Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hunger and Thirst.


Have you ever been really hungry or thirsty? I’m not talking about a meeting ran a little long and you’re late for lunch hungry. I’m talking about the kind where you’re weak in the knees and have the shakes kind of hungry. Or where your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth and you have a splitting headache from dehydration. The type of hunger and thirst that pushes everything else aside. Last month the Oxford English Dictionary added ‘Hangry’ as a newly recognized word. Here is their definition –

"Bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger."

You know who you are! Hunger and thirst will cause you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Often when we are starved (overly hungry due to excessive need in some area of our life) it makes us prone to temptation. It’s no wonder that the enemy tempted Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days and nights. This is one of the reasons that fasting is such a powerful experience for believers because it reveals and redirects what’s driving you.
  • Esau sold his birthright for a stinking bowl of stew (Genesis 25).
  • The Israelites complained against Moses and God in the wilderness REPEATEDLY (Exodus 16, 17, Numbers 11, 20, 21).

 We often think of hunger and thirst as a negative thing resulting from a place of great need. But it can be a great motivating factor in our lives. Maybe a different way to think about it is a craving or strong desire - I’m not hungry right now but I sure could destroy a piece of cheesecake!

“The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” – Proverbs 16:26 NIV

There are people at my gym that are hungry. They are there every day and show up early, they work up a sweat before class even starts and they stay after to run an extra mile before they leave. They’re the ones making the big gains – losing weight, adding muscle, hitting new personal records each week. They want more. The people who show up a couple times a week, 5 minutes late and exercise their jaws during the warmup – not so much. But we have to want the right things in order to get the right results.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6 AMP

Just like when God satisfied the Israelites with water from the rock and manna from heaven He is looking to fill His children who are hungry and thirsty today. The question is do YOU want more?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The legacy of a country boy from North Carolina.


The Reverend William Franklin Graham Jr., known to the world as Billy, finished his race today. He was 99. He was often referred to as ‘America’s Pastor’ and his ministry reached untold millions of people. As we remember the legacy that he left I can’t help but reflect on what made him who he was.

He was humble. Born on a dairy farm in North Carolina he never forgot his roots. In a day and age where Pastors and Evangelists have become their own ‘brand’ and market themselves like a Fortune 500 company the only brand Billy was pushing was Jesus.

He was persistent. His ministry spanned 7 decades. It took him around the world, brought him before kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers. Long after others would have settled down he pressed on.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 NIV

His message was simple. Jesus died for your sin. Faith in Him is the foundation of forgiveness. More than political influence, fame or fortune Billy wanted people to know that God loved them and Jesus came to save them. That straightforward message allowed him to cross cultures, denominations and political aisles.

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV

His character was uncompromising. I’ve never heard anyone criticize Billy Graham’s character. He conducted himself with honor and integrity. He successfully navigated the pitfalls of lust and greed that so many ‘superstars’ have found themselves in. He was known for taking extreme measures to ensure that he wasn’t disqualified along the way.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” - 1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV

A great man went home to be with the Lord today. But I can’t help but think that the things that made him great are all things within our grasp. We can be humble. We can persist. We can share the Good News of Jesus. We can live with honor and integrity. See I think we estimate his worth by the multitudes that he reached when God esteemed him for the man that he was. God saw a man who was faithful with little so He entrusted him with much. God chooses which doors to open. It is up to us to be ready and willing to walk through them when He does.

*Biographical information was found at www.billygraham.org/about/biographies/billy-graham/

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Paradise lost?

“So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” -1 Corinthians 15:45 NIV

When Adam was first created he had it made. A perfect relationship with God, a perfect relationship with creation, a true partner in life and a purpose in life. He and his wife were entrusted with dominion over every other living thing. But first things first - Adam was created on the 6th day meaning that his first full day of his existence was a day of rest. Adam was complete God and therefore could rightly relate to everything and everyone else in life. His worth was in his being rather than his doing.

Fast forward to the fall. Adam had it all and then chose to give it away. His single act of disobedience set into motion a chain reaction that radically affects the world we live in today. This was the result –

“To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:17-19 NIV

Ever since that fateful day man has been trying to work his way out of his brokenness and back into his picture of paradise. The problem is that in the end it all leads to death. Unfortunately many Christians today have yet to find that place of rest, that place of peace, that place of being because they are so busy doing. See it’s in our first Adam nature to strive and to struggle by the sweat of our brow trying to earn our way back into His grace. But the Last Adam has opened the door for us forward into relationship, forward into significance, forward into rest.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” – Hebrews 4:1 NIV

Do not confuse rest with inactivity. Adam had great responsibility before the fall. In reality he had GREATER responsibility but that was not the essence of who he was. He was defined by the fact that he was created in the image of God. Out of that security he was free to be who God had created him to be. When we learn to ‘be’ then we will be empowered to ‘do’ - wonderful things, impossible things, eternal things.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Pushing Limits

Last week we did a ‘Hero’ workout at the gym. A ‘Hero’ workout is something we do to honor someone who gave their life in service to other...