Michael J. Thom Father. Nerd. Race fan. Musician.

14Nov/06

How Much Am I To Do?

So I'm sitting here in the sound booth at church, working on the podcast. One thought has come to mind just now, as it often has recently. How much stuff am I really to try to do?

With all my school work going on, especially right now, I don't really have a ton of time to be as involved at church as I am. But I love it. My involvement at church is the main thing keeping me going right now - I love serving the Lord, and I love all the actual projects that I do over there (well, here, right now...).

I know the Lord doesn't expect a certain quantity of work out of us. He wants us to do what he presents us with a worshiping, prayful attitude. I hope I am doing that, but it's so hard to tell. Am I serving the Lord, or am I playing with fun technology?

I hope it's the former. If not, I need to drop this stuff because there just isn't time to go to church just to play. If I'm truly doing it all for the glory of God, then I don't care so much how much school work I have; I'll find a balance somewhere.

But I'm struggling right now.

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20Oct/06

How Does One Love The World?

The following was written by a guy I don't know, but his name is Adam Schultz. I want to just copy and paste it here (from a CRU listserve email sent by Steve Van Elk), and then I'll discuss it a bit at the end.

A guy I mentor in highschool asked me the other day how he can love the world. I sat and pondered and this is what God put in/on my heart. Mind you, it is not complete, there are so many others ways to love, just I felt that I should post this. These are not my words, but God's. Give all the glory to Him!!

A. Accept people for who they are, exactly how they are.
B. Befriend them, not just to "save them from Hell" but for actually being a person that God created and loves. This is called being genuine and is a large part of integrity.
C. Love people with pure motives. Don't have a hidden agenda as to why you want to get to know them.
D. Be generous to them with everything you have. Whether it is money, your time, books, games, food..etc. when we give of ourselves to others without any expections of getting anything in return, this is real love.
E. Watch your words, actions, and thoughts. I'm not saying you have to walk on egg shells all day, but you are showing who Jesus is to people whether you believe it or not. Sometimes people don't become a follower of Jesus because some yahoo who claims to be a Christian is not loving people and is dishonoring the name of Jesus.
F. Spend time with people. When you are with them, value them and the time you have with them. Don't be thinking about what else you could be doing. You are there and God has you there.
G. Don't retaliate when people wrong you. To steal a few words from Jesus/Bible: "love your neighbor", "turn the other cheek", "be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak, and SLOW to become angry". Bascially, watch how you respeond to what people say.
H. Pray for the people who you don't like, who treat you like crap, who hate you etc. and let God transform you heart to love them.
I. A short story..... Mother Teresa was once asked how she could help so many people who were sick, dying, had aids, STD's, infections etc. She looked up at the man who asked and simply said, "I see them as Jesus. When I take care of someone or help them, I am actually doing this to Jesus."
J. View everyone as Jesus and treat them the same way you would treat Jesus, especially of they don't know His love for them yet.
*Check out Matt 25:31-46--this is huge for us who are Chrisitians.

Do 3 things to start:
1. Love God.
2. Love people.
3. Ask God to help you love Him and others.

I like this list. As 'simple' as it is, sometimes I wonder if I am capable of coming up with stuff like this. I am glad that Adam did; part of why I'm posting this is in hopes that more people can read it. Despite being a 'simple,' 'introductory' guide, I think these suggestions are all suggestions that we can all use.

I think item letter C is one of the toughest to do. In reality, we have many different reasons why were first talk to someone. They're cute; they are in our major; they are older; they hold positions of leadership; we would like them to hold positions of leadership; and the list goes on. Now, none of these are inherently wrong; but, as Adam is suggesting, we really need to talk to people, show interest, love them from the get-go for no 'reason.' We need to love them because they are. Because they exist. Because they were created by God.

Loving people, truly loving in a Christ-like way is hard. That list is a great "Quick Reference" of how to go about loving people. As Adam stated, it is by no means exhaustive. But I think it's worth a read every now and then. Goodnight and God Bless!

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16Oct/06

Keep On Shinin’

So I've decided life is hard. Okay, I suppose this is no huge revelation to most people. But seriously. I've attempted to help a couple friends deal with some stuff this weekend, and I dealt with some personally too, and sometimes life sucks.

You know what's amazing? God is good. God is great. God is God. I don't always remember (or even immediately believe!) this when stuff's all going wrong. And man it can be hard to convince others of this fact.

Look around. See all those blessings? No, I'm not just referring to the "stuff" in your room (but that too). An friend of mine who has a heart and mind for God bigger than I think I can even understand has been going through a lot of stuff lately. Just today she posted a note in which she described her feelings. But then she decided to list the blessings in her life: college, nature, friends, hugs, Starbucks, prayer, music, and the Bible, among others. We all need to do this more. When things aren't going "right" (at least according to our limited-scope perspective on our lives), we don't often remember the good things. God has blessed us with everything, starting with our very lives! And if the fact that we have breath isn't enough, his ultimate depicion of his love on the cross oughta do it.

Guys, God's love is amazing. Unbelievable. Phenomenal. Indescribable. When life's got you down, stop. Pray. Remember God's grace. Ask for help. Take comfort in his love. There, it's my new acronym - PRAT.

I leave you tonight with lyrics from Third Day's newest album (Wherever You Are). The song is titled Keep On Shinin'. If we have received God's grace and love, then we need to share it with others! This song encourages a continued outpouring of his light. (More on continuous outpouring in another post.) Goodnight, and God bless.

Keep On Shinin'

It feels like forever since I can remember
It seems like it's always been this way
Keep the good news to ourselves, like a secret we'll never tell
I don't know why we've been so ashamed

But changes are in the air, sparks are starting everywhere
And oh, what a sweet, sweet sound
With millions of voices, singing new choruses
Leading the way to higher ground

Keep on, keep on shinin'
Wherever you may be
Keep on, keep on shinin'
For all the world to see

Having faith in the long run is easier said than done
It's hard to live out in the light of day
You're bruised and you're battered, your dreams have been shattered
Your best laid plans scattered over the place

Despite all your tendencies, God sees it differently
Your struggle's a time to grow
And you, you're a miracle, anything but typical
It's time for the whole wide world to know

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10Oct/06

PFR and Unceasing Worship

Okay, first, who among you have heard of PFR? Yeah, okay, not many... stands for Pray For Rain. Awesome Christian band of the 1990s, produced a best of-type album in 1997 (The Late Great PFR), still performs a few times a years and has recorded two albums since '97. Fantastic stuff; you should check it out. Anyway, I've been listening to them all evening long... Here are the lyrics to one of their tunes, a powerful song titled, appropriately enough, "Pray For Rain."

Born in a dry season
Wind and sand have blown through me
Haven't found shade anywhere
Only moments of relief
But sometimes I think I hear the thunder
Somewhere on the horizon line
If I could just find a way to get under
The rain that can reach this soul of mine

(chorus)
I pray for rain to come
And wash away what's made me numb
I pray for a raging storm
To drown what's in me
And the rain comes in the nick of time
I swallow hard cause my throat's been dry
The rain comes beating on my skin
Till I'm washed away - nothing left within
When the rain comes
Your rain comes

Seasons have passed so quickly
Since I felt that first big storm
Still there have been times of drought
When i've prayed for the clouds to form
And I often hear the thunder
And I know of its coming rain
Many times in my life I'll kneel under
The moving showers that brought this change

Also, I just finished reading the second chapter of Unceasing Worship. This books attempts to clearly define worship, more specifically Christian worship, and authentic worship. In doing so, many areas are explored. At the end of Chapter 2 ("What is authentic worship?"), Best writes:

These words of Christ ["It was said of old, but now I say unto you..."] are of such magnitude that the entire shape of the New Testament depends on them. And it is only because of this that the Old Testament can be quoted with such force and probity throughout the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles. To put it negatively, the Old Testament is quoted because it is not finished until Christ reaches it. In this sense the Old Testament reaches ahead of itself longingly and hopefully to its finality. To put it positively, Christ is established in the Old Testament so efficiently as to make the Incarnation an inevitable reality.

So what does this mean exactly? Well, interestingly enough, it is actually related to a portion of the material I covered in my sermon a little over a month ago. In that sermon I talked about how Jesus established a new covanent; the Jewish Sabbath was Saturday, but after Christ's resurrection Christian's celebrated the Lord's Day - Sunday. His death and resurrection superceded Old Testament Law (observance of the Sabbath). Anyway, Best's interpretation of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is very good.

It seems to be quite simple, really. If we realize that God, in his omniscience, inspired the writers of the Old Testament with his plan for his Son in mind, then the Old Testament is not as separate from the New Testament as we often make it out to be. We completely segregate the Old from the New, as if they are two separate and different works. In reality, I believe Best would argue (and I would tend to agree), the Bible as a whole is unilaterally the divine Word of God; sure, we divide it into two parts, due in large part to historical and chronological reasons, but the Old Testament directly provides for the arrival of the New Testament and Christ Himself. His arrival, death, and resurrection, allow for the "completion" of the Old Testament and the full understanding of the New Testament.

So I'm not sure if any of that makes any sense. Perhaps I just muddied the waters even more. I said it was "simple" and then expounded on it for another enormous paragraph. Anyway, those are my thoughts. I haven't posted a real post in over a month, and I thought I'd give it a try again.

Thank you Lord for all your blessings, You are truly amazing!

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