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Monday, April 18, 2011

Travel Agents or Tour Guides

Are we travel agents, or are we tour guides? I think there is a big difference between the two. Travel agents are great. They go out and they find you the best deal. They spout off intellectual information in regards to your destination, they hand you some brochures, and they have big smiling faces. At the end of the conversation, they shake your hand, pat you on the back, and say, “Enjoy your trip!” Tour guides are way different. Unlike the travel agent, the tour guide goes with you on the journey. They are the ones that say, “Nice to meet you. Get in. Let’s go!” With tour guides, they know their information, but that’s not why they are in it. They are in it because they love to take the journey with you. They aren’t off in the distance, they are right there with you. Too often, I feel as though many people act as travel agents in the church. We are perfectly ok with handing someone a brochure, bringing them in, and then letting them go, “Have fun! Enjoy your time here!” The truth is, people don’t need travel agents, people need spiritual tour guides. They need someone to go through the process with them. They need someone who is willing to walk with them on the journey. That is the way we build lives, and that is what ministry is about. It’s what you and I as the church are called to do.The apostle Paul writes, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:11-12) Ministry is done so that the body of Christ may be built up. Doesn’t matter how many ministries a congregation has, if we aren’t building up the body of Christ, if we aren’t leading people to Christ, there’s no point in what we are doing.  In Colossians 2:6-7, Paul writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Notice the language. The term for built up is a present-tense participle (Wow! My English teacher would be proud...really I had to look that up). This indicated continuous action. The house is always being tweaked. Building lives is active and ongoing. Let’s keep adding additions to God’s house!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Open Door

Here is a question to ponder.  When you come to a closed door, are you focused on the door or what could be behind it.  Revelation 3:8 it says, 'I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.' A lot of times we focus too much on the door that is closed instead of looking at the door that is already open in front of us. This happens a lot in churches when change occurs. It seems too often our churches get stuck focusing on  the door that has just closed instead of focusing on the door that God has opened for us.We do this in our personal life as well.  When a door closes, we feel lost and upset.  We only see what was lost and we tend to try to open the shut door.  I know that there are many times when the door has been shut and I question 'why'?  The focus doesn't go to the other opportunities, but continues to focus how I can pry that door back open.  Our God has already given us an open door to walk through to reach new people with God’s message, the only question left for us is, are we ready to receive the Holy Spirit and walk through that door?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Water -- a good thing and a dangerous thing.  We need water to survive.  We drink water to hydrate ourselves.  We use water to cook and clean.  Water can be a good thing.  Watching the news, you see areas receiving large amounts of water in short periods of time. Things are underwater and vehicles get stranded. Schools and activities get cancelled all because of water. Then recently we watched as the Tsunami hit Japan.  A wave of water caused so much destruction.  Water can be a dangerous thing!
I think back to the symbol of water in our faith. Martin Luther recognized the importance of recognizing our baptism each and everyday. Remember your baptism when you wash your hands, when you take a shower, when you go swimming. But can water be a dangerous thing in baptism? When we are baptized we all become children of God. Baptism is a new birth. We are members of the body of Christ. We are freed from sin and death to righteousness. And that’s a dangerous thing. We are called to “take up our cross and follow” Christ. That’s not easy. That’s not something to take lightly. It is in a term, dangerous- but in a good way. Jesus tells us in scripture that there will be people who speak bad about you, rebuke you, and sometimes even persecute you on account of His name. Look at the life of Paul- shipwrecked, imprisoned, and almost stoned to death. That’s dangerous stuff! Yes, water can be a good thing (in baptism we are buried with him and are raised from the dead by the glory of the Father), but it call also be a dangerous thing (picking up our cross and following Christ) as well.  Let us not forget in whose name we are baptized and what that means in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.