I attended church this last Sunday at Grace Fellowship in Spearfish SD. Pastor Steve Miller shared a story about a Square Watermelon that were be grown in Japan. The Watermelon is conformed into a cube by its surroundings – a cube made of different types of material is used to form it. The problem is that when it is harvested you cannot eat it – the inside is not ripe so it is for decoration only. (There is more about the Square watermelon below).
Pastor Steve then shared the story about John the Baptist in Luke. You can see that he was not being conformed by his surroundings but that he had been transformed by God. I have always liked the story about John the Baptist – the book “The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus” uses his character allot to show how we can have this intense relationship with Jesus. After John was transformed by God – he then proceeded telling others of the Good news of Jesus and was transforming them.
Luke 3:16 – John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
It made me look back and see how many times that I had conformed to my surroundings instead of being Transformed by Jesus and let Him guide me. It is so easy to get caught up in the World by what is happening around me that I forget to let Jesus shine through me. I become that square watermelon that is there for decoration only and do not have any good fruit inside of me. I am so lucky now to have the Spirit working inside of me to help me in my transformation and then I can be like John and share the good news.
Have you conformed to your surroundings?
Are you just a square Watermelon for decoration only and no fruit inside?
Is the Spirit working inside of you?
How is your Transformation going?
Let’s get one thing out of the way right up front: It doesn’t matter what shape the watermelon is, it’s what’s inside that matters.
It’s actually pretty easy (relatively speaking) to grow a square watermelon. Just about anyone can do it. While the watermelon is still small on the vine, a square, tempered glass box is placed around it. When the watermelon gets bigger, it assumes the shape of the box! You can do this too. There are even websites dedicated to teaching you how. Just remember to use a glass or transparent mold so the sunlight can reach the watermelon on all sides (except the bottom, I guess).
And why are square watermelons grown? Two reasons actually. First, the square watermelons are easier to stack, which makes them easier to ship. Second, and perhaps most ingeniously, with space being an issue in crowded areas of Japan, the square watermelon is designed to fit perfectly inside smaller Japanese refrigerators.
But, just like the heart-shaped creations, square watermelons cost a bit more than one shaped by Mother Nature. It’s a small price to pay for the ability to store it in your fridge, although I guess you could just cut up a normal watermelon and make it fit. Oh well… the square ones still look pretty darn cool.
**The cube shape of the watermelon can only be achieved at the expense of its contents. To retain the proper shape, square melons must be harvested before they are ripe, rendering them inedible. They are for decoration only and the cost is really expensive – as high as $100.
A friend of mine (Bob W.) sent me a link to an article about 8 signs your Christianity is too comfortable. I have been writing about “Crashing the Divide” and this looked like a great way to check to see if I am having an impact on those around me.
Here is the list:
8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable! By: Brett McCracken
**These are just the 8 items – but if you click on the link below you can see the explanation of each of them.
There’s absolutely no friction between your Christianity and your partisan politics.
There are no paradoxes, tensions, or unresolved questions.
Your friends and coworkers are surprised to learn you’re a churchgoing Christian.
You never think about or even remember the Sunday sermon on Monday.
No one at your church ever annoys you.
You never feel challenged, only affirmed.
You’ve never had to have a ‘truth-in-love’ conversation with a fellow Christian.
No one in your church could comment on any area of growth they’ve seen in you.
Click on this link to see the whole article [button link=”https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/8-signs-your-christianity-is-too-comfortable/” newwindow=”yes”]
As I read through each of these, I could identify with a couple of them that I need to really work on… If we are going to have an impact on the world/people around us – then we need to be challenged in our growth as a Christian. I have always believed that if I am really comfortable, then it may mean that I am becoming stagnate as a Christian. These are just a few check and balances that can be helpful, but there others that you may have come up with that help. (Please share them with me).
Just to carry on from last week’s blog on “Crashing the Divide” and as I explained what my understanding was: “taking what you have learned from God and applying it to what you encounter in the world”.
Pastor Shaun has been teaching from the book of Mark and one section of his sermon fit this topic really well this last Sunday.
Mark 4: 21>23 – He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
In my study bible it explains verse 21 in this way: “Many Christians today are hidden from sight, reluctant to be identified as Christians. Such a Christian is like a brand-new light that never leaves the carton it came in. If a lamp doesn’t help people see, it isn’t worth much. Does your life show other people how to find God and how to live for him? If not, ask what “Bowls” have hidden your light. Complacency, resentment, embarrassment, stubbornness of heart, or disobedience could keep you from shining.What do you need to let your light shine?”
I have to tell you that in the past I have fallen into one of these excuses of not letting my light shine… I can remember a time at work when someone came up and asked me about church and I directed them towards someone else (embarrassment). This one hit me really hard later on in my career and I promised never to let it happen again.
Letting our light shine can be so easy… When people encounter us in the world they should see something different about us (Jesus should be shining through us). Here is a short list of some of the things I try to do when I meet people.
Smile and if they have a name tag – greet them by their name. You know after a while they get to know you and you get to know them. Also I made an effort to know my neighbors by name.
Do not expect a certain response from people you meet – create the response you want by how you interact with them. If you expect a “Thank You” then you be the first to say “Thank You”. You will get the response you are looking for when you are doing what you expect from the other person.
Look for easy ways to help people. If you pay attention you can take a shopping cart and put it away for someone. Help someone find their car when they are disoriented (this happen at the store about a month ago). Hold the door open for people.
**When you show acts of kindness people notice something different in you and it will be the light of Jesus shining through you. One of my most rewarding things at work one time was when a co-worker came and asked me if they could use my bible. It was not something that I expected but they knew who I was because of my Light…
How is your light shining?
Do they see Jesus in your actions?
When your light shines people will be asking you about it – you can let them know about the shining Light of Jesus!
GMM took a pause this year and we will planning the 2019 GMM Conference starting next month. One of the themes that is on our Web Site (under the GMM 2017–2018 page) is “Crashing the Divide” – my thoughts on this theme are taking what you have learned from God and applying it to what you encounter in the world. I believe that the Men of God have been quite for so long that sin has become normalized in our world today.
I attended a Men’s Conference this weekend and the speaker shared a story about Adam and Eve. This reminded me of what I have done so many times in my life.
Genesis 2:15-17 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
**God has spoken to us about sin and what the consequences are if we do not turn from sin. This is what he is doing with Adam.
Genesis 3:6 – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
**As you can see Adam was with Eve and did what God had told him not to do (you know the rest of the story) – but he stood by and joined in. Also communication is a great tool – did Adam tell Eve what God had told him or did he just go along and not say anything?
In my life I have stood by and done the same – instead of speaking out I just stood by and either joined in or just said nothing. I have been told that we are to love the sinner and hate the sin – but never to speak out. I can no longer just sit back and say nothing.
In the last few years I have taken a stand in what I believe to be what God has taught me and I have started speaking out on what I see as sin. I have seen some of the laws that are starting to come forth in legislation to normalize what I perceive as being sin. So I have written to my local government leaders, had coffee with a few and let them know what I believe to be truth in what is see is being presented to them. We can also turn from sin when we see it. Recently the show “God friended me” came out on Sunday and I thought it was going to be a good movie. In one of the recent episodes a sin situation came out and the father who is a minister responded that if it makes you happy then it is ok….. wrong….. We can come to action and stop watching these shows and speak out to others as to why we did. So I am finally starting to speak out – I just hope it is not to late.
Have you done what Adam did?
What can you do to speak out?
We need to come to action and start telling people what God has taught us!
This week at the Pastors Prayer meeting we prayed about several items but a repeated topic that came up was the struggles that we go through. There were prayers about some unexpected health issues – family issues – being bold in circumstances – the many people who were hit by the hail. Life just seemed to be catching up with us and allot of people we knew– one pastor was led to lay hands on everyone (this was powerful).
My Blog is titled “You Say” and this is a song by the Artist Lauren Daigle and it reminded me of the Pastors Prayer time. It talks about the mental struggles we go through but that I just need to believe in what “You Say”. Below are the lyrics and a connection to the song. Be Blessed…. This song will finish this blog in way that I cannot… Bobbyg
“You Say” by Lauren Daigle
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, ooo-oh
Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory, ooo-oh
I had the privilege of being blessed by Pastor Daniel M. of the Rhema Covenant church this last Saturday. Pastor Dan had a great message on Peter when he denied Christ 3 times and explained that “It did not happen overnight”. There were things leading up to this part of Peter’s life that brought him to the point of denying Jesus. As Pastor Dan stated: Satan works on us in several ways to get what he wants. Pastor Dan explained 5 points on how Peter got here.
Here are the 5 points – but they may have more of my definition then Pastor Dan’s – He explained his topic in detail and I am going to try to paraphrase it with my thoughts (I do have some – LOL).
Pride: Peter thought he would be strong and could not be swayed when it came to standing up for Jesus. This is his response when Jesus told him he would betray him 3 times. (Matthew 26:33 – Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”) How many times do we believe that we will not fail and be tempted with sin?
Falling asleep when we need to be awake: Jesus had asked Peter to follow him and stay alert while he prayed. Peter failed 3 times when Jesus needed him the most (Matthew 26: 40&41 – Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”) How many times to we fail to stay alert and pray when someone needs us the most.
We use our Sword in the wrong way: Peter drew his sword and cut off the soldier’s ear and Jesus did a miracle to replace it. The sword we carry today is our Bible. (Matthew 26:51&52 with that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.) How many times do we use our Sword (Bible) the wrong way and condemn people instead of loving them.
Follow Jesus at a Distance: After Jesus was arrested Peter followed at a distance instead of being Bold about his faith and standing next to Jesus. (Matthew 26:58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.) I believe that this happens to us many times and we just do not realize we have distanced ourselves from Jesus. When it comes to being Bold about our faith we are silent so as not to make waves.
When we have distanced ourselves from Jesus we seem to get involved with the wrong people: After Jesus was taken Peter began hanging out with the non-believers. (Matthew 26:69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.) As Pastor Dan stated we need to surround ourselves with Faithful people who will help us stand for our beliefs. If we hang out with the wrong crowd we will be like Peter and fail Jesus.
You can see “It did not happen overnight” for Peter – there was a process that Satan used to make him fail. Satan used the same process on us…
I was listening to a song from Third day called “New Creation” and it talks about when you first become a Christian and knew the joy of Jesus. It made me think about the excitement of knowing that there is a relationship that Jesus is longing to have with us. It took me a while to understand what that meant but when I finally understood about having a Relationship with Him – it was exciting and New. We need to have that daily….. enjoy the song.
I have to tell you that when I was listening to this I was brushing my teeth and I could not help but sing along and dance (please do not try to visualize me doing this). But it was a great song to sing along with….
Pastor Tom Powers is doing a series on Gifts and today’s was on the Gift of Service. Pastor Tom was talking about the people of the church who have this gift and how they utilize it to lift up our Church. He made a list of Characteristics that someone with this gift would possess and he explained some examples of what he had seen at Calvary. This made me think about “Jesus People” and if we utilized the excitement we had when we became a New Creation with the characteristics of the “Gift of Service” in our daily lives: How Awesome the world would be..
Here is the list Pastor Tom gave – please visualize you using them wherever God has placed you:
Love to get their hands dirty/fix things/build things.
Practical hands on things/knitting sewing/manual labor.
Behind the scene things….Missions/disaster relief.
Thrill to take care of things/don’t like credit or spot light.
Often care more about serving others than yourself.
Joy in watching ministry grow, things run smother.
Eyes in tune to get things done/don’t wait to be told.
Good planner (but it’s often all in your head, not paper)
Encouraged knowing that God is using you in this way…
The challenge will be to look at each of these Characteristics and see how you can use them when you are at home/the store/exercising/with family/a restaurant/vacation etc…
Let’s become the Jesus people!
Let’s utilize the Excitement and Gifts Jesus has given us and share them with the people around us.
Diane and I were able to enjoy the last Concert that Third Day put on at Red Rocks last week. It was a great ending of their career before starting their new Season of Life. Mark Lee one of the founders of the Group was asked: “What are you going to do now that you are retired”? This question stunned him just a little bit and his response was: “I will never retire in my Christian walk – just taking a different way in my journey” (paraphrased by me). I really enjoyed his response.
About 12 years ago I tried to become one of those retired Christians – I had done my service and now it was time for the younger generation to take over….. I have to tell you it does not work that way. God started working on me on what I thought I was doing and now He is working through me in my new ministry. You can never retire but sometimes you need to take that break to see what He has in store for you.
Diane and I have started our new Season of Life in being retired and are looking to see how God is going to use us in our new journey. We know that God has a plan for us and we are excited to see what that will look like as we get started in this new Season. We understand that there is no such thing as retiring from our Christian walk….
So what Season of Life are you in at the present time and is God working through you as you journey forward?
Are changes coming or are you where God is doing some great work through you?
Bobbyg **I want to add a little extra: A letter in the Newspaper last week from Becky Conroy had a great point I would like to share. The Title was “Giants of drugs and alcohol can be overcome with God” but I am only going to share the first portion.
David stood in front of Goliath with faith and a slingshot. He was not afraid because he knew that God was the power behind him. He did not see a giant that was too big, he saw a giant too big to miss!
When we come in front of our giants, we can stand firm with faith to overcome and have victory. This is the power that is already within us through Jesus, but if we run away and try to escape from our giants, then eventually our escape methods become another giant.
God wants a relationship with us because we are his children – not to judge us, but to love us through our trials and to help us knock our giants down.
This had a powerful message on overcoming what your Giant may be today keeping you from going forward in your journey….
Pastor Shaun finally finished the book of ACTs this last Sunday and he finished it with the question “Where is your Mission?” (I may have paraphrased a little). That is a great question and it has been one of my New Year’s resolution on “How can I impact those who are in front of me.”
In the book of Acts Luke talks allot about the Journeys of Paul’s life and how he impacted the world around him. As Pastor Shaun noted Paul is unique and we cannot all be like him in traveling around the world to evangelize. There are a few that are called to do this type of ministry but most of us are not. Shaun then stated that we should first start with those closest to us (our family and neighbors). There is a Big Mission field right in front of us……
One of the passages that Shaun used was for Paul can be something that we can utilize also in our own lives. Paul told the people who were in front of him about Jesus.
Philippians 1: 12 > 14: “Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel” *Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
As you can see that even when Paul was in prison he was talking to the people who were right in front of him.
We can do the same as Paul has done. Here is a list of some of the challenges that I have tried to overcome to let Jesus shine through me.
The first thing I did when I moved to my current address was to make sure and get to know my neighbors. The last place I had lived I did not know but one family. Now my neighbors know me.
When I am at a store or restaurant I try to notice the name of the person who is serving me. Then I make an effort to have a small conversation with me. I have to tell you most of the people at my pharmacy know about my life and it is great when I get back from vacation they ask me how it was.
How about the person you pass by. I remember a letter in the newspaper a while back when a lady stated that someone had made her day by saying “Hi” to her at the Library. We can to the same…… “Smile and say Hi to those you pass”. They will know that there is something special about you.
Those in need. How do you approach them and help. It could be someone on the Highway – or a need the church has passed on – or it could be family member that needs your time. I have to say time is precious and is one of the biggest gifts you can give.
My special one is my Grandkids – I want them to see Jesus in me….
So in my Final Thoughts the question comes back:
Where is your Mission?
**A special Song hit about ministering to those around us: It is “Just give me Jesus!” It is by Unspoken… Enjoy it is a powerful song……
Today is Memorial Day and I would like to share a video Diane and I really enjoyed this morning. It was Hallelujah Veterans Version from Sailor Jerri. When we listen to this it really reminded us of the Service Men that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom (we were in tears). Enjoy: [button link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msYPbjFC50w” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Memorial Day Hallelujah[/button]
I will be gone for 3 weeks on vacation = so no more blogs until then…. Thank You.