Friday, June 23, 2006

This isn't a Rick Warren bandwagon...

The big name in evangelical circles right now is Rick Warren. He is the author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and many others studies and books. Even after reading "The Purpose Driven Life" I was still skeptical of his "ministry." How could someone who was making so much money and who had so much influence, keep his focus on what truly mattered? I received a forward this morning that answered my questions and turned my whole day around. I've enclosed excerpts from that email below. I hope you'll be encouraged and inspired.
"People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in heaven day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body - but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder.
For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book [The Purpose Driven Life] sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do: II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72. First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
In happy moments, PRAISE GOD; in difficult moments, SEEK GOD; in quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD; in painful moments, TRUST GOD; in every moment, THANK GOD."
Rick Warren

Monday, June 19, 2006

Camp Joshua 2006 (a.k.a. The Year of the Bugs)

Eric and I got back from Camp Joshua in Lees Summit, MO! This is a great camp for kids who have Tourette Syndrome, Asbergers, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), ADD and ADHD. My personal opinion for ADD kids is that they just need more activity in their lives! (And switching between activities quicker.) Eric and I were in the same cabin (as a "family unit") with a 6 little boys (11 years old) and they were overall great kids! I know now why God chooses VERY FEW couples to bless with sextuplets! I can't imagine having 6 kids at the same age all at once! One week was enough for me! The week was fun - although Eric and I came home with 45 bug bites each! A fun game to play with your spouse: "I'll Count Your Bugbites if You Count Mine!" Here are some great pics of the week:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Isaiah 1

I realized this morning that I have never read through the book of Isaiah - only a few verses here and there. What a lashing Isaiah gives the Israelites! But, as I read, a few verses stuck out to me:

"Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations -
I cannot bear your evil assemblies...
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
...wash and make yourself clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight!
Sopt doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.
'Come now, let us reason together,'
says the Lord.
'Though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.'
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 1: 13-14,16-20
I have been reminded that it is not the "motions" of Christianity or religion that turn God towards us - it is the constant real heart attitude we show in our lives. "Learn to do justice, encourage the oppressed." This should be our constant motivation in all we do!