October 1 – Devotional: Depending On God

Since it’s founding in 1998 it has become a 100 billion dollar company. Founded by a couple of Phd. Students at Stanford, their company has become not only a word in our vocabulary but a way of doing life.  The term and the company?  Google.

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They process over a billion searches each day, with some estimates of 25% of all internet traffic going through the site with 66% percent of the people in the world using the site as their preferred search engine; it is the most popular site on the internet. To show you how dependent we have become on it – recently they had a major outage and web traffic dropped 40% during the 5 minutes they were down. (All Technie News)

I wonder what would happen if we were as dependent upon God as we have become on Google? Today, we “Google” everything. Don’t know an answer? Just Google it.  That kind of dependence can be unhealthy.  But, a dependence upon God is just why we were created. Jesus surely modeled this. In John 5 He gets into a discussion about authority with some religious leaders. He explains to them His dependence upon His father when the scriptures record, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’ ”

Sometimes Google may let us down with an unexpected outage, but a dependence upon the father never will.

John 5:19

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatsoever the Father odes, that the Son does likewise.’ ”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013
“Five Minute Outage Equals Big Dip in Internet Traffic.” RSS. All Techie News, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.

September 30 – Devotional: Desperate For God

So, I got to spend some time with a new friend. At least, he is now. Our church cooperates with another much bigger church in our area on a few projects. We do some stuff in Mexico together and some other major cities. We partner because of proximity and familiarity, plus I am a friend of their missions pastor.

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I saw a training workshop in Atlanta that I wanted to attend, but the missions pastor couldn’t go; so he sent his associate, whom I did not know. But, soon I did as we spent nearly three days on our trek there and back.  He was great and I look forward to a continued friendship. He told me a story that reminded me of Jeremiah 33:3, which says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

He related how on his honeymoon he received news that his new bride’s father had just passed away. Yes, just 72 hours after his wedding he had to tell his wife that kind of news. And so, they journeyed from the tropical paradise back stateside to the Kansas City airport. And typical because of delays, he found himself running through the airport only to arrive at the gate with the door already closed.

He calmly explained the situation, and was told, “Sorry.”  He again explained the situation, and again they said, “Sorry.”  Finally, he crawled up on top of the counter and said, “I am either getting on that plane or you are sending me to jail.”  They opened the door.

This was pre-911 so I am not sure I would I recommend it today, but what a perfect example of such desperation that he threw caution and consequence to the wind.  I wonder how desperate you are for God?

Jeremiah 33:3

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

 

September 29 – Devotional: Keeping Secrets

I was watching another of my favorite musicals the other night, 1952 Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner and Debbie Reynolds as they sang and danced their way through one of the most beloved musicals of all times. Great scenes and songs came one right after the other, like Singing In the Rain, Good Morning, Moses Supposes, and Make ‘Em Laugh.

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The story involved the transition in Hollywood when movies went from silent to sound.  Two stars of the silent era struggled to make the leap, primarily due to the whiney voiced female star Lena, who “can’t stand it.”  In order to protect her image, a young woman with a beautiful voice did the voice over and Lena merely lip-synced.

All was well until Lena got ugly with Kathy and Lena was exposed lip-syncing on stage. Lena was giving a live performance with an unplugged microphone with Kathy behind the curtain singing to a live microphone. Midway through – the curtain was lifted and everybody saw who the real talent was, Lena was ruined and Kathy got to marry Gene Kelly after all.

It kind of reminds me of Luke 8 which warns us in verse 17, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” Now Jesus repeats this in Matthew chapter 10 in a different context.  But whether this coming to light is negative like in Matthew 10 and Singing in the Rain, or positive, as it is Luke 8, stuff just has a way of coming out.

In Luke we are reminded to share the light of Jesus, that a city on a hill cannot be hidden, nor can a light under basket.  So today, let your voice for God be heard.

Luke 8:26

“Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013
 

September 28 – Devotional: Death Will Happen

Recently, I was flying somewhere and it was a relatively short flight. So, rather than get out the computer and get all set up – I just grabbed the airline magazine in the seat in front of me. Inside was a section from Adam Leith Gollner’s new work called: The Book of Immortality: the Science, Belief and Magic Behind Living Forever

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The section begins telling the story of Alexis Carrel who won the Nobel Peace Prize in medicine for his breakthroughs in sutures and vascular surgery.  In one of his experiments, he started a tissue culture of cells from the heart of a chicken embryo. He placed those cells in a flask and had lab assistants replenish the culture medium regularly. The culture thrived and with regular additions of poultry extract, the cells stayed alive for the next 35 years.

His findings proved or so he thought, the book goes on to say, that cells are naturally immortal. “Death is not necessary”, he wrote. “It is merely a contingent phenomenon.”  He predicted with medical advances, growing old would become a thing of the past.  We, like our cells, could live forever.  Fifteen years after Dr. Carrel died, so did those cells.

I am very grateful for Dr. Carrel’s work as a scientist, he just was not a refined theologian like you, because you know the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27-28: “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

You and I are going to die. We can delay it with a healthy lifestyle (maybe) but we are going to die.  And then, because of Christ, we will get better and live forever, just not like Dr. Carrel envisioned.

Hebrews 9:27-28

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

Gollner, Adam Leith. “The Book of Immortality.” 2013. Random House, LLC.

 

September 27 – Devotional: The Perfect Guide

I had a little bit of a shock on the first day of school this year. Every year in dropping of my children at the local elementary campus, we have had a person or two serve as traffic controllers. The campus is built in a round pattern allowing for traffic to come in and out at various places along the circle.

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Volunteers, in good weather and bad weather, were there to stop one flow of traffic to allow the other to come in.  And while from time to time I would disagree with their decisions (seemed like they always changed the traffic flow when I was next) it ran relatively smoothly.

Until this year . . . First day of traffic and there was no traffic controller. People, including me, did not know what to do. I noticed in one place there was a stop sign where the person used to stand but at the main entrance there was nothing. It was kind of interesting to see what people do when there is no one to tell them what to do. The first couple of days we all kind of retreated into a “Lord of the Flies” kind of thing.

Without restraint, we kind of turn back to our nature, which is not very nice. Which was the warning God gave the Jewish people in Psalm 81:11, “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe.”

I miss the traffic controllers, but I guess we will survive as long as some of us have the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Psalm 81:11

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

September 26 – Devotional: Power Of The Tongue

I was recently traveling by air with a new friend.  We had never traveled together, but we were attending a church conference and were already planning an international mission trip together so we thought it would be a good thing.  He volunteered to make all of the arrangements, to which I happily agreed.

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As we got to the airport, he handed me my boarding passes and I immediately saw the words, “exit seat”.  I am not opposed to sitting in an exit row, you get early boarding and a bit more legroom, I just don’t often do that because of all that extra pressure of opening the door in the case of an emergency.

So, I listened carefully to the instructions- the flight attendant said the door weighed 42 pounds and asked if I had any issues with that.  I said no, thinking in a true emergency I would have enough adrenaline pumping through my body that I could rip a hole in the side of the plane.

But, it caused me to start thinking . . . A mere 42 pounds is plugging a gaping hole in the side of the plane. A hole that if breached would cause a whole lot of trouble and in a multi-ton plane.

Just because something is small, does not mean it is not important or powerful.  Consider what James wrote when he said, “Look at the ships, though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small ruder wherever the will of the pilot directs.”

Has your tongue ever gotten you in trouble? It is a small thing, but has gotten me into all kinds of trouble and caused all kinds of hurts along the way.  Remember that before you open the emergency door of your mouth.

James 3:4-5

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013
 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

Gollner, Adam Leith. “The Book of Immortality.” 2013. Random House, LLC.

 

September 25 – Devotional: Second Death

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “if you want your name to be remembered after your death either do something worth writing or write some thing worth reading.” Well recently, a man must have done just that because his death was written about twice. Seems that ABC recently tweeted a story about the death of Neil Armstrong. The only problem was he died a year ago.

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Apparently someone was writing a story on the one-year anniversary of his death, but it got all messed up and incorrectly stated he had just died. I was even fooled, which is really bad since I was named after the first man who landed on the moon. I did not remember he had already died. (USA Today).

While this second death announcement was not new to the family it was probably a little disconcerting. Of course, many in the media are making jokes about his second death, but you and I know there really is a second death and it is no joking matter.

At the end of the book of the Revelation we have this scene of the final judgment.  In part it reads in chapter 20, verse 14: Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

How do you get your name in the book of life? Well, you ask Jesus to include you.  It’s pretty simple, and He will, if you repent of your sin and believe. While Mr. Armstrong did some pretty amazing things that caused his name to be remembered, I am not sure whether Mr. Armstrong’s name was in the book of life. But yours can be, if you just ask.

Revelation 20:14-15

“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

Eversley, Melanie. “Neil Armstrong IS Dead, but It Happened a Year Ago.” USA Today. Gannett, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.