This Time

Speeding down the freeway at breakneck speed.
Life rushing by in the blink of an eye.
I barely have time to smell the roses.
I barely have time to enjoy the journey.
Twists and turns
Bumps and potholes
Curves and hills
Dangers all around but I can certainly handle this, right?
Then…
A fork approaches.
Indecision is not an option, but…
Do I go left?
Do I go right?
Indecision has captured me.
Indecision has become my prison.
Help me
Help me!
Dangers are all around but why am I driving?!?
I don’t know the road.
Indecision. Help me!
God, take the wheel.
Go left
Go right
Either way, as long as I am with You.
Now…
Speeding down the freeway at breakneck speed.
This time and every time,
God is at the wheel.
This time and every time,
I’m smelling the roses.
This time and every time,
I will enjoy the journey.

Leaves

I envy the leaf.
The wind blows,
from God knows where,
and the leaf goes.
It doesn’t resist.
It doesn’t suggest.
It doesn’t direct.
It simply goes with the wind.
Content
Obedient
Landing where the wind wills.
There the leaf does what leaves do,
until the next breeze comes along,
from God knows where.
Oh to trust God like that;
to ride the wind.
Content
Obedient
Doing what God made me to be.
Oh, to be a leaf.

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes to see Your glory.
Open my eyes to know Your beauty.
Open my eyes to know Your way.
Open my eyes to live in the Way.
Open my eyes that I may be faithful.
Open my eyes that I may see where I’ve strayed.
Open my eyes to know Your grace.
Open my eyes to see Your Son.
Open my eyes, oh Lord,
that I may see and know;
that I may see and behold;
that I may see and go.
Open my eyes, oh Lord,
I want to see.

Abide and Know

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
[John 15:7 ESV]

This isn’t a magical formula. This isn’t prosperity gospel, name it and claimed crap. This isn’t a secret way to get what YOU want.

NO

This is about abiding in Jesus, so much so, that your desires are what God desires. When Jesus says, “ask whatever you wish” he means that when you abide in him, you will ask for whatever glorifies God. What you wish is what God wants.

Prosperity preachers like to twist and misuse this text to mislead you into thinking that life is all about you. If you pray rightly or think rightly or speak rightly or even give rightly then you can have what YOU want; your best life now. Can you see how that verse can be misused? All I can do is roll my eyes at those preachers and pray that they may see the TRUE light.

Abiding in Jesus is intimate fellowship with him; learning God’s will. No magical formula. Just Jesus.

Abide with HIM and know HIM. Then and only then will you have your heart’s desire.

The Pastor -|—

Ramblings of a Listening Disicple

Listening is never easy.
It’s hard work.
It means doing something active.
You can’t be passive and also listen.
It takes focus.
It takes determined attention.

To truly listen is a loving act.

You can hear someone making noise,
but that’s not listening.
You can see someone trying to communicate,
but that’s not listening.
You can be aware of someone trying to transmit data,
but that’s not listening.

Listening is focusing, receiving and processing.
Listening is caring about the communicator.

Listening is hard work,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is scary,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is awesome,
most especially when we are talking about
God.

For when we are listening to God;
when we are receiving from God;
when we are obeying God;
we are participating in God’s most awesome and perfect will.

Listening is still scary but it is also awesome.

Oh God, speak to me.

I’m listening…

The (listening) Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ What you really need to hear

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. [Matthew 21:21-22]

Oh how these verses have been misunderstood and misapplied.
Oh how these verses have been abused and therefore have caused many people to go astray.

If you believe right and have enough faith you can get what you want and “live your best life now”. This is the mantra of the prosperity gospel (not THE Gospel of Jesus Christ). The likes of Joel Osteen have championed this theology and have garnered many adherents, thus leading many people astray. And the reason these prosperity theologians are so “successful” is that this message is something people think they need to hear.

Give me the secret to success.
Tell me how I can be happy now.
How can I feel fulfilled?
How can I live my best life now?

Everything is about this life, now, and nothing about the life to come. It’s about manipulating and controlling God to get what you want. Throw in talk of Jesus and faith and you have enough to trick people into thinking this theology is legit; from the Bible.

Lord have mercy.

But what was Jesus really teaching in Matthew 21 about faith and prayer? Was he giving us a magic formula to get what we want out of prayer?

Absolutely not!

Two things are being shown:
(1) You may have faith, but you still doubt.
(2) If you truly know God you will ask according to God’s will, not your own. It’s then that you receive what you pray for.

The big difference here is that it is not about your happiness now (your will) but your eternal joy (God’s will). It’s about aligning your will with God’s will. It’s about humbling yourself and admitting that you are a sinner. It’s about realizing that without Jesus you can not get out of this world alive. It’s about realizing that you are meant to glorify God and enjoy him forever. This life may be crappy but you still can have joy; that is if you believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

So don’t be fooled by false prophets and self-serving prosperity theologians by trying to reach for and cling to happiness in this life now but rather place your faith in Jesus Christ and cling to the hope of the resurrection. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is about how you have faith rather than who you have faith in.

Jesus is life and salvation and therefore the source of true joy. That right there will give you peace. And THAT my friends is what you really need to hear.

Have a blessed day enjoying God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

13-year-long winding road

Thirteen years ago today; at 8:30 in the morning; a Tuesday, God used my dad to utter these words:

“Eric, it is time for you to go to seminary.”

I was totally blown away by this and didn’t know how to respond.  My dad went on to say some other words but I can’t remember those…only that call from God.  The rest of the day was a blur as I spent the morning with my two pastors trying to discern what was going on.  They were quick to affirm this call and the rest is history.

Now…13 years later…I am sitting in a church parsonage reflecting on the past 13 years.  What a winding road God has lead me down.

There were times in seminary when I doubted I could do this.  I questioned God and wondered if this really was the road I was supposed to be on.  I nearly got off the road a couple times but God used various people in my life to keep me going. And I thank God for them because as I reflect back on these 13 years it is clear to me that God was indeed leading me along a winding road to bring me here; to Jackson, MN.  I still wonder sometimes why I am here but then God does something and I smile.

Sometimes it is hard to see or imagine that God has a plan.
Sometimes it is tempting to think we know better what we are supposed to do.  Sometimes it is hard to hold the course when the road does wind and bend.

But God has been and always will be faithful.  And it is so much fun to look back and see those moments.  In those times when I thought God was crazy, confused, oblivious, God was working out something wonderful. God sees the whole and complete picture…and…God is working out something wonderful in your life as well.  Listen to God; listen carefully.  Trust Him…for God will not lead you down the wrong road.  Let God be your guide because in the end you will indeed experience something wonderful as you see God being glorified in your life.

So I sit here today; in this church parsonage; reflecting on that call 13 years ago. It’s been an interesting ride and I look forward to seeing what else God will do through me.

God is awesome!
God is faithful!

Praise be to God!

The pastor -|—