Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday was Evangelism Sunday...


We kind of loosely follow the Revised Common Lectionary, and we do post the Lectionary readings on the Church website if you are interested in the weeks reading for your own reflection or devotion.

According to the church calendar, Sunday was Evangelism Sunday. This is one of those Sundays that we usually don't even mention, except for this year. The theme of our Sunday service was evangelism, the sharing our faith with people we see everyday.

We even had some special guests: some members of the Solid Rock Riders, a local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist's Association. Bill Schaaf, the groups president, shared a little about CMA, from it's beginning to it's mission, to how the local chapter carries out that mission. He shared that the mission is to "change lives, one heart at a time."

Dave Holbrook, the groups chaplain, then shared about some of the local evangislistic efforts of the chapter, most notably, their presence at the Poag's Hole, a gathering of some 10,000 bikers. Jeff Lawton then shared a little, then sang a song called The CMA Ride.

The real blessing we took from this day was that they have found a way to combine their love for the Lord with their favorite hobby, riding motorcycles. The lesson for each of us is to do the same. Maybe we don't ride, but whatever we enjoy doing, let's use it to reach others for Christ!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Handling tomorrow...


Do no boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

- Proverbs 27:1


Here at the church, we’ve been going through a very stressful situation. I hope that it is almost resolved, but it’s been going on for so long, that I’ll believe it when I see it.

I don’t get upset about too many things. But I have to admit, this is one that has really become a “thorn in my flesh.” Two months of prayer has, I hope and pray, got us closer to a resolution, but the situation continues.

This verse has popped up in a recent devotion, as well as popping up in my thoughts over the last couple of weeks. While I am not boasting about tomorrow, I am worried about tomorrow, and I think the verse concerns that just as much.

Truth is, our worrying, or our boasting, doesn’t effect the final outcome of anything. Only trusting in God for all our needs each day makes any difference in the end. We can work so hard to plan our days, to better our future, to provide for our families, but in the end, we can’t control the outcome. And if working that hard doesn’t make a difference, you can bet worrying that much doesn’t either.

We can only do our best, and trust God to do the rest.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Using the personality compass to guide our prayer...

I hope that you may have read the last couple of posts with interest. We are healthiest, emotionally and physically, when we can balance the four points of the personality compass.

Dan Montgomery, in his book, Finding Your Way, also suggests that we can use these four points to help guide our prayer life, and make our communication with God even more rewarding.

In praying from love we can show our adoration of God, our thanksgiving for all He does for us, and we can praise Him. Prayers from the love point develop friendship and affection for the Lord.

Prayers from the assertive point will help us to stand on the word of God, to confront evil with our intercessory prayer, and to approach God with determination and boldness. You pray courageously for the redemption of situations and relationships, for the grace to resist temptation, and for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Prayers from the weakness point allow us to share our frustrations, pain and grief to God. You feel sorry for your sins, confess your trespasses, and ask for healing and restoration. It is from our weakness that we surrender ourselves to God, trusting in the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and guide us.

You express the strength point when you approach God with confidence, committing yourself to his will, witnessing to Christ’s presence, and trusting God in all things. Strength shouldn’t be confused with false pride or self-will, but should be an outgrowth of surrender and knowing and doing God’s will.

Next time you struggle with what to pray for, pray around the compass points, and include all four in your prayer…

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Montgomery's Points of Weakness and Strength...

I’m following up on Dan Montgomery’s personality compass, as presented in his book, Finding Your Way.

Yesterday, I mentioned the compass points of Love and Aggression. Today, we’ll look at the points of Weakness and Strength, and how to see that they are balanced.

In today’s society, we are taught to be strong, and to avoid even the hint of weakness. We are usually taught to grin and bear it, never to fail, to beat the competition, and never show tears.

Healthy weakness is a good thing, and helps us be truly humble. Healthy weakness means accepting the vulnerabilities that come with life, and to accept our limitations. It is in our weakness that can come to God, and surrender to God. To call upon God so He can help us. It is by acknowledging our weakness that we are strengthened.

Weakness helps us accept that anxiety is a normal part of life. Some people run from anxiety, but we need to learn how to handle it, not avoid it.

On the opposite end is the Strength pole. Strength is a sense of adequacy and self esteem. Strength is necessary, because if we can’t esteem ourselves, we can’t esteem anyone else.

Too much strength can result in egotistic pride, self-righteousness, callous independence, or blind ambition. Scripture reminds us that this kind of false pride goes before destruction. But healthy strength allows us to do what we can for ourselves, yet to be able to ask for help when needed. You feel good about what you’re good at, but you admit when you’re wrong.

Remember that all these poles must be balanced for to operate as God created us. Too much of any one prevents us from developing the opposite, and will distort our personality and limit our effectiveness. But it’s never to late to work on being more balanced…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Montgomery's Points of Love and Assertion...

I’m following up on yesterday’s post about Dan Montgomery’s personality compass, as presented in his book, Finding Your Way.

Yesterday, I mentioned the four compass points, Love and Aggression, Weakness and Strength, and how all four must be balanced. The parings here are more or less polar opposites, and the effect with which we can balance them can have a lot to do with how balanced our personalities are.

Obviously, we all must love. Love is a Biblical dictate, loving God and loving each other sums up all the law. When we love in the right proportion, then we experience emotions of warmth, tenderness, caring and joy. But not enough love causes us to begin to loose compassion for others. We might become very defensive, and eventually will find ourselves resisting even God.

But we need to understand that love isn’t a license for others to walk all over us. Too much love allows others to take advantage, and we may find ourselves in such need of others approval that we loose our own dignity. People with issues with co-dependency may find themselves with too much love, and little or no assertion. Healthy love doesn’t allow others to exploit or abuse you.

The opposite pole from love is assertion. Being healthy in assertion allows us to stand up for ourselves without undue anxiety, and to express ourselves honestly without feeling guilty. Too much assertion may lead us to be obnoxious or aggressive, telling people off, or demanding our own way. And since love and assertion are opposite points on the compass, too much assertion prevents us from showing love.

Not enough assertion leads to too much love, and the problems noted above – being walked over, not standing up for yourself, and co-dependency issues.

We should try to be assertive enough to be able to share your own opinions with out being upset with those who differ from you. You can take stands without burning bridges, and you can express yourself without lashing out.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the other two points on the compass, Weakness and Strength…

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dan Montgomery's Personality Compass...


I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was reading a new book, Finding Your Way: A Christian Guide to Transforming Your Personality and Relationships by Dan Montgomery.

I mentioned that in the book he mentions a personality compass. Just as with a real compass, there are four compass points on the personality compass. They can be remembered with the keyword LAWS. This acronym represents the polar opposites of Love and Aggression, Weakness and Strength. To be a well-balanced person, all four must be balanced.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the first two, Love and Assertion. Wednesday, I’ll talk about Weakness and Strength. Then on Thursday, I’ll suggest a way that we might use this compass to guide not only our self-development and personality, but to guide our prayer life as well.

Look over the chart, and begin to think about how balanced you might be in these four areas…

What are you really worth...

This Sunday's message explored this question - What are you really worth?

It looked at the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where some worked all day, others only worked an hour, yet all received the same pay for the day. Some have expressed to me that that passage just isn't fair, and they questioned it. This message addresses some of their concerns, maybe it will your concerns also.

To read the message in full (or to hear the audio of the message), click on the title below:

9-21 - What Are You Really Worth?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 19, 2008

FROG's...

Here it is Friday, and this is my first venture onto the Blog for the week… So much for Daily Reflections. My apologies.

I did want to pass along last weeks sermon message. We did a FROG Sunday, and it was a lot of fun. The theme was frogs. We have song lyrics on the wall for each of our songs, and in between the songs we usually have a blank screen so that nothing shows. In keeping with the frog theme, this week we had pictures of frogs on the wall between songs.

We really did up the frog theme, but never mentioned why. The sermon message talked of Solomon, David, and Paul, and how they relied on God. Then we got to the frogs.

I encouraged people to think of FROG as an acronym for Fully Rely On God. Every time they see a frog, remember to fully rely on God. We even gave out little novelty frogs and encouraged people to put them someplace they will see them regularly during the day, and each time they see them, to be reminded to fully rely on God.

The Bible of full of heroes that aren’t any different than you or me, except they remember always to Fully Rely On God.

To read the message, or to hear it – our audio links are back – click on the title below.

9-14 FROG Sunday

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A lesson on tragedy...


I’ve been reading a new book lately called Finding Your Way by Dan Montgomery. He talks about a Personality Compass that’s very interesting, and maybe I can share some of the thoughts on that compass in the coming days.

But for today, I want to pass along an excerpt from this book regarding tragedy in our lives…
An African Christian named Guambi suffered the murder of his family in the massacre of Leopoldville, yet still he managed to become one of the most humble and loving men I’ve ever known. How did het get over the grief of lost loved ones?

Guambi told me that a person is like a rose. God can help even the tragic misfortunes of life to act as fertilizer for vigorous growth in those who seek his will. You can’t explain why a tragedy occurs, but with God’s help you can learn certain things from it. As you learn, you begin to grow. The newly planted rose bush must be allowed weeks and even months to assimilate the fertilizer that surrounds its base, and so must you be patient with the growth process.

In time a miraculous transformation occurs. The dung of life is broken down into nutrients, which become rich nourishment for new life. This fertilizer is gradually
transformed into the delicate, fragrant petals of the rose. And the piercing thorns serve to remind us of the cost of wholeness and holiness.

You don’t need perfect faith to experience personality transformation, only a mustard seed of faith that God is your Father, Jesus is your Savior, and the Holy Spirit is your friend and guide.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You are a child of God...

I've never done this before, but I came across a video clip that I thought was worth passing along.

Click the link below, and the clip will load.

http://upchucky.com/worship/miracle.html

Hope you enjoy...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Something we can't do in heaven...

There is something we can’t do in heaven…

Last Saturday, I went to a picnic for Christian Motorcyclists Association chapters in the area called the Gathering at Letchworth.

This is always a great event, they have two rides to choose from in the morning, the food is always great, and there is always a musical guest after lunch. This year it was The Needham’s, a family of Southern Gospel singers, and they were great.

At the picnic, I had an opportunity to talk with Bruce Hadley, one of the area reps for CMA in New York, and he told that the Lord had revealed to him something that we won’t be able to do in heaven. We won’t be able to witness to others. And he was excited when he was telling me this – he loves to witness to others.

I have to admit, I’m a little more reserved when it comes to sharing my faith with people I don’t know, and let’s face it, most folks that I do know already know the Lord. Yet God’s plan to spread the Word of his Gospel, His good news, involves us as the ones telling the story. We are the ones, all those who believe, that God is using to tell others. And we have to tell them here, on earth. The time will come when it will be too late.

Are you sharing your faith? I know, sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it might seem like the hardest thing you do, but do it anyway. Just let people know that God loves them. Let them know that God has a plan. That God works in the lives of those who love them, and he wants to work in their lives as well. Let them know. Who will if you don’t?

Sermons from FBC - A Community of Forgiveness

This week we looked at forgiveness.  We'll see why we should forgive, how easy it is not to forgive, but how dangerous it can be to hold...