Thursday, December 31, 2009

How To Have A Happy New Year

Today as I have been out running some errands people have been wishing me a "Happy New Year". No one has wished me a "Bad New Year" or even an "Average New Year". All of this got me thinking about what it would take to actually have a Happy New Year and to make 2010 better than 2009.

Normally people will make resolutions as a New Year approaches about what they want to change and areas they want to make improvements in. Often the initial commitment does not last and this can lead to an Average New Year or even a Bad New Year because of the disappointment and lack of change or improvement that actually happens compared to what the desired result was. One suggestion I have for a Happy New Year is to make realistic commitments to things that really matter and stick with it. Making a commitment to things like growing and developing spiritually, getting more involved in your local church, being sure you are an asset and not a liability to the place you work, and even working on relationships with family and friends to do what you can to make those relationships better; all of these would be good things to make commitments about and to stay with in 2010.

Another thing that really hinders people from having a Happy New Year is that people go into the New Year while looking back at problems and failures that they might have had in the last year. We can never really move forward when we are always looking backward. If some things did not work the way you wanted them to or you made some mistakes last year then plan on doing better in 2010 and make any necessary adjustments to make sure you don't run into the same problem again. Don't hang on to the problems of the past, let them go and look forward to something better.

Finally, another thing we can do to make it a Happy New Year is to take action for yourself and not just wait for everything to happen to you. What I mean is that so many people are waiting for something to happen in their life without them doing anything about it themselves. We need to do what we can, when we can, to make the difference in our own life and not just expect someone or something else to do everything for us as we just passively sit back and wait. Too many people miss an opportunity because they fail to act when they have the ability and possibility to do so.

So as we enter into another New Year my wish would be for everyone to have a really Happy New Year and to make 2010 a far better year than 2009. I have some high expectations for the coming year and I look forward to some great things happening in 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas With Family And Friends

First of all I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! This is always a great time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are many people and things that try to take away from the significance of what Christmas is all about but we should not let anything change our own point of view. No matter what others may say Jesus was born and He came to restore the lost relationship between God and man. I for one am so glad that He died on the cross for my sin!

One thing about being a missionary is that this normally means you move away from family and friends. When holidays like Christmas come around those exact things of family and friends are what can make the holiday so special. Today I was thinking about just this when I had another thought about all of the people that God has brought into my life, the people who are a part of my spiritual family.

We all have a natural family that we are born into and when we become a Christian we are "born again" into another family. Currently I live in Germany and while I have a wonderful natural family back in the USA that I love God has also connected me with so many people here that form a sort of second family. This will be a unique Christmas for me as I will be with my spiritual family tomorrow for our church service and afterward I will leave to fly to the USA where I will spend some time with my natural family.

The people that I work with at RHEMA Germany are like family to me, as are the people in our church and in our Bible schools. There are so many wonderful connections and relationships that God has blessed me with over the years that I now have friends all over the world who are a part of my spiritual family. I am grateful for my natural family and I certainly look forward to spending some time with them during the holidays. But, I am also very thankful for all of the people that God has connected me with that make up my spiritual family.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Improvements In Missionary Life

In October I celebrated 11 years of being a missionary in Germany. I truly enjoy what I am doing here and feel privileged to be able to share the truth of God's Word with people in our Bible schools, church, home groups, and in various other settings. Recently I was thinking about how much things have changed for me in these 11 years and beyond that how much things have improved for missionaries over the years.

One thing that I like to do is read. I have read about other great missionaries like George Muller and Hudson Taylor. There is another missionary I read about who I think has the best name for a missionary, "Jonathan Goforth". With a name like that I guess you just have to leave home and go somewhere else. All three of these men, and their families, left everything and everyone that they knew to go to another country and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I have read about these people and others like them I think that those of us who follow God's direction to go to another country today have it pretty easy by comparison.

Muller, Taylor, and Goforth all lived during the 1800s. They did not have the luxury of flying on an airplane to their destination; they all had to sail on ships and some of their trips lasted for months! None of these people had email, Facebook, Twitter, or even the Internet to keep in contact with others or to find resources to help them in their work. I can use the telephone or Skype to talk with family and friends without any difficulties and these early missionaries spent months and often years without having any contact with family or friends. Just this past week, I have had contact through the Internet or by phone with people on every continent, except Antarctica, and that was not possible for these early missionaries. Besides that, I am using a computer to write this blog and I use it for much of my work also; when I first came to Germany I did not even have a computer and I know that computers were not available in the 1800s!

No matter what anyone does to follow God's plan for their life there will be challenges and some sacrifices to be made. There is always a price to pay for serving God but the rewards always make it worth it! When I look at the improvements that have come for people who serve as missionaries I am very thankful for living in the day and age that I do. I know that no matter what circumstances we face that God will always make a way for us to succeed. But I am glad that there are many natural obstacles that I do not have to face today as many of my predecessors did and I am grateful for their hard work and sacrifice that paved the way for missionaries like me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Importance Of Our Words

In September I was back in the USA and towards the end of my trip and then when I got back to Germany I was having some trouble with a cold. The second day back in Germany I almost completely lost my voice and had a hard time talking. Because of that I limited how much I talked so that I would not put any unnecessary strain on my voice. Some people would probably say that my not speaking as much would be a good thing, and you might know someone who should talk less. But, all kidding aside, it is not how much we say that matters as much as what we say.

When I was in this situation of not speaking much it got me thinking about words in general and the things that people say. There is actually an important truth here that we need to learn, our words are powerful and have more impact on our lives than we may think they do. One thing that we must realize is that we need to find out what the Bible says about us, our life, and those around us and then say what the Bible says about each of these. The Bible has quite a bit to say about our words and what our words can do.

Here are a few things that the Bible has to say about words, just from the Book of Proverbs. Our words can bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21); our words can deliver and preserve us (Proverbs 12:6, 13:3), our words can be pleasant (Proverbs 15:26) and promote health (Proverbs 12:18), or our words can destroy others (Proverbs 11:9) and ourselves (Proverbs 13:3). Another good place to read about the value of what we say is in James 3:2-12. Let's make it our goal to be the kind of people who say the right kind of things and have words that bring life and encouragement instead of words that do nothing but bring harm to ourselves and to others.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quick To Remember, Quick To Forget

October 1998 is when I moved to Germany to begin working with the ministry of RHEMA Germany, which is always a nice thing to remember. There are some other things I remember like when I asked Jesus to come into my life and I became a Christian, my experience of going through Bible school at RHEMA USA, and various things that have happened in the past 11 years I have been in Germany. While we can never live a successful future just based on the accomplishments of the past I still believe it is good to remember the good things that happen in our life and the blessings that God brings to us.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things we need to be quick to forget about: mistakes we have made, wrongs that other people have done to us, and past bad experiences. The problem seems to be that we have it all backwards; we spend a lot of time thinking about all of the negative things and not so much time remembering the good things! We need to take control of our thoughts and be sure that we are quick to remember the right things and quick to forget about and put behind us the wrong things.

There are a couple of good examples of this in the Bible. In Psalm 77 and 105 it talks about remembering the things that God has done and in Philippians 3 Paul says we should forget about the things that are behind us and reach towards the future. The Bible tells us to remember the words of Jesus, the words of the apostles, and that Jesus was raised from the dead. By focusing on and remembering the good things it will be easier for us to forget about and leave behind the wrong things and to live a successful Christian life.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spiritual Jet Lag

Jet lag is defined by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary as "a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body". Whenever I have flown over the ocean to or from Germany I have noticed this condition and its effects. This past week I returned to Germany from a three week trip in the USA and I thought of a spiritual parallel to this natural condition.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)

When someone becomes a Christian they change kingdoms; we move from the devil's kingdom of darkness into God's kingdom of light. We can experience a sort of spiritual jet lag because we are coming into a place that is spiritually far removed from where we were living previously. We are accustomed to a certain way of thinking and acting and now those things are at odds with our new spiritual location.

When I fly to the USA from Germany or back to Germany from the USA one of the first things I do is change the time on my watch to the time it is at my new location. Then, when I have landed in my new location I keep my thoughts focused on where I am and not on where I was. Spiritually, once we become a Christian we need to change our way of life as soon as possible. We are not Christians because we follow some set of rules but God gave directions on the best way to live and by living a life that is in agreement with God's Word it is easier for us to quickly get acclimated in our new spiritual location.

Now that we have moved into our new spiritual location we need to focus our thoughts on where we are and not where we were. Too many Christian's minds are not renewed with God's Word and it leads them into trouble. By making some adjustments in our way of thinking we can easily make the most of our new life with God and minimize the difficulties we may face in our transition from the devil's kingdom of spiritual darkness into God's kingdom of spiritual light.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Home Is Where The Heart Is

On Wednesday I will fly from Germany back to the USA for a three week trip. While I am in the states I will speak in some churches and visit with family and friends. Usually I fly back to the states at least once or twice a year for a combined time of business and personal activities. Part of the life of a missionary is taking the time to visit with and thank the people who support you and your work, so trips like this are normal for missionaries.

I have lived in a number of different cities in two different states in the USA. I have lived in Germany for almost 11 years in three different cities. But no matter where I live I am at home. When I prepare to fly to the USA I often say to people that I will fly home on such and such a date. Then when I am returning to Germany I tell people in the states that I will be flying home on a certain date. Because I grew up in the USA it will always have a home feeling for me but I feel as much at home in Germany as I do in the states.

In my opinion, too often we get focused on the natural attachments we have to the people and things around us and without these around us we can get "homesick". They say that home is where the heart is and Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that where your treasure is that is where your heart will be. When we treasure the plan of God for our lives more than any natural thing or any human relationship that is when we truly find our home.

Don't get me wrong, I am very glad to be taking this upcoming trip and for the opportunity to visit with family and friends. But I am also very glad for the place and the people that God has connected me with here in Germany. If the time should come when God wants me to go back to the USA or somewhere else I plan on being just as happy there as I am here. Home is where the heart is and my heart is set on following God and fulfilling His will for my life!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Focus On God's Word

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 (

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

This morning I was reading 2 Timothy and something stood out to me. In his second letter to Timothy Paul encourages Timothy to focus on the Word of God. I especially like 2 Timothy 2:15 and how Paul talks about "the word of truth". What I noticed was that in this letter to Timothy, in addition to what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 about God's Word, there are several other things that Paul mentions to Timothy: striving {arguing} about words (2:14), profane {wicked} and idle babblings {useless discussions} (2:16), and foolish and ignorant disputes (2:23). It seemed to me that Paul was telling Timothy to stay focused on God's Word and keep away from these other things.

Paul does not just say something like, "Hey Timothy, study and stay with God's Word because I said so" but Paul gives some good reasons for what he is saying. Paul calls God's Word the truth in 2 Timothy 2:15 and he then goes on in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 to list the things that God's Word is good for: doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. He then further says how this will enable the man of God to be complete and ready for every good work.

In contrast to this Paul also mentions the results of focusing on these other things of striving {arguing} about words, profane {wicked} and idle babblings {useless discussions}, and foolish and ignorant disputes. Paul said that these things: will ruin the hearers (2:14), increase to more ungodliness, their message will spread like cancer (2:16-17), and they generate strife (2:23). When you compare these results with the results of focusing on God's Word it is easy to see where we need to spend our time! By staying focused on God's Word and avoiding all of the other things we hear we will be ready for every good work.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One For All, All For One

The past couple of weeks I was following the bicycle race know as the Tour de France. This is probably the worlds most famous bicycle race and it involves over 100 riders racing in stages over 2000 miles for about three weeks. This race is something I have been interested in for several years so every year I follow it a bit. This year as I was watching some of the race coverage I got thinking about a comparison between the teams in the race and Christians.

In the Tour de France the riders are all part of various teams. Each team has nine riders and some have different strengths than others. There are some riders who are better on the mountains and some who are better in short distances. What I thought was interesting was to see was how on the different stages of the race the team would all work together to help one of the riders to win. This all reminded me of the motto of the Three Musketeers of "One For All, All For One" meaning that they would stay loyal to one another and help one another no matter what.

All of this got me thinking about how Christians make up what the Bible calls "The Body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:27). All Christians are a part of this Body but we all have different strengths and gifts. Many Christians know this as a fact from the Bible but I am not too sure if they really grasp the concept and the comparison with the human body. Every part of our natural body works together for the good of the whole body. Each individual part does its job and the result is success for all of the parts. What if every Christian realized the same thing was true for the Body of Christ?

Jesus said that people would know we were His disciples if we had love for one another (John 13:35) and the Bible also tells us that love does not insist on its own rights or its own way because it is not self seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). We are further encouraged by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:24 (Amplified) "Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor". If we just took these few verses to heart and started living that way, think of what we could do as the Body of Christ. If each Christian was more interested in the good of the whole than their own individual part we would be able to have greater success as a group and also as individuals. It works pretty well in the Tour de France and it would work even better for Christians since team work was originally God's idea anyway!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Six Degrees Of ?

A few years ago there was this trivia type thing going around about the actor Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon made a comment that he had worked with everyone in Hollywood or someone who had worked with them. Some people then had the idea that you could link anyone in Hollywood to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. This whole idea is actually based on something called six degrees of separation or the human web that has as its main idea that each person on earth is only separated from any other person on the earth by six steps or degrees.

Well, the whole point of my blog is not to write about Kevin Bacon, statistics, or who I might know or be connected to. This idea came to me recently as I have been preparing to teach a class on the end times. I have been studying and working on my notes for a few weeks now to get myself ready for the class. What I have noticed is that in the Bible study I lead, in some conversions I have with people, and when I am watching TV over and over again I make connections back to the subject of the end times! I realized that because I have been focusing on that subject so much that it has begun to have an influence on how I view things around me.

Each person has some thing or idea that a lot of what they do and talk about can be connected to. For example, some people may be overly focused on money and everything to them somehow relates to money. Some people who have been rejected by others in the past see rejection in many of the contacts they have with people. Still other people are sports fans of some team and everyone around them knows that in a conversation eventually this person's favorite team will come up.

The things we spend our time with will have an influence on us and these things can begin to have an influence everything we do or think. By that I do not mean whether or not you are a Christian or if you love your family or something like that. But what I am talking about is how some topic or thing can have such a place in you that you see it in everything around you. Because I have been studying about the end times I have a tendency to relate everything around me back to that subject. Right now I am sure that I could connect almost anything to the end times within six steps! My question is if you look at your life, what is it that everything around you connects to in six steps or less?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Culture Shock

Depending on what information you look at, the term culture shock was introduced in the 1940s or 1950s to describe the sense a person has when they enter into a different culture and environment than what they are used to. There is also a term "reverse culture shock" that is used to describe what can happen to someone who has lived for some time in a new place. Then when that person returns to their original culture and environment they once again must make an adjustment because they have gotten used to the new culture.

Culture shock is something that I believe every missionary deals with at one point or another to one degree or another. Personally I would say that culture shock has not been such a big issue for me but from other missionaries I know personally and that I know about it can be a big problem.

There are different symptoms of culture shock such as feeling sad and lonely, insecurity, irritability, and resentment, as well as idolizing the culture and environment you came from as opposed to where you live now. Reverse culture shock can be harder to deal with because people often have an unrealistic recollection of where they came from and once they return their image and reality clash dramatically. There are different stages of culture shock ranging from the initial excitement of being in a new place to the final adjustment of learning to live and thrive in the new environment.

Is there a "cure" for culture shock? While I am certain no one would consider me an expert on culture shock I have lived outside of my home country for over 10 years. I realize that no place is perfect and there will always be some things that I would rather see done differently; that goes for Germany and the USA. Many people spend their time thinking and talking about how great it is somewhere else and why their current location is not as good. That and always longing for some type of food or dwelling on how little they may be able to see some family and friends is, in my opinion, a recipe for disaster. Every place and every people group have their positives and their negatives. Culture shock may be something that has to be dealt with but I believe that being flexible and keeping the right attitude are keys to not allowing culture shock to become a personal crisis.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Golden Oldies

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe." Philippians 3:1 (NKJV)

When I was younger I used to listen to music on the radio and they had some songs that were called "Golden Oldies". What was meant by that was that these songs were not something that had just been written yesterday but they had been around for a while. The idea was that these "Golden Oldies" were so good that they stood the test of time and you could hear them over and over again and still enjoy them.

I like what Paul said in Philippians 3:1 about writing the same things to the Philippians. Paul was not always looking for some new doctrine to thrill people. Paul knew that the basics principles of the Gospel message were so good that they stood the test of time and you could hear them over and over again and still enjoy them. We should never get tired of the basic truth of the Gospel and the simple truth of God's Word.

This whole idea can be compared with what some pagans did in Athens. There is an interesting verse in Acts 17:21:
"For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing." Acts 17:21 (NKJV)

This is quite a contrast to what Paul said in Philippians. 3:1 Paul told the Christians in the city of Philippi that it was a safe thing for them to hear some "Golden Oldies" but the ungodly people in Athens were always looking for something new. What is really sad is that many Christians today are more like the people in Athens than the people in Philippi!

We live in an age of incredible access to information but we need to be careful that we don't look for some exciting new thing all the time and then neglect the simple, basic, foundational truths of the Word of God. It is not the latest fad that will help us to grow and develop spiritually it is those "Golden Oldies" that people like Paul wrote to us in the Bible. Stay with the Word of God and make sure when you do hear something that is new to you that it always agrees with the time tested truth of God's Word.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Eating Vegetables And Washing Windows

Today I have been at home doing a few different things, including cleaning my apartment. As I was cleaning my apartment I had the thought that it had been a while since I cleaned the windows so I figured today would be a good day to do that. Washing the windows is one of those things, like eating vegetables, that needs to be done but no one really gets too excited about doing it. Well, I got all the windows done and now they look great! It was not a lot of fun to do but the results are worth it.

In our Christian life there are some things we should do but they don't always seem to be fun. Reading and studying the Bible, walking in love, and volunteering to work somewhere at church are all examples of this; I am sure most of us can come up with a few more if we think about it a bit. But regardless of whether or not something is fun or exciting there are some things that are just right to do. I have met more than just a couple of people who were more interested in what was fun than what was right!

So, am I saying that we should never have any fun or even that being a Christian is a miserable thing? Definitely not! But we cannot live a successful and productive Christian life by avoiding what we don't get excited about. It seems like if someone wants to hold a conference on prosperity or the gifts of the Spirit there will not be enough seats for all those who attend. But, if you decide to have a conference on growing up spiritually or walking in love you will have plenty of empty seats. I believe in prosperity and the gifts of the Spirit but I also know that if someone is not spiritually mature and does not walk in love their life will be a mess.

Life can be fun and exciting but the process we go through to live at that place is not always the most fun or exciting. And just like eating vegetables and washing windows, doing what we need to do and what is right to do brings results that are always worth it!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is my first blog this month and only my fourth posting for the whole year! My plan has been to put up more than that but things have been busy for me this year, including my taking a trip to the USA for three weeks. I find that I have plenty of ideas for blog posts but I don't always get to them because there are other things I need to do that take priority over my blog.

One thing I have been considering lately is connected to this whole thing about my delay in posting more on my blog. As I live and work here in Germany (and when I am back in the USA) I notice how busy people are. Besides just having schedules that are filled with activities we now have cell phones and MP3 players so we can have something going on all the time. Before you get the wrong idea I have to say that I do have a cell phone (here in Germany they are called "Handys") and I also have an MP3 player, so I am not anti-technology.

Too often we end up getting away from the things that are really important because we get so involved with other things. I like how the Bible mentions in Hebrews 12:1 that we need to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and to run with endurance the race that is set before us". What I have always noticed in this verse is how it not only talks about sin being a hindrance to us but there are also other things that can become weights to us and slow us down in running the race that God has given us.

There are so many things in life that can distract us from what is really important so we need to constantly be on guard against them. The first step to being successful at that is to know what really is important and what the real priorities in your life are. This is something that each person must do for themselves but first and foremost we need to keep our relationship with God as our first priority. By keeping the important things in life as priorities we can prevent some of the distractions that are around us from weighing us down and preventing us from doing what we really need to do.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Proper Point Of View

"But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by their puny plans." Psalm 2:4 (Living Bible)

"and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Ephesians 2:6 (NKJV)

This picture to the right is one I took last month as I was flying into Charlotte, North Carolina from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on my way back to Germany. I like the picture and I currently have it on my computer desktop, this picture also gave me an idea for a blog about the problems we face in life.

Everyone deals with problems and difficult issues from time to time. There is no escaping the fact that we all have challenges in life. Although we can not always control everything that comes our way we can control how we handle the situation and what we choose to do about the problem. When you are flying in an airplane and you look out the window everything looks so small. In reality the houses and other buildings you see are large enough for several people to fit into but from the point of view you have while flying over them they look very small.

If we look at our problems from our natural perspective or point of view they can look so big and overwhelming. I like the verse in Psalm 2:4 where it talks about God laughing at the evil plans men have because He knows they can't succeed. The other verse of Ephesians 2:6 talks about the position we are now in spiritually because of who we are in Christ. Christians are spiritually seated with Jesus in a position of authority because of His death, burial, and resurrection. So, if we look at things from our spiritual position of being seated with Christ it is easy to laugh at whatever problem shows up. If we look at the problem in the context of who we are naturally and what we can do we might want to cry!

No matter what we face in life we always need to see what the Bible has to say about the situation. If we only focus on the natural issue that we face, how we feel in the situation, and what others say we can become discouraged and feel like there is no solution. When we keep a heavenly perspective it is easier to see what we need to do about the problem. Everyone faces problems but it is the people who have the proper point of view who will live the life of victory that God wants us to have and that Jesus came to provide for us!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Is In You?

It has been almost a month since my last blog. Some of that is due to the fact that I have been in the USA lately so I have been keeping busy with some other things. As I have been traveling around and doing things here in the states and then thinking about my blog it actually gave me an idea for a blog!

"So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also." Romans 1:15 (NKJV)

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

These verses are something that I have had some thoughts about lately. When Paul talked about coming to see the people in the church at Rome he said he was ready to preach the Gospel to them. What I like is the way that the New King James Version starts this verse by saying, "So, as much as is in me"... Then putting what Jesus said in Luke 6:45 together with Romans 1:15 you get something that I believe is important for us to notice. What we have in us is going to come out of us and as much as we have put things into us we are ready to do whatever it is we need to do.

If we spend time reading, studying, and meditating on God's Word it will fill us so that it will come out of us when we speak to people and in the different situations we face in life. The problem that many people have is that they spend so much time filling themselves with everything except God's Word that when they face a problem or God wants to use them to help someone else there is no reserve of God's Word built up in them to do anyone, including themselves, any good.

Paul was successful in his ministry because he was filled with God's Word along with a spiritual understanding of that Word to the point that when he had the opportunity to speak with others God's Word is what came out. This is a pattern that we need to follow in our lives. Be sure that what is in you is based on God's Word so that when you have an opportunity to speak into the life of someone else what you have to say is worth hearing! And when you speak about yourself or the situations you face in life be sure everything you say is coming out of God's Word. Filling ourselves with God's Word and then speaking that Word out of our mouth is a key to success that we need to be sure we pay attention to.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making A Real Change

January is the time of year when people are trying to put into practice all of the New Year's resolutions that they have made. My last blog had something to do with that and it is something I have been thinking about lately. Personally there are a couple of areas I am looking to improve in this year and I have to say that after a month things are going pretty good, but I know for something to be a real change it has to be more than just a temporary thing.
Most of the time when I travel here I use the train. The trains in Germany are really great and they made some changes of their own with the beginning of the New Year. Starting in January we got some new trains, the schedule changed slightly, the ticket machines changed, and even the ticket prices changed. The problem is that one of the main things that people want from the train, punctuality, that has not changed.

Recently the trains have been running late pretty often, like the day I took this picture, and this is where I got my idea about this blog. The German train system is really pretty nice but trains not running on schedule are not so nice. It is easy to change a ticket price or rearrange the schedule but if the train is not on time what does it matter? In our own lives, you can say you want to lose weight this year and get into better physical condition. You can buy books about the subject, you can plan your workout routine and select the proper food to eat - but you still have to actually do something or you will never lose weight! A Christian can talk about wanting to grow spiritually. They can buy a new Bible, make their new Bible reading plan, and tell all their friends at church what they want to do, but they still have to read the Bible!

Too often the changes we want to make end up as nothing more than a few preliminary preparations with good intentions that never really amount to anything. Making a real change means commitment and follow through in the area we are dealing with. Real change is possible in any area of life but we can't just expect it to happen based on our nice ideas. This year I am sure we can all use some improvements so let's make some real changes that will bring lasting results and make us better Christians and better people.