Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Must be God

It was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eight day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother said, "No! He is to be called John."

They made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is JOHN." Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, praising God, the neighbors were all filled with awe and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him. (luke 1:57-66)

Sometimes God calls us to be different, to make choices that stand out -- some that do not make any sense. (Turn a cheek?) But those unique lifestyle choices or decisions get people talking, people will hear about them. They will wonder what this is all about and you WILL have a chance to tell them. If your life does not stand out in any way, as a Christian you are living a lie - we all do it but tomorrow: Be strong, be brave, be courageous, and do something - make some choices in your life that can only be from God. (And give Him credit.)

God bless and have a great week - you have been prayed for today, (even ted!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Light finds the cracks...

Spring has finally begun around camp yet the ice fishermen haven't gotten the memo. I love to watch the men out there EVERY day trudging out across the snow and ice to fish from sun up to sun down. They get their tip ups set up and then gather together to schmooze. (I am sure some alcohol is involved as well.) I can here their laughter and faint stories from camp - way across the lake. I can also hear their crude humor and town gossip - ugh! I think these guys stay out until one drops through the ice or their patience finally runs out. If one thing each year is for certain, it is that they will return next November.

I was reading in Numbers (an underrated book!), about another gathering. It seems that out in the wilderness the Israelites were getting antsy. They were sick of the desert and wanted to take their frustration out on their leader, Moses. Aaron and Miriam gathered together to talk about Moses. They began to talk against Moses (identified by God as the most humble man in the world), they felt that God was going to speak through them now and not just Moses. They seemed to blame him for their desert situation, a situation of God's making. Amazingly God stepped in right away - he called the three of them (Moses, Aaron and Miriam) into the tent of meeting for a face to face. Imagine, getting called into the office to get chewed out from God. And Chew God did, the bible says that His anger burned against the two malcontents. And Moses - he simply pleads with God to be lenient on them. Tough times really brings out the worst in many people - especially when they can gather together and talk an issue or situation into a crisis.

These are some tough times in the United States for many people. Listen to the radio or watch the TV news and you here the gossip. So called leaders or experts talking against everything and everybody, blaming others for situations we all created. In times like this we need someone like Moses, someone who speaks for God to set peoples minds at ease, to remind us that God is still in control.

Well, since we as Christians house the Spirit of God in our temples (bodies), WE need to step up and be that voice of God. We need to stop the "talking against" and start talking for the Lord. "The JOY of the Lord is our strength" Let's focus this week on being light and joy in the world. Panic does not look good on a Christian who has the assurance of eternal life! In your gatherings be aware of the fact that we need to shine light on the world around us. Our investment is in the eternal kingdom and the interest is compounding. Be aware of your talk as you interact with the non-Christian world - maybe the stark contrast of your disposition will spark some interest. What makes that person tick? Hope, joy, and peace look awfully appealing to a panicked world. See the opening - light loves to enter those cracks in lives! Be the voice of God to your world - and a smiling face.

(Loving your feedback)
Portage Dave

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A green faith?

Greetings to everyone,

This past week I had the chance to lead a Purity and Holiness retreat at a Church in Colorado. What a beautiful place with the sunshine and the mountains. Folks out in Colorado love their surroundings and take great pains to live very "green" lives. Many sacrifices are made to improve the environment - reduce, reuse, recycle, etc. This mindset has had a great impact in preserving the beauty that so many in Denver live for. This Rocky Mountain mindset made me think...

Isn't it ironic that so many Christians are willing to rearrange their life to benefit the environment but when it comes to changing their behavior for the work of Christ they never seem to have the time. God, who is watching and waiting to help us, seems to be last in line when it comes to our attention. As Christians, God calls us to make changes in the way we live, to be set apart (holy) for His work in a hurting world. Whether it is caring for the less fortunate or sharing our faith brother or sister, we never seem to remember our first love, Christ. How would the world be different if every Christian were to engage the world as actively as an avid environmentalist? Imagine always looking for big and small ways to share our faith. Searching for even the smallest opportunity to promote the life of faith.

I imagine that the world would be drastically changed. So let's give it a try - be radical, be a green Christian. Look for even the smallest way to change the world for the gospel. Start small, start now and let me know how it goes. Be a radical for the best cause of all, saving lives forever.

Have a great week and give some feedback,

Portage Dave

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Conversations with God...

In our camp staff meetings we are working through a book which digs into the life of Brother Lawrence and a collection of his letters entitled Practicing the Presence of God. There is a line in the description of Brother Lawrence life that I found interesting:

"(Brother Lawrence) decided he would sacrifice his life with its pleasures to God. But He said that God had surprised him because he met with nothing but satisfaction in that state."

This man who never achieved a position higher than a dishwasher, huddled in a remote monastery kitchen, found life to be rich and full. His days were spent in service and in constant conversation with God. He began to work on experiencing the very presence of God in everything he did - every moment a shared moment with the creator. He said that "that in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually and referring all we do to him, we must, at first apply to Him with diligence. Then after a little care, we would find His love inwardly draw us to Him without any difficulty.

Imagine, this simple man living life drawn into relationship with God in the most natural and intimate way. WE WERE MADE FOR THIS. This type of connection with God, the sharing of every experience and event with Him, is what we are about. Our very soul desires this loving father to show us by His presence how much He loves you. Not what you do, or the job you have, but YOU - He is in love with His finest creation - YOU.

This week begin the conversation with Him - make a commitment for one hour, day, week, to simply share each sight and sound with God. PRACTICE the presence and realize that you do not need ANYTHING else. Simple, awkward, basic conversation with a father who knows your inner most parts. Peace, satisfaction, release from pressures, simply the warmth of having everything you need without having to earn it or perform for it. Let me know how it goes.

I am praying for you, I will be in Colorado this weekend for a Purity and Holiness Retreat - please pray for me as I lead this group. Less of me more of You (God).

Have a great week and let me know how I can pray for you,
Portage Dave