Being Open With and Open To God

On Sunday we talked about prayer. We talked about how we are called to be first open with God about all that’s within us. We saw how both David and Jesus boldly go to God holding nothing back. They share deeply. They share doubts. They share their hurts, their emotions, and they share absolutely honestly.

The truth is God can handle our feelings, our hurts, questions and wonderings. So go to God openly and be open with him.

But the amazing thing is that Jesus and David don’t just leave it there. They aren’t just open with God, but are also open to God. They are open to God changing them, to using them, and open that God’s will might be different than their personal desires. Both David and Jesus have deep trust in the God who created light out of dark, that he can do that in their lives. God can create light out of the difficulty, pain, and hurt in their lives – but they are open to God’s will and desire. Jesus says, “But not my will by yours be done”.

Jesus is open with God, with his feelings and thoughts, but is also open to God’s will. This is what I believe is at the heart of prayer. Being open with God, but also open to God’s will and desire.

So today why not take a moment and share with God, boldly if need be, what it is you need, want, and desire. Share with him where you are at ~ trusting in him. But then be open to him. Be open to him changing you, shaping you, and that his will might be different. Because the goal of prayer is not to get our way, but to connect with God. So spend time sharing with God, but spend just as much time listening for his direction.

Pray being open with God, and open to God…

Being Theologically Corrected by a 2-Year Old

Hudson loves church. It’s possible because our nursery here has better toys than we do at home. Mostly he loves the gigantic Mater that we have here.

But for a while Hudson was very proud that “This is Daddy’s church”. I’m pretty sure he thinks I own the building. He would also point and say, “Daddy’s church, daddy’s church, daddy’s church”. I tried to explain that I didn’t own the church but he kept at it.

Then one day it all shifted.

We drove into church on a Sunday and I said to him, “Look Hudson, is this Daddy’s church?” And he looks at me like I was so silly and he says in his most important voice. “No Daddy, this not Daddy’s church. This Hudson’s church. This Hudson’s church. Mine”. And with that he ran into the church, into my office, and climbed into my desk chair.

But here’s the thing – he’s right. The church isn’t mine. I belong to it, but so does he. The church is a people we belong to. And Hudson belongs to this family just as much as I do. So when he says, “No Daddy, it’s Hudson’s church” he is right because in his little mind he is trying to tell me this is part of his life too. Hudson is right, this is his church, and it belongs to everyone who decides to follow Jesus with this community. So as a dad, a pastor, but mostly as a Christian I couldn’t be more excited that Hudson has realized this is his church too. Hudson has made the shift from going to church, to believing he is a part of it.

For you though do you feel the same sense of ownership, partnership and belonging in your church? Because I think we should. In whatever church we are a part of we should be proud like Hudson to say, “this is my church.”

Now of course it could be that he just love’s the Mater toy that’s there. As a dad, but even more as a Christian, I have to believe something deeper is going on.  I believe he said “No Daddy, it’s Hudson’s church” because he knows he belongs here. And you know what – he’s right…

Sex Talk in Church

So on Sunday we talked about sex. We talked about God’s perspective on it, trying to understand two questions: why was it given and what’s the basis for great sex?

Biblically, God’s design for sex is pretty clear – it’s to unite and connect. When God says a man leaves his father and mother and becomes “one flesh” with his wife in Genesis 2:24,what God is saying is that sex connects. That two people, two lives, two different beings become truly one in a deep sense. This isn’t just a physical oneness but a deep relational, spiritual, and emotional oneness. That’s the beauty of marriage and of sex.

The way then you have great sex is to focus on that oneness. Great sex doesn’t flow out of great desire. Great sex flows out of great intimacy. Relationships are built on intimacy, trust, and commitment, and when you have that – that’s when great sex happens. We read about it in Song of Songs 4:12 how the man says his sex was so great it was like cool, refreshing, living water. He says this happens because of the intimacy, the depth of connection, and the sacredness between him and his bride. Their choice to only choose each other generated deeper and better sex because of the intimacy and connection that was there.

So that’s what we looked at last Sunday, that sex connects, and great sex is based in great intimacy and commitment.

So this week no matter what stage and place you are in whether married, looking, or single and content, focus on building trust and intimacy in your friendships and relationships. Because that’s what really matters and that’s what makes a great friendship.

And lastly, if you want to hear my semi-awkward sharing on sex it will be posted under sermon download shortly. What you won’t get though is the visual of me turning red a few times!

Moving into the Neighborhood

In the first chapter of John we read that the Word was God, with God, and moved into the neighborhood. Jesus came and joined us where we are at. He joined our communities. He joined our lives.

That’s really what being a Christian is about. Joining a neighborhood. Joining a community. Moving in and taking part. I’ve been noticing that a lot more lately, because when you are a part of a community that’s when connections begin.

Hudson and I frequent the same coffee shop every Friday together. And because of this consistency we have been developing friendships. We also go to our local park. Today at the park an older couple came up to us and remarked that we have a very happy boy. They said they’ve noticed how happy, and energetic he is whenever they’ve seen him. And we started a conversation and a connection. That’s what happens when you truly join a community, you get to know people and they get to know you.

And this is how you spread the gospel – one life, conversation, and connection at a time. This happens when we truly decided to become a part of our neighborhoods. This is what Jesus’ example demonstrates. He moves into our neighborhoods and joins us there. He frequents our locales, he shares his presence, proximity and his life. We are called to do the same. So here is an easy but important question:

Whose neighborhood are you a part of? Who are you developing friendships with? Are you a part of your community?

These are questions we need to ask if we are going to follow Jesus, because following Jesus means moving into a neighborhood just like he did.

So let’s follow Jesus’ example and truly move into our neighborhoods with good news and grace following us. Let’s change our street, our workplaces, and families by being a part of them and spreading grace and life. Let’s be like Jesus…

How Do You Connect With God?…

On Sunday were going to be focusing on one key part of following Jesus: our relationship with him. If we are going to follow Jesus we need to have a strong, deep, and vibrant life with him. The question is, how do we do that? How do we ensure our relationship with him stays strong? How do we stop drifting apart?

In essence, on Sunday I want to share how to keep a strong connection with God.

Which leads me to my post for today. Take a moment and think and reflect in your own life: how do you connect with God?

What is it that’s apart of your life that helps you to stay grounded with him? What practices, rhythms, or acitivites do you do to connect with him? All of us are diverse; our personalities, preferences, and particulars differ. So the ways in which we connect with God as also diverse.

So my challenge for today is simply to do this. Take time and reflect on your life and how you intentionally connect with him.

  • What strengthens your relationship?
  • What gives it new depth and meaning?
  • What have you found helpful in keeping your connection strong?

And then if you can, comment, email me, or facebook me about how you connect with God.

Because your way of connecting maybe just the encouragement or inspiration for someone else…