Sunday, September 25, 2011

Take up your cross

Currently I am in the back seat of a vehicle coming back from St. Louis after watching a great cardinals win with some fairly new friends of mine. The two gents in the front are members of our Journey group (I've know them for 3 weeks) and my friend in the back is one of their friends whom I just met today. As I was sitting here pondering the day I am convicted of what I (we) will do to fulfill our desires and yet we tend to look at ministry as something else we HAVE to do.

We left at 630 this morning and will probably get home around 10 tonight. Add in the cost of the ticket, food, gas, and parking this trip required a lot of my resources. As a society we are so focused on what we want. And mainly to do with time. We consider every second of the day to be ours.

Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 16:24 in order to follow Him we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (this is my paraphrase). In order to begin to follow Jesus with our lives (which is the only way to find true joy), we first must deny ourselves. This means realizing that the time we have on this earth is not ours, but belongs to our creator. Once we realize this the process of denying ourselves begins.

When Jesus says take up our cross I think it means we must be ready to sacrifice for His kingdom. Whatever that means, whether it's time or money or comforts we HAVE to be prepared to sacrifice these things for Jesus. That is the only thing we have to do.

How many things do we devote our time, money, and energy to which has absolutely no positive affect on the Kingdom of God. However, when it comes time for ministry (which should be all the time) we tend to put it in the something else to do category.

Now, I am not saying that we should never do anything the world considers fun and fulfilling. I am simply saying we should always remember that the time we have is the Lords. Whatever we do we are called to do it heartily for the Lord. Even watching the cardinals with some friends from church. Ministry is based on relationships and God smiles when we build those relationships in His name.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Father Child Love

So tonight my wife and I decided to take our soon to be 3 year old to the Rodeo. This was going to be an experience as the show did not even start until 8pm. After a good 90 minutes she was ready to go home, and later told my father in law that they were mean to the little cows and that made her mad. So after picking up her baby sister she fell asleep in the car on the way home.

While Liz was feeding Elise I rocked Grace as I had done so many times before when she was a baby. God always uses her to speak to me. As I sat there rocking my 3 year old, who would not have budged if a canon would have went off, it dawned on me. I am this precious little girls daddy and she feels perfectly safe in my arms. We have the same security as a child of God.

However I think there is one area we really struggle with; returning that love and affection back to our heavenly father. How do I know my daughter loves me? Besides her security in me she shows me. Whether running up and squeezing my neck when I walk through the door, or giving me a kiss and telling me she loves me at bedtime. Regardless of what she does she does it because of the emotion she feels, and no other reason. It surely is not because she feels obligated to. That is another way of thinking of child like faith.

If we are children of God we should have unbelievable joy in our hearts for what Christ did for us. Our life should be all about praising him and showing Him that we love Him, with every second of our life.