Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, December 15, 2008

Night of Hope

Event: Night of Hope Benefit Concert
Date: Friday, December 19, 200
Time: 7PM
Cost: Free Admission
Donations to be taken for Building Dreams Ranch and Advent Conspiracy.
Paul Kampen is an incredibly talented guitarist and vocalist. If you enjoy listening to music performed on an acoustic guitar, then this event is prefect for you! This concert would be worth paying good money to hear, yet it is being offered for free. If you do attend you will leave having heard great music from great musicians with great hearts - all the while knowing that 100% of your donation is going directly to these great ministries.
Lisa and I plan on attending and are looking forward to it.
Come join us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Ghost of Christmas Passed

I read about this program called "Advent Conspiracy" several months ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. Basically, the idea is for churches to challenge their members to buy one less gift this year and donate that money to a charity where at least 25% of that money goes to bring clean water to an area of the world that is currently without (the AC website promotes using Living Water International, but my thoughts immediately went to BloodWaterMission).

I have not pursued advocating this like I should have and should have promoted this idea at church but I didn't. I wrote this year off for me as being too busy to take the lead on this. My thought process went something like this:

You see, I have a new baby (4 weeks old now) and I am on the pastor search committee at church and so I don't have a lot of free time... and if I were to try and promote this someone might ask me to lead this... and then I would have to consider it... and then I would have to come back and tell them I couldn't because I was too busy with the baby and pastor search and all... and well, surely there is someone else who could do it, right?

And there you have my pathetic, utterly selfish, pride-filled trail of thoughts that have led me to total inaction. It's not that I didn't want to participate in this program - it's that I was afraid I would have to sacrifice more than just a little money to the cause. If I brought this great idea to my church, I might have to actually do some physical work and spend some time promoting the idea. Obviously, I decided that my time was too important for such an endeavor and so I failed to do anything.

In the meantime, over the past few months I agreed to leading the singing one Sunday night, which required me to spend 3 extra hours at church on a Sunday afternoon/evening. I have gone out of my way to watch a football game on television. I have taken several opportunities to eat out with friends for hours at a time.

Are any of these things wrong? No, not in and of themselves.

However, looking back at my reasons for not trying to get involved with this cause (lack of time and new baby), I see that I had plenty of time for the things I wanted to do. Somehow, I made time for these other things and had no qualms at all with taking the lead on a Sunday night.

Why is that?

My only answer is pride. It's an ugly truth that has confronted me today and I cannot dodge it. I determined that my time was worth more to me than to even try and attempt organizing this at my church. My prideful heart determined that leading the music in a service was well worth my time, but promoting the opportunity to help the poor around the globe was not worth even mentioning. I decided that I wanted to visit with friends and family and television but I didn't want to pick up the phone and call someone at church and talk about this opportunity.

And that just plain stinks.

Even now, as I type this I am thinking "You could call someone now, but it's probably too late anyway, so why bother?"

Do you see the pride in that statement?
Why bother?

I think I should bother because it is bothering me.

While it may be true that it is too late for this year, perhaps I am to start the wheels on something for next year. Perhaps God is moving me to get our church involved in providing clean water to people around the world after the Christmas season has passed.

Or perhaps it is not too late for this year at all...

Lord, forgive me for my pride and arrogance in determining that my time is
more valuable to me than sharing the opportunities to help provide for the less
fortunate than I. Forgive me for my consumerist mentality. Forgive me for using
my beautiful, little baby girl as an excuse to not do what I feel led to do.
Lord, I trust that You will provide for me and my family and that You will
transform the time that I spend with them into precious moments of celebration
and happiness.

Lord, you are the source of my joy and today I come before you humbled. You
have seen the condition of my heart and you know its every fault. Lord, capture
it again to use for your glory. Renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me
the joy of my salvation and fill me with Your mercy and grace towards those
around me. Father, in this season of spending, please keep my heart focused on
you. Holy Spirit, I pray that you would continue to convict me of the sin in my
life and I pray that You would cause Your ways to become more clear to me.

Father, in this moment, while surrounded by the hustle and bustle or this
Christmas season, I incline my ear towards you. Father, I am waiting for Your
still small voice to speak to me in Your perfect timing with the exact words you
have for me to hear. Lord, let my life be an offering poured out to you, holding
nothing back - time, money, conversation. God, keep me in Your loving arms and
prepare me now for the moments that lie ahead. Father, take me through this day,
prompting me when to speak, when to be silent, when to move and when to sit and
be still - knowing that You are God. Father, this is my heart's cry.

Thank you Jesus for becoming a man and for your sacrifice of time away from
Heaven. Thank you for the Cross and for providing a way for God to hear me
directly. Your love, Oh Lord, reaches to the everlasting, and I ask that You
would grant me a full measure of grace, peace, faith, hope and love today, as I
walk in dark world. Your will be done. Amen.