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Watch “Celebrating 10 Years of the Bible App – YouVersion” on YouTube

Imagine…a dream in the right place at the right time can transform the world. Like a dandelion on the wind, this app, YouVersion, has affected people in places so far beyond what Pastor Bobby first imagined, but all in the infinite scope and design of the Master Creator. Thank you Father for these words of life You placed in YouVersion. May it continue to go beyond our imagination.

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So what lights your fire?

The journey into our best future always passes through the furnace. The fire both forges us to who we must become and frees us to live the life for which we were created.

Eugene Peterson wrote this in a devotional, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, I am reading through the YouVersion app.

Have you been through the furnace yet? Are you seeing the calluses of being forged by God? Also, the tender places where the fire tenderizes us? God makes no mistakes and has a destiny for each of us. Sense the curl of your lip as you realize the importance you are to the God of the Universe.

Summer is here and many complain of the heat…but really, every year, it warms up. A cycle. A season. I think this is necessary to appreciate all we have. For some, appreciation comes in anticipation. For some, it is joy in the moment. For some, it is only seen through the rear view mirror of hindsight reflection.

Which are you? Can you enjoy the day you are in? Living in the now? Or is it the past that haunts you or the future that intrigues you?

Can you enjoy the furnace? Just some Friday thoughts. Have a great weekend as we go into the next month-J U L Y.

Posted in Consider this, Words For The Year

Honorable Lives Make A Difference

While this is not my writing, it is so good that I want to share what Debby Efurd shares here about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  It is a good picture of a life well lived. Please go to Debby’s websites for more:

http://debbyefurd.com/category/the-second-mile

http://peaceafterthestorm.org/

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A Supreme Life

Posted By on Feb 20, 2016

scalia

I was on a family vacation last week when I learned of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  Being unashamedly pro-life and a conservative, I knew immediately how his passing would affect the balance of power in the Supreme Court.  Since then I’ve learned about the life of a very intriguing gentleman.

Justice Scalia was a conservative icon and vigorous constitutionalist.  He served 30 years on the Court and was praised not only for his intellect and deep understanding of the Constitution, but was larger than life, speaking up for life, family and religious freedom.  He had a quick humor, an infectious smile, and was a good friend to many.  Often in the minority, Justice Scalia criticized the increasingly liberal Court for drifting away from the text and original understanding of the U .S. Constitution, calling it a “committee of nine unelected lawyers,” whose constant playing with the Constitution interfered with the People’s right to govern themselves.

He criticized Roe v. Wade at every opportunity and continually urged the Court to overrule it.  He defended the institution of marriage and the states’ right to limit it to one man and one woman.  Through his writings, he continued to protect life, marriage and religious freedom.  His passing leaves a great void on the bench and a great void in the lives of many, many people.

As I think about the life of this judicial icon, I can see how he used his gifts to speak into the lives of a nation, through his writings, opinions, decisions, but also through his friendship and “larger than life” love of LIFE!  We each are gifted in ways that can have a positive impact on others.  Let’s not be silenced by “political correctness,” but stand up and speak.

“Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity.  Be fools for Christ.  And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”  Associate Justice Antonin Scalia 

Posted in doing the next thing God asks, Words For The Year

Sharing a Fish Taco

Have you ever thought of a person who had wonderful gifts but kept blowing his reputation by the things he said and did?

There is a song by a gifted songwriter, Branid Carlile who captures this essence in a song she calls “That Wasn’t Me”.  I understand it talks about a alcoholic family member who does something that is inconsistent with the real person they feel they are. “Whatever you see, that wasn’t me”. I would encourage you to listen to it. You can find it on iTunes.

Back to my question. I want to talk about living inconsistently with who we really are. It is a human experience. We want to do one thing and end up doing another.  Remember Paul saying it so well in Romans 7:15 (NLT):

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

Maybe Brandi was right. We see our actions going the opposite to our deepest desires. So we tell others don’t see us as we do but see us as we intend to be.  That may well be true. Think about it in your life. What is your experience?

Here is the dilemma.  Consequences of actions. They hurt. We may not even be aware of the results of our actions.  Someone else may have to tell us.

It has been my experience these are the worse kinds of injuries.  We don’t like to intentionally hurt others. But we really don’t like it when our actions have done just that and we were unaware of the impact to others.

Jesus knew this when he told Peter (Mark 14:29 THE MESSAGE) that he would deny being his friend three times in a very short time.  Peter knew deep inside he was a follower of Jesus and he would NEVER betray that friendship.  But Jesus was so right when later that night (Mark 14:66-72), some girls provoked him to refuse being one of the band of brothers. It took a rooster for it to really set in just what he had done.

What to do?

Well, he was in pretty miserable company for most all of the faithful twelve were nowhere to be seen at the Crucifixion other than John.

What do you think Peter felt then?

Seems likely he would want to rewind the tape and get a do-over. Or at least to somehow tell everyone who he really was affiliated to. Instead the story unfolds and you can imagine Peter unable to ever go to Jesus personally and confess. Read Luke 24.12 (THE MESSAGE) The deed was done. There were no do-overs. His world was filled with regret. And his friend was no where to be seen. Not even in the grave. He had done something unthinkable and now unforgivable. At least in his understanding of the moment.

The story unfolds that since they were fisherman, Peter decided to do what he did…go fishing. But it wasn’t a very good night for fishing. Some days you just hang out with the guys.

Mark 16:7 (THE MESSAGE) 

“Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

What should they do but go back to fishing in Galilee.  So Peter and the guys fished all night trying to figure out what to do next. Or maybe just sleeping away the weariness of meaninglessness. It was a very hard day to be a disciple – a follower needs someone to follow.  Yes, Jesus told them what He was going to do, but these guys had no experience in this supernatural stuff without Jesus being in the thick of it.  Oh yes, they had gone out two by two and stuff happened, but this was different. They really felt confused in their loneliness. Would Jesus come once again to them after the Resurrection?

Well, after a restless night, sunrise came.  Sure enough, Jesus was there that morning walking on the shore.

John 21 The Message (MSG)

Fishing

21 1-3 After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”

3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”

They answered, “No.”

He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”

They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.

7-9 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”

When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

10-11 Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.

12 Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.

13-14 Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.

So now, you might understand the title of this blog post, Sharing a Fish Taco.  These guys were looking to their Master and He gave like He so often did, He took the fish and bread and gave it to them to eat.  COMMUNION.  I think this was more than just a little food break, a snack.  No, this was a revelation.  All of the disciples present saw Jesus in a fresh way.  They were encouraged once again.  They knew they were disciples of something, SOME ONE so much greater than themselves.  I think Peter discovered a new sense of his calling to be a Fisher of Men.  Renamed from Simon to Peter, the rock, he was learning something about himself as Jesus revealed it.  And here was the clincher. The one-on-one conversation between Jesus and Peter:

John 21 The Message (MSG)

John Do You Love Me?

15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”

This journey would not be a simple one any longer, being a Gafishilean fisherman or a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth following where He would lead.  No, in a few short days, the Holy Spirit would guide Peter into his destiny.  And that would be more amazing than anyone could have imagined.

The turning point for Peter came when Jesus did not reject him for failing but encouraged him to do more than he had ever done.  The question Do you love me three times was not easy, but it was cleansing. Peter was forgiven of his past.  He saw himself from the perspective of his Master finally. What a day.  He would never be the same.

And Jesus gave this commission to him over a fish taco.

 

Posted in New every morning, Words For The Year

Think on these things

Philippians 4:8 (Amplified)-

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things – [fix your minds on them].

Put another way, here it is as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:

 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

So what works for you?  What do you mediate upon?  We are fortunate to have wide pastures and fields and coastal foothills and the Monterey Bay not far away so it is very easy to consider the beauty God has blessed us with.

2014-04-28 19.17.45

We had very little to do with living here.  In fact, after twenty-five years in the same community, unless I give credit to God, I cannot offer a reasonable way I came to live in our little town.  I currently live within two and a half hours of where I was born, less than an hour to where we were married and lived eleven of our married years together and about eight hours where my wife and I met each other in high school.  

God’s majesty has naturally been a part of all we enjoy.  It is far more rewarding to me to observe than man-made stuff that has a very short lifespan (take a look at any western barn – 100 years is an amazingly long lifespan)  

Again, I recommend viewing your life through the lens of The Gospel – this time look at Matthew 6 in The Message:

25-26 If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Doesn’t it seem like God has already worked through all the emotions we might feel no matter the circumstances and He provides a view that brings peace and rest and beauty to our lives?  I think the admonition to think on these things is vital.  It is far easier on ourselves, spirit, soul and body when we do.  It is also much easier on those around us.  So enjoy all that has been provided for you and REST.  By the way, tomorrow is Sunday.  Whether you celebrate Saturday as the Sabbath or Sunday as the First Day of the week, listen to God and relax. Be BLESSED!

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It is another New Year!

hny 2016seems like a number so far from the future for someone raised in the 50’s and 60’s of the last millennium.  It is almost a science fiction number too ‘out there’ to believe we could call it a year of our life – maybe for the Jetson’s, but this Smith family?

There is actually a possibility I could see 2052 or 2055 like my grandfather!  We will take it a day at a time.

In this New Year, I want to continue to grow and prosper as a dedicated information junkie aka ‘lifelong learner.’  It is also my desire to encourage those who walk along this journey. So maybe 2016 will be filled with some little nuggets of discoveries we gather along.  Some treasures are hidden in plain sight while others are meant to be worked for.

Let’s see what we can enjoy this year as God speaks to us.

a one-of-a-kind masterpiece
GOD creates for an eternity – He loves to share with His Creation.

 

 

 

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Some more excuses of not-so-good Samaritans

Source: Some more excuses of not-so-good Samaritans

I share a chapel service with a group of 40 guys in a local Teen Challenge program.  They are awesome men. I spoke on this story twice in the past three months.  It resonates with me.  I think it is a place where those who are reconciling their past with their future see a plan and a purpose to the pain they have endured. We need to realize our roles as our brother’s keeper goes beyond our family ties.  God has freedom and care for many as He invites us to see how we can see what sin has caused in our world.  Yes, it is messy.  Just like anything of value, there is work to be done.  But it is worth it!