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I have been reading through Matthew and came to the chapter that discusses Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-31). I guess I have just always remembered this as another miracle of Jesus but when I read it recently it just really hit me in such a brand new way. As I thought more about this passage I began to realize that this story is not about Jesus but about Peter and faith.
Maybe you are smarter than me and knew this fact all along but I really feel like the Lord spoke to me through this passage and it finally hit me. Real faith is not about the first step towards Christianity….It’s the second step in the midst of the storm that truly defines our character. Peter had the faith to step out of the boat (which is probably more brave than I might have been) but when the sea began to kick up and the water was no longer calm he took his eye off Christ and began to sink.
Isn’t that just like life….Just when we need God the most we turn inward and start trying to assess and solve our problems on our own. I was just blown away at how relevant this passage is in our troubled BAILOUT driven society. I believe that God has the power to move in someones heart and that they can be saved in a church service or anyplace else for that matter. When people seek God with absolute humility and honesty and call out on the name of the Lord to live in their heart then they are saved! We have to make sure that we mentor and coach both “new” and “old” believers because it is the storms of life that cause us to take our moral compass off of the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is telling us through this story that even when we begin to sink into the pit of life’s problems he will be there with an extended hand to make sure that we climb out of the depths of life’s despair. When we turn our life and our problems over to him the storms subside and our life returns to the relative calm that we are used to.
Do not fear the storms of this life because the open hand of Jesus and the promise of a new day are waiting for you just beyond the clouds!
Last night at the school board meeting we voted to purchase property from New Riverside Ochre for Emerson elementary school. This property does two important things for the school system long term.
- The site is large enough that we could build the Emerson replacement school and as it becomes overcrowded a second school could be built to split the school into primary and elementary buildings. This is more than likely a 10 year plan but it gives us many options to consider moving forward. This site while larger also offered the lowest per acre development cost compared to the other sites that we looked at.
- This allows us to have a community school feel in the Emerson community. This creates a situation in which a student would basically be in the same area for K-8 and will provide cost savings in transportation to both parents and the school system.
Last night Roger Maier released a statement regarding his place of residence. I have taken a number of calls on this issue and appreciate the fact that Roger addressed this for the public to weigh in on. The link below will take you to a story on this issue from The Daily Tribune.
Roger Maier: I live in my district
Check out this letter of thanks to President Bush! I agree with what was said and appreciate the work that President Bush did to keep this country safe!
I am reading through the book ax-i-om by Bill Hybels with some men from Oak Leaf Church. The chapters are short and have lots of great information about leadership and how to handle different situations that life presents.
Yesterday we went through the chapter called The Big Ask and it was really relevant to me both personally and professionally. Professionally I am in sales so I am always asking somebody for something. I have always been an extrovert and good with people but I don’t know that I would call myself a “natural” salesman. I am great at the presentation, customer service, follow-up but I have always struggled with the “close” or asking for the business even when I have earned it through the course of our conversation. In my political life during both my run for the state legislature and my time on the school board I despise asking people for money. I really don’t see this particular condition improving and that will probably be terminal to my political career.
It made me feel much better to see that Bill Hybels who is as successful as anyone can be in ministry still has issues with this very thing. The key in both our cases is that you cannot allow that discomfort to keep you from making the Big Ask. The is another chapter called “Never say someones No for them” and I think these two chapters are really connected. People in many cases are desperate to do the right thing and just need to be steered in the right direction.
There is a quote from the book that says:
The nature of human beings is such that we tend not to drift into better behaviors. We usually have to be asked by someone to consider taking it up a level.
In your life think about what person or situation calls for Making The Big Ask. Do not be afraid of asking the question because the only sure way to see no results is to never do it. Leadership sometimes requires a laser focus on the end goal and in many cases that requires a certain level of discomfort on the part of the leader. Make the Big Ask, fight through the uneasiness and see how your organization or project will benefit from your courage!
In reading through Matthew 9 this morning I came across the following verse:
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I love the fact that Jesus was willing to go where the “work” was. He went to the places that normal religous people of the day would never spend time. He understood that faith was not an exclusive club for those who already believe. Our charge from Jesus is to go out in the “world” and make disciples of men. In the same chapter Jesus goes on to say this:
37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”
Take a look at you life right now and ask yourself if you are doing what you can to bring people into the kingdom of God. Remember being a missionary does not always require a passport. There are people in your own community who go unministered to because people don’t want to be seen associating with sinners. Be like Jesus and go where the work is and you will be rewarded in Heaven!
Yesterday was a great day at Oak Leaf church! We have expanded our services to 4 so that we could make room for more of God’s people. This on the service does not sound all that special. When you consider that we meet out of a movie theater and that 4 service required that we stagger the service time in TWO theaters instead of one it was a big undertaking.
This change meant that we had to a significant number of volunteers and do things in a completely different way. Many people and organizations try and find was to do less things but we made a decision to do more. The payoff has come in the last two weeks with growth in church attendance. Yesterday we had almost 1200 people come through the doors of Carmike Cinemas to have meet Jesus Christ!
I love the fact that we are willing to constantly reinvent the way we do things to impact the people of our community for Jesus. Now we have some volunteers call for 5 services. Sounds like I may be getting up even earlier on Sundays!
I read Matthew chapter 6 this morning and I was amazed at how relevant this chapter was to so many of the struggles people are dealing with right now. As I continue to work on being a better Christian God just blows me away at how he always provides what we need at the time when we need it most! Here are a few of the point covered in this chapter:
- Giving to the Poor
- Money & Saving
- Stress & Worry
Have these topics ever been more important than right now? There are many people who say that the Bible is an old book and that it has no relevance in 2009. This chapter alone disproves that theroy and Jesus gives us a blueprint on how to live our daily lives. I am excited about the TRUTH that the Bible still holds for me everyday!