Spiritual Awakening

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Spiritual Awakening

When I was in high school I would do just about anything for some money. My parents didn’t have much to spare with five kids and a dog. They gave me what I needed, but I wanted more. I wanted had to have music and clothes to buy, I needed gas money and wanted to go out with my friends. One day, I was offered a job at a local trucking company on Friday evenings filling tires with air and checking for flats. In one night, I would earn more than twice as much as working in my Dad’s gas station in a week. The challenge was the job went from 9 PM till 2:30 AM. Most nights I would share a ride with someone from the company. One night, though, I was travelling alone. It was 3 AM in the morning. I kept fighting sleep. At one moment, I saw lights from another car heading my way. Startled, I realized I was driving in the wrong lane. Now I was wide awake. The road up ahead was divided by concrete divider. I jerked the car a hard right and avoided a potentially hazardless situation. The rest of the trip home was filled with an adrenaline filled alertness. I had just experienced a real awakening.

 

Life has many awakenings. It could be a pain in my body that is unexplainable and a doctor’s report that something is seriously wrong. It could be an accident that caused damage- especially if it was my fault. It could be financial challenges or relationships that break apart. All of these wake us up that something needs to change. Unfortunately, some ignore the “oncoming car” and the consequences become more tragic.

 

There is an oncoming car. It is the collision coming in so many people’s lives. What will it take for people to wake up and see that the direction of their lives is headed in the wrong lane? Some may see the problems and ignore them until it is too late. When we have been in the midst of hard situation we can be tempted to say, “wake me when it’s over”.

 

God is not passive in the situations we face. He comes to free people from anything that hinders them from thriving as human beings. He comes to awaken us, our churches and our communities to the vision he has for them. He intends good and not harm. What will it take for God to awaken us? First it begins with prayer. In prayer we align our lives with His. In prayer we believe for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In prayer the Spirit of God will bring a spiritual awakening. The Bible says, 

“Awake, O sleeper,

    rise up from the dead,

    and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14

 

Please join us as we pray for a spiritual awakening.

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Good News

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Good News

Did you ever have a day when everything seemed right with the world? When everything seemed good. It didn’t last, did it? What would it look like if that good day would last forever? What if you hear it about a way that could happen? Wouldn’t you want it? That would be good news!

The Gospel of Jesus is what every Jesus follower believes. Gospel means “good news”. We all could use some good news. Everyday we hear about bad news. Its seems we are all addicted to it. We hear a shocking story and want to hear more. Why are we so intrigued with what politicians and celebrities do? In some ways they affect use. The way the culture is going, the way leaders lead, trends and movements influence the environment we live in. But good news is different. It doesn’t just pique our interest. Real good news is like a breath of fresh air.

Good news is personal. When Jesus was approached by a man names Nicodemus, he got right to the heart to this man. (See the Gospel of John 3:1-7) Nicodemus inquired about Jesus at night, so as not to be seen my his religious peers. He had a gnawing question. “How can I live a righteous life?” This was THE religious questions at the time. It may not be yours. He was asking what Jesus was all about. “What are you about?” a gang member asked a pastor walking in the inner city. What would you say? This could be a tense fearful encounter. The pastor simply said, “I’m all about Jesus.”

Nicodemus was a seeker. He wanted the truth. How can I be all about what God is all about? That would be like saying today, “What is the best way to live to have a good life?” For the religious leaders of Jesus day, living righteously was closely tied to laws given by their ancestor Moses and ultimately what God required. Right living was their highest priority. You may have discovered that right living comes with frustration. We can never get it quite “right”. We fall short. The good doesn’t last. The answer must be out there somewhere. So we try all kinds of ways to get that good day feeling to last. Jesus peered into Nicodemus heart and found what he was missing. Jesus does the same for us. He needed a spiritual restart. Living a good life starts with the spirit. Something within us has to drastically change. A vacation or a raise may help for a while, but lasting change comes from within.

Spiritual living, living the good life, does not begin with us. We are not the center. Neither our good intentions nor our disappointments are the center. Jesus comes to recenter us. It begins with God’s Spirit doing something new and fresh in us. Jesus says, “You must be born again. You must be born of the Spirit.” Start over- let God’s Spirit breathe new life into your Spirit. We all need this. Our hearts can become crusty, selfish and even self-righteous. Jesus comes and makes us right as we trust him with our lives. It’s like a huge load has been lifted off our shoulders. This is very good news. This is like a breath of fresh air. I don’t know about you by I need that every day. The Lord is the center. To live a good and right life begins with him.

Pray with me. ”Lord Jesus I thank you for the good news. I receive again your fresh life-giving Spirit within me. Make my heart new. Take the heaviness. I belong to you and by the Spirit live a good news life. I will go out with this being my faith declaration. Amen.

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Living with Limits

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Living with Limits

There are a lot of popular ideas that say we can rise above our limits. There is the truth that with God we can overcome much in our life. But we still live within limits. We have only so much energy, so much time and can only be in one place at time (although I try). Scripture says to live remembering that “the end of all things is near”. We may think this idea of limits is limiting. Actually it is freeing. When we consider our limits we tend to focus on what is important and are less likely to get sidetracked. When we live knowing that there is an end, it does not need to bring us down. It frees us to let go of everything superficial. Jesus said what when we make Him a priority our lives will be filled with joy. Living in the reality that Jesus is our focus, that Jesus is the source for all of our strength and love, makes us aware that we cannot afford to waste one day of this precious life. We can live above and beyond the stress and distractions of every day. What happens, then, is that every moment becomes energized with more and more of God’s presence and we are motivated more and more by God’s purposes.

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Open Doors and Getting Unstuck

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Open Doors and Getting Unstuck

When we find ourselves stuck in life, it is a wake up call that something needs to change. The stuck phase may be caused by circumstances we did not create. Sometimes,though, we have let fear keep us from addressing the road block. Conquering the “stuckness” is always a matter of perception.

I find that three things are essential. One is prayer. Prayer may seem like an inactive thing to do, but can be a life-giving breath of fresh air when we do pray. Not all prayer will do. When prayer becomes totally focused on our fears or circumstances, we are merely talking to ourselves. It is important that we realign our emotional state by going beyond ourselves. The Bible exhorts us in Colossians 3 to set our affections on things above, not earthly things. This is not to deny the reality of things we face but realizing that present crises are not the whole picture.

Secondly, we need people who have our backs, people who care just as much about our success as we do. Comfort may be helpful, but to get past the impasse we must confront it head long. We cannot see a larger perception with the same mindset that gets us stuck. Friends can help here. Friends call out any self-deprecation they see in us. They also can call “foul” when people or circumstances have bumped us off-balance. 

Thirdly, then there is some action we are required to do. Some movement that gets us to a new place. This may require more discomfort, but it is a “yes” that begins to open up new possibilities. I love the statement that Thomas Merton says in his book No Man is an Island, “when a door closes the whole world opens up to you.” That openness will mean we need to do something that explores other options for us. Then, as we move in a direction, we adjust the course as we receive input through prayer and honest friends and colleagues.

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