Thursday, September 20, 2012

Come to the Light

I've always loved this picture of my husband.  It was taken on his first "outside" venture after he shattered his tibia by falling off a ladder and had surgery that left him with two steel rods and a heavy apparatus sticking out of his leg.  He was pale from being inside so much, and he had lost about twenty pounds, but his spirits were high.  "Wow, it's great to be alive!  What a beautiful day! It's so bright out here!" were his enthusiastic comments. At the time, it surprised me that he saw things in such a positive light.  Then, as I reflected on the fact that he had been in bed or on the couch, immobile and unable to do anything for himself for weeks, I got it.  

Why is it that we fail to recognize the beauty and glory of something as simple as a blue sky, fresh air, and green trees?  Is it because we are so driven in our everyday lives, so busy working our jobs, worrying about bills, connecting with our devices, that our imagination and sense of delight in everyday things disappears?  

I am always blessed when I observe others who share my faith in God going through really tough times, such as cancer diagnoses, accidents, lost jobs, even the loss of loved ones, with so much grace and peace.  I had three close friends tragically lose their young adult sons over the past few years, and I have marveled at the resiliency of the human spirit.  Life does go on, healing occurs, and joy cometh.  There must be something God built into the human psyche that recognizes and goes to the light after a time of extreme darkness.  We just can't stay in that dark place for too long because our spirits long for the light.  We yearn for it, and when it comes, we recognize and delight in it.

If only it didn't take these hard things to get us to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  But such is the nature of man.  Time to go. I think I'll go outside and sniff the air a bit.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preach It!

While going through my old "sermon notebooks" recently,  I realized that I have a treasury of quotes from people I've heard preach at my church.  I thought it would be cool to blog them.
Here are a few nuggets I've been privileged to hear.  Maybe this is the place to explain that our pastor shares his pulpit with other trusted church leaders, so these quotes come from a variety of people.

From Susan Peters:
"Great leaders don't desire as much to lead as they desire to serve."
"Be an extravagant lovers of others." 

From Linda Fyke in her breakout session on dealing with a prodigal:
"If you stay obsessed with your prodigal, you won't be letting God change YOU."
"You can't notice and won't celebrate what is good in your prodigal if you're wrapped up in their imperfections."
"People only change when they get a revelation from God, and you're not their God. You are NOT your family's Saviour."
"Build an Abraham altar for your Isaac and offer them up to God."

From Jimmy Seibert:
"God chose David when he was obscurely being faithful and content.  Be diligent and be content right where you are."
"What would you do if you had no fear?"
"God is not pleased with our sin - but He is pleased with us."
"When God is being glorified, everything else falls into place."
"Most of us pursue the glory of ourselves, not the glory of God."
"God created us to be in fellowship.  When you isolate yourself, you become disillusioned and cynical.  If you pull away from God's body, the church, you pull away from God."
"Believers should live simply, work diligently, and give generously.  That is the New Testament Church."
"Living counter-culturally in America has power."
"Be thankful!  Whining and complaining doesn't bring God into the situation.  Give God something to work with!"
"Everything in life that is good and successful is tied to discipline."

From Keith Wheeler:
"The Scriptures are not just stories to be read - they're stories to be lived."

From Fred Nelson:
"When we go to the world for our affirmation and self worth, we end up in either pride or self-pity." 
"Be unapologetically co-dependent on God." 
"Build your life around spending time with God."

Robert Herber:
"Our greatest evangelical tool is our faces."
"Try to smile like Jesus would smile."

Vincent Carpenter:
"Hell is not a bad thing to talk about with unbelievers.  If we leave it out, people don't know the consequences of not giving their lives to God.  Start with fear to get to His grace and love."
"Our culture encourages us to work our problems out on our own and to hide our stuff from others.  The church needs to get in our stuff!"

Donnie Martin:
"Maturity is understanding your own limits."
"Sex between husband and wife is an act of worship."

Joe Ewen in a sermon on the life of Joseph and the power of forgiveness:
"Joseph paid a heavy price for his fancy coat." 
"We have the power to retain or release sin against us."
"Unforgiveness leads to an impoverishment of spirit."

You can probably tell that we hear a lot of good stuff at our church.  I hope you will share sermon quotes you have found meaningful, too~