Time with God

January 29, 2009

timeandgod1I came to work early one morning this week and read this note on my daily calendar:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 2:5

We Christians are not to be conformed to this world in the way we think.  The world by its advertisements, its conversation, and its philosophy is engaged in a gigantic brainwashing…. Time yourself next time you read the Bible and pray.  Compare your private time with God to the amount of time you spend watching television (shows, news, weather, sports, movies), or surfing the internet, or reading fiction.  Is God getting His share of your time and attention?  Is the world shaping your mind—or is Christ?

This caused me to ask myself a lot of hard questions:

Do I spend as much time with God each day as I do on my stuff?

Do I expect my personal relationship with God to be strong because I lump big blocks of time with God on some days to make up for days I “miss”?

Would I tell my spouse or my boss, “I am sorry I don’t have time for you, I am too busy this week?”

Do I spend as much time with my God as I do my spouse, my children, my friends?

Do I invest my time and my money with  God as much as I do my leisure, my vacations, my technology, my hobbies and interests?  Where my treasure (checkbook, time, habits)  is my heart is there also.

Most marriage problems are caused by lack of communication.  Most lack of communication is caused by not spending quality, honest, open time together.  Why would my relationship with God be any different?

Am I appropriately modeling discipleship for the young people I work with as I tell them how important a life with God is?

Wow, I have a lot to think about!  Thankfully God loves me just as I am and I am saved by grace. However, one of the best lines I ever received from Doris Milligan, our founder’s wife, was, “God loves me too much for me to stay that way.” Grace is not cheap.  God wants me to have the mind of Christ Jesus.  God wants my mind to be transformed.

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Miracle

January 28, 2009

This picture says it all!

This picture says it all!


President Obama-Prayers and Politics

January 21, 2009
Barack Obama

Photo coutesy of jmtimages

In light of a new President coming into office, I am reminded once again that as a Christian, I am to pray for those who are in authority.  So at the beginning of President Obama’s time in office I pray.

I pray that President Obama will have the healing presence of Gerald Ford, the gentle compassion of Jimmy Carter, the constant fortitude of Ronald Reagan, the deep faithfulness of George H.W. Bush, the political savvy of Bill Clinton, and the strong convictions of George W. Bush.

I pray that President Obama will have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a public profession of God’s providence.

As more young people than ever are paying attention to this President, I pray that President Obama will be a model for them that a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is more important than anything else, even the presidency of the United States of America.

That is my prayer, what is yours?


Trust vs. Self-Centeredness

January 15, 2009

theogram21Are you wrapped up, wound up, and puffed up.  What do I mean by that?  Are you wrapped up in your own worries, fears, and frustrations?  It is an easy thing to do in today’s world.  It is also easy to do in ministry.

However, when we are wrapped up in our own worries, fears, and frustrations, it causes us to get wound up in our own worries, fears, and frustrations.  They become not only the focal point of our thoughts but also the anxiety builders of our day.  All of this causes us to be puffed up because our worries, fears, and frustrations consume us and our  world becomes all about us rather than God.  We get wrapped up in our issues, only to be wound up over them, only to be puffed up thinking it is all about our stuff. This is self-centeredness, rather than reliance on God.

What are your worries, fears, and frustrations?  I find when I think about the things that make me worry, fearful, and frustrated,  I focus in on them more and more until they become the center of my thoughts.  Focusing on these is self-centeredness.  Self-centeredness is being wrapped up, wound up, and puffed up.

So what is the solution?  The answer is to trust and obey God enough to think, care, and decide about things as God would have us do so.  It means to put our daily trust and obedience in God instead of allowing our day to go according to our worries, fears, and frustrations.  Hard to do but so very fruitful for our faith relationship with God.

So go ahead, give it a try.  What do you have to worry about?

I want to say thanks to my friend, Sarah, who reminded me of this in devotions yesterday.


Back to Basics

January 9, 2009

blocksI attend a lunch time Bible study that meets in our church library. We’ve been studying Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and we were reading Chapter 7 and Paul’s response to their questions about marriage. Our leader shared something she had read on the chapter and I found it particularly insightful to children’s ministry. This writer had found it striking that Paul takes up the Corinthians’ specific concerns only after writing the lengthy discussion of Chapters 1-6 in which he carefully rebuilds the foundations upon which he believes answers must be based.

Paul’s example shows us, this writer observes, that the answers to the people’s questions will be most fruitful if the groundwork of the gospel has first been laid out clearly. And so, I write to you at the beginning of the new year with an urging for you to lay the “groundwork of the gospel” down for your children’s ministry volunteers. You’re probably dealing with discipline issues, volunteer distractions, and lack of new ideas about now. Before you address these concerns, go back to the basics.

At LOGOS we have a webinar called, “Living by God’s Design” that is based on foundational ways we are taught to live as disciples of Christ. The webinar teaches and helps process our theograms…drawings that LOGOS has created to represent the “groundwork of the gospel.” Gather your ministry leaders together to renew and refresh and lay that firm foundation—over lunch after Sunday worship or with breakfast some Saturday. Then you can more effectively tackle the questions and concerns that are raised in the midst of ministry. However you decide to go about it, now is the time rebuild the firm foundation for the coming year.

Liz Perraud

(The webinar is available by pay per view here.)