Are You An Eeyore?

Do you remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh?  He was the frumpy, gray donkey that was constantly losing his tail which, when found, was then nailed back onto him.  It wasn’t so much his ability to withstand pain that made him stand out, but rather his ability to find the gloom in everything around him.

He had the ability to turn sun into rain, smiles into frowns, and good days into bad days in no time! No matter what, when Eeyore came on the scene it just seemed to get a little more depressing in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Do you know people like that?  Do you know people that are able to suck the life out of the room like a Dyson Vacuum cleaner?

I think we all know people like that.  Heck you may even BE that person!

 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are an Eeyore:

1.  Do you always find the “but” in every situation?

Ex:“I had a good time at the party, but no one really talked to me.”

2.  Do you fake laugh as a way of covering up your insecurity?

Ex: (While nervously chuckling) “Well, at least I didn’t screw up and ruin the trip to the zoo again!”

 3.  Do you naturally think of the negative before anything happens?

Ex: Husband:  “I can’t wait to go to the park with the kids tomorrow!”

Wife:  “Well, I’m sure it will rain, the kids will be terrible, and we’ll leave early.”

 4.  Are your relationships established around what’s wrong in your life instead of an interest in other people’s life?

Ex: “Well that’s nothing compared to what I’m going through.  Let me tell you about my foot!”

 

If you relate to these questions and situations you may be an Eeyore and most likely you already know that.

Eeyores can be some of the most draining people in the world.  Relationships are hard in the perfect situations, but they become infinitely hard with Eeyore.  Let’s call it for what it is.  No one wants to hang around with someone that has the spiritual gift of “fun sucking”.

As Christians, we need to have patience with these people and love them with the grace and mercy that Christ calls us to.  However, I believe that if you find yourself resonating with the Eeyore condition it may be time to take action.

Without Christ this becomes very difficult to overcome because hope is found only in the fleeting.  Your job, relationship, financial, mental success is your only means for finding definition and acceptance.  However, if you are found in Christ your reason for being positive and excited about life is exponentially greater.

I think that when we have the urge to find a “but” or a negative in a situation we need to stop and choose to think about the Positive.  We need to focus on the fact that we are accepted, loved, and found complete in Jesus and that should make us smile.

That’s huge news!

I’d love to have people say, “Man, that person really is positive and on fire for Christ!  I’d love to hang out with them again!” when they walk away from speaking with us.

We can do it if we consciously focus on exuding the love of Christ and realizing that we are His walking examples of whether or not people will see the Gospel as the Good News of Jesus or the Gloom and Doom of Jesus.

A great help with this is mediating on Scripture.  Here are a couple to commit to memory that should help!

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.“ - Proverbs 15:13

I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”- Psalms 146:2

At the end of the day the choice of being an Eeyore is up to you and I.  We can saunter through life with a grey cloud above our head that repels people like Off or we can confidently walk through life exuding the love of Christ.

The choice is yours.

If you want to live in the Hundred Acre Woods go ahead, but I think I’ll choose to live with people and not a boy and his imaginary, stuffed, animal friends

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 16:16 – my way vs. His Way

“How much better to get wisdom than gold,

to choose understanding rather than silver!

Proverbs 16:16

My wife and I are planners.

I take that back.

My wife and I are EXTREME planners.

We both love To-Do lists, spreadsheets, calendars, and the satisfaction of checking off a box on one of our many checklists.  This has spilled into everything we do from leaving to go to the zoo to planning for retirement.  We believe that planning is not a bad thing, but a smart thing.

However, God doesn’t always refer to our spreadsheet before doing things.

We have seen many examples of where our plan was not His plan.

  • We planned on moving to Colorado after getting married, but God’s plan said you are going to Chicago where you know no one and you will become a Pastor.
  • We planned to stay in our townhouse 2 years and then move to a home, but God still has us in our townhouse after nearly 10 years and are surrounded by a sea of “For Sales” signs in our neighborhood reminding us that God has a different plan.
  • We planned on having a baby in November 2006, but God said you will not be able to have kids the “fun way” and so May 2008 after IVF is your new plan

As logical as it seems to loosen up our idealistic ideas of planning every aspect of our life we still do it.  We still put down goals, plans, and expectations we hope to reach.  What we’ve learned to do though is to hold them looser and leave room for God’s audibles because they always seem to be better than our original ideas.

In Proverbs 16 Solomon is preaching that very same sermon.

His opening line in Proverbs 16:1 pulls back the curtain fairly abruptly on his point when he says “To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.  He continues in verse 9 by saying “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

These verses hit me like a ton of bricks because I know that they speaking right to me.

They make me ask myself this question:

“Are my plans going to bring me glory or God glory?”

In the end, the answer to this question will determine God’s blessing on your plans.

Solomon outlines beautifully the two sides of this coin.

My Glory =“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.Proverbs 16:25

God’s Glory =“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Now I’m not naive enough to think that just because we pray to God and ask him to make our plans succeed for His Glory that they will work every time.  However, I know without a doubt that through the journey of pursuing Godly plans we will draw closer to God and in the end that is success.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: Aniston Thinks Everything Is Chicken

I've decided that all kids are pretty much bipolar when it comes to food.

One minute they will eat everything you give them including the plate it came on and the next minute they will look like a French food critique with Irritable Bowl Syndrome at whatever you put in front of them.

Aniston falls into this stereotype perfectly.

She used to eat EVERYTHING we put in front of her including the nasty pea mush that not even the baby on the label looks happy eating.  Veggies, meat, fruit, you name it she would eat it.  Then she decided that she had standards or maybe “tastes” is a better word.

Phrases like, “I no eat salad” (for anything remotely green), “I no like dat? (for any type of casserole) crept in seemingly over night.  It got to the point where we thought the pediatrician was going to have to interrogate us with a spotlight for not feeding our child at the next visit.

But then through the sobs and pleading at the dinner table one night we realized something.

Chicken was cool.

I mean she loves it and would eat it all the time any time.

So what did we do as the grown, highly educated, Christian parents we are?

We lied to her.

Yep, from that moment on everything we put in front of her was “chicken”.  Steak, hamburger, tuna, salmon, mushrooms, sausage, anything she gave the stink eye to became chicken.  And I’ll be darned if it didn’t work.

Now before you report me to the Food Channel, I’d be willing to bet you’ve had your faux “chicken” moments.  In fact, I told Cherie the other night that I now know why everything tastes like chicken!  It’s because all of our parents lied to us!

Have you ever caught yourself eating a bunch of “chicken” in your spiritual life?

In other words, have you been living your life doing or not doing things because someone told you that’s what a Christian does, but you never really looked to see if that’s what God really said in his Word?

Here are a few to chew on:

  • Do you not drink alcohol because you think that’s something Christians don’t do?
  • Do you not associate with homosexuals because you think Jesus hates them and you should too?
  • Do you go to church on Sunday’s because you think that if you do God likes you better because of it?

The truth is that many of us accept the cultural perception of what a Christian “should be” without ever finding out what God said we should “actually be”.  The reason we don’t want to dig into that truth is because we won’t like what we find.  We will find that it’s not all “chicken” like we thought and that in fact we were wrong in many areas.  We will find we have to change who we are and that will hurt.

I know this is a constant point of shaping for me to this day.  It seems that daily I try to put my Brian-spin on Christianity when in reality I just need to honestly follow Jesus humbly.

My challenge for you and me is to not go through life thinking we know, but taking the time to know we know.  Dig into your Bible, listen at church, get into a small group, find accountability with people, and be willing to say “I’m wrong and need to change”.  If we can be honest and transparent about our shortcomings I know Jesus will gently meet us in our gaps and fill them with His love and grace.

We don’t have to go through life eating chicken because God’s menu has a way bigger selection to choose from.

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The Bird Nest In My Grill

Welcome to a recent Tuesday morning in the Hunt house.

Hey Bri!

“Yes babe?”

I think you should come down here.

“Why?  What’s up?”

Well, I think birds have made a nest in our grill?

“Come on…You’ve got to be kidding me!”

I’m 8 months pregnant.  I don’t have energy to kid anymore.

 

Sure enough, my beautiful and intelligent wife was right again.  It appeared that some birds were very interested in renting out the studio apartment grill I had available on my deck.  I think I even saw a Relator Bird with a clipboard and business cards at the entrance.

I quickly realized that a couple of days before the winds had been really bad in the south suburbs of Chicago and my grill cover blew off.  This has happened before, but I’ve never had to evict flying squatters after it happened!

Fearing a “savage” robin would attack me; I let our Golden Retriever Pachino onto the deck first to investigate the problem.  Ok, I actually let Pachino run onto the deck like Disney’s Bolt and scare everything away before I went out, but I was really close behind him…kinda.

Once Pachino gave me the all clear, I lifted the cover to my grill.  What I saw was freaking ridiculous.  It wasn’t a nest at all.  It was a queen sized memory foam bed with fitted sheets, a couple of nightstands, and one of the wall sticker sayings above a sleigh bed frame.  This thing was HUGE!

No joke, this bad boy was 2.5 feet wide and 6 inches thick.  I didn’t take a picture because I’m an idiot, but trust me it was amazing.  It actually took me close to 15 minutes just to clean up all the bird nest mess.

What kept going through my mind was “The cover was only off a couple of days!  How could this much damage be done in 2 stinking days!?  I just wanted to throw a flag on the field and cry “fowl!”  Sorry I couldn’t resist.

Although I thought long and hard about how robin would taste over an open grill, I also couldn’t get off my mind how this is exactly what we do in our spiritual lives.

We all have seasons where the cover of our souls seems to get blown off by something.  It could be fatigue, season of life, a challenge at work, laziness, or just plain getting too busy.  Whatever it is we find ourselves praying less, reading the Bible less, not going to church, or we just simply go to the wrong places.

Regardless of how it happens the reality is that it happens.

Now just because the cover blows off the grill doesn’t mean it isn’t a grill anymore it’s just at more risk for damage.  The same thing is true for us as Christ followers.  We can still be Christians when the cover blows off our souls, but we are just at more risk for damage.

Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

What can happen to you and me if we leave the cover off our souls too long is that major damage can be done.  Scripture tells us that it doesn’t take long and it doesn’t take much for Satan to get a claw into your life.  In fact, it only takes a foothold.

If we aren’t careful sin will set up shop inside our hearts and the next thing you know a bird nest of sin is destroying us.  And believe me, the mess it makes takes a long time to clean up and the destruction it causes is far greater than we imagined.

Don’t let your prayer life and time in the Word get replaced by anything.  Don’t lose accountability with other Believers.  Keep coming to your church home so you can be encouraged and challenged.  Be vigilant about what is covering your heart and soul.

Our connection to Christ is only as strong as the effort we place into it so put some effort into it.

Make a point to check the cover of your soul often and get some bungee cords if you need to keep that bad boy down.

Ok, I gotta fly!  :)

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Do You Have A Chocolate Cake Foundation?

In Colossians 3 Paul gets very personal to the church in Colosse. Up to this point Paul has unpacked the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and redirecting this new church away from the false teachings that were attempting to derail them.

His words on the power of the Gospel living inside them and the suffering that may occur as a result of choosing to follow Jesus were powerful reminders of what is at stake when we follow Christ.  However, the first two chapters took a 30,000 foot view of God’s plan for us and never really came to ground level.

Until Chapter 3.

Paul now starts to get up in our “bidnezz” and poke around at our personal lives.  He starts to make us look at who we are as people and how we match up with what God has called us to.

In Colossians 3:1-8, Paul outlines the sins that we need to “put to death” in our lives.  Sadly, these things come out of our souls naturally.  We don’t have to try real hard to lust or have filthy language.  It just comes out of our sinful nature without any effort.  These are things that we need to kill.

The exciting realization is that when decision to follow Christ and have Him lead our lives it causes a “new self” to be born.  A new self that desires new things.

In Colossians 3: 12-14, Paul outlines these new desires.  These are the things we have to work very hard at because they don’t come naturally.

We have to fight FOR these good things with as much energy as we fight AGAINST the sinful things.

These Godly characteristics seem to be a recipe for the foundation of our life.  Paul’s recipe includes: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, and the binding that keeps it all together…love.  If we are able to establish a foundation on God’s desire it will be solid regardless of what happens in our life.

It’s important we remember why we want to do this though  We do this not for our own glory, but in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  The entire life of a Christian is finding our way back to living, loving, and glorifying Him in all that we do.

This Godly foundation is so important to establish before we get to Colossians 3:18-22.  These are the verses that fire everyone up because they talk of submission, love, obeying, and honoring in our relationships.  If we don’t have a firm foundation establish by God in verses 12-17 we will be frustrated by what Paul asks us to do in verses 18-22.  These words will seem harsh, unfair, and we will bristle underneath them.

But…

If we have established a Christ centered foundation then these directions of submission and love become icing and sprinkles.  They are the decorations on the cake we worked hard to make before we even meet that person or have kids.  We should eagerly want to add these to our foundation as it only adds to the goodness of the cake.

So where is your foundation?

Is it found in your job, your kids, your wife, your hobbies?  If it is you will constantly be frustrated and let down because you have chosen to establish your life on things that were never meant to support your weight.

But a life founded and established in Christ is there for the long haul.  It can weather the storms and enjoy the good times with out falling down because it’s rooted in the unshakable love of Christ.

When you choose this foundation, you can have your cake and eat it too!

 

PS:  Here is the recipe I used at our Colossians Study for the cake in a mug!  You too can eat cake in less than 5 minutes!!!

 

The Chocolate Foundation Cake

4  tablespoons flour

4  tablespoons sugar

2  tablespoons cocoa

1  egg

3  tablespoons milk

3  tablespoons oil

3  tablespoons chocolate chips (or a little more J )

½ teaspoon vanilla

 

In a coffee mug, add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add egg and mix to dry ingredients.

Mix in liquid ingredients and then add chocolate chips.

Microwave mug on high for 3 minutes.  Let cool for 1 minute and then enjoy!!!

 

It totally works!!!!

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 15:15 – The Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down In My Heart

All the days of the oppressed are wretched,

but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Proverbs 15:15

For all my peeps that grew up in the church, do you remember this song from Sunday School?

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.

Where? Down in my heart!

Where? Down in my heart!

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,

down in my heart

down in my heart to stay.

 

And I’m so happy. So very happy !

I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart.

And I’m so happy so very happy

I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!

If that song is stuck in your head now for the rest of the day…you’re welcome.

I know I remember singing it but never understood what it meant except that I knew after it was over it was snack time.

But if we consider the implications of these simple words they can be transformational.

Imagine the joy and love of Jesus in your heart to stay.  The peace, understanding, compassion, mercy, grace, unconditional love of Jesus in your heart to stay.  Now that WOULD make me happy for sure.  In fact it would make me beyond happy.

It would make me down right joyful.

Solomon echoes this idea in Proverbs 15.  Throughout these lines you hear the attributes of a joyful person jumping off the pages.

  • gentle answer turns away wrath” – v.1
  • “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,” v.2
  • “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,” v. 3
  • “The house of the righteous contains great treasure,” v. 6
  • “A happy heart makes the face cheerful,” v.13
  • “the cheerful heart has a continual feast” v. 15
  • A man finds joy in giving an apt reply” v. 23
  • “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,” v. 30

However we also see the results of a sour spirit and an unjoyful person too.

  • “harsh word stirs up anger.”  v. 1
  • “the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” v. 2
  • a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” v. 4
  • The LORD detests the way of the wicked” v. 9
  • “heartache crushes the spirit.” v. 13
  • “All the days of the oppressed are wretched,” v. 15
  • “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,” v. 18
  • A greedy man brings trouble to his family, v. 27
  • “the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” v. 28

What I think is so important to remember, is that the control for our joy is found within us.

If we allow the true love of Jesus to consume us than joy is in abundance.

But if the world is allowed to overtake our spirit we become joy deficient and the storm clouds always seem to be resting over our heads.

We have the choice on how we react and interact with the world around us.  My prayer is that you and I choose to allow the love of Christ to dwell within us so deeply that no matter what is throw our way our spirit can remain filled with joy.

Down in my heart to stay!

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No One Is Bigger Than The Game

There is a saying in sports that goes like this, “No One Is Bigger Than The Game.”

What this means is that no one person is bigger, more important, or more crucial to the game than the game itself.  After all without the game there is no “you.”  In essence it is a reminder that “You are NOT as important as you think you are.”

Although every person in athletics knows this, there are always people that feel they are the exception to the rule.  Most recently former Head Football Coach for the University of Arkansas, Bobby Patrino, demonstrated this fact.

Patrino is accused of cheating on his wife and 4 children with a former Arkansas volleyball player, hiring her to his football staff, and giving her $20,000 from the program.  This corruption was only discovered after he was in a motorcycle accident with the woman on the back.  At the time of the accident, Patrino lied to the University about the accident details and his involvement with the woman.  It was only when the police report came out and he was pressed about it did he admit the relationship and facts about the accident.  The road rash on Patrino’s face was only the beginning of the road rash his life now would endure.

Interestingly though, at the press conference announcing the firing of Patrino, Athletic Director Jeff Long was asked if he thought, “Patrino thought he was bigger than the game?” to which the AD responded, “Yes”.

Patrino is not alone on this list. Several other men and woman such as Tiger Woods, Diana Turassi, Warren Sapp, Marion Jones, Allen Iverson, OJ Simpson, and many others have fallen from the ranks of the elite as a result moral, financial, or legal failures because of their bigger than life perceptions of themselves.

However, we don’t have to be superstar athletes with Adonis complexes to think we are bigger than life.  If we are honest, we even think we are bigger than God at times.

Our sin is the demonstration that we think we are bigger than God.

We feel that His ways are out dated, behind the times, and sucking the fun out of our lives so we go our own way.  Sure, we may go to church and wear a cross around our neck, but when it comes down to it that’s as far as it goes as far as God impacting our Monday – Saturday lives.

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago God said these words,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,

declares the LORD.

Now, it may be an old book, but the Bible is incredible timeless.  The words of Isaiah are as true today as they were back then because the human nature is the same.

We all want to do it our way not God’s way.

What we find as we go through life with this “Bigger than the game mentality” is that we may feel like we are accomplishing a great deal, but the trail we are blazing was never intended by God for us to go on.  It’s a trail filled with great pain, heartache, and leaves us bleeding on the side of the road with a face full of road rash and handful of what could have been.

Believe me.  God is not confused about who’s in charge.  The creator of the Universe does not look at what you and I do outside of His will and say, “Wow, I never thought of that.  I should adopt that into my overall plan.”  His plan is perfect and our job is to fall into the plan if we want to be in His will.  If we want to see the blessings he has for us in our life.  If we want to be actually followers of Christ in our entire life and not just our Sunday mornings.

We would serve ourselves best if we adopted Micah 6:8 as the verse to refocuses us on a daily basis.  It says:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly

with your God. 

If we passionately pursue this on a daily basis, we will find ourselves more in step with God than we ever though possible and never thinking our ways are bigger than Him.

The difference is that although the world will tell you that you are “Not as important as you think you are”, God is telling you over and over and over in his Word that “You are WAY more important that you think you are.  That’s why I sent my Son to die for you and why I want you to follow the plan I have for you.”

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We Killed Jesus

I thought coming back to remembering this on Good Friday seemed fitting.  How amazing is the love our God!!!

 

It’s not Easter, but do you remember the Cross?

Have the images of The Passion of the Christ movie left you relegated to your stock remembrances of Jesus?

Maybe for a moment, try to remember one more time how much love it took for Christ to willingly suffer on the Cross meant for us. 

The Bible tells us that as the time drew nearer for His death Jesus took time to pray at the Mount of Olives.  Luke tells us that knowing what lay before him he prayed “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will buy yours be done.”  As drips of blood soaked sweat fell into His eyes he stood to his feet.

He turned to walk away only to find His disciples, His friends, sleeping while He prayed for His life.

No sooner had He said those words then a crowd enters led by one of His disciples.  Judas approaches the Man whom he had followed for 3 years and kisses Him on the cheek sealing both of their fates.

Jesus was then arrested and as He walks to His trial He is blindfolded and beaten.  As each punch thrown lands on this defenseless man He is mocked and ridiculed.

He is led to a series of unjust trials between Pilate and Herod until ultimately Pilate gives into the wishes of the Jewish mob and sentences Jesus to death while releasing a convicted murder.  A scene all to representative of what Christ did for us.

Even before the death penalty was to be conducted Jesus was flogged.  Stripped naked and shackled to a post a Roman Executioner would administer the lashes.  A long whip with a metal ball embedded by bits of bone and metal were used to beat this innocent Man.  The whip would tenderize the flesh of the victim to the point that skin could not withstand anymore abuse and would burst.  Beyond that point, the whip’s recoil would take chunks of flesh and bone exposing tissue, muscle and organs.

From there this carpenter from Nazareth now beaten and bleeding profusely would be forced to carry the cross beam of His own cross.  Weighing over 100 pounds the beam would be thrust onto the exposed shoulder of Jesus whose entire body most certainly was in shock.

Not able to carry the beam any longer or perhaps because the guards were growing weary of the pace, a man is grabbed from the crowd to carry the cross the remaining distance. 

This crucifixion was not an isolated incident in history.  It was a wide spread Roman method of execution  reserved for only the most heinous of crimes.  Thousands of people have died as a result of it including Peter.  History tells us that as many as 6,000 slaves were crucified at once for following Spartacus along the Appian Way, a distance spanning miles. 

Once at the site, Jesus had railroad-eske spikes driven into the most sensitive nerve centers of His body.  The spikes would have been driven through the wrists and the ankles so that the weight of the body could be supported to prolong the agony as long as humanly possible. 

Christ then would have been hoisted into the air to be attached to the vertical bea.  He then would be left to die a slow and painful death.  History tells us that crowds would taunt and mock the victims and the condemned would try to urinate and spit on the people in retaliation.  Even women that were crucified would be hung with their faces against the beam so that their anguish could not be seen.  It was an agonizing and disgraceful death.

A death ultimately of asphyxiation, as over time he no longer could push his body weight up enough on the spike through his feet to allow the air to enter his lungs.

After breathing His last, Christ was then observed by another Roman Executioner.  Who, to be certain death had taken place, thrust a spear into His side puncturing the sac around His heart.  Blood and water would have poured out through the spear-sized hole confirming the death.

And yet through all of this, Peter tells us that “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats”.

We killed Jesus.

We killed Jesus by our sin.

Peter goes on to tell us though, that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed”.

So I ask you that when we consider your lives and the suffering you endure do so through eyes of Christ.  Realize that the suffering we encounter pales in comparison to that of Christ, but because He loved us first we will never endure eternal death. 

Yes we will go through struggles and yes we will suffer, but we should look to Jesus as our example of how to endure.  We should remember that there is better beyond what we go through and it is assured because of Christ.

We have been healed by Jesus’ wounds and by the unconditional Love He has for you and I.

May we never forget. 

 

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5 Ways To Avoid A Candy Coated Easter

The time was finally right.

Three days had passed and the promise of the Messiah needed to be fulfilled.  Sitting on the edge of the stony ledge that once held his lifeless body He gathers himself before standing.  He steadies himself for one last journey on these fragile human legs.  He stands to his feet and looks to the stone that blocks his path.  By his command it rolls back and Jesus steps out onto the damp evening ground.

As His human eyes adjust to the light, he couldn’t help but notices small plastic eggs hidden in crevasses and bushes everywhere.  A small rabbit with an oversized basket hops too and fro meticulously placing these oval cases at the height of only children.  In his frantic pace one egg tips over breaking it, but only to reveal it’s actually two plastic halves and inside are brightly wrapped pieces with Cadbury on them.

As he wipes the death defeated sleep from His eyes, Jesus finally realizes what’s going on.  It must be…

EASTER!!!

:)

I hope you can accept my comical attempt to mesh the Resurrection with the Rabbit, but if we stop to think for a moment this is what we tend to do at Easter.  We’ve literally candy coated much of what we celebrate down to the cross used to murder our Lord and Savior.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good Easter egg hunt and if I could live on Cadbury eggs for the year I would.  I’m not saying we should burn pictures of the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, and Billy Graham because they don’t read the King James Bible.

But what I’m hoping for us all this year is that we can take a few more minutes to reflect on the real reason for Easter.

Here are 5 quick ways to avoid a Candy Coated Easter this year.

  1. Talk About Jesus:  The reason we celebrate Easter is for Jesus.  The death, burial, and resurrection of Him.  As it simple as it may sound, keep Him at the center of your conversations when Easter comes up in conversation.
  2. Read About Jesus:  Take it upon yourself to read the Bible about what Jesus did for us.  I recommend reading Luke 22-24:12 as good place to start.  It’s also never too late to read through the Easter Devotional we put together at Parkview!  The more we can dive into the Word of God the more we can appreciate his Love for us.
  3. Pray To Jesus:  One of the best ways to refocus back to what is important is through prayer.  Take a few moments leading up to this weekend to stop and thank Jesus for his love and affection toward us and for taking the death we deserved on the cross.
  4. Take Action For Jesus Find a way to tangible show your love of Christ through your actions.  Volunteer to feed the homeless, step up to serve at one of the Easter Services at your church, or reach out to an elderly person to invite them to dinner with you.  Just find ways to become the hands of feet of Christ this year.
  5. Invite People To Meet Jesus:  I know this can seem like a daunting task for many of us, but this time of year makes is so much easier.  It may be as simple as answering this question, “Who have I wanted to invite to church, but haven’t?”  The answer to that question is the person you should invite to church with you this year knowing that Jesus will be presented to them.

Whatever you do, take 5 and remember Jesus this Easter by not getting caught up in the Diabetes-producing trappings as much this year.

Remember how much Jesus loves you!!!!

Happy Weaster! :)

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 14:14 – Words of Wisdom For A Busy Week

The faithless will be fully repaid of their ways,

and the goodman rewarded for his.”

- Probers 14:14

I wanted to be brief today for a reason.

There is much to do and the week is just beginning.

I’m writing this on a Monday and ahead of me lies messages to write, people to visit in hospitals, grass to cut, meetings to attend and conduct, music to learn and prepare, an Easter Service to finalize, and that’s just the stuff I know about!  Who knows what there is in store for me that I can’t even see!

I’m sure you are looking at the landscape of your week and thinking that same thing.

There is much to do.

I want us all to let Solomon’s words sink into us and be a reminder that hard work, integrity, perseverance, and a God centered approach to all that we do is crucial to not just making it through our week, but thriving in our week to His Glory.

Solomon was far from perfect, but we can learn much from the words of one of the wealthiest, wisest, and God fearing men we know of in the Bible.

 

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.Proverbs 14:1

“A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. – Proverbs 14:5

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.Proverbs 14:8

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.Proverbs 14:12

“All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.Proverbs 14:23

“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.Proverbs 14:26

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.Proverbs 14:27

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – Proverbs 14:30

 

Take a moment to reread those passages above and let them sink in.  Find one that resonates with your upcoming week and write it down on small piece of paper.  Now, take that piece of paper and tape it to the dashboard of your car when you leave.  Have it serve as a reminder to you each day of this week of where your focus needs to be.

Now, take a minute to think of someone you know that is going to have a busy or a stressful week.  Pray that God will lay the truths of Proverbs 14 on their hearts and pray for God’s encouragement in their life.

Finally, take a moment to pray for yourself.  Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment for decisions that are pleasing to Him.  Pray you do not neglect your relationship with Him at the expense of this busy week, but find balance.  Ask that He use your week for his Glory in the lives of anyone you come in contact with.  Finally ask God to allow you to look back at the end of this week and be pleased with what was accomplished by His strength.

There may be much to do, but I know God is good in all things so I’m ready to take it on.

How about you?!!

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