Where is Ultimate Fulfillment?

I have been teaching music for 10 years and I’m not sure how I fell into this except that it must be God’s will. I hardly felt qualified to teach, as I didn’t get a degree in it like many. Although, I did have much experience in the field of music and performing through private lessons, master classes and performing in theater. If I think back to when I was a kid, I was always teaching in some form or fashion. I was drawn to teaching early on, and again I am not sure why. Whether it was “playing school” or gathering the little kids in the fellowship hall at the church and teaching them Bible stories, or teaching the neighborhood kids to tap dance; I didn’t think about it, I just did it and I enjoyed it. It felt natural to me. And in all those different teaching circumstances, it just seemed like I was sharing the things that I had learned and passed it on. I believe God gave me the desire to teach, but even though it felt natural as a kid and young adult, as I got older I struggled with more insecurities and my inadequacies seemed larger. Wouldn’t more experience make you feel better? It got me thinking, confidence and fulfillment doesn’t come from more accomplishments or degrees. In and of themselves these things are wonderful but when accomplishments and degrees are self focused it just opens up a pandora’s box of how little you really have accomplished. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know and the cycle goes. The more I accomplish the more I realize I need to accomplish and I start heaping accomplishment after accomplishment in search for the ultimate fulfillment in where I can say “I finally did it! I’m fulfilled!” Each accomplishment feels good for a moment but then we are left empty. So why even strive for anything at all you say? Striving for your dreams and the desires that God has placed in your heart is wonderful thing, but the only way it is finally fulfilling is when you go after it for one reason, not for your own glory but the glory of God alone. At the end of nearly every musical piece that Bach composed, were the initials SDG(Soli Deo Gloria, “To God be alone the Glory”) One of his famous quotes and what he lived for;
“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” J.S. Bach

We are all given different gifts, and talents. No matter what it is, big or small, give it away. In everything, do it all for the glory of God. This is where our ultimate fulfillment lies. I have to submit to this truth every day to put to death the rearing head of self-first.

Lord help me to be and do my best according to your will so that I can in return give my best not for my glory but your glory alone!

Where is the church going wrong?

I am having my struggles with “the church.”(The Universal church) I am searching scripture for truth and searching my heart for error. Take my words as a genuine outcry of concern that is burning within me.
These are my struggles. We are living in a post modern era where the views favor tolerance and political correctness above all else. Is this biblical and is this something Jesus would want us to do?
I see a sleeping church(“the church”) that is desensitized by sin and more absorbed by self and self-fulfillment.
Truth in love trumps tolerance and political correctness. How will any one really understand love and grace unless they are convicted and see how desperately wicked they are. I fear since we are so desensitized, it’s not clear enough to just gloss over and say “repent of your sins and be forgiven.” This phrase is doing nothing to convict hearts. Do we want false converts or do we want to see genuine transformed lives? Do we want to fill pews or do we want to do the will of God? I think more than ever people are making licenses and compromise to take pleasure in sin since “God is love and His grace abounds.” People want their cake and eat it too.
Are we afraid to tell the truth? Are we watering down the gospel to massage the intellect or to warm the heart? The gospel is good news no doubt, but I’m a firm believer that this good news is not much more than fluff and a “feel good” anecdote without the convicting realization of the bad news that precedes it.

Every day I am confronted with my own sinful nature whether it be with my struggles of pride or envy or just the moment that I let my tongue loose and say something that is not Christ-like. I know the motives of my own heart and that in itself makes me cry out for mercy even though I haven’t acted on it.

I sense a pride in “the church” that wants to be the one that is more right with God. This is across denominations. “Our church is packed and blessed so we must be doing it right.” “Our church may not have as many people so this is proof that we are doing something right, in the world not of the world right?” “Our church is more doctrinally sound, this pleases God more.” “Our church is not as stiff so it must be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I could go on and on. What is all this doing but being a dividing force.
I believe the enemy works really hard to keep “the church” bickering and arguing over who is more right with God and who has really screwed up. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t make judgments on the church when by scripture we are compelled to. If I meant that, then what I’m writing would be a contradiction. I am, however, convinced that pride is a very real thing in our hearts and it’s presence is not exempt behind church walls.
I see division more and more politically, culturally, and I see it among “the church”.
I believe we need to test our motivations of judgment within the church. Does my judgment do anything to further the advancement of the kingdom? Is my judgment within the will of God? Or does my judgment stroke my ego or elevate me? When I say “me” I also mean the church. Does this elevate God or does it elevate a denomination?

I close with this. Truth is not in any one denomination, truth is in Jesus. If we are motivated to lift up Jesus then He will be lifted up. If we are motivated by pride and ego to elevate “the church” God help us.

I’m so deeply concerned by this, Lord help me to lift you up.

Any comments or thoughts on this subject are most welcome.

Holiday stress got you down?

In the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle and trying to meet everyone’s expectations, and failing,
we have a decision to love and forgive, to be gracious, to be understanding or we can choose to be mad, bitter, unforgiving, argumentative, seeking our own way. The former will always outweigh the latter. Instead of making it about us and them, it really is between me and God. Let’s do the God-honoring thing.

Love isn’t a feeling it’s a choice!

What is love? Patient , kind, does not envy or boast, not arrogant, or rude, does not insist on its own way, not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice in wrongdoing, rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We choose! What do you choose?

A great poem that mother Theresa had hanging on her wall in the slums of Calcutta says a mouth full………

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

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G-R-A-C-E

It’s not about what I say, it’s about what He says. It’s not about what I do it’s about what He did. He says “I’ve come that you may have life.” He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He gave himself up as a sacrifice so that we could live. What a gift! Gods grace abounds even though I deserve none of it. Because of grace I am……

G- guilt free R – redeemed A – accepted C – cleansed  E – for eternity

At this time of advent when holiday hustle and bustle can get to be overwhelming, let’s focus on the one true gift that is Jesus that was sent to be a sacrifice for me and you, underserved, yet he gave himself as a ransom. And because of this grace I can live guilt free from sin, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, accepted into the kingdom and restored fellowship with God and cleansed for all eternity. All we have to do is accept the gift. Thanks be to God!

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