Today, Lord, How many faces will we see? How many words will we read? How much time will we spend with our family and friends? As our fingers type and swipe Bring us, Love, into Your Light. Yours is the Face we want to see when we strike a messaging key. Love listens. Love learns. Love forgives a wrong turn. Love seeks to always find something good – something kind. Love never wants to turn away from what His people have to say. Love gives us space to make a fuss refusing to give up on us. So, today, Lord, may Your Face fill the space between us and our friends. May Your Love from above be our button marked “Send.”
“I want to pray, but I don’t know how.” “Who has time? I sure don’t.” “I just do it while I’m doing things.” Common thoughts for an uncommon practice. Uncommon because prayer is a sacred encounter with the One who created us. A listening for holy whispers. A transforming power to change direction, change one’s heart, and change the world. It’s God’s way of intimacy with us. It’s One being one with us. Leading us. Convicting us. Loving us. So let’s learn about it. I’m SO excited about the series we’re doing at Luke on Sunday mornings: Being with Jesus to be sent out. Each week, along with the sermon, we’re receiving a WayCard. The WayCards contain specific ways to experience intimacy with the One who thinks we’re His best idea ever. For these first ten weeks we’re learning how to be with Jesus. Our being with Him informs out doing for Him. If we don’t get this order right, being before doing, we end up like a chicken running around with her head cut off. Busy, but dead. The following weeks we’ll experience being sent out in ministry of service, finances, and relationships (with particular focus on strengthening our marriages). It’s a breathtaking experience to be with Jesus and to be sent out by Him to help build His kingdom. So, let’s learn how to do it together! You are our King, Lord. We stand in awe that you want to come close to us. Help us create space in our busy lives to love You,. . . to serve You, . . .to just be with You. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
STOP! Please. Before you place any more food in your mouth today, would you take a moment to hear my heart. Yesterday three children came to our LANDers after-school program with their hands on their stomachs. “Please, Ms. Leslie, I’m starving,” one moaned. With tears in her eyes she cried, “I didn’t get to eat breakfast or lunch today. They couldn’t feed us at school. Please let me have snack early today.” As I frantically placed food in their empty hands my precious Frank called a high ranking political servant and asked what was happening. He stated the horrific obvious. “It’s happening all over the country. The government’s shut down.” Blame is of absolutely no benefit here. Democrat or Republican? I could care less. It is our children that grab my heart. They are totally dependent on us to get it right. And so far, we haven’t. Several weeks ago Nancy Hill, an elder at our church, preached a powerful word about prayer. She stated an absolute truth. “Prayer is the easiest and most powerful tool we have at our disposal.” She’s absolutely correct! Blame helps no one. Prayer, on the other hand, releases strong Power, great Wisdom, and a Compassion that weeps and raises the dead. PLEASE. Whether a deal is made today or not, I invite you to place no food in your mouth for the next twenty four hours. Let your growling stomach bring all children across the world to mind. Let the pangs of hunger awaken your soul to pray protection for them. Our children our counting on us to get this right! In our emptiness, Lord, fill us with Your Wisdom, Your Power, and Your Compassion. We adore you O Christ, now and forever! Amen.
A Learning at Luke . . . Taking a Double Take at Double Tape by: Kevin Acord Last Saturday I decided to attend the Fall on Your Knees class being offered at our church through October. I was expecting to learn something about prayer, but little did I know, I was in for much, much more. Ms. Leslie brought pieces of paper with various thoughts on prayer for us to put into the notebooks we brought with us. She was even thoughtful enough to bring several rolls of Scotch tape for us to use to put the papers into our notebooks. When I got my roll I noticed that it was double sided tape. I immediately thought, “I can’t use this, it’s double sided tape; it will make the sheets in my notebook stick together!” My next thought was, “Classic, Ms. Leslie!” In that fond, warm, yet patronizing kind of way I all too often think and speak. As soon as there was a break in the teaching, I passed the roll back to Ms. Leslie and asked for another while pointing out the silliness of trying to use double sided tape. Ms. Leslie then said, “Yes, I handed that out so one side could stick to the back of the handout and the other could stick to the notebook.” Doing it that way never even crossed my mind. I couldn’t believe I missed something that simple. Immediately, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Kevin, how many other times have you thought you did things the right way and judged someone?” “What other areas in your life could you be stuck doing things a certain way?” I guess it’s worth a double take.
Rory’s Learning . . . Ownership I like people who rent. Please do not assume that I do not like people who own…that’s certainly not the case. The truth is that none of us really own anything…well, except one thing but I’ll get to that later. People who rent have a sense of freedom from their stuff. Whatever it is they are renting…they can look at it and be like “hey stuff…guess what, you don’t control me”. Need an example? Okay…here we go. In a few seconds I’m about to make you feel, with only two words, absolutely carefree. When you read these simple two words your mind will be at ease, your spirits will rise, and a sense of freedom will instill in your soul……………rental car. How many times have you heard “it’s okay it’s only a rental.” Or a human being is actually stepping up to drive a group of other human being’s somewhere, with a big toothy human being smile, saying “Guys don’t worry I’d be happy to drive! It’s a rental!” Then all the other human beings are now smiling too, because they do not have to drive the cars they think they own…everyone’s smiling Now stop. You’re having too much fun. I’ve got to bring you back to earth. Way too much smiling…in a few seconds, I’m going to give you another word that will put you back at your desk. One word that’ll bring you to reality, cause a little crick in your neck, tighten your collar a bit, and add some sweat to your brow……………mortgage. Ugh, yeah, I feel like I need to get up and stretch a bit. Mortgage sounds like Mordred…or the kingdom of Mordor or even Mortal. How morbid. The more I feel like I own something…the more that thing actually owns me. I was watching Andy Stanley the other night, and he said something I really dug. “I never buy anything that I feel like I couldn’t lend to someone else.” Wow! I started thinking…hey I could let that person borrow this and that… I was getting a real sense of ‘alright! My stuff doesn’t own me!’ Then ironically I looked back at the TV Andy was on and thought…if someone came in right now, and asked to borrow my only TV…I’d say no. Yeah…I’m still dealing with that one. I also really like how Jesus deals with the issue of ownership. There was this super rich ruler who asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven? Jesus said just do what God tells you. The ruler said, I do all those things but what else? So Jesus said sell all of your possessions; give everything to the poor and come follow me. The rich ruler couldn’t go there and left. Right there, the heart of it…the one thing I actually own! Choice. I do not own stuff, I either outlive my stuff or it outlives me. I do not own my name…probably 1 maybe 2 generations after I die, my name will most likely be gone from this planet. Eventually all names fade. The only thing I own is what I choose to do now. On the surface it may seem cruel to ask what Jesus asked of the rich ruler…but think about it for a second. Jesus didn’t say, okay sell everything you own…bring it back here, give it to me and I’ll take care of you. Or, sell everything you own, give it to me and I’m going to equally disperse it among my disciples and we are going to fund this really cool new movement! Jesus didn’t choose the ruler’s money……………Jesus chose the ruler. Jesus doesn’t want our money, he wants us. Jesus knows the only thing we own, is our choice. How we choose to give…how we choose to love…how we chose to live…how we choose people over stuff……………I need to go back and rethink the whole TV thing. In he who chooses me, Rory
Rory’s Learning . . . (Ms Leslie’s son 🙂 ) Is God my friend? Nope. I bet that shocks a lot of people? Growing up I was taught to have a personal relationship with God, I did…but I ended up creating God in my image. I fell in love with Jesus, however…whenever I sinned I would find my buddy God telling me “it’s okay, we’ll just keep working on this together”. My main man would give me a very nice comfortable pat on the back and nod of the head towards my sin. I could not have been more wrong. You see there is a reason Christ refers to God throughout scriptures as Abba…or father…not buddy, the dude, big guy, or even brother. Even though as a Christian you could argue if any one person who’s been on this planet could refer to God as a peer he could, but he didn’t…why? Christ wanted to impart the parental relationship we have with our father…he is our father, we are his children. In case you have a problem with this relationship, let me put it in another light. Some of you can remember your teenage years, and some of you reading this may be going through them now. Say when you were a teenager…you were super lucky to have that one Jimmeney Cricket friend. That one friend who didn’t give into peer pressure, didn’t look at you with rose colored glasses, and told you right from wrong. Now, say you find yourself in a situation where you are about to do something you know is wrong and your with Jimmeny. Jimmeny kindly reminds you hey you know this is not good…but there is no real strength behind it and you do it anyways. Now, say you are in that same situation…but your dad is standing behind you. Need something else? Okay…because it goes both ways. The football player falls in a heap on the field. He’s lying there writhing in pain. You see his fist pound the turf, PT’s are surrounding him. You can sense the complete anguish in his face. His best friend Jimmeny is in the stands thinking “oh man that had to hurt, it’s okay he’ll get better and we’ll work on this first thing tomorrow morning!” But there is someone else in the stands. The crowd of 92,000 is deathly quiet…yet you can hear this one fan’s heart beating like a bass drum. This fan is the only one standing, eyes fixed on the player…so much so that the 92,000 have completely disappeared. He’s defining every second of movement, totally encompassed with the situation. With every ounce of his essence he is shouting inside…”GET UP!”… Dad. God is not Jimmeny Cricket. Today I challenge us (you and I) that before we fall in our sin to not think “okay, the big guy knows I’m struggling with this”…but to know that our heavenly father is looking at us with the most passionate love and his heart is shouting…GET UP! In Christ and Love, Rory
Do you ever feel alone? No one understands your pain? No one gets what it’s like to be you? Too much to carry. Too heavy a load. Too tough to handle. Wherever you are – whoever you are – this is for you. God gets you. You were His idea. You were His thought. He thought you were such a good thought that He made you. Very intentionally He made you. You weren’t a mistake. You were an inspiration! He loved the idea of you so much that He crafted you and placed you on this planet to be in a relationship with Him and with those around you. You know that chair you’re sitting in right now – floor you’re standing on – bed you’re resting in? God is more real than any of those, and God is right there to offer you greater support. It’s hard to have a meaningful relationship with someone you can’t see, isn’t it? Right now you can’t see the specific spot on which your body is resting. But you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is supporting you. You can’t see the One who thought you were one of His best ideas ever. But you can see what He created. Take just a second to look at one finger. It’s amazing! It bends, extends bleeds, feels, lifts, points and touches. It contains bones, tissue, tendons, nerve endings, blood vessels and a print that identifies you as you. All that in a few short inches! He’s an amazing God! He loves your finger. He loves that it makes a print – an impression that no one else in the entire world can make. And He loves you! He loves that you are right where you are, making an impression that no one else in the entire world can make. The people around you? They’re there for you to love. No one can love them like you can. That’s why you are there. It will be hard sometimes. Love takes courage and guts. You have to choose to be patient and kind. To not keep a record of their wrongs against you. But the one who gave you that fantastic finger is right there with you. That’s why He’s there. To help you do what He created you to do. Love. You can do it. And most of all . . . so can He! We’re leaning on You, Lord, because You are strong enough, wise enough, powerful enough to catch us when we fall. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.
God I love life. I love how wine becomes the blood of Christ and bread breaks into His broken body. Jesus, the Christ, the Living Lord and Loving Savior sits at our table and becomes our banquet. Heads bow. Hands open. We sip. We chew. We remember. . . . . what He did, what He is doing and what He will always do. Starving souls are satisfied. Weary hearts find rest. I love watching water drip down the head of an infant on an altar. God begins the conversation and declares across the universe, “This one is mine. I knew him before he was born. I formed him in his mother’s womb. Nothing absolutely nothing can take him away from My love.” And, the people of God respond. “We promise to live lives that will lead him to Your love.” I love how a man and a woman come together in holy union and end up reflecting the image of God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit become One. A relationship is created to create. Likewise, man and woman become on. And a relationship is created to create. A relationship of giving, not taking. A relationship of receiving, not demanding. I love how God’s breath created a universe that takes our breath away. Its magnificence makes words meaningless. You are amazing, God! Thank you for life . . . . a glimpse of eternity with You. We adore You, O Christ, now and forever. Amen.