I was checking things out and happened upon the following poem. The poem does a great job taking a word that has gained so much baggage and simplifying it! I know that I really appreciated taking the time to read it! I hope that all of you who check it out enjoy it as much as I did!Enjoy,
Monthly Archives: July 2007
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Personally I have always loved the song “God Bless the USA” and everytime I hear it I am ready to go into battle to protect this land. A few years ago I heard the song at a fireworks display and it brought tears to my eyes (the truth is, it does not take much, just ask my wife!). Despite being proud to be an American and thankful for each day that I have gotten to spend in this country there is one thing that I wrestle with everyday. THE AMERICAN DREAM!
From the day we are brought into this world as American citizens, we have the american dream drilled into us. Before going any farther I want to explain what I mean by the American dream as I have come to understand it. First it stems from that mentality that we can do it. That we can start with not much of anything and become millionaires. One such man who exemplifies the american dream is Howard Schultz, who grew up in a poor home, scraping to make by and then went on to be the driving force behind Starbucks. That is an amazing accomplishment! The american dream is also that mentality that makes us believe that we can have whatever we want. Many people feel as though they have arrived at the american dream when they have a wife, kids, a house, two cars (one their dream car) and a fat retirement savings. The american dream is completed when we have retired early on in life and then get to play golf and relax everyday (sorry I am a fan of golf).
As a result of the american dream kids are taught early on they need a good education. When they graduate from high school they have to go to a university so that when they graduate they can find a high paying job so that they can begin that path to fufill the american dream and finally retire at 45 in Flordia. Which by the way is defined by how much we acquire in things and money. Is my house as big as your house is my car as nice as your car. Do we have two or three houses. Where did your kid go to college. How is your 401k doing and is the stock market up or down. These are all the things that consume the mind of those pursuing the american dream.
A curse that is what the american dream can be to young followers of Christ throughout the country who have been ingrained with the need to fulfill the american dream! I have found that from early on I have had to fight the american dream. As a believer I am called by Christ to pour myself out for others for the sake of the gospel. The truth is that we can not serve both God and money. The american dream forces many into trying to serve both God and money. This simply can not happen. Just ask people how much debt they are living in and you will quickly find that they are living for the american dream. As children of God we must put this dream to death in order to pursue the dream of God. Namely that His kingdom will expand throughout the world.
What I am not saying is that we can simply look at a persons lifestyle and declare if they are serving the american dream. The reason is because God has chosen to bless some people financially and they can afford to have the things of the american dream. For many though they have chosen to live lives in great debt in order to have the things of the american dream. They are simply living a facide.
So I call out to children of God to be wary of the american dream. Be cautious when making decisions that the american dream is not the driving force behind that decision. Instead make decisions that will allow you to pursue the expansion of God’s kingdom. In reality when you choose to seek God and his kingdom He will provide the abundant life for you. Not neccesarily a material life but an abundantly fulfilled life!
So although I am proud to be an American I have come to understand that I must watch out for the CURSE of the AMERICAN DREAM!
|Worry is one thing that does not take a whole lot of practice to do. It is almost as certain as birth and death. As people we don’t need any one to teach us to worry, we just do it!
I have spent a lot of time worrying over the last week and today the Lord used a little book to convict me of that sin in my life. The book was a bunch of quotes out of books written by Chuck Swindoll made into little devotionals. For me it is one of those toilet reading books. Anyway the page in the book talked about how we as people simply like to worry. At the end he refers to worry as a companion. The more I thought of it the more I was convinced that he was right. Worry is like a teddy bear!
Many little kids use teddy bears for comfort. When nothing else is there they find a great companion in that teddy bear that will never walk away from them. For so many people worry is like that. They need worry for comfort. When nothing else is going on in their minds they use worry as a companion. They find something to worry about even when they aren’t worrying simply for something to do!
As believers we are to find companionship and comfort in Christ alone. Just like a teddy bear will eventually dissapoint a child because it will not interact so too worry will leave the companion with nothing but grey hair and a sour stomach. Instead in those times where their is nothing going on we need to connect with our savior and find intimacy. If we choose to connect with worry it will end up leaving us lonely and sick, robbing us from intimacy with those whom we are close.
Today choose to find intimacy with Christ and friends not worry. It is okay for nothing to go on in your mind. Be okay with being alone and find companionship with Christ. A teddy bear is only good for so long but eventually it will leave its owner empty. With all the worry I have done this week I have accomplished nothing, that is sad! So I pray that God will give me the strength every moment to choose his companionship and comfort over the soft emptiness of a teddy bear!
|Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.Romans 6:4 (NASB)
I don’t know about you but there are areas in my life that always seem to haunt me. They are areas where sin always seems to creep back in and no matter how much I hate it or long to never struggle again I do. I imagine that any normal believer out there could relate to this.
A couple of weeks ago I started reading Romans chapter six and never got past the fourth verse. This idea that we can walk in newness of life because of being united with Christ just began to cut to my heart. I had always known this truth but for some reason it hit me again on that particular day. I recognized that I did not have to submit my body to be used for instruments of unrighteousness but rather that I am destined as a child of God to walk in the new life that Christ had provided.
Friends take this as an encouragement that even though there is an area of your life where you feel like that at times you have no choice but to sin the reality is that you do not have to sin. As a follower of Christ you are now destined to walk in newness of life. So step out trust God, plead with Him, take that step in the new life and away from the sin that has deceived you! You have been given a new life now, you just need to remember that and pray for the Spirit to empower you to step into that life!
Praise God for the life that He has given His children!
|As followers of Jesus Christ we should have one constant vision and that is to see that His name and work are spread that others might come to know his great love. More than likely that last sentence could be written in a more poetic way but I think that you get the point. How many of us live with that constant vision in front of our faces? How many of us on a daily basis spread His name knowing that when others meet Him their lives will be so radically different, that they will never want to go back to the old life? As I ask those questions I find that I am challenging myself more than any one who may take the time to read this post.One of the things that has amazed me as I have spent time working at Starbucks and also read Howard Schultz’s book “Pour Your Heart into it” is the singleness of vision and passion that has consumed that man over the years as he has watched Starbucks grow in leaps and bounds. From the time he gained the vision for what Starbucks could be his single passion has been to allow as many people as possible enjoy fine coffee. This reminds me also of Rick Warren who I have heard say over and over, “Reach one more for Jesus.” For Warren it is in not how big the church should be but rather are there more who need to know Jesus. Perhaps we could learn a few things from Starbucks and Warren!
As I write, my challenge to all of us who love and know Jesus is to find that singleness of vision and passion. Help your church find that singelness of vision and passion and then do everything you gain to keep it burning. How will we see America changed, how will we see the world changed? It will only happen when the followers of Christ find the vision to see His glory spread throughout the world, Sounds a little like Piper, okay maybe a lot!!! But seriously when you get done reading this take some time to ask God to burn within you a renewed passion to see others come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ! You and I both know that they will know no greater joy than walking closely with the Savior!