Monday, January 25, 2010

Made to belong

"Christ makes us one body . . . connected to each other."--Romans 12.5
The Second Purpose for our lives, as outlined in the Purpose Driven Life, is that YOU WERE FORMED FOR GOD'S FAMILY. Rick Warren writes that "we were made to belong not just believe." It seems that people are more disconnected than ever. I believe that's why texting, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are used so much. It is the desperate attempt by a desperately isolated people, desperately trying to connect to each other.
The Good News is that God has already created a family for you, a place to belong; it is called the Church. It is a place to belong, to learn how to believe, to share burdens, and to share service in Jesus' name. You are not alone! I encourage you to connect with your sisters and brothers in the church today! Why not give one of your friends in the church a call, email, or text and let them know that Jesus is with them today! Ask them how you can pray for them and then share with them how they can pray for you. You were created to belong in God's Family!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Draw close to God

"Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you." --James 4.8
Reflecting on the first purpose of our lives, TO GIVE GOD PLEASURE, Rick Warren writes, "You are as close to God as you choose to be." Now this may be a little surprising, maybe even a little hard to believe. Why? Because in our human relationships, this is not always the case. Live long enough and you will experience the pain of rejection. Whether it be from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, teacher, parent, or child, rejection hurts. Sooner or latter, we will experience the frustration of trying to draw closer to someone in our life and them rejecting that.
But God is different! God promises to draw close to us when we draw close to him. We don't need to fear rejection from God. God, in Jesus Christ, has promised to never leave nor abandon us. If we want to be closer to God, God will always grant that request.
So, how do we do it? Worship, prayer, Bible study, being with other Christians, and serving in Christ's name. As we offer ourselves in this way, God is faithful and will come closer to us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


"Jesus' disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?""Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."--John 9.2-3
Isn't it just human nature to want to assign the sin label to victims of disaster? It seems that has happened again in the wake of the terrible tragedy in Haiti. But almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus exposed this tendency for what it is, IGNORANCE.
Our call, as Christians, is to "feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick." Jesus promised when we do those things, we are ministering not just to other people, but to Jesus himself.
My prayer is that we spend less time trying to assign blame for this (and other) tragedies and spend more time being the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. In that way, "the work of God" would be displayed in power and love!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Surrender and Submission

"Surrender your whole being to God to be used for righteous purposes."--Romans 6.13
I can't think of two more unpopular words for 21st century Americans than surrender and submission. We pride ourselves on being free from everything and everybody. We pride ourselves on pursuing happiness. We pride ourselves on being winners. So, what is this talk of surrender and submission?
Well, it is actually essential to following Jesus. We cannot follow Jesus without surrendering our agendas, our self-interests, our control of our lives. We talk about Jesus being our Lord and Savior. The very definition of a lord is one who is submitted to. I think part of our problem is that there are many people throughout history who were forced to submit to others. Slavery is clearly wrong. Discrimination is clearly wrong. Racism and sexism is clearly wrong. Forced submission to a class of people based on race, sex, age, national origin, etc. is wrong. But the difference in surrender and submission to Jesus is that He is our Creator, so He actually is the only One who we owe complete surrender and submission.
The interesting thing about surrendering our lives to Jesus is that the more we surrender, the more liberated we are. You see, as Rick Warren writes in the Purpose Driven Life, we will submit to something or someone, even if it is our own self-obsession.
To fulfill the first purpose of our lives, WE WERE PLANNED FOR GOD'S PLEASURE, we have to submit to Jesus. This is actually a relief instead of an imprisonment. Followers of Jesus have found that to release control and self-determination to Jesus' Lordship, is to finally find peace in the knowledge that someone greater than us is in control, one who cares so much for us that even the hairs of our head are numbered! (Matthew 10:30)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A purpose-driven life

"Everything got started in God and finds its purpose in him."-Colossians 1.16
We are starting 40 days of purpose at Stony Hill Church. We will be focusing on the Scriptural insights from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. The focus for this week is "Why on earth am I here?" The verse above answers this question clearly. The first sentence in Warren's book is "It's not about you." Quite a revelation for our "me-centered" culture! Interestingly enough, the most miserable people on earth are those who focus only on themselves. The most fulfilled people on earth are those who find their meaning and purpose in God. So, if we want to be happy and at peace in 2010, the wrong place to start is in ourselves. The place to start is in God! When we start with God, we begin to unfold our purpose in life, what God created us for. When we start with ourselves, we find only an endless pursuit of trying to please ourselves. I invite you to join us in the 40 days of purpose. I can't think of a better way to start 2010, a new decade for following Jesus! There are several ways you can do this: 1. Use the Scripture I'll send out each week through this devotional to focus your purpose in God. 2. Attend the worship services each week where I'll be teaching on the Scriptural insights from the Purpose Driven Life. 3. Read the daily reading from The Purpose Driven Life book at home. 4. Join us on Tuesday evenings at 7pm starting Tuesday, Jan. 12 to learn more about your purpose.
Whatever ways God leads you to get involved, my prayer for each of you is that you find your purpose in following Jesus in 2010 and beyond!