Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Parking Close at the Gym

You probably know by now that I belong to a health club. Not that it's making a great difference in my girth, but at least I feel healthy. Anyway, I try to work out for about an hour about four times a week. As I drive into the parking lot, I'm always looking for a good parking place. You know, one close to the front door...where I don't have to walk too far... Usually, when I leave, someone waits for me to vacate my spot so they can park close, too. Now think about this for just a moment. I'm going to the health club to exercise. Exercise means walking fast and riding a bike hard. Getting the old heart beating and sweating like a crazy man. Heaven forbid that I have to walk any distance to get to the door. How crazy is that?
We do it at church all the time. Oh, it's not getting the best parking spot, but the principle is still the same. Our appearance at the church building is to make people think that we are holy. We show up, make an appearance, sing a few songs, pray a little, and we are holy. We seem to forget that it's not how we act inside the four walls of the church building, church is where we go every day. It's how we act. It's how we think. It's who we are. If, however, we can be there and look holy, amen the preacher once in a while (as long as he doesn't go too long), and beat the Baptists to the restaurants, then we're Christian. Oh, my goodness, no. Jesus said, "These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." Kind of like leaving it at the gym and not taking it with us. Let's not be that way. Let's remember who we are and whose we are. Let's not look for the easy way. I hope your day is a great one. JW

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stunned by Scripture

I am stunned by Scripture. I mean that. Things that I have read hundreds of times jut leap out at me and just stun and amaze. We heard of "shock and awe" during the war with Iraq. It doesn't even hold a candle to God's Word.
Now I have to admit, I have read it enough that sometimes I get lacksidasical and often skim over the reading because I have read it before. That's why I like reading different translations because they give me a new insight into what God is saying. It also slows me down when I read. I have been using "The Message" as my personal Bible study. I was reading in I Kings about Solomon and him asking God for wisdom instead of riches and long life. Listen to how Peterson words Solomon's request. God asks Solomon, "What can I give you?" Here is his response.

Here's what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil.

Wow! A God-listening heart. That's what I want. I want a God listening heart. I listen so much to what the television is saying, what the people say about my sermons, what everybody else is saying. What I need is a God listening heart.
Dear God, help me to turn out all of the voices who try to drown out your message and your word and your will and help me to hear only You. Help me to, as the Psalmist says, "Be still and know that you are God." Help me to hear only You. For I want a God listening heart. In our Savior's name. Amen. Have a great day. JW

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sixteen Years

July 8, 2009. It doesn't seem possible, but 16 years ago today, my dad passed from this life to his eternal reward. I still miss him to this day. What an influence he's been not only to me, but to many others down through the years. Even today I have people come to me and say, "You know, your dad was such a good guy." There's a passage in Judges that talks about the influence that Joshua had. It says that the children of Israel followed the Lord as long as the memory of Joshua lasted. I feel that way about dad. Now who will carry on his legacy? If I could just be half the man he is, what an honor that would be. He wasn't perfect. But he followed unquestionably the One who was. I still have his Bible, one that I gave him back several years ago. He would underline passages that were important to him. Ocassionally, I still pick up his Bible and read what I call the gospel according to Ed. You know what I do now? I underline passages in my Bible. I've already given one to my daughter. There are more for Nate and perhaps for the grandkids. But truth is, Ed lives on. I hope your day is a good one. JW