Friday, July 20, 2012
Our life is so short, even if you live a long life.
We have to live life fully, but also wisely because how we live matters now and in the next life. I came across this verse while preparing for Sunday...
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 (NLT)
A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now.
Let's all live like the wise and not like a fool.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Even though it's her third book, it's still fun to see it unfold.
Here's an interview she did recently....
And here are 25 blogs who have reviewed it so far... http://tiredsupergirl.blogspot.com/2012/04/check-out-i-blame-eve-blog-tour.html If you want to see more reviews of it on Amazon you can go here.
Friday, April 06, 2012
”Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, "What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me."
The apostle John reveals these words, as one of the few who stood at the foot of the cross that first “Good Friday”. He says this in John 19:30...
For the shame from your past or current sins… It is finished.
For the debt of punishment you owed for your sin… It is finished!
Monday, September 26, 2011
Truth In The Movies Series - Movie: Soul Surfer - Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?
Here is the audio of the talk I gave last night about the movie "Soul Surfer".
It's answers the question: Can Bad Things That Happen In My LIfe Really Be Used For Good?
In this talk you'll hear:
-The story of the day I got kidnapped
-My story of a flight I was on that had emergency landing in the middle of a snow storm and how it caused me to discover a way God uses bad for good
-An amazing prison-break story from the Bible that leads to a surprising conclusion
-How surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack and ended up seeing so much good from it that she wouldn't change it - even if she could
-4 ways that God can use bad things for good in your life
Click the link and then click the headphones icon to listen to it online or click the down arrow to download it and listen to it offline:
Content Management System by Ekklesia360
Monday, September 19, 2011
TOPIC: " What are you willing to do to be free?"
It wasn't recorded, so I don't have an audio link to post.
INSTEAD you can read my unedited, probably grammatically incorrect word-for-word notes. :) http://pathwaypaloalto.blogspot.com/2011/09/truth-in-movies-series-movie-127-hours.html
Saturday, May 28, 2011
A few days ago I read 2 Kings chapter 4 and had an interesting thought that is important for many of us who are needing and wanting help from God.
A Widow In Need
It's the story of a widow of one of the prophets who is being harassed by creditors, because she can't pay what's owed. It's gotten so bad they've threatened to take her two sons and make them bondservants to pay off the debt. (This was a common practice back then.)
She comes to Elisha to tell him her problem, because her husband was a fellow prophet and friend of Elisha's.
Elisha is puzzled about how he can help her and thinking out loud he says, "How can I help you? What do you have at your house?" She tells him, "I don't have anything except for a small flask of oil." (This was special oil she was probably saving to be used to anoint her body when she died, as was the custom.)
And that was all that Elisha needed to hear.
He came up with a very strange plan for her to try.
He told her, "Go around and ask all your neighbors if you can borrow their empty jars. And ask for as many as you can." Then he said, "After that, go back to your house with your sons and close the door. Pour the oil you have in that flask into the other jars and when a jar is full, set it aside and fill the next one."
She went off and did exactly what he told her to do.
As she began filling the jars something miraculous happened. She filled the first jar and still had more left! She set it aside and asked her sons for another. She filled that one too and still had more oil in the flask, so her sons handed her another one.
This kept happening over and over until finally she asked for another jar and her sons told her there were none left! At that exact moment the oil in the flask stopped flowing.
She went back to Elisha and told him everything that happened. I imagine he smiled and then said, "Take all that oil and sell it. You'll have enough to pay off your debts. You and your sons can live off of what's left."
A Pattern To How God Works
When I got to that part of the story this thought hit me...
Many times when we're asking for God's help and looking for an answer, we usually look "out there" for the answer. We're expecting God to create some answer out of thin air.
And he can do that. But that doesn't seem to be the pattern of how he works.
The pattern seems to be this: he starts with what we have.
What did God ask Moses? "What's that in your hand?" And Moses said, "A staff..." God used that staff to perform the miracles that eventually were used to set the Israelites free.
When Jesus needed to feed the multitude he asked the disciples what? He asked them what they had. And he used that small amount of fish and loaves to feed the whole crowd. They even had extra left!
Is it just me?
Or doesn't it seem like God likes to use what we have and use that to help us to do beyond what we ever imagined could be done.
What if our normal habit of looking and expecting "out there" is the wrong?
That reminds me of a story Russel Conwell is famous for telling.
In case you don't know, Russel was a famous baptist minister, lawyer, writer, and communicator. He was the founder and first president of Temple University in Pennsylvania. His famous story was called, "An Acre Of Diamonds."
An Acre Of Diamonds
This is a story of a man in ancient Persia named Al Hafed. Al Hafed owned a very large farm with orchards, grain fields and gardens.
He was a contented and wealthy man -- contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.
One day a Buddhist priest visited the old farmer and sat down by Al Hafed's fire. He told that him how this world of ours was made. Then he told him about how diamonds were made.
And the old priest told Al Hafed a story that would change his life forever.
He told Al Hafed that if he had a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole country, and with a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of their great wealth.
Conwell describes how Al Hafed reacted to this...
“Al Hafed heard all about diamonds and how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man -- not that he had lost anything, but poor because he was discontented and discontented because he thought he was poor.
He said: "I want a mine of diamonds!" So he lay awake all night, and early in the morning sought out the priest.”
He woke up that priest out of his dreams and said to him, "Will you tell me where I can find diamonds?" The priest said, "Diamonds? What do you want with diamonds?"
"I want to be immensely rich," said Al Hafed, "but I don't know where to go."
"Well," said the priest, "if you will find a river that runs over white sand between high mountains, in those sands you will always see diamonds."
"Do you really believe that there is such a river?" said, Al Hafed. "Plenty of them, plenty of them; all you have to do is just go and find them, then you have them," said the priest.
Al Hafed said, "I will go."
So he sold his farm, collected his money at interest, left his family in charge of a neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds.
He began at the Mountains of the Moon.
Afterwards he went around into Palestine, then wandered on into Europe, and at last, wandered on into Spain.
At last, when his money was all spent, and he was in rags, wretchedness and poverty, he stood on the shore of that bay in Barcelona, Spain.
When a massive wave came rolling in through the Pillars of Hercules the poor, afflicted, suffering man couldn't resist the awful temptation to throw himself into that incoming tide. He sank beneath its foaming crest, never to rise in this life again.
The Surprising Discovery
But something happened after Al Hafed died... It happened to Al Hafed's successor, the man who bought his land from him.
One day he led his camel out into the garden to drink, and as that camel put its nose down into the clear water of the garden brook something surprising happened.Al Hafed's successor noticed a curious flash of light from the sands of the shallow stream.
He reached down into the stream and pulled out a black stone having an eye of light that reflected all the colors of the rainbow. He took that curious pebble into the house and left it on the mantel, then went on his way and forgot all about it.
A few days after that, this same old priest who told Al Hafed how diamonds were made, came in to visit his successor.
When he saw that flash of light from the mantel he rushed up and said, "Here is a diamond -- here is a diamond!”
Then asked, “Has Al Hafed returned?"
"No, no. Al Hafed has not returned and that is not a diamond; that is nothing but a stone; we found it right out here in our garden."
But the old priest disagreed. He said, "I know a diamond when I see it. That is a diamond!"
Then together they rushed to the garden and stirred up the white sands with their fingers and found even more diamonds.
They found ones that were more beautiful, more valuable diamonds than the first.
And, according to Conwell, what they discovered was the diamond mines of Golconda - one the most magnificent diamond mines in all the history of mankind.
What Do You Have?
God is too creative and cool to box him in and say he has to always start with what you have. He doesn't. But there seems to be a pattern that goes against our natural first inclination to look and wait for something from the outside.
Maybe the first thing we need to do, and the first place we need to start, is with what we have.
What do you have? Really?
- What talents do you have
- What knowledge do you have?
- What experience do you have?
- What relationships do you have?
- What possessions do you have?
- What else do you have?
In your search for the answer you've been looking for, why don't you ask God where and what he wants you to start with?
Start here first and see what God reveals and does.
If he wants to be creative and do something by using something "out there" he'll reveal it to you.
But if he wants to use his familiar pattern, then you will see him use your talent, or knowledge, or experience in ways beyond your expectation to provide for your needs!
This will save you from waiting and looking for the answer "out there" when God is asking you, "What do you have?"
Saturday, May 21, 2011
If you haven't heard a man named Harold Camping has said that based on his biblical calculations the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm.
He has purchased billboards around the country and has gotten a lot of media attention.
Because of this fact, I thought I should write a note to share with our church (http://www.ExperiencePathway.com/) and my Facebook friends about this prediction, so here we go:
1. Do I believe the world is going to end at 6pm?
No. I won't go into details, but I've read his reasoning and I think he is misinterpreting and misapplying scripture. But...
2. Do I believe that ONE DAY the world will end?
Yes. If kingdoms can end (think Rome), then a whole world can come to an end. It’s only logical. This planet once didn’t exist. It had a beginning and that means that one day it will have an ending. That’s not a crazy idea.
In fact, I don’t think there are even any scientists who would argue that this world will one day end. Did you know?...
Scientists Created A "Doomsday Clock"
In 2007, scientists were worried about the threat of Global Warming and Nuclear War in what they called “second nuclear age." Because of this, in 2007, they moved the "Doomsday clock" forward two minutes, so it was set to 5 minutes to midnight.
(This clock was introduced in 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to determine the threat of a nuclear holocaust during the Cold War.)
One quote from Stephen Hawking hit me...“As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.”
(What you also might not know is that the hands of the "Doomsday Clock" was moved again in 2010. Why? Factors influencing the last Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.)
Think about this… Scientists, are wise enough to pay attention to the signs and we need to be wise too.
But does that mean it will happen on May 21st? No. It doesn't. I'll explain why with this story...
What Jesus Told The Disciples About Knowing When The End Would Come
It's an incident in Matthew 24:1-42 that happened towards the end of Jesus’ life and ministry. It’s an event that began with a simple walk, that Jesus and his disciples took, and it ended with them sitting on the mountainside riveted to Jesus’ every word, as he revealed to them about the end of Jerusalem.
It would be a day they would never forget.
They left the temple and were walking away from it when his disciples came up to Jesus to call his attention to its buildings. (They were caught up and impressed by it all.) They kept walking with Jesus, bragging about the temple, and Jesus shocked them with this statement in verse 2...
"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." This had to be totally unimaginable to them.
The temple was the center of their society. But he not only told them that, he went on to tell them that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that the world would one day end.
(NOTE: Their temple and Jerusalem were both later destroyed, just as he said.)
They couldn't believe what they were hearing, so they asked him, "When will the temple be destroyed? What will the signs of the end of this world be?"
He told them about some of the signs and many other things, but the one main thing that applies to knowing whether the world will end on May 21st is found in verse 36.
Jesus told them, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. "
Did you catch that?
Who did Jesus say knows when the end would be?
- Did he say the Mayans would? No.
- Did he say Nostradamus would know? No!
- Did he say Harold Camping would know?
Nope. What did he say? NO ONE will know the exact day or the hour, except God!
There WILL be signs for us to notice and pick up, so we can know that the end is near, but we’ll NEVER know an exact date/time.
We need to stop listening to the people who say they know when the world will end. As soon as they've say it, they prove they're wrong because NO ONE will know! (I think Harold Camping is sincere, but wrong.)
BUT we need to realize this… Jesus said the end will come subtly.
If people aren't looking or don’t know some of the signs, then Jesus says they will miss out on the signs and they’ll still be doing their thing: feasting, partying, and marrying. And once it’s finally time for the end, then it will come suddenly. It will come quickly.
So what can we do?
Jesus gives us the key piece of advice in verse 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. The only thing we can do is keep watch, so we won’t be caught totally off guard and surprise when the end comes.
The Bible does NOT say the world is going to end on May 21st at 6pm! That’s not true. But don’t get me wrong. It could end this year, or this month, or even today.
We don’t know EXACTLY when the end will come. We just know that it will come. Our job is just to pay attention and keep watch, so we can be ready.
We Could See Our OWN End Before THE End
If you don't believe the world is going to end for biblical reason (or even scientific reasons), then that's fine. But we all need to admit the one fact that we all try and pretend is not true: one day our lives will end.
And for most of us the end of our lives will come suddenly and not when we expect it. It will not be something we have time to do something about just before it happens.
We need to live our lives always remembering that they will one day end. It's one of the few guarantees in life.
I don't tell you this to be morbid. Knowing that the world will end, or that our lives will one day end, is a good thing for us – even if we don’t know the exact times. Why?
It can help us to be patient and it helps us to prioritize.
Not only that it helps us to appreciate what we have, appreciate the here and now, and helps us to plan ahead for when this is all over.
Lessons From Those Near The End
When you speak to someone who has lived a long life what do they tell you? They tell you how fast life goes. They tell you that good times and bad BOTH will come. They tell you to appreciate what you have because it will all be gone before you know it.
They don't tell you this to scare you. Right? It’s to help you! That’s what this knowledge is supposed to do for us. Knowing there will be an end and that we don’t know when exactly its coming should affect how we live for today and for the rest of 2011.
We need to watch and be alert.
We need to remember that all that seems so important and consuming in this life will one day be gone. As we set your goals for 2011, dream big dreams, accomplish big things, because one day this will be over.
Let’s love our family and friends more. Let’s stop worrying and stressing out over things that don’t really matter, because one day we won’t have this life or this world anymore.
Let’s invest in the things that last and will matter when this is all over: God’s kingdom and our relationship with God. These things will help us to do well in 2011 and helps us to be prepared for the end – whenever it comes!
One last idea...
Live Like The World Is Going To End At 6pm
Maybe being prepared for the world to end today at 6pm might not be such a bad idea. It might cause us to live today better, live it more fully, and live it focused on things that last and mean something in the end.
And when we're given another day to live on May 22nd, we can wake up thankful and ready to live another day like it was our last. And so on. And so on. Until the one day it really is our last.