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Showing posts from June, 2017

Stop Being So Selfish

Selfishness, narcissism, whatever you call it we’ve got it. We as humans are naturally selfish which isn’t entirely a bad thing. For instance, if I don’t think about feeding myself, I’ll probably starve. If I don’t thinking about taking care of myself I wouldn’t do the things I need to stay healthy. If I’m “hangry” I know I need to eat. If I’m grumpy because I’m tired, I should take a nap. It's my job to take care of myself. If I feel disconnected from God then I need to get into scripture and start praying. We might title this type of selfishness “self-care” or “self-concern” and it’s a good thing. The problem happens when we become so selfish we become self-centered. We start to think, act, and live as though the world revolved around us. An article titled,  “I’m O.K., You’re Selfish," in  The New York Times  reported on a poll done in 1999 asking Americans about the attitudes of other Americans.  60% believed that “most people were overly self-involved” but only 17% admit

Prayer by Timothy Keller

We've all struggled with prayer. We sometimes wonder why should we pray if God already knows everything. We wonder how we should pray consider the many different styles and approaches to it. If you're like me and you want to improve your prayer life then pick up and read  Timothy Keller's book Prayer . I first read this book awhile back, but was reminded of it as I was preparing last Sunday's sermon about prayer. This book is an excellent primer on prayer and how to grow in it. In the first section, Keller teaches why prayer is important and why it deserves our effort. He then explains what prayer is and how it has been understood by the faithful men and women who have gone before us. Finally in the third section, he gives very practical advice including a few models for those wanting to learn or grow in their prayers. As with all of Keller's work this is thoroughly researched and annotated for further study. He references ancient church fathers, Luther, an

Keep Praying & Working For Good

Have you ever felt like God didn’t answer or hear your prayers? Have you prayed and gotten no answer? Are you praying and have been praying but feel like it isn’t working? This is a common feeling; God’s people have always wrestled with prayer! David (who wrote most of the Psalms) felt this way when he prayed in Psalm 55.1 (MSG), “Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.” The truth is that God hears our prayers and they make a difference, or will eventually. David described his prayer life as a continual struggle in Psalm 56:8 (NRSV), “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?” He writes this psalm in the midst of a long struggle but he is confident that God's keeping track. David knows that God is on our side and working for our good. God is able to take our problems and pain, our tossings and our tears, our worries and regrets, and transform them into something good. It’s important to r

Why Do Christians Think God's Judgment Is A Good Thing?

Justice is a time-honored virtue. It is a core American belief that we pledge “liberty and justice for all.” We celebrate it in our modern day folklore; the Hall of Justice is where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all gather to fight crime and promote justice. Today we want justice for the oppressed and we want to make sure that we protect the rights of all. We want justice but we can’t seem to bring it about. Our court system seems broken and the oppressed get more and more oppressed. Despite our desire for justice everything today is not just. The prophet Amos was sent during a time of economic growth and moral decline. The nation’s businesses were flourishing but justice in his society was declining. This blue-collar prophet came declaring that God’s justice would prevail when God brought his judgment. Today judgment isn’t very popular. We think we don’t like judgment because we’ve misunderstood the word. Judgment is often considered an arbitrary decision made by someone, but

Your Piece Of The Pie

Major relationship problems are like pies - they don’t spontaneously appear! We see smoke before fire and our relationships give warning signs before they blow up! Most couples considering divorce have struggled for years and done nothing to improve their marriage. They have fought and withdrawn, then after they’ve made a decision to divorce do they go and get help! Pain is the warning sign in any relationship and it invites us to take a closer look. If you are experiencing pain because your child is becoming increasingly withdrawn you might want to stop and ask, “Is this a warning sign? What is happening? Am I doing something to cause this?” If you have a friend who is lashing out or withdrawing from you ask, “What’s causing this?” If you are constantly fighting with your spouse you need to stop and ask questions. If you decide to look into the pain in your relationship odds are you will find something you’re doing to cause it. I think of it like a pie, the blame pie. The pie r

Does love define you?

When someone dies and I sit with the family to plan a funeral, I always ask this question, “What is one word that describes your loved one?” As family and friends think they start to give the same words. It's interesting how just a few words define our lives when it's all over. Last Sunday we studied about the prophet Hosea. We know very little about him except that he is an exceptionally faithful man who loved without terms or conditions. Hosea married a woman he knew would be unfaithful and his love brought her back from a life of prostitution. His love never gave up on his wife, he was defined by one word: love. Hose's life was a living example of the love God has for all of his people. Love is probably the word that best defines God and it should define us. God calls us with and to a kind of love that should define us completely. Consider 1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” John r