Making something out of nothing

As a pastor, I’m often around many types of people. Whether they are members of the church, employees of the church, members of the community, etc., I’m around people of all walks of life.  I’ve often found that there are two types of people.  Those who hold themselves in high regard, and those who think they are “nobodys”.  The ones that really think they are “God’s gift to this world”, are the ones I don’t often spend a lot of time with.  The main reason being is that I tend to find myself on the other side of the fence. When I make mistakes, which often happens to me, I don’t do very well shaking the feeling of “worthlessness”.  That is why I find this passage so encouraging:

 

Romans 4:16b-18 (Message)

“For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father. We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

It is GREAT to know that Abraham was a NOBODY, just like me! He wasn’t perfect, and God’s decision to use him was NOT based on him being a “saint” or having a unique skill set. Abraham made plenty of stupid mistakes! He just trusted God and had faith that God had perfect control of everything. Life is SO much easier when we realize that God is in control, and He has already taken care of every issue we will face. If we are simply focused on Him and truly trust Him, even in the worst circumstances we face, God says:

“(Abraham) dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.”

God can make “something out of nothing.” That makes me feel better about my life, my ministry, my job, my family, my friends, my spouse and kids, etc! Bring nothing to the table, and God can turn it into something better than YOU could have dreamed it to be! I LOVE it!

God is NOT a Grandfather!

I was in the lobby of the church yesterday, and overhead a conversation. Someone was talking about senior adults, and included a woman in the conversation as though she were a part of the “senior” crowd.  She was not ready for the label yet. This woman is a grandmother, but was not ready for the label “senior” yet (I can understand because she is a young grandmother with a son still in high school). I was reading a book that quoted an old saying I had never heard before. The statement says,

 

God has no grandchildren

My generation (those who are mid 30’s to early 40’s), is having a major identity crisis.  Several have married, and remarried, and are living with several kids (their own children and stepchildren).  They are good parents, and great employees, but many seem to have little time for church attendance, and even less time to serve at church.  In my discussions with them, they tell me where they are going to church.  I’ll often follow up asking, “Why did you choose to attend church there?” The answer is often, “Well, that’s where my parents go.” Now, in my mind that simply says, “My parents will pay for my family’s lunch if I go to church with them!”.  I’m not saying that is the motivation for all of them, but how often do we view God as the “God of our parents”?  Many won’t say that, but their lives seem to display that. When our view of the church, and who God is to us personally, goes through the filter of our parents, we often regulate God to the role of “grandfather” in our lives. I have a child who is 18 months old now.  He has 4 of the best grandparents in the world.  They spoil him, they send him presents, they pray for him, they do everything they can to be a part of his life.  They aren’t his parents. They won’t love him like I love him.  They don’t understand him like I do.  Don’t get me wrong, they have been around the block with several of their own kids, and have very wise counselor for me, but they can never take the place of his father in his life. The moment I first saw him, a connection like no other in my life was made. Scientifically speaking, he will never physically be anyone else’s son but mine.  We have the opportunity to have a father/child relationship with God, but so often with Christians today, we choose to give God the “grandfather” role in our lives. Unfortunately, we risk having a whole generation whose only connection to God is through their parents. So when their parents pass away, or they move away from their family, God becomes like a distant relative to them.  The problem is, God can NEVER be a grandparent. He is either our father, or we are not related. I’m doing my best to teach my child how to have a personal relationship with God every day. I want him to be my brother in his relationship with God, because that is the ONLY way he will be able to truly share in the inheritance God has planned for us one day.

Parents, and even Grandparents, ask specific questions of your kids every day. Start today, even if they aren’t so young anymore. Help guide them to developing a personal relationship with God, that doesn’t necessarily include you.  100 years from now, all that will matter in their lives is their relationship with God. Will He be their father, or will they stand in front of Him one day and realize that they aren’t even related?

Let’s Get All Dressed Up

Read Colossians 3:12-14 (Extended Reading: Colossians 3:1-17)

It is funny how people spend time picking out what clothing to wear each day. I often spend time doing it myself, and I’m always disappointed when something I like to wear shrinks (or maybe I just grow?), gets a hole, and/or a stain on it. Paul uses clothing as a spiritual thing in this passage. Most people spend time thinking about what to wear physically, but spiritually, what are we wearing every day? Do we even think about what others see us wearing?  Physically or spiritual, everyone sees what we wear each day. It may be something benign that goes virtually unnoticed, or it could be something that catches the attention of others (for good and bad reasons). Paul is encouraging Christians to dress up in the wardrobe God picked out for us. In the world of social media, it is so easy to dress up ugly. We can easily find ourselves condemning and belittling others for their political and social views, and be ugly in our responses to others.  God has a set of clothes that will allow us to stand out in the crowd…for good reasons. Paul urges us to dress in:

“compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

How simple can life be, when we choose second place? We can simply give our rights, and our desires away and through humility and compassion, lift others up. Forgive others quickly, and love them the way Christ first loved us. I know this discipline is harder than it sounds, but I think the more we dress ourselves in these garments, the easier it becomes to wear them every day. It will certainly make a statement to the world around us, and will allow us to truly have influence when we tell others how they can have the same clothing that we wear! God has already paid for the clothing, all we have to do is accept it and wear it.

So….what are you going to wear today?

Let’s get back to this again!

Over the past year, I have done a personal journal about 3 days a week, chronicling my life, and commenting on the things I read (mostly just bible stuff, although I should probably comment on the other books I read). I love what God has been showing me, so I feel like I need to put it on here. I’m not sure if anyone will read it, but regardless, I’m going to put it on here. I’ll dump a bunch of things from my journal on here, and then try to update it as often as I can.

Let’s see how long I last this time! Feel free to comment…that is if there is anyone who reads this blog. 🙂

Drew

Generosity Virtue Video

Download Video

Gratitude Virtue Video

Download Video

Creativity Virtue Video


Download Video

Responsibility Virtue Video

Download the video here!

Endurance Virtue Video

Download

Forgiveness Virtue Video

Download Video