Archive for the ‘Personal thoughts’ Category

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Walk Inside

September 4, 2009

Earlier this week I went out for lunch fully intending to go through the Drive-thru and get back to the office. Upon seeing the line of cars I changed my mind and went inside. I actually do this quite a bit. Going out to lunch and moving from sitting at my desk to sitting in the car is not exactly rejuvenating, so I will get out of the car for a walk. I was reminded of a little lesson I thought I’d share.

I was inside for approximately 8 minutes. In that time I was approached about an opportunity for our church to reach out to a group of folks in an area we don’t have great exposure, was invited by a local high school to partner with them on a couple of items, thanked for helping out on the Community Makeover, and given the chance to invite someone to West Ridge who doesn’t attend church anywhere. One morning this week I didn’t ‘Pay at the pump’ for the gas in my car. As I continue to build relationships with the local gas station employees I was given another opportunity to talk church and life with someone who is clearly not a follower of Jesus.

Ok, I don’t do this all the time, but I will continue to try to do it more than not. If I always stay in my car then these conversations never happen. Outreach or Sharing Christ is not a program, it’s a lifestyle that stretches us as disciples of Jesus.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Trust In You

September 3, 2009

One of the things that happens as I pray scripture is that God uses his word to transform me.

Psalm 86:2 says this,

“Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God;”

As David pens the words, “Guard my life” he does so with great boldness. When I sit down to pray the words, “I am faithful to you”, or “I trust you” I have this check inside of my spirit that seems to say, “Really?” It becomes a time of evaluation. Am I really faithful to the God who has been more than faithful to me? Do I really trust him with everything? Would other people look at me and describe me as being faithful and trusting to God?

As I pray I ask God to increase my faith and increase my level of trust. As that happens, I am transformed.

Let me hold nothing back, “You are my God.”

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Tuesday Prize

September 1, 2009

One of the things I am constantly trying to get better at is being a better husband to my wife. She is truly a God send in my life. Her energy and her personality are great compliments to me. God knew exactly what I needed when he brought us together. Her personal blog is read by hundreds of women, and recently she has been writing for other internet and print pieces as well. Her natural ‘voice’ as a writer creates laughter and encouragement with ease.

I am one of those guys that really needs  specific things I can do to show her I love her and to romance her. She could give me suggestions, but that is not as romantic. In the rhythm of our week there is an intentional marker that allows me to demonstrate my affection using her ‘love language’. It is called the ‘Tuesday Prize’.

Angela’s love language is gifts. Not big, expensive gifts (thank you Lord), but thoughtful ones. Just something that demonstrates that I was thinking of her. Something that shows I was willing to stop the busyness and go a little bit out of my way for her. It might just be a card, or a pack of her favorite candy. It’s a way to say ‘I love you’, and it’s a way to make Tuesday special. The third day, the only day God blessed twice, whatever you want to call it, typically doesn’t have that much special going on.

So – I write about this sappy Richardson practice to encourage you to know the love language of the person God has given to you, and maybe you give it extra emphasis on Tuesday. Maybe it’s giving that person extra time, or words of encouragement, or whatever it is. It’s an effort to make every day count, and to grow in love for each other every day.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Holy Naivete

June 15, 2009

I just returned from some sabbatical time that I was granted by West Ridge Church. It’s given to our Pastor/Director Team members every five years. The focus of these four weeks was family and renewal. I have been asking God to restore me to some healthy life rhythms. I had let things get pretty unbalanced recently, and I think it was starting to show.
One of the things I did to renew my spirit was listen to my favorite worship tunes. One of my favorite worship CD’s is from Mars Hill Bible Church. They sing a song called, ‘Enchanted’. Unfortunately, Disney has monopolized the word and turned it into a princess movie, but that is beside the point.
Two words stick out from that song every time I hear it. You guessed ‘em, ‘Holy Naivete’. The word naïve and most of the synonyms are generally used as negative descriptions, but it has some positive meanings. One is this, “Admirably straightforward and uncomplicated, or refreshingly innocent and unaffected.” Another definition is “To have an excessively simple and trusting view of the world.”
For me I want this phrase to be a description of my personal faith. Even when we are trusting God for the ‘big’ things in our life, faith should be relatively simple. Faith that there is a God that can do whatever he wants. Faith that says this same Creator God has plans to prosper and not to harm me, and a hope and a future. Faith that knows even when the Father is silent, He is not absent.
I want to commit to not allowing life’s practicalities and busyness to crowd out my faith.

God give me the gift of Holy Naivete.

http://www.musicatmars.com/worship/lyrics/Enchanted.pdf

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People matter

January 13, 2009

At West Ridge Church we share a value with thousands of other churches. I think Willow Creek must have put this down on paper somewhere first, but here it is. “People matter to God, and, therefore, ought to matter to the church.” It’s amazing that we even have to put this one down, but we do. Being a part of a church from the beginning allows you to see a ton of miracles and blessings. Perhaps I was ignorant, but I never would have guessed that the more people we have the more intentional you have to be to minister to them. The more we grow the more we have to remind ourselves, “people matter.”

I haven’t gotten my blog on in the new year, but I have a little bit of inspiration from some people that I have been allowed to invest in this week. So over the next couple of days, I’m going to share some current stories that have served as a reminder to me. It will be an exercise for me, and hopefully will benefit others as well.

Everyone Belongs, 

Paul

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People matter

January 13, 2009

At West Ridge Church we share a value with thousands of other churches. I think Willow Creek must have put this down on paper somewhere first, but here it is. “People matter to God, and, therefore, ought to matter to the church.” It’s amazing that we even have to put this one down, but we do. Being a part of a church from the beginning allows you to see a ton of miracles and blessings. Perhaps I was ignorant, but I never would have guessed that the more people we have the more intentional you have to be to minister to them. The more we grow the more we have to remind ourselves, “people matter.”

I haven’t gotten my blog on in the new year, but I have a little bit of inspiration from some people that I have been allowed to invest in this week. So over the next couple of days, I’m going to share some current stories that have served as a reminder to me. It will be an exercise for me, and hopefully will benefit others as well.

Everyone Belongs, 

Paul

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When you don’t know what to pray

October 14, 2008

Every once in a while in prayer, I will just hit an out and out wall. This comes at random times. Many times in prayer we pray with the answer already in mind. We pray things like “God, heal like this” or “Provide this much in this way” or just all in all, “God, do it like this!”

Most of the time when I hit a wall in prayer, I think it’s because I don’t have the answer, but I must remind myself that God does. There are two things I do when I don’t know what to pray.

The first is found in Romans 8:26-28, 

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love this passage. When you don’t know what to pray you can ask the Spirit of God to pray for you, and you can trust that he knows the will of God and will put your prayers right into the stream of God’s will. That’s beautiful! I do this often. I just say, “God, I don’t know how to pray for this person/situation, Holy Spirit, would you pray for me?”

The next comes from John Maxwell. I heard him say this in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998. Speaking at a conference he said, “When you pray God’s word, you are praying God’s will”. Hearing him say that changed my prayer life. This is simply the practice of reading a passage of scripture and then personalizing it. When you do that, you make those ‘God-breathed’ words your own.

The first passage I ever made personal was Ephesians 1. I’ll never forget the first time I prayed that text. Most often I will pray a Psalm or two back to the Lord. Some of the Psalms help me worship, some help me confess, some just say it all. Consider it King David’s blog. His Spirit-guided thoughts resonate with me in different ways at different times. With 150 of them to choose from, I can always find something to pray.

Most recently I have found myself praying, Psalm 25, Psalm 63, and Psalm 86.

Everyone Belongs, 

Paul