Wanted: A Few Good Men (and Women)

I think back to the early 1900s and what is likely the most famous poster to ever be printed in the United States.  The poster depicts “Uncle Sam” stating, “I want You for the U.S. Army”.

Uncle Sam became somewhat of shorthand for the United States in the early 1800s when someone coined the phrase while loading barrels of food that were stamped with “U.S.”  The joke was that it stood for Uncle Sam, and it became a nickname for the Nation’s Government.

In 1917 when the country was getting ready to enter World War I, James Montgomery Flagg depicted ‘Uncle Sam’ as an older, serious looking gentleman, wearing clothing that resembles the American Flag.  Flagg was well known as a propaganda artist, with the Uncle Sam poster being his most famous work.

From 1917-1918 more than four million posters were printed for use to try and entice men into military service.  But the focal point for me comes in the statement, “I want you for the US Army”.

Truth is, the government needed help with the military; and I envision the Church of today being in the same boat as the Government was in the early 1900s; in need of a few good men and women to serve.

God can use each of us to bring others to Him.  That means you and I have a purpose to go out and serve, much like the men and women in the military.  The Armed Services are in place to help protect our country and provide well-being.  The Church is in place to do the same when it comes to the spiritual well-being of those around us, this is where God, “Wants you for His Army!”

Are you willing to give yourself for service?  Are you open to reporting for duty?

It may take some sacrifice on your part, but the sacrifice that was made for you on the Cross of Calvary is more than worth the time that we are asked to put in to furthering the Kingdom of God.

God is speaking to each of us today, asking us to join His army and fight the battle against evil and sin.  He is asking each of us not only to join the Army, but to be recruiters as well.  We are the poster for the Kingdom of God; we are the bearers of the message; and the message: “I Want You for God’s Army!”

Be the example, live the example, and bring others to know the love the God has for them.  Today is your day to shine!  Start recruiting today!

Life…Filtered

Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram…

All of these apps for our smartphones have become a way for folks to put aside the reality of life and almost put on an alternate reality in many cases…

Before you get mad, let me explain. It all has to do with filters.

Each of these has a way to alter reality and make it more appealing to our audience…we can change the lighting of a landscape, we can remove blemishes from our faces and add a dog face if we so desire.

What it comes down to is that we can take what we feel is ugly and turn it into something that we think people will be drawn to…something that they will talk about…but are we being real? Or simply just trying to mask the ugliness of life?

We tend to try and do this with sin as well…we see the ugliness in our lives and we try to cover it up by “filtering” it.  We try to cover it with a story of how it’s ok for us to do this or that because “God wants us to be happy,” or “God didn’t design us to be boring.” But the truth is, he does want us to be happy, but not by covering up the world and hiding who we really are.  In fact, the best filter that we can put on is Christ.

Jesus is like a permanent Snapchat beauty filter. He removes the blemishes from our lives, takes away the dark and the sin and leaves us beautiful before God.  He has smoothed out our wrinkles and made us look brand new because of his sacrifice.  Stop trying to find things to cover your sin and allow the blood of Christ to wash them away.

Live life unfiltered by the world so that the savior can work with the beauty that is the real you…allow him to be your filter….there is nothing more beautiful than when others can see Christ in you.

What is your Goal?

Goals…we all have them, we set them daily. We strive to make things better by setting goals that we think we can attain.  Whether it is a goal to be married by a certain age, to have a certain number of kids, or even a career goal that we set out to achieve, many of us have a goal for where we would like to finish up in an area of our lives.

I’ve noticed recently, however, that when it comes to our Christian walk we have set goals that seem to get us off point when trying to move forward. Bear with me for a moment and I will explain, but I feel we need to be quite careful when setting ourselves goals in this area.

Let’s take a look at some goals that we may have:

“My goal is to get to heaven.”

“I have a goal to keep myself out of hell.”

“I want to be the best person I can be in this life.” Or maybe, “I want to be known as a good person.”

And while all of those are well and good, they miss the point of what our Christian life should look like.  Heaven is not a goal we should strive to attain…Heaven is a reward for living the life that we have been called to live.  Living just to stay out of Hell will certainly send you there if your focus is solely on that.  Being a good person doesn’t accomplish the goals that God has for us in life.

If these are your goals, you’re missing the point.  Our lone goal should be to establish a relationship with our Creator…to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who thought that we were worth dying for…even when we weren’t worth dying for.

Romans 5:8 says, “God showed His love for us in this way, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

While we were yet sinners…he didn’t wait until we got it right to die for us, and he doesn’t want us to wait until we accomplish our goals of getting it right before we accept his gift. Set a goal today to accept his sacrifice in your life….if your journey is based on getting to heaven you’re missing the road to get there.  Jesus said there is only one way to God and that is through him.  He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and the only way to get to heaven, stay out of hell, and become a good person in this world is to die to ourselves and develop a personal relationship with him by allowing the Holy Spirit to take hold of our hearts.

So…what is your goal today?

Being Still and Just Knowing

Silence and Rest…

It is something I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about because life can get very overwhelming at times.

One of the things that came to mind is the importance of silence in our lives. As a coach, I often encourage athletes to relax and take a few moments to quiet themselves and just focus on the upcoming game or event, sometimes encouraging them to separate themselves from others so that they can truly focus without distraction.

I have found that many times in life we tend to need moments like that as well; times where we just get away from the noise and focus. How many times have you found yourself longing to get away from all the distractions of life and just be alone with your thoughts? Maybe you have tried to separate yourself to accomplish a task with no interruptions…maybe you just wanted the peace and quiet that you can’t seem to get with the hustle and bustle going on around you.

Whatever it is, I believe it is a natural feeling to find solitude at times. God created this world and took a day to rest and enjoy what He had created…we need those times to get away and enjoy His creation as well.

I firmly believe that times of quiet are vital to our relationship with God.  I don’t mean the “Quiet Times” that we were told about in Youth Group growing up, where you pull out a devotional in the middle of a busy restaurant or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office…I mean times where you actually pull away from everything and practice what Psalm 46:10 says…a time to “be still, and know that I am God.”

How do I know that these moments are important to us? Jesus even told his disciples to get away from all the distraction to reflect on what they had seen and experienced.  Mark 6:30-32 gives us this insight that Jesus finally told his disciples to come away with him by themselves “to a quiet place and get some rest. (v. 31)”

Get away with God today…separate yourself from the paperwork, from the noise, from the errands and the running around.  Hop in the car, turn down the radio, and drive to a spot that is secluded…remove yourself from the noise and find a quiet place to sit with your Bible and reflect on the good things that God has done.  Get away with Jesus to a quiet place and get some rest.

You might be surprised at what you will hear when you take the time to be still and just know that He is God.