Posted by: Bob Clark | June 22, 2017

13 Seconds

Frustrated. Annoyed. Angry. These are a few of the words used to describe how people feel about the processing of a credit card transaction with a chip reader taking 15-18 seconds as opposed to the old way of swiping  a credit card taking two seconds. Some merchants have decided that increased possibility of security breaches is preferable to dealing with angry customers. Some customers have decided they would rather have added security risk than have to wait an extra 13 seconds. And…the fruit of the Spirit is patience.

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 20, 2017

Discernment

The practice of discernment has become increasingly important to me in recent years. I have learned to value the process by which I make decisions and the process by which the church makes decisions. Sometimes I can act rashly. At others times I can get locked up and become indecisive. Discernment is more than decision making. It is seeking not only what is best for me or the church, but also, what is God’s will. Which way do we go? What are the consequences? How do we listen for God’s voice? Do we care where God leads?

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 15, 2017

Being Fully Present

Sue Monk Kidd writes: “I realize I can be with someone, but on a deeper level I ‘m not available to them at all. I have attention deficit disorder of the soul.” My Growth Group worked on a “Fully Present Exercise.” We are working on being fully present when we interact with people. To really listen. To fully engage. Too often we allow distractions to divide our attention. In fact, people rarely expect another’s complete attention anymore. Surprise someone this week. Lock in. Give them your full attention. Love people!

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 13, 2017

That Time We Studied Revelation

We read Revelation together at church. The sermons were from Revelation. The Sunday class studied Revelation. We tried to make two points clear. First, Revelation is a revealing of Jesus Christ. Second, Revelation deals with the situations faced by the seven churches of Asia addressed in the book. I came across a great summary of Revelation from Brian Zahnd: “Revelation is a prophetic critique and scathing mockery of the Roman Empire showing in fantastic images how Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” In Revelation Jesus is revealed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My we never forget whatever our situation, our primary allegiance is to the Kingdom of the King of Kings.

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 8, 2017

One God

“Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too…” (Romans 3:29). Try to imagine how these words sounded to Jewish first readers. Think they were difficult to hear? What kind of emotions do you think they evoked? Try to imagine how these words sounded to Gentile first readers. What kind of emotions do you think they evoked? If there is one God and he is God of the Jews and the Gentiles, what kind of behavior does that encourage? Listen to hear the word of the Lord!

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 6, 2017

A God Who Listens

Have you ever been in a distressing situation in which it seemed you had nowhere to turn? Have you ever been overwhelmed by difficulties and felt like there was no one to talk to about your problems? Have you ever felt like there was no one who understood the discouraging trials you were dealing with? Psalm 142 is a good reminder that when there is no one else to turn to, you can turn to God. When you turn to God in times of difficulty, you can tell God whatever is on your mind. God will listen. God will understand.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 30, 2017

Revelation

Revelation features seven introductory letters to churches in Asia. My one word summary of each letter looks like this: Ephesus (love), Smyrna (faithfulness), Pergamum (discernment), Thyatira (perseverance), Sardis (follow-through), Philadelphia (readiness), and Laodicea (passion).  Do you feel a connection with one particular letter? Do you identify with one of the letters because it describes one of your strengths? Do you connect with one of the letters because it challenges you in one of your growth areas? Read and grow.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 25, 2017

Family

I have a friend who contributed to Ben Carson’s presidential campaign. I have a friend who voted for Donald Trump. I have a friend who backed Bernie Sanders. I have a friend who campaigned for Marco Rubio. I have a friend still upset by Huckabee’s dropping out of the race. I have a friend with a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker still on her car. How are all these people my friends? Our bond as family in Christ supersedes our political positions. According to Pew, Churches of Christ are 50% Republican, 39% Democrat, and 11% Independent. I’m so thankful Jesus makes us ONE in God’s kingdom!

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 23, 2017

Keeping It Real

When the St. Louis Cardinals were in Jupiter, FL preparing for the upcoming season, the manager’s message to his team got a lot of attention: “Maximize your you.” Sounds similar to Paul’s message in Romans 12:3-8. Be real about who you are. Don’t get the big head. Don’t sell yourself short. Use your gifts to their potential. Only we should probably say, “Maximize Jesus in you.”

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 18, 2017

IRL Friendships

Studies conclude having a few real friendships plays a big role in our happiness. Social media threatens the establishment and nurturing of real friendships. On social media people craft an image of who they want to be rather than who they really are. Real friendships are not based on image, they are based on reality. Thankfully, we do not have to put on a show for the acceptance of real friends, or the acceptance of God. Let’s be real.

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