Month: November 2015

Thanks-giving Begins with Thanks-living

The aroma of golden-brown turkey wafting through the rooms of the house. The shrills of children startling anything still asleep. The caws of the crows piercing the fog that lies like gossamer on the outstretched arms of the trees. The occasional thunder of a gun in a young boy’s hands, fingers crossed, hoping for that first deer. Little girls playing hopscotch on the sidewalk while their brothers are pounding the pavement with basketballs. Football—inside on TV and outside in the yard. And, of course, jolly old Santa Claus—bigger than life—the grand finale of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But what if the stuff of which good Thanksgivings are made are just not there this year? I just received word that a friend of almost 45 years died. Try to imagine what his family’s Thanksgiving will be like. What about you? What about me? If we were to draw pictures of our lives right now, what would we draw? Would you draw a temple—stately, overwhelming, majestic? Or would you be more inclined to draw a picture resembling …

Managing to Give

Have you ever fantasized about being filthy rich? I have, especially when I go to sporting events. I think to myself, “Most of the guys on this field are millionaires. Some sports stars make $25M a year.” I consider how much I could do if I had a lot of money, whether thats helping people, giving to the church, or spending it on myself. My guess is most of us wouldn’t be any different with our money if all of a sudden we were millionaires. We have all been given a portion of God’s kingdom. If I can’t manage the $60K that Kelli and I have been given, why would He give me more? Jesus gives an example of this in Matthew 25. In short, the Parable of the Three Servants is a story about a master who goes on a long trip. Before he goes, he calls his servants together to give them portions of his money to manage while he’s gone. He gives each of them different amounts based on their abilities and then …

Be Strong

Have you ever had one of those “I’m totally overwhelmed and not sure I can do this!” kind of days? Weeks? Maybe even months?!? It’s been one of those seasons for me. When city council said “yes” to City Station, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and began to make plans for the future. Signing contracts. Approving promotional materials. Fundraising in the community. Meeting with staff. Reviewing blue prints. Reviewing altered blue prints. Writing messages. Writing blogs. Meeting with the press. I felt like I carried the future of City Station and our church family on my back. I know… you’re shocked that I felt overwhelmed. Thankfully God is good, He is patient, and His Spirit is persistent. He would not allow me to rest in my stubbornness and He has been faithful to guide me back to His truth. God guided me back to a passage that He first directed me to almost 20 years ago. His Word was true then and it remains tried today. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead …

This Week For Sunday

This Sunday is Thanksgiving Offering.  I don’t know about you, but it can’t get here fast enough. Maybe my anticipation is high just because the Creative Team spends so many weeks planning for this Sunday.  Or maybe… Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 As we dedicate one Sunday to thank God for all that He has done, I love seeing my family raise their hands in praise.  I love to hear the voices and stories about God’s faithful goodness.  And I love to see our family give generously in anticipation of what God is going to do. As we prepare for Sunday, consider all the blessings God has given you.  I know many wouldn’t define the past year as a “good” year, but we can still be thankful for we have grace and the hope of eternity with Christ. The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, …

The “G” Word

My dad worked for a home building company that moved their management frequently. Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Georgia. I lived in all these states before I was twelve. Five different elementary schools and two different high schools when it was all said and done. It was that last move as a family though that made a huge difference in my life. As we were unloading the moving truck a neighbor boy came up to me and asked “What’s your name?” “Help me unload this truck and I will tell you,” I said. So Donnie jumped right in and helped. Donnie and I became good friends. One day his mom asked if my three other siblings and I would like to to go to church with them. My folks said yes and off we went. And the next Sunday and the next and then Wednesday nights. Soon my folks started taking us and then going with us. Then one Easter Sunday, my whole family was baptized into Christ! All because Donnie and his mother were personally generous with their time and passion for …

This Week for Sunday

This Sunday won’t be the first Sunday we sing the song “Oceans.”  However, this week as we reflect on the challenge to be generous and prepare to give our commitments on November 22, I would like you to read the lyrics through that lens, the lens of being generous. You call me out upon the water, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find You in the mystery; in oceans deep, my faith will stand… Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. God is calling us into deeper, unknown waters.  And as we follow, we must keep our eyes on Him or we will fail.  But here, as we give generously and fully trust in Him, we will experience Him like we never have! Let us walk upon the waters; wherever He calls us! All I Am – …

Urgent Message

Do you remember the last thing you said to your wife? Do you know what words came from your mouth as you said goodbye to your family this morning? Can you recall the last words that Lieutenant James Gordon said about Batman in the Dark Knight?  He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight. Last words matter. Think about it: if you are on your deathbed with your family gathered around, there is no way you are asking your kids if they did their homework. You would not be talking about weather, sports, or politics. The last words that you would muster would be meaningful and possibly impact your family forever.  The final words that Jesus spoke to His disciples before returning to the Father shaped the rest of their lives. They accepted His command and therefore changed the world forever. Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son …

This Week For Sunday

The Gospel calls us to live generously. If you’re like me, you’ve struggled with this. Many of us don’t mind giving advice, our opinion, or the road-rage-glare when someone cuts us off in traffic, but when it comes to giving “our” money, we can be far less generous. Earlier this year, Kelli and I both experienced some heart change in the area of financial generosity. We were blowing through money like crazy and had no plan except to spend it. We were also struggling financially. Having enough of that, we decided we needed to change. We got on a budget and God revealed to us how much He had been giving us all along that we were just throwing away. Through the process of learning how to manage what God has given us, we no longer give out of obligation, but because Jesus has changed our lives and we can’t help but give back to him. I know we tend to get a little antsy when generosity or money is brought up in church, but why? Why do …

Bombs Away!

Throughout our November series you’ll hear the song “Geronimo” by Shepard. If you haven’t heard it on the radio, give it a listen. While not a “Christian” song, I believe we can apply it to the Christian life, like these two lines for example: Can you feel my love? Bombs away, bombs away, bombs away! In Exodus 34:6, when God passed before Moses, God said about Himself ,”“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” David writes in Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.”  You may be familiar with John 3:16-17 where it says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”  Can you feel the love of God the Father? Jesus told his disciples, “If you …