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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Devotionals / Walking in the Light Welcome Guest

          Random thoughts from someone trying to walk in His light

    Tue, Aug 29th - 9:22PM



    Hey,

    If you found out that you were the best player on the team, would you decide to go to another team where the players were better?

    I think many of you already went to where I was heading with this question. The answer that I would like would be What would happen to the team that I left? Obviously, if you were staying in context and thinking about sports that answer might not really matter. But I was thinking about a church.

    I don't in any way think that I'm the "best Christian in the church". That would be a nonsense statement for anyone. But it captured the feeling for a sports example. In our church, how much loyalty do we owe?

    Our loyalty is to God. Great answer. Then, would He want us to leave for a better church? Lets make it harder. Say your church is teaching the Truth, that you have been plugged in (not still deciding if it was your church), and there is no major personal conflict in the way. In other words, should we leave simply for a better church? Maybe the sermons are stale, or the Sunday school lacks life. Or there is an non-essential issue that you disagree with the leaders ( maybe you don't agree that Elders should preach).  

    Ephesians 4:11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

    Does this passage say that we are committed to helping our church to grow to what God intended it to be?



    Comment (8)

    Mon, Aug 28th - 9:36PM

    crypticness



    Hey

    If you found out that you were the best player on the team, would you decide to go to another team where the players were better?



    Comment (5)

    Sat, Aug 26th - 11:35PM



    Insight stolen from Donald Miller, "Searching For God Knows What."

    Hey,
    Like Donald Miller, I have always thought of the Garden of Eden as … a garden. Like some rich person’s well landscaped yard. Lots of trees and everything. It would be a great place to live.

    Genesis 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
    The Word says that Eden was the site of the headwaters of four rivers. It reminds me of Yosemite Falls, which we are blessed to be an hour from here in Sonora. The Falls are massive, yet it becomes one river, the Merced. The river in Eden "flowed from Eden", then became four rivers. The Tigris and Euphrates would likely have changed considerably in the Flood. But still, four major rivers would have taken quite a headwater. This river was what watered the garden.
    So now I think of Eden as more like Yosemite Park. Adam was to work it and take care of it. This makes Adam seem more like a ranger than a gardener. And more like an explorer than a laborer.
    Next, God started the idea of Adam getting a wife.

    Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
    23 The man said,
    "This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called 'woman,
    for she was taken out of man."

    God introduced the idea of a partner and set Adam to study the animals. Adam’s third son, Seth, wasn’t born until he was 130 years old, so he waited a while to have kids. It seems likely that this looking for a partner may have taken a few decades. It’s a big job, and Adam wasn’t in a particular hurry. When we read it in Genesis everything fits in a few verses, but it seems like Adam had a long time in Eden.
    That also gave Adam time to really appreciate Eve when he saw her. I imagine after a few decades that he was getting ready to settle for a dog or a small bear when God finally made Eve from his rib. He must have been very happy to find out that she would be like him, only better.
    Sometimes God makes us wait for things. It seems to take too long and be much more difficult than we expect. But then what he has in mind for us is far better than anything we could imagine. More than a garden. More than a pet.



    Comment (2)

    Mon, Aug 21st - 6:35PM



    Hey,

    Phil.4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

    I don't think that I've ever simply tried this advice from Paul. I guess in giving thanks or praise I have, but not simply thinking about good things. I just read a blog about fighting depession. I wonder if this wouldn't be a good strategy. I don't get serious depression but, like today, the battle does get me down sometimes. I think our church is heading in the right direction, and we;ll have a strong, loving body one day, but right now our past several years of doing things the easiest way are showing. People keep finding things to worry about, or be suspicious, or offended. And they threaten to leave. Some because we are changing things, and some because we aren't changing things enough. A year from now will be better. And two years will be better than that. But in the meantime, there might be a lot of hours thinking on things that are noble.

     

     



    Comment (6)

    Fri, Aug 18th - 9:51PM



    Hey

    I found this wonderful statement of God's power in reading today. Why on earth don't I spend more time in His word?

    Philippians 1:15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

    Maybe this is just for me. I am growing discouraged from some things, even after God keeps doing great things. Including polishing a dirtclod enough to let it preach his word. It seems like others here may be too, but maybe its just my mood feeling that way.

    Paul says it doesn't even matter what their motives are, God's Word is so powerful that it comes through anyway. Are we running around foolishly trying to protect God's purity, as though it could be damaged? He is able. I don't mean that we should ignore heresy or backsliding but lets not let it discourage us so much that we quit following Him. He knows what goes on and is fully able to take care of it. Rejoice in His power. He is not defeated.

     



    Comment (8)

    Thu, Aug 17th - 11:27PM



    Hey,

    Last night was a special one for us youth leaders. Two of our kids who are off to college next week planned a night of worship. They included footwashing, prayer booths, communion, clips of the Passion of the Christ, singing, prayer, and a cross to attach confessed sin onto.

    It was a good evening. The kids responded well because they knew thier peers had done the work. Even to just get two kids to ponder the cross for the time it took to put all this together makes it all worth it. I was proud to have been used by God in their growth.

    It is a pleasure to work with teens because it is very easy to see them grow. It is expected. Yet somehow we quit looking for it in adults. Phil. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. God is still working in us. Lets support each other, in our churches, on the street, and even in this cyber church. God likes to use us as agents for growth. Don't do as I often do; be so anxious to write my next "brillant" thought that I brush past everyone else's brillance without comment.

     



    Comment (4)

    Mon, Aug 14th - 12:01PM



    Hey,

    Short version:

    Things went great this weekend. The problem family was a problem but in the end the wedding was wonderful. Jonie was ecstatic. The sermon went very well. Thanks for your prayers. They work.

    Long version:

    On Friday night, the rehearsal went well except for when Jonie’s family didn’t show. When she called home they acted like they didn’t even know there was a rehearsal. Jonie had to arrange some fill in people since step-mother, father, and three sisters were supposed to all be in the wedding. When I walked in she asked me to give her away in place of her father. I knew that that could happen and would probably change several more times. Eventually they showed up and the rehearsal went ok.

    Saturday Taryn and I got up early and we started setting up the park. Many adults and teens came and helped decorate and put up chairs and tables. In the meantime, C’Anne was doing a great job of keeping Jonie relaxed before things started. She even slept in until 9:00. Then was the unavoidable trip to the family’s house. They started a big fight, as usual, and threatened not to come to the wedding. Now, Jonie isn’t perfect but she is not anyone that has trouble getting alone with anyone, let alone with family on the day of her wedding. She eventually came to the church alone and they planned what to do without several members of the party.

    The wedding ran late, due to the huge crowd. The family finally showed up and the wedding was great. Pastor Matt did a great job in his first wedding. He even had a gospel presentation, did everything right, and even made it a little light and entertaining. We ran all around, took care of many things and the reception was nice. Jonie’s family didn’t do anything to help with anything, so we cleaned until 2:00 AM. I washed 700 dishes and our teens cleared stuff. Many of our church people were amazing help. And of course Taryn and C’Anne were too. Jonie looked like she was in Heaven and we made sure and stop work and see them off. People wanted to send me home but it really wasn’t going to get done otherwise. They were concerned about the sermon but I knew that I could do fine on one night of short sleep. And it gave me a great excuse if I bombed, "Yeah, but I only had four hours sleep."

    Today it was really hard to wake up but after a breakfast of Starbucks and Advil I was good until about 4 this afternoon. I didn’t get too nervous. Pastor Matt offered to teach Sunday school but I couldn’t sleep in anyway and teaching the teens warmed me up. They were very supportive and helped me relax. There was a tiny boycott, only maybe 3 people. Their loss. The church was much fuller than expected after such a long wedding party. The sermon went really well. I was able to keep it pretty casual and made my points successfully. The surest sign of an amateur preacher is when they run out of things to say, but I went long. I noticed the time about two thirds of the way through and left a bunch of stuff out. I asked around later but people said it didn’t seem rushed. I talked about the wedding a lot. How it was a good example of how a church works together to support each other. This helped me have a practical, positive example of love.

    This post makes it sound all about me, and of course it wasn’t. God showed Himself constantly. It was fun and well received. I felt your prayers all the way through. In conclusion God is awesome. He is faithful. And it’s great to have friends who pray.



    Comment (6)

    Fri, Aug 11th - 5:39PM

    THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM



    Hey,

    I am here at home with an hour to kill before everything starts.

    This week went pretty easy. Taryn is the most amazing person. All the details for the wedding are working perfectly. I made myself available all week to help with something but was not needed. I came home to find that today, the day before the wedding, the bride had just had a nap and was watching C'Anne play a video game. But soon I am off to help prepare food, then to the rehersal dinner. Then tomorrow decorating the park for 400 people, then the cremony, then back for dinner and reception, then clean up. Then Sunday teach Sunday scool and preach. Followed by collapse.

    The sermon is ready. Its not much like wht is posted here. Hopefully more personal and casual. I think its good. I just need God to calm my nerves. It appears that there is still some tension with some people about me being qualified, but we'll leave that in His hands.

    The message is that we need to love each other, specifically within the church. Frankly our church could use that message. I have certainly gotten my lumps from getting it ready.

    I'm going to go see if I can get a nap. If I just runthis sermon through my head alittle, I know it will put me to sleep.



    Comment (3)

    Sun, Aug 6th - 4:59PM



    Hey,

    I'm sorry if my post sounded like the busyness was this weekend. Its next. I work six days a week so I tend to think of this week/next week differently than most people. The wedding is the 13 and the sermon is the 14. Thanks a lot for the support (already) Don't worry, God just delayed HIs response a week for me. I feel better already. And this way, I have more time to know I'm supported.



    Comment (1)

    Sun, Aug 6th - 11:28AM



    Hey,

    In Romans Paul talks about how the church is supposed to work.
    Romans 15:1-71We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
    5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

    The strong should bear the weak, not please themselves. We came back to this church many years ago because they did this. Taryn and I were in the youth group here when we were teens. I moved away and later tried some churches closer to home in Sonora before we tried here again as adults. This was an older church then, that is, there were very few people our age here. It was mainly seniors. But they were singing choruses with the hymns at worship. I asked Al Wisehart about it and he said that they were concerned about the average age of the church member, so they decide to sing some chorus so that when younger people visited they would be more comfortable. We were amazed. Here were people singing songs that they didn’t grow up with, and probably thought were inferior for them, in case younger people came. No one had demanded choruses, or even asked for some. They just wanted to grow.
    I am not making any statement about wanting different music here. In fact, I think we do a good job of mixing our worship styles. And I know we are always working on that. I am talking about that attitude that says, "Its not what I prefer, what would help reach other people?"
    We should build up our neighbor. We should come to church to worship, to learn more about God, and to build each other up. I know a young lady, a single mom, who worked in a local store. She was having some real trouble with her son and it was heavy on her mind. She had one of those hard tired days and it showed. She waited on two Christian women that day. One of them told her she wasn’t very friendly and she needed to smile more. Both things were true, but you can imagine how that felt to her on that day.
    The other Christian woman responded to her with a smile. She asked how she was doing, and even asked again when the answer was weak. She listened to the young lady’s trials, said kind words, and promised to pray for her and her son. She even went as far as to go home and bring back a few flowers from her garden. She built our young friend up. And she made a difference.
    Paul prays that God will give us a spirit of unity so that we may glorify him. We are supposed to be so loving to each other that people will see how we treat each other and say, "Wow, their God must be amazing!" That would take some doing. There are a lot of groups that support each other. Weight Watchers is a diet group that supports each other. Some local softball teams are very close. They all get together after every game. If someone makes an error they are encouraged, not condemned. Our newest newlywed Jonie says that the Mary Kay company makes a new person feel very welcome. It would take a very special church to get noticed by unbelievers for its love and support.
    A church that always trusts and always hopes would shine. You would hear things said like, "I’m struggling with a temptation, can you pray with me? My daughter was in trouble, but your counsel really helped. It would be great if your father would listen to the gospel, can I come with you for support?"
    There was a pastor who was looking for a symbol for his church. He was a big sports fan so he started with his favorite teams. He watched a basketball team; five super athletes flying through the air. And he said, no that’s not a church. He thought about a football team, all well practiced and running plays with great precision, and he said, no, not a church.
    Finally, he went to a special Olympics. Several kids lined up for a 50 yard dash but as soon as the gun started one of the kids fell. The people in the crowd groaned. One by one the racers stopped and came back to the start line. They helped the one that fell and together they started running again, all holding hands. They crossed the finish line together. "That’s it," he said, "That’s a church."
    We need to be like those runners, because we are just as likely to stumble. And we need to have someone there to catch us. And for us to catch.



    Comment (2)

    Fri, Aug 4th - 11:07PM



    Hey,

    This next week is going to be a big one. Billy and Jonies wedding is this Saturday. Billy is the youth pastor we've been trying to hire. Through an amazing number of delays, we have come very close to a final decsion from them, I hope. We will be helping him move in to his new place this week. Jonie is the lovely girl that we have taken in.

    Definition of Lovely  --  Having those qualities that inspire love, affection or admiration; specifically: a) beautiful b) morally or spiritually attractive c) highly enjoyable .

    She has some complicated, and fairly hostile family situations. Both kids are great, spiritually hungry people who I admire. If I had been through half of what either of them have been through, I would be a whinning rebel by now. We are going to be in charge of setting up their reception. Actually Taryn is in charge and I am doing whatever I'm told. They are expecting 360 people and we are setting up in a local park. Fifty tables, decorations, dinner , or'dourves, etc. And prayers that no one whill complcate the wedding itself.

    Oh, and the next day is my first sermon. It seems to be going well. I have posted pieces of it below to help me work through it. I like the content. The only question is, can I say it without stuttering to badly. There is a small group of people opposed to the idea of elders preaching. They feel that I am not qualified to preach. (I am qualified by the way, because I am filled with the Holy Spirit and He can empower me to speak, just as He can empower you.) I am the first one of us to go and so I feel some pressure to show that this is a good idea. Apparently they are even talking of a boycott next Sunday. Yes, ironically, the sermon is on love within the church and supporting each other.

    The good news is, after this week things should be much simpler.



    Comment (3)

    Wed, Aug 2nd - 7:27PM

    St Joseph Lillies



                                       

    Comment (5)

    Wed, Aug 2nd - 9:38AM



    Hey,

    new beginning

    (BACKGROUND)

    Pastor Matt and all of the teachers in Sunday school have reminded us this whole summer that this definition of love is primarily for the church. The Corinthians were having some trouble loving each other and Paul was trying to show them how. We have come to "Love always trusts, love always hopes."

    These words; trust and hope, are very important to Paul. At the end of the chapter he says, "These three remain, faith (or trust) hope and love." These words make up most of Christianity. We are saved by faith, or trusting in Jesus. We live by trusting God. God gives us hope. But how do we always trust, always have hope in each other? What does that look like and what would that do for the church?

    (TRUST)

    A few years ago I needed a major dose of trust from my sister. The story is complicated but I ended up accidentally saying something that sounded like an insult to her. About a week later, I got an email from her saying that she had started to be angry but then she remembered,"Hey, he’s my brother. He wouldn’t say anything like that." She decided that I must not have meant it the way it sounded and just laughed it off. She trusted me enough to give me the benefit of the doubt.

    That is how we need to trust. We need to trust each other’s intentions. If someone says, "We had a good time after you left," we should love them enough to not think they meant that they had a good time because you left. We should allow people to be distracted or have bad moods.

    We need to trust each other’s integrity. If we see someone in the grocery store with a bottle of cooking sherry, we should trust that they are cooking with it, not drinking it. The Pharisees used to assume to worst with Jesus. Why does he hang out with tax collectors? Did he just pick wheat on the Sabbath? We should assume the best.

    We need to trust people enough that even if they have a different opinion, we’ll still love them. As Christians, we have some beliefs that are not negotiable. Like - Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Sometimes that makes us very dogmatic. We can start to think that every opinion that we have is not negotiable. We might not agree about what to wear, or how to sing, or even predestination; but we do agree on the most important things is life. We know who our savior is. For instance, I think golf is boring. But I still hang out with Pastor Matt sometimes.

    (HOPE)

    We also are told to have hope in another. When I told Taryn that I Pastor Matt wanted me to preach, she took a very deep breath. She remembered a few years ago, when trying to preach a sermon made me a nervous wreck. They weren’t big sermons, in front of all these many people, but I did preach a few times. And I got very nervous. Taryn didn’t want to watch me suffer again. But she had hope. Even after she watched me sweat and stutter through three sermons, she had hope that I could do better this time.

    We’ll see if that was a good idea pretty soon. There are a few people here who heard one of my sermons then too. And they came back. They had hope too.

    I have worked with our youth for several years now. One of our favorite parts of the work is developing leaders. Its fun to look at seventh graders and imagine what they might be like when they are seniors. To see their strengths and try to help them grow. We’ve been around long enough now to see how some of them turned out and its very exciting. People are used to thinking about the potential in teenagers. But every age has potential.

    We are all still growing. I should be able to talk about God much better today than I did 15 years ago. A person could have been an irritating, opinionated person at 30, and a useful Sunday School teacher at 45. We should be able to help them get there. To have hope. Philippians 1:6 says He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. God had specific things in mind for you when He designed you. And He had a purpose for you in this church. That is also true for everyone else here. We should help each other fulfill those purposes by trusting and believing in them.

    (THOMAS) ...



    Comment (4)

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    About Me

    Name: Jon Johnson
    ChristiansUnite ID: parakleter
    Member Since: 2005-07-27
    Location: , California, United States
    Denomination: Christian
    About Me: God seems to always be taking me someplace new. I want to praise and whine about that and share what I have learned along the way.

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