Friday, April 3, 2009
In his book, "Walking with God", author John Eldridge writes about how a Christian can have a real and intimate walk with God. John shares how we can hear God's voice and understand His guidance in our lives. Eldridge's book is his one year spiritual journal. John writes everything from how he and his family missed God's timing when going on a trip, how he brings his feelings of emptiness to God and asks for His discernment, to asking the Lord if they should get a puppy. I was delighted to read how he understood God's will and his presence.
One of the stories of the resurrection in the Gospel of Luke tells us of two disciples on the road to the town of Emmaus :
They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;but they were kept from recognizing him. -Luke 24:14-16
These disciples were discussing everything that had happened with Jesus and He comes along side of them and they don't know it was him. Something veiled Jesus' identity. It was only after they had gotten into town and asked Jesus to have dinner with them that they realized it was him.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"-Luke 24:30-32
They realized that their hearts burned with in them, when Jesus spoke to them. Although they did not recognize that God was among them. God was there and His presence caused something to stir inside of them. Many times when God speaks to us something burns within us, we feel an impression, something within us. It's His Spirit.
The Scriptures teach us to listen to God’s voice:
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught -Isaiah 50:4.
. . . for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts . . . (Psalm 95:7–8).
'..They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd
-John 10: 14–16
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him,
and he with me -Revelation 3:20
It's God's desire that we learn to recognize His stirring, burning in our hearts when we hear His voice. Imagine if we could hear His voice more, if we could be more aware of His presence? How would our life change as the simple choices and major decisions are informed by Jesus?
For the next couple of months @PSCT we'll be considering how we can hear God's voice more in our Spring Life Groups. Join us!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Brent was thinking and feeling what thousands of husbands have thought and felt through the years. Unfortunately, Brent had never made the distinction between stage one and stage two of romantic love. In stage one the feelings are euphoric and without effort. In stage two the feelings come only when we speak each others love language. Can Brent's marriage be saved? Yes, if he and his wife will confess past failures and agree to speak love in a language the other person understands.
The "In Love" Experience
The average life-span of being in love is two years. The "in love experience" temporarily meets one‚s emotional need for love. It gives us the feeling that someone cares, that someone admires and appreciates us. Our emotions soar with the thought that another person sees us as number one. For a brief time our emotional need for love is met. However, when we come down off the emotional high, we feel empty, sometimes accompanied with feelings of hurt, disappointment, or anger.
Emotional love must be nurtured. Speaking the primary love language of your spouse is the best way to keep love alive. Love is a choice you make daily. If emotional love is to return, it will require each of you to discover and speak each others primary love language. There are only five basic languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Learn the language of your spouse, speak it regularly, and emotional love will return to your marriage.
"It Doesn't Come Naturally!"
I'm often asked, "What if the love language of your spouse is something that doesn't come naturally for you?" Maybe their love language is physical touch and you're just not a toucher. Or they prefer acts of service, but you don‚t find satisfaction in keeping the house organized. So, what are you to do?
You learn to speak their language. If it doesn't come naturally for you, it's even a greater expression of love. It shows effort and a willingness to learn. This speaks volumes to your spouse. Also, keep in mind that your love language may not come naturally for them. They have to work just as hard to speak your language as you do to speak their language. That's what love is all about. Love is giving. Choosing to speak love in a language that is meaningful to your spouse is a great investment of your time and energy.
There are five love languages. What's yours? Take the 30-second quiz.
Excerpt taken from The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Gary Chapman's resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today the United States swore in it's first African American President, Barack Hussein Obama. This is a watershed moment in our country's history as Senator McCain's gracious concession speech pointed out back in November. McCain said: "No mater where you might be in the political spectrum and who you might have voted for that night , this event is worthy of note.
This is a significant contrast to our nation a little over 40 years ago when African Americans where disenfranchised and the civil rights movement highlighted our nations injustice. It was 40 years ago that Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, but not before hope was engendered by his famous "I have a Dream" speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial years before.
There is little doubt that this President Elect Obama's achievement ushers in a new era in the Presidency and a unique affirmation for all people of color. It also possibly gives us glimpse of progress in the healing of the American psyche and the possibility of further racial reconciliation as alluded to by MLK's "I have dream" speech, in the greater scheme of things, God's desire for justice and harmony among humankind.
In the first letter to Timothy 2:1-3, God tells us through Paul the Apostle:
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior."
God urges us to pray for President Obama and in this poignant time of history, filled with uncertainty and unique challenges, the President deeply needs our prayers and support. We've just come out our "New Testament Challenge" PSCT, where we read the New Testament in 63 days. I'll invite you to take the Presidential Challenge this year
Would you pray for President Obama daily?
Some of the things we can pray for:
1) His and his family's health and safety
2) Wisdom to govern our country
3) To begin to steer us out of economic crisis and toward economic prosperity
4) To set us toward a course of peace and out of terrorist threat.
5) That the president might ultimately lean on God and recognize His hand in America.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Yesterday @ Park Slope we began our "New Testament Challenge". The challenge is this, to read the New Testament in 63 days( Click here for the Reading Plan). On Sunday, As I made the altar call for the challenge I closed my eyes and began to pray. When I opened my eyes almost all the congregation came up to take the challenge. It was a beautiful site. Young and old a like came up. I challenged Christians to re(read) the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles and the book of Revelation and they said Pastor, here we are. There were even some guests that came up. I challenged non-church goers to really give the Bible a try and some of them took me up on it too.
We're reading the Bible "Raw and uncut". Don't get me wrong I'm a real proponent of devotionals, books, and Bible Studies but some times we need read the Bible in its most purest form. Reading it "raw and uncut" will give us a greater appreciation when we read books about it and when we hear great sermons and teachings based on it. The great thing is that you don't have understand everything right away but hold on the things you do understand, and let the words sink deep into you. Ask yourself what is God teaching me with this passage? We're meeting in Life Groups during the week to discuss what we've read and on Sunday we'll be teaching on the major themes of the New Testament.
I'm excited to see what do is going to do in the spiritual life of our church.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I've always loved Super Heroes since my youth. Among my favorite is Spiderman. This quote from the first Spiderman comic book is close to my heart,"With great power comes great responsibility". Peter Parker (Spiderman's alter ego) uncle Ben gives him these words of wisdom. In essence it means that there was a reason why he was given these super powers. A gift has a purpose. Some how I thought that Stan Lee (the creator of Spiderman) borrowed these words from Confucius. Ana, one of brilliant young people at PSCT, corrected me a couple of weeks ago. I did some digging and she was right. Although this was in keeping with Confucius' teaching about those who hold power, It turns out that Stan Lee actually derived this quote from the Jesus. See below:
I heard Stan Lee speak at a college in Connecticut many, many years ago...and/or I read it later in an interview with him...where he said he enjoyed reading the Bible as Great Literature and a source of story ideas. I think he may have said at that time that the "with great power comes great responsibility" quote was adapted from what Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verse 48: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
That's the King James version that Stan might have read years ago. A contemporary translation reads: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Who would have thought,biblical truths in Spiderman.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Praise to the LORD1 O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.
2 You have made the city a heap of rubble,
the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners' stronghold a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you;
cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall
5 and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is stilled.
6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."