Friday, August 31, 2012

keep it clean

1 Cor 6

19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

This verse is obviously in the context of sexual purity, but I think it applies to general holiness. I need to think about the Holy Spirit living inside of me all the time.  So it goes beyond what we do or say to what is actually more important with respect to holiness which is what we think and want.

Heavenly Father, please help me consciously think about your presence.  Holy Spirit, please help me listen to you.  I love you, and I want you to move through me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

sometimes you feel like a lump

1 Cor 5

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

I don't particularly feel "unleavened"; I feel like my flesh is still trying to choke out the Spirit.  Of course, in the Spirit, we are supposed to put to death the flesh.  Mortal combat.  Somehow I'm new lump.  Not quite clear.

But Jesus being sacrificed for me is pretty clear.  His blood washes away my sins.  I can know the Father because Jesus has made me a son and a friend of God.  I want to walk in the joy of this relationship.

Heavenly Father, I want to know you and walk with you.  I want to hear you and obey you.  Lord, please help me listen to your Spirit.  May I be useful to you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

living in power

1 Cor 4

20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

Which reminds me of the Lord's model prayer:

Pray then like this:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10  Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
     on earth as it is in heaven.

On Sunday morning, Lance Ford from Forge America, challenged us to ask God to bring His Kingdom into our neighborhood.  He told the story of an elderly lady who prayed this prayer and started bringing homemade blueberry muffins to the school children waiting for the bus at her apartment complex in the mornings.  Lance went on to explain how she was able to minister to those children over the next year and made a big impact in her community.

I don't think walking in the Lord's power is as magical or mystical as we make it sometimes.  I think it is more about just doing stuff to show people the love of God.  I think we overcomplicate it.

Heavenly Father, please help me live in your power and practically live out your Kingdom here in my neighborhood and at my work.  Lord, I want to be a vessel that you will use to distribute yourself in my sphere of influence.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

make it count

1 Corinthians 3

12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?

Live accordingly.  First, recognize that what we do will be judged, and only what is eternal will last.  So, make it count.  Second, recognize that we collectively are God's temple, and the Spirit of God lives in us.  So, live according to the Spirit, not the flesh.

Heavenly Father, please help me invest in your Kingdom and live out your life.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 27, 2012

new semester

1 Corinthians 2

Saturday and Sunday, we had guest speakers from Forge in El Paso.  Brad Briscoe and Lance Ford spoke about missional-incarnational living.  One of the most practical challenges for me was when Brad said, "Do you know what Jesus meant when He said, 'Love your neighbors.'?  What he really meant was, 'LOVE your NEIGHBORS!' "

Sometimes we over-complicate, religionize, and hyper-spiritualize what it means to be a follower of Christ.  But really, we are practically living in the Kingdom of God.

Heavenly Father, please help me see what it would look like for your Kingdom and your will to be done in my neighborhood as it is in Heaven.  I love you, Lord, and I want to be used by you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

professional opportunities

Romans 16:1-16

I attended a membrane conference in San Antonio the last two days.  Of course, I had the opportunity to network professionally, but I feel like I was also able to develop some relationships with some other professionals in a way where they know that I am a Christian, but I hope I did it in a way that they don't see me as a religious person.

Just before leaving for El Paso, I picked up a new professional colleague at the airport.  After I dropped her off, I invited her to join us at church sometime.  I hope she doesn't think that I just gave her a ride so that she would come to our church.  I think I need to be careful to not portray the image of a religious person.  I need to focus on showing people that they are valuable because they are people -  because God made them.  I need to make sure that they know that God cares about them.

As I read Romans 16, it impresses me how integrated and connected Paul was with the Body of Christ.  He really shared life with people.  I need to make sure that I and my family are sharing life with people.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to meet people and travel to great places.  Please help me clearly communicate your character and love for people.  I love you, and I want to be useful to you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

characteristics of Christ

Romans 15:1-13

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope, joy, peace, confident hope, power of the Holy Spirit, in Christ Jesus, from God.  So, why don't I feel like my life exudes these characteristics?  I feel like I am so stressed and busy with work that I am missing these characteristics of Christ in my life.

I seriously need to re-evaluate my work and think about where my attitude and priorities need adjustment.

Heavenly Father, please help me see how I can focus on you more and adjust my attention to the Kingdom of Christ instead of stressing about details.  I love you, Lord, and I want your character to be evident in my life.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

living a life of goodness

Romans 14:12-23

17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I had the opportunity to teach/preach at our gathering on Sunday morning.  It was a lot of work in preparation, but it was very fulfilling.  I feel like the Lord has given me a gift of teaching, and I want to be able to use it more regularly.  I feel like this is allowing His goodness to flow through me in the form of teaching.

Heavenly Father, please help me live a life of goodness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  May I rejoice in what Christ has done and join in celebrating and participating in His character.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 17, 2012

personal and corporate

Romans 12:9-21

Chapters 1-11 and the first two verses of Chapter 12 focus mostly on theology that a person believes.  But then the focus shifts to corporate dynamics.

It seems to me that the faithful Christian life can neither be lived entirely personally (that is, removed from the body), nor entirely corporately (that is, never one-on-one time with the Lord).  I think we need a dynamic balance of solitude with the Lord and corporate fellowship.

Heavenly Father, please help me be faithful in personally seeking you through prayer and the scriptures, and please help me serve the body with the gifts that you have given me.  Lord, I want to experience your live, personally and corporately.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

living sacrifice

Romans 12:1-8

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We drove up to Cloudcroft on Tuesday afternoon to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and we drove back last night.  It was only a day away, but it was very refreshing to get out of the heat, see and smell some trees, and spend time with family.  We took a good hike yesterday morning, and I was reminded how important it is to practice everyday solitude.  At the end of the hike, I was walking with Beau, and everyone else had gone on ahead.  It was so peaceful, and I think this is like walking with the Lord, spiritually.

I have been "so busy" with work recently that I have convinced myself many times over the past few weeks to save time by not going for a walk/run in the mornings.  And I can tell that I have got my priorities out of line.  So, I took a good walk this morning, in spite of a very long to-do list.  But I know that this practice of connecting with the Lord in the morning is what allows me to stay focused on Him throughout the day and every day as the weeks go on.

It is a living sacrifice.  A dead sacrifice would be easy.  But a living sacrifice requires a daily re-commitment to His will.  And I think it starts with solitude with Him.  In that solitude, He transforms us by renewing our minds and focusing on His kingdom.

Heavenly Father, I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I am nothing apart from you, and I don't want to walk apart from you.  Lord Jesus, you are the vine, and I want to re-connect with you every day and abide in you all day.  Please abide in me.  Shine your love, light, and life through me.  May I be a useful vessel for you to dispense yourself into others.  I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

thankful for life

Romans 11:1-16

10:20 And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying,

"I was found by people who were not looking for me.
    I showed myself to those who were not asking for me."

I am thankful for God's grace.  I am thankful for Him sustaining my physical life, but I am especially thankful that God has given us Gentiles the opportunity to know Him through Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for parents who shared the truth of Christ with me.  I am thankful for Brandi and her partnership in life; I am thankful for her consistent forgiveness and patience with me.  I am thankful for my two sons and the joy that I experience with them.

I am thankful for my Church, with Brothers and Sisters who genuinely care about each other.

Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing me.  It is all your grace.  I have done nothing to deserve your kindness.  Please help me share your blessing with others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Christ.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Romans 9:1-16

5 ... and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God.  This makes it possible for His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection to be applicable to all of humanity (as explained in John 3 and Hebrews).

The fact that Jesus is God means that He is worthy of my worship. 

Heavenly Father, I worship you.  Lord Jesus, I worship you.  Holy Spirit, I worship you.  You are my only salvation.  You are THE only salvation in the whole world.  I believe in you, and I trust you to rescue me from myself and use me for your good plans.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Christ intercedes for us

Romans 8:18-39

This chapter is definitely one of the high points in Scripture:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christ Jesus ... is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Not Mary.  Nor any "saint".  Jesus is interceding for us.  What kind of craziness would my life be if He wasn't interceding for me?  Though there may be bumps in the road, there is a long-term trajectory toward Himself.  He is surely molding me into His likeness.

Heavenly Father, may I submit to your work today.  Please help me humbly approach your presence and allow you to change me to your desire.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus, who is interceding for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

life in the Spirit

Romans 8:1-17

This is one of my favorite passages!

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ... 16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

But how do I set my mind on the Spirit?  How do I put to death the deeds of the flesh?  Is it more than the usual list: prayer, meditation on Scripture, singing, fellowship with Brothers and Sisters, etc.?  If only I could just live it, you know?

Heavenly Father, please help me live in the Spirit.  I don't want to be one of those crazy hyper-religious uber-"spiritual" people who is disconnected from reality, but I do want my mind to be focused on the Spirit so that I can live the way you want in the physical.  Lord Jesus, please help me follow your example.  I love you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.


Romans 7:14-25

I am preparing to speak st our church gathering mid August.  And we have recently had some visitors at our church who I really wish would join our church.

These have me thinking about what I am supposed to be doing.  Maybe I'm trying to do to much at work.  Maybe I'm not focusing enough on making disciples.

Heavenly Father, please help me seek first your Kingdom and righteousness, and trust that you will take care of everything else.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

truth, goodness, and beauty

Romans 5:1-11
 1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. ... 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Westminster Catachism:  Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
I think the enjoyment part is pretty important.
I had a conversation with a friend who is a professor in Philosophy; he mentioned the truth, goodness, and beauty transcendentals.  Of course, as a follower of Christ, I think we find and experience all of these in Him.
Heavenly Father, please help me enjoy you.  I want to be full of joy.  I don't want to just be an empty, dead Pharisee.  I want to be full of your Spirit and full of joy - enjoying you.  I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.