Tuesday, February 21, 2006

John Fischer again....

This is the best devotional series ever...

Hungry for God
by John Fischer

Our ministry is to serve the needs of believers; our mission is to serve the needs of those who are not presently Christians. The latter can present a problem. You can’t really serve someone if you don’t know them, but being in relationship with those who aren’t Christians can be dangerous. Old habits and old ways of life can come back to haunt us when we are around people who don’t share our desire to follow Christ.

For this reason it may be necessary to keep only Christian friends for a season, but the goal for us all is to be stronger than this. God didn’t save us and leave us on earth to band together and live nice, safe little Christian lives until He returns or we die, whichever comes first. We are here to share the good news of God’s forgiveness with those who don’t know about it yet, and we can’t do that without getting close to people who need it. We need to be close enough to people to know them, love them, identify with their need, and serve them without judging them or losing our own hold on Christ.

How will we do this? A couple suggestions to think about today:

1) don’t ever forget we are all sinners in need of salvation. This will help keep us from a self-righteous and judgmental attitude. We never have a perfect day; we encounter our own need to be saved all the time, because we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. We lead people to Christ, not by reaching down to them from a place of invulnerable perfection, but as one hungry person showing another where the food is.

2) Remember that sin entraps everyone. Our friends who are resistant to Christianity may very well have a soft heart to God and the truth but it’s covered up by a host of things that blind us all like fear, failure, addictions and all sorts of false coping mechanisms. Success, power and wealth can blind us just as easily. We need to ask God for the ability to look past all these distractions to the heart, because at the heart, everyone is hungry for God. We were created that way.

Lord, teach us to see people as you see them. May we not give in to the things that once entrapped us. Make us keen to the lie and hungering for the truth today, and help us to find it even in those who don’t know you. Remind us that we are all children when it comes to you, even the toughest among us. Show us how to love everyone and stay true to you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

John Fischer again.....

Loved this devotional. I intend to comment more on the third paragraph when time permits:

“The Things I Did With You”
by John Fischer

One of the benefits of having a third child this late in life is getting to hear Sesame Street again while I’m getting ready in the morning. I’ve missed those little critters. Last week, I overheard a sweet little song from Bert and Ernie: "Things that I remember are the things I did with you."

I found my thoughts straying to an old friend with whom I worked for over ten years in the 1970s. Because it was a spiritual relationship as well as a professional one, I got close to his family as well. I was single at the time, and for all practical purposes, they adopted me when we were working on a project.

While Bert and Ernie were singing about the things they did together, I thought about the things I did with Clark. Professionally, he arranged and recorded six albums with me that started the singer/songwriter part of my career. But as time has passed, those albums have taken a second place in my memory to a myriad of things we did together. The professional relationship, in other words, was just an excuse for that other relationship we share -- the real one.

I remember both houses he’s lived in since I’ve known him, because I’ve spent so much time in both of them. I remember getting my first instructions operating a motorcycle. I remember bringing my girlfriends by for inspection -- the thumbs down, and then the thumbs up (way up!) for Marti. I remember long discussions over spiritual questions posed by his colleagues in the music business. (He was a new Christian when I met him and still treats me as the "expert" Bible guy.) I remember performing the ceremonies for both of his daughter’s weddings. I remember the time our 18-month-old son threw a ping-pong paddle at his large aquarium and the horror of watching the glass shatter, releasing gallons of water and flopping tropical fish on his family room floor. And, of course, I remember working together over my music, amazed that I got to benefit from the wealth of his talent and versatility. And as these things flashed in my mind, I realized it wasn’t the things we did, but the fact that we did them together that really mattered.

But Clark was already on my mind for other reasons. He is currently caught in a grueling battle with cancer. There is a method in my telling you a few things about us. I hope they lead you to think of someone in your life, and how important that person for the things you have done together. But I hope, too, that you will say a prayer for Clark. He really needs it right now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I'm a technology freak

I am always into the latest stuff. When I was in my twenties, I was very close to what they called in my MBA studies an early adopter. I had a laserdisc player in 1990, my first CD player in 1986 and I've always had a walkman going back as far as I can remember. Today, we have a full-service media setup in the family room, complete with home theater (with 5-disc DVD), two VCR's (one of which will soon be replaced by a DVD recorder) and a video game system for the boys.

And yet......

Despite this apparent need to always keep on (or near) the cutting edge of technology/media, I go every Sunday to a building that is nearly 100 years old, occasionally pull out hymns that are (lyrically, at least) centuries old and learn from a Bible that is millennia old about a God that has existed since before the beginning of time.

I appreciate how people want to redefine worship or religion or ritual. All of these acts are God-based, but human-defined. Like technology or anything else worldly, we are always looking for the next great worship idea, the next new way to improve the quality of our Sunday service, etc. By way of example, we celebrate Communion in an effort to restore our relationship to/refresh our relationship with God. However, we use crushed unsalted crackers and grape juice to represent the bread and wine. Others use saltines, or bread, or fruit punch. We celebrate communion the first Sunday of the month, others celebrate it every Sunday, or after prayer meeting, or whenever. The meaning is constant, the method is different.

This is the great thing about God. No matter how much (or how rapidly) our world around us is changing, God is constant. I remember the first time my Dad told me about how God is a rock we can stand on, and to put our faith in anything else is to put it on a base of ever-shifting sand. I understand that now. My faith is not in the acts/rituals/events/schedule of my church's (or any other church's) worship program. It is in God and, as long as I see, hear, feel and experience God through my church, I know He is there and faith is renewed.

As long as God is at the centre, the methods are entirely up to the individual.

Friday, February 03, 2006

If you have no plans for Superbowl Sunday

Come join us:

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Tickets are $15 and available Sunday morning and at the door. Food menu includes:

Roast pig
Hot Roast Beef sandwiches
Sausage on a Bun

A licensed cardiologist will be on site. Dietitians are not invited.

Great prizes including official NFL jerseys, t-shirts, caps and footballs, all sorts of hardware and a great grand prize that will be revealed at game time.

E-mail philpottmen@gmail.com for more information.

If you cannot attend, your prayers for this event are coveted.