Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is giving of thanks from your innermost thoughts and humor can sometimes get in the way. People ask me as a cancer survivor, "How are you?" When I respond positively here are just a few of the humorous responses. Some ball up their first and look for wood, to knock on three times, and since there is not the availability of wood, they knock on the next hardest thing, their head. Others thank their lucky stars. Some, really off the wall humor say, "thanks be to my dog". It's all based in humor, not belief, but I have noticed that when a positive thing happens, fewer and fewer people are comfortable just saying, "Thanks be to God". America is a comedic culture nation. Nothing and no one escapes American humor and it's a good thing. Nothing wrong with kidding around, and poking fun at the absurdities and mysteries of life. Adding a little, "Thanks be to God", to ones humored life, is a welcome addition.

Thanksgiving encompasses what has happened, what is happening, and what one hopes to happen. Giving of thanks for what one is already experiencing is pretty easy and straight forward. It is the giving of thanks for what is hoped for, that I and others struggle with. Here's one way to offer thanks for what is yet to be. A promise from scripture is Psalm 107: 19, 20. "He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions". Another one is in Isaiah 55:11

"so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."(NIV)

Thanksgiving is giving voice to the scripture (fact), not feelings or what one is currently experiencing. Returning scripture's promise back to God is giving of thanks for what is yet to be experienced. Finding your voice, and then giving your voice the opportunity to return thanks is a way God's Word returns to God after accomplishing and achieving the purpose for which it was sent.

My congregation bestowed upon me a gift certificate to an online store. I have had more fun, filling and emptying, filling and emptying my shopping cart many times. Soon, I will make my final choice and hit the send button. Though it will take a few days for the order to be received by me, it is a done deal. I then will wait with thanksgiving, for that which is coming. I don't keep hitting the send button. This Thanksgiving, a sea change for some may be including God in one's thanks. For others, it may be the giving voice to scripture, before a positive things is being experienced. My hope is that less thanks goes to the stars, to the dogs, to one's hard head, or wood, and more goes to God. All together now, "Thanks be to God".

Lord, help us with our giving of thanks. Our humor often gets in the way. Help us to give thanks for what is, what has been and what will be.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Plant a tree

Over two thousand years have passed since Jesus told his followers that it was the beginning of the end (Lu. 21). The epistles speak of the last days being perilous because of a high percentage of the population having Narcisstic personalities (2 Timothy 3). The Epistles also speak of a figure that will be anti everything that Jesus Christ was and is ( 2 Thess. 2). 1 John 2 says there will be an antichrist, and all through human history there will be many antichrists.

This Sunday and for a few Sunday's we at Vienna Assembly of God, will look at the scriptures with fresh eyes, and not just take what prophecy teachers have told us for years, and who feel like the Church should live in a crisis mode in a continued state and sense of urgency. I have lived in a crisis mode with a sense of urgency and it creates Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after only a few years. We are to not be easily unsettled or alarmed. We are not to allow anyone to deceive us. We are not to allow pride to ruin us (2 Thess. 2). No one knows when the end of time will be. Human history may continue for thousands of years, and it would still be true that this is the beginning of the end. Every day could be one's last day, so, be encouraged to Love God, Love Others and Love the Life that God has given you every moment of every day. Please, avoid living under high stress, in crisis mode for any length of time. Been there, done that and it steals kills and destroys (St. John 10:10) the very abundant life that God intends for everyone. A business author (Kotter), tells leaders to create a sense of urgency to enact change. Once the change has been enacted and empowered by the Holy Spirit, move out of the state of urgency and follow through on what the wake up call, or crisis led you to do. I have read, that when the great reformer, Martin Luther was asked, "what would you do today, if you knew that Jesus was coming back tomorrow?" His response? Plant a tree.

Lord, help us follow up and follow through on what your conviction in the crisis created in us. We humbly ask to be empowered by your Holy Spirit to live joyfully and peacefully as those changes are implemented into our lives. We appreciate being made ready, and even more appreciative to be able enjoy our readied life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Awakening

More important things happen within the Community of God's People (the Church), than happened on Election Day. What happens in communities of worship is the substance of culture. Culture takes the form of what happens in living out of one's faith or the lack thereof. America needs a spiritual awakening to keep moving forward. America needs less Narcissist's (lover of themselves), and more lovers of God, others and life. A reason I enjoy living in Virginia, is "Virginia is for Lovers".

Lord, thank you for what you are doing in and through your relational community. Awaken us, and everyone to your Love.