Posts in Glory Minute

Thanks in ALL Circumstances

November 28th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Thanks in ALL Circumstances”

The Bible talks about giving thanks not only in the good times, but also the tough times, but how does one exactly do that? It sure isn’t easy!

Imagine getting fired from your job, axed, terminated, for poor performance, only to turn around and THANK your employer! That’s exactly what (now former) Nebraska football coach Mike Riley recently did. After a disappointing season cost him his job, Riley turned around and publicly, as well as in a written statement, expressed gratitude. Here’s Riley:

“I’m going to remain and believe in being thankful. I am very thankful for the people I’ve met in this program and in this state. Most of all I’m thankful for this team… It’s like that old song, I could’ve missed the pain but I would’ve missed the dance”.

I Thessalonians 5:18 talks about gratitude even in the midst of hardship: “Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus”. As Christians, I believe we are uniquely positioned to do this, and here’s why: you and I have an unmovable identity in Jesus Christ. It will never “perish, spoil, or fade” (I Peter 1:4) and it can never be taken from us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100), so we are ultimately, and eternally, cared for. He works all things for our good (Romans 8:28), and so we choose an “attitude of gratitude”.

Thanks Riley, and I Thessalonians, for showing us the way!

Pastor Brian

A Game of Fetch, and God’s Economy

October 17th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Game of Fetch, and God’s Economy”

Ever play a game of fetch with a dog? I’ve played it with our Comfort Dog/Hero Tobias, and he’s amazing at it. By the way, if you think of it, say a prayer for Tobias and the ministry happening through him today; he’s visiting with folks in Las Vegas following the horrendous shooting.

Back to fetch- you know the drill. You have something (a stick, a tennis ball, etc.) and you toss it away, only to see it come back to you, only perhaps this time with a little dog saliva!

Interestingly, a story Jesus told invites us to see that in many ways, choosing generosity and seeking His Kingdom in our lives is not all that different from a game of fetch. Take a peek…

It’s Matthew 25:14-30, and it’s a story of a master who departs for a journey, and entrusts what he has to his servants. Each gets a different amount, yet each are challenged to be good stewards. Upon his return, he calls them to account. Two servants did well with what they were given, while one failed. Addressing all of them, he invites those who did well with what was entrusted to them to “come and share your master’s happiness”.

Bottom line- they did well with what they were given, and now good things (the master’s happiness) would come back to them, like a game of fetch. They worked hard, were generous, and sowed good seed, and now would be invited to share in the success, bounty, and celebration.

So consider with me for a moment what you have, and what you could give away generously. Perhaps it’s time- giving a child or a family member or a friend your undivided attention and listening ear. Perhaps it’s your skills and giftings- using something special about you to advance God’s Kingdom or benefit a neighbor. Or perhaps it’s your money- choosing to pass up a “want” or a luxury so another person or cause could experience a blessing.

This story from the Bible invites us to give it away, and then to watch it come back in a powerful way! Let’s play fetch!

Pastor Brian Davies

Today is a New Day!

October 12th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Today is a New Day!”

Today is a new day. Yesterday, and what happened yesterday, is in the past. Today is a gift.

Sports fans, perhaps you remember the names Bill Buckner or Scott Norwood. Both long-time, successful athletes, but both forever remembered for different mistakes. They each seem to be defined, by some, not by their careers, but by misses and mistakes.

In God’s economy, (how things work with God), the amazing thing is that we are NOT defined by our past. Instead, we are given an entirely NEW identity in Christ. II Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”. 

Last night, I got to spend time with our high school students, and let me tell you, they are awesome. They are bright, fun, and pursuing a genuine relationship with God. We talked about Moses, and how in a fit of anger and shame, he murdered an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Wow- doesn’t sound like a hero of the faith, does it? Yet after this, and while He is on the run, God appears to Him in the burning bush, a moment of forgiveness and sending that would forever change Moses.

Bottom line- Moses wasn’t defined by what He did; but rather by the forgiveness and new identity he now knew with God.

And the same is true for you, today, because of Jesus Christ. Today is a new day. Yesterday, and what happened yesterday, is in the past. Today is a gift. Embrace it!

Pastor Brian Davies

It’s Just a Phase, So Don’t Miss It

October 2nd, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute, Light for My Path 0 thoughts on “It’s Just a Phase, So Don’t Miss It”

A blessed day to you all!

Being around kids can be exhilarating, surprising, fun, and incredibly rewarding.

Yet it can also be exhausting, monotonous, frustrating, and down right challenging.

For this week’s Glory Minute, click on the link below to hear a conversation a few of us had about how our church is resourcing parents, Grandparents, and all who have influence on children in really practical and neat ways. And what we’re pointing you to helps us both embrace the beautiful moments, and gain perspective on the less-than-beautiful!

Take a listen!

https://soundcloud.com/user-312433233/light-for-my-path-phases

Pastor Brian Davies

In need of patience?

September 27th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “In need of patience?”

Think for a moment- where do you lack patience? What do you want from God, now, and it’s not happening, and you’re struggling? Hold onto that for second…

Take a peek at the picture above. It was taken in one of the classrooms of our preschool, Gloryland. The activity, with four boys, mind you, was to practice working on their letters by tracing them in the trays of sand. So to review- four boys, each with a tray full of sand…

Simply put- I was amazed at the patience of the teacher!

And the boys did great! It took clear instructions, calmly delivered, and patience when the boys wanted to do other things with the sand. God bless our teachers, and God bless our young students!

I’m also blown away at the patience of the God we worship. I’m amazed at how many times I don’t trust Him, don’t put Him first, look to other elements for relief, and yet He, the Lord, continues to choose to forgive me, lead me, and provide for me. The Big Story of God, from Genesis to Revelation, is one of his unflinching patience and unfailing love.

With an amazingly patient God on our side, He endeavors then to work patience through us. He’s worked it in us, now He wants to work it through us. Patience with our kids, loved ones, co-workers, friends, and even with our Pastor (thanks for that, by the way!)

It’s likely true that your patience will be tested today, like the teacher with trays of sand before four boys. Let’s remember how God chooses to deal with us- glory be to Jesus!

Pastor Brian

Perspective

September 19th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Perspective”

A snippet from a really neat, and very inspiring, conversation in the lobby on Sunday morning:

Awesome person: Pastor, I got a new job.

Me: Oh really? How is it?

Awesome person: Well, my commute went from four minutes to forty minutes…

Me: Wow! Really? What a bummer!

Awesome person: Actually, now I get to see the sunrise every morning, and I always talk to God in that moment…

Now that’s what I call perspective!

Jesus warned us that life would bring struggles. Yet even greater that what we face is His ability to work in the midst of them, and bring us through them. In John 5:17-18 He puts it this way: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” And we know from His promises that He works all things for good.

Now think about your own life for a moment, and take inventory of the challenges before you. Are you seeing them for the longer commute, or the opportunity to see the sunrise?

Lord, give us eyes of faith!

Pastor Brian

Unsung Heroes

September 14th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Unsung Heroes”

The relief efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma are massive in size and scope, and involve a wide array of folks using their gifts to help those in need. We give thanks for first responders (police officers, firefighters, and the like) who enter into these situations with courage, precision, and skill, often at great personal and family sacrifice.

In addition, there is another group who enters into these situations, places often deemed still unsafe, and with courage, precision, and skill, and often at great personal and family sacrifice, provide a service to impacted communities- utility workers. Many come from out of state, leave their families, and work sixteen hour days until the job is done. Their work is often not celebrated enough, yet they are an essential piece to helping families return home to their communities.

So those who serve in these vocations- thank you! By doing what you do, sometimes at great sacrifice, you are using the gifts God has given you to serve your community- this is the heart of Christian vocation. Yet you do it because it is the right thing to do.

Which gets me thinking- sometimes, what we do can go unnoticed or unrecognized or unappreciated. Yet it doesn’t invalidate the effort. The right thing to do is the right thing to do. The serving thing to do is the right thing to do, whether it gets noticed or appreciated or not.

So keep making school lunches, keep cleaning up the coffee after church, keep helping in the classroom, keep ensuring the financial books are balanced. In doing so, you are doing the right thing, and doing what God has called you to do!

Pastor Brian

Human Limits, God’s Plan

September 6th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Human Limits, God’s Plan”

I’m guessing there is SOMETHING before you that is uncertain, challenging, and testing the limits of your faith. Whatever it is, keep that in your back pocket as we walk through a quick devotion…

Mark 6:1-6 records Jesus heading home to Nazareth, and there was hardly a parade. They refer to him as “this man”, “the carpenter”, and the Bible even tells us that they “took offense at him”. Wow! And the result is that Jesus is amazed at their lack of faith, and because of their rejection, He’s only able to “lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them”.

So why is this story even recorded in the Bible? What’s the point for us?

The folks of Nazareth are not the only ones to put limits on what the Lord can do. They are not the only ones to box Jesus in, and think He is only capable of certain things, and within their boundaries.

We make the same mistake.

How many times, looking back at your life, have you faced an uncertain future, or a challenging predicament, and God saw you through it in powerful ways? How many times has God blessed you and rescued you and led you far beyond what you ever thought possible?

The reality is, God is always blowing past the limits we put on Him. He did it in Nazareth, He did it on Golgotha, and He does it still today.

So back to that SOMETHING before you… let this example from Mark 6, and examples you’ve seen firsthand from your life, lead you to a bold and radical faith (expectation!) that God will rescue and bless yet again.

“Have no fear little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Pastor Brian

What to do with Mistakes

August 30th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What to do with Mistakes”

Ever have a moment you’d like to have back? You make a mistake, a decision, speak a hurtful word, and in the aftermath, you feel pretty lousy?

Welcome to the club. We’re all in it, and there is always room for more!

Different folks take different approaches to their mess-ups. Blame is most common; close behind is minimizing, hiding, excusing, or comparing it to others.

God invites us to take an entirely better and more healing approach. Check out Proverbs 28:13:

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy”.

All of us have moments we’d like to undo, or redo. Some of those moments hurt those we love, others dishonor our God. Yet the Lord invites each of us to experience forgiveness and healing and mercy- what a gift!

The recipe is simple, and we can even try it together, as I have to follow it often myself.

First, confess the sin. That is, acknowledge it without any mixed-in blame, defensiveness, or comparisons. Own it.

Second, renounce the sin. Proclaim to God, and self, that you know it was wrong, and that you don’t desire it to be a part of your life moving forward. Pray for strength and for the Holy Spirit to keep you away from it moving forward.

The result- “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Now that’s a good approach, and one that brings genuine healing. Thanks be to God!

Pastor Brian

Regarding Wonder

August 22nd, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Regarding Wonder”

So did you catch a glimpse of the eclipse? Some first person accounts of those in the ‘path of totality’ describe being incredibly moved by it. In fact, there is a word used to describe moments like this, and it’s a word we don’t seem to use so much anymore- wonder.

Researchers tells us there are several components to experiencing wonder. They include having an element of surprise to the occurrence, that it arouses curiosity, and that it captures our full attention. As one expert, Martha Nussbaum puts it, “we become maximally aware of the object and minimally aware” of much else.

Perhaps this describes your eclipse experience.

Yet outside of rare eclipse moments like we just experienced, wonder seems to be in short supply lately. Some say it’s our quest to explain everything away, to solve it all, to figure it all out. Yet perhaps it runs deeper than this…

Check this out- over 2/3 of the instances of worship in the Bible occur outside of dedicated worship spaces. This is, when people in the Bible are worshipping God, they are often doing so outside of traditional worship spaces and times. What does this teach us?

I believe there is room for more wonder, and more worship of God, in our everyday lives. Perhaps we’ve made the mistake of reserving feelings of wonder and worship for our Sunday mornings, when in reality, we would do well to incorporate both wonder and worship into our lives today, and each day.

Make holding a five-month a moment of wonder.

Make the smells of the summer- fresh cut grass, or fresh rain, or lakes- a moment of worship to He who created such things.

Reclaim moments of blessing and peace as moments of celebrating the one who gave such gifts.

I pray you find such moments this week. Have a WONDER-full week!

Pastor Brian

Those Imperfect Opportunities

August 8th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Those Imperfect Opportunities”

The following devotion was shared with me, and it really challenged me, so I am sharing it with you. It’s written by Lee Strobel, author of the best selling book, The Case for Christ. It was a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, devotion. Let me know what you think!

It’s the telephone call nobody ever wants to receive: “Mr. Strobel,” the doctor said, “we have the results of your biopsy. I’m afraid it’s cancer.”

I can tell you from firsthand experience what happens at the moment you hear those incendiary words: your mind flashes to the worst-case scenario and instantly you find yourself contemplating your own mortality.

I was fortunate; my cancer didn’t end up threatening my life. Nevertheless, the frightening experience of hearing that initial diagnosis left an indelible impression on me. Like never before, I was prompted to think about how my behavior would change if I knew I only had a short time to live. And that is what brings me to the story about Tim.

Tim and I became buddies after he moved into my neighborhood in the seventh grade. As fairly close friends for the next half dozen years, we spent long hours shooting baskets on the driveway, playing softball at the park, and talking incessantly about girls, cars, and sports. Mostly girls. Did I mention girls?

Except for my occasional rants against Christianity, which were fairly common back in my teenage days as a budding atheist, I don’t think we ever discussed spiritual matters. Tim and his family didn’t go to church, although he didn’t seem as hostile to religious faith as I was. He was simply indifferent toward God.

After high school we left for different universities. Unlike today, with the advent of text messaging, email, and cell phones, friends at that time often drifted apart when they went away to college, and that’s what happened to Tim and me. Many years later I heard through the grapevine that he was working for a large corporation, living in a distant city, and had gotten married but subsequently went through a divorce. In the meantime, I had lost my faith in atheism and become a Christian.

Then came the news that Tim and his new wife were moving to a city not far from where I was living. I was ecstatic: maybe we could reconnect and I could talk with him about Jesus.

But I wanted to do things right. First I was determined to renew and deepen our relationship, and then I would broach the topic of faith at the perfect moment, after trust and credibility had been established. There’s a lot at stake, I thought. I want to look for the ideal opportunity so I don’t blow things.

Leslie and I invited Tim and his wife over to dinner. Over a meal of barbecue chicken, we chatted about the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Bears – or, as we Chicagoans call them, “Da Bulls, Da Cubs, and Da Bears.” On other get-togethers, Tim and I watched sports on television. I kept looking for the perfect opportunity to bring up God, but I never felt the setting was quite right. Once we were too engrossed in a game; another time his wife was there and I wanted to talk to him when he was alone.

Then one day he called with the urgent news that he had been transferred to a city on the other side of the country. He had to leave right away. Suddenly, both Tim and time were gone, and in our busyness we again drifted apart.

I was kicking myself. Surely I could have found some way to bring up the most important topic in the world to someone I really cared about. I recalled the advice my mother had given me when I got married: “If you wait until the perfect time to have children,” she said, “you’ll never have them.” And by insisting on the perfect time to broach a spiritual conversation, I ended up never having it.

A while later I heard that soon after Tim had moved, he became friends with a Christian who rather promptly engaged him in a spiritual discussion and invited him to his church. Unbeknownst to me, Tim was primed for God, and he immediately and enthusiastically received Christ.

I was thrilled when I heard the news. At the same time I wondered when I ever would have found that elusive ideal moment to have the same kind of conversation with him. In fact, long after he became a Christian, Tim confessed to me that he wondered why I had chosen to remain silent for so long about something as supremely important as the gospel.

Patience is important in personal evangelism. We want to validate the seeking process of others, and we don’t want to push someone any faster than he or she is able to go. All that is fine, but if we go too far, waiting for that absolutely perfect opportunity to talk about Christ, then there’s a good chance we’ll never get around to talking about spiritual matters at all.

If I lived with my own mortality in mind, however, surely things would be different. If I knew I only had a short time to live, there would be a new urgency injected into my evangelistic efforts. I would probably be more up front about spiritual matters. I wouldn’t wait endlessly for those ever-elusive ideal circumstances before I talked to others about Jesus. Let’s face it: those perfect moments rarely come anyway.

More often, if we’re alert to opportunities and attuned to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we’re going to find some appropriate way to get into a conversation about Jesus. It may not be the ideal circumstance, but if we approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy, chances are that God will take our meager efforts and use them in the life of our friend.

Because the truth is, we don’t have all the time in the world – and even more important, our friends don’t either.

Pastor Brian

Unpacking ‘Working for Good’

July 26th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Unpacking ‘Working for Good’”

Last week, our church was blessed to serve alongside Lutheran Church Charities at the American Red Cross Multi-Agency Resource Center, which was temporarily set up in Round Lake Beach after recent flooding. The Center connected flood victims with needed resourcing, and we were blessed to offer to pump out their basements for free, as well as provide devotional books on God being present in the midst of suffering. It was a powerful experience.

Yet underneath that experience, a question arose for me- how is God going to turn this ugliness and mess and muck and mire into good? After all, the Bible promises just that, in Romans 8:28: “We know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him...” So how will God turn this into good?

The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Greek word for good is ‘Syn-er-gay-o’, which is where we derive the word ‘synergy’ from. In a way, we can think of it like this- God takes whatever the evil one, the broken world, and sinful humanity throws at us and ‘synergizes’ it, works it, to create something new and different and… get this… good.

And the Greek word for good here is ‘A-ga-than’, which translates into ‘intrinsically good’. Not just good on the outside, or temporarily good, but wholly good.

This is the work of God- turning the muck and mire of our lives into something that we trust will be intrinsically good for us and for our benefit. Perhaps you are in the midst of waiting for that right now; let me encourage you, from God’s Word- He promises to work for you. And if God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31).

Pastor Brian

Embrace Your Part

June 28th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Embrace Your Part”

A blessed day to you all!

Let me start with taking you back a bit to high school biology class- remember that? Two lessons about the human body we all likely learned were this: There are eight systems in the human body, AND each system relies on the other to keep the body functioning. Said a different way, many different elements are constantly working to keep your body going, AND each system relies on the other to keep it all going! Each independently important, yet each totally reliant on the others to be productive- an amazing dichotomy!

Thousands of years ago, even without a high school biology background, the Bible spoke to this reality. I Corinthians 12:12: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body”. The Apostle Paul, author of I Corinthians, then uses the image of the body to describe how the church functions best, and sums it all up with this powerful line: “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it” (I Corinthians 12:27).

Peek around Lord of Glory this week, and you’ll see this principle played out in its fullness. It’s VBS week this week, which means some 112 wonderful children spend the week with us- singing, dancing, playing games, crafting, snacking, laughing and so much more. It takes an absolute ARMY of volunteers to make it all happen, and let me tell you- we have an amazing team of volunteers! We have had an awesome week. And the beauty of it all is that each volunteer knows they are playing a role, and that their role contributes to the whole. No role is more important than the other, and each role relies on the others to help out. It’s a powerful, inspiring portrait of the body of Christ at work!

So let me encourage YOU today- “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it”. Sometimes we can second-guess our roles in life, or where life has us, or how it’s all going. In those moments, trust the Word of God and its power, and that you indeed are making a difference in the lives of others where you are presently planted. You play a role, and while you rely on others, others equally rely on you!

As one of our VBS songs goes, “I was made for this…”

Pastor Brian

A Vision of Heaven

June 14th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Vision of Heaven”

Happy Summer!

It’s the element of the Christian faith that inspires arguably the greatest amount of uncertainty, questioning, and curiosity. I have some questions about it, and likely you do as well.

I’m speaking of heaven.

When speaking of heaven, Jesus is remarkably clear and straightforward about how we get there (“I (Jesus) am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), but left unanswered are many questions about what it’s like to be there. And it seems like everyone, from little kids through seniors, have these questions.

When these questions arise, it’s important to remind ourselves that our Lord in His Word has indeed given us everything we need to know, and what we don’t know, (yet), will be made known at the proper time. Until then, we trust that, as in all things, our Lord will indeed provide.

In that vein, the following illustration was shared with me, and it was one that really brought a smile to my face, and it speaks directly to this topic. Have a read:

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know…” The patient replied, “You don’t know?  You’re a Christian man, and don’t know what’s on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing… I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

Questions and curiosity about heaven are indeed normal. Yet at the end of the day, this we know- our master is there, He has made the way for us to be there (John 14:6), and that is enough!

Pastor Brian

What are you holding on to?

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What are you holding on to?”

Greetings Glory Minute readers! A blessed Sunny day to you all!

What are you holding on to, most tightly? Asked a different way- what element of your life, if you were to lose it, would be most difficult for you?

Mark 10:17-22 details an exchange that Jesus has with a young, wealthy, ruler. The man comes to Jesus hoping to “do” something to inherit eternal life, and Jesus points him first to the commandments, then says this: “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (10:21). The Bible then tells us that “the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth” (10:22).

The problem for this man was NOT that he was wealthy. Being wealthy is not a sin. The problem for the man was that he was looking to his blessings on earth as his source of identity and hope, and the thought of losing them brought him great sadness, and Jesus knew it. Jesus knew that they were a wedge between the man and God, and that he was trusting in them, holding on to them, more than he was trusting in God.

So back to my original question-  What are you holding on to, most tightly? Asked a different way- what element of your life, if you were to lose it, would be most difficult for you?

Perhaps it is your wealth. Or maybe it’s your success at your job, your family, or even your own sense of control. All of these, and many others, are elements that we can “hang on to” and get in the way of us fully trusting in God.

Yet unlike the man, we need not simply walk away sad.

The Lord Jesus came for this very reason. He came to bring forgiveness and new life for all the ways we put so many elements before and above Him. “God so loved the world…”, including you and me, that He came to save and fix and draw us all back to God.

And to those who let go of the things of this world, there is this promise: “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age… and in the age to come” (Mark 10:29-30).

Blessings on our letting go!

Pastor Brian