Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Follow Up to Sunday

 It’s Wednesday.  I am not sure about you but all week I have been thinking about Sunday’s message.  If you weren’t there, we talked about Choosing Intimacy with God. (it’s up at www.paragonchurch.com or you can download it at iTunes).
On Sunday, I had a hard time with the message for whatever reason.  Maybe you did too.  It was about being open and vulnerable to God and being willing to let Him love you fully and loving him the same in return.
It seems like an easy thing to do – and we all know it is something that we should do, but do we do it?  Do we choose to really KNOW God and allow him to really KNOW us?  Do we choose intimacy?
This might help answer that question… Intimacy with God begins when we radically pursue Him with our whole heart.  The book of James tells us that in chapter 4 vs 8 - Come close to God, and God will come close to you. That verse goes on to say Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
Radically pursuing Him with our whole heart – all the time… not a part time thing.  We can’t be pursuing all the things of the world and God.
Is our loyalty divided?  Is my loyalty divided?  Is that concept what makes it so difficult to be intimate with God? What are the things that come in the way?  What are the things we are more intimate with than God… what do we know better and give more time to?
As I looked around, I see all sorts of things that get in the way – take more time – I know better.  Much of it seems to revolve around technology… iPhone, computer (especially social media), TV, Radio, Video Games, and the list goes on.  I would bet that those are things that get in the way for you too.  But what are we to do?  We NEED those things to survive… DON’T WE?  I mean, twenty years ago, people were so lost without unlimited mobile to mobile minutes and texting, right?  40 years ago there were only 5 channels to turn to… oh the humanity!  70 years ago, people didn’t even have TV’s, just scratchy low quality (standard definition) radio broadcasts – how could you live in such a culture?
Can you imagine a day without Facebook, Twitter, emails, texts, or phone calls?  A day without TV or your MP3 player or some other noise distraction? Even a couple of hours is hard, isn’t it?  Honestly, it has become so difficult for some that Southwest and other airlines now offer free WiFi on select plane flights.  Frontier has DirecTV built into their head rests.
And we wonder why it is hard to be intimate with God… it is because we are never pursuing him with our whole heart… we are never “still and know that He is God” – how do we get to the point where we can choose to be intimate with Him, without distraction.
Here is my challenge (to myself included)… Take time and fast (to take time to be without).  Take a day a week – take a day a month – or you could even start small and just take an hour.  Unplug from the world and plug into God.  Don’t worry about everything else… yes you will survive.  Do it in the morning when you wake up… do it before bed… do it at lunch… to start - unplug for an hour or two.  Sit quietly (it may be the first time you have ever done that in your life).  Pray to God.  Listen to God.  Read His Word (from the actual book, not your iPad).  See what happens.  Let that time grow into a special time between you and God.
Give it a shot.  It may seem weird at first but I bet you will like it before long.  So many people tell me that they never hear God… but how can you with all of the other “noise” in your life.
Pursue God.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another quick thought from Mr Jobs...

I saw this on the Fox News website...  A quote from Steve Jobs (right before I graduated High School)

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful—that’s what matters to me.—CNNMoney/Fortune, May 25, 1993

How do we have that same attitude toward life?  How can we grasp the understanding that it (life) isn't about the money... that it (life) isn't even about me at all?


RIP Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple, died today.  When I found out I began to think about how many ways a man I had never met affected my life.  He has impacted so many people in so many ways.  His ideas changed American culture and created a subculture of Kool Aid drinking Apple followers (of which I am one).

Due to his death, you can find out all about Steve Jobs from the numerous reports and bios… that he was a college drop out, that he left Apple for a while, and you probably even heard that he has been battling sickness since 2004. I always knew he was sick, but never realized how sick until I came across the Commencement Address he gave to the Stanford University Class of 2005.  Here is a little of what he said…

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

A lot to think about…

I am not sure of Steve Jobs’ spiritual condition, but he was so right.  Life is short.  I blogged about that a few months ago.

Psalm 89:47 says… Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence!

Steve Jobs died today… it could be anyone of us tomorrow.  We should live our lives in light of eternity.  What are you doing here that will affect those around you?  How is your life changing the people around you? 

You have been given one life to live… don’t waste it.

(thanks to Ed Stetzer for posting the commencement address)