Friday, August 22, 2014

“Love is not a good part of your life; it’s the most important part.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (pp. 159-160). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

1 Corinthians 14: 1a (LB) in the Bible says, “Let love be your greatest aim.”  Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 13: 3 (MSG), “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”  It is so very important.

Rick said, “Often we act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedule. We talk about finding time for our children or making time for people in our lives. That gives the impression that relationships are just a part of our lives along with many other tasks. But God says relationships are what life is all about.”

I know that many people come to the later years of their life and then realize that they have built their lives on the wrong priorities.  And this is a great reminder to us to make our relationships a greater priority in our lives. 

Rick also says, “Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life. So why do we allow our relationships to get the short end of the stick? When our schedules become overloaded, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require. What’s most important to God is displaced by what’s urgent. Busyness is a great enemy of relationships.”

Oh I know how much time it takes to provide for our family.  Yes they need a place to sleep, they need food to eat but they also need love to survive and love is what will last. 

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13: 13 (NCV), “These three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.”

So who is it that you need to spend more time with?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

“Retirement is a short-sighted goal.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?  (p. 154). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Retired
Now if you believe that this is all there is to life that it ends when you die then that doesn't make sense but as a Christ follower I understand and agree with it. 

1 Peter 1: 4 (NLT) says, “God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”

As Rick says, “This eternal inheritance, not retirement, is what you should be looking forward to and working for.”  Paul wrote in Colossians 3: 23 – 24a (NIV) in the Bible, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

That’s why Rick says, “Retirement is a short-sighted goal. You should be living in light of eternity.”

Rick shares what that inheritance is, “First, we will get to be with God forever (1 Thessalonians 5: 10; 4: 17).  Second, we will be completely changed to be like Christ (1 John 3: 2; 2 Corinthians 3: 18).  Third, we will be freed from all pain, death, and suffering (Revelation 21: 4).  Fourth, we will be rewarded and reassigned positions of service (Mark 9: 41; 10: 30; 1 Corinthians 3: 8; Hebrews 10: 35; Matthew 25: 21, 23).  Fifth, we will get to share in Christ’s glory (Romans 8: 17; Colossians 3: 4; 2 Thessalonians 2: 14; 2 Timothy 2: 12; 1 Peter 5: 1). What an inheritance! You are far richer than you realize.”

That is what I am working for.  I know if you are young you are not thinking that far ahead.  I’m sure that retirement is just a speck on your future outlook but I’m sure there is some future goal in there.  And retirement is not the ultimate goal, your eternal inheritance is.   And today is a good place to start the process.  It starts with asking Jesus to come into your life.

So why not ask Him today?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 128). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

That is true for every relationship.  I hear people say they are lonely and they have no friends but the reality is that is their choice.  Oh they may not think that is true but when they are sitting back waiting for people to reach out to them then they are choosing to not have friends.  To have friends you must take the first step and reach out. 

I am doing that right now.  I get on a train every day and come to Hollywood to two different coffee shops to meet new people.  I am right now right across the street from the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset near Hollywood and Vine where my church meets and I am here to reach out to people who don’t have a relationship with Christ.  I am making new friends and then eventually I will invite then to my church and they will show them the way to Christ.  That is the reason why I am a part of this church.  After every message people are invited to have a relationship with Christ.  The church I used to go to never gave that opportunity publically.  That wasn’t there purpose.  So I found a church that had that as purpose because that is my purpose.   My purpose is to invest and invite.  To invest in people’s lives and then invite them to a church that will show them the way.

Now the thing is a relationship with Christ is a choice but so many people don’t realize that.  It says in the Bible that people won’t know unless they have heard.  So I’m out doing the first part of connecting so they will know how to connect. 

If you want relationships with others and with Christ then you must do something.  As your friend I just wanted to share that fact with you today.  Find a place to make friends.  For many it isn’t easy but if you look around you will find someone who would like to be your friend if you just will reach out to them.  And then find a church that will introduce you to Jesus.  If you live in LA come to the Hollywood Palladium at 9:00 or 11:00 am this next Sunday.  I know that Pastor Rick or Pastor Jeremy will be sharing at the end of the service what you can do.

So why not do what you can to find a new friend?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“One key to failure is to try to please everyone.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 39). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Have you found yet that trying to please everyone is an impossible situation?  You just can’t do it. 

As a Pastor I knew I was in trouble when I tried to preach sermons that everyone would like.  And the music was a major hassle.  No way could I please everyone.  Have you found that even striving to please yourself can be a problem?  I mean what I want right now can change in an hour.  My mood changes and there I am. 

Rick says, “Many people are driven by the need for approval. They allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents. Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think. Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.”

Jesus knew that this would be a problem.  He said in Matthew 6: 24 (NLT), “No one can serve two masters.”   And you can’t.

And then Rick says, “Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purposes for your life.”  And there is the key.  When you find God’s purpose for your life and you strive to do it you will then find tremendous freedom.

That is another of the tremendous benefits of having a relationship with Christ.  He gives you a purpose, a reason to get up every morning.   Even at 67 I am still living out His purpose for my life.  And that makes life worth living.

So what is your purpose?

Monday, August 18, 2014

“When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 117). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

So many really understand what that means.  Worry is a big part of their lives.  And Rick then says, “When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation.”

And you might say, “Where did that come from?  Are you talking about worry or are you focusing on meditation?”  And the answer is meditation and here is the reason.

A relationship with God is a very important thing to have.  It will make all the difference in your life.  It will help you with all those worries that you seem to be spending a lot of time on.  And Rick says, “It is impossible to be God’s friend apart from knowing what he says. You can’t love God unless you know him, and you can’t know him without knowing his Word.”  

Now you may not be able to spend all day studying the Bible but you can stop and recall a verse that you read earlier and think on it.  Meditate on it.  Think about how it lets you know more about God.  Think about how it will help you in the situation that you are going through, that you are worrying about. 

David in Psalm 119: 97 (NIV) said, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”

Meditation is simply focus thinking.  And you know how to do that if you worry.  Think about how much less time you would spend worrying if you meditated on God’s Word.

Then Rick said, “Friends share secrets, and God will share his secrets with you if you develop the habit of thinking about his Word throughout the day.”  And that will go a long way in knowing how to handle those things that you are worried about. 

Wouldn’t you like God to share some of His secrets with you?

Friday, August 15, 2014

“Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (p. 96). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

What is there about you that you don’t like?  Another way to put it is, if you could change anything about the way you look what would it be?

Now if you are a normal teenager it would be almost everything but many don’t outgrow that attitude.  They don’t like themselves.

Of course there are some things that you can change.  I want to weigh under 200 lbs. so I am doing something about that but I’m having trouble at getting taller. 

God says in Isaiah 45:9 (CEV), "You have no right to argue with your Creator.  You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter.  The clay doesn't ask, 'Why di you make me this way?'"

But we seem to want to do that all the time.  We want to argue with the Creator about something in the way we look.  But what if He has a purpose behind how you look?  What difference would that make in your acceptance of the way you were made?

And that to me is one of the great benefits of believing in a wise and sovereign God who created you and who has a plan and a purpose for your life and who really, really loves you.  If and when we accept that as a fact our life takes on a whole different meaning.  In other words that is really good news.

One of the first parts of that plan is that He wants to have a relationship with you.  That is His desire but He leaves the choice of you having that relationship up to you.  He wants to be my friend and all the benefits of having that friendship is up to me.  It starts with asking Him to become my best friend.  I did that and He is.  

So why not accept Him as your friend and also accept yourself as He created you?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

“Fear-driven people often miss great opportunities because they’re afraid to venture out.”

A thought by Rick Warren, (2012-10-23) from his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?  (p. 38). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

There are so many different types of emotions that hold us back from living out our potential and without a doubt fear is one of them.  I am right now at a point in my life that I am stepping out from my world of security into a new world of adventure and there is some fear involved in it.  But my excitement and challenge is overpowering my fear.

Rick says, “Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.”    Even at 67 God is not finished with my life.

The Bible in 1 John 4:18 (MSG) says, “Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life — fear of death, fear of judgment — is one not yet fully formed in love.” 

I want to be driven by God’s love and purpose not fear.  Because of His love for me I know I can trust Him to be there when I follow Him.  He is out ahead preparing the way.  That is why I am in Hollywood today.  I now see why He has led us to California.  He has been preparing us for this time in our life for 25 years. Life is exciting.  

What about you?  What is driving you?  Fear or love?