ADVENTURES, MISSIONS and RETREATS

Reaching and Teaching people about Jesus through Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures.

Tag: Gods word

What is Love….Really?

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

Years ago I asked a young man who was engaged to be married, “How do you know that you love her?” It was a loaded question, intended to help him look at his heart’s motives for the upcoming marriage. After several thoughtful moments, he responded, “I know I love her because I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy.”

We discussed what that meant—and the price tag attached to the selflessness of constantly seeking the best for the other person, rather than putting ourselves first. Real love has a lot to do with sacrifice.

That idea is in line with the wisdom of the Bible. In the Scriptures there are several Greek words for love but the highest form is agape love—love that is defined and driven by self-sacrifice. Nowhere is this more true than in the love our heavenly Father has shown us in Christ. We are deeply valued by Him. Paul stated, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

If sacrifice is the true measure of love, there could be no more precious gift than Jesus: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16 nlt).

Amazing love!
How can it be
That Thou, my God,
Shouldst die for me? —Wesley

The measure of love is what you are willing to give up for it.

INSIGHT: As a result of Christ’s sacrifice, Paul mentions two great benefits for the follower of Christ. In verse 1, he says that we have “peace with God,” an idea that he unpacks in Philippians 4, where we read of the incomprehensible peace of God, but also the relationship we have with the God of peace Himself (vv.8-9). In Romans 5:2, Paul also declares that we now have “access” to God. This was a stunning idea that he explained more fully in Colossians 1:21, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” We receive the gifts of peace with God and access to God because of Christ’s loving sacrifice on our behalf.
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Mind the Rules

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Mind the Rules

4427640980_f90f421c97_oWe need rules. No question. We can’t live without them.

Having said that. We need to constantly re-evaluate the rules we live by. You see, without even thinking we can make up rules and then insist on keeping them even when it cuts against something more important .

Case in point. Matthew 12:9-13. God made a rule: “No work on the Sabbath.” Actually, that was one of the 10 commandments. But the religious folks added their own rules to that rule. In Jesus’ day they had over 600 rules about what you could or could not do on the Sabbath. And those rules often ran counter to God’s intention. Jesus comes up on a man with a crippled hand.

The rule says no work.

Healing is work. If Jesus heals the man, he breaks the rule.

These legalists would rather let a man suffer than break the Sabbath.

Jesus said, “You make exceptions for your sheep but not a man. That’s crazy.” and then he healed the man.

Our rules can get ridiculous.

Several years ago, I was at a church and we had Vacation Bible School. It was Friday: My day off.

So after the morning events, I went back home to mow the lawn. About 11:00, I got a call. There were four young girls concerned about their salvation, could I come up to talk to them.

Sure.

I had a dilemma. I was in shorts and a t-shirt. Should I go in, shower, clean up and put on long pants, or just go.

To be honest, I didn’t think about it much. I just went.

Here’s my problem. I can’t remember that I’m a pastor a lot of the time, so I just act like a regular guy. I head to church in shorts and a t-shirt to lead some girls to Jesus. Not really thinking about it.

I went in through the gym to say hi to everybody. I noticed that some of the ladies that worked in the cookies and punch area were cool. I went and led four little girls to Jesus.

Great morning.

Went back home.

On Sunday, I heard about it. “The pastor came to church without pants on!”

I had pants on! They were short pants, but they were pants. Half the people working in VBS had shorts on, but I was the pastor, so several people were upset about that.

Do you feel the irony? I led four children to Jesus that morning, but they weren’t rejoicing over their salvation. They were upset because because the cloth I was wearing on my legs didn’t go all the way down to my ankles.

I broke a rule. You know what? I’d do it again.

Watch your rules. Especially the ones we make up. Never let them get in the way of something really important, like a relationship.

Walking a Tightrope

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Walking a Tightrope

SONY DSCOn July 30, 1859, 35-year-old Jean-Francois Gravelet – better known as “Blondin” – walked across a tight rope across the Niagara River just above the falls. The rope was stretched 1100 feet and it was 160 above the raging waters. After that he went on to cross the falls a dozen more times. Each time he would try something new and unique. He did it blind folded. He did it pushing a wheelbarrow. Once he took a small table and a stove and cooked eggs.

The novelty was wearing thin. What could he do to make the crowds keep coming back. Blondin thought that it might thrill the crowds if he did it with someone on his back. But who was crazy enough to do that? He looked at his manager Harry Colcord.

“Do you really believe in me. . .”

Colcord grudgingly agreed.

The first time I came across that story I thought, “Now that’s faith. Do you really believe? Climb on board.” Difference between saying you believe and really believing.

But then I came across the rest of the story. Harry Colcord’s account.

1000 feet is a long way to carry another man. About half-way across Blondin got tired and stumbled. They stopped. Harry climbed down and so Blondin could rest. Then he carefully climbed back up. Blondin had to stop and rest four more times. They got into more trouble when they came to a guy rope near the Canadian side. The tightrope started swaying dangerously and Blondin struggled to keep his balance. Then a guy rope broke. And the pair nearly fell. When Blondin finally came to the Canadian shore he was drenched in sweat and Harry Colcord’s eyes were shut tight.

Colcord later said, “The ordeal was a nightmare from beginning to end.”

Sometimes we do that. We think, “Man this is it. This is the big deal and so we rush into things without really checking it out. And we get burned.” Have you done that before? Maybe you’re doing it right now.

My dad used to have a phrase, “Son,” he would say, “Look before you leap.” Know what you are getting into.

He didn’t know it, but my dad was giving me biblical counsel.

(Proverbs 22:3) A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.

One of the aspects of wisdom is learning to predict the problems and make wise choices. And the result is a life that is a lot less stressful. Sounds good doesn’t it. So be wise. Check it out first. Look before you leap.

When the Going Gets Tough…

When the Going Gets Tough…

CheckmateJames Collins and Jerry Porras are two Stanford University researchers that studied the eighteen most visionary companies in the world to determine the secret of their success. They titled their book, ‘Built to Last.”

Collins and Porras discovered that most of the world’s top flight corporations had difficult beginnings. When Masaru Ibuka founded Sony in 1945 he had no idea what he wanted to make. He considered a wide range of possibilities from sweetened bean-paste soup to miniature golf equipment. He finally settled on electronics and produced a rice cooker that did not work and a tape recorder that failed to sell. To keep the struggling company afloat they resorted to stitching wires on cloth to make crude heating pads. The company that brings so much wizardry and innovation to life started out selling heating pads!

Sony’s experience was not the exception. Nearly all eighteen of the most visionary companies in the world struggled to survive at some point in their lives. Many times they found success producing products that they did not set out to make. Collins and Porras wrote:

“J. Willard Marriott (Marriott Hotels) . . . decided to start his company with the only viable idea he could think of: take out a franchise license and open an A&W root beer stand. . . Procter & Gamble started as a simple soap and candle maker . . . Motorola began as a struggling battery eliminator repair business for Sears radios.”

We think that successful people are naturally gifted with some fabulous earth shaking idea and that they cruise to triumph without a care. According to Collins and Porras that is not true. The secret of success was not so much in the charisma of the leader as it was in his perseverance and a dogged determination.

Can I invade your privacy long enough to ask, a personal question? How is it going? I mean really going? How’s your dream coming? Is it tough? Are you about ready to give in and give up? Let me encourage you to take a lesson from the world’s finest. Stay open for unexpected opportunities and don’t quit. Who knows? You might be the next Masaru Ibuka.

Here’s a verse that always encourages me. I hope it helps you.

(1 Corinthians 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

Good News with Pastor Bill 

1280px-Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_OnlineThey say that there is a sign along the Alaskan Highway that reads, “Choose your rut carefully, you will be in it for the next 200 miles.

We get locked into a ruts and a patterns and hit the cruise control. In the process we miss much of the beauty of God. I believe God wants us to explore.

‘Oh taste of the Lord and see that He is good.’ How do we do this?  You have to open your eyes

(Ephesians 1:18) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

We are surrounded by opportunities, but we don’t see them.

We get locked into a pattern that forces us to see things only one way.

Someone sent me this last week. It really highlights what I’m talking about.

Here’s a one-question I.Q. Test:

There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of
brushing one’s teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and
the purchase is done.

Now if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should
he express himself? Think about it first before scrolling down for the answer.

 

 

 

He opens his mouth and says. “I would like to buy a pair of sunglasses.”

I got so stuck on that. I wanted to make him mute too. He’s could communicate perfectly well. But the pattern locked me out of the solution.

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have,
~Emile Chariter, Philosopher.

The last person to ask about water is a fish. You get so used to business as usual that you don’t see what you can do. Open your eyes. Explore other ideas. God is moving all around you, but you have to be willing to see. And to do that you have to look past the obvious.

Surely the lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. (Gen 28:16)

The Lord’s Army

Good News with Pastor Bill 

o-WORLD-WAR-TWO-facebookWe used to sing this song in nursery and Sunday school that quite frankly I never liked. It went like this:

I may never march in the infantry
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery,
I may never fly over the enemy
But I’m in the lord’s army.

Uh, what good is it to be in an army and NOT go to battle? I may never ride or shoot or fly but I’m in the Lord’s Army!

Compare that to the great anthem, The Church’s One Foundation. Listen to the lyrics.

The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ the lord.
She is his new creation
By spirit and the word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her
And for her life he died.
Mid toil and tribulation
And tumult of her wars
She waits the consummation
Of peace forever more.
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blessed
And the great church victorious
Will be the church at rest.

The great church victorious will be… one day they will be the church at rest. But not now. Not here. Not while the battle is still raging. We are called to engage the enemy. And that means we ride, we shoot we fly. We DO!

We have forgotten the biology of theology. We focus on “thinking right about God,” but we miss the powerful truth of following God. And to be honest I think this is what makes church boring. We’ve missed the power of the adventure.

(Ephesians 5:14-17) For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

I like the way that Peterson translates that in the Message.

“Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!”

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the master wants.”

God is saying, Wake up. Explore with me the wonders of my world and my ways. He has a plan for your life, but you have to choose to join him in it. And to do that you will have to crawl out of your crypt and learn to ride, shoot, fly and march.

The Perfect Pastor

Posted on :Good News with Pastor Bill 
Gethsemane_lutheran_church_austin_2009A friend sent me this and I laughed out loud.


 

“The Perfect Pastor” by Father McGinn.

“The Perfect Pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes. He condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 a.m. until midnight and is also the church janitor

The Perfect Pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates$30 a week to the parish. He is 29 years old and has 40 years’ experience. Above all, he is handsome. The Perfect Pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his parish. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.

The Perfect Pastor is always in the next parish over! If your pastor does not measure up, simply send this notice to six other parishes that are tired of their pastor, too. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the parish at the top of your list. If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1,643 pastors. One of them should be perfect. Have faith in this letter. One parish broke the chain and got its old pastor back in less than three months!”


I love it. That little letter highlights something we all already knew. Nobody is perfect.We are born with strengths and limitations. God did that deliberately. We are designed with flaws that I like to call “gaps.” I need you to fill my gap and you need me to fill yours. Together we become what we could never be as individuals.

That’s why He called the church a body. We are individual pieces of a complex organization. I might be an eye with great vision. But you might be a hand that reaches out to touch. I might be a nose and can smell dinner. But what good is a nose without a mouth? And what good is a mouth without a tongue? And what good is a tongue without saliva, and taste buds, and . . . well you get the picture. It takes a lot of different gifts and strengths to make up for all those limitations. So be who you are and let others be who they are and together we will fill one another’s gaps and be the body of Christ.

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Jesus was Big

Random-wallpapers-space-stars-background-wallpaper-32823One Christmas I was looking into the manger at that tiny little ceramic figure portraying Jesus.

That’s how some people see him. Just a little harmless figure. It makes me think of my favorite story of Christ’s birth, which can be found in John.

John, unlike Matthew and Luke, John does not have a nativity story. He starts big and theological.

(John 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word, Jesus, was in the beginning with God. Now skip down to verse 14, this is the nativity story from John’s perspective.

(John 1:14) And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There it is. The nativity story. God put on skin. Grace wrapped itself in Jesus.

Get a feel for the majesty of God. How big. Not a little-g god with all the pandering and problems we face. The big-G. Only God. The God of time and space. The God of eternity. Creator of the universe. Back up to John 1.

(John 1:3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

All things were created by him and apart from him Nothing was created.

They have this theological word concerning the creation. Ex nillo. Out of nothing. There was nothing, and now there is something. And the something we now have is covered with the fingerprints of god.

Consider the vastness of the creation. Lucado helps with this:

Our Galaxy is one of billions. Who can conceive of such a universe. . . no one can. But let’s try anyway. Suppose you attempt to drive to the sun. you get into a space car that goes 150 mph. you hop in, open the moonroof, and blast off. Any guess as to the length of your trip? Try 70 years.! Suppose you fuel up to head to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, best pack a lunch . . . you’ll need 15 million years to make the trip. Traveling at 600 mph it would take 17 years to reach the sun and 690 years to get to Pluto!

No matter how big this all is, god is bigger. That big God, squeezed into skin and showed us what he was like and what he loved. Think about that.

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