A day of rest…..

Our worship services for the last few weeks have been focused on the number 7. It is a biblical number that depicts perfection and is used in many parts of Scripture. For example, in Genesis when God created the heavens and the earth and all of creation, He rested on the 7th day. There are other instances of 7 — forgiveness of debts every 7 years in the Old Testament, forgiveness of sins 7 times 70. But the one that was recently focused on that we were trying to practice was resting on the 7th day.

The sermon was very impactful – link here — http://www.southeastchristian.org/default.aspx?page=3476&project=102904&program=446276. I would highly encourage you to go watch or listen to the sermon.

So fast forward to today when my wife and I were taking a nice leisurely ride around the property this afternoon. As we went around the front, I asked my wife if she was going to have my son D mow the front. She replied “Yes, I’ll have him do that tomorrow. I was going to have him do that today, but I wanted to follow our day of rest instead”.

Atta girl! I was so happy for her answer. We all need down time to worship, just rest, and grow closer in our walk with our Creator. And we did lots of that today.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Liberty quote…..

I just returned from an awesome patriotic worship service at our home church. The men’s choir belted out some inspiring patriotic hymns, a recognition was given to all branches of the military and to those who have served, and the sermon was (as it is frequently) impactful and hit home.

While I am proud to be an American, as a believer in Jesus Christ, my home and true citizenship is in heaven. And it is through repentance, forgiveness and salvation where we find our true freedom.

One quote really hit home for this 4th of July holiday weekend. It was:

“The statue (of Liberty) liberates the citizen.
The cross liberates the soul.”

God bless the United States of America!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Rapture bust…..

Someone’s reading my blog and has a sense of humor.

However, do NOT mistake one false prophet man’s mis-interpretation of Jesus’ return as if it is not going to happen. Technically, Harold Camping is right — he just is very wrong in his timing. Which is the sign of a false prophet.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

His Story…..

Last night I took the family to the Southeast Christian Easter Pageant at church. It is playing for two weeks from March 18 to April 1. It began back in 1995 and has run every year but last year. This year the church decided to run it for one last year so I figured I had to get the family there to see it. And we had heard so many good things from so many people so when the tickets went on sale back in January, I jumped on it. They have a cast of over 200, real animals and special effects. And after all the hype and all the buildup, all I can say…..


is that it was amazing! Definitely the best play performance I have ever seen — better than any Broadway play or musical. And, of course, the topic is one that has such an impact and will change your life. Jesus and his life come alive on stage. The costumes, set, special effects, music, animals and cast take you back to Roman occupied Israel. I cannot say enough about it. There are only 8 more performances of this spectacular event and I would highly encourage you to go to the website and get your tickets before they are all sold out and you miss your chance forever.

You can even get a preview video at http://www.southeastchristian.org/?page=4311. And ticket prices for this wonderful event are such a bargain. Knowing what I know now, I would easily pay for one ticket what I paid for the whole family to see the pageant. Again, I highly encourage you to witness this marvelous performance.

You won’t be sorry.

And it doesn’t end there. The most amazing thing about this story is that it is true and happened many, many years ago. There is, indeed, a God that loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die for us for the forgiveness of sins. While we don’t deserve it and didn’t earn it, all we need to do is accept Him as savior.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Sanctuary tears…..

During service yesterday, I was moved during one of the musical pieces. This isn’t the first time (as blogged here) and it got me thinking about all the tears shed in that sanctuary. Tears of joy; tears of praise; tears of guilt; tears of repentance; tears of forgiveness; tears of relief; tears of compassion; tears of sadness; tears of loss; and tears of love. So many deep and heartfelt emotion in one room. Whether it be worship, communion, baptism, a wedding, a funeral, a talk or a sermon. I would hope that most sanctuaries that truly embrace the human element, receive those tears as liquid bricks that make up the place.

However, I know that there are some worship rooms that are just religious museums. I know, because I have been in them. I’m not saying that you need to cry every time you worship, attend a wedding, go to a funeral, or sing songs of praise. What I AM saying is that the sanctuary should be alive with honest, human emotion of the heart given over to Christ — not just lukewarm liturgical motions. That is Christ claiming his right place in our heart.

Make sure you are attending a sanctuary — not just a religious museum.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A relationship with Jesus…..

I love Christian radio! 88.5 FM WJIE is my first radio love. Recently, I have also been listening to K-LOVE at work. (Both radio stations can be streamed from their respective web pages.) Today while listening to K-LOVE I stumbled across one of their interesting news story links about “How to Spot a Healthy Church”. It was written by a pastor/cartoonist from Louisiana who also has a blog. And while perusing his blog I came across one of his postings that I thought summed up a true relationship with Jesus…..which is so crucial not only for salvation, but for true living the way He intended.

Here is his original post. However, I am quoting the end part which impacted me.

Two things need to be said about knowing the Lord.

1) It involves a dual relationship. The individual comes to a personal acquaintance with Jesus Christ and in the process the Lord Jesus comes to know that person and enters his/her life. From that moment on, the two are intertwined in a spiritual way that defies most attempts to categorize it.

2) It results in a different way of life characterized by fair-thinking and honest-dealing, by compassion toward others and a love for God.

Anything less may be religious, it may be impressive to the world, and it might even be said to be miracle-working. But it will not stand up at Judgment.

To sum it up, Jesus wants your heart, not your actions.

I think I am going to enjoy reading through some of Pastor Joe’s blog archive.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

End times prophecy…..

A fellow at work and I had an interesting conversation that caused me to take a step back, pause and think about an issue within the church. It relates around end times prophecy.

There are many who preach on end times prophecy. It is a popular topic that tends to garner lots of attention. From Nostradamus to the book series “Left Behind” to the movie “2012”, there are many opinions of how, what, and when the world will end as well as many different people preaching many different things. Some are based on scripture, others not so much. But it seems that no matter what perspective you are taking – Biblical or secular – we all want to know the future and what is going to happen in the end.

Now some of these answers are, indeed, in scripture. The book of Revelation is probably the most common resource people look to for answers. And because of its figurative and metaphorical writing, it is very challenging to get a clear picture on the end times. However, there are a few other books in the Bible that hint at future occurrences. The books of Daniel and Ezekiel, for example, have a few nuggets that point to some possible end times events. The Gospel of Mark in chapter 24 also has some insight. But overall, there are as many interpretations of the end times, as there are translations of the Bible.

But I am here to pose a totally different “end times” prophecy perspective. IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!!! Matthew 24:36 says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Because even Jesus doesn’t know when He will return, any time spent by us trying to figure that out is in vain. Additionally, in Mark 12:29-31, Jesus boiled down all the commandments, in essence the entire Old Testament, to two orders – love God and love your neighbor. Done! Simple, easy, effective.

We should not be wasting our time “preparing for the end”. We should be loving, praising and worshiping God and then we should be loving our neighbor – serving, helping, giving and sacrificing ourselves for others. In fact, if we are doing all that, we will, indeed, be preparing for the end times!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Pulling weeds…..

As I have stated before, our family is in “church seek” mode. We have been to quite a few churches and services across a wide spectrum. Many of the sermons have spoke to me but I have been very impressed with the messages from our local mega-church. In fact, so much that my wife and I have gone back on their website to watch previous sermons and messages given before we started going.

We watched one this afternoon together as a couple entitled “Pulling the Weeds“. It was a great message and really cuts to the heart of why we as Christians don’t always seem fulfilled, don’t always receive answered prayer, or don’t always grow productive fruit. I won’t bother to say much more because the lector conveys it much better than I can.

So what are you waiting for — go watch it here.

And then get to work on your spiritual garden pulling the weeds.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Note to self…..

The last several weeks we have been visiting different churches in our area. While I cherish my storied Lutheran heritage (my great grandparents were Lutheran missionaries to China, my grandfather was a Lutheran pastor, I went to Lutheran parochial schools and universities — you get the picture), I feel called to pursue a more fervent worship of Christ. I posted about it a while ago here. And there has not been one pivotal event or item that has prompted this seeking, but rather a buildup of experiences over the last few years. And I refuse to say we are “church shopping”. That label resonates of a consumer Christianity basis — a “what’s in it for me” spiritual centeredness. What we are looking for as a family is a place where we are called to worship God with our whole beings and souls, a place that is scripture based and where we can grow in scripture, and where we can serve with servant’s hearts.

Our latest visit was to a Saturday service of one of the local megachurches. Of course, such an experience is new to our whole family and we need to take cues from others to fit in and follow the service and processes. We also went with several other family friends of ours.

We sat in the front row in the upper deck (again, this is a very large church — arena is what I more likened it to). Some of the interesting rituals I am not used to is being offered a meager Holy Communion, both in litergy and in vittels. It was also at the early part of the service. Soon enough a plate of micro-chips (not like the computer chips – more like very small pieces of cracker) and a tray of grape juice is offered by the ushers walking down the steps. It is not unlike the peanut guy at the baseball stadium. And if you wanted peanuts and didn’t know that by raising your hand he would hurl one your way you would be just as caught off guard.

So I picked out a micro-chip and grape juice vial while trying not to hold up the process. No recitation of scripture — “In the night he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave thanks…..”. No looking inward at your heart in examination. There was nice music and a call for forgiveness of sin but not to the seriousness or ritual I was expecting for such an important sacrament.

I adjusted and just tried to enjoy the experience knowing this was all new. Soon enough the ushers were bringing down something else. It looked like a prince’s velvet hat turned upside down with a wooden handle on it. He offered it up at the other end of the pew where I was at…..which had all our kids. One of the girls took it…..and then placed her communion “shot glass” into it. The other girls followed suit so when it got to me it had a few of those communion cups in it rattling around. However, what the kids failed to realize was that this wasn’t the communion cups disposal bag, but rather the offering “plate”. I reached in to take them out and was harassed by a buddy behind me — “You are supposed to put money IN. Not take money OUT”. I was unable to discreetly retrieve the rattling communion cups so I inserted my check into the not-very-Lutheran non-communion-plate velvet contraption and passed it down.

Note to self : when visiting a new church and being unfamiliar with the rituals, be sure to sit IN THE VERY MIDDLE so you have people on all sides of you to observe on how to do something right.

By the way, the message was great and right on. It is in line with what I have been blogging about here lately for the last several weeks. Go check it out here — Kindness and Gentleness When No One Notices.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net