I am really looking forward to reading this book. I once beat Conlan Brown at Chess (in fact my at-the-time-elementary-school-age son beat Conlan at Chess). Here is a link to read more about Conlan's book: http://www.strangbookgroup.com/index.php/videos/19020-the-firstborn-by-conlan-brown
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Finally, something from Washington that I can support...
The Associated Press is reporting that the United States Senate will be holding hearings to determine the fairness of the way that college football picks it's national champion. Leading the charge is Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. It seems that Utah was bypassed by the BCS in spite of Utah's undefeated season. Both of the teams in the championship game had suffered one loss during their seasons. It seems that almost every year there are teams left out of championship consideration simply because of their conference. Let's take the argument out of the championship and finally provide a championship series that will once and for all determine the national champion.
The AP reports, "In the House, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, has sponsored legislation that would prevent the NCAA from calling a football game a "national championship" unless the game culminates from a playoff system." AMEN! It's a mystery to me why the powers within the NCAA do not want a playoff system such as what we are enjoying right now with basketball. It would be very simple to incorporate the current bowl games into a playoff system. The BCS rankings could be used to seed the tournament and to determine it's participants. Eight teams, sixteen, or even thirty-two could work through a playoff system beginning with the Christmas holidays and concluding with the championship game on New Years Day.
You can read the entire AP article here.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
God has given us a "Spiritual Stimulus Plan" in order to allow us to move forward in our life fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. If you're at a place in your life where you are wondering what you need to do--take a look at the "Spiritual Stimulus Plan" that is detailed in Acts 16.
Part 1 - "Submission" - Click here.
Part 2 - "Direction" - Click here.
The third way that God motivates us is through our devotional habits. Acts 16:11-15 reveals a day in the life of Paul that included a devotional habit resulting in the advancement of the Gospel.
"And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled" (v13).
Paul's habit was to worship on the Sabbath. He did it when it was convenient and could be practiced in a synagogue and he did it when it was inconvenient and had to be held on a riverbank. His habit was to worship God on the Sabbath no matter where he was or even whether there was anyone around to join him. Paul was a worshiper of the Most High God no matter what. Now notice the result...
"A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of pruple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul" (v14).
It was no accident that Paul found himself worshiping on the riverbank on that particular Saturday morning. Remember that he had experienced a "Macedonian Call" in the form of a vision (Acts 16:910) and now as he went through his devotional habit he saw the fulfillment of his vision. The Lord has opened the heart of the first European convert to Christianity. It should be noted here that there are a lot of firsts in the scriptures that include women and this is one more instance. The first European Christian is a women.
"And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.' And she prevailed upon us" (v15).
Lydia's devotion to her new Lord is evidenced by her willingness to be baptized immediately along with her household. It is further evidenced by her desire to host Paul and his companions in her own home. Notice that God provides for Paul through the gracious blessing of the fruit of his ministry. Paul's devotion to God leads to Lydia's salvation and Lydia's devotion to God leads to Paul's provision. God uses our devotion as key way to motivate into His will.
How have you seen God at work through your habits of devotion? Is there a devotional habit that is missing from your life that is perhaps hindering you from experiencing the fullness of God's guidance?
Monday, March 16, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
A stimulus is supposed to energize something that has stopped moving. Economies may need them, industries may need them, and human beings may need them. Spiritually, we tend to coast from one encounter with God to the next never realizing that God has equipped us through the Holy Spirit with the ability to continually gain momentum without ever pausing to coast.
To review, you may want to go back and read the first part of the "Spiritual Stimulus Plan". You can read it here.
Part 2 of the Spiritual Stimulus begins in Acts 16:6-7, "
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go ino Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them".
It is startling to realize that Paul and Silas are "forbidden by the Holy Spirit" to preach the word in Asia. They are stopped by God from doing what appears to be a very good thing. Is it ever wrong to do something good? Evidently! I wonder if we are ever working against the Holy Spirit by insisting on moving forward with our own good ideas and good intentions. Perhaps we fail in our good works because the Spirit of Jesus is not permitting us to succeed. You see, God does not want us to be good--he wants us to be obedient. He is not asking us for our opinions or for our ideas--He just wants us to follow Him. One of the greatest spiritual motivators, I suppose, that we can ever receive is God-given direction. We don't have to figure it out ourselves--just look to God for direction. And in fact, to come up with our own plan, is to risk the opposition of God.
So how to we find out what God wants us to do? We simply do what Jesus did. In John 5:19-24, Jesus lays out how he knows what to do. Check it out for yourself but the bottom line is that Jesus looks to see what the Father is doing and then simply does that. In our Acts 16 text, we see that Paul gets direction in the form of a vision (16:8-10). Henry Blackaby says that God speaks primarily through: prayer, the church, circumstances, and the Scriptures. Simply note what you hear from these four sources and then put the information together. Of course, it is easier said than done. My wife writes a blog detailing The JOURNEY that provides stories of how God provides direction. You can visit Tina's blog at www.tinasamples.blogspot.com.
We need direction in order to know which way to go. If your struggling today and wondering what you should be doing, let me suggest that you get alone and that you get quiet. Listen more than you speak. God is most likely telling you everything that you need to know through the voices that are around you. What are they saying? Are you listening? Jesus said in John 8:47 that those who belong to God hear what God is saying. Listen...