LIFE Nuggets

The purpose of this blog is Essentially to Chronicle our personal faith journey and that of a place that we call LIFE House West. Why Life Nuggets? Because Nuggets bring to mind a sense of fun and enjoyment, show me a child who is sad when they get to eat chicken nuggets..... Things like life, and following Jesus should be fun and we want to explore those things in a light hearted and fun way, so please, enjoy...

Location: Hagerstown, Maryland, United States

30 years old, married, Father of four children (2 boys, 2 girls) 2 cats and 3 dogs (black lab, english bulldog, and pug)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It is better to give....

Good morning and welcome back for another LIFE Nugget. I have been pondering the proposed subject of today's post for a while. The idea has its genesis in some of my personal spiritual journey. As I have said before, I spent the whole of 2006 reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in my devotional time. I have blogged about conclusions before, so this may not be anything new.

At LIFEhouse West, we talk a lot about helping people, discover, develop, and demonstrate a Christ centered life. In our small group meetings we have been talking about the discovery and development aspects. I want to blog about the third one because it is here, for the most part, that the Christ centered life connects with the outside world..... It must be demonstrated.

The question that logically comes next is how. How do you show others what you have experienced internally. I think that is done by giving. Now this is the point where most people, out of some type of conditioned response, start to think about money. Sadly, much to my dismay, most church leaders have made it just about money. They have done a disservice to the rest of us. The idea of giving financially, while critical, is just one facet of what we could call one of the crown jewels of Christian maturity.

We see that in John 3:16 that God "loved us so much that he gave." Simple words, but so powerful. If giving, as I see it, is the goal to strive for, then giving must have some basic characteristics. First, it has to be done with the right motive or mindset. That being that giving points back to Jesus. We do not give to show ourselves to be more spiritual, but because we want to emulate Jesus and point people to him. Second, we should give where ever it is needed. We must be willing to see what needs done and act, or give. Third, it must be motivated by love, pure and simple.

I said earlier that this is not just about money. So what is it about? Yes, money plays a role, but there is more. Will we give of out time to a worthy cause? Will we give of our abilities to help someone? Will we give away parts of the Kingdom of God that lie in us to others? It is in the ability to give and the willingness to serve others that a church can truly demonstrate the love of Christ. The same applies for individuals.

Part of the dream for LIFEhouse West is that it becomes a place that serves the community, that gives. I do not mean that it is a place that just throws money at problems. Rather, it is a place that uses resources to make a tangible difference. It can be found in assisting the elderly, widows, single moms, people who need education, or just an ear to listen. To give of ourselves to benefit the community that we are in.

We have an opportunity to serve, to give. I am going, who wants to come along?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A LIFEhouse West Update

Well it is high time that we update the world on where LIFEhouse West is on the journey. Our first monthly service will be held on Easter Sunday and we will hold one monthly gathering until September when we launch.

Construction on our ministry center is continuing and we are moving forward. So far the process is going well and while there have been stressful times, the journey has been great and I trust will continue to be. As we get closer there will be more information to pass on.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Agressive Pursuit of Yourself

I know that the title is goofy and that you may be thinking that this is going to be one of those "right wing" rants about how the world is evil and too consumed with pleasure and the pursuit of self gratification to be of any lasting good. Well, you are wrong. What I have been thinking about is nothing like that at all. I keep coming back to something that Jesus said in Matthew 6:33. Jesus says that we should seek first the Kingdom of God. That is such a profound statemnt. We must make the Kingdom of God our first priority.

That leads however, to a question. What does seeking the Kingdom look like after one has been "seeking" for a while? I have said it before and I will say it again, our life is a journey. I know that life is filled with changes and that nothing stays static for long. But where do we look for aspects of the kingdom as our lives continue? I would like to focus for a moment on one that I think that we ignore.

I feel that the internal aspects of the Kingdom get overlooked in the face of doing Kingdom work. For example, a man or a woman may be out doing a bunch of things that he or she truly feels are God's work. That may even be the case, what they are doing mey even be vital, but how often do we really look at ourselves? The Apostle Paul gave us the instruction in 1st Corinthians 11:28 that we should examine ourselves. Yes he was talking about doing that before partaking of the "Lord's Supper". Perhaps part of the problem is that we only do that when we are partaking.

The willingness to look inside ourselves is becoming a rare thing. Are we willing to pursue the parts of ourselves that do not please God? Am I the only one who finds that hard sometimes? I would wager to say that I am not. I try to be consistent in this. Because there are those moments that I find something that that God wants to remove or change. What then? Am I willing, are we willing to allow God to change things that He may want to change? Will we let God "kick our furniture around"? What happens when one of our core character issues is confronted? What will we do? This is the hard stuff about the Kingdom. When we come to times like this in life, I think that they either make us or break us. The writer of Hebrews says that discipline is hard when it is received. He is so right. He also says that it is worth it later (Hebrews 12:11). So I say that we must be willing to confront the things in our lives that hinder us. We should, in Christ, be willing to deal with and overcome the flaws that keep us from growing. Let us all be diligent in the agressive pursuit of the parts of our lives that God wants to change. It opens us up to a new paradigm of life. Happy hunting.