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September 28, 2007

Chapter-a-Day 2 Timothy 1

Bluesbrothers I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God's plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:1 (TM)

We're in Chicago this week and I was filled with energy by walking in the city yesterday to a meeting. I had some foot-stompin' blues on my iPod and felt charged with electricity as I made my way past the Sears Tower. Of course, I couldn't help thinking about The Blues Brothers.

Maybe that's why my right-brain immediately read the first verse of 2 Timothy and pictured Paul sitting in a Roman prison with black Ray-Ban Wayfarer's on - turning to the Roman Centurion next to him and saying in a thick Chicago accent, "I'm on a mission from God."

The cool reality for all believers is that we are on a mission from God. Not just Paul, not just our pastor and the missionaries around the world - but me, too. This world is not our home. We have dual citizenship. We've got a temporary visa for our visit to this Earth, and God has sent us here with a purpose - to live our lives out for Him, to follow the path He's laid for each of us, and most importantly to share His love with everyone in our path.

Being a believer means I'm a Soul Man - on a mission from God :)


What verse meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Browserd

September 27, 2007

Chapter-a-Day I Timothy 6

Slavery Whoever is a slave must make the best of it, giving respect to his master so that outsiders don't blame God and our teaching for his behavior. I Timothy 6:1 (TM)

I'm reminded this morning of a high school teacher of mine who was dismissive of God because the Bible did not specifically speak out against slavery. I have found that there are a lot of specific subjects on which God does not specifically speak. Yet, I don't think God's relative silence is because He doesn't care. The scriptures are not a political platform. They speak to how we, as individuals, are to live our lives in relationship with God and others. When we, as individuals, begin to live out love, mercy, grace, and justice - then social evils tend to get addressed corporately.

God isn't as intent on changing society as He is on changing me.

What verse meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and alist

September 26, 2007

I Timothy 5

Critic In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don't worry too much about what the critics will say. I Timothy 5:23a (TM)

The cool thing about being in the Word on a regular basis (ala chapter-a-day) is that God can give you just what you need when you need it. As a leader (in family, in business, in community) I've been struggling with this whole 'don't worry what the critics will say.' I'm one of those people blessed/cursed with a personality that likes to please people. The reality is that effective leaders don't please everyone. In fact, sometimes leaders don't please anyone even when they are doing exactly the thing that needs to be done.

I had just been talking about my struggle in this area with my friend Kevin yesterday. Paul's encouragement to Timothy goes straight to my heart today. It's just what the Great Physician ordered.

What verse meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and jontintinjordan.

Her Royal Highness!

Tom_wendy_the_queen_lrTaylor was crowned Homecoming queen on Monday! Woohoo!

We were so excited for her. As a teenage girl, I know that insecurities abound. Taylor is such a great kid with such a genuine faith. Her kindness towards others is really amazing. I'm pleased to see that her peers rewarded her this way.

Pics of her and the court are here.

September 25, 2007

Chapter-a-Day I Timothy 4

Harvest Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! I Timothy 4:15 (TM)

Wendy and I drove to Chicago last night. This is one of my favorite times of the year as the crops turn a golden brown against the brilliant green turf of the hills and pastures. There were combines out harvesting as the sun went down on a beautiful autumn evening.

God uses the metaphor of agriculture  over and over and over. The land God created is woven with His character. It's virtually impossible to work the land or watch it worked year after year without learning eternal lessons. If you're going to grow something, you have to cultivate ("to promote or improve growth of - by labor and attention" - Dictionary.com) it. A crop of corn, our spirits - they both require cultivation if they are to grow and produce a bushel-busting harvest.

What am I doing to cultivate my spiritual growth?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ellievanhoutte

September 24, 2007

Chapter-a-Day I Timothy 3

The same goes for those who want to be servants in the church: serious, not deceitful, not too free with the bottle, not in it for what they can get out of it. I Timothy 3:8 (TM)

As an actor, you learn that the key to presenting a believable character on stage is to have a thorough understanding of that character's motivations. It's not just the words from the script and the blocking of the scene - it's understanding what the character wants and needs. It's the motivations that drive the words and actions. The better you understand what drives the character, the more real the presentation.

The same is true in real life and my training as an actor constantly challenges me to think about my own motivations. "What's my motivation here? Am I doing this out of my love of God or out of my own desire for recognition?" It's common to question our actions ("don't gossip"), but by getting to the heart of the matter, God can deal with the root issues that generate our words and actions ("Why do I gossip? I think talking about others makes me feel superior and "in the know". God, help me mind my business and find my esteem in You alone").

When I am mindful of my own motivations and focus on my heart, my words and actions follow.

September 23, 2007

'Dutch Royalty'

Taylormaddy We were tickled last week to find out that Taylor was nominated to the Homecoming Court! Woohoo!

She came home Friday night to model the dress she'll be wearing (she looks gorgeous, of course) and the 'coronation' assembly is tomorrow followed by a luncheon for the students and parents. We're excited for her. It's so cool that her peers voted for her along with her good friend Emily.

You go, Taylor.

September 21, 2007

Chapter-a-Day I Timothy 2

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. I Timothy 2:8 (TM)

Occasionally, I run into people at the airport that I haven't seen for years. A childhood friend, a guy who was in my Western Civ class in college, or an old neighbor. You see each other, exchange pleasantries and comment how long it's been. We then shake hands and go our opposite directions. Does my relationship with that person have any impact on my life? Not really.

Many times I treat Jesus, who gave his life for me, like an old acquaintance. He desires prayer - conversation - two-way communication with me. But, I'm often off to the next duty, obligation or recreation. I forget that He isn't someone I bump into at the airport. He is with me at all times. I just don't recognize it.

September 20, 2007

Chapter-a-Day I Timothy 1

Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. I Timothy 1:15-19 (TM)

I love that Jesus came to love and save sinners - even me.
I hate when those who claim to follow Jesus think He came to judge sinners and make them deputies.

September 19, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Matthew 28

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 (TM-emphasis added)

I remember when I started traveling on my own for work. For years, my boss would always go along with me. He began by helping me with training, eventually he let me do most of it and just came for the company. He then moved on to other things. I missed the personal companionship but he had other people to train and I was ready to do it on my own.

The disciples had to be feeling some of the same fears, and Jesus spoke directly to them.
"I'll be with you." The cool thing about God is that He is always with us. The in-dwelling Holy Spirit is ever present and active.

We are never alone.