Archive for September, 2013

Serve Me or Serve You?

September 29, 2013

Last week an old friend sent me a message asking if I could recommend a church in her city. I recommended 2 strong churches with capable pastors and strong mission ministries. She replied that they had already visited those churches and felt like they did not offer her family enough services. When did church become about what the church could offer me?

When I read the New Testament, the early church was all about serving Christ and reaching out to those who needed the good news of salvation and to understand the love of God for all people. Maybe the best question for my good friend and many of us as well is to prayerfully ask “Where can I worship and serve God best in my community?”

The primary mission of the church is about serving God and reaching the world that God loves. What are you doing to accomplish your part in this focus? Are you Just shopping around or jumping in to joyfully serve where needed?

Where’s Your Tap Root?

September 24, 2013

We had a beautiful old plum tree in the back yard. It produced bumper crops and seemed larger than the average plum tree we knew of. Then we started having septic line problems. The repairmen said the plum tree had go, it’s roots were growing into the tank! The tree was far away away from the tank in an area where even grass seldom grew for lack of water. So the wise tree sent its tap root some 25 feet to a constant water supply!

Where have you planted your tap root? Psalm 1 tells us the blessed person plants their roots along the stream and they thrive there. That is, the streams of living water, found in God’s Word. I visit that stream every morning to start my day and take a deep, long swig of refreshment. The Holy Spirit feeds my soul and expands my mind to know God’s will and direction for that day. I take my burdens and concerns to that stream to let the Spirit carry me and float away my worries.

Some folks limit their tap root’s reach. I find it grows deep and produces remarkable fruit when people plant it in prayer, study, worship and service. Feeling faint? Undernourished? Cut off? Send your tap root into the good places our Lord has provided. Time to take a good swig of God’s goodness and grace for you!

Stop Praying

September 14, 2013

I have been preaching on prayer for a month now. So my church is probably surprised I would suggest they stop praying. Yet what I mean is that there some prayers we continue to lift up that really call us to stop talking to God about and take action ourselves. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that prayer can become procrastination because many people just do not want to take responsibility and act for their own good.

Many times it is easier to just keep praying rather than step up and do what we know needs to get done. Like the finances of a local church. The answer is always found in becoming a tithing congregation, that is, where the members give what the Bible tells us to give – 10% of what God has already given us. Just imagine the huge difference in the church where I serve if the people took one step in that direction giving just 1% more of their income this year. If the average household income is $60k in our area, that would be $180k more and we would have a surplus at year’s end!

Need a job? Stop praying and schedule another interview. Don’t give up on yourself or the process. Need to restore a broken relationship? Don’t just pray about it – pick up the phone and call the person today. Want to go to college? Fill out the application, find out what they are looking for and strengthen your portfolio. Take the initiative!

One of my members kept praying that folks would volunteer to improve our church landscaping. Then he got inspired to do more than pray. He organized his Life Group and they recruited 31 people to come remove bushes, trim trees, and shape up the front view of our beautiful church property. They accomplished so much!

So look at your prayer list. Maybe the reason that God has not answered some of your requests is because God knows you can do these without him and he wants you to learn this too. Take action! Don’t let your prayer life keep you from exercising your intellect and the energies God has blessed you with already.