My Posts You Liked the Most in 2013

Top 10 Gold TextThis year we covered a lot of ground on this blog.  Here are the 10 posts you liked the most in 2013.  (These are the stories you clicked and commented on the most.)

Did you miss any? Which one was your favorite?

10.  Project 127 on 700 Club for National Foster Care Month (Read Full Story Here)

9.   The Beauty of Broken (Click to read)

Elisa Morgan shares her secrets and in the process reveals ours too:  broken people create broken families.  Not only is that a relief–it is truly good news.  The Beauty of Broken–helpful…hopeful…healing!

8.   The Art of Asking Well

As I watched the video I found myself processing it on a personal and transcendent level. (Click to continue reading)

7.   Pastor Throws a Hissy Fit, Can Anybody Throw the First Stone? (Click to read)

6.   Maybe It’s Time to Give God a Raise

At first, my thoughts ranged from:  “This is why Christians have such a bad reputation” to “Why didn’t the pastor come to the aid and defense of the fired waitress?”  Isn’t that what Jesus would do? (Click to continue reading)

5.   What to Make of Preachers of L.A. (Click to read)

preachers-la

4.   My New Book:  The Mercy Prayer (Click for Official Website)

The Mercy Prayer3D

3.   My Reflections on Century 16, One Year Later

Immediately, I drove to the theater and parked across the street.  Amid the yellow tape, flashing lights of emergency vehicles and the hustle of news trucks with reporters setting up, one word came to mind:  Again. (Click to continue reading)

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2.   20 Blessings from the Bible (Click to see full list)

Lustrous Wooden Cabinet with Blessings File Label in Dramatic LIght.

1.   Travon Martin & George Zimmerman:  Don’t Process Alone

At times like this community is necessary.  We all have our own personal experiences and biases. It is only when we are willing to not just say what we think but listen to what others are thinking that we make progress. (Click to continue reading)

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Which one was your favorite?  Why do you think these stories resonated so much?

Honorable Mentions:

Father Daughter Dance in Prison

How to Write Your Own Eulogy

Do you love God?

When asked about the greatest and most important commandment Jesus didn’t hesitate in his reply,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mk. 12.30)

According to Jesus, loving God is the supreme command of scripture.  But what does it actually mean to love God?  How do we know if we are loving God in a way that he desires. Thankfully, Jesus answered those questions for us when he said,

“If you love me, keep my commands.” (Jn. 14.21)

Loving God is directly linked to keeping the teachings of Christ in everyday life. Additionally, the commands of Christ are essential to the Great Commission.  Before Christ ascended he told us to make disciples and then explained exactly how we do that,

“teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you…” (Mt. 28.20)

Depositphotos_2097109_xsKnowing the commandments of Jesus are vital to loving him and being his disciple.

Confession:

I don’t know ALL of the commands of Christ by heart. I have not counted them, written them down or meditated on them so that I can truly love Jesus the way he desires.  What about you?

Commitment:

I will read through the gospels in search of every command of Christ, write them down,  reflect upon what obedience would look like for I desire to love God and be his disciple.

You with me?

What if the Church was like this?

I love watching flocks of birds and schools of fish.  The way they move in seemingly choreographed unison.  It’s as if they simultaneously receive a command–“Turn right”…”Go down”…”Swoop”–and respond as one.  I think this is the way Jesus would like his church to operate.

In nature, fish and birds act this way out of self-preservation & fear but I wonder if we could do this out of love.  When we cultivate hearts that are receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit then all our Savior needs to do is whisper and we respond.

“…abide in me and I will abide in you…”  (Jn. 15)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock…”

May we (Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Catholic…) be so attuned to the whisper of God that we respond in a way that is nothing short of beautiful.

“I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  (Jn. 17.23)

Gendercide Transforum Online

its-a-girl-posterRecently Colorado Community Church gathered for a Transforum on Gendercide.

What’s a Transforum?

It’s an invented word to describe a forum with the purpose of individual and world transformation.  The goal is threefold: Awareness, reflection & action.

Awareness

Gendercide is the systematic and methodical killing of members of a specific sex. Today, more girls are selectively aborted in India and China each year than girls born each year in the United States.

It’s a Girl:  The Three Deadliest Words in the World is a documentary that vividly portrays this crisis.

Reflection:  Living the Call of Micah 6.8

Do Justice:

Whose case can I plead?  How can I involve the person who caused the problem in the solution?  What common ground do I have with those also working on this issue?

Love Mercy

Who is sinning and needs forgiveness?  Who is suffering and needs relief?  What basic human need can God use me to meet?

Walk Humbly With My God

What would it look like for God to show up?  What can I do?  What can only God do?

Action:  What is God calling you to do?

Click here to download the Transforum Tool box complete with local, national & international organizations/opportunities:

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Feel free to share your feelings and thoughts concerning any of the questions of the Micah 6.8 call.

What to Make of The Preachers of L.A.

Have you seen the new reality show Preachers of L.A.?  What do you think of it?

Some are saying…

preachers-laIt’s going to be phenomenal for the church.

“It shines a spotlight on shameful abuses…”

“These guys are out of bounds.”

I’ve been left with one dominant feeling:  DEFENSIVENESS

Defending Preachers

I find myself wanting to shout from the mountaintop, “They don’t represent the majority of preachers!” and “I’m not like them!” They seem to be unaware of how their opulence and austerity reinforces bad images and stereotypes.  I cringe when they refer to the church and ministry as a business enterprise and a revenue stream.  Even T.D. Jakes weighed in saying, “I’m not from L.A., I’m from Dallas!”

Defending the Gospel

The good news is not is not that Jesus came so that we might prosper by the standards of this fallen world.  The good news is that the kingdom of heaven has arrived, Christ is king, and the way of the cross is now the new standard of success.

Defending My Heart

Recently, Pope Francis suspended a free-spending German Bishop known as, “The Bishop of Bling.”  I admit that I’ve wish we could do something similar with the cast of  Preachers of L.A.  However, I (we) need to defend our hearts against self-righteousness & pride.  I have logs in my own eye that demand my attention.  The Apostle Paul reminds us that what we are seeing is nothing new with these words of perspective,

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will.  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this I rejoice.”  Phil. 1.15-18

Nothing Less Than a Miracle

The Mercy Prayer3DWelcome to The Mercy Prayer online Book Club!

The Mercy Prayer Chapter 4–Nothing Less Than a Miracle

(Click to tweet this video)

Jesus’ Two Questions

On two seperate occasions Jesus encountered two sets of blind men, both of which wanted mercy.  Jesus asked each pair a different question.

1)  Do you believe?

2)  What do you want ?

After reading this chapter, what do you think about why he took different approaches with these two pairs who asked him for mercy?  Do you agree with my conclusions?

Click here to download the free discussion guide and to watch all the chapter videos.

Click here to purchase The Mercy Prayer:  The One Prayer Jesus Always Answers

How to Write Your Own Eulogy

Burial CasketWhat Will People Say?

Marcus Garvey had the rare opportunity to hear his own eulogy. Garvey was sick but false reports spread that he had died.  Friends and foes began to speak about his life and Garvey had a front row seat to what people would say about him when they thought he was dead–much of it was unflattering.

Recently a scathing obituary went viral about a woman whose children told the world what they really thought of their deceased mother.  They wrote:  “We celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children.”

We will all die.  We will all be remembered.

Starting at the Finish Line

It was Stephen Covey who said that we should “begin with the end in mind.”  I couldn’t agree more.  In the ultimate sense we should live with a compelling sense of what eternal life with God will be like and then organize our life in accordance with that vision. Additionally, we would be wise to thing about how we want to be remembered.  The psalmist wrote,

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” (Ps. 39.4)

Write Your Eulogy Now (Click to Tweet)

A few years ago I decided to write my own eulogy.  I call it my Legacy Statement.  I sat down and thought deeply about how I wanted to be remembered. I asked myself, “What do I want God, my wife, my children, my  church, my people and the least of these to say about me?”  The result is a one page document that I review and pray through regularly.

Have you thought about writing your own obituary?  It’s simple.  Set aside an hour and prayerfully write down the most important relationships in your life and how you want to be remembered.  Write your answers from the perspective of each person or group and then live with then end in mind.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Ps. 90.12