Archives For Devotional

What Are You So Excited About?

November 10, 2012

Last weekend, Kenzie’s volleyball team, the Hill Country Lady Rams, played in the state finals for the championship. Needless to say, I was excited. This was the game of the year, equivalent to the Super Bowl fur us. We got there early, carefully chose our seats on our team’s side, and as the game started I stood there and began to clap and cheer for the Rams, along with the other fans.

Within a few moments, a man from behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, would you sit down? My wife and I would like to see the game.” I said, “Excuse me, could you repeat that?” He said it again. I looked at Pam in disbelief and said, “This guy is asking me to sit down.” The funny thing is, all of this was caught on camera so you can see our discussion.

At that point, I had a couple of options. I could have said, “Forget it,” or “Sure, I’ll sit down,” or gotten violent, but remembering that I’m a pastor, I moved out of the way and stood with the students to cheer on our team. You see, I wasn’t there to just observe, I wanted to participate. I was a part of the team and I wanted to help our team win. This other guy wasn’t a part of either team. He was just there to watch. He didn’t have a vested interest in either side.

And it occurred to me, it reminds me of what happens at church every Sunday. You’ve got some people who get there early, find a seat where the action is, stand up ready for God to do something amazing, cheering on people who are making life-changing decisions. They want the team to win and they are going to help make it happen.

But there are some people, usually those who’ve grown a little too comfortable, who show up and sit and soak. They look around at all the people who are pumped up and they say, “Why do these people have to be so excited? Can’t they just chill out and take a seat? We just want to quietly observe and not get involved ourselves.” Don’t be that guy!

It’s been amazing to watch as more and more people at The Connection Church come ready for something great to happen. We don’t want to just go through the motions. The interesting thing is, the total experience is different for those who get involved instead of just staying passive and checking out.

And the game? The Lady Rams are the 2012 TAPPS State Volleyball 1A Runner-Ups!

 

My Windows Problem

September 16, 2012

This week, I got a call on my cell phone that appeared as “Blocked” and when I answered it, a guy with a thick foreign accent told me he was from “Windows Technical Support” and that he was calling because they had discovered a major problem with my Windows computer. Because I don’t have a Windows computer, and I recognized this scam from a few weeks earlier with my step-dad, I decided to have a little fun with the scammer.

  • Him: “You’ve got a problem with your Windows PC.
  • Me: “Oh no! What kind of problem is it?”
  • Him: “Well, we can fix it.”
  • Me: “How do you know there’s a problem?”
  • Him: “We can see it when you get on the internet.”
  • Me: “Really, you can see my computer?”
  • Him: “Yes. But we can fix it.”
  • Me: “How can you see my computer?”
  • Him: “When you get on the internet.”

I just kept asking questions and was actually nowhere near any computer as he was giving me instructions that would have allowed him to not only see my computer, but make changes to it as well. That’s a really bad idea. At that point, he’d have complete access to any info on my computer or install whatever software he wanted.

I eventually just told him I knew it was a scam and that he was a criminal and should be charged for this scam and then I hung up.

But as I thought about it, I realized that I do have a kind of windows problem. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

My windows problem is that right now, I can’t see completely clearly. My vision is a little blurred and I don’t understand nearly as much as I would like to. Whenever I think I’ve got it all figured out, I find out that I don’t know as much as I need to know.

But the promise of God is that one day, I will see Him face to face. And one day, all my questions will be answered. And I will finally understand the answer to the all-encompassing question, “Why?” And I think at that point, some of my questions won’t be as important as the fact that all the answers will be found in Him.

And the best news in that verse is that God does know me completely right now. He knows all the dark corners of my life that I try to hide and yet He still loves me just as I am. It’s mind-blowing that the One who knows me the best, loves me the most!

Creativity and Connection

January 12, 2011

Today, we’re kicking off a 90-Day Journey through the Bible with Genesis 1 & 2. If you want to join us, you can download the reading plan here.

Talk about Vision! God has a huge dream that we see as it starts to unfold in these 2 chapters. They are some of the most familiar in the Bible, and they are some of the most powerful. In these chapters, we discover 2 truths that are a vital part of who we are at The Connection Church.

Genesis 1: Our Creative God

The opening of Genesis gives us a picture of the creation of the universe and everything there is. God is the source of creativity. He’s the only One who creates Ex Nihilo, which means “out of nothing.” He just spoke it and it was there. Since then, we, who are made in His creative image, have a desire to create, but we do so by observing what God has made and using the materials that God supplies.

Which reminds me of the story about the scientist who figured out how to create life. He challenged God in a man-making contest and said, “Here, I’ve gathered up 2 piles of dirt, one for you and one for me.” God replied, “Sorry, you’ve got to create your own dirt.” :)

When we have a project, either at work or at home, we should do our very best to reflect the creativity God has implanted in us. What dream has God placed in your heart that you can begin to live out and offer to Him?

Genesis 2: Our Connected God

This passage also reminds us that God is relational and loving. He says, “Let Us make man in Our own image.” Is this some ancient typo? Not at all. It points towards the truth that God is Triune. He has revealed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit who relate perfectly to each other.

God continually says, “it is good.” But then when He made Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Healthy relationships matter to God. God doesn’t want us to be lonely. He didn’t create us to be isolated hermit ostriches but instead, we’re made to do life together.

What if we remembered that everyone we see today is a unique creation of God, made in His image? That way, even with their faults, we saw the good and the potential God has placed in them. How would that change the way we think and treat them?

Thinking Thanks

November 25, 2010

Back in the day, we used to sing, “We’ve got so much, so much, so much (ad nauseam) to be thankful for!” and we do have so much, but how can we express our thankfulness to God? Luke 17:11-19 is all about a miracle of Jesus that points us to 5 principles of living thankful lives.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.

Jesus didn’t let anything distract or detour Him from His purpose: He was going to Jerusalem because that was the way to the cross. In fact, His path led Him through a place that would make Him “unclean” under the religious system of the day. But He wasn’t worried about what people thought or said about Him. He was committed to one purpose, His Father’s.

12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

These sick men also were Samaritans who were considered “half-breeds” by their culture. Most people thought they weren’t worthy of God’s love and acceptance. They had 2 huge strikes against them! But the very ones that culture turns away from and looks down on are the people God wants to help and heal. And they came to the right Person, Jesus, to change their situations.

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

Jesus didn’t do any stunts, say any magic words, or do anything out of the ordinary. It was just a simple, powerful, miracle. But it required them to do something. They had to obey and do what Jesus said to do.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.

It’s alright to get excited about what God has done and is doing in your life. It wasn’t a secret. He wanted everyone to know what God had done. Loud is okay! Let’s get LOUD!

16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

He feel on his knees to thank Jesus. There are many postures of worship: lifting your hands in the air, bowing your head, falling on your knees, whatever posture expresses your thankfulness.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

The others were so excited that they didn’t even think to stop and say thank you. How many times are we like that?

18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Who is most thankful, the insider or the outsider? Sometimes Christians are the ones who take God’s work in our lives for granted.

God wants us to live lives of thankfulness.

  • By following Jesus example of pursuing God’s purpose for us no matter what it costs to our reputation or our comfort. We’re not going to veer off course. We’re going to see people changed one life at a time!
  • By loving the unloved, by caring for those in need. We’re a church for everyone. Nothing ticks me off more than when I hear, “Oh, they would never come here. Their life could never change.” Don’t set limits on what God can do! Jesus reached out to the despised, the isolated, the sick, and the spiritually confused. We will never put limits on who God has called us to reach. How can you practically reach out to someone in need around you? One way you can reach out is to invite someone to Connection Christmas.
  • By obeying God’s word. They had to go to be healed and they obeyed that part of what Jesus said. But they had another decision: would they make the unselfish decision to follow Christ and then thank Him and live a life of thankfulness? You can get a free bible for your mobile device here.
  • By worshipping extravagantly. There’s something refreshing and healing about entering into God’s presence. I’m so proud of our worship team and the way they have grown. When we get together for our Celebration Services, it’s all worship, from the music to the teaching, to the offering. We have to intentionally pause for praise in the middle of the rush of life. We should make thanking God a top priority. I thank God every day for the gift of the day and for bringing me through it.
  • By remembering the cross.

Matthew 26:26-28 says, While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

Jesus invites us to always be thankful for His sacrifice! We have so much to be thankful for today, but above all, I’m thankful for His Cross!

On My Way to Paradise

March 30, 2010

When Jesus was on the cross, the second statement he made was to one of the criminals hanging beside him. When the dying thief asked Jesus to remember him in Heaven, Jesus assured, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Jesus was giving His life so that anyone who trusts in Him can spend eternity with Him in a literal perfect place called heaven.

I’m going to spend a lot longer on the other side of eternity than I will on this side. As a Christ-follower, if we know that we’re going to spend forever (a very, very long time) in heaven, what difference does that make today? That reality changes everything! Once I understand it, I will live my life in light of eternity.

My Time

First, I’ll invest my time in eternity. There’s a huge difference between spending my time and investing it. My time is my life, and I have a limited amount it, only 24 hours in a day. When I live to make a difference for God’s Kingdom, my time isn’t wasted, it’s invested and will have a huge return.

My Treasure

Next, I’ll invest my treasure in eternity. Everything we have is a gift from God. You can’t take it with you when you’re gone, but you can send it on ahead. How do we do that? By generously giving to a local church that is focused on mission to Go and Tell the Good News of Jesus. Where do you have the biggest savings account? On Earth or in Heaven?

My Talent

We’ll also invest our talents for eternity. You’re unique and have something to offer the Body of Christ as you serve in ministry. I have to ask myself, “Is what I’m doing with the gifts and abilities God gave me really making an eternal impact?” Even the smallest act of selfless service can make a difference when you do it in Jesus’ name.

My Testimony

Finally, I’ll invest my testimony in eternity. In court, you testify about what you have seen or experienced. To make a difference in someone’s life, you can show and tell them about what you’ve experienced Jesus do in your life. You might not be a Bible scholar, but no one can argue with your personal experience. Who do you know who needs to hear your story this week?

The issue isn’t, “Will I live forever?” It’s “How will I live forever?” This week is the perfect time to make a difference for eternity.