Friday, July 25, 2008

A simple reminder from Acts 10

I just came across a familiar passage, yet one that has great reminders for us. Read the following excerpts from Acts 10 (The Message);

"There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer." (vv. 1-2)

And later, God speaking to Cornelius; "He said, 'Cornelius, your daily prayers and neighborly acts have brought you to God's attention." (v. 31)

Now Acts 10 represents a pivotal point in the life of the fact a pivotal point in the history of humankind. It's this chapter that tells of God's salvation being available not just to the Jewish nation, but to all who believe. Cornelius, is not a Jew. So why did God pick Him to be the recipient of this amazing gift? Read those passages above again and you'll see three things that stick out;

1) He lived worshipfully and taught those in his house to do the same
2) He helped people in need
3) He prayed

What's my point? I'm only observing that here was a man who got God's attention...and how did he get God's attention? By doing three simple things; live worshipfully, help those in need, and pray.

In our pursuit of a relationship with God, let us not fall into the trap of over-complicating things. Most of the time, I know the good I ought to's not for a lack of knowledge. For me, I tend to over-complicate things and this was a gentle reminder from God to keep it simple; live worshipfully, help people, and pray. A simple recipe to get God's attention. Funny; it kind of sounds like the two great commandments;

"Love God with heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself."

Keep pressing on!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Keep on Keeping on...

This is a slightly longer post, but hopefully worth it to you, the reader. Rewind to February, 2006. I'm getting ready to go on vacation to Hawaii with my wife's family. We leave on a Friday and it's the Sunday before and I'm playing indoor soccer down at the local sports-plex. The last words spoken were "nobody gets hurt before Maui" and wouldn't you know it, I pull my hamstring. It shelves me for about 3-4 months.

Fast forward to June of 2007; with a conference and 2 week vacation coming up, I again am found on the pitch (outdoor soccer this time) and once again, pull my hamstring (the other one this time). I'm certain that it's as bad if not worse then when I pulled it 2 years ago. Still, I do everything I can; R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). In addition, I add a "P" (Pray). After a day, I can hardly walk and am sure it's bad. After a week, I'm walking completely normal and am sure that it's not as bad as last time. After the conference and vacation, during which the leg caused me no problems whatsoever, I'm sure God intervened and sped along the healing...I have been as active as ever, Praise God...(I even played a soccer game this past Monday, only 5 weeks since the initial injury).

Fast forward to July 9th; the first real test of the leg since the initial injury.  It was a simple 2 mile jog but let me tell you; it was tough for me. Not so tough physically, but tough mentally. Knowing I hadn't run in over a month and feeling the effects of jet-lag, heat of the day, tired muscles and a hamstring that hadn't been tested yet, I had to keep telling myself "just keep running, don't stop." It became my mantra; "don't worry about your time, just don't stop." My goal became to simply "finish without stopping or walking; even if you have to jog slowly, just keep going." I made it.

This got me to thinking about my spiritual walk and how for me, at least, it so closely resembles that run I just had. I started out in great spirits but soon became mentally tired and unsure of whether or not I could finish. I had to slow down...and at times, felt like I was failing.  Like I told myself on the jog, so I tell myself in my spiritual journey; just don't stop.  Keep going, run the race, it will be worth it.  

So what's the point of this ramble?  I guess I wrote this longer post with two goals in mind;
1) To publicly give God praise for healing my leg (and perhaps to publicly repent for my lack of faith that He would) and...
2) To encourage you to "just keep running."  Even if you have to slow down and jog, that's ok, just don't stop.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Creator God

Forgive me for not blogging for the past few weeks; I've been busy traveling. First to a conference, then to Australia for a 2 week vacation. It was a time of connection with family, adventures together, and lots of fun.

It was also a time where I was able to see and experience a different part of our world. Once again I was struck by the images I saw; whether it be animals or reptiles, or beautiful rain-forests, or perhaps amazing things that live in the ocean, there was so much I experienced while away that reminded me how creative our "Creator" is. So many times I had the words of Psalm 19 running through my mind as eyes and body were stimulated by God's wonder. For me, I am learning that one of chief ways I am drawn into the wonder and mystery of God is through His Creation.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands; day after day they pour forth speech, night after night their knowledge is displayed..." (read the full Psalm here). With that, I leave you some images that have inspired me (note: all but one of these were taken in Australia).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back from Vacation

I'm back from 2 weeks in AUS...stay tuned for more from this trip!