Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He's Able

Don't miss Shoreline this Sunday.
We'll be reminded to put all our Hope in God!
He is the Rock, a firm foundation, solid ground under our feet! And we will not be shaken!
He is able to do all that he said he would do

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

People change their minds, we make promises that we don't keep. Unfortunately, we don't always follow through on what we plan to do. It's not that we set out to just happens some times...but our God is completely OTHER! He is not a man! He doesn't lie, he doesn't change his mind about you, he doesn't say something and then not do it....he keeps his promises! And he is faithful to complete what he started!

He's Able

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just a Clay Pot

This past weekend, the worship department hosted our Shoreline East outreach service. I love being a part of this, every 3rd Saturday of the month, and have the honor of coordinating the service. I have also been leading worship which is totally stretching and challenging me. I think about this service all month and plan the worship set-list weeks in advance...its funny. I kind of accidentally happened upon this responsibility, just trying to lift the burden off someone else's already full plate, and never intending to have the worship leader spot but now I really love it! However, I was so frustrated this last week because something blew in on the Tuesday before and my allergies have been nuts...drippy eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat. Grrrrrrr. I really want to do a good job, but I sound horrible and even with my ears stopped up...I can tell it's bad....

And the raw, honest, truth is that I really want to sound good! I want people to be lifted and encouraged, I pray that God's presence will wash over every person in the parking lot....but part of me really cares about how I sound...and I'm bummed....

Fortunately for me I am reading a good book that spoke the truth of God's word into my funk.....Glenn Packiam in Butterfly in Brazil said this: "God doesn't need me to be supernatural or mystical; that's what he is. He needs us to be human, common and earthy. We are the vessels of clay; he is the exceedingly great treasure."

So that took me to 2 Corinthians 4 Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.....this is not a self-promotion opportunity for me, or a stepping stone to some larger, or prettier group of folks...I believe I am in this place because of God's mercy. So I can't lose heart. If God placed me here then I have to trust Him to carry me!

The passage goes on to say The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The word glory stood out to me in these verses....the gospel of the GLORY of Christ...the knowledge of the GLORY of God...and in both cases that word is followed by a tiny little preposition - OF. The Glory OF Christ....the Glory OF God. I want to be glorious. I do. But there is no glory in me....there is only the glory OF my Lord. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. I am just a clay pot...God is the glorious treasure.

I have a dear friend who always ends her prayers with this thought "And we will be careful to give You all the glory" I've heard her pray that way for years but today it just hit me...I'm not sure we're even aware of all the times we are hoping for a little bit of glory for ourselves. Jesus, forgive me!

In the end and Shoreline East was lovely, God's presence felt so sweet to me. I really am just awed that God is OK with my tragically flawed clay pot. I spend too much time wishing I had someone else's pot...God wants to express a unique facet of his glory through mine....

I need to put more faith in his ability, his desire to flow through me, to reach the people he loves....than in my ability to do a good job.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Mercies

When my son was in kindergarten, I had the privilege of volunteering in his classroom every Friday. I copied, cut and stapled countless little learning tools. It was wonderful to spend that time with our school staff and fun to get to know his classmates. His teacher, Mrs Porter was an extraordinary woman. I remember one morning watching her greet the students as they arrived and thinking, Mrs Porter is just like Jesus. Her mercies are new each morning. I knew after a few months and she had to know, exactly which kiddos were going to bring a challenge to her day but as she welcomed them in the morning there was not a hint of the anticipation of misbehavior. Only fresh new joy in the new day. I was awed by her godliness.

Lamentations 3: 22-23
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

The Message Bible says those mercies are created new every morning. Our magnificent Creator God, created the world in just six days. But he wasn't finished, because for each day he creates fresh new merciful love for you and me. So, for whatever happened last year, six months ago, a few weeks ago or yesterday - there is new mercy TODAY. Wow. God does not greet our day thinking, here we go again... they are just going to make the same mistakes they always make. NO! He is just delighted that we are awake...he never sleeps, so he's been waiting.....

I'm not going to walk around kicking myself in the butt for what happened yesterday...I'm just going to reach up and receive new mercies today!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

King of Mercy

Have you ever experienced mercy? You know what you deserve - but for some reason the debt is cancelled, the speeding ticket is just a warning and all the pain you would have known is lifted. It’s a beautiful thing.

In the words of a very wise little boy I know “mercy is when you don’t get somethin’ you’re supposed to get.” He would know. Not long ago, there was an infraction of the family law in our home and disciplinary action was about to be taken. This little boy appealed to the judge, otherwise known as Daddy, and asked for mercy. Daddy paused and saw the opportunity to share a God moment with our son. We all make mistakes, sometimes we make really big mistakes and we should be punished, but we have a God who delights to show mercy, the Bible says he is rich in mercy, he has lots of it. So instead of getting what we deserve – we get his love and forgiveness – all we have to do is ask.

There is this verse in James chapter 2 that says “Mercy triumphs over judgment”. That phrase is so clearly illustrated in the Easter story: God’s mercy triumphing over our judgment. Undoubtedly, we deserve the worst, we deserve to live a life where our sin separates us from God but thankfully we don’t get what we deserve. We stand before the judge – our Father God and we know we can’t plead innocent. The truth is that we are guilty. We could plead guilty, but then what? We could never pay the price or carry the burden of our sin. But because of the cross, because Jesus was the Lamb of God, we can plead the blood. We throw ourselves on the mercy of our God, who in his unfailing love has made a way for us to be restored.

Jesus lived a life of tenderness toward the broken, discarded people in his world. He embraced those that others wouldn’t even be seen with. That is why he came – for the brokenhearted, the captive, the blind, and the bruised. And that is exactly how we see him in the context of Easter, always true to his character. Jesus the King of Kings in his death and resurrection, gloriously rich in mercy. Even while suffering and dying we see the tenderness of our Savior toward his mother, making sure that she would be provided for after he left the Earth. One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus knew that he was getting what his deeds deserved, still when he asked Jesus “remember me” Jesus responded so tenderly “Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise” Jesus bathed Peter in mercy after he acted out in anger, betrayal and disbelief. Mercy triumphs over judgment, over guilt, over shame. Mercy says I know you are broken, but I can heal you. I know things are messy – I came to make it right. You may be disgraced but you still have a purpose. Easter demonstrates God’s tenderness to those who have been disgraced, disappointed, disconnected, distressed and discouraged....if you can identify with any one of those....this story is for you!

Shoreline Service Times:
North Campus - Where You There?
Saturday April 11 6pm
Sunday April 12 8,10,12

South Campus
Sunday April 12 9:30am