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Archive for the tag “Louie Giglio”

Take the Time

For the last twenty-five years, my family has gathered at the beach for our annual vacation. There are now four generations gathered in one house for a week. We asked a few years ago if everyone still wanted to do this, and it was a vehement YES! My nephews have grown up with this annual tradition and were not about to let it go anytime soon. It’s a pretty special time. For about ten years or so, the house was the same. But over time, we have outgrown houses as the family has grown.

This year, the house we are in is the same one we’ve had for the last four years. It’s quite different from all the others. All the others have the basic necessities. This house is different because the owners are gifted in hospitality. Everything you would possibly need for a week’s stay is provided – not only all the small appliances, lots of pots and pans with ample dinnerware that could easily provide for a large family like ours.

But the real kicker that takes these owners over the top is the extras that are provided for our stay. One drawer is full of every type of plastic bag. There are storage containers of every size. One cabinet is filled with every spice you could imagine. Dish detergents, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies (even though we’re not required to clean); to me, it’s very thoughtful and much more than expected. I know we are paying for this hospitality, but the owners could provide the bare minimum – most do. They could get away with the bare minimum, but they have chosen to provide more.

When I heard Louie Giglio’s message about having an Open House, I thought of this house. Louie is teaching about the traits of a Jesus follower in his latest sermon series. We should exhibit hospitality as the norm. When Louie spoke about hospitality, I immediately thought of this beach house and its owners. These people know how to open their house to others. They share the blessings with others. Again, we’re paying for the blessings, but it’s more than what is expected. And yes, it’s evident the owners are Christian based on the scriptures placed around the house.

Louie says we should be known for our hospitality. We are supposed to do more than the bare minimum. We could do just what is expected of us, but what sets us apart are the extras that we provide for others on our paths. Most people love the ones who love them. Most people will be considerate of others to a certain degree. Most will give something for a cause or passion. But we are called to be different than what is expected.

Jesus gave us examples to live by. He taught with stories to show us how the Kingdom of God was represented on the earth. He taught the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of not only what He did for us, but how we are to treat others – our neighbors. The Samaritan not only bandaged the wound, but put the victim on his own donkey, took him to a place where the victim could heal and paid the price for the stay. Jesus said we are to do the things He has done. He gave us the example of serving when He stooped down to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus taught to go the extra mile. If we have two tunics, give one to someone who has a need. We are to see a need and fulfill it.

I don’t know if you are like me, but that makes me feel uncomfortable. This gift of hospitality sounds much like generosity. By nature, it’s not who I am. I want to want this. I want to be different. I want to grow in this area. God gives us opportunities to grow in areas where we need to grow. The opportunity will most likely come from an uncomfortable place. We have to have eyes that see the opportunity. As the other two men who saw the victim passed him by, the Good Samaritan saw and stopped. He took the time to meet the need.

Louie pointed out in his message we are to be lights that are not hidden. Each day we are to let our light shine in the darkness. We are given these gifts to use them to draw others to God. Gifts are meant to be shared. We are told to be different – even if it means we have to get out of our comfortable place to do it. The house is a good reminder of who I need to become. Open and inviting. Willing to share what I have with others. To be the light to shine for Jesus and do what He did. To take the time to be a neighbor to someone today.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

The Warrior

As a child, I loved to pretend. When I was growing up in the 70’s I followed all the action heroes of the day. I was introduced to martial arts through a television show. I loved it. I grew up in a small town in the south that didn’t offer martial arts. The probability of my Mom allowing such a thing for me was relatively low since it wasn’t proper for young girls at that time. So I pretended that I could do all the things that I saw in that television show. I was a fan of Wonder Woman too. I envisioned becoming a mighty warrior. I loved to see women who were more than the damsel in distress. They could stand up for themselves and for their loved ones against their own bigger, stronger adversaries. They could defeat the enemy without the aid of a man to fight their battles for them.

As an adult, I learned a form of martial arts when I was in my thirties. By the time I took the class, I had underlying health issues that eventually caused a lack of muscle strength that took me out when trying to perform a hard kick. My dream of becoming a “warrior” chick ended. I don’t think becoming a warrior was God’s plan for my life. Or was it? Maybe my vision was a bit different from God’s. In Ephesians 6, Paul wrote about the armor of God that we are to put on. We are to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. There is confirmation there that we are supposed to be warriors for Jesus! I don’t have to pretend, God makes it possible for me to be that warrior chick after all!

Paul wrote to the Ephesians to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:17). The sword is used to go against our enemy. It is an offensive weapon. When we have the sword of the Spirit, we have the most dangerous weapon in our hands for moving us forward against the enemy (Louie Giglio’s teaching in his sermon series Breath on a Page). The enemy is always trying to get us to turn back. When we have the sword, we have the weapon that can cause the enemy to flee from us. Jesus gave us the example when He was led into the desert after He was baptized. After forty days of solitude and fasting, the enemy came to tempt Him. But Jesus spoke the truth to Satan, and Satan could not stand against Him.

The Bible is not just another book as Pastor Louie Giglio reminded us in his second or third message of his series. When we respect it as God’s breath on a page, we understand that we hold something very extraordinary in our hands. There’s nothing else like it. It is an everlasting document that cannot be destroyed. The power that it contains cannot be matched by any other book. The purpose of the Bible is not to gather dust on a shelf or night table, but to be devoured; to give us life everlasting. It cuts deep to the matters of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 states that the Word is alive and active; sharper than a double-edged sword; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

As I take in this life-giving word, I can feel the warrior spirit rise up in me. I can hear the “swoosh” of the sword coming down to divide anything that is not relevant for the abundant life that Jesus has given me. I feel the power of the Word welling up in my soul. And I can have the confidence I need to move out with God’s breath lifting me higher. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the work that God is doing in and around me. I get to participate in His plan. I become what He desires for me because of His work through His word. We are all a work in progress. The progress can only be made as we feed on His word. When we are full of His nourishment, we will be strengthened to complete the tasks before us. Breathe in o’ mighty warrior and let His Spirit fill your lungs and your heart full of His grace and love. Be the one He has chosen for such a time as this!

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. 2 Timothy 2:3-7 (NLT)

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