Think about that

Philippians 4:8: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Oh have I got a word for you today my friends.  It is a Greek word that has many meanings that are and can be used in a variety of ways.  The word is logizomai.  In the verse above it is the word behind think.  Think as used above means to reckon inward, count up or weigh the reason, to deliberate.   That might not seem like much at first but if you look at Romans 4:8 “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”  Impute here is the same word think in Philippians 4:8 logizomai.  In both these cases it is translated differently but the meaning behind it is the same count up and deliberate.

What is the point of all this?  Well I have two points.  First is think about the good things, and I mean really think about them.  Count them up and spend time thinking about them, just like you might be inclined to about the bad things.  You can’t help but think about the bad things when something is going on so you must force yourself to think about the good things.  Remember how God loves you, Jesus died and rose for you, you wife or husband loves you, your children, or what have you.  You have good things you can think about.  It doesn’t mean you ignore the bad things that need to be addressed but you do not give them the power to control the rest of your thoughts.  

Second is God does not count or weigh your sin against you.  He does not logizomai them.  Instead He sees you in Christ.  Sure there might be things that He wants to and will refine in you, but it is done from the position of love for His child.  That is pretty awesome if you ask me.  

Just a logizomai,

Mike  

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Who does this guy think he is?

Let me say that I do not know this for certain but I would imagine that Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, DL Moody, AW Tozer, and others did not have instant success in the ministry.  I would imagine there were times in the beginning where their names were not what a person wanted to see on the invitation.  Whether it be the pastor of a church, a person receiving the invitation to attend the meeting or what have you.  At the starting point their names did not bring in a crowd.  I can imagine a pastor wanting to have a revival meeting and seeing their name on the list thought to themselves “can we not find a real preacher?”  Now however (if they were all still alive) they could send a letter to almost anyone and the recipients would be elated at the possibility.  

I am not saying that I have nearly the oratory skills or Biblical knowledge of these men but I do have two things in common with them.  One is passion for lost and hurting people.  A deep longing and desire to see people come to faith in Christ, and not just those outside the church.  I long to see those that know Him come into a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.  Second is Jesus.  I serve the same Lord as they do.  You see it was not their name that got them to where they were it was His name.  

The Bible says Jesus has a name above all names, He has a place of supremacy above all else, and it is in His name that I go.  In my own name I will not go far, and right now I am nowhere (at least it feels that way) but I serve a great and mighty King.  One who does not call just to abandon.  He does not give passion without a way to live it out.  Even though it feels that way right now I know He will make good on His calling as long as I am open, willing, and obedient (and Lord knows I am trying).  

A verse that has stuck with me for about 10 years now is Numbers 23:19.  It says “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent.  Has He not said and will He not do, has He not spoken and will He not make it come to pass”  Now that is a promise if I have ever heard one.  It says that when God says it that settles it, and I love that.  I have had a few “dreams” in my life that I know where from God.  One was how He showed me I would learn.  It was and is beautiful, but it is a hard road because it bucks the conventional system.  It is a path that not many walk, and to be honest I do not always want to walk it because it is harder than the standard path.  But it is what He as for me.  So even though I cannot send letters to churches and get a response because my “name” is not what someone expects or wants to see, I do go in a “name” that is beyond what my name could ever be.

So who does this guy think he is?  He is a son of God and servant of Jesus Christ, and that is a name to be proud of.

Just a thought,

Mike

Clean out the Fridge

One of the many benefits of cleaning out the fridge besides regaining all of your Tupperware is that you realize where you are actually at in regards to your food supply. Leftovers while great for a day or two loose their luster after a week or two. Not only are they no longer appealing but they also cause a certain amount of deception. You think you have food in your fridge, you think you have what you need because the there is no room for anything else. The problem is you do need food but what is taking up the place of fresh food is garbage.

We do this with our lives too. We leave things in our life that do not need and should not be there. We think we have everything we need because there is no room left, but the truth is we need to clean out our lives the same we clean the fridge. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is hard. Whether simple or difficult the fact remains that you need to clean out your fridge. Yes it will be pretty disappointing afterwards because your life might appear to be a little empty, but the truth is that your life is not empty but ready to receive.

Your life is just like your fridge. If it is full of crap then there is no room for anything new and better. Throw out the garbage and then it will be ready to receive new and better things.

Just a quick thought,
Mike

Freedom and Truth Letter

Hello all, I am looking for some help.  My wife and I have been wanting to do this for about 4 years but only recently have the courage.  We are planning on sending out the letter below to churches in the area but before I do I would like some feedback.  Seeing as I do not personally know any of you I feel comfortable putting this out there to you.  Any and all feedback is appreciated.

***

First I want to say thank you for taking the time to read our letter.  I will be as succinct as possible.  My wife and I are new to the area and are looking for opportunities to share our passion for the hurting.

A little background might help.  I starting cutting myself and using drugs in my early to mid teens.  I cannot say I remember exactly when as I have either blacked out or lost a lot of those memories.  I grew up in a very broken home, and my relationship with my mother and stepfather has always been on shaky ground.  There was no one I could talk to and those I should have talked to were clear they did not have time for me.  That was part of the reason I choose to retreat into myself.  I continued this path of self destruction until I was 22.  At that point I was at the height of my depression.  I was recently divorced, abusing pain pills, drinking heavily, smoking pot, and cutting myself regularly.  One night I choose to end it all.  I took my remaining sedatives and woke up sometime later in the ER.  I was so confused, and scared.  I spent some time in a crises house to ensure I was no longer a threat to myself.

A few months later I had been bouncing around between a few different friends houses and found myself feeling more lost than ever.  I started asking my friend Julie questions about God, because she grew up a Pastor’s Kid so I assumed she would have every answer.  What she told me was I needed to have faith.  I had no idea what that meant but she just kept telling me I needed to believe in Jesus.  I could not seem to wrap my head around this but I could also not let it go.  One day while doing the dishes I caught my reflection in the window and found myself being very sorry.  I prayed and told Jesus that I had ruined my life and if He could do better with it than it was His.

He took me up on my offer and took away my desire to cut and do drugs right away.  Those desires have tried to creep over the years and I give all the credit to God for saving me and pushing them away.  The past decade has been a whirlwind of change.  God has done so many amazing things in our lives since then.  We were active in the church in Maine with the Youth and Young Adults, and I was on rotation for Sunday service at the correctional facility in Windham, ME.  

We firmly believe Jesus put a passion on our hearts for the hurting.  Those who struggle with pain, rejection, and self injury.  We find no greater joy than seeing people find rest in Christ.  Seeing how he can and does transform lives gives us a fullness that we cannot find outside of Him.  

For Julie it was as we started to see more and more teens struggle with these issues she saw how deeply it affected her. More and more teens would open up and share their hearts and struggles and as she listened and cried with and prayed for these young people God put a burden on her heart to just be there. Many times kids would pull her aside just to share and pray with her.  Her heart was both broken by these teens for where they were but also realizing though what God has done in my life to know that there can be victory. That He can turn sorrow into joyfulness and brokenness into healing.  We truly have a heart to minister to these young people anyway we can. We believe that God wants to do a great work through this generation and that once they get ahold of His truth and His love they will do great and mighty things.

Here is some information you may or may not know.  1 in 12 teenagers struggle with self injury, and roughly a tenth of those continue this into young adulthood.  This means you probably have a teen in your church who either does or has struggled with this.  You will probably never know who it is either.  You would think it would be the kid who comes from a very broken home, or wears all black clothing, or listens to certain kinds of music but that is usually not the case.  Typically they will look like every other kid, because this is not an issue of appearance it is one of pain.  They are hurting and do not want anyone to know how much they are hurting so they keep it hidden.  Self Injury is a coping mechanism and a very effective one at that.  I am not saying it is a good coping mechanism but it works for those who do it, and because of that they do not talk about it.  

So what is our point in all this?  We would love the opportunity to come and share what God has done in our lives to hopefully bring this topic out for any who are hurting this way because it is easier to say I am struggling with that after someone else shares than to out of the blue and say I cut myself.  Our hope and prayer is that the road to freedom could begin for those who currently feel alone and hopeless.