Thoughts from Oklahoma: Day 7-Serving with Old Friends

The Salvation Army; Shawnee, OK

Although I am sorry about the circumstances, this disaster helped reunite me with some old friends that I have not seen in a while. Lieutenants Philip and Elaine Canning are the corps officer (ministers) for The Salvation Army in Shawnee, OK. I have known Philip and Elaine before they were Philip and Elaine. We worked on camp staff together when we were kids.

They are a vibrant, young couple who truly loves their communities. Philip and Elaine are responsible for Pottawatomie, Seminole, and Lincoln counties in Oklahoma. Parts of their counties were affected by the tornadoes on May 19, 2013. The Cannings have been working around the clock since the tornadoes to serve OTHERS in their community. I was honored to have the opportunity to give them some relief for a few days.

Please remember all of the people affected by these natural disasters!

Soli Deo Gloria!

A Surprise Along the Way (2012 Easter SONrise Service)

Title: A Surprise Along the Way
Series: Walking the Road of Easter (SONrise Service)
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12
Theme(s): Surprise, God’s provision, Purpose, Importance

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT
Let’s catch up in our story! Jesus, our Lord and leader of our group, has just been killed and buried. According to tradition some of the women have prepared the requisite spices and ointments to anoint His body. They cannot anoint His body right away because of the Sabbath. There can be no work on the Sabbath! So far, everything was continuing on as usual.

At first light, the women gather up all of their materials and make their way to the tomb. There is something very striking here about the women’s behavior. Normally the body would have been anointed right away to complete the burial process, but this time it was interrupted by the Sabbath. These women knew the responsibility and its purpose. But, they did not know how they were going to move the covering from the tomb. They did not know how they were going to complete their task, but they knew their duty. They knew how much Jesus had meant to them and this was one way for them to show Him and others that they loved Him. They could have sat at home and wished that they could have completed it. They could have waited a few days and called a committee of the elders together to work on the problem. They could have petitioned to the Romans to have the stone moved away. They could have hired the Jerusalem Rock and Digging Company, Inc. But, they didn’t. They started out. They only knew that it had to be done.

Sometimes, life feels this way. We have a difficult problem or choice before us. We can choose to move or stay. Like the women, we can choose to move in commitment and devotion, knowing that what we are doing is important. Or, we can sit at home and blame people. We can sit around and wait for someone else to take care of it. What is amazing about this story is that if the women had not walked out in faith, then they would have never witness the “surprise along the way.”

Our lives belong to God. He has made us and given us purpose. He has also given us the ability to choose whether we will move out in that purpose or not. How can we know the full measure of God’s care for us if we stay at home? I think this shows us that God delights in surprising His people. He said it was going to happen. He gave them examples along the way that it would happen. He told them over and over. Why wasn’t everyone waiting out in front of the tomb for Jesus to appear? They had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead. They had seen Him walk on water. He had healed the blind and cured the sick. Why didn’t they believe that Jesus might have one more “trick” up His sleeve?

We feel like that in life. We know all of the great things that Jesus has done for us. He continually tells us of His love and plans for us in His word. Yet, we are not waiting at His feet. Jesus uses these “surprises along the way” to remind us that He is still walking beside us. Whether it was a promotion at work or an unexpected gift from a friend, a kind note from a far away relative or the answer to the secret prayer of our hearts, God still cares for His people. He is not dead. He is not locked up in a tomb. He is waiting right around the next corner with a “surprise along the way.”

Walking in His "Majestic" Presence: Week 4

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Gift from Heaven

Play track 4 of “Majestic” entitled “Melody of Love.”  You can stream it live here.

“I have a song that Jesus gave me”

I have heard people say that they prefer to give gifts than to receive them.  I hear stories about the looks on people’s faces and the joy that it brings them.  I may be the only person to admit this but I like getting presents.  I like the look in my own eyes and I like the joy it brings me!  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy giving gifts, but I like getting them as well.  What I don’t like doing is telling people what I want!  It makes me feel weird.  This puts me in a difficult position.  I like getting presents, but I do not like telling people what I want.  So, guess what I want already!  My wife says that I am difficult to buy things for.  She is probably right.

If I can be honest with you, one of the reasons that I cannot tell people what I want is because I usually do not know myself!  I do not have a list of things I want or need running through my head.  I am horrible when I go shopping!  I look at something and if I need it I’ll get it.  If I don’t, I sometimes get it just in case I might need it.  You could almost say that I do not know what I need or what is best for me.

1 Corinthians 12:7  – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Scripture tells us that God has given everyone a gift(s).  He decides what gifts he gives to what people.  The important thing to remember is that our gifts were given to help each other.

And with my life I sing Your melody

Our lives should “sing out” with our gifts.  When our gifts are used together, we hear “Heaven’s harmony” that was “sent from above”. Since we are given a specific gift, we are meant to depend on each other, to work with each other.  Let’s face it!  The world would be a very boring place if everyone was like me.  It would be a very good-looking place, but boring nonetheless.  Soloists are great, but give me a choir any day.  Everyone loves a hero, but what the world needs is a team, the body of Christ supporting each other with their gifts for the benefit of all!

So, my thought is this…

The true gift from God is not the gifts that He has given us, as great as they are.  The true gift from God is our ability to work together to further His kingdom.

So, with your life, will you join me in singing the melody of love?

Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 4

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Gift from Heaven

Play track 4 of “Majestic” entitled “Melody of Love.”  You can stream it live here.

“I have a song that Jesus gave me”

I have heard people say that they prefer to give gifts than to receive them.  I hear stories about the looks on people’s faces and the joy that it brings them.  I may be the only person to admit this but I like getting presents.  I like the look in my own eyes and I like the joy it brings me!  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy giving gifts, but I like getting them as well.  What I don’t like doing is telling people what I want!  It makes me feel weird.  This puts me in a difficult position.  I like getting presents, but I do not like telling people what I want.  So, guess what I want already!  My wife says that I am difficult to buy things for.  She is probably right.

If I can be honest with you, one of the reasons that I cannot tell people what I want is because I usually do not know myself!  I do not have a list of things I want or need running through my head.  I am horrible when I go shopping!  I look at something and if I need it I’ll get it.  If I don’t, I sometimes get it just in case I might need it.  You could almost say that I do not know what I need or what is best for me.

1 Corinthians 12:7  – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Scripture tells us that God has given everyone a gift(s).  He decides what gifts he gives to what people.  The important thing to remember is that our gifts were given to help each other.

And with my life I sing Your melody

Our lives should “sing out” with our gifts.  When our gifts are used together, we hear “Heaven’s harmony” that was “sent from above”. Since we are given a specific gift, we are meant to depend on each other, to work with each other.  Let’s face it!  The world would be a very boring place if everyone was like me.  It would be a very good-looking place, but boring nonetheless.  Soloists are great, but give me a choir any day.  Everyone loves a hero, but what the world needs is a team, the body of Christ supporting each other with their gifts for the benefit of all!

So, my thought is this…

The true gift from God is not the gifts that He has given us, as great as they are.  The true gift from God is our ability to work together to further His kingdom.

So, with your life, will you join me in singing the melody of love?