Friday, April 25, 2008

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME... Read This Book!

"It's Not About Me: Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy" is the title of one of the best books ever written. And, it is written for this generation.

We are a people who have had it our way more than any other time in history. We have more gadgets, more toys, more time, more money (yes we do) and more freedoms. Yet we are a hollow people.

Think about it. People have stuff. But they also have issues. Why? When we have all THIS, do we feel so hollow? I think Max Lucado sticks it right where it hurts on this. Read on...

Max Lucado turns the greatest lie we’ve believed on its head—the one that says, “It’s all about me”—and sets our sights on a different goal. “We were not made to live this way,” Max insists.
What would happen if we all took our place and played our parts? If we started living like “Son” reflectors rather than individual stars and suns? If every person’s priority became a divine pursuit, not a performance?

We’d see our families differently. We’d view our jobs differently. We’d treat our bodies differently. We’d respond to our problems differently. We’d find our place in the universe…finally. And we would be changed.
“The God-centered life works. And it rescues us from a life that doesn’t,” Max assures us. Here is your lifeline to a life of purpose. Grab hold and let the rescue begin!

Excerpt from It's Not About Me, copyright © 2004 Max Lucado. Published
Blame the bump on Copernicus. Until Copernicus came along in 1543, we earthlings enjoyed center stage. Fathers could place an arm around their children, point to the night sky, and proclaim, “The universe revolves around us.”Aah, the hub of the planetary wheel, the navel of the heavenly body, the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue of the cosmos. Ptolemy’s second-century finding convinced us. Stick a pin in the center of the stellar map, and you’ve found the earth. Dead center.
And, what’s more, dead still! Let the other planets vagabond through the skies. Not us. No sir.We stay put. As predictable as Christmas. No orbiting. No rotating. Some fickle planets revolve 180 degrees from one day to the next. Not ours. As budgeless as the Rock of Gibraltar. Let’s hear loud applause for the earth, the anchor of the universe.
But then came Nicolaus Copernicus with his maps, drawings, bony nose, Polish accent, and pestering questions. Oh, those questions he asked. “Ahem, can anyone tell me what causes the seasons to change?”“Why do some stars appear in the day and others at night?” “Does anyone know exactly how far ships can sail before falling off the edge of the earth?”
“Trivialities!” people scoffed. “Who has time for such problems? Smile and wave, everyone. Heaven’s homecoming queen has more pressing matters to which to attend.”
But Copernicus persisted. He tapped our collective shoulders and cleared his throat. “Forgive my proclamation, but,” and pointing a lone finger toward the sun, he announced,“behold the center of the solar system.”
The news wasn’t well received. People denied the facts for over half a century. When like-minded Galileo came along, they imprisoned him.You’d have thought he had called the king a stepchild or the pope a Baptist.The throne locked him up, and the church kicked him out. People didn’t take well to demotions back then. We still don’t.
What Copernicus did for the earth, God does for our souls. Tapping the collective shoulder of humanity, he points to the Son—his Son—and says, “Behold the center of it all.”
“God raised him [Christ] from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church” (Ephesians 1:20–22 MSG).
When God looks at the center of the universe, he doesn’t look at you. When heaven’s stagehands direct the spotlight toward the star of the show, I need no sunglasses. No light falls on me. Lesser orbs, that’s us. Appreciated. Valued. Loved dearly. But central? Essential? Pivotal? Nope. Sorry. Contrary to the Ptolemy within us, the world does not revolve around us. Our comfort is not God’s priority. If it is, something’s gone awry. If we are the marquee event,how do we explain flat-earth challenges like death, disease, slumping economies, or rumbling earthquakes? If God exists to please us, then shouldn’t we always be pleased?

If you get a chance, pick up a copy of this great book, take time to read it and let it sink in. We all need a dose of this.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Do You Ever Struggle? I Do

God speaks to my heart a lot on back of the motorcycle. (I know I know some of you are saying that's because you're nearer death, so you're closer to God!)

Anyway, Sunday afternoon was beautiful and we took a nice long ride through old familiar territory. Through Murfreesboro on to Nashville and then over to Hope.

I was thinking about my struggles. I said to the Lord "I am a struggler". We are all strugglers in one level or another. Sometimes I rest peacefully in the knowledge that the most heartfelt prayers that are closest to my heart are going to be answered and I remember Scripture and bask in the Truth. Other times, I get agitated or worried thinking, what if or why or play the blame game or feel guilty - none of which are from the Lord.

I guess He knows I need visuals to learn so this is what came to my mind.

I pictured our 7 month old grandson in his mother's arms. Sometimes he likes to push with one arm and attempt to wiggle out of her arms. He might grunt or kick his legs as well!

Although he is struggling, he never falls. His little mother holds on tight to him, even when Blake fights her like babies do!

We are like a baby in our Father's arms. We struggle but He holds on tightly to us - never letting us go no matter how hard we struggle.

In fact, the more we struggle the tighter His hold is on us!

So, fellow struggler, whatever you are struggling with right now, just know that you can rest in your Heavenly Father's arms - after all the One who holds the world in His hands is holding you as well.

And, so much more, those we keep giving to the Father who are out of our reach, whether son or daughter or other family member, they are still in His hands as well.

Isn't that wonderful?