Thursday, January 15, 2009

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

And Moses said, "Here I am."

"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”—Exodus 3:1-5

Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

"A staff," he replied.

The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.

Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.

"This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."—Exodus 4:2-5

What has God used in your life to cause you to realize that there is more going on than you might think? For Moses, it was a burning bush and a snake-transforming staff. For Job, it was tragedy. For David, it was Samuel’s anointing and a giant that needed killed. For Mary, it was an angel’s announcement.

God uses whatever He needs to use in order to get our attention, to lift our heads from the ordinariness of our daily routines and give us a glimpse of the sacred and supernatural realm where He lives. Are you paying attention?

Where do your daily routines take you? Into crowded, busy places, filled with noise and activity, deadlines and crowds? Or into quiet, solitary places with no one around and unending stretches of sameness?

What difference would it make to your life if you began to look for God as you go about your daily routine? For Moses, the place where his daily life took him became infused with the presence and power of God

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

And Moses said, "Here I am."

"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."Exodus 3:4, 5

Old Testament prophets urge people to seek the Lord today

Seek the LORD while he may be found;

call on him while he is near.—Isaiah 55:6

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

Paul tells us that God has crafted the circumstances of our lives, whatever they may be, to cause us to seek Him

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.—Acts 17:26, 27

What difference does encountering God make in your attitude? How is He changing you, transforming you into the image of Jesus? How are you seeing your circumstances differently because you realize He is present?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.—Romans 12:2

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.—2 Corinthians 3:18

What difference would it make in other’s lives if you began to look for God in your daily routine with a new urgency? What new opportunities for loving God and loving people would you discover?

As Jesus looked at the world and people around Him, He saw potential

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."Matthew 4:18, 19

He saw needs that only He could meet

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."Matthew 9:35-38

"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."Matthew 11:28-30

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace…Luke 19:41, 42

Everything that Jesus saw motivated Him to action and steeled His determination to do whatever it took to bring the life-changing message of reconciliation with God to those He saw.

Moses’ encounter with God radically transformed his life. God infused the tool of his trade with supernatural power to unleash the life-changing power of God in the world around him. He used Moses’ life to bring freedom to those in slavery.

What about you? Are you willing to stop? To turn aside from your daily activities and see what God is up to? Are you seeing the world through different eyes? Is your attitude being changed? Are you inviting God to transform you so that you can become a tool of transformation in His hands? Who around you is being changed because of your interaction with God? What’s different in your life today because you are in touch with God? Whose lives are different today because you touched their world with the love of Christ?

It all starts with catching a glimpse of God and going over to take a look to see what He is up to!

To view the worship celebration related to this Next Step, visit

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do Angels Yawn?

Based on Matthew 19:16-22

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

"Which ones?" the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"All these I have kept," the young man said.

"What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

What a waste! A young man who spoke to Jesus face-to-face, a man who had the opportunity to turn his life around. Yet he is known as the young man who went away sad, who chose his wealth and religious practices over truth and adventure.

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Most of us think—and some even dare to say—“if God would just make Himself known to me, if He would just tell me what to do, then I would follow Him, then I would turn my life around, then I would move forward in life with confidence and assurance.”

But the problem isn’t with God and His communication. God has not hidden Himself. His truth is abundantly available to anyone who desires to know it.

Jesus repeatedly said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (for example, in Mark 4:23).

The problem is with our hearts. We want to do rather than follow. To learn, to check tasks off our spiritual checklists, instead of taking the risk of stepping out in faith.

Which brings us back to the question “Do angels yawn?”

The question “Do angels yawn?” sounds like a deeply theological question. I confess, when I first heard it, I thought the question referred to the angels in heaven as they observed and proclaimed the glory of God in all His majesty.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.—Isaiah 6:1-4

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"—Revelation 5:11, 12

Angels, however, do more than worship God in heaven. Angels are charged to care for God’s people, to watch over us, to serve us and act on our behalf—

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”—Matthew 18:10, 11

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?—Hebrews 1:14

Angels are part of those watching us in heaven—

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Ephesians 3:10, 11
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…—Hebrews 12:1
So what’s your race looking like? Are you running? Do you know where the finish line is? Are you pursuing God?

How exciting is it for the angels watching your race? Is there anything for them to cheer about? Are they on their feet cheering you on right now?

Or are you satisfied with reading about the race? Stretching out, maybe even running in place, or practicing getting out of the starting block?

Are you satisfied with checking things off your spiritual checklist? Daily Bible reading, check. Prayer, check. Gave money to church, check. Don’t lie, cheat, or steal, check. Went to church, check. Remembered my mom’s birthday, check.

What would it take for your angel to have something to do? To actually have to go to work on your behalf?

To view the worship celebration related to this Next Step, visit