...

I Quit! There I said it. Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever wanted to say it? Have you ever been stopped from doing it? I have. My answer is "I have.", to all of the questions I just proposed.

I am not sure why God stopped me but he did. So I assume there is a reason he has something I need to learn.

Now stop asking what I want to quit and why, that is not the point of these thoughts.

So here is what I am learning so far.
    I need to pause whenever I am tempted to quit. In that pause I need to listen to what I might miss in the noise of my regular activities.
    I need to look around and make sure I am actually seeing, and sensing, things accurately and that I am really seeing all that I should be seeing.
    I need do what I know I am called to do until that call changes and I am not the one who changes that call. Since the call is God's then any change to it needs to come from him.
    I do need quit, I need to quit trying to control everything and keep surrendering to the one who gave everything.

So for now I will keep learning and listening to the one who called me in the first place and leave any changes to the call up to him.

So what are you learning?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the ...

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house were reminders of blessings from this Christmas and those in the past. There are pictures of my children and grandchildren hung on the walls with care (my wife hung them). My wife was under her heated blanket and I was in my sweats all comfy and warm. There is no clatter, unless you count the TV, but thoughts of my family fill my heart with joy. When what to my wondering eye should appear but amazing posts on Facebook and Twitter. There were great pictures and quotes from friends far and near that made me smile. My thoughts are traveling all around but I keep coming back to the fact that this is the time of remembering and celebrating the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. I am counting my blessings and unwrapping thoughts of the many reasons I have to be thankful. So this Christmas I am filled with awe at the grace Christ has shown me and continues to show me.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through my heart are memories of year full of blessings and I am excited to see what is store for the next year. Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Now What ...?

With all of the shocking news of the events in Newtown, Connecticut most of us are on an emotional roller coaster. Emotions swing from shock to anger and everything in between. The two most common questions seem to be Why? and How? Both are one word questions. But there are no one word answers. As far as "How?" we have received some information and will likely receive even more, but it will never be a complete answer. Regarding the "Why?" there will be a lot of speculation but it is unlikely that we will ever received a satisfactory answer to this one.

I have moved to a third question, "Now what?" Maybe it is the need in my personality to get past just the facts and move to some type of application. I tend to view most of life through this application lens. The other part of it for me is the desire to now do something to help. There could be an endless of list to answer the "Now what?" that I am asking.

I have landed on a few areas of the "Now what?", at least for me. Prayer, not just casual saying I will pray but really praying. Praying for the families that will never be the same. Praying for the surviving children as they cope with this horrific event in their life. Praying for the teachers and school personnel who will continue to help these students while they deal with their own grief of losing students, fellow teachers and administrators. Praying for the pastors in the Newtown area as comfort people and bring guidance in a senseless situation. Another area of my "Now what?" is to listen and watch. Listen to God's voice and guidance. Listen to the pain in people around me whether they are admitting it or not. Listen for the joys of everyday life. Watch for opportunities to help those in pain. Watch for the God moments that happen everyday but that I so often just blow right by. Watch for opportunities to bring hope to so many that feel hopeless and helpless. Another of "Now what?" actions is to make a difference in someone's life everyday. Sometimes with a helping hand. Sometimes with concentrated prayer for a specific person. Sometimes with a smile or hug. Sometimes with giving them something. Sometimes by just being there for them. Sometimes by reminding them that Christ is passionately in love with them. Sometimes ... well I hope as I pray, as I watch and listen I will be aware of more actions I can take to make a difference.

What are your "Now whats"?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why wait?

Why do I so often wait? That question has been bouncing off the walls of my brain and heart this week. The question is related to prayer, intense, passionate prayer. I have been asking why do I so often wait until I am hip deep in the crisis before I really get intense about praying. It's not that I don't pray about people and things before the crisis sets in, it just seems that too often I don't really get intense in my prayers until after the crisis has begun.

Why do I so often wait? Do you wait? What if we didn't wait? What if we more often got intense in our praying about the needs we see, hear and sense? What if we prayed more intensely more often for those we know who are without Christ, or those who struggling with guilt, or those who are so lonely it hurts, or those who don't know how to handle a rebellious kid, or those who wonder how to make their marriage wonderful, or those who are wondering if they will ever find the one, or the teen who desperately want to fit in without giving in, or ....?

I want to find out what could happen if I don't wait. How about you?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Can't Wait ...

I can't wait. That is how I feel about this coming Sunday's worship service. It is not really an accurate statement, because I will wait because it isn't going to happen until Sunday. But my feelings are accurate, waiting is not something that I want to do.

What is it that I am so excited about? It is hearing from our youth mission team. They have just returned from an outstanding time of serving in Oklahoma City. The reports I have heard so far are tremendous. Reports of hard work, reports of serving many people in need, reports of life change in youth and in the sponsors as well, and that is just from a few reports.

I am excited to hear, I am excited to see them share and I am excited about the revival they could spark in our church and community. So join us this Sunday morning at 10:30 at the Nazarene Church in Morenci, MI.

So do you understand why I can't wait?