Saturday, January 30, 2016

God and QFC

I heard from my friend Paul this week who often reads my blogs.  He told me this amazing story and I’m going to use his words to relay it.

~ ~ ~
“I went to the QFC near my office on Thursday to take my afternoon break and get a change of scenery.  I hadn’t had a chance to read your Internet Church yet so I opened it up on my smart phone and started reading. 

You talked about bringing our bologna sandwiches to a feast at God’s table and instead God offers us fried chicken.  God started speaking to me through your metaphors.

I began to see how often I have lived a moldy bologna sandwich life and offered the small and stale moments of my life to God.  In return He has offered me the grace of fried chicken in the form of love, acceptance and forgiveness and abundance time and again.

I tell you Michael that was a bit more than I was prepared to handle.  You see, God came down to me on Thursday in the QFC Starbucks.  I was sitting in an over-stuffed chair and God came down.  He turned QFC into a sanctuary and a hallowed space for about ten minutes.  How amazing is that?”
~ ~ ~

How amazing indeed?  Just imagine God coming down to Paul in such a fresh way in the middle of QFC. 

The important part of this story is the fact that God comes to us right where we are – grocery stores, mechanic shops, school classrooms, dark alleys, shabby hotels and palatial mansions.

He is present, even now, wherever you and I may be. 

Carolyn and I love to go to St. James Catholic church on Friday night for their vespers service.  God is there.

I have sensed Him as we have ridden the Washington State ferries across the waters of the Puget Sound.

I know he is present in the dark alleys of Seattle’s downtown area where dangerous living goes on.

And He is present with you and me in good times and bad, in joy and in disgust, in poverty and in abundance. 

God is present.

He’s been present in the middle of arguments, disagreements, setbacks, and failures.

God is near!

Just a whisper of His name brings Him even closer.

Read this:

In Deuteronomy 31:6 we find
“Be strong.  Be courageous. Never be afraid or terrified. I your God will go with you.  I will never leave you or forsake you.”

So tomorrow, next week, and beyond, be aware of the presence of God in every situation you face.



HE IS NEAR!


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bologna and Fried Chicken

I love bologna.  I also love fried chicken.  However, I’ve had a whole lot more bologna in my lifetime than fried chicken. 

We think of fried chicken as fit for a king mostly.

We think of bologna as … well, it’s down the food chain a few notches.

Ever gone to a potluck supper with your bologna and all you see is fried chicken?  Let me tell you a story.

Bob Benson, a fabulous writer and speaker, now deceased, tells this story in his book Come Share the Being – Impact Books ©1974.  I have abridged it in some small ways.

The story:
The notice was put out – “Come to the Potluck of all Potlucks, this Saturday at The Park, Pavilion #4.  Bring enough food for your family – we’ll supply the ice tea.”

So you rush home late on Saturday with just enough time to throw something simple together and all you can find is an aging piece of bologna and two moldy slices of bread.

You quickly retrieve the mustard from the refrig and smear more on your knuckles than on the bread, for the jar is all but used up.  You then throw your freshly-made stale sandwich into a brown bag and head for The Park, Pavilion #4.

Just as you arrive the announcement is made to find your table and dig in.  You sit at the end of a long picnic table with no one around and just as you pull your bologna sandwich out of the bag a family of four sits down next to you and they begin to pull out their meal.  Meal is an understatement – it is a feast!  

Out comes the fried chicken, followed by the potato salad, sweet pickles, fresh-made biscuits, baked beans, and with a flourish the lady of the feast whips out two mouth-watering chocolate pies. 

Your table-sharing family looks over at your meager sandwich and with great sincerity say, “Why don’t you share our food with us.  We love bologna too.” 

You hem and haw and stammer and stutter about “Naw, that’s okay.  I’ll just eat what I brought.”

They insist - you relent, and you move into the feast of a lifetime.  The fried chicken is moist and still warm, the potato salad is perfectly made, the baked beans have just the right amount of brown sugar and molasses, and the chocolate pies are to die for.

And your price of admission to this feast … one lousy, moldy, old and stale bologna sandwich. 

You sit there eating like a king when you came like a pauper.

How many times have you and I come to God with our bologna offerings, and time and again He brings us to the table of blessings, loaded down and overflowing with an abundance of food (called grace) and He says “eat up” (which translates to ‘You are loved and forgiven.)

God invites us to share in all that He offers, and that means abundance, grace, peace, love. 

We live a bologna kind of life.  He offers us a feast fit for Kings.
We bring our stale, moldy thoughts and actions; He offers us a clean slate. 
We bring our lovelessness, our anger, and our attitudes of un-grace.  He offers us love, grace and a chance to receive.

There is just not enough goodness in you and me to make us worthy of approaching God’s table of grace, yet we’re invited anyway.  We are invited, not because He needs our bologna.  We are invited because we need His fried chicken. 

The invitation in the Bible to “come” is found more than 300 times.  He invites the beat up, the bedraggled, the burnt out, the low down, the penniless, the smart, the savvy, the rich and the poor.  We all receive the invitation to come and share in the very being of God.

Maybe all we have to offer is more bologna of thoughts and words than meat between two pieces of bread.
God says “Come”.

Maybe our cheese has fallen off the cracker a time or two.
God says “Come”.

Maybe our bank account is flatter than a pancake.
God says “Come”.

Maybe our fried chicken burned in the skillet.
God says “Come”.

Will we COME?

Receive the grace offered from the hand of God himself


Internet Church
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Desert of the Present Moment


Perhaps you are in what we call “the desert of the present moment.” You are, perhaps, beyond exhausted, and confused, lonely, without hope, and wondering what next.

And the biggest question of all is this: “Where is God?”

We find the beginnings of an answer in a quote from Brennan Manning, one of my all-time favorite writers.

In my lifetime there have been deserts, as there have been for you. Like you, I have wondered, questioned, begged, and pleaded. Sometimes I’ve used the bargaining mode. “God, if you’ll do this I’ll never do that’ or some such pledge of fidelity.

Perhaps there is significance found in our being in the desert in the first place. Did our own self-seeking cause the desert? Did our stubbornness cause it? Did some act from a few years ago cause it?

The answer doesn’t much matter. What matters is this – what does God want to do now, in this moment of our desperation?
And the answer is … what small, subtle impulse that is a divine impulse do you sense that makes sense to your troubled mind? Perhaps that is God trying to communicate with your spirit. What if God is still with you in this desert of your making? Perhaps, God is trying to communicate with you through your circumstances.

And God shows up, and the answer comes, and you take that wee step of faith.

And on the other side of your desert you find hope and grace, even forgiveness, for God simply wanted you to listen to Him in the first place.

Now wouldn’t that be something?

A word from The WORD!

“Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding and abundant things above all we could ever ask for or think up, according to His power that works in us.”
~Ephesians 3:20 

Please take 3:50 to watch this. I think you’ll find some more words of hope.


P Michael Biggs
Internet Church
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A New Day

(Our guest writer today is Rhonda Bare, my good friend.  She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and one of the pastor's serving at the church we attend.  Welcome Rhonda. Thanks for your words today.)

Do you remember playing tether-ball when you were a kid.  If we missed the ball we would often yell “Do-over!”  Nine times out of ten you wouldn't get it. 

And today, some mornings we just want to shout to the world at large, “Do-over!” 

Sometimes life can seem so overwhelming that we want to stay in bed and yell, “Do-over!”  But there is always something out there that says, “Get up, no do-overs.” 

~Work is waiting.  
   ~Children need you.  
      ~You need to find a job.  
         ~If you miss one more class, you will be 
            kicked out to school.  

So we climb out of bed but our hearts aren’t in it because we can’t see anything changing in the day ahead without a “Do-over.”

For most of my 20-year career as an RN, I worked in Obstetrics.  One of my favorite tasks was bathing the new babies.  Almost every time, I thought about the possibilities in each little life.  Could this tiny baby be a future president, or a nurse, or a mom or dad?  Often I would say a silent prayer of blessing over this little life asking God to fill their future with His Presence.

Just like the new baby, we do get a “do-over” each morning.  With Christ, each new day has the possibility to be more than you can imagine.  Tomorrow morning before you climb out of bed, ask God to bless your day with His Presence. 

Remember:
-Today is always a new day.
-With God’s Presence, it is a fresh start.
-Invite Him to help you see this day with “new” eyes.  Don’t live in past failures, but learn from them.

When you get up tomorrow morning, His message is for you, “…be made new in the attitudes of your mind and put on the new self, created to be like God…”  
~Ephesians 4:25b

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail.  They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’”  ~Lamentations 4:22-24

~Rhonda Bare

Internet Church
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Where God Hangs Out

Oh, the places God goes to.  You should see some of the places where God hangs out.

I’ve seen him on street corners and dark allies
I’ve seen him down in the gutter with drunks and addicts
I’ve seen him in brothels
I’ve even seen him in church with the sleeping saints

God hangs where mankind needs him most. 
He hangs with those who need him so desperately

~He hangs out in stables, and with smelly shepherds and barn yard animals.
~He rides camels with the wise ones
~He sleeps in boats that are whipped about by the winds and waves

~He walks the halls of the cancer ward
~He moves in and out of the new born wings and lightly touches each precious newborn

And he hangs with the despondent, the discouraged, the despairing, and the depressed.

~He hangs with the one who is just about at the end of their rope

~God hangs out wherever humanity needs him the most.  He simply wants an invitation.  He knocks and asks to be let in. 

All we need do is fling open the door and let Him in.

LET HIM IN.




P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time