Posts Tagged: Spiritual Growth

What Will I Do Without Facebook?

I have decided to delete my Facebook account.  Why? Because it is a time vacuum!  I have friends that have Facebook and they check it once a week and that is it, if I was one of those people, that would be great.  Unfortunately I don’t seem to be one of those people, so I am more the kind that checks it once an hour. What brought me to this point.  I am preaching on prayer this Sabbath and I was thinking about the things that I do more than pray…I used to watch more TV than pray…I used to watch more movies than pray…I used to watch more sports than pray…I used to play more golf than pray…all those things have basically been eliminated in my life.  But as I was writing my sermon today…I realized that whenever I took a “mental break” or a “stretch break” I was simultaneously checking Facebook.  Checking Facebook has almost become a default function in my life.  I don’t want anything to be a default programmed function in my life other than Prayer, Studying the Bible, Loving my wife, loving my kids, and doing good to others.

So when I realized all this, the nagging sense that I should take a fast from Facebook kicked into high gear. Then sudden intense resistance!  I began to rationalize all the reasons I should stay on Facebook.  I began trying to convince myself that I could just check it once a day. I wondered, “What will I do without Facebook?” Forgetting I had lived about 30 years without Facebook. But as the resistance grew so too did the determination to leave Facebook behind. I’ve learned that if I am trying to cling to things that are not of the spiritual nature or rationalize existence of those things in my life, then that is a sure sign it is time to say goodbye. So I say goodbye to Facebook today…in just an hour or so to be exact. 

Why am I canceling it completely.  Because I know myself…Nuff said!  🙂 

I may be back someday, of course I took a 40 day fast from MySpace about 4 years ago and never went back to that, so maybe this will be permanent.  Not all my time on Facebook has been a waste, but a lot of it has, so hopefully the time that was wasted will now be utilized for the Kingdom of God!

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Exodus 20:3

“You shall have no other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3 (Write it down on a 3×5 card)

The first commandment of the 10 is pretty simple, pretty straight forward, and extremely important and profound.  The entire purpose of scripture, the entire purpose of Christianity, the entire purpose of our lives is to give glory to God!  Anytime someone or something gets more glory than the one true God in our lives, that thing or that person becomes our god!  Our minds may automatically jump to bad things, but a god can be and often times is a good things as well: Our jobs, our kids, our spouses, our exercise routine (distance running, at times, unfortunately has been my God), our homes, our golf game.  What do you focus on most?  That is your godDo you need to replace your God with the one true God? 

“You shall have NO OTHER gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3

Memorize Scripture With Me! Exodus 20:1 & 2

Yesterday I set some goals for myself, you can read about it here.  One of them was to memorize 100 scriptures every Adventist should know.  So I want to invite you to memorize with me.  Every few days I will place on my blog our text we are going to memorize.  I also at that time will add a little commentary on the text.  Maybe if you read these in the morning this can be added to your devotional time.  Either way I hope you will join me and check back regularly!  Maybe to help you memorize get a packet of 3 x 5 cards and write the scriptures on them, keep them with you and look at them and recite them throughout the day.

We are going to start today with Exodus 20: 1, 2 and I am going to be using the New International Version:

Verse 1:  And God spoke all these words:

Verse 2: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Personal Commentary:

These two verses are the prelude, the intro into the 10 Commandments that God carved into stone with His own hand.  They are words that are directly from God, they aren’t the interpretation of man, they are not man’s perspective, the Bible tells us that “God spoke all these words.” That to me it seems would make them quite important!  And in verse 2 we see the basis by which the children of Israel were to keep the law. They were to keep the law, because they were delivered by God from slavery.  This text really highlights the basis for all obedience, including why we should continue to obey, because we have been delivered! Not like the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, but from sin, we’ve been delivered from the condemnation of the law by Jesus, therefore we should obey.  I like how God reminds His people that He already delivered them and then asks them to keep the commandments.  Our God’s acts of grace ALWAYS precede our response, our actions!  

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

–Romans 5:8

The act of grace came before our actions of repentance, before our actions of obedience, before our actions of love. But then we are to respond in love which is obedience. 

” “If you love me, keep my commands.”

–John 14:15

If you ever run into someone that tries to discourage your obedience by telling you not to be a “legalist” because it is all about love.  Remind them that love and obedience cannot be separated!  We obey because we love, we love because we are delivered, we are delivered because God loves us!

Memorize this scripture and remember the commandments are a response to a mighty act of GRACE!

 

 

 

My 2011 Goals

So I think I am finally ready to talk about some of my goals for 2011.  ALL of us should set goals!  Why? 

  1. Goals help bring clarity to our lives.
  2. Goals help us to prioritize.  Many of us spend way to much time doing nothing, not because we are lazy, but because we lack direction. 
  3. Goals build confidence.  Even if we don’t achieve our goals, if we honestly work towards them we will find we have done far more than we thought we could and that will build-up our confidence. 
  4. Goals written down are more likely achieved than just hoping we accomplish something!

What to know when you are setting goals:  They should be SMART!

  • S-specific
  • M-measurable
  • A-attainable
  • R-realistic
  • T-time bound (trackable)

So here are some of my goals for 2011:

Spiritual:

  • I will memorize the 100 scriptures every Adventist should know by June 1, 2011.  (I got these scriptures from my friends at the ARISE/Lightbearers.
  • I will read through the book “Desire of Ages” as part of my morning worship.
  • I will not miss Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church’s House of Prayer two weeks in a row.
  • I will meet with my prayer partner weekly.
  • I will make one lost friend and lead them to Jesus in 2011.

Familial:

  • I will eat supper with my family at least five nights a week.
  • I will be home to put my boys to bed at least three nights out of the work week.
  • I will pray daily with my sons and my wife.
  • I will go on at least two dates a month with my wife.
  • I will plan 1 family vacation.
  • I will plan 1 romantic get away with my wife.
  • I will preach a maximum of 40 Sabbaths in 2011.

Physical:

  • I will drink 90 ounces of water per day.
  • I will complete p90x (I’ve completed day 1 twice, I started over to have my rest day on the Sabbath) by April 22nd, 2011.
  • I will run a minimum of 3 miles at least 3 times per week.
  • I will run two half-marathons.
  • I will eat vegetables and fruit every day.
  • I will stop using cow’s milk on my cereal in 2011 (I love all my dairy people out there, but I’ve gotta do it, and don’t tell, but I’ll still be eating cheese:))  It is only bought for me now, since Dayton has switched to Almond Milk.

Professional:

  • I will read at least one work related book a month.
  • I will weekly write this blog!
  • I will work to develop stronger communication skills with my staff and elders, I will have them evaluate me at the end of the year to see if I achieved this goal.
  • I will seek the counsel of my mentors and advisors monthly.
  • I will learn the ARISE curriculum for giving 1 on 1 Bible Studies.
  • I will develop and preach my own evangelistic sermons by April, 2011.
  • I will provide “text” hand-outs for my sermons weekly.
  • I will seek to find a volunteer that I can work with on weekly powerpoint presentations for sermons.
  • I will work with our team to develop a strategy for growth groups/small groups.
  • I will start and teach our membership class at least once a quarter.
  • I will find a small number of folk I can disciple.  Jesus discipled in small intimate relationships.
  • I will train 50 members of our church to be Spiritual mentors of new believers that join our church.

Personal Growth and Development:

  • I will complete levels 1 & 2 of the Spanish Immersion Language training tool.

Social:

  • I will golf with my Dad monthly (and hopefully get good again:)).

I pray all of you will think about your year and set some goals, I believe that you will find that you can achieve more than you ever thought possible if you will just set goals, even if you write them down and never look at them again you are stil almost guaranteed to accomplish more than if you had written nothing down.

One final note on goals: Notice above everything starts with “I will” that is simply because that is the easiest way to state something in the positive.  The reality is that “Only God can” & “Only God will”.  You see “I can” on my own accomplish several of the tasks above on my own, but they will be far short of bringing God glory if “I do” instead of “Jesus doing things through me and in me…” And ultimately I don’t want to take away any more from the Glory of God in my life than I already have thus far.  So pray for me as I pray for you!

 

 

 

 

More Than Words

Seth Godin wrote on his blog the other day,

I have deeds. ”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offer ed his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” –James 2:17-26

Abraham and Rahab didn’t just give lip service to faith in God, they allowed that faith to turn their world upside down and challenge them in ways they never thought imaginable.  Is your faith all about words?  Or are you allowing that faith to turn your world upside down?  To paraphrase Seth Godin from a church and Christian perspective, “Let us do more than adopt the words of Jesus, let us adopt the change He has for our lives as well!”