Friday, August 17, 2012

I Am Second

I don't know when I've been more jazzed about preaching. Beginning Labor Day Weekend, and for six consecutive sermons, I'll be sharing the message, "I Am Second." It all started when one of my board members sent me a video testimony from Clayton Kershaw of the LA Dodgers. In it, he talked of his relationship with Jesus Christ, and how nothing is more important than putting his Savior first. Turns out "I Am Second" is an entire movement, and their web site features dozens of amazing testimonies. I picked up the "I Am Second" book and blasted right through it. Before I was even halfway through, I knew that this message needed to be shared with the church.

It's raw. It's gritty. It's life changing. This series of messages will pull no punches. It will offend, it will inspire, and it will be unlike anything I've preached before. I feel God's hand in this already as He gives vision, ideas, and illustrations. And I haven't even written a word of the first sermon.

So what's the big deal? Here it is: Jesus died for me. For me! I can't think of a more humiliating, slow, and excruciatingly  painful way to die than having spikes driven through your hands and feet, bleeding profusely and gasping for the smallest breath while on display for people to laugh and mock.  Jesus took all this after he was beaten and scourged to within an inch of his life. For me! Why? Because he loved me, even when I didn't love Him. That's the part I can't wrap my mind around. I was an enemy of Christ, living for myself, living in the world, and ignoring Him. I stayed home on Sundays. I was deep in sin. I knew for years what Christ had done for me, but lived for myself. I didn't even give Him an hour of my time on His day. The only time I prayed was when I needed something. Can you imagine? Like He hasn't done enough for me already by dying for me when I was literally his ENEMY????

How can I put myself first when Jesus did all that for me? How dare I put anything - ANYTHING above my relationship with Him? This is about more than coming to church. It's about honor.

I Am Second. And that's a good place to be. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Don't Miss My Addiction

It's been more than 3 weeks since I swore off Facebook. I've only been on to check the church site, and once changed my profile picture to support Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Other than that, I've kept to my vow to remain Facebook free for 30 days, and then decide where to go from there.

No need to wait. I've made up my mind. In the last 23 days I have:

-Slept better
-Read two books
-Finished my work early
-Spent more time with my son
-Lost 7 pounds
-Endured less stress about trivial matters
-Felt no need to let the whole online world know I just had a pancake for breakfast

I once had a dentist tell me that if you can get used to flossing for two straight weeks, you will make it a habit. I suppose that's true for just about anything you want to accomplish. Being without Facebook for over three weeks has been an absolute joy. No doubt, the first week or so was tough, but looking back now I can hardly believe how much time I was wasting and mental energy I was expending. I was truly trapped, and that's a very hard thing to admit. 

So I'm done with Facebook. And it feels good. God has taught me that I can accomplish a lot more on my knees talking to Him than arguing with the world from a keyboard.

The world will just have to assume I'm having pancakes for breakfast. And they're probably right.