Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Billboard Jesus

I just recently returned home from a month long trip across country.
That means miles and miles and MILES of highway stretched out before us decorated with road signs and billboards.

I saw a bunch of billboards along the way advertising hotels, theme parks, political/social agendas and also a few promoting religious concepts (or degradation of them).

One or two Christian themed billboards that I saw had very short messages about repentance or a snippet about Hell.

It got me to thinking...

What if I were to put just one verse or one single spiritual concept on a billboard for all to see?  What would it be?

How about you?  What would yours say?

The more I thought about it, the more I decided I couldn't put just one thing on a billboard.
Don't get me wrong, I don't underestimate the power of God's word.  If He wants to bring someone to faith and repentance from just one verse of the Bible or a simple presentation of gospel truth, then it will happen.

Right now, I just find myself submerged in learning what it really means to live in community with the people that God has placed in my life.  That means, a verse here, some encouragement there... a testimony here, some hospitality there...

It means INVESTING in people a little at a time.

A billboard won't get community done.  That is just the honest truth.

God has done a wonderful thing by putting people in our little worlds for us to share our lives with.  He doesn't intend for us to live autonomously.

Mat 5:14-16  "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

In order for the light to shine before others, other people need to be around!!  There are people EVERYWHERE-under our own noses in our homes, at the work place, within our local body of Christ, and just think of how many people you come into contact with on a daily basis. 


It would be easy to set out to BE a light in this world.  We could figure out what it looks like to have the light in us and model it, yet all the while not be one who possesses it.

God has done a work in me.  I can't escape it.  As I learn more about Who God is and what He has done, He increases my knowledge of what is pleasing to Him.  In turn, my desire to do what He asks also increases.

The light resides in me because GOD put it there, and since He put it there it WILL shine.

How do I describe that "shining"?

I think of the shining as sharing.  It is sharing the truth of God's gracious gift toward sinful people through loving and doing things for them.

God demonstrated His love for us in Christ.  He desires us to be demonstrators of that great love to those who don't know Him.  Share the motivation behind the loving things you do or sinful works you avoid!  If your motivation is something other than Christ and HIS love and grace upon your life, I urge you to examine yourselves as Paul suggests to the Corinthians.  Faith in anything but Christ is not true faith.

This is not something that you can effectively or concisely paste on a billboard.

BUT, I found a way around that one-thought-billboard problem.

You know those flashing, digitized billboards?  THAT is what I would use!  Granted, people would either hold up traffic or have to pull over to read it!

For now though, I will pay closer attention to what God wants me to do and say to those around me.
By God's grace I will lovingly share the truth in word and in deed in effort to bring more people to the knowledge of Christ, all the while trusting God for the results.


I am opting to live a Billboard LIFE.

That means I will point to Jesus for successes, praise Him for victories and lean on Him through trials and failures...all while the world watches.  

Because let's face it-they are already watching anyway...

Written that the name of Jesus be praised,


Friday, June 6, 2014

When you feel like "you ain't feelin' it"


I have been gone on a two week excursion with the fam to visit other family and friends back in my old stomping grounds on the east coast. 

I am not gonna lie, it was a very L-O-N-G trip!  When you take our little family of five, plus a 20-ish hour drive, it equals three days on the road in order to reach our destination!  Due to a zillion requests for potty breaks, we have to get lodging for two nights on the way! 

After a grueling day of being stuck in a car with no escape, the sight of the Holiday Inn sign represented rest and freedom!  There, we got a much needed break from driving!  We took the kids to the pool, stretched out our legs and most of all-got some SLEEP without having to be curled up in a ball! 

The next morning, we woke up, enjoyed the free breakfast offerings, cleared out the room and got back on the road to do it all again for another 7-9 hours.

 As we headed out to the car, I noticed that my surroundings looked so different in the morning.

It's totally weird, but the interstate we just drove on the evening before looked like a completely different road-opposed to the one we left while headed to the salvation of the hotel.

I was the one getting us back on the road after our overnight stay.  The GPS started squawking at me to make a few turns that appeared to be taking me in the WRONG direction. Though I knew the GPS could be trusted-it is loaded with maps and "knows" the way better than I ever could- something within me was screaming, CLAWING at me even, "WRONG WAY!"  


It felt like the wrong way.  But just because it FELT like the wrong way, does that mean it actually WAS the wrong way???

Yesterday is history and I DID, in fact, follow the directions of the GPS. I can testify, however, that had I listened to my flesh-that POWERFUL feeling and urge to do something quite the opposite of the right I was told to do- I would have been the wrong one. Had I gone against the wisdom of the "all knowing" GPS, we would have gone back in the direction we had worked so hard to come away from. That, my friends, is what we call counter-productivity at its finest!!

That thought got me to thinking (as usual), and this verse came to mind:

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

And if that doesn't speak to you, maybe this one will.....

Proverbs 16:25  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.


Those are the same words ordered together to communicate the same EXACT thought...TWICE, in two separate locations in the bible!! (Maybe you already knew that, but I learned something new today!!)

In that moment, I contemplated "following my guts", yet I determined that the wise counsel of the GPS would be the better path, though I felt differently.

I don't naturally "feel" like being Holy or following God. If left to my own thoughts and ways, I will choose me, myself and I. I will find ways to rationalize all that I want to happen in my life. I will fashion my existence after pleasing myself. It just "feels" right to go after all that makes me happy.

Enter the Spirit of God. HE is the game changer.

There is much within me that still desires to go after what feels good and right in my own eyes, EXCEPT THAT I have learned the Word of truth and it has taken root in my heart. The Spirit living within me takes a mindless game of pursuing self and He shifts my desires to pursue what God wants even when "I ain't feelin' it" sometimes.

But why do what God wants anyway? Does it gain me favor or position with Him?


Can I feel better about myself if I have a good day of beating my flesh into submission?

Wrong again.

Is it the fact that I have come to know it is important obey Him because HE is important...because HE is worthy of all my energy and praise? Or further more, is it just reasonable to serve the One who has done so much for me that I do not deserve??


That is a conclusion I would not come to without the power of the grace of God on my life. Instead of living to serve me, God works in me to follow HIM! As I know Him more, I want to be an active participant in sharing the love He was so merciful in giving to me!

My point is that if we are ruled by the whim of our emotions without wise counsel from the Spirit of God, by the Word of God to guide and inform us, we err.

In fact, erring is the least of our worries when Proverbs says we will end up dead. And not just physically dead, it is a far worse fate than that. We will end up Spiritually dead in trespasses and sin if we go around doing merely the "way that seems right" to us with no thought of God.

The truth is, we are sinful people in need of a Savior.

Col 2:13  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Before God we have a "record of debt" (sins) that "stood (or currently stands) against us".  This is a serious problem.

Apart from God to forgive those trespasses through the atoning work of Jesus, we stand dead in our sins before God.

Our flesh won't desire to be reconciled to God.  We won't see the need for it because it is not natural to us to perceive that need-we just won't "feel like it" of our own volition.

We need the Spirit of God to intervene in order for us to be compelled to follow God.

Without God working by His Spiritual "GPS" in our hearts by the truth of God's Word, our flesh will scream "WRONG WAY, WROOONG WAAAY!"

Does that mean we will never fight God in our walk with Him?  Is it possible to still have battles even when God has brought us to a saving faith and knowledge of Him?

You better believe it!

It isn't that our flesh just turns off.  Instead, it is the Spirit of God at work in us that causes us to value God's work that "cancel(s) the record of debt".  Truly understanding the grace of God compels us to follow Him. 

I can assure you, when God has so worked in you to love and to trust Him, you will NEVER regret submitting yourself to God's righteous rules, though sometimes you may feel differently in the moment!

As time goes on, the Spirit's work in you will train you to godliness and eventually-little by little-you will find that following your flesh turns out to be what "feels" wrong!

I leave you with these verses to encourage you to press on to follow Him:

Galatians 5:16  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  

And how do you walk by the Spirit?

Jesus said this:

 John 6:63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And where do we find the words of Jesus? (The Bible...very good, class!)  ;)

Now go-read the words of truth alone or ask a friend to guide you!  May the Spirit of God work in you mightily by the power of His Word!

Written that the name of Christ be praised,