Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where's Your Focus?

Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. - Ephesians 5:17 (Msg)

Are you looking for a vision for your life? I am. I've taken this summer to try and really focus on what God would have me do with my life.

Earlier in the summer, I took a couple of days retreat in the mountains ... and despite being teased about eating at a restaurant a couple times and not really "communing with nature" it was nevertheless an attempt at trying to get direction from God.

Also, this summer, I've had a 40-day focus on trying to discover my purpose. I combined reading Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life again, Bible reading, note-taking, and prayer.

Do I have a vision or goal for my life right now? Well, in some aspects I do, in others I don't. However, these things are true ... my joy is in the Lord, and my focus on Him directly relates to how well I am able to see Him working around me and even through me.

Please know that I'm still looking for answers. My words here are for me as much as they are for you. It's not about preaching!

Warren writes:

There is nothing quite as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. For instance, the apostle Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. His secret was a focused life. He said, "I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." - Philippians 3:13 (NLT)

Are you still looking for direction? My prayer is that your focus on God is more intense than its ever been. Your growth in the Lord depends on it!


Alex Murashko, the founder of Outreach New Media, has been helping people get their message out for more than 16 years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fear Not, For I Am With You Always

"This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" - Psalm 118:24

From Fear Not Promise Book by Max Lucado

"This is the day" includes every day. Divorce days, final-exam days, surgery days, tax days. Sending-your-firstborn-off-to-college days.

God made this day, ordained this hard hour, designed the details of this wrenching moment. He isn’t on holiday. He still holds the conductor’s baton, sits in the cockpit, and occupies the universe’s only throne. Each day emerges from God’s drawing room. Including this one.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Since when did praying in Jesus' name become a legality issue?

Jesus is not an illegal word, the Bible is not a banned book, and evangelistic speech is not a crime. - Gordon James Klingenschmitt

Later today, people will be gathered on the steps of Lodi's city hall and praying. Another group of people will apparently be cursing the effort to keep the option of saying "Jesus" during this Northern California city council invocations.

Is it a big deal?

Well, like a good pastor friend of mine said, "I will be praying in Jesus name regardless." Regardless if this country squelches all expressions of faith. Regardless if one faces the threat of a potential lawsuit...or arrest...or prison time...he and I and others will still be praying in Jesus name.

It just seems very said that in a country whose people once boasted about their First Amendment rights, quietly, without much battle from many, saying "Jesus" in the public square has met so much intolerance.

Below is "Chaps" prayer and petition. You can sign by going here.


Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:

We the undersigned, respectfully petition you to defend religious freedom by allowing visiting pastors

of all diverse faiths and denominations, to pray aloud publicly according to the dictates of their own conscience,

at or before city council meetings, even if they dare to pray aloud publicly "in Jesus name" or invoke their own specific deity.

Please do not cave-in to atheist intimidation by the enemies of religious liberty, including

Americans United and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who are threatening to sue to silence all prayers.

Please conform your decision to First Amendment precedent which allows Jesus prayers among other rotating diverse prayers,

as already decided in the 7th Circuit (Hinrichs v. Bosma) and 11th Circuit (Pelphrey v. Cobb County)

and by the Supreme Court of the United States in two decisions: Marsh v. Chambers and Lee v. Weisman.

Jesus is not an illegal word, the Bible is not a banned book, and evangelistic speech is not a crime.

Please simply adopt a policy similar to Tulsa City Council, and declare the prayers are private speech, not government speech,

or allow the prayers to be said aloud during optionally attended time, just before the first government business is gaveled to order.

Please allow pro-bono Christian lawyers, from the Alliance Defense Fund or others, to defend your pro-Jesus prayer policy in court.

We pray to God you will stand with us by taking a courageous stand for liberty, in Jesus' name. Amen."

Sign petition.