Posts in Glory Minute

Grief

June 25th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Grief”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

This is the time of year that I end up thinking most about my Dad, who is now with the Lord. It’s the weeks sandwiched between his Birthday, Father’s Day, and the date of his passing. It’s also the middle of baseball/softball season, and I KNOW he would love little more than to see my kiddos on fields. Years later, grief is real.

Our neighborhood was rocked recently with the passing of perhaps the kindest guy on our street, the kind of guy everyone knew and everyone loved. We’ll miss his smile, his joyful and helpful spirit, and his zest for life. Please pray for his wife and their four children. Grief is real.

Grief takes on many forms. It comes in waves. There is a reason they say you go “through” grief; it’s because it cannot be avoided and must be gone through. And one of the most difficult aspects of the whole journey is that it’s difficult to have awareness about the ways in which it’s hitting you. Said another way, grief does stuff to you, and in you, that you don’t even know. Grief is real.

Writing about grief, Pastor Mike Woodruff puts it this way: “It is worth noting that many around you are sad and struggling. You may not see it, because in our culture it is more acceptable to be angry than sad. About all of this, author Steve Arterburn writes, ‘the Bible offers no precedent for us to suppress our sadness’. The Old Testament depicts many people showing real grief. The men of Israel would rip their clothes, sprinkle themselves with ashes, wear black armbands, and spend time in mourning. They would wail before the Lord without feeling shame. That experience allowed them to express their emotions and then move on without the baggage of repressed feelings. When we don’t grieve, we stuff our disappointments and sadness, and compensate for them with other less-threatening emotions, and at the top of the list is anger. But Scripture gives you liberty to grieve. So when you need to, openly grieve!”

Prayers to all who grieve. Grief is real; so is hope in Christ. Thanks be to God!

What if you don’t FEEL like it?

June 12th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What if you don’t FEEL like it?”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

Have you ever really NOT wanted to do something, but you end up doing it anyway, and you end up really grateful that you did?

Sometimes going to the gym can be like that for me. I sometimes have to drag myself there, very reluctantly. But more often than not, once I’m there, it feels really good, and I’m really happy I went. 

Is there anything like that for you?

Going to church for some can feel like that. Sometimes I can feel really busy and distracted and pulled in a thousand directions, and I don’t always bring a great perspective to worship. But just like with going to the gym, something happens to me in these moments, and the Lord does great work on my mindset. Thanks be to God!

Can you identify?

Psalm 103 begins, and ends, with an imperative, a command: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). Praise Him.  Praise Him when things are going well, and you feel like it. And… praise Him when you’re worried, angry, distracted, or when you just aren’t feeling like it.

Why? I’m convinced these “I don’t feel like it” moments are when God does some of His best work, because it’s ALL His work. He overcomes us and how we’re feeling, He meets us in these moments, and He draws us to Himself. And we are changed.

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

A Present Reality

June 3rd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Present Reality”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

I’d like you to do a quick self-inventory of how you are feeling right now. I know, perhaps you’re not a “feelings person”, but just think on it for a second. Are you tired? Stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? How would you describe your state of being these days?

We took a nice slow walk through Psalm 23 on Sunday, and it was a blessing to see all that is contained in this time-tested Psalm. It begins with a statement of reality that’s worth looking at again, and over and over after that: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1).

Consider with me for a moment all the implications of that faith statement. The Lord IS our shepherd, whether we know it or not, whether we realize it or not, whether we are living like it or not. It’s who He is.

And because of this reality, there is a huge implication- we “shall not be in want”. Consider how significantly this is counter-cultural. Often it seems like our whole culture is in want. We want for so much- we want situations to be better, we want something we don’t have, we are in want, leading to a whole host of emotional responses within us.

Psalm 23 points us to a different reality. Because the Lord IS our Good Shepherd, we want for nothing. We have all we need in Him, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. The Good Shepherd has you.

So back to that emotional self check-in. I pray, and it’s the Lord’s hope as well, that the reality of who God IS for you in Jesus will shape and impact your state of being. 

“I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4). 

Run YOUR Race

May 31st, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Run YOUR Race”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers, and Happy Friday!

Quick window into my world… I love preaching, but not for the reasons you might think. I’m not a huge fan of the presentation part of it, but what I do love is two-fold. I love the prep time, and all that I learn about a text, and most of all I love the conversations I get to have with folks after a message. It’s like we together get to see how God is working in us through His word. There isn’t much better!

This week was no exception. We dove into Hebrews 12:1-3, and focused in on these pointed words: “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (12:1). Allow those last few words to soak in for a second. From God’s Word, there is a race marked out for each of us. Our race is not anyone else’s race, and another’s race is not our own. I pray there is some comfort, and some challenge, from those words. Sometimes we are tempted to see the lives of others and compare. From God’s Word- their race is not our race!

This was brought home to me in huge ways after worship. One in a lobby conversation, and one in a Sunday evening email I received. I loved both of the comments. Both folks reflected on their race as their own, and in different ways saw God at work in the midst of it. Awesome!

I pray you see the same today. And as you run, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

A Debt is Paid

May 22nd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Debt is Paid”

Morehouse College graduates recently received phenomenal news at their commencement: Their commencement speaker, Robert F. Smith, would be paying off all of their college loans! For these 396 graduates, this made a great day even better. While they are still crunching the numbers, this is estimated to be somewhere around a $10 Million gift.

I loved reading what was said in response to this gift. A few samples:

“This was a liberation gift…”

“Everyone jumped up, cheered. People were crying. It was just the most amazing thing.”

“A blessing, a blessing!”

“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community.” 


Perhaps you can guess where this is going… look back at those statements, and reflect on how the same is true for us, through Jesus Christ. A huge debt, that we owed because of our sin, was paid for us through the death of Jesus. Now we live different, and we live free.

Why do good?

May 10th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Why do good?”

Happy Friday, faithful Glory Minute readers!

Have you ever given much thought to WHY it’s important to do good deeds for others? We know Jesus commands it, which makes it important, but have you ever considered why He thinks so?

Perhaps some might think it’s to garner God’s good graces. Others might think it’s simply to fill the world with good deeds. 

I believe it runs deeper.

Luke 5:1-11 is helpful here. The narrative in a nutshell: Fisherman have been fishing all night, and have nothing to show for it (perhaps you’ve been there…) Jesus arrives on this scene, and makes it so that in letting their nets down in a certain place results in an abundant catch so large that the boat begins to sink. What a reversal.

And why does Jesus ordain this? In taking care of a tangible, physical need, it opens the door to a greater understanding of who He is. Let that sink in for a moment… Jesus meets their physical need, revealing His awareness and compassion, which then opens a door to them deepening their relationship with Him.

The same is true today, and the same is true for our good deeds done for others.

In taking care of physical, tangible needs, it opens the door to a greater understanding of who Jesus is. Meeting real needs of folks shows we love and care and invites people to discover who the faith which drives us. 

It’s why we faithfully run a community food pantry, open three days a week. Wow. It’s why we deploy Tobias. It’s why we help victims of home fires. It’s why YOU do what you do, in all the ways you do it. You were made for this, and it points people to the One who created and redeemed us. 

“Let you light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Jesus, Matthew 5:16). 

One of my Favorite Sundays of the Year

April 30th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “One of my Favorite Sundays of the Year”

Blessed Easter to you- after all, it’s still Easter!

Sunday we celebrated Confirmation Sunday, and for these 8th Graders, it’s the culmination of an intentional journey to help them make their faith personal and meaningful. As a capstone on their journey, we invite them to make statements of faith. To give you a quick handle on how it went, even though I asked folks to hold their applause until the end, people couldn’t hold back.

To help you get a sense for their Holy Spirit-worked Christian maturity, here a few snippets. And as you read them, remember, these are eighth graders:

“When I pray to him… I see a friend who has just got my back”. 

“We can definitely never be even close to as forgiving as God is, but if we forgive easier and forget faster, we can improve our relationship with God as well as with others”.

“I believe He is here today. I believe in this, because while I cannot see him, I can see what he has done for me”. 


“He is the good shepherd and I was one of his lost sheep before he found me and gave me new life through him. He satisfies all of my needs and never fails me even when I fail him”. 

“To me, God is always with me through everything- from the highest points of my life to the lowest points of my life. That is very important to me because I believe that as long as I have God with me, I can face anything”. 

“I believe God gives each person a gift so that we can use our gifts to help those in need”. 

“I have faith in God, our heavenly Father. I believe that He created each one of us with purpose. It can just be difficult, at times, for us to know what that purpose is. Probably because we’re not all knowing, and all powerful, like He is. But, I have Faith that with the Lord’s guidance, I too, will find my purpose and my path in life. This challenge, and any other, I will never have to face alone. God is with me”.

Please join me in celebrating these young people, and thanking the Lord, their families, and this church, for helping foster and nurture faith in them.


You can hear last week’s message here.

Pastor Brian

First Resurrection Words of Jesus

April 25th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “First Resurrection Words of Jesus”

Blessed Easter week to you!

Thanks for taking a moment to read this Glory Minute; I pray it helps bring the reality of Easter to your Thursday.

Real quick- I’d like you to think about one big thing before you. Maybe it’s a worry, an uncertainty, a challenge before you, or something you just don’t know how it’s ever going to get better. Think of that big thing and hang onto it for a second…

Jesus meets with His disciples for the first time on Easter Sunday night. They are behind locked doors, out of fear the Jewish authorities might come for them as well. It’s into this fear that Jesus stands among them, and delivers these first words: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). I’d like us to reflect on these words for a moment.

I love that Jesus, although Himself having endured a horrific crucifixion and rose victorious from the grave, makes these first words not about Him, but about us. Just like He is thinking about us from the cross, (“Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), He continues to do the same after the Resurrection. 

“Peace be with you” is an invitation to a changed reality. Because of the cross and a tomb that is (and remains) empty, we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ. His work has made it so. This peace means that no matter what is before us, or around us, we fundamentally know peace.

So back to that big thing, the big thing before you. The peace God brings is meant to impact how you think about that. Nothing (nothing!) is outside of God’s care, or ability to impact, or desire to work good within. He came to bring peace to His disciples, and to you, and to especially what troubles you.

Easter isn’t just a Sunday only thing, or a church only thing. Jesus wins this to impact your today. “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). 

Peace to you,

Pastor Brian

10 Things People Think About In Church

April 16th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “10 Things People Think About In Church”

A Blessed Holy Week to you all. So… What’s on your mind as you read this? What has you worried, anxious, uncertain, etc.?

From what I hear, and from what I myself experienced sitting in church, what’s on your mind comes into church with you. In fact, someone recently compiled a list of 10 things people think about when they are in church. Take a look:

  • Primary Relationships
  • Family
  • Health
  • Work
  • Money
  • Addiction
  • Spirituality
  • Fear
  • Hopes/Dreams
  • A Question/Decision

Folks in worship showed me they were listening by sharing with me what they think about. (So I guess they aren’t listening…) Their list included what’s for lunch, duties they have during worship, Tiger’s score at the Masters, and, my favorite, whether or not I will fall off the first step.

Bottom line- we bring a lot of ourselves, what’s going on, to church with us each week.

And from what I know about God, He knows that, and still does great work in our lives.

It’s not like going through TSA, where you need to get rid of it all, but rather it’s more like flying with kids- you have everything! And beauty is, it’s not like we need to clean ourselves up with God before He enters into our lives; in fact, quite the opposite. He enters into our worries, anxieties, uncertainties, and stresses and brings a word of hope.

So back to my original question. What’s on your mind as you read this? What has you worried, anxious, uncertain, etc.? Take a few moments, it will be worth it, to lift that all up to God in prayer. Bring it to a trusted Christian friend. Journal it out and process your thoughts in light of your faith. Listen to Christian music. It’s in these moments when God does some amazing work.

Isaiah 40:31: “…But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Pastor Brian

Don’t Stop…Believin’!

April 11th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Don’t Stop…Believin’!”

Happy Thursday, Glory Minute readers! I pray this brief devotion draws you closer to God and blesses your day. Let’s go!

I’d like to take us to a somewhat obscure, and surely surprising and challenging conversation that Jesus has with someone in Matthew 15:21-28. You can read it for yourself here

To summarize, here’s what happens. A seemingly non-religious person comes to Jesus needing help, as her daughter was demon possessed. Every move Jesus makes here is incredibly calculated, as He knows what she will say in response to Him. This exchange is recorded for our benefit, and Jesus plans it as such. So beware- Jesus makes some very un-Jesus-like statements. 

First He tells her that He won’t help her, because He “only came for the lost sheep of Israel”. He follows that up with the idea that it’s “not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs”. (Remember, Jesus says this only to lead her to her final statement…) Her reply to all this is beautiful: “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Jesus replies, “Woman you have great faith! Your request is granted” (Matthew 15:24-28).

I absolutely love this exchange, because it reveals the tight connection between faith and God’s miracles. God has the power and compassion to act, and when He works faith in us to believe this, He acts.

So as you read this today, think of an area in your life where you would like God to act. Ask yourself- do you truly believe, like the woman in Matthew 15, that God has the power to enter in and change the situation? The relentlessness of our challenges can sometimes cause a faith deficit. It’s in these moments when we need to call upon God to meet us and strengthen our faith, that we might boldly believe in faith that He will act.

“…even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew 15:27).

Little Big Things

April 3rd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Little Big Things”

We all have questions for Jesus. Someone in the Bible had a great question for Jesus- “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28).

Jesus’ answer: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Then He adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).

Bottom line- Loving God and others is the most important thing we can do. And they go together- we show our love for God best by loving others.

Yet what does that look like?

While we’re tempted to think BIG things, actually sometimes little things done in love can make the biggest impact. 

We recently captured stories of little things that were done in our lives that ended up making a huge difference. Click here to take a look at the video and see the impact.

What’s your little big thing?

Pastor Brian

What does Jesus ask of us?

March 14th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What does Jesus ask of us?”

Quick Thought #1- In the next 24 hours, we will possibly experience the following: 62 degrees, thunderstorms, rain, wind up to 40 mph, snow showers, and 26 degrees. Meanwhile, in a nice contrast, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Quick Thought #2- Last night we experienced Lenten worship, enhanced by candles in a different space. It was a powerful evening. I am still hearing our voices singing out together.

We focused in on Jesus in Gethsemane, just before He would be crucified, and His ask of His disciples- “keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). I believe He asks this question for two reasons.

First, in a moment of dire anguish and loneliness, Jesus desired His friends to just be present with Him. Have you ever been in a moment of crisis and just wanted to not be alone? Perhaps that’s Jesus here. “Keep watch with me”.

But I believe there’s more to it.

Jesus would be spending these last few pre-arrest hours wrestling with God in prayer. He would be modeling for His disciples “what to do when you don’t know what to do”. He would reveal what honest and authentic and faithful prayer sound like. He would be calling out to God in anguish, sweating drops of blood, but also speaking words of trust and faith.

And He wanted His disciples to see this.

And they chose to sleep through it.

This Lenten Season we too are invited to “keep watch”. To attend to our spiritual health. To be present in worship. To Pray. Why? We don’t want to miss what God has for us.

Pastor Brian

Made in the Image of God, and Why I Quit Twitter (Mostly)

March 5th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Made in the Image of God, and Why I Quit Twitter (Mostly)”

Sunday we kicked off a new message series titled Made. We’re uncovering together the power of living in the reality that we are actually made and created in the image of God. The Big Truth from Week 1 was this- the reality that you are created in God’s image impacts not only how you view yourself, but also how you view others.

A recent op-ed by David Brooks was both challenging and super helpful. You can find it by clicking here, and I really encourage you to read it, it’s so worth it. 

Brooks compares our culture to a piece of fabric, arguing that just like fabric is a series of threads woven together, our culture and community are individuals woven together. He then points to what tears us apart, as well as the efforts of many to be “weavers”, folks who build bridges and strengthen bonds. 

After reading and reflecting, I began to consider my use of social media, especially Twitter. I began to consider how much of what is on Twitter is “weaving”, and how much is “tearing”. What do you think I found? My feed, at least, revealed a great deal of tearing. In response, I’m almost completely ignoring it, and making my own little effort to be more of a weaver. I’m trying. 

My observation: we are in the midst of a culture that is living through a lot of tearing, and there is a significant hunger for authentic weaving. With this in mind, I observed Sunday’s Be Our Guest Breakfast as a significant weaving moment.  It was a room full of people woven together by our children’s desire to serve us breakfast. We shared a lot that morning, together, from delicious food, including authentic Indian breakfast dishes, to smiling kids, to actually sitting down and talking to other adults, and even including an exercise looking at our kiddos’ baby pictures and celebrating them as people made in the image of God. It was weaving, and we could sense it.

Be on the lookout, these next few days, for what tears. Perhaps try to put that away for a season. And then consider that which builds up and weaves. We all need it.

Pastor Brian

Can I know God personally?

February 28th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Can I know God personally?”

Sunday we wrapped up our Explore God journey. While I’m super excited for what’s before us in March, I must say- I loved the conversations that emerged from Explore God.

This past Sunday we tackled the very applicable question- Can I Know God Personally? Part of what we dove into in the discussion group was a video. It serves as a powerful lens by which we can view knowing and living with God. Take a look by clicking here.

Pastor Brian

 

What If I’m Not Sure I Believe the Bible?

February 20th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What If I’m Not Sure I Believe the Bible?”

If you’ve hung with me at all, or visited Lord of Glory, I hope you realized this: I love the Bible, and we’re a church that loves to teach the Bible. We believe the Bible to be inspired (it comes from God) and inerrant (it has no errors). And it oozes practical wisdom. What’s taught within it has stood the test of time, it will help you navigate through life, and has power within it to change us. 

Yet you’ve probably noticed something else- we live in a culture that is increasingly skeptical of absolute truth claims. How can anyone dare to say that something is true? How can truth fully be known?

With this in mind, our recent Explore God question- Is the Bible Reliable– was totally on point. How do we as Christians who love the Bible speak of the Bible to an increasingly skeptical culture? How do we handle friends and loved ones with questions about the reliability of the Bible? Bottom line- if the Bible is truly foundational to who we are and what we believe, does someone need to fully accept the Bible as true before they take steps of faith?

Here’s the short answer that likely requires a great deal more unpacking than a quick email devotion- no.

We are Christians, not Biblicists. Our faith is ultimately in who Jesus is and what He has done in the cross and empty tomb. Think about- there were Christians for generations before the New Testament ever came to be. We love the Bible because it is true and tells of Jesus, but Jesus is ultimately our foundation and center.

So when we encounter questions about the Bible, hear them out. When appropriate, point out all the evidence that supports historical reliability of the Bible (there is tons). But ultimately, let’s point people to Jesus, and encourage them to meet Him as “the author and finisher of their faith” (Hebrews 12:2). 

For more on this, you can hear last week’s message here.

Peace to you,Pastor Brian