Think About It

There’s the old joke, that really is true, when you ask a man what he’s thinking about and he says nothing, he really means it.

He’s not thinking about anything.

Hard to believe, but true! Sometimes we just turn our brains off!

But, in our lives, we all focus on something. We all have our mind on something. Our minds return to something.

What is that thing for you? Where does your mind return? Where does your mind roam? Listen to what Paul says in Romans 8:5-7 today:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Those that live according the flesh set the minds on the flesh. Those that live according to the spirit set them minds on the spirit.

Today, is our mind, are our thoughts on the things of flesh, or thing things our God. Where ever our mind and our thoughts are is where we will be.

Today, what do you think about? Today, where’s your head at?

What thoughts feel your down time? What do you feel your minds with? There’s an old computer saying – garbage in, garbage out. Whatever you program a computer to do, it will do. Even if it’s garbage.

The same is true for our minds. Are we choosing to focus on the things of God or the things of the flesh? What are we putting into our minds today?

What are we thinking about?

As we grow closer to God, may we focus on the things of the spirit, and ma we find life there!

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Where’s Your Head At?

One of the things people say when someone makes a mistake is that phrase – where’s your head at?

When you do something you shouldn’t have done, something you knew better than to do, you may have heard the phrase – where’s your head at?  What where you thinking? What was happening?

That phrase is true, because our mind so often determines our actions. Our thoughts determine what we do, so many times.  That’s one of the reasons why the Bible says submit your thoughts to Christ. Where our mind is will determine what we do.

So, today, where’s you head at?  As we start this new day, where’s your head at? What are you thinking?  What’s going on up there? What are you thinking about?

Listen to what Paul says in Colossians about where our head should be at:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Today, set you mind on things above. Set your mind on the stuff of heaven, not the stuff of earth. It’s easy in life to get bogged down with the things of this world.

With the worries of this world and this day.

With our stresses.

With our to do lists.

With our temptations.

With our pride.

Today, where’s your head at? What are you thinking about? What are you focusing on? Where your head is at will determine what you do today.

Today, keep you thoughts on the things of God. And in that, may we find the strength and hope that we need to be faithful to God in all things.

 

My Take on May 21, 2011 Not Being the End of the World

It looks like the world will not end today.  Jesus told us that no one knows the hour or day, but for some reason that doesn’t “sell” as much as guessing about when it will all happen.

Now, I’ve had as much fun as the rest of you with laughing at the claims that the world was going to end today, May 21, 2011.

I’m not going to work on a sermon, since we won’t be here!  I’m going to go and load up the credit cards!  Start trouble!  All the same jokes.

I’ve retweeted some of the funnier statements today. I’ve laughed, I’ve smirked, I’ve poked and I’ve prodded. It’s been kind of funny.

But as I was reading about how the world didn’t end today, something happened. I got a little sad. And a little angry.  I was thinking about how the church has been portrayed by all this the past few days, and it’s not been pretty.

Now, first, why do I say “the church?”  This is why. Inside the church, we make distinctions.  You’re Baptist.  You’re Methodist.  You’re evangelical.  You’re liberal.  You’re whatever label we put on each other.

To the world, though, that’s not the case.  We are all a mass of Christianity. They don’t see our “labels.” They simply see us as Christians. And while we can make distinction amongst ourselves, they don’t.  And when something like this happens, it shames all of us.  It makes us all look foolish in the eyes of the world.

But Andy, doesn’t the Bible say that God uses the foolish to shame the wisdom of the world.

Yes it does.  But, this is not what it’s talking about.  The foolishness of God is that we are saved not be “being” good or by “doing” anything. We are saved by grace through faith, so that no one can boast. And then that belief and that faith MUST change our life.

It is foolish to love and forgive and to charge into the darkness unafraid. That is the foolishness of God.  Not what we’ve seen in the past few days.  I believe that the work of Harold Camping has greatly harmed the cause of Christ because:

1.  Mockery of the church.  We will be scorned; our beliefs may be seen as out of step.  Sure, that’s fine, that’s ok.  But, that’s not what this is. All through out scripture, the people of God were not seen as embarrassing or as jokes. Radical yes.  Passionate, sure.  But, never as a joke. Paul was beaten and thrown out of town. But He was respected.  Jesus taught with authority and people followed Him.  David, while not “looking” like a king was a man after God’s own heart. The people of God, while always being different and scorned, they lived lives above reproach and were respected for the integrity by which they lived their lives.

That has not been the case with this situation.

Now the opinion of the world, is not my primary concern. But, it does matter.

On one hand I don’t care what the world thinks of me. I don’t. But on the other, I must use everything at my power, all that I am, all that have I have to live, love, and proclaim the grace of God to all that I meet.  I want to honor Jesus with all that am.

So, all of this, did it honor Jesus?  Did it bring glory to His name?  Did it draw people to Him?

No.

And because of that, His cause in the world was harmed.

2. Harm caused to people.  People sold all that they had.  Not to follow Jesus, but to follow Harold Camping. And he let them.  He didn’t stop them.  That is wrong.

Families were separated. Not to follow Jesus, but to follow a man.

This is wrong.

John Wesley had General Rules for Methodists in his day, and they were: “do no harm, do good, stay in love with God.”  The first rule was “do no harm.”  This movement did not abide by this rule.  Harm was done.  To well meaning people that just wanted to do what they felt like God wanted.

As a pastor, I have to do right by my people. What bothers me about Harold Camping was that people followed him. And he didn’t have their best interest at heart.

And that hurts the cause of Christ.

We, as Christians, and as the church, exist to draw people to Christ and let them know His great love for them.  This entire episode damaged the cause of Christ by focusing on something that we have no control over. I long for the return of Christ. I long for God’s kingdom to be completed. I long for our redemption.

I believe in the return of Christ. But that’s out of my hands. I have no control over it.

You know what I do have control over?  Loving my enemies.  Praying for those that curse me.  Helping the poor, the least, the lost.  Growing closer to Jesus.  Falling in love with Him. Teaching others of His love.

And that, more than guessing about the end of the world, gives honor to Christ.

That’s what Harold Camping didn’t focus on. That’s what we, as the church, must focus on.

Whether Jesus returns today, or a 1000 years from now. We need to live, love, serve, and worship until He calls us home. All in His due time.

Linger

This morning as we start the new year together, I was struggling with what to read through in my devotional readings.  My daily reflections are just an outgrowth of what I do each morning in my own personal devotional life.

And today, I was stumped.  I didn’t really have a leading as to where the Lord is leading me in scripture for the coming weeks. So, I sat and prayed and listened.

Nothing.

I look through the index of the Bible, hoping that something would jump out to me.

Nothing.

As I sat in my chair praying, I though that the backbone of my devotional life has always been the Psalms. So, until I felt a leading from God to read something else, I’d work through the Psalms for a bit.

So, I started with Psalm 1. And listen to what the Psalmist writes in the beginning of this Psalm:

1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the LORD, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.

As I read over this passage, the thing that stood out to be was the second phrase in verse one.  – “nor lingered in the way of sinners.”

That really convicted and spoke to me.  In our lives each day, we will face temptation.

In our work, in our family, among our classmates, among our colleagues, we will encounter sin and temptation.

We will be tempted and tried.  We will face the pull of what is wrong.

What will we do when temptation comes? Will we dismiss it as Jesus taught us in Matthew 4? Will we tell the Tempter that will not buy into his lies and deceit?

Or will we linger? Will we hang around temptation? Will we dip our toes in the water?

Happy are those that linger upon the Word of God.  They will know life.

To linger upon temptation is allow it have a hold upon us – and that leads us down a path we don’t want to go down.

Where will we linger today? Where will our minds be today?  What will choose today?

Today, may we not linger in ways of sin, but may our minds return to the ways of God.  May we linger on the grace and mercy of God.