Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Renewed Commitment

How did your day start this morning? Was it a shrill of an alarm clock ripping you from a peaceful dream? Maybe the tiny fingers of a child grabbing the covers to hoist themselves up for a snuggle. Did it start a gentle nudge on your heart to start your day by talking to God and recommit to him?

An anonymous author started their morning conversation with God like this:

Dear Lord,
So far I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped,
haven't lost my temper,
haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I'm really glad about that.

But in a few minutes, God,
I'm going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I'm going to need a lot more help.

I have a daily dependence on God. From the moment my feet hit the floor, to my head hits the pillow at the close of the day, I need His help. This is a vital relationship. How about you? How are you and God getting along?

I invite you at this moment to talk with God and give yourself a little checkup. Did you choose to depend on Him today? Did you let Him slip down your priority list? When you are aware of where your relationship with God is at, spend a few minutes recommitting your life to your Savior. Talk about any issues that are keeping him at arm’s length. Rest in the knowledge of John 3:16-17, "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Prepare for Sabbath

Start preparing for Sabbath today. This Sabbath, worship from the overflow of your experience with God. Set aside ample time to revel in the goodness of God. Sit back and read His precious word as an encouragement. Let His promises seep into the places of your heart that need their calming salve.

Instead of coming to Sabbath like a camel to an oasis, come in the glow of a strong relationship with God. The church service isn’t a gas station to prepare us for the upcoming week. We do not arrive hoping to soak up enough of God’s word to carry us through the rest of the week, and then to skid weakly into the following Sabbath. We come to praise corporately the God we spent time with all week long.

Sabbath is the culmination of a week with God. This is the very God who spoke the world into existence. The same God who sent His son to die for your salvation. And He wants to talk to you every day. Take Him up on this invitation. Start with a reading of a favorite passage in the Bible. Perhaps Psalm 121 that reminds you to look up to your God in times of need. Perhaps you need the reminder of God the comforter in Isaiah 40. Then spend time in prayer making requests, or praising Him for His goodness. This preparation will make Sabbath what it is intended to be in our lives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Worship Through Service

Worship is a many faceted experience. It includes quiet reflection, adoration, and praise. But the end result of true worship is action. This week put actions to your worship. Take your heart of worship and choose to serve at your local church during the Sabbath hours.

In choosing where to serve, start with a few questions. What gifts did God entrust you with? What can you do to serve your church? Maybe you are trustworthy and arrive early. Contact the deacon on duty and offer to assist in their work of opening the church facility and making it ready for guests and church members. Did you walk into the bathroom only to find a tower of towels tumbled across the counter? Pause and pick them up. Make the space welcoming to others who will come to worship God today. Talk with God while you serve. Remember He is why you choose to perform these simple tasks. 

There are so many details that need to be in order on Sabbath morning and we take them for granted that these details just happen. We fail to recognize the hours of work it takes to create this atmosphere. What can you do to be a part of creating the welcoming space that greets our guests?

As you serve, enter into this experience with the attitude of worship to God. Your service facilitates others’ time at church. As you worship through service, it creates a space for others to connect with God.

How will you choose to worship in service this week?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Week in Lodi, California

Last week’s whirlwind that is my life centered around Lodi Academy. It was my privilege to join this high school for a week of prayer. Each morning we sang praises together, I shared from the book of Daniel and ended with a circle of prayer. In between sessions I visited classes, took questions from students, and found local adventures with my family. (We even managed to meet up with Joe and Darleyne in San Francisco, and Luis and Olga’s family for a trip to Elmshaven. Check FaceBook for pictures!)

While I return home tired and doubly thankful for my own bed and church family, this week of prayer was a time of recommitment to my relationship with Christ. Chaplain Janeen invited the students to write anonymous questions for me to answer. And their deep thoughts encouraged and at times challenged me. Questions like, “I asked God for a big thing and he didn’t answer, what do I do now?” To, “Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God in the New Testament?” To things as simple as, “When did you first experience God’s presence?”

With each new question I prayed that my answering words could draw the asker closer to the God I love. At times I admitted I didn’t have all the answers, and at other times I shared my answer based on the Bible and my experience as a Christian. What questions in your life draw you to a deeper walk with Christ? Share them when we see each other on Sabbath!