Archive for June 2010

“The Real Thing”

June 24, 2010

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. – John 4:23

Do you remember all the talk about “subliminal advertising” a few years back?

It was said that, at the movie theatres, a frame with a picture of a nice cold drink, with lots of ice cubes and beads of sweat running down the side and some buttered popcorn would be placed in the movie reel. The idea was that you would see this subconsciously and it would create a desire in you to want to go to the snack bar and get one those drinks and some popcorn.

When we see those advertisements for Outback Steakhouse or a nice juicy burger, it makes us want to go get one. We don’t get a hankering for the picture. We want the “real thing”.

As I thought this as it relates to our spiritual lives, I wonder why so many people settle for a cheap imitation, an image of the “real thing” a “religion” instead of the “real thing” – a personal relationship with Christ.

In the verse quoted above, Jesus was explaining to the woman at the well that our worship of Him is to be in “spirit and truth,” not the empty form of religion with which she was familiar.

Too many people today see the “real thing” and desire instead (or at least settle for) a poor substitute.

“Lead Like Ike” by Geoff Loftus

June 24, 2010

Imagine being given the responsibility of starting a business with a specific goal and one year to build your team, gather equipment, and hire your employees. The goal is a task which has not only never been accomplished, it’s never been tried. One year is the target and you know you will be replaced if the timeline is not met. Your employees will not only number in the hundreds of thousands, they must be trained in this never been tied task, and they will be multi-national. All of this literally life or death – not in an allegorical sense, but in a physical life or death sense for your employees and in a way of life sense for a majority of the world’s population.

This is the daunting position Dwight D. Eisenhower found himself in in 1943. The procedures, challenges, obstacles, personalities, failures and the ultimate success, is chronicled in Geoff Loftus’ “Lead Like Ike.”

Loftus identifies ten strategies used by Ike to make it all happen. He related these strategies to the modern business environment.

I enjoyed the book from a historical standpoint, as well as a practical leadership guide.

For me, this book was a page turner and I enjoyed it immensely.

I post these reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program. I receive a free copy of the book, but am not required to give a positive review.  Check it out at http://www.booksneeze.com

Scars, Marks and Tattoos

June 17, 2010

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

I remember completing the booking sheet (arrest report) as a police officer. There was a block entitled “Scars, Marks and Tattoos.” There was always the possibility of some interesting stuff to fill in that block. But, the purpose of the block was to help identify the person.

These things were unique to each individual. There are a lot of 5’6”, 125 pound, red headed females with green eyes. But, only one with a 3 inch scar on her left arm just below the elbow and a (full color) peacock tattooed on her right thigh (from hip to knee) and a butterfly on her left um “chest area”.

Once while working undercover, an informant went missing for a few days. Then, a body wrapped in chains was found in a local river. Both my informant and “the body” had multiple tattoos and I was called to see if they were, in fact, the same person. Fortunately, for the informant, the tattoos on “the body” (I still don’t know who that was) were not the same and the informant turned up  – alive -  a few days later. 

The “scars, marks and tattoos” combination along with our other identifying information make each of us unique. Some may not like them, some may try to hide them, but they are a part of us and are a record of times and events of our past. Some remind of us painful times, others of happy ones. They are part of us.

Think for a moment about all of your experiences – the things which make you you – your “scars, marks and tattoos” of life. Then realize God can use you and all of these things to reach people and minister to folks in so many other ways – all for His glory.

You have experiences others do not have which will connect with folks, reach them in their place of hurting or need, others just do not have.

But, in order to do this you have to surrender completely – yes even your “scars marks and tattoos” to God. In turn, you get a “future filled with hope” as Jeremiah tells us in the verse above.

My prayer for you this week is that you will realize your uniqueness and, because of it, your ability to be a blessing to others. And, that God will use you in mighty ways to be a source of blessing to many – for His glory.

Are You “Poison”?

June 10, 2010

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45

We have all watched in horror over the past many weeks as oil gushes from the broken well into the Gulf of Mexico. We are just now beginning to see the effects along the shores of the Gulf and we are told the oil, tar and other associated junk very well may be on our NC beaches soon.

And every minute more of the toxic stuff pours into the water.

As I pondered this, and the environmental tragedy it is, and will be for years to come, I thought about the verse above. There are many people who pour “toxic stuff – poison” from their mouths every day. And, as in the case of the oil on the water’s surface, the source of the “mess” is from a deeper source.

What is the “poison”? Of course, profanity quickly comes to mind yet that is only one part of it. Gossip, hateful words, cursing (as opposed to blessing), negativity in its various forms all add up to a “toxic” mess which not only fouls those immediately around us, but touches many others and in some cases the effects can (and will) be felt for years to come.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us death and life are in the power of the tongue. James 3:1-12 deals with the importance of the issue of controlling our tongue.

So, how do we fix it? Skimming the surface has little impact for really fixing the problem. We must go the source – the heart. A heart filled with things which are pure and Godly will bring forth things which have a positive impact on those around us. Spending time with God through prayer and reading His Word will fill our hearts with those things and leave little room for the poison.

Are there other forms of poison which come to mind? Are you a source of life in your school, workplace, circle of friends?

“Fresh Fruit”

June 3, 2010

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the fresh fruit we can buy locally. You know, those strawberry fields where you can pick your own? You take a container and they weigh it going in and coming out. I’m just thankful they don’t weigh me going in and coming out! You find those plump, red, juicy berries that are at the point of perfection – five more minutes on the plant and they would be “too ripe,” yes, those must be eaten quickly.

We are now entering blueberry season. Oh, you can buy blueberries from all over the world before our local season, but they just don’t have that flavor that punches the inside of your mouth and hollers, “Hey, I’m here, don’t I taste wonderful?”

It just seems fresh fruit at just the right time can make your day a little brighter. I think that’s what Paul had in mind when he wrote about the “Fruit of the Spirit” in the passage above. Not the “faky, it’ll pass on looks, but no one wants to eat, it” fruit.

No, I think when we really show forth the Fruit of the Holy Spirit living within us, our lives will make people long to have some of what we have. We will truly be a blessing to others and make their day a little brighter.

Has someone made your day a little brighter, or your load a little lighter?