Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is Loyalty?

How many of you have a “loyalty” card with some retail company?  Many people even have several loyalty cards in their wallet.  That seems like an oxymoron to me. Why have a Penney’s, Sears, Dillard’s and Kohl’s loyalty card? Don’t they offer the same items?

Consider what the definition of loyal is – someone who …
 gives allegiance, is committed and consistent, dedicated and devoted, faithful and steadfast.

God called David a man after His own heart. He looked into the heart of David and saw that David loved the things God loved and hated the things God hated. David was loyal to God. Oh, sure he failed. We all fall short. But God looked into the heart of David and was pleased.

God looked at the relationship of the heart, not the transactions of success or failure of events in David’s life.
Soon Valentine’s Day will be upon us. It, like so many other holidays, has become watered down with things of love versus love itself.

Here are a few compare / contrasts to ponder in your heart …
    Transactions    vs         Relationships
    Conditional      vs         Unconditional
    Unsupportive   vs         Loyal
    Short-sighted   vs         Enduring
    Judgment         vs         Forgiveness
    Divisive            vs         Supportive
    Get                  vs         Give
    Divorce           vs          Marriage
    Mind               vs          Heart

Our work with continues to focus on the care-givers heart. We pray that our heart is seen to be enduring and devoted to serving you and your ministry of reaching out to a hurting world. We also pray that we aren’t seen as just a transaction driven event or purchase but rather the building up of a relationship and partnership of the work of the heart of God through you and us.

As we enter into our 11th year of ministry and work with The HoldingCross, we celebrate the so many loyal customers who have been with us for many, many years. We give thanks for the ministry these people have done and continue to do, in the name of Jesus. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Little Latin

There was a movie a number of years ago with the actor Robin Williams playing the part of an English professor. The movie was called The Dead Poet Society.  One of the tenants he tried to teach to his students was “carpe diem”  - seize the day.  

So often we are told by the world to live life to the fullest, to take advantage of the moment, to  take charge.
There is another Latin term that isn’t as familiar today as it once was.  From around the fourth century up until the nineteenth century, many people would write letters and notes. At the end of their written document they would write Deo Volente or the shortened abbreviation just D.V., which means “God willing”.

I think I’m going to start using that as another reminder of His sovereignty in my daily life.

Deo Volente

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The lasting value of a gift

I remember as a small boy wanting a 10-speed bicycle for Christmas.  We lived in a rural town  and school was about 4 miles away. There was no bus service in our town so I rode my bike or walked to school. If the weather was bad, my mom would drive me to school.

The other gift I really wanted was a crystal radio so I could listen to the Dodgers play.  The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and I wanted to listen to the games at night and on the weekends.
On Christmas morning, there were three gifts under the tree. There was a 10-speed Schwinn bicycle, a Heathkit Crystal radio and a bible.

I was excited … in that order.  The bike would get me further and faster. The radio, once I put it together, would open my world of sports even more. The bible would go on the shelf.

The bike lasted about three years. The crystal radio became obsolete the next year with the transistor radio. The bible, the Word of God, has been with me for a lifetime. 

What gift will you give this year?
What gift will you receive this year?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Want ...

For the past eight years, we have been going into a Mall during the Christmas Season with our HoldingCross kiosk display.  The Lord put it on our heart that The Cross is central to the story of Christmas and so many people forget that as they scurry to purchase gifts for one another. 

In the mall this year again, we hear many conversations as people walk by. 

I want …

She needs …

We need to get …

One person walked up to our display on Friday, stared at the Psalm 23 WordCube and broke down and started crying. Noticing he was visibly upset, I walked over to him and was silent waiting for him to speak.  He said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  I know that in my heart but it is so hard right now to believe that. You see, I’m homeless and have been out of a job for a long time”. 

After hearing his story, I went over and picked up a black walnut HoldingCross and handed it to him. I said it would be cold tonight. The forecast was for sub-30 degree weather. I encouraged him to hold the cross as a reminder of The Shepherd and His presence in his heart to keep him warm.

The next morning, I came to open the booth. The stranger with the story from the day before was there waiting for me. He had a big smile on his face and seemed anxious.

Before I could say anything, he said, “Good morning Jack! I have something to share with you. Last night, I left the mall just holding that cross. I was planning to walk to the shelter for the evening. On the way, there was a “now hiring” sign at a local grocery store. I filled out an application for work and talked with the manager. They hired me!  Praise God!  I start work in three days!  When I got back to the shelter for the evening, I could hardly contain myself.  I opened that little scroll paperwork that came with the cross and read every word. You were right. Even though it was cold outside, my heart was soooo warm.”

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When sheep lay down to rest

Over the years, I've learned allot about sheep. Although I've never owned a sheep or belonged to a 4-H club raising sheep or even been around sheep except at a county fair or zoo, I've picked up a few traits of sheep that apply to my own life.

When sheep lay down, they rest and they sleep.  They don't lay down unless a number of things happen ... here's a short list to consider;

  • When the shepherd is present, they feel protected, safe and can lay down.
  • When there is no strife among the sheep, they can lay down.
  • When the irritants of the day like flies and insects subside, they can lay down.
  • When they are fed and watered, they can lay down.
David knew the way of the sheep. He watched them and cared for them.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; 
He leads me beside quiet waters.

Psalm 23: 1-2

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Holiday Season

This time of year can be hectic. The holiday season has somehow been transformed from a day of thanks to Black Friday, from a morning of Joy and worship to a day of football and parades and tinsel, from a season of preparation to a season of frenzy.

Take the time to be refreshed and renewed this year. Simplify. Slow down. Pray more.

Give the gift of YOUR time to someone. Reach out to a hurting world.

When you are tired of the busyness and feel like you have no time, give your time to another.  It's counter intuitive but is is the the way God works.

Proverbs 11:25
"He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What will you do with the next 61 days?

On November 1, there will be 61 days left in the year.

There is another 61 for you to consider … Isaiah 61.

The Year of the LORD's Favor

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. 

During the next 61 days, live with that promise.
During the next 61 days, reach out to others with that heart.
For the next 61 days go into the world and heal the brokenhearted, preach the good news to the poor and proclaim freedom to the captives.
Go, in Jesus Name. Amen.