Would You Take a Selfie With God?

No matter how old you get, I think you’ll agree that none of us will ever forget the friendships we had in High School. Those were formative years of our adolescence. And if you were anything like me, you had different friendships.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!

I had 2-3 friends that my parents didn’t care for. They would strongly encourage me to stay clear of them. “That guy’s bad news, Brent” they would say. “They’re going to just get you into trouble.”

Generally speaking, they were wrong. One friend, however, they were dead right on with…..but that’s a different blog post ūüôā

I digress.

Have you ever viewed God as a friend? You know, like the friends you associated with in school? Well, this thought entered my mind recently and I ended up mulling over it a while.

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Whether you already have a relationship with God or not, I think this concept of the Creator of the Universe actually wanting to have a real friendship with you and I is difficult to grasp. I mean….he’s God! But he still calls us ‘friends.’

Anyway, the more I thought about it I determined that there really are two types of friend that God offers to us. See what you think.

Friend #1 – That friend you have a lot in common with. You have so much fun just being together and in each other‚Äôs company. It doesn’t even matter what you’re doing. You really look forward to spending time together. This is the friend you’ve taken selfies with in about HALF of your Instagram feed.
Friend #2 – The person you work to build a relationship with because of what you can gain from them. Maybe because of who they know, what they have, or the position they hold. This friendship is not the kind that just evolves naturally. It requires initiative, but the investment is worth it!
I would argue that there are aspects of both in God. The longer we know him and spend real time with him, the more comfortable we become. The more we learn that he really is very relational.
Additionally, I’d be willing to bet that God would take the most epic selfie! (we just might have to edit the brightness down afterward)

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3 Hours On The Road With God In Wyoming

Have you ever experienced God in a completely opposite way than you were expecting?

Recently, my wife, daughter and I were relocating to Yakima, WA from Colorado Springs. As with any significant road trip involving three full days of travel and a 26 ft. moving truck, day 1 plagued me with anxiousness. I prefer not to travel after dark (which we were), and once we crossed over into Wyoming the weather turned on us. Not with snow and ice as you might assume in this region in November. No, mother nature decided to expose us to a bit of WIND. Specifically, 65+ MPH sustained winds!

Here’s a picture of the exact message we encountered as we approached the first town in Wyoming…

wyoming wind

At first, I was drawn to the ’65+MPH wind’ part of the sign. Soon thereafter, I experienced the frightening reality that I was indeed traveling in a ‘light high profile vehicle.’ I wanted to stop for the night, but the forecast for the next day predicted even worse winds. I had no real choice in the situation. We had to just push through. So, I continued on…one mile at a time at just 45 MPH. Any faster and the wind would have flipped the truck on it’s side!

Needless to say, we managed to get through Wyoming safely. But not on our own ability. During the worst 3 hours of the trip I prayed. It started off with me pleading with God to protect myself, all of our belongings, and my wife and daughter traveling behind me in the car.

What happened next was simply incredible! 

God transformed my heart. I was still white-knuckled and concerned the whole way, but He gave me the ability and heart to start praying for others. That’s right, I was praying over dozens of other people I know in the midst of my own fearful moments. Let me clarify, this is NOT a pat on the back for me. This was entirely a supernatural intervention.

This quote sums up my time with God nicely.

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More specifically, God was keeping company with me on this journey. As we neared our stopping point that night I felt as if God was saying to me “This was good. Let’s do this more often.” Personally, I have come a long way in my practice of prayer and general pursuit of God in the past 5 years. But I have so much more to learn and grow toward.

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11¬†

 

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Movements Toward God

Watch this music video by Rend Collective.  My personal insights follow below.

I pray the lyrics to this song meet you where you are in life today.

 

I simply LOVE this worship band (family). ¬†I appreciate their hearts for worship and Kingdom Ministry. ¬†Because of their obedience to God’s call on each of their lives, I’ve been encouraged and strengthened through some significantly challenging seasons in recent years. ¬†In fact, one of my favorite songs (My Lighthouse) is the reason we have a developing lighthouse theme in our home.

Check out this verse from the video…

I wanna stand true
No matter what’s new or comes through
I can’t stand still
Whatever hits I’ll keep making movements to You

As a believer in Jesus, this is what I hope to be true of me.  That whatever hits my life, whenever it occurs, I will be able to continue making movements (progression) toward my God.

Would you consider sharing this post with someone you know this week?

 

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

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How To Listen When God Begins To Speak

I’m just being real with all of you here. ¬†In the past 5 days, God has intentionally placed the same passage / theme right in front of me. ¬†Different messages. ¬†Different devotional books. ¬†Some might chalk it up to coincidence after 2 or even 3 times. ¬†But FIVE?

I wrote about it just a few days ago when it first hit me.   Have you been there before?

When God sends me multiple signs, speaking the same thing to me over and over…..my natural instinct is to work hard at trying to figure out WHAT and WHY behind the message. ¬†But I continue to learn that this is not usually effective.

Here’s what I AM learning, though still not perfect.

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  • God rarely yells. ¬†He whispers. ¬†What do you and I tend to do when someone is whispering at us. ¬†We cup our hands next to our ear, turn our head toward them, and try hard to block out all other distractions to decifer what is being communicated.
  • God’s timing is NOT going to accommodate our need to know now. ¬†We try to figure out what God is saying and then get frustrated when we don’t understand right away. ¬†He reveals whatever it is to us at the right time…NOT the desired time!

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3 Ways To Find Real Joy

Joy…it can be an attitude, a destination, a journey, or an emotion. ¬†Do we find joy, or do only some of us get to experience it when joy finds us?

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Some of YOUR most joyful moments might include:

  • Your first kiss
  • Catching a big fish
  • Your wedding day
  • The birth of a child
  • Winning the lottery
  • A memorable family vacation

These are all great things.  But they are merely experiences.  What you and I need is a constant state of being that is saturated and energized by JOY.

“…the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.¬†¬†When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” ¬† – Matthew 2:9-10

So, what was the star to these wise men? ¬†It was simply evidence of Jesus. ¬†And that led them to experiencing ‘great joy’ when they saw it. ¬†You and I can learn something from the wise men in this passage. ¬†Real joy is attainable if we just look and notice Jesus in our lives. ¬†I’m not talking about on Sundays and in the 10 minutes of our devotional time each morning. ¬†But really making an effort to notice his presence in every moment of every day.

Here are 3 ways to find JOY in your day:

  1. ¬†Ask for it | Yep…pray! ¬†Be on it like a dog on his bone. ¬†Plead with God every day to let you experience joy to the fullest. ¬†Believe it or not, God really does want you to have joy in this life.
  2. Expose yourself to it | Get creative here. ¬†Read books on joy and happiness. ¬†Listen to podcasts that are encouraging. ¬†Follow people on Twitter and Instagram who constantly exhibit a joyful attitude and faith walk. ¬†And hey…hang out with happy people, and limit your exposure to those who are always negative.
  3. Plan for it | Journal.  Write a letter to yourself describing the joy you long for in your life.  Talk to a friend or get a mentor/life coach.  Ask them to guide you and offer constructive accountability.

Take a moment to watch this music video by Rend Collective.  Let the lyrics marinade with your thoughts about true JOY.  And may you truly have joy in your life this week.

4 Ways to Ensure Your GOALS Don’t Become Your GOD

I don’t want to WORSHIP my fitness practices (goals).

But I also don’t want to go back to worshipping food either. ¬†aka: donuts, candy, cake, soda, ice-cream… (I think you get the picture)

We all know these people. ¬†Their health initiatives/practices are their identity. ¬†It’s who they are known as. ¬†I don’t want to become one of those people. ¬†I’m a pastor and a strong follower of Jesus…THAT needs to be my identity.

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This was me about six weeks ago…only¬†not a woman. ¬†Sweets were a distraction. ¬†They were easy, cheap, and tasted great. ¬†Today, I can honestly say that I rarely battle the indulgent temptations that used to cause me to gravitate toward unhealthy things. ¬†I’m enjoying exercising. ¬†I’m doing great at hitting my daily health goals. ¬†And that’s awesome!

But I’ve noticed something.

My quiet time with Jesus in the mornings has been affected.  Nothing serious.  But it could easily become a problem if I allow it.

What I’m really getting at is this. ¬†How do we continue to work diligently at our personal goals AND NOT¬†have our Spiritual growth suffer along the way? ¬†Here are 4 things I believe you and I can (should) do regularly to T.E.S.T. where our priorities are.

Think | Right now, think about it and really ask, “Is _______ taking priority over my Spiritual growth and life?” ¬†It starts by honestly asking ourselves this.

Evaluate | If something is out of order, why?  How did this happen?  Really take time to pray about this, because knowing the answer to this will become key in getting things back in alignment.

Scheme | Take what we know from that evaluation time and scheme a plan.  Somehow, we need to move forward with our goals differently so that we can avoid the mistakes that landed us here. Change things up a little.  Same goals, altered approach.

Tweak | (careful, not Twerk)  Similar to scheme, but this is taking that step.  This is making the new plan a reality.  Also, share your new plan with someone.  Ask them for accountability.  Trust me, this really helps.

For me, this simply means I don’t go into social media areas at all in the mornings until AFTER I’ve had my quiet time. ¬†After I’ve at least read a devotional thought and prayed for my day.

Call To Action!  Has this been you?  What would you add to this list?  May you achieve your personal goals, and may Jesus walk intimately with you every step of the way.

I love hearing from readers. ¬†Feel free to leave a comment below. ¬†And be sure to hit the ‘SUBSCRIBE NOW’ button above to receive my FREE eBook!

photo credit: www.vegansgoraw.com

Word Became Flesh | Monday

So, as part of wrapping up my message this past Sunday I challenged our church (and myself) to journal something each day for one week.

Here’s the challenge:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” ¬†John 1:14

Journal/record at least one way you noticed Jesus (the Word) in a tangible (flesh) way each day.  In other words, how did Jesus show up and make a difference in your life?

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Here’s what I noticed today.

On Sunday two of our kids were extremely sick.  After much prayer from so many people, they are both feeling tons better today.  Not only that, but no one else in the home has gotten sick today.

I give God all the glory for that!  He is SO GOOD.

Now it’s your turn. ¬†Feel free to write in your Bible or in a journal this week. ¬†But if you’re like me and love social media, make a thoughtful post each day. ¬†Be sure to use the hashtag #WordBecameFlesh with your post. ¬†This way we can easily follow where others are noticing God at work.

Join the conversation, leave a comment below. 

Jesus Is NOT Really The Reason For The Season!

The reason for the season? ¬†Who are we kidding? ¬†We’ve made Christmas into what we want it to be.

It’s about spending, receiving, time off from work, consuming too much sugary treats, and plenty of stressful running around.

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The point I’m trying to make is Jesus isn’t just the reason for THIS season. ¬†He’s the reason, the focal point, for every season of our lives.

For those of us who are believers, we already know this. ¬†But with the heightened awareness of ‘Christian themes’ during this holiday season you and I have a unique window of opportunity to expose lost and hopeless people to the gospel.

Have you ever received a gift you would never have thought to ask for, but afterward realized it was indeed of great value to you?  For some, Jesus is that gift.

They are missing something in their life…they simply are not aware of it!

May we (the Church) do all we can this Christmas to expose those in our community to the unique and unimaginable gift that is Christ Jesus.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!  Psalm 96:3

Photo credit: vesteaevangheliei.wordpress.com

Stay true to your call

photo by: inmymindandthoughts.blogspot.com
photo by: inmymindandthoughts.blogspot.com

‚ÄúYou are a king then?‚ÄĚ ¬†Pilate asked.

‚ÄúYou say that I‚Äôm a king,‚ÄĚ ¬†Jesus replied. ¬†‚ÄúI was born for this, and I have come into the world¬†for this: to testify¬†to the truth. ¬†Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.‚ÄĚ ¬† – John 18:37

Even on the verge of Jesus’ death.

Even when it seemed like everyone was against Him.

In a moment when anyone else might have taken this interview  as a chance to escape death.

Even when those closest to him stopped walking with Him.

Even now (and I love how this reads in the HCSB version) Jesus replies with, “I was born for this!” ¬†Then, He goes on to clarify what He was born for.

As ministers of the gospel, both vocational and volunteer, we should have this same attitude.

When things get rough in ministry, can you boldly proclaim “I was born for this” without hesitation?

Second, can you quickly rattle off your specific calling?  Do you know (remember) what God has called you to do for His kingdom?

May you have boldness and clarity of your calling in this season of your partnership with the Lord.

When was a time that you had to reafirm your calling, draw a line in the sand, and claim, “I was born for this?”¬†

Leave me a comment below or a voicemail with your thoughts.