The Place The King Calls Home

What place does the King call home? What is the address of the high and lofty One? Where does the One who inhabits eternity make His dwelling?

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” -Isaiah 57:15

What a mystery it is, that the King of eternity, the One who lives in the high and holy place would also dwell with the humble. The creator of all things was born in a manger. How do you come to grip with the fact that the same God by whom all things were made and without whom was there nothing made that is made, who upholds all things by the word of His power, holds my hand when I am lonely? How do you come to grip with the fact that the same God who reclines in the big dipper and props His feet up on planet Earth will stop in His tracks at the weakest cry of His weakest child? How do you get a hold of the fact that the same God who measures the sea in the hollow of His hand, who meets out the heavens with a span, who takes up the dust of the Earth as if it was a small thing, is yet touched by the feelings of my infirmities?

When I think about His holiness, His majesty, His righteousness, and the glory of who He is, I can’t help but be amazed at the fact that He wants to make His dwelling with me. He has taken up residence in my heart and I couldn’t be happier.

Beyond

We cannot stay here. I know, you just got comfortable and you are really starting to like it, but we really cannot stay. I know, you have progressed so much and you have come so far, but we really cannot stay. We have to move beyond.

Photo by eszter

We have to move beyond being motivated by fear to being motivated by love. I know you have heard it said that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and it’s true, but there is so much more than that. There is a nail-scarred Savior who loved us more than He hated our sin. Everything we do, and for that matter, everything that we don’t do, should flow out of our love for Him. Do we love Him?

We have to move beyond a Christianity that serves me to a Christianity that glorifies God and serves others. Jesus was our example. He taught some suprising things like, “The first will be last and the last will be first,” and “He that is greatest among you will be your servant.” Maybe you already know that but I am just reminding you, I’m reminding myself, because we like to say things like that to our fellow Christian but we still aren’t very good at saying it to ourselves. It sounds pretty good when you say it in your sermon but reality hits when our plans are interrupted with an opportunity to serve.

We have to move beyond pardon to purity. I don’t know about you but I get pretty tired of asking God to forgive me for the same things. Repentance is not asking God to give us a pass or turn His head while we sin. I don’t want to be pardoned. I want to be purified. I want to love the things that God loves and hate the things that He hates. I don’t just want God to forgive me for my sin again; I want Him to take the desire to sin out of my heart. I am thankful for forgiveness, but holiness is what I long for.

Will you go with me? I must go beyond.

Qaulity in Quantity

I have been thinking today about the importance of quality and quantity in the context of our relationship with God.  I have heard it said that it is quality alone that matters.  But how can you have a quality relationship with God, or with anyone for that matter, without giving the relationship a considerable quantity of your time?  I am sure that anyone who is married would agree (or so I’ve been told).

The flip side of the coin seems pretty obvious.  It is certainly possible to invest a high quantity of time in a relationship without having a high quality relationship.  The two don’t seem to correlate in this direction (i.e. the more time I spend with God the better my relationship).  Although I do find that when I spend more time with God for the proper reasons, my relationship with Him is strengthened.  And I find that the higher the quality of my relationship, with God or others, the higher the quantity of time and effort I desire to invest in them.

I want my relationship with God to be of a quality that forgets to the ask the question of quantity.  I simply long for and cherish every moment with my Savior.

I don’t want to just say my prayers.  I want to pray.

I don’t want to just sing songs and clap my hands.  I want to worship Him.

I don’t want to just do my duty.  I want to bring Him glory.

I would love to know what you think…

Jesus Raises the Average

 

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  -Jim Rohn

Photo by Ben Dodson

This quote was the title of a post from one of the blogs that I frequent.  Of course, this is just an idea.  There is no real science behind it.  But it should cause you to pause and think about the people who are influencing your life.  When I think about it, I do find a lot of the characteristics, beliefs, and habits of those people whom I spend my time with to be rubbing off on me. (And I wonder if I am rubbing off on others.  And if so, am I rubbing off in a positive or negative way?)

I tweeted this quote earlier today, stating that I hoped Jesus was in our top five.  I received a comment from a Facebook friend (Rachel Pio) shortly after I tweeted.  She made a pretty obvious but thought-provoking statement.  “Jesus raises the average.”

The more time I spend with Him, the better I become.  It becomes painfully obvious in my every day life.  Let’s just say you can tell when I haven’t spent any time with Him.  But when I do, there is a difference.  As I behold Him, I am changed “from glory to glory” into His image.

Jesus doesn’t just raise the average by being in the top five (if the greatest man is a 10, He is a 100*).  But as I get closer to Him, He removes people/things from my list that bring my average down (dropping the 1-5’s from my circle of influence) and He adds people/things to my list that bring the average up (pastor, mentors, people of like precious faith).

So… Is Jesus in your top five?  Is he shaping your life?  Or did He fail to make the list?

*obviously it would be impossible to assign a number here, you get my point.

Marching Orders: 2

Part 2 of 4

Last week I started a series called Marching Orders (first post) which I intend to finish this week.  In the first post I gave three orders given by the Apostle Paul to the Church at the end of the Church age (Hebrew 10:22-25).  Each order begins with the words “let us”.

1. Let us draw near.

2. Let us hold fast.

3. Let us consider one another.

In part two of this series, let us look at the first of these orders.  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

First we must understand what a miracle it is that we even have this ability!

All throughout the Old Testament men were separated from the presence of God.  The presence of God dwelt in the tabernacle within the Holiest of Holies.  The only person that was allowed to enter that place was the high priest and even he was only to enter one time in a year.  There was a veil of separation between God and man.

Thank God that there is a new and living way, that being Jesus Christ.  When He died, the veil was rent from top to bottom.  Through Him, we have direct access to the presence of God.

But it doesn’t stop there, He poured out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.  He no longer dwells in temples made with man’s hands, but He dwells in the hearts of men!

The greatest miracle is the fact that a sinful man can be forgiven and granted access into the presence of a Holy God!

How do we draw nigh to God?  We need to have a relationship with Him.  We draw near to God by basic spiritual disciplines; prayer, fasting, study of the Word, etc.

If you have ever been to a Hibachi grill, you have watched as the Chef prepared the food while performing all sorts of amazing tricks; the onion volcano, the twirling spatulas, the tossed eggs.  After watching one of these performances, I asked the chef what the most difficult part of his job was.  His answer shocked me.  He told me the most difficult part was stirring the food.

All the tricks are nice but the most difficult part is often the most basic!

The Church needs a revival of spiritual discipline and meaningful relationship with God.

Warriors of Morning Draw Near to God!

Coloring Inside The Lines

The following is a guest post from my little brother, Jeffrey Bryant.  Jeff is incredibly intelligent and talented and has a knack for writing and story-telling (not to mention the fact that he is dangerously funny).  I have been trying to convince him to start a blog for some time now with no luck.  Leave a comment and help me convince him!

From the beginning of time, people have always been told to “color inside the lines.”  If we go outside the boundaries, the picture just will not look good anymore.  But what happens when we are coloring the picture of our life?  It becomes a situation where we must set our own boundaries.  Every person we come in contact with is  a different color, and every thing that happens is a page in the coloring book.

So we go through our lives, coloring this and coloring that, trying so hard to decide where we belong.  And we do our best to organize our lives – to sort all the different crayons in the box.  We may do it one color together.  Or maybe even by which colors we use the most.  And sometimes other colors hurts us.  But more often, we hurt other colors.  We may try to blame them for the scribbled mess that is our life, but everything that happens is a result of stepping outside the boundaries.

Coloring outside the lines is a bold step to take, but it is still one that must be taken.  If we color inside the lines, like we have always been taught, then new knowledge, new pain, new joy – these things will never come.  But when we step outside our boundaries – outside our comfort zone – things start to happen, and new pictures are created.  They are the things of our imagination, not someone else’s.

When we color outside the lines, it is a picture of ourselves – a portrait of what we have been through; our insecurities, our fears, our secret desires, our hopes, and our dreams.  So a challenge has been placed before each of us.  But it is more than a challenge; it is an opportunity.  Are we going to stay inside the lines and be “comfortable”? Or are we going to step outside our boundaries – risking ridicule, pain, fearing everything and everyone around us in order to reveal our very essence and creat a true portrait of ourselves?  As for me, I choose to always “color” OUTSIDE the lines!

Chick-fil-A Leadercast: Part 1

I had the awesome opportunity to take part in the Chik-fil-a Leadercast Conference 2010 this past Friday.  This ten-year-old conference is all about “developing leaders at all levels, positions, and stages.”  This year was my first opportunity to be a part of this great event but I do hope that  it is not my last.  Over the next couple of weeks, I want to share some of the “takeaways” for me on this blog.  I hope that something that challenged me at Leadercast 2010 will challenge you as well.

Speaker #1: Connie Podesta – Expert in the psychology of human behavior and leadership development.

Ms. Podesta challenged us to ask ourselves two questions; (1) Are you proud of the professional choices that you are making right now? (2) Are you proud of the personal choices that you are making right now?

She went on to make the case that there is no separating the personal life from the professional life.  The choices that we make in our personal life have a great impact on our professional life.  As a matter of fact, the choices that you make from the time you “clock out” until the time that you “clock back in” may have more to do with your success than the time that you are “on the clock.”

I was so glad to hear her talk about the importance of being the same person in the workplace that you are in your personal life.  This is something we all struggle with (if we will be honest).  We live in the age of political correctness.  PC gags and handcuffs the Christian in the workplace.  This should not be!  We will never be proud of both our professional and personal choices if they are not guided by the same truths, values, and principles.

Other Takeaways:

Stop trying to make people happy.  There is not a person in  your life that you can make happy!!!  (They need Jesus for that.)

Happiness will come when we (1) are respectful (2) work hard and (3) serve others. 

Happiness is result of doing right things, making right choices, and serving others!

Character is revealed when what you had planned is so far from your current reality that you can hardly breath, this is when you are revealed for who you truly are at the core.