Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs ~ Rest in Peace?

As I read about the creative life of Steve Jobs, I can’t help but wonder how he missed that there is a Creator. For over thirty years Steve and his associates brain-stormed, had huge vision and made grand goals, many of which came to life and have affected the entire world as well as much of the space that can be seen.

How did such a brilliant mind lead the way in bringing the needed intelligence from basically nothing to the overwhelming and incomprehensible pocket brains that many of us hold in our hands?

The Apple creator missed the Creator of the apple. Instead, he chose to follow Buddha. Buddha’s teachings reject a Creator and contend that questions on the origin of the universe are “worthless.” They embrace that Nirvana (alleviating stress) is the highest attainable goal, that yoga lends itself to spiritual insight and tranquility, and that karma is the influence behind cause and effect. They cling to the belief that this life carries on into multiple lives or the “consciousness in the new person is neither identical nor entirely different from that in the deceased, but they form a causal continuum or stream.”

I believe in one true God (God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son). I believe that good (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection) have won the battle over sin. I believe that we are free because He lives again. I believe that those who trust in God’s gift of salvation are freed from sin. I believe in a kingdom without end. I believe to be absent from the body is to be with Christ!

Peter 3:18-21 “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Forever 27 (Amy Winehouse)

Amy Winehouse is the latest addition to the Forever 27 Club. What killed her? Fame? Pressure? Loneliness? Fortune? Image?

Why do special people with amazing talent live life to the extreme and then die before they discover true life? Jimmy Hendricks, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Amy lived very different lives than most of us. They gave a special gift to the world, but they left with less than what they could have given.

They became entangled within the all consuming web of drug and alcohol abuse. They were enticed by the sideshow of themselves and were ultimately crushed by the deceiver.

I believe that God created everything that exists. I believe that God is merciful and just. I believe that he loves us more than we could ever love him. I believe that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue acknowledge him as the Lord. I wonder how many will acknowledge him as Savior.

Philippians 2:9-11 says, "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Not Guilty? Are You Serious?

From what the media bias presented to the American public it would appear that Casey Anthony was guilty of pre-meditated murder, lying, deceit and acts of revenge. However, she was acquitted: discharged completely.

As I watch the re-runs of the verdict being stated and the relief that consumes Casey's demeanor, I sense a glimpse of what salvation must feel like.

One day we will all stand before the Lord knowing the crimes that we've committed. The crimes are murder, lying, deceit, acts of revenge and many, many more. The "acquitted" verdict will be given to those that have acknowledged their condition and have claimed Christ as their Savior. For those that have not claimed Christ as their Savior, that day will be the beginning of a prison sentence that will never end.

Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Impressions

There is much to be said regarding first impressions. Most people will say that the first impression is the most important. It is said that once you make a good first impression the rest is easy.

I disagree. Not that I disagree with a positive first impression being important, I just think that the last impression is the most important. Especially if the first impression and middle impression were positive.

I put in my two week notice as a mobile Paramedic twelve days ago. I am finished "working" as a medic. I have been working off and on an ambulance for twenty years. It has been a great learning experience. It has helped in my ministry career because I have learned to understand the immense hurt, shame and grief people experience daily.  

The problem is, I don't want to work for the next two days. I want to quit today. Actually, I wanted to quit twelve days ago. However, I can't. Of course I could, but that would make a poor last impression.

I have tried to be a Christ reflector as I've worked side by side with many Christians, atheists and agnostics. Though I have built friendships with these partners, I know they're watching. They've been watching all along.

The last impression is the hardest to produce, but it is the most important. Especially as followers of Christ.

Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sleeping Pickle

Almost every night as Wendy and I are getting ready to go to bed, I look into the refrigerator for a little snack. As my eyes scan the contents, I most often choose a piece of turkey lunch meat and a dill pickle

As I climb the stairs leading to our bedroom, I pace my bites of pickle so that the last bite takes place as I approach my side of the bed. As I crawl into bed, I receive the same response from Wendy that I get every other night that I crawl into bed with pickle breath, "again, Michael?" Then she turns and faces away from me. So, I get up and brush my teeth to remove some of the offense. 

Why do people do the things that annoy those they love the most? Why are people so selfish? Why am I so selfish?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

That is the kind of love that never fails! That is the kind of love that the Lord has for us. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fat Boy

Needing to lose about 20 pounds, I recently attempted the diet plan of Weight Watchers. I lasted for exactly 9 hours. I skipped breakfast the first morning and had a turkey sandwich for lunch. I was trying to accumulate "points" for later. As I began preparing dinner, I realized the limited amount of food that I could eat (including my extra points and weekly bonus points) and it wasn't enough. I decided I wanted more than what I was alloted. I quit Weight Watchers while I was cooking dinner. 

What if God handled the human sin condition that way? What if every new day we were alloted a certain amount of sin? What if we accumulated sin points if we were "good enough?" How about if we received weekly bonus sin points for the nice things we did for other people? What if there was a plan that balanced out our sin? There is: 

Ephesians 1:7 "In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us." 

I'm counting on moderation and exercise.
I'm depending on forgiveness through His sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

F Bombs

It happened again. I went to work today as a Medic, met a new partner and started the day as normal. We made sure that we had all of the needed supplies in the unit to handle any type of emergency call and headed out to serve those in need. 

Apparently, my partner thought that I was 'cool' enough and began to express himself explicitly. I was amazed at how creative he could be with the F bombs. He had a bomb in every sentence. He was able to drop in two bombs in one sentence! At one point, he dropped two bombs in one sentence along with a couple of other well know explicit words. 

As the day progressed we began to talk about each others lives, interests and hobbies. He asked about what I do in my off time and I mentioned that I serve/work full time in ministry. He thought that was 'cool' too. From that point on I didn't hear another bomb get dropped. Not even an explicit term. I was impressed at the way he could tell a story without bombs!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16

Be you. The you that you were created to be.
Worship Him today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

I have a friend who grew up as a believer in Christ, served on missionary teams that assisted those in need and was a prominent figure in his high-school youth group.

As he got older his belief in God dwindled as his faith in science increased. He opened his heart, mind, soul and strength to evolution, the existence of space aliens and conspiracy theories.

I spent months with him discussing God, creation and the Messiah. He continually argued and disregarded God. He bordered blaspheming him.

If God truly existed he wanted a clear sign from him. He wanted proof. He wanted God to "appear" to him.

My friend wanted to control God. He wanted to be the God of God.

Fortunately, that is not how it works. God has revealed himself through creation and through his word. He is visible to those who know him.

"They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
2 Timothy 4:4

"Come near to God and he will come near to you..."
James 4:8

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alabama Slammer

"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!'"
Corinthians 12:21

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."
Ephesians 4:15

I cannot begin to say what God's involvement was in the devastating tornado's that rolled through the south, but I do know that where his people are and what his people do in times of trouble, hurt and grief is a reflection of him. Maybe even more than a reflection. If Christ lives in us, and we act in love, who was it that acted in love? Him or us? I propose him acting through us. God has made the work of the kingdom dependent on us.

Whether we pray for the victims and their families, lend a hand or send financial resource, we must do something. God depends on us!

He wouldn't say, "I don't need you."

Worship Him today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lights Out!

"Rinse your plate.""Load it in the dish washer.""Turn off the light.""Mike, go back and turn off the light."
These are examples of thoughts that would go through my mind when I was a kid. 

My relationship with Christ began when I was twelve and from that time on I would sense a voice inside of me reminding me of the little things that I should do. This passage from Matthew 7:12 would invade my thoughts: "do to others as you would have them do to you." I would hear that thought and keep walking. I would feel that thought and keep walking. Moments later, annoyed, I would turn around and go back and "do to others."

Is that how the Holy Spirit works? Is that the guidance from the Counselor that Jesus was talking about or was that me doing the right thing because I loved my parents and wanted to please them? I've asked myself these questions many times over the years.

There are multiple passages that speak of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Here's one; 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own..."

In the beginning God walked with Adam. Years later he spoke to Moses from a burning bush. After that, he spoke through his prophets. Then he came in the flesh (Christ) and said, "I will be going away but I will send you a guide that will live within you." That's close! So close that now he say's "I'm inside."

So my question is, when we sense God speaking within us and we decide to "do" what he says, is it us doing it or is it God doing it? The answer is it's him doing it through us. Our partnership with God binds so tight that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish who is doing what.

If God say's "turn off the light," then turn off the light.
If God says "let your light shine," then let your light shine.
Be his hands and feet.
Worship him today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

UFC Rocks!

At first I hated the UFC because it was too brutal. I was a boxer when I was young and thought boxing was the best fighting sport. I was wrong. UFC is better. The fighters square off face to face and throw punches, elbows, kicks, flying knees and hammer fists. They ground and pound, strangle hold and apply the ol' arm bar. The fight normally ends with one of the contenders submitting by tapping out or being knocked unconscious. Ouch! Way tougher. It doesn't look easy. The fighters have more ability, more stamina and train much harder. Those fighters rock!
No doubt the UFC is tough.
No doubt life is tough. Especially as a Christian.

Life is filled with all kinds of pain: physical and emotional, spiritual and relational. There are medical scares, financial troubles and baggage from the past that continues to haunt us. Our children run astray and sometimes even God seems distant. 
In the midst of our struggle, God reminds us to come to him with our frustrations and hurts. To come to the corner and rest. He reminds us to cling to him, trust him and follow him. We pray but so often, the words we say feel like they go nowhere. We wonder if God even cares. We plead with him to no avail. We might even get fussy like Job and question him, disputing his plan.

We are wise when we get face to face with God and ask, "what do you want from me? How shall I continue with this heavy load?" His response will be something that sounds like, "I want you to keep fighting."

1 Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Fighting (clinging to, trusting and following Christ) does not make life easier. In fact, it may even make life harder because we have to care about the things that he cares about. Ideals like generosity, serving, sacrifice, sharing the pain of others, the homeless, the outcast, the suffering, the broken and the lost.
Your cares increase, and in turn your time with him increases, which is right where he wants you to be.

Wrestling with God will always result in a better you, if you choose to submit to Him.

Difficult? Yes. 
Worth it? Yes.

Fighting rocks? Yes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Best Blog Ever!

Blog, blog, everywhere a blog. Blog this, blog that, won't you read my blog? So many blogs, so little time. All sorts of people blog. All sorts of people blog about all sorts of things. I even find myself blogging. I am blogging right now. I wonder how much time is spent reading blogs. I wonder how much time is spent blogging blogs. 

In 1947 the most incredible archeological find was discovered in caves near the northwest shore of the Dead SeaThe Dead Sea Scrolls. Pieces of the entire Old Testament were found including the entire book of Isaiah (minus the book of Ester).

This discovery is so phenomenal because the prophesies of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) are written in the book of Isaiah, which was first written in about 700BC. The scrolls that were found were dated back to between 100-250 BC. These scrolls are copies that were copied by the Jewish scribes of that day. They are rock solid evidence that the Christ was prophesied about prior to his arrival (Isaiah 53).

Christ came and fulfilled all of the prophecies!

“The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets...” Acts 13:27

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

God has taken the time to reveal himself to us through his Word. Let's take the time to read and discover for ourselves that truth can be found in the scriptures.

Jesus answered “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32

The converse of John 8:32 is also true. If it doesn't set you free, it isn't Truth. Real peace can only be found in Christ.

If seeing the Rolling Hills Worship blog reminds you to read "God's blog" (the best blog ever) then this blog has served it's purpose. If you decide to read God's blog instead of this blog, the same applies.

Worship Him today.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heart to Heart to Heart

My ambition for creating the Rolling Hills Worship blog is twofold: One ~ It is essential that I have an objective goal in order to maintain momentum in a certain direction. Two ~ As a minister, my hope is that my heart, in union with God's heart, (through his word) will be an encouragement to the reader and engages their heart to worship. It's a heart thing!

You may have read the popular passage from Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” You may have also heard talks regarding how challenging it is to be still. It seems difficult to sit for five minutes in stillness.

I have found it easier to go to a quiet place away from all of the distractions but even then, many times I catch myself day dreaming, sight-seeing and speaking random thoughts out loud to God. However, there is no doubt that it means a lot to God when the child attempts to relate to him even with a short attention span. Maybe that's just me.

I read a quote from Philip Yancey today that was endearing and made me wonder; "It occurred to me one day that though I often worry about whether or not I sense the presence of God, I give little thought to whether God senses the presence of me." 

Turns out it may be a heart thing for God too! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Initial Sin Revisited

If in our quest to be intimate with Christ personally we ignore, neglect or simply forget to communicate to him through prayer, we are in a sense repeating the first sin of creation. Eve and Adam were tempted by the serpent and enticed to become like God.

We will unknowingly be inclined to remove him from the process of guiding our lives if we fail to come to him in prayer, thus becoming the god of our own life.

Genesis 3:1 "The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Take this opportunity to pray!