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We had a good day at church today. Did an unplugged set with just an acoustic guitar and two vocalists. I finished a series on "What's Under Your Tree" with a message about God's forgiveness. Isn't it a wonderful thing that our God doesn't treat us the way our sins deserve! Next Sunday I'll be starting a new series based on a book by Mark Batterson entitled "Chasing Your Lions." It's about how to allow God to accomplish great things through you.
Games sure have changed since I was a kid. Back then, we were told to go outside and find sticks to play with. OK, maybe it wasn’t that primitive but it seems like it when you see the stuff kids play with today.
We bought the kids a Wii for Christmas and it’s amazing how responsive the technology is. A sensor bar picks up the movement of the wireless remote and allows you to actually swing a bat or roll a bowling ball. With the addition of a guitar you can be rocking along with Bon Jovi.
On the plus side, the Wii requires the players to actually move (a sneaky way to exercise); on the down side, it requires the players to actually move. For the kids, it’s fun. For old guys like me, it just makes us sore.
Technology keeps moving on. Most mobile phones have more computing power than actual computers had less than two decades ago. Televisions are getting bigger, brighter, and with a decent speaker system can make you feel like you’re at the event you’re watching. GPS, the Internet, microwaveable meals.
We’re living in an age of technological leap-frog, where the latest advance gets jumped over by the next big breakthrough. Trying to keep up with all the changes is nearly impossible. Trying to understand them can be frustrating.
Though technology may be changing rapidly, there are other elements of the human experience that remain changeless. The needs to be loved, have friendship, and feel useful are universal needs that existed just as much during the Industrial Revolution as the Internet Revolution.
People have searched for meaning, for life’s purpose, since the beginning of time itself -- even without the advantage of GPS.
The greatest need of all never changes: the need to be in a healthy, growing relationship with God. Without such a relationship, no amount of technology can fill the void or give direction.
As we approach a new year (2009!), let us recommit ourselves to nurturing the greatest need of all. May this new year be a year when we pursue the One who pursued us all along.
God bless you and here’s to a great new year!
Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known (Habakkuk 3:2).
When we experience tough times, it’s easy to get discouraged. Discouragement simply means that we’ve lost courage. Courage to face a challenge or courage to change course. A difficult economy can even stretch the limits of a natural-born optimist, putting a damper on his or her courage.
It’s tempting when we face difficulties to begin doubting whether or not God can doing anything about what we are going through.
Habakkuk’s prayer (printed above in italics) is a reminder that we serve a God who is more than capable to not only meet our needs but to exceed them as well.
His prayer is a call to action, a plea for God to exhibit his power in Habakkuk’s day as he did in the days of Habakkuk’s ancestors. Habakkuk wasn’t satisfied only knowing about God’s fame and awesome deeds; he wanted to experience them for himself. And he wanted his community to experience it, too (“Renew them in our day, in our time make them known”).
Whenever you face a crisis or a challenge, it is an opportunity to put God’s fame and awesome power on display in your life. It is a chance for you to experience first-hand what others have experienced for themselves: the working of God in your life. Perhaps your prayer will be, “God, I’ve heard of what you’ve done in the past but I want to experience it for myself.”
When you pray that kind of prayer, be prepared to “stand in awe” just as Habakkuk did.
I might even go a step further and say that it is the responsibility of the church to seek God’s intervention on behalf of our friends and neighbors. We must ask God to renew his deeds in our day and in our time, just as Habakkuk did. Our prayer to experience the fame and power of God cannot be a selfish prayer.
When the news gets discouraging, remember to put your courage not in the stock market or Congress (!) but in the One who holds all of life in his hand.
Hannah sat down this afternoon and said she would write my sermon for tomorrow. Here is what she came up with:
Today’s sermon is about Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, love, compassion, and many other virtues that lots of people forget. For those people in our towns, cities, states, and even our own personal lives, it’s not even about those virtues. The typical, non-Christian person’s idea of Christmas is a long morning full of unwrapping gifts and drinking hot cocoa next to a fire set ablaze.
The Christian’s idea of a Christmas scene is a Nativity manger under a shack-looking thing with shepherds and wise men huddled around the newborn baby Jesus and his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. How different is that from the other’s view who don’t see it like that? It might be identical. The wise men brought gifts, so do we need to automatically assume that we are to offer gifts, and expect some in return? Others that see the Christmas scene as a Christmas tree with glowing lights around it and presents underneath it will see it the same way too. They give presents and also expect some. They expect Ones with their name on it written in someone else’s handwriting. Why are they looking if they already have one? Jesus’ present to us was that He died, with our name on it.
Why, then, do you ask, that they are still not content with their ultimate present? Maybe, they have not met their wise men. The wise men traveled from afar to get to the baby Jesus, the King. Some researchers found out it could have even taken 2 years to get to them. Never once did they give up, either. They kept on going throughout circumstances we are not even aware of. They came, and never gave up on getting to Jesus.
Why aren’t we like that? We should be their wise men. Travel to them, no matter what the circumstances are, and what they might be. Know that they, too, received that present, the ultimate present of eternal life that they don’t have to pay for. The one with their name on it.
Think about all those people that you may know, or you may not. Think about all of them, the ones that don’t know that they have eternal life under their Christmas tree. Be their wise man. Their wise man that will travel far to get them to their King and their Savior. Be a wise man.
I read the obituaries in the paper.
I think it originally started while we lived in Georgia and the local paper was much smaller than the Union-Tribune. To feel like I was getting my money’s worth I felt compelled to read every last bit of the paper. That included the police blotter and the obituaries. On any given day, there was a good chance I would know someone in either list.
Even though the Union-Tribune is a larger paper, I still read the obituaries. It’s interesting to me how a lifetime gets summarized in three or four paragraphs. What gets told? What gets left out? How will the person be remembered, if only for a few inches in the local paper?
There are obituaries of people who have lived over 80 years, typically with a picture from their late teens or early 20’s. You can usually tell by the hairdo or the World War II uniform.
The obituaries that interest me the most are the ones that are closest in age to myself. It’s a bit sobering to read the life story of someone who is just a smidge younger or older than yourself. It’s a reminder that all of us are terminal and life is fickle. One’s story can end at any moment and be left for the next of kin to describe in three or four paragraphs.
As I read the obituaries of other people, the question that surfaces in my mind is this: “What story am I leaving behind?” Am I being intentional enough about what I value and believe that those who are left to write my obituary will have no difficulty telling my story? When I think of what I want people to remember, are those the things I am devoting my life to?
I’m not necessarily suggesting you read the obituaries every day -- but every now and then might be a good exercise. Regardless if you do or don’t, what you do need to do is to spend time thinking about your legacy and what story you are leaving behind. If it’s one that would make you and God proud, good for you and keep it up. If not, do something different. Start today living the life you want people to remember.
LifePoint has become involved with the San Diego Food Bank. The food bank estimates that over 400,000 people in San Diego county will need food assistance at some point this year; of that number, over 100,000 of those will be under the age of 12. We did a small food drive at church, participated in the 5k Walk for the Hungry, and spent a few hours last Saturday sorting and boxing food at the warehouse. In 2009 we expect to become even more involved on a regular basis. It's hard to believe that in a county as beautiful as San Diego that people go hungry but it's true. When we were talking about ways of serving our community, it seemed that this was well in line with what Jesus himself did - feeding the hungry.
Last Friday we took the girls and two of their friends to "December Nights", the big Christmas production at Balboa Park. Balboa Park is the crown jewel of San Diego and it was beautifully decorated for the holidays. All of the museums were open and offered free admission. There was food from across the globe and three stages with live music. They estimated nearly 300,000 people attended during the two-night event.
As it would happen, I saw four people I knew within the matter of two minutes. Two were from LifePoint and the others were Hannah's soccer coach and his family. Even in San Diego, it can be a really small world sometimes.
We just started a new Christmas series at LifePoint entitled, "What's Under Your Tree?" We're looking at the gifts of God -- hope, peace, forgiveness -- and how they are available to us every day and not just at Christmas. If you're in San Diego, we'd love to have you -- our worship starts at 10:30.
A little more than a week ago, I bought an inversion table on sale at Big 5 for $99. It may turn out to be the best $99 bucks I've ever spent, besides the $99+ bucks it cost me to get married or to feed my children on a weekly basis. For the past ten days I've been hanging upside down one or two times a day, 15 minutes at a time. I've been amazed at how much better my back feels. I'll have to upload a picture of me inverted (with my shirt tucked in so you won't freak out at my belly).
I just installed this new widget called "Tell a Friend" from socialtwist.com. It allows you to refer a site using a bunch of different social mediums. It's pretty cool. I first put it on justingramm.com, the website for our worship leader at LifePoint.
Posted by ken hensley at 8:02 PM