Steps on a Journey

Big sisters never listen. Penny, who is 5 years older than I am, came to visit a few years ago. She rented a room in Orlando for a night. She paid $45. There was a McDonald’s next door. That was the best part. I tried to warn her…
You know, it’s risky business renting a hotel room in a city you’ve never visited. You don’t want to spend too much because that’s a constraint on the travel budget. You don’t want to spend too little because… you have to wonder what kind of neighborhood it is, or whether there are roaches, or whether you will get lice or bedbugs. You have to wonder after you’ve pressed that ‘Confirm’ button on Travelocity… “What have I gotten myself in to?” Even if your destination hotel has tons of good reviews and you feel confident, it’s still scary to travel to a new place. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know where anything is. Where’s the best pizza? Which neighborhoods should you avoid after dark? There’s so much unknown. Travel is exciting! Travel is scary! Our human hearts have the capacity to look forward to the adventure and to also hold in reserve a healthy amount of trepidation.
It’s kind of the same when we begin our Christian walk. At least, it was for me. “What am I getting myself in to? Will I have the strength and faith to last a lifetime? Will anyone at church like me?”
It’s kind of the same when we draw nearer to the end of life as well. We know we have a beautiful home waiting for us in heaven. We know so many people who will be there. We can read about Heaven in the Word of God—that’s kind of like a review, right? But there is one big difference between travel here and travel to Heaven: We know the builder. Heaven wasn’t built by DiVosta homes or the local slum lord. A carpenter from Nazareth has told us all we need to know:
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

Is Your Sign Broken?

Yesterday, when Lea turned to pull into the church lot, she was met with a surprise: the marquee had fallen down! You might have noticed the same thing, too. I plan on putting the sign back up this week. If the wind dies down and we can get enough people (hint, hint), it shouldn’t be too difficult. How many more people will notice that the sign is broken than noticed the sign when it was whole? With ropes going a dozen different ways, it certainly looks different than it did last week! Yet there is no message of hope or encouragement. There is no push to change or grow. There is no thought to cheer or embolden. The sign is broken.

A lot of Christians have a broken sign. They are connected to the Source of power, but the bulbs are out. They have the right message, but the words aren’t there. They might signal the right way, but the information is missing. They are down for the count.

 

Or are they?

Sure, it will take a lot of work to get the church marquee back in place. After all, if you have peeked in the resource room, you will probably think the same thing I did: “That sign is a lot bigger than I thought!” Yet some of the steps to putting that sign back up may help you get your message back on track, too.

Gather Christians to Your Side

Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ

Repair Your Inner Power Source

Zechariah 4:6 – “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”

Shine

Philippians 2:15 – …you shine like stars in the universe

FullSizeRender
[Image: Marquee church sign damaged]

Where is Your Peace?

What do you do when you need to get out for a bit? When things are stressful, overwhelming, and simply too much? Some people jump in the car and go for a drive. Some people go for a walk on the beach. A year or so ago, I got a really nice pair of headphones. And whenever I’m going to be in a loud environment or when I need to drown out what’s around me, I bring my head phones. They cover my whole ear, so they are good at both producing sound and blocking it out. Even in a stressful, loud place I can have a bit of peace. I know people who carry a worry stone in their pocket. It is a way for them to physically release a bit of that anxiety that builds up. Do you have things that give you peace? A thing you carry, look at, smell, wear, hear or touch? A place you go, even if it’s just in your mind? These things brings peace to a person’s mind and heart. And there are times where we need that kind of peace. We need a chance to make peace a priority. In the fast paced, high-stress, goal-oriented, me-centered world we live in, this kind of peace is a welcome opportunity to reset, recalibrate, rest, and rejuvenate. There are a lot of books, articles, seminars and videos  dedicated to help you include these tools into your life. And I’m not going to say anything negative about these tools, but that is not the kind of peace we are talking about. Our souls long for a peace that only One can provide- God’s peace. We can’t have what Paul called…

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding -Philippians 4:7

… unless we have it from God.

We will always face the anxiety and stresses of this world. When we become God-focused, a true 24/7 Christian, we can move forward with a confidence in purpose and eternity.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13