Crossroad Online2020-08-18T14:02:54-04:00

Crossroad Online

Dumbing it down

Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…dumbing it down 

I have decided that I want to identify as weightless. I have been working hard trying to be fit and eat only what I should in reasonable portions to be at, and maintain a weight that my doctors feel will be advantageous to me living a long and healthy life. I like the thought of the long and healthy life part, but the discipline it takes to accomplish it…that part I don’t like so much. Who are they to tell me what is good for me? I should get to choose right? I mean who made them the standard bearers of health and fitness…they are only doctors…you would think they think they know what’s best for me. Besides that, I think being weightless will be fun, there are other advantages too…my shoes won’t wear out as fast, I can levitate above the ground instead of walking, which has got to be easier on my joints…there are any number of reasons identifying as weightless is a great idea. Maybe I should petition my congressman to write legislation guaranteeing my right to so self-identify…yeah…that’s what I should do. 

Sound crazy? That’s because it is! But it seems to be the leading national brand of craziness that is sweeping the land right now. I know, I know I’m not supposed to use words like “crazy” because they are offensive…except that it seems lately like the more offensive something is to our good senses the better. So I’m not sure, are we supposed to try not to offend…or is the idea to be ultra-offensive. I can never keep it all strait. Am I allowed to say “strait”? I’m just not sure anymore. It’s all so confusing. I know I’m old, but there used to only be two genders…and now…who knows how many there are? That particular bar just keeps on moving, seemingly picking up speed by the day! I’m not sure…are gender reveal parties still allowed or are they considered to be presumptuous? 

Why is it even necessary to consider such things? Because we have lost our way. So much so that in the hallowed halls of the capitol of our “One nation under God” a U.S. Congressman stated this past week in response to a call for greater godliness in our law making that “God is no concern in this congress”. We have totally and completely lost our way, and the “forward thinking” of our society prove it on a regular basis. Just wait five minutes if you don’t believe me. 

We have totally dumbed down life to the point that if we keep going in this direction it will quickly become unsustainable…literally! Why can’t I decide to identify as weightless? Aside from the law of gravity identified by Isaac Newton 300+ years ago which was integral to Einstein’s theory of relativity accepted by every serious scientist for the past century…it just isn’t feasible, but then those two relatively smart guys said it wasn’t. The fact of the matter is that I don’t get to decide what laws of physics I will agree with and which ones I will ignore. You kinda have to follow the science to use a contemporary phrase. Even more so I cannot ignore God’s laws. We don’t get to decide what is righteous…it’s already been decided. People will try, they have for all history…but it won’t change what is righteous and what is unrighteous. Those were chiseled in stone thousands of years ago.. 

God’s word exposes how we have gone so far astray. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us that…when we measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves to ourselves we are not wise. One version goes so far as to say “we understand nothing”. In other words when we try to decide what will be good for us ignoring the outside influence of authority we dumb it down and become stupid. A surefire recipe for a stupid decision is to make it without consulting God. If we want to succeed in life we must consider the creator of that life. To do anything else is folly. Thankfully God’s word also explains how to be wise and succeed. Proverbs 9:10-11 says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied and years of life will be added to you.   

We cannot say as that foolish congressman did that God is of no concern in our lives. We must consider and obey the author of life if we are to live, and we have to give our lives to the author and finisher of our salvation if we are to be saved. We have been created with a mind. One that was given to us to reason with, but also one that was intended to reason with our God within the confines of His design and plan for our lives. 

I have decided against identifying as weightless…the gravity of the situation was just too important.  

So now, considering God and giving Him His rightful place in your life…go be awesome! 

 

Responding with “Here I am Lord”

Responding with “Here I am Lord”

Hi this is pastor Ken and normally I would be giving you my thoughts on a Thursday, but my sweet wife was reading in God’s word earlier this week and she shared something with me that I wanted her to share with you. So, this week we will be hearing from Lynn and she will give you her thoughts on a Thursday…

We know that from the very time of his birth, Moses was protected and preserved by God for a purpose. Later on we learn that he is tasked with seeing the Israelite children – an entire people group, out of their bondage in Egypt. So today I’d like to start in chapter 3 and read from the beginning through verse 14.

Exodus 3:1-14 (NKJV) Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.  So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”  Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”

Now there is a lot more to be gleaned from this book of Exodus but I’ve been learning to stop reading when something catches my thoughts and ponder it, so let me share what I feel these verses have been saying to me.

God speaks in unexpected ways (from a burning bush no less) here we see that when God called his name, Moses simply said “Here I am” — he didn’t wonder who or even if he heard right, he simply RESPONDED.

When our Father calls our name, WE need to respond! No questions asked…

I don’t know if you’re like me, but If I’m honest, I’ve not always been willing to stop and listen when I hear from the Lord. Though I am learning to hear His voice, feel His nudge or see His direction, I can be pretty strong willed and sometimes desperately need to be reminded He knows best, and I just need to follow.

Ironically, just after he proclaims “Here I am” Moses proceeds to question whether or not he is fit for the task the Lord has set before him. Moses continued to ask several questions that were self-centered you could say…who am I to do this thing? Who shall I tell them sent me? God finally answers Moses in all capital letters in my version of the Bible…I AM WHO I AM! Now in today’s culture when a person uses all capital letters they are, in essence, shouting at us. Using capital letters exclusively is considered a way to emphasize written text, and I can imagine God may have felt some frustration having to remind Moses who was boss…I mean, prior to this there is no shortage of examples of God being God in Moses’ life. Perhaps I’m not the only person God has to shout this reminder to?

It appears to me that Moses’ focus was on what he couldn’t do, until God reminded him that HE was the driving force behind what he was asking of Moses, which got me thinking about my own life. There have been times -at all ages and stages in my life, that when challenged with hard tasks, I fretted, worried, dare I even admit complained. But then on the other side of the situation, often I am able to look back and see the many ways the Lord had helped and intervened, and I see any success I may have had can be attributed to my own ability.

Let’s look at that last part from today’s reading again, “So He (God) said, I will certainly be with you.” Now I’m not sure what situations you will specifically be dealing with this week, this month or this year, but I do know this: what is written in my Bible was not merely to catalog the history of people in ages past, but it can speak to us today, in any situation.

God says to US, I will certainly be with you – “certainly” like in a you-can-take-that-to-the-bank way…He WILL be with us in any situation, so call on Him, remind him of this promise. It’s for us too, and even more importantly, we should live our lives here knowing he IS with us and should also live in such a way that when we are no longer here, we ARE WITH Him! That is the goal, the prize and the promise for those who live and love like He did.

So now, in the full confidence that He is with you, listen for his voice, RESPOND to His call, and go be awesome!

What is something The Lord has been teaching you lately?

Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…What is something The Lord has been teaching you lately?

That is a question I like to ask people. I don’t ask it to corner anyone or put them on the spot, though I am sure by the facial expressions I have received when asking, that I have at times inadvertently done just that. However, to those I know enjoy a close walk with their savior, I love asking. Why? I suppose it is because I just love hearing what the Lord is saying to others because it usually blesses me with some new view of who God is and just how very good He is to us. Sometimes I have to admit, I ask the question to begin the conversation so I can also share some wondrous revelation I have experienced.

How do we have such revelatory times with the Lord? Obviously we have to spend the time seeking Him. His word tells us that it we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8) That particular verse goes on to intimate that as we do that, our thoughts will become less divided between the cares of the world around us and the God we seek to know better, and our minds will become singly settled on Him. So we have to decide that hearing from God is our intention and set aside time for it to take place. Walking closely with our sweet, sweet Savior and hearing the wonderful words of affirmation and instruction from our Master will never happen by osmosis…it is a product of intention.

For me that means I have to set a specific time aside. I am too easily distracted to simply decide that at some point everyday I will spend time with Jesus. For me it has to be scheduled. As I said last week I love to fly by the seat of my pants…but let’s be real…that attribute, as fun as it may be, has not produced my biggest successes in life. No, those have happened by intention…devoted intention. I’m not saying it is this way for everyone, only everyone I know of…if we are going to regularly spend time with God we have to set a specific time aside to do that. The interesting result is a heightened awareness to the time He has set aside for me. To my amazement, I have found that He wants to spend regular time with me as well, though He is more generous than I am, He desires to pay attention to me 24 hours a day…7 days a week, 365 days a year! What a God He is!

Over the years I have used many different strategies to spend time in God’s word and in prayer. Though there are times when I get better at “praying without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) that is something I continue to need to work on. I love the time that I do spend with the Lord in prayer, it is often the highly emotional part of our relationship, and I love it when I am overwhelmed by talking with Him. As to being in His word, I have enjoyed lots of different ways of doing that. I have appreciated reading from cover to cover though I have to be honest and admit that there might still be a sense of personal accomplishment that I feel when I do that. It does help though to give a context to His word that is not possible any other way. On that note I will say that I absolutely enjoyed reading through the bible using a chronological Bible. Having it all laid out for me in a timeline really increased my understanding of the Old Testament historically. I have utilized the read through the bible in a year plans, the hunt and peck method, and unashamedly I have even spent time in the word using Bible roulette, reading that day wherever my bible opened.

This past month however, I have been doing something a bit different that I want to challenge all of you to do. I have become a sponge. Sponges have always intrigued me…I’m simple I know. But I am always amazed by how much you can get a sponge to absorb. If you let it soak for a while and then squeeze it over a bowl it is astounding how much liquid comes out! This decision to soak in God’s word came about quite by coincidence. I had been reading through the book of Ephesians and on February 1st I found I was at Chapter 5 beginning that day with verse 22. For those not familiar with the scripture it is some of Paul’s most referenced writing on the topic of marriage. As one who counsels mostly in that realm, I am always interested in what God has to say about it, and looked forward to what I would read that day. I paid close attention to the words hoping I would see something new. God did not disappoint. I did get something new and enjoyed it so much. I have always reveled in the ability of God’s word to continue to produce more depth with each encounter. It was then and there that I decided I would read that passage (Eph. 5:22-33) each day for the rest of the month. I figured that doing that with a scripture about marriage during the month that is centrally dedicated to love might be a good idea. I have not been bored. I have read it now 18 times and will read it for another 10 days. Each day I have absorbed more truth than the day before. I am finding depth that would not be possible in a one-day skim over the surface. As my soaking in it has increased in duration so has my understanding proportionately. By concentrating on it solely I believe I have absorbed exponentially more than I would have through 28 visits to it separated by weeks, months or even years. Maybe when the month is complete I’ll do a podcast sharing all that God has shown me through this exercise.

When does the liquid come out of the sponge? When pressure is applied to it. Likewise, one of the beauties of being a sponge of God’s word is that when we are put under pressure and feel wrung out…it is He who emerges and not us…what a beautiful and wonderfully desirable result.

Want to take the challenge? Chose a scripture passage you want to know more about; it doesn’t have to be the one I chose. Determine you will read it each day for the next 30 days. Remember the idea is to absorb…so soak in it. Resist the temptation to geek it out. I have had to remind myself that it isn’t a Bible study and put the Greek–English bible, the concordance and my favorite commentary down…let the Holy Spirit do the revealing and teaching. See what comes out of the word and is absorbed by you so that it can come out again next time you are under pressure. If you choose to, tell me what God is teaching you, I’ll be all too happy to hear.

So now, soaking up God’s love letter to you like a sponge…Go be awesome!

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