All posts tagged: surrender

Are You Working As If For The Lord?

-written by Matt Clotfelter I really enjoy my work and I hope it shows. I enjoy sharing with people the experiences I have in my work, both the good and the bad. I remember my first paying job. I was about 8 years old. There was a man who was a traveling musical evangelist who had an office where my parents worked. I helped him out on occasion, doing odd jobs. One day, he asked me if I could help him move some of his boxes around. I don’t remember the actual work, but I do remember times I couldn’t do the task needed. Mr. Don would just tell me to move something else. Sometimes, he would have me put letters and fliers in envelops so he could send them out to churches. My first payday was sweet. I think I was paid $5 or $10, and he even gave me one of his tapes (yes, this was quite a while ago). I wore the tape out! Even though the work was difficult at times …

It’s Not What It Looks Like.

Last November the church was going through a series on finances. I don’t remember the series name, but with our life groups we were using a book called the ABC’s of Financial Freedom. I remember I was in my office reading the book, preparing for how we would use a particular chapter when God opened my eyes to something I had never seen before. I wasn’t generous. I did a pretty good job of looking the part. Karen and I have tithed since we were first married, and there were times this was hard to do. We support several friends who are missionaries oversees. If you ask me to help you, I will. If you have a baby, we will bring you a meal. You get the idea. I read my actions and concluded I was generous. Here is the danger in this thinking. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee and a tax-collector. The Pharisee gave immensely and prayed a lot. He entered the temple and talked about all he had …

What Are You Trying to Hide From God?

My dog’s name is Roam. Roam is almost a year old Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds are actually one of the smartest breeds of dogs, making Roam too smart for his own good. One of Roam’s favorite things to do is to sneak socks and hide them under our coffee table. We usually catch him pretty early because we can hear him chewing on something other than his toy. When we look underneath the coffee table, we see Roam with a sock right next to his head and him on his back. He knows he is in trouble. He rolls on his back because he doesn’t want to face the punishment of his disobedience. Roam knows what he is doing is disobedient, he knows he is in trouble, but still he continues to sneak off with socks and chew them. He then has to face his punishment as we send him to “his room.” I think a lot of times as people, we act the same way with sin. We talk a lot about the grace …

Win the War, Die to Yourself

Over the past two years, our Student Pastor, Keith Trollinger, has been training and leading me to be the Campus Pastor and Chaplain at the Central School cluster. During the months of August through November, if you were to ask me what I’m doing the answer would most likely be related to football. Part of being the Chaplain for the Central High and Middle School football teams includes being a spiritual leader to the students as well as the coaches and their staff. I’m there on the practice field leading devotionals, in the weight room praying for students before games, and in the multi-purpose room every Tuesday night eating cheap pizza and leading a Bible study with the football team. I have invested a lot of time into these guys and have built strong relationships with a lot of the athletes and coaches. During the first football game of the season for Central High, I caught a glimpse of Keith and immediately thought, “Why is he here? Shouldn’t he be at Carrollton? Who does he think he …

The Fence of Grace In Life

Wes Seeliger writes in One Inch from the Fence about an old alligator at the Houston Zoo. He nicknamed it “Scarface” because a fellow reptile had chewed a hunk out of his snout. The wound was covered with a grotesque mass of scar tissue that made this 18-foot long gator one of the ugliest most vicious-looking creatures he had ever seen. He tells about the day he and his son fed marshmallows to Scarface. Wire mesh was the only thing that separated them from jaws that could snap a horse’s leg like a twig. And the whole time his hand was just one inch from becoming Seeliger-burger! But there was a fence! And that made all the difference in the world. I love the title of our series on the book of James: the Gospel on the ground. And that’s where life is lived—on the ground; terra firma. But the terra is not always firma! Several times a week, if not every day, we feel the tremors of this adventure called life. Frustration with the kids’ schedules. …

Love Does Alongside the Greatest Visionary

Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found.  I’ve found it’s the small things.  Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings Earlier this weekend Christine and I did a family devotional with the kids titled “Sandcastles & Monuments.” We decorated rocks with markers, depicting how God has shown Himself to us in our lives.  Gabby drew a rainbow on one rock and waters parting on another.  Tyler drew a fireball coming down from the sky (go figure) and the Cross. It struck me how the kids so easily reached for these “monuments” in history where God acted, where God demonstrated that love does. The rainbow – His promise to Noah The Red Sea parting – His deliverance of the Israelites The fireball from heaven – His support of Elijah The Cross – His willingness to go any length to save us Throughout the Bible, we see God works through and alongside people. …

Are You Living Out This Spiritual Oxymoron?

The dictionary defines an oxymoron as a “figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” Thank you for the useless help, Mr. Webster. I think that was an oxymoron. Useless help. Examples will serve us better: open secret, deafening silence, minor crisis, jumbo shrimp. I was talking with a man in Texas about oxymorons and he immediately burped out, intelligent preacher. Ouch! The Bible has some amazing oxymorons: virgin birth (Matthew 1:18), dead undertakers (Luke 9:60), blind guides (Matthew 15:14). Some of the most startling—and, perhaps, most useful—oxymorons spoken by Jesus are in the Gospel of Mark: losers who win and life-giving executions. If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. – Jesus, Mark 8:34-25, NIV We have all seen the bumper sticker: “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Jesus goes cross-grain with that secular-humanist thinking by …

Thy Kingdom Come

“If you knew there was an intersection where 50% of the people who drove through it were killed, wouldn’t you find a different route home?” Lysa TerKeurst’s pastor asked this question to their church and I think it’s a question that acts as a good umbrella for life. A different route home. Makes good sense. So, why do I keep crashing? Could it be that I am still going through the same deadly intersection? Someone said that the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything at all. Maybe a little simplistic, but it strikes at the heart of the matter. Ah, the HEART… You don’t have to be around Southern Hills Christian Church very long before you are reminded of the heart issue. Last Sunday morning, Brooke Johnson talked about the brokenness of her life—a brokenness that ultimately erupted like hot lava and spewed over all her Christian activities, leaving her devastated, depleted, and exhausted. At that point she realized what was happening: “I was building my kingdom, not His. …