Monday, May 14, 2012

“It Only Takes a Spark”

This time of year brings back memories of summer camp. For me it was Bethany Hills Camp in Tennessee. It was the place where my faith was shaped, molded, and developed. I am confident it was the beauty and serenity of the place along with the awesome people God put in my life as our paths crossed during our faith journey. I know God is everywhere, but that rustic camp in the hills of Tennessee was the location God spoke to me, reached out to me, and formulated the foundation of my faith. It as a place where I found a peace that seemed to avoid me elsewhere. I don’t know the mystery of the place but it has had the same affect on hundreds of young people who have traveled through there on life’s journey over a century. It brings me great joy and assurance that both of my children continue to journey there each summer knowing God is working on them also. It is where God plants seeds in the souls of young people. Many of us have special places like that where God’s presence is more audible than in the confines of our daily life. Not only was my faith shaped there so was taught lessons in life. I learned quickly that the guys who could play guitar also held the attention of all the young ladies. So during the winter away from camp, I taught myself a couple of chords and learned the poplar campfire songs. While I had ulterior motives, God put a spark in me that grew to a fire of a love for playing music. One of the popular songs of the day was Pass It One. I’m sure you have heard it. Sing along with me.

It only takes a spark, to get a fire going.
And soon all those around, can warm up it it's glowing.
That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it,
it's fresh like spring, you want to sing, you want to pass it on.

The Online Dictionary defines the word Spark: as anything that activates or stimulates; inspiration or catalyst. It only takes a spark to change the world in which we live in. God places a spark in each and every one of us. When we decided to intentionally fan that flame it will quickly spread into large flame. The book of Acts speaks of a spark that ignited a flame which eventual grew to a fire that is known as the local church. We are one of them. We can change the Centralia community with the fire that was started long before us. The flame is bigger than one person or one group of people but we can add our fuel to it that will be the catalyst for change. We can be the spark that activates, stimulates, inspires, and the catalyst to change in our community. Join us as we kick off a new sermon series The Spark. We will discover how to fan the flame that God has put in our own life to bring about change in our relationships, our careers, our faith and our community. It really does only take a spark, to get a fire going. It’s it really time to ignite something big.
Peace, Love and Happiness:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

“Smart Phone Theology”

In keeping with my ministerial colleges and in order to do ministry in today’s environment, I bought a smart phone. I feel in my own mind that I am a pretty tech savvy guy. Just ask my mother as she thinks I am a techno genius because I can change the blinking time on her VCR. However, no matter how savvy I believe I am it never fails that I will run into to some teenager who has the same phone as I and I begin to feel savvy and hip. Then they will do something incredible with their phone and I quickly feel dumb. I will respond with “Wow! I didn’t know it could do that, cool.” I leave with ego bruised but excited with the new discovery of the new function. My point is for those of us who have smart phones, it is one thing to own it, it’s one thing to have it, it’s one thing to poses it but it is a whole issue entirely to actually take full advantage of what you have in your possession.

In different areas of our life, do we take full advantage of the things we possess? While the analogy can be found with materialistic things it can happen in other areas of our life as well. In our relationships that we inhabit do we take full advantage of them? In our careers, it is one thing to have a job but it is something different to take full advantage of what we have. In our families, do we take the fullest advantage of the love between spouses, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, sibling to sibling? In our faith do we take our relationship with God to the fullest? I strongly believe that God has a destiny for each us. It’s a destiny that is life beyond our own imagination. God wants us to not just own it but utilize it to its fullest advantage. As we continue to look at the life of Joshua, there was a time when under Joshua leadership the people of Israel conquered all the land God had promised them. In the middle of the book of Joshua, God goes into great minuet detail of how the land was to be divided up among the people. God didn’t intend for the people to just possess the land but to inhabit it. God didn’t intend for his children to just own the land but to use it to the fullest. God wants the same for our life. God’s desire for us is not to have a relationship with someone one but a healthy relationship to the fullest. Not just being married but a marriage that fulfills both individuals to the fullest. God does not desire for us just to have a faith but a solid faith filled with hope that will sustain through the ups and downs of life. God’s desire for us transcends just having something in our procession and knowing how to use it to the greatest potential. Simply put; there may be more to our life than we realize and that we can take advantage of.
How do we get smart? I believe there are three essential principles that are paralleled in the life of Joshua that carries over to our life as well. We can live life to the fullest if we adapt ourselves to live our life with praise, share what we have with others, and live with honor. Start each day in praise to God. Turn on your ipod, car radio, whatever and begin each day listening or singing along with praise music. You will be amazed at how better your day will be just because you started out with a bit of praise. Second, understand that we don;t live on a island. God has placed others in our life. Some God has placed there so we can help them. Others God has placed there to help us. Last we must live with honor. Honor is something we as a nation has failed miserable teaching to younger generations. I believe our nation is the best on this planet and we still h ave our problems but we have failed to teach our children honor. Honor is lacking n our society because we have failed to demonstrate or teach our children honor. I strongly feel is not our governments job to teach honor, it is not our educational system to teach honor because each are deprived of honor themselves. I believe it is the church of Jesus Christ responsibility to teach, illustrate, and demonstrate honor into the fabric of families and eventually into our society. With these three, maybe we can be smart after all..
Peace, Love and Happiness: