Happy Thanksgiving Week!

November 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

Thanksgiving week is here and that means it’s time for my annual Thanksgiving week unplug.  It’s the week where I unplug from everything and just focus on getting some much needed R&R – recharging and refocusing – for my body, my mind and my spirit.

So you won’t be hearing from me all week, but I hope you all have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  See you all next week!

turkey_tommy

“Therefore you shall be PERFECT, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48

Perfect?  YEAH RIGHT!  Are you kidding me?  Is that even possible?  That’s the question that we discussed yesterday in the Week 5 series finale of God’s Ethics: Realigning Your Moral Compass.

The key is in understanding what the word “perfect” really means.  If you define it as “sinless” or “without any blemish”, then you’re going to feel frustrated and discouraged.  But is that how Jesus meant it?

I say NO!  And I invite you to check out the message above to see for yourself.  You’ll discover that perfection isn’t at all what you think it is and that actually, it’s a lot more within your reach than you realize.

GELogo

God Who Heals

November 21, 2014 — 4 Comments
Today’s guest post comes from a good friend of mine, Sherry Fahmi.  Sherry is a proud member of St. Timothy & St. Athanasius Church in Arlington, VA and she has guest posted on my blog before.  You can follow her on twitter, @SherryFahmi.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

jesushealsthebleedingwoman_thumb

Do you ever get tired of waking up tired?  Sounds like a silly question right? Well, about two months ago I decided that I was tired of waking up feeling like life was somehow too hard. I know in my head that, as a follower of Jesus, my life SHOULD look different, feel different, and make a difference, right?

But instead, I felt tired, distracted, and very broken. Where was the joy? The strength? The healing? I felt like I was missing something important, and that even though I might have had it once… I lost it, whatever IT was.

I struggled to pray, to read my Bible, or to serve othes in any capacity.  In the brief moments I actually tried to pray, I had nothing to say.  All I could muster up was someting along the lines of

“Lord, I need healing – I don’t know why I feel so defeated, like life is too hard and I’m too broken to do anything about it…I need to be healed.”

That single prayer carried me for what seemed like forever.

The question I was struggling with was this: if I need healing and God has promised me healing through His Word, and He is more than capable of healing me, why is it that I’m still tired?  Still distracted?  And still broken?  Why hadn’t God healed me yet?

God had the answer (of course) but to get there, He took me on a little journey.

Continue Reading…

This past Sunday I preached a message about the power of our words and the effect that our words have on others.  There’s no area where this is more applicable than in those relationships that are closest to the heart (marriage, parents/children, close friends).  So what do we do when someone close to us does something to upset us or annoy us?  How do we address that issue without hurting the other person with our words?

I’m so glad you asked.  I was digging through some of my old posts recently and found this one on THE ART OF LOVING CONFRONTATION, which I wrote more than 2 years ago.  I think this applies not just to marriages but to all relationships – especially the close ones.  I hope you’ll find it as helpful as I do.

Recently I spoke about the issue of conflict resolution in marriage.  I spoke about how the goal is not to AVOID conflict, but rather to RESOLVE conflict.  But the question for today is how?  Practically?  What are some tips or strategies we can implement to help us really resolve conflict and remove any bad feelings/bitterness within us?

As I mentioned yesterday, the starting point is setting the right goal.  The goal isn’t conflict-free living; the goal is what’s best for the oneness in the relationship (obviously I am referring to a marriage relationship here, but the same principles can be applied to any relationship).

So if the goal is oneness and depth and intimacy, then compromise won’t get it done.  Neither will avoidance.  Those strategies only yield short term results and in the long term will lead to resentment and relational distance.  Instead we need LOVING CONFRONTATION.

Two parts to that – “love” and “confront”.  Please don’t do one without the other.  Confronting without love is judgmental, critical and mean; and loving without confronting is enabling, short-sighted and cowardly.  We need both – loving confrontation.

Continue Reading…

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

Week 4 in the God’s Ethics: Realigning Your Moral Compass series and this week’s message might be the toughest to swallow of them all.

That’s because the message focuses on the SINS OF THE TONGUE – not something we usually think about or pay much attention to.  What’s the big deal about a little gossip here or there?  Or a dirty joke?  Or a curse/swear?  Or an exaggeration of the truth?  We don’t usually put these “little sins” into the same class as the big ones.

But guess what?  GOD DOES!

Take a listen to the message above and see for yourself.  You’ll discover that God cares a lot more about our words than we realize and therefore we may need to start caring as well.

GELogo

Uprooting Bitterness

November 13, 2014 — 5 Comments

In yesterday’s post, I spoke about bitterness/anger of the heart and the damage it can do.  I wrote “the most self-destructive thing you’ll ever do in life is to hold on bitterness.  That is the quickest way to ensure that you live miserably and lonely for the rest of your life.”

BitternessSo what’s the cure for bitterness?  How do we get rid of it?

There’s only one way.  You can try to ignore it (won’t work) or pretend it isn’t there (definitely won’t work) or convince yourself that you’re past it (YEAH RIGHT!).  Our goal shouldn’t be to “get past” the bitterness, but rather to treat the bitterness and to heal it.

How?  There’s only one way…FORGIVENESS!

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Yesterday I addressed the question of “what is forgiveness?”  Today, I’d like to address the second question that naturally arises when the topic of forgiveness is mentioned… HOW DO I FORGIVE?

We know we SHOULD forgive and that we NEED TO forgive, but we don’t know HOW to forgive. 

Continue Reading…

Cancelling the Debt

November 12, 2014 — 5 Comments

It’s there.  You may not want to admit, but you know it’s there.  It’s inside you.  It’s behind the excuses… behind the rationalizations… behind the self-deception… behind all the ways we may “spiritualize” it… but it’s definitely there.  And like termites within your house or cancer within your body, if you allow it to live within you, it’s just a matter of time before it eats you up and destroys you completely.

cancel debt

“It” is no joke.  “It” is BITTERNESS.

We don’t like to admit because it makes us feel weak, but the truth is that we all struggle with bitterness to some degree.  It takes different forms and comes with different names, but it’s the same at the root.  Bitterness, resentment, grudges, hatred… they all fall under the category of “anger of the heart” – feeling like someone else took something from me or owes me something and be unwilling to let go of it.

Jesus spoke about His standard when it comes to this “anger of the heart” when He said,

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

In other words, “not murdering” them is good; but “not being angry” is the expectation.

Continue Reading…