The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Never Far From Me

I am reminded by the blue sky
I am reminded by the rain
I’m reminded by the gentle healing
Yet reminded by my pain

That You are never far from me
Never far from me
Never far…never far…never far from me

I am reminded in the quiet
And when things get kind of loud
I’m reminded in the closet
And I’m reminded in the crowd

When I’m floating on the current
And caught in the undertow
I’m reminded by the ravens
And by the rooster’s crow…

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inspiration Move Me Brightly

we have a blessed family. we are blessed with the desire to make not just repeat music that has already been made, but to make new that has never been heard b4. making music (esp new music) is a lot of fun. there is much joy in the process (even when the process is difficult) and more joy when there is a finished product.

there is a melding of forces involved.

there is the force of human wit and wisdom, where the maker of music toils and labors and sweats out a finished product in the same way a carpenter builds a house or a chef prepares a meal.

there is also the force of the Maker of music's gift to the maker of music. where the natural born talent (of supernatural origin) is applied and the maker of music surrenders to the gift in him/her and (so it seems) music is effortlessly born.

now, when these two forces are combined, "magic" happens. i know that term bothers us xians. but what i mean by it is, it cannot be explained...even by one who is within the process. i don't mean sleight of hand...or illusion. nor am i giving some sort of endorsment to new age spirituality. there is something unexplicable when a person takes their learned & earned effort and combines it with their God originated talent. whether it's beethoven or the beatles it is absolutely amazing what these two forces bring about.

that's not to say this music is (or is not) acceptable. it is only saying all talent and "natural" abilities come from God. He is the creator of all life and He puts "things" in us that we can use to make a contribution to society...whether we are xian or not. i am glad the mechanic i bring my car to--who often reminds me in various ways he is not a xian!--has the God given ability to figure out what is wrong with my car and fix it. i'm also glad he as the resources to purchase equipment to help him figure things out...i see that as God at work...i try to remind him that God works thru him...that his abilities are a combination of God born talent and his own hard work and learning.

there is, of course, one last force to mention. it is God Himself. there are times God drops a piece of music ready made onto the lap of the musician with little or no effort on their part. it comes differently than just the normal gift for music God gives. it is is is...rare. even for great musicians, it is rare.

well, i began writing about something else entirely...i was going to write about love...i will later today or the mean time, i hope this was at least a little bit interesting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Get in the Game...

so, today, july 23rd, is a cold, rainy october day. it's about 60 degrees, but the steady rain makes it feel a bit colder. i'm sitting at home in pajamas imagining a nice warm cup of coffee but am too lazy to go make one. i'm using the excuse it will keep me awake tonight (which it probably would).

we just came in from joe's soccer game...they don't cancel soccer games for rain...only lightning. it didn't lightning at all, so, they played.

joe had a lot of fun. he and the other kids ran and splashed. they mushed their hair into faux hawks and other odd shapes. they pretended they were really hot and were sweating up a storm. they slid in the mud and laughed at each other. it was a blast for them. they didn't notice it was cold. the rain didn't bother them too much...they were having fun and a little rain and cold wasn't going to change that for them.

on the other hand, bella, carlo, our friend bill and me were standing on the sidelines watching. it was fun for a little while watching them have fun. we laughed as joe licked his finger and stuck it up in the air (as if to see which direction it was blowing) and then miss the ball with his kick...we huddled next to each other to keep warm. i offered my flannel shirt to the kids (and they very graciously said "no thanks").

after just a short while it wasn't any fun for us. we were just hanging on till the end...and with every whistle blown we hoped time was up. we moved around and even went to the other side of the field so the wind would be at our backs...but, by then we had had it. we couldn't wait to get home and dry off and warm up.

all the while joe had a big smile on his face.

so...what am i getting at?

there are a good many people in a good many churches on the sidelines watching the game. the cheer the players on; they give encouragement to them; they even help support the action. they have a vested interest in what is happening on the's important to them. and on nice days...when everything is going well and people are getting along and the preacher is saying what they want to hear...they are happy as can be.

but, on a day when it's rainy and cold and the preacher been dragging a few old sermons out and people are grumpy and blah, blah, blah...then it's easy to hunker down and wait for the final whistle, er, trumpet.

put me in coach, i'm ready to play today...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Walk the Line

or, at least i try to.

there is a continual need to create balance in our lives.

the balance between work and leisure.
the balance between faith and action.
the balance between justice and mercy.
the balance between eternal security and personal responsibility.
the balance between culture and tradition.
the balance between tradition and relevance.
the balance between grace and obedience.
the balance between blessing and blessing.

in other areas, we must be careful to "not cross the line from:

charity to enabling.
challenge to unrealistic expectations.
discipline to abuse.
contentedness to apathy.
contentedness to pride.
responsibility to control.
concern to gossip.
a couple to a few too many.

i suppose there are many other areas of balance in our lives...some of us keep the balance in some areas very well...others cross lines far too often.

we would be wise to slow down and become intentional. those are the first steps to balance.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

sermon outline 20 july 08

One way to start effectively praying for unbelievers is changing your attitude about them

Are they “lost” or are they “bad”?

"Lost" view:
Spiritual focus.
Considers own sinfulness. Humble.
Encourages helping and addressing the needs of the heart.

"bad" view:

Religious focus.
Considers own morality. Prideful.
Encourages judgment and seeks to change behavior and/or society.

We may disagree/dislike immoral behavior
But God is first concerned with the issue of belief
John 3:18

Always Consider Eternity
Passages relating to hell: Mt 5:22-29; 25:31-46;
1 Thes 1:9

Another thing we can do for the unbeliever is to
begin praying for them (from Colossians 4:2-6)

Be devoted to prayer
Pray consistently
Regularly (daily). Specifically (by name).

Pray earnestly
Remember the importance of evangelism.
Be passionate.

Pray rightly (IAW God’s promises)
God desires people to be saved
2 Pet 3:9 & 1 Tim 2:4
God is able and willing to answer prayer
James 5:16

Pray God will “send out workers”
Matthew 9:37

Who is an evangelist?
Some have a special gift, but we are all witnesses

A witness _______ the story of what they saw

And invites the person to experience the same

Pray God will “open doors” for evangelism

Don’t push (or pull) doors to open them
Let God have His time to work

Recognize we are a part of that person’s process

What can we do (beside prayer) to open doors?
(see vv 5-6)
Be _________ take _______________

Be _________-full be “_____________” w/salt

Key verse 1 Pet 3:15