Lean in…and Give

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

 

It has been a difficult couple of weeks here in California as many fires have broken out laying to waste acres of destruction, turning beautiful homes into ash and even taking people’s lives. The phrases, “worst fire in history,” “deadliest firestorm ever,” are again hitting the headlines. Not only that, but “another mass shooting!” The statement and reality is horrific, but what brings even more pain is the gut wrenching blow in the word ‘another’; another unsuspecting group ravaged at the hand of evil, another crowd running for their lives, another barrage of news reporters looking for a motive, looking for a reason, looking for the story.

 

It has been a rough week where people have lost everything, barely escaping with only the clothes on their back. It’s been a week where loved ones have died and people, people with hopes and dreams, and family and friends were senselessly murdered. It’s been an awful week.

 

In these devastating realities where is the hope? Yes, in the comfort and help of God.

Matthew 11: 28-3O Come to me (Jesus), all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

God does care and much of the time the help God brings is from the hands of people who are willing to help, giving of their time, giving of their abilities, and giving of their resources.

Acts 2:45 And they (the first churches that followed Jesus) were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

To lean in and give has been, and is, an expected reality of people who call themselves followers of Jesus or Christians. See, God is generous.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 He (God) who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.

God gives us time, talents, abilities and resources so we would be generous towards other, especially in times of need.

Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 11:24-25 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will, himself, be watered.

 

When we lean in and give, it not only helps but also brings hope. I love the words of Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping…and if you see the helpers there is hope.” When we lean in and help we can be used of God to bring hope.

In this week of tragedy, there have been numerous examples of people bringing hope through giving. I was watching the news and the reporter was asking people who were rescuing animals displaced from the fire what they needed. The person said they needed some horse trailers. By the time I turned off the news that morning, a few horse trailers had shown up. It visibly encouraged the rescuers. In the horror of the shooting and the craziness of people fleeing, off-duty officers and medical people with knowledge of first aid were seen administering help. People later shared how these people were like guardian angels. All through this week of struggle people have given donations of food, blankets, temporary housing and money to help people in need. It has and is bringing hope! It shows that though there are tragedies that happen, and yes, even evil and hurtful people who spew their deadly venom, there is hope when we give. So let’s lean in and give as we see needs.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

 

Church can be a great place to be inspired to give for we learn of our generous God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are in the midst of a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net.

 

Leaning in and giving along with you,

Mike

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Lean In…and Pray

James 5:16 …The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 

There was a story I heard a while back about a guy who was out hiking with his buddies. They were all avid outdoorsmen who were packed with the latest gear, gadgets, and know-how. They chose to do a familiar night hike up in the mountains near their home and camp until morning and make the trek back for the rest of the following day. Donned with lights, all-weather gear, and supplies they split up to do a little solo night orienteering where just using a map and compass, they sought to find their camp. As they were heading out, the weather took a turn with some strong winds whistling through the trees and clouds blocking the moonlight. A light mist turned into a mild rain, then a steady rain, and then a downpour. The guys all sought shelter. One found a cleft in a rock to wait out the worst of the storm and a few others found some fallen trees to be their makeshift shelter. One kept moving, wanting to outwit and outsmart his friends. The rain was making small rivers through the forest and as this one guy turned a corner, a few of those rivers collided and created such a swift current that it swept the guy off his feet, down a steep incline where his light showed that he was heading straight for a sheer cliff. The guy turned to claw at the steep incline, but the debris was too slippery. A rock took out his light just as the water and guy flew off the cliff. The guy, still clawing, now at the side of the cliff felt himself fall, and then all of a sudden, a small yet sturdy bush abruptly stopped what was certain death. The guy quickly took out rope and secured himself to the bush. Catching his breath, he yelled for help. No one answered. He kept yelling and listening. It was difficult to hear as the rain and wind continued to howl. Desperate, he prayed, “God I know I’m not very religious, nor have I been to church, but I could use a miracle here. Please help me.” The wind howled more, yet the rain did begin to relent. Just then the bush gave a crack and seemed to be pulling out of the side of the cliff. The rope slipped off and the guy was now hanging, dangling from the bush. He prayed…now out loud, first with a sheepish “Gooooood!” Another crack, and the bush bounced down about six inches. Now with more conviction the guy screamed out, “Are you out there! Please help me!” Then a small voice answered back. “Let go of the branch.” The guy was first shocked that he got a verbal answer, but then to let go and fall to his death, it made no sense. The guy called back, “Is there anybody else up there?” “Nope, just let go”, came the answer as a light came on about eight feet below him as the rest of this guy’s friends were below with arms held up ready to catch him. See, he was just out of their reach only about 3 feet above the ground.

 

Well, I’m not sure if the story above really happened but it opens up the subject of prayer. Prayer is talking to or communicating with God. See, God is not distant deity that stands aloof from humanity, but desires connection and relationship with us.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Proverbs 8:17 I (God) love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me(God) and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

God is always ready to listen and connect with us as we pray. So lean in and pray for prayer is important. So important it is mentioned some 250 times in the Bible. Now sure all-knowing God does know our thoughts (See Psalm 139:1-6) but just like our friends or loved ones like it when we communicate them, God loves the sound of our thoughts and voice (Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16, Psalm 86:15) and longs for us to interact with His through prayer. So lean in and pray!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

When we talk to God we gain a greater sense of connection with Him and we are more open to sense His comfort, care, and guidance.

 

So what do we say to God? Jesus gave us a formula in what is called “the Lord’s Prayer”

Luke 11:1-4 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Pray includes words of praise and thanks to God (1 Chronicles 16:8-12), voicing requests (Philippians 4:6-7), expressing confession (1 John 1:9), and asking for guidance (James 1:5). God looks forward to these moments when we pray. So, lean in and pray!

 

Church can be a great place to not only practice prayer, but also to learn how to pray. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are continuing a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net.

 

Leaning into prayer along with you,

Mike

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Lean In…to Rest

Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

 

I was out working in my yard and it was time! Time to tackle the bougainvillea!! You know, that wonderful vine type plant that does not need all that much water and can be trimmed about any way you would like and has those brilliant, vibrant, and almost neon type colors of purple, pink, orange, red, and even blue accented by their dark green leaves. They are a lovely addition to any garden, a wonderful plant, all except for one little detail that gets over looked because of their beauty. They have vicious and unyielding sharp thorns! These barbs of torture, these spikes of torment, seem to pierce through the toughest of gloves, tear through most articles of clothing, stab miraculously through any hat, and even penetrate the soles of most gardening shoes! I had waited and put off this punishing event as long as could and donning long sleeves, thick gloves, and good hat, I dove in. It was the nightmare I had imagined. Though taking it slow and careful, I still got stabbed, poked, speared, gored, and gouged…right through my shoe, my hat, and my shorts. It was bad. It was also hot and sweat stung my scrapes and puncture wounds. But I had to keep going. I had to finish. The bougainvillea fought back having twisted itself around to make it nearly impossible to cut through the mangled mess. The heat was getting to me. I was parched. I even felt a bit dizzy. I was exhausted and needed to take a break, get a refreshing drink, retreat a bit from the battle and see what new plan of attack I should take. So I slumped down in a chair and the cool water, along with moment of inactivity, replenished my sore hands and arms from snipping, holding up, and maneuvering the gas-powered trimmer, pulling out those stubborn vines.

 

As I sat there resting my weary, scrapped up body, something happened. I did not notice it at first, but slowly it came over me as stopped my efforts and just rested. As I took time to look over my wounds, I noticed the carnage of the bougainvillea and that I was nearly done. I caught my breath and felt like I could endure the heat and thorns for another assault. I did…and with a few more times of rest, I pushed back that bougainvillea beast and cleaned up the mess. See, rest was key. I could not have completed the task without it. Rest is good. Rest is needed. Actually, God created us to make time and take time to rest.

Exodus 34:21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

Now yes, we are not to rest all the time or work all the time, but in all times we are to find time to lean into rest and take full advantage of its blessing and benefits.

 

Jesus and His disciples were teaching, encouraging, healing and helping people, and it was exhausting. Yet, they took time to rest.

Mark 6:30-32 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Time of rest has many benefits. One online article revealed rest and sleep can improve our immune system, improve memory, restore energy, stimulate creativity, help weight management, process stress, slow the aging process, and can even make us feel happier. God designed us to rest. It’s a good thing to take time and make time to lean into rest.

 

Rest is tough when we are troubled and dealing with the struggles of life. The Bible encourages us to pull away and let God know.

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

As well Jesus says to us:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (way of life) upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

To soak in Jesus’ way of life and let the refreshing truth of His love, care, and help revive us, we need to lean into rest. Will you?

 

I don’t know what your bougainvillea beast is in life; a tough job, a house full of kids or big family, past hurts or deep emotions you are dealing with, too many projects undone, loads of expectations from others, a ‘perfect storm’ of troubles, or maybe just life right now. Maybe it’s time to lean into some rest. I encourage you to take Jesus with you and ask Him to revive and revitalize you. You might be surprised at what happens.

Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait (rest in Him) for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Church can be a great place to lean into rest. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are in the midst of a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. It would be great to rest in the Lord with you!

 

Leaning into rest along with you,

Mike

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Lean In…and Connect with Others

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

 

My wife, Kristi, and I were out for one of our Friday ‘date nights’ and happened to wander around at Downtown Disney. One of the feature stores is a Lego store. It attracts a lot of attention because of the Lego-style sculptures on the outside of the building: a brave knight fighting a fire breathing dragon, Buzz and Woody flying to “Infinity and Beyond,” and more. As you walk into the store you are taken back not only by the amazing and incredible Lego sets you can purchase, but taken back to your childhood as I was (because I love Legos!) to the fun we had creating and building. As you move to the back of the store, there are vats full of just plain Lego pieces in all colors and all sizes, some with a few snaps and some with many snaps. Now the thing about Legos is they were designed to snap together with other Legos. Yes, some have massive connection points, others have a few, yet all connecting. So ‘no Lego left behind,’ all are meant to connect and work into the grand plan of the kit purchased or the creative design of the freewheeling imagination of a kid, regardless of age.

 

We are a lot like Legos; designed to be connected with others.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

John 13:34 A new commandment I (Jesus) give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

These ‘one another’ Bible verses are written with action in mind, that we would lean in and choose to be loyal, attentive, helpful, and selflessly caring towards others. The truth is we need each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

That Bible passage goes on to explain more in Ecclesiastes 4:11-12. The truth is God created us to connect so that we create an amazing story.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

However, we each have the choice not to put ourselves out there and keep to ourselves, not connecting. Yet, that can be lonely. Sure, we can say if people want to connect with me it will be on my terms. Yet, part of human interaction requires vulnerability, humility, authenticity, and availability. Of course we need to be discerning, as there are ‘unsafe’ people out there that are users and abusers. But there are good people to connect with.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

1 Peter 4:9-10 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

 

So who could you lean in and connect with this week? Maybe you could reach out and connect with a long lost friend or past acquaintance, maybe a family member, or that new neighbor down the street. It could be that family your child is friends with at school or in soccer. There are all kinds of possibilities. Now sure, some snaps take some time and a lot of tries to find the best fit, but the key is to keep leaning into it, to lean in and connect with others.

 

Church can be a great place to lean in and connect with others. Now it’s not a guarantee and we all still need to try, but church is a place designed to connect people to God and to each other. If you don’t already have a church you regularly connect with, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are in the midst of a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. It would be great to connect with you!

 

Leaning in and looking for those ‘snaps’ of connection along with you,

 

Mike

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Lean In…and Appreciate God

Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It’s a good thing to be grateful and express gratitude. I know I was taught by my parents to say ‘thank you’ and we sought to train up our kids, and now grandkids, to appreciate and be thankful for what others do for us, and for all the great blessings of God. Actually, according to numerous studies, there is an incredible power in gratitude. One online article from Psychology Today says, “people who feel gratitude are less likely to be depressed and worried, and more likely to feel satisfied with their lives.” The choice to be appreciative does make life better. God does challenge us to be thankful…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

And being that…

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

It does us good to lean in and appreciate God for who He is, what He does, His protections, provision, and providence. I know I am incredibly thankful. Just a few days ago we came back from an amazing weekend with our family. It was one of the first times our kids and their spouses and their kids were able to coordinate a trip together. I am so thankful for all the sacrifice each family made to make this trip possible. We took a trip to Northern California to a camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains called Mission Springs. My wife, Kristi, went there every every summer growing up and her parents lived there for a while. Also, when we lived in Northern California, our little family went to Kristi’s parents house often. So it was a fun trip for our grandkids to see and experience it all. Not only that, many of Kristi’s family converged at the camp as well. It was so fun seeing all the cousins and second cousins playing, getting time to reconnect with extended family, time with my kids and their spouses, and so thankful to have adventures with our grandkids. My heart is so full and I am so thankful to God for the way my kids have chosen to live their lives, for the amazing spouses they have, and the blessing of our six grandchildren!

Psalms 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

Psalms 103:1-2 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits

Yes, it is good to lean in and appreciate God, for we have what we have by His hand. Even when we go through some times of difficulty, we can lean in and appreciate God. When we do our perspective changes. I experienced this just a few days before our amazing family vacation. I was driving home from work just before an evening meeting, taking my normal route home, when all of a sudden a big utility van cut over 3 lanes into my lane. I quickly looked right, saw no one and spotted a driveway I could swerve into and rapidly applied my breaks while cranking the steering wheel to the right. My eyes darted forward and saw the car that cut off the van speed off. I missed the driveway and ran into a light pole, just missing one of those lighted business signs and a bus stop! As I sat there, stunned, but noticing I was not hurt, the light pole came down with a crash just next to my car. Just then, a swarm of people came up to my car saying they saw the whole thing, asking if I was ok, and encouraging me to get out of the car for smoke was coming out of my crumpled hood. I turned off the car, pried the door open, and asked if anyone else was hurt or affected. It looks like I was the only damage in this unfortunate event. I called 911, and within a few minutes, police, fire, and an ambulance were present. The police, after checking, waved off the fire truck and ambulance. So how can I lean in and thank God for this? My car was totaled! A car I was hoping to continue to drive for years, a car with so many family memories, a car I really enjoyed. Yet even in all this, I am thankful and appreciate God for having so many people see exactly what happened. I am thankful I was not more seriously injured. Sure I was sore for a few days, but that was minor. I am also thankful the Lord prompted the person who sped off to come back and make a statement to the police. The amazing thing that has happened is, as I continue to lean in and appreciate God, my perspective has changed. Instead of being angry, frustrated, or bitter at the whole mess, I feel at peace, even happy, knowing God took care of me.

Psalm 150:1-2 Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Psalms 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

What can you lean in and appreciate God for today? Why not try? It could bring about an amazing new perspective.

 

Church is a great place to lean in and appreciate God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We have just started a new Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. It would be great to have you join in.

 

Leaning in and thanking God along with you,

 

Mike

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Lean In…and Listen

James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

 

I was trying to study in my backyard last week. I love my backyard. It is not picture perfect, but the grass is mostly green, the fruit trees are all producing, actually my dwarf lime tree is doing great, but my apple tree has yet to produce full-grown apples! Anyway, my plants are in various stages of thriving. The wind chimes give their gentle tones. A few butterflies and birds flit by. For the most part, it’s quiet, serene, and peaceful. It is ‘mostly’ a great place to study. I say ‘mostly’ because someone a few houses away decided to get their roof redone, and for some reason it took over a week of scrapping, hammering, and then, the nail gun…bang…Bang…BANG. They must have put about 30 nails in each shingle!! I tried to block it all out and lean in with focused attention. Leaning in helped, but it was so noisy, I could not study, read, or even gather my thoughts. Extreme and consistent noise does that! Actually, there has been a lot of study about noise and it’s ill effects on our physical being and mental processes. As well, according to an on line Psychology Today article, silence is vital for self-reflection, and self-reflection is crucial for human development and learning. See, it is important to lean in and as we silence the music, TV, phones, podcasts, conversations, and talk radio, we can actually lean in and listen… listen to the thoughts of the day, listen to our feelings, listen to the questions that come to mind, listen to the quandaries and riddles of life, and most certainly, listen to God.

 

Now, I have never heard God speak to me in an audible voice, but I have read His Word, the Bible, and many Bible verses have ‘spoken’ to me. Like when I have been discouraged and feel like God is distant, I have been encouraged by verses like this:

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  

Isaiah 41:9-10 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

If you were just encouraged in some way, that was God speaking to you. You were leaning in and listening!

 

God does challenge us to listen.

Proverbs 1:5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

Proverbs 25:12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.

Matthew 11:15 He who has ears, let him hear.

Listening does take silencing the other noises in our lives. It takes some planning and purposed actions to shut down or move away from what bombards our ears and to intentionally slip into some times of silence. It may be just what you need to recalibrate and let your mind think, reason, sort things out and listen to God. God does want to walk with us in life and will guide, help, encourage, direct, and even give hope. Why not set a few moments aside today and settle into a moment of silence and lean in…and listen, even listen to God.

 

Church is a great place to lean in and listen. And most certainly listen to God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We have just started a new Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: www.cypresschurch.net. It would be a joy to have you join in.

 

Leaning in and listening to God along with you,

 

Mike

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Lean In…To God

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

 

I was flipping through the TV stations the other night after a football game and an interesting show caught my eye. I had seen a short clip as I was scanning through Facebook. The show is about a former preacher’s kid turned atheist who gets a ‘friend request’ from God! The show is titled “God Friended Me.” The intent of the show is not so much about religion, but a journey to find the good in people. I don’t know where the show is going, but the first episode dealt with the main character’s struggle with the concept of God. His main reason for no longer believing in God was the sudden death of his mother. She had breast cancer and was given months to live. So, as a young boy he prayed to God for his mom to be healed. She was…miraculously, yet was killed in a car accident soon after. Broken by this, he chose to push away from God, who, in his mind, was cruel to allow such circumstances. In the show, he even hosts a podcast on not believing in God. It will be interesting to see where this show goes. Not being a religious show based on the Bible, my expectations are not that it will reveal an accurate view of God, but that it will at least bring about a curiosity in the God of the Bible. My hope and prayer is this will help people lean into God.

 

I know I had my doubts about an all-powerful Supreme Being who is not only called Creator, but also Sovereign, in orchestrating His will and plans, all within a climate of free will. Growing up in a university professor’s home where scientific method, mathematical probability, logic, and natural laws were paramount, God or faith seemed to be a nice human strategy to cope with conflict and emotions. Yet, as I grew, the issues of life and inner unrest could not be explained away with logic. In addition, even science has an element of faith and there are no natural laws or mathematical probabilities that explain miraculous happenings or coincidental encounters.

 

See, God is worth leaning into. I know I found an amazing, miraculous peace in knowing God and choosing to live life His way.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Jesus said…

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

That peace came to me as I leaned into knowing God. As I gained a greater understanding and sought to answer my questions, I chose to believe. Belief, for me, is to place my trust in God, leaning in and accepting the truth about Him even over my own understandings. In leaning into God I also have contentment, joy, and a sense of sufficiency because I know I have belonging, hope and a sense of purpose in God. The greatest reality in leaning into God is the love I have experienced.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

Regardless of where we are in a belief of God or not, it can be a great adventure to lean in…and seek God.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.

Psalm 34:8-10 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

 

What would you think if God ‘friended’ you? How would you respond? What could you do this week to lean into God?

 

Church is a great place to lean into God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We have just started a new Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: www.cypresschurch.net. It would be fun have you join in.

 

Leaning into God along with you,

 

Mike

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