Friday, January 30, 2015

I'm all in.

I'm reading a 7 day Bible reading plan from Francis Chan called "Crazy Love". I like it because it only  gives the scriptures without any accompanying devotional material. All I know is the 7 days is about love. As I read, I try to work out what the theme for the day is. Today I read 
I encourage you to read these 3 passages and write a theme for the day. My theme is "all in". Everything I am, everything I have, everything I've done - the good & the bad. I have to be "all in", "all or nothing". 

In Rev 3 Jesus encourages us to go all in, and come to him for true abundance, right standing with God and healing. Jesus admires and notices the one who goes "all in". How about you? In or out? If "in", now is the time to go "all in."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Me a Masterpiece! I don't think so.

 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."  Eph. 2:10

I'm following a Bible reading plan from and today's reading included Eph 2:10 (above).  This verse jangles my nerves, feels wrong, bothers and challenges me, so I decided to write about it. Here are the problems I struggle with:

#1: I ain't no Mona Lisa. "Masterpiece"? I feel more like a child's first attempt at fingerpainting.  Anyone out there looking at me and saying "Wow, a masterpiece!" I don't think so. Look at my life and most people would say "Oh! What happened?"  So I re-read the verse and guess what - it doesn't say I'm a masterpiece. It says "we" are God's masterpiece, so I quickly read the whole section of scripture (always a good idea) and discovered it is talking about how God brings people from completely different backgrounds and cultures (Gentiles & Jews) into one family where we learn to love each other and glorify God together. Together - we are his masterpiece. Whew! Heat's off. Thanks God.

#2: This is your plan for me?!? "so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago". I'm running a small business, dealing with staff who tell me that I should do things this way or that way, staff who come in late, customers who complain and rarely say "thank you". We serve helpers who scrub toilets, change diapers, toil away in the kitchen, fetch kids, walk dogs.  This was not their childhood dream. They wanted to be nurses, teachers, business owners, movie stars. I wanted to be an astronaut, a football star, a leader of a large company. Instead I'm running a mom and pop business. Is this the plan? Lord, are these the "good things" the good works you planned for us long ago?  


Yes! The answer is "Yes!" Changing diapers, dealing with a complaining customer, loving the children in our care - whether our own or someone else's, wiping away tears, giving a word of encouragement, handling the paperwork on a contract renewal with care, putting the clothes away in the right drawer - not putting mom's undies in sir's drawer, ALL of this qualifies as the "good works" that God himself planned for us long ago. Greatness doesn't lie in doing BIG things, but in doing SMALL things, ordinary things with care and love. 

There is an alley behind BurgerKing in Mong Kok. In that alley, an older man runs a small business. He repairs shoes. With just a stool and a box of tools and supplies, he fixes shoes for people who walk through the alley. The sole of my shoe came loose one day and since I was nearby, I went to look for him. Because I spoke Cantonese he asked me if I was a pastor or missionary. I confessed that I was. He told me that he was a Christian and would not allow me to pay him for fixing my shoe. He glued and stitched it together with loving care and skill. He was doing the good works God planned for him long ago. 

Most of life is ordinary. What makes something "good" is NOT the position or title we hold, but HOW we do our work.  Being the president of a Fortune 500 company is not a "good" job. It is only good if the person leads well and creates value for the people who work there, and the customers they serve. My work, my ordinary life has the same potential as the president of the USA to bring honor to God. 

Today Lord, may we, your children, who are together your masterpiece bring glory to you and blessing to others through doing the good works you long ago planned for us. Amen 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It rubs off on you

This morning I poured a cup of coffee and sat down on the sofa to read my Bible. Kitty came over and snuggled next to me. When kitty (yeah, that's his name) rubs against my pant's leg or sits on my lap he often leaves behind some cat hair and maybe some cat smell. In the summer I need to be extra careful because I may go to work covered in cat hair (not cool at all).

Whoever you hang out with will "rub off" on you. It could be a cat or a friend or even Jesus.

In Acts 4:13 Peter and John are arrested for healing a man who was crippled since birth. Imagine that! They do something good and pure, a miracle, and they get arrested for it. Life is like that. It was undeniably a miracle, so the Jewish leaders let them go (this time). Notice what v.13 says,
"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."
They recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

If I spend time with Jesus, he will rub off on me. People notice when we spend time with Jesus and when we don't.  In the life of Peter and John the Jewish leaders saw boldness, a deep understanding of scripture, power and confidence.  They saw Jesus.

We all know people who started following Jesus and served him and others with a humble and grateful heart. Then they stopped attending small group and church and began to hang out with people who have ugly demanding attitudes, people who think the world OWES them something. The once kind and gentle person turns into a __________ (fill in the blank). Their friends rubbed off on them, and now they stink with bad attitudes and negative thinking. I usually don't hear about it until their "stinkin thinkin" has cost them their job.

Lord, I want to be like you. Help me to hang out with you, to spend time with you so that your character and goodness will become imbedded into my life and character. Thank you for the positive and good people you've put in my life. Protect me from becoming a negative unhappy person. Make me like you Lord, conform me to your image. Amen