Sunday, February 22, 2009

Adam, Where Are You? (Sermon)

If you click on the title it'll link you to my sermon notes.

Please review the sermon notes as well as the notes you took in church. Ask youself... in what ways am I missing the "mark" for God's plan for me life?

Sin is just ugly because it goes against God. Sin is ugly because it goes again us, too. Take the proper stride to get on track via God's grace and good accountability. The Body of Christ needs each of its member to be on track if we're too serve humanity the way in which God intended.

Have a great week!!!

Poem: Adam, Where Are You?

Adam, Where Are You?

It’s a beautiful day.

Life is good.

God is near.

All of creation yearns for God’s attention. His smile. His shear joy with what He’s created.

The solar systems are affirmed by Him.

The sun wants to be seen by Him.

The waters stir and ripple at the thought of Him.

The hills leap to get his attention.

And the birds…the birds…sing untainted praise to Him.

All longing to be close to God

All longing for time with God

But right now, God has an important appointment.

A daily appointment

It happens in the cool of the day.

Is it time yet?

Is it evening yet?

It’s time to meet with Adam?
Do you see him?
Adam, where are you?
Adam never misses our meetings, God says to Himself

Something has gone wrong, I feel it.
Something has gone wrong, I can tell.
I tell you, something is wrong.

Adam… where are you?
Something was missing. Man was not his usual place.

He missed the mark.
He missed His meeting with God. His meeting with destiny. His briefing on life. He missed a meeting that every person who has ever lived, has always wanted…access.

Adam had it.
God’s ear.
God had access.
Adam’s ear.

Until today!

Adam had a new god. Although that wasn’t what he was looking for.
Adam had a new love. Although it wasn’t what he was looking for.
Adam had a new identity. Although it wasn’t what he was looking for.
Adam had new wardrobe. Although it wasn’t what he was lookin for.

Adam now has godly knowledge, but unfortunately, he no longer has godly character to harness all that knowledge.

So Adam is thinking big things with little character
And Adam is seeing great things with a small perspective
And Adam’s new god is cursing him and accusing him and belittle him and
tempting him and telling him his Old God hates him now.

Meanwhile, his Old God is missing Adam more than words could expressing and is thinking to Himself that there is no price He wouldn’t pay to get Adam back and back into proper position, back on the mark.

Adam has a new lens through which sees everything and it make him see things real clearly…
He can see he’s naked…and that’s bad
He can see that Eve’s naked… and that’s bad
He can see that Eve can see that he’s naked…and that’s really bad
And he can see that Eve can’t be trusted…so he sews organic boxers to hide his jewels so his queen won’t see.

And he hides in the woods because his new lens helps him to see his old God with fresh perspective.

►Is that The God I used to trust? He looks scary.
►Is that The God I used to laugh with? He looks so serious.
►Is that really the God that used to fill me with warmth and gladness? He makes me so nervous now for some reason.

And Adam hides in the woods because he is certain that a God like that…could now possible love a man like this!!

►Adam has a new god.
►The new god doesn’t love him
►They new god won’t affirm him
►The new god won’t teach him how to love and honor his wife
►The new god will continue to tell him to hide from his wife
►The new god wont’ helps him settle sibling rivalry issues with his sons
►The new god will try to kill him before the real god can die for him
►And the new god will do his best to defile the image of God that lives in Adam’ soul

And the beauty that God created us to behold, and care for, has just been stolen from human beings in the garden.

And the enemy slithers on his rough belly to his throne where he will attempt to out-rein the reining God of the world…using Adam as his pawn.

And suddenly there is:

Murder & mayhem
Pain & suffering
Sibling rivalry
Lust for power
More curses
Abandoned children
Wrecked marriages
Human trafficking
Mind control
Civil war
World wars
Tribal wars
Cold wards
Nuclear wars
Genetic cleansing wars
And Race wars

There will be:

Human suffrage
World hunger
Millions of starving children
Millions of homeless families
Millions of single mothers
Millions of displaced fathers
Millions of refugee infants
Millions of broken hearts

And humanity will smoke and drink and eat and snort and consume…
Whatever we can get our hands on.

Because we miss meeting Old God in the garden in the cool of the evening
We miss His Voice
We miss His humor
We miss His slendor
We miss His wonder
We miss even his correction and guidance

New god says that we shouldn’t waste time thinking about that…
New god says that Old God has forgotten us long ago…he only likes the good ones.
And new god tries to console me with food and sex and money and prestige and blow and weed and clothes and grades and stature and looks and cars and houses and fame and stuff…

But I sware that when my heart is real, real still and my the ranting and raving of my racing, fearful heart has finally subsided…

In a distant land… I can almost here a sweet, distinct, and concerned voice of a sad father in-search of His prodigal children…

All the while He’s pacing back and forth, surveying the horizon looking for any sign of their much anticipated return home, saying:

Adam, where are you?
Adam, what have you done?

I know you want to come home, but think you can’t? You think I won’t let you…

And the Old God can’t wait for something that will one day be called Calvary, where He will go very old school on new god and show him an old concept called Unconditional Love.
And Old God…Yahweh God…gave Adam a new chance thru Christ Jesus.

Adam, Adam…where are you?
Raised and seated in Christ Jesus, at your right hand Father!!
Is it the cool of the evening yet?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Had a Dream Last Night

I had a dream last night…

I dreamed that Jesus invited me to Heaven for a pop quiz. He wanted to get a pulse on how the Christian Church was doing. So, I had to stand in front of Jesus and give an account of my action, good and not-so-good.

I’m good on my feet so I quickly attempted to prepare myself for this tough practice exam.

When he asked me about my actions…or lack thereof…how should I engage Him?

What will he ask about?

My devotion?

Number of people I’ve led to Him?

Number of sermons I’ve delivered?

Amount of hours I’ve prayed?

The amount of money I’ve given to His great commission?

How many books I’ve read?

How many mission trips I’ve taken?

And how will I respond?

Should my answer appeal to his intellect by showing off my bible knowledge?

Should I appeal to his humanity and play on His sympathy?

Should I appeal to his humor and by admitting how lame my bad choices were?

Should I appeal to his kind nature and own up to my guilt quickly…even before he asks?

Should I appeal to his spirituality and ask Him to pray for me, or request additional angel coverage?

Should I appeal to rage at our common enemy and declare the devil made me do it?

I think I’m ready…

It’s almost time for my practice oral exam appointment…

An angel approaches me…

“You’re next, sir” he states politely, “follow me, please”

I’m in a beautiful room that’s full of light and love and music and sweet fragrance…

It is so bright in the room that I can’t see Jesus, but I hear a sweet melodious voice that sounds like soothing waterfalls… and immediately, I fall on my face in His presence.

“Good morning, Alex, thanks for meeting with me on such short notice.”

I can’t speak and I gulp very deeply and loudly.

He continued…

“You do know that my line of question is not meant to be demeaning, belittling or harsh”
I’m glad He’s Christ and can read my thoughts… because I still can’t talk

“Please, sit. Are you comfortable?”

I think to myself, as comfortable as a man can be when he’s in the presence of the Creator of the Universe and the Savior of World.

Crap! He knows I thought that.

Crap! He knows I said crap!!

I compose myself for line of questioning….. and He states that he only has one question for me.

I can’t believe that his question stunned me.
I hadn’t prepared for that one.
How could I have been so stupid?
I sat horribly silent in His presence…
And realized that I didn’t know how to answer His question…
I dropped my head…
And wrung my hands…
As tears fell from my sad eyes…
Because His question sounded rhetorical, but was very practical…
And I had no answer, when he asked me…

“When will I be enough for you?”

And before I could stutter in my own defense… I heard a loud noise… a ringing…

Suddenly I was back in my bed…alarm clock screaming angrily at me…

and my daughter Lexi was knocking at my door…

“Daddy…You overslept. It’s time to get up and make breakfast.”

I instantly know the answer to Jesus’ question.. and the answer was: Today! Jesus will be enough for me today!!

Does Ricky Want To Get Better?

  • Spiritual life is about choices
  • It’s one of the ways in which dignifies humanity in a way that no over being in the Lord’s creation enjoy---he gives us choices.
  • Adam and Eve had a choice, Abraham had a choice, David had a choice, and Jesus had a choice.

    Synonym: satisfaction.

    Contentment is rooted in appreciation. Complacency is rooted in comfort.

    ►Therefore, complacency is being satisfied with things that Jesus is upset by!
    Complacency = satisfaction with something other than Jesus!! It’s settling.

    –noun, plural -cies.
    a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

    ►We must fight complacency with a sense of holy discontent.

    Scriptural Text (John 5:1-14)
    Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days.

    2Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. 3Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 4

    5One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.

    6When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?"
  • Contrary to our beliefs, no one suffers without Jesus noticing
  • 38 years is a long time to be sick. It’s an even longer time to lose hope
  • Jesus’ question was meant to be shocking!
  • Complacency needs a shock if change is gonna come!!
  • The assumption is that everyone who is sick wants to get better…
  • Everyone who is down and out wants to be up and in
  • Jesus loves us but coddling us doesn’t honor us…or God.
  • He told the man to do something…for himself!
  • Something that required obedience to God, but no obligation to man.

    7"I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me."

  • Ricky defends his own complacency. It’s precious and it needs our protection.
  • This man gave power away! He put his stock in what others could do for him
  • He didn’t position himself for change
  • Jesus knew that Ricky couldn’t walk to Him, that’s why Jesus approached him.
  • However, Jesus did expect Ricky to walk away from him!!

    8Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!"

    9Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. 10So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, "You can't work on the Sabbath! It's illegal to carry that sleeping mat!"

    · Your breakthrough is going to upset somebody
    o You shouldn’t laugh…
    o You shouldn’t celebrate…
    o You shouldn’t try so hard…

    · The Mishnah/Jewish law stated that it was legal to be carried on your mat, but you couldn’t carry your own mat.

11He replied, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.' "

· I’ve never noticed before, but Ricky’s legs are healthy but his mind is still enslaved. He cowers to the men rather than celebrating his healing

o “It’s not my fault!”
o “I’m so sorry that my new legs upset you. I’ll go sit by behind down right away, sir!”

o “I would’ve never thought to insult the religious order by accepting a healing by the hand of God!”

o “Thanks a lot, Jesus!” rather than “Thank you, Jesus!”

o Ricky is healed, but he ain’t healthy. He’s a walking victim
§ He still isn’t responsible or his actions. It’s someone else’s fault/problem.
§ He is still so used to his fate being determined by others…
· A lie: your fate is NEVER determined by others.

12"Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded.

· They were still talking to Ricky like he was a beggar.
o And Ricky was still talking to them like they had something to offer him.
o They ignored him while he begged at the pool, only to “see” him now that Jesus caused him to walk upright.

13The man didn't know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning or something even worse may happen to you."

· “You look good!! Stop sinning and you’re continue to be alright”
· Here comes come the troubler again.
o …and more demands! Stand up. Walk. Have dignity. Pick up your feet. Lift your legs.
o Whatever!
· We don’t know that the sinning is, however, Ricky’s actions help us to understand what the sinning might have been

John 5:15-16
Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him.
16So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.

o Ricky is a rat! He turns Jesus in!

I think Ricky’s sin was complacency and his dependence upon the pity of others.

►Jesus showed up to take Ricky’s pain and sorry and helplessness and complacency away and all Ricky wanted to talk about was what others hadn’t done for him.

►Jesus today is more than all of the pains of yesterday combined.

When will Jesus be enough?

I think that is there really are questions asked of us as we stand before God, one of the big ones will be: “Why wasn’t I enough for you?”

Self-Victimization: Isn’t merely being wronged; it is a reshaping of reality and identity based upon that wrong. Victimization is the subtly-evil attempt to shape identity based upon circumstances rather than the plan of God concerning you.

Self-Victimization leads to complacency…
Your Complacency shapes
Your Perception, which shapes
Your Attitude, which shapes
Your Energy, which shapes
Your Morale, which shapes
Your Relationships, which shape
Your Accountability, which shapes
Your Expectations, which shape
Your Viable Options, which shape
Your Choices, which shape
Your Fate, which shapes
Your Reality.

So… when we pray and ask Jesus to change our reality what are we really asking?

Can we ask this of Jesus without Jesus challenging our:

Complacency, Perception, Attitude, Energy, Awareness to viable options, choices

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Reflections while visiting Mandela's Prison

Please check out this blog that I wrote:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Got Joy?

James 1:2-6 (New International Version)

Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James, Jesus’ brother, wrote this letter in order to encourage persecuted believers to keep the faith. He instructs his audience to find joy in the midst of hardship and suffering. James teaches his dispirited readers that suffering actually helps to develop perseverance (or endurance) so as to complete and mature individuals. And perseverance, according to James, is not the desired outcome of suffering---maturity and/or completion in God should be.

God will convert suffering into something that develops maturity is us as believers. Maturity means that we possess the potential to reproduce, contribute, and create something beautiful that inspires. Completion allows us to be intimate with God because we are no longer tempted by the false promises of fulfillment by some force other that God Almighty, Himself.

Remember, joy isn’t happiness or spiritual euphoria. Joy isn’t a feel or a mood. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5). It is an awareness of the purpose of God concerning you. Joy is the deep sense of inward stability that is rooted in the knowledge that God will use whatever hardship you are experiencing to become a better you, for His glory, and for your calling.

So, what will it take for you to experience joy in the midst of your discomfort? Are you willing to not hinder the Holy Spirit’s “farming and producing” of joy in your soul? Because if you have joy, your suffering will draw you closer to God and it will weave godliness into your character. If you don’t have joy, all you have is suffering.

Nehemiah 8:10 (New International Version)
10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."