Son of My Purpose-Driven Journal
Rick Warren and me, on worship:
"When we worship, our goal [should be] to bring pleasure to God, not ourselves. Worship isn't for you. It's for God." - We must come to God to compliment Him - not in order to feel better about ourselves. Now, when I praise unreservedly, it always results in me feeling better, too; but that's a by-product, not the goal.
"Like a proud parent, God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities He has given you." - This is especially encouraging to me. At times I feel like I am showing off or that I might be trying to get attention for myself (really, it's more like I'm afraid that others will think I'm doing that) - and the real deal is not "Look at me!" but rather, "Look at what God has enabled within me!" Like Eric Liddell saying, "When I run, I feel God's pleasure."
"When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a Savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend." - Slavery to Christ is freedom from sin's stranglehold.
"You know you're surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work. You don't have to always 'be in charge.' Instead of trying harder, you trust more."
"Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God." - Is it possible that my life is having more impact as an elder than it could have as a youth minister? And every change of direction along the way has been an attempt to follow Christ. So, it's all good.
"Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident."
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Truth is...To a certain extent, me "getting to know" God is like an ant getting to know the Internet. There is no real comprehension at all. Yet, there is real appreciation, gratitude, awe, love, wonder, respect, joy...
A Day in the Life
The 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been making a few waves in pop culture recently. Detractors will want to say it's just a Baby Boomers thing...a desperate grasp for relevancy in a culture increasingly dominated by Millennials and beyond.
Maybe so, but I've got video evidence that it's a little more than that.
Thanks to editor Tom Compagnoni and the Australian arm of Huffington Post, the following 50 Covers... video suggests it's not just old codgers that appreciate creative composing and performing...and music can bridge a lot of gaps that many would say are insurmountable.
Truth is...there's not necessarily anything to be excited about in the lyrical content of A Day in the Life, but this video is a testimony that the world is not as divided and hateful and "us vs. them" as a browsing of headlines would suggest. People of all ages, nationalities, genders, economic standings, and political opinions are more alike than they are different. And if a fifty year old song can help point that out, then crank up the turntable, because I'd love to turrrrrrn youuuuuuuu oooooooon.
Bride of My Purpose-Driven Journal
More annotated quotes from Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life:
"The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears." - ♪♫ And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. ♫
"Death is not your termination, but your transition into eternity."
"...eternity with God...like trying to describe the Internet to an ant."
"Our culture says, 'If you don't own it, you won't take care of it.' But Christians live by a higher standard: 'Because God owns it, I must take the best care of it that I can'." - I wonder sometimes if I am using all my abilities and talents in a "stewardly" manner. Am I sitting on some of my talents because of false humility? Lack of assertiveness? Fear of rejection? Love of security?
"2 Corinthians 4:18 - 'We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.' When life gets tough, when you're overwhelmed with doubt, when you see evil prospering, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won't leave home - you'll go home." - I remember walking down the dirt "sidewalks" of David, Panama and trying to imagine what it would be like to actually live there...not just be visiting for two weeks. I figured almost anything was bearable for two weeks. Maybe I could get that feeling about life on this side of the grave - undesirable conditions are nothing to fret about, because it's only temporary. Almost anything is bearable when you know it's not permanent.
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Truth is...It IS all about God. Why were we created? So God's glory would be multiplied. (Isaiah 43:7: "They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory.") Why did God free the Israelites from Egypt? So the honor of His Name would be spread throughout the nations. Why did Jesus die? So the volume of heavenly praise would be deafening.
My Purpose-Driven Journal
Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life and all its ancillary products are kind of the Barry Manilow of Christian publishing: wildly popular in its day, but now hardly anyone admits to having been a fan except old ladies.
I certainly understand some of the second-guessing that has been done since its publication, and I'm particularly NOT a fan of how Bro. Warren bounces around translations until he finds a phrase that fits his outline, still, as evidenced by some notes I made in my journal, there was definitely some food for thought within those pages.
"You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose." - Which is exactly the opposite of popular culture today: God can help you reach your full potential. Or even: If believing in a god makes you happy, then that's great - for you.
"If there was no God, then we'd all be 'accidents,' the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. But there is a God, he made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives." - Woe to those who have faith only in randomness and time. How can they face each day, knowing that they are just a happenstance - an accidental configuration of DNA that is just as much a result of circumstances as a snowflake?
"Your value is not determined by your valuables....Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you - your relationship with God." - Let my driving passion be to live as God's man - wherever that may take me.
"Everyone wants to be remembered when they're gone. Ultimately, what matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says about you. How will you answer God when he asks, 'What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?'" - I loved Jesus with all my heart and carried Him to others/carried others to Him.
Truth is...as I look at my fervent responses and ardent desires; as I think back to the long-gone years as a youth minister, the sweetest words I've ever heard are "You made a difference."
Best Sellers Aren't Always Best
Dan Piraro's comic strip, Bizarro, usually lives up to its name...in spades.
And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that; especially when the humor also includes a big, heaping helping of Truth like this recent panel did:
Truth is...The time will come [and is now here, IMHO] when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3, NIV)