Grand Canyon 2015

Grand Canyon 2015
Beautiful Scenery, Beautiful Wife!

Join Us For Worship This Week!

Join Us For Worship This Week!
The Word of the Lord

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing!

Ever had something taste so good that you felt you could just live on it forever?

Recently, Lynn and I had the opportunity to return to California and participate in a reunion of people that I attended church with from the ages of 7 to about 21.  These people are some of my most cherished relationships from the past and while I don't spend much time with any of them, when we gather together, it's like we never left that great church called Midway City Church of the Nazarene.

While we were in California, Lynn and I knew that we would want to have Fish Tacos from Rubios, at least, a couple of times.  Now most people that I talk to, when I mention fish tacos, their nose wrinkles up and they usually say, "Gross!"  to which I usually bark back, "you've never had a Rubios Fish Taco!"  I mean, I haven't had a bad one yet, I enjoy them so much that I think I could eat them for each meal of the day.  I'm not sure what it is, but the flavor just completely agrees with me. I think I could live on a diet of just Rubios Fish Tacos.

Now, we all know, that no matter how much we enjoy something, to make it the only thing that we experience would. . . well, it would make it something that would eventually become disgusting to us.  Yes, no matter what our love-level for any certain thing, we would soon gag on it if we were to over-indulge ourselves.

The same can be true for our spiritual lives.  Our modern experience in American Christendom can sometimes leave us lopsided in the hearing of God's Word, which in and of itself is not a negative thing, but left unbalanced can leave us full of Word with no release or expression of it.  Let's face it, today, many Christians are hearers of the Word and spend little to no time in serving or sharing.  Obviously there are exceptions to every broadly stroked statistic, but if you have followed our Savior for very long, you know how frustrated we can become when most, if not all of our spiritual discipline is through hearing and not much to do with the doing.

Here at Wanamaker Woods, we have recently seen the need to add balance to our spiritual journey.  Know Grow Serve Share has become our balanced approach to Discipleship. Often, when we do small groups, Life Groups or Sunday School, the time shared is all about fellowship, prayer & the study of God's Word. Wow! What's wrong with that?  Well. . . I'll answer my own question, nothing!  Except, when Christians only study the Word, pray and eat together we sometimes lack the "workout" part of this equation.  It's like eating a lot of our favorite food (ie Fish Tacos) and never using the energy to burn those calories.  While we are very adept to "Knowing & Growing", that is Worship & Word, as Christians, we sometimes need to get off our spiritual couch and go get a work out.  Check out the Biblical examples for this in I Corinthians 12:4-31 & Ephesians 4:11-13.

So how do we get that workout?  What are the opportunities to slimming down after having our fill of spiritual food?  The answer is "Serve and Share".  Yes, when we are willing to be poured out and used for the glory of God, we become useful to God's kingdom-work and hungry again for fellowship, worship & Word.  We become attuned to the word of God and how it applies to our lives.

So if your going to be part of a Life Group at Wanamaker Woods, get ready for the opportunity to Know & Grow, that is, worship God and study His Word, but also Serve and Share.  That is to serve (Ministry) God in the local church and to  get outside the church (Missions) and share the good news with others, returning full-circle and inviting them to "worship" with us.

It really boils down to this, man does not live on fish tacos alone!

See you Sunday, or whatever day this week we meet to Know - Grow - Serve & Share.


Robert Brooks
Executive Pastor/Minister of Music
Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene
Topeka, KS

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wrong Question

I've never been the type to display anything on my vehicle other than a high-gloss, mirror-shine from a freshly rinsed power-wash. I confess, regardless of the age or year of any of my vehicles, I've always been a bit OCD about my car being as nice or a little nicer looking than it deserves.

Bumper Stickers have always amazed me. They always say something a little beyond what the glossy, adhesive'd-snippet was originally designed to say. That something said, is usually about the driver/owner. One of the last things I desire to adhere, permanently! to my freshly soaked, dried and buffed Michigan-based, metal love-affair is something that I'm either not very understanding of, or completely ignorant about.

Let's face it, though, bumper stickers capture your attention. Fess up, you've gunned your engine to catch up with a moving sticker that you never quite caught the contents of. Even if it meant, nearly rear-ending the pithy, literary patch.

On Labor Day this year, my youngest daughter decided that she would like to spend part of the day at our local bookstore. Upon entering the parking area I was accosted by a less than literary piece of attention-grabbing dribble. Don't get me wrong, I believe that each of us have the right and freedom to deconstruct the beauty of our vehicles in any way we see fit. I posted the photo above so you can see it for yourself. It captures my attention today because recently there has been quite a bit of stir in the church, in general, about celebrating our American Freedom, or not. I completely understand the argument, and this blog is not here to debate that subject.

My observations are this, all too often, we are asking the wrong questions and making the wrong statements. We ask questions and make statements from our personal perspective out, not God's perspective in. The question isn't, would Jesus be a Republican or Democrat or a gun owner or a environmentalist or an American or a Swahili. The question that should be asked and the statement that should be made is, how can I be more like Christ and what would that cause me to do or not do? All other questions or statements, like the one on the bumper sticker, divide us and take sides. They cause us to position ourselves for or against others rather than lift up the highest standard of conduct, that being Jesus. The really big question to ask is, what should I do, in light of what Jesus has already done? When I ask this question the only answer is to serve others, to put other's interest before my own, to let others be first in line and to be sure that others are not going hungry while I'm enjoying plenty. Jesus said it this way, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his for his friends."

So the right question for today is this, how are you laying down your life?, and for who? Will you join a group of people that you identify with, or will you identify with the One who gave His life for you and asks you to do the same for others?

May you experience the joy of pouring yourself out for others! Oh and hey!, if you must attach a sticky, gooey, car-wrecking glob of culture-fodder to your Lexus, please, at least stick it on straight!!!

Serving Christ ~ Loving People,

Pastor Rob

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Good Morning, Lord!

Do you wake up and say, good morning Lord, or good Lord it's morning? How 'bout on Sunday morning? I've always marveled at the way that some people view their Sunday morning. Oh, for some it's about free time, football, BBQ's, bike rides or generally speaking anything they feel like doing. After all, it's the weekend. But for us Christians, it's a day of celebration, a time to enter into His presence with the congregation and marvel at how God chooses to meet with His people. And what about the results of worshipping together?

Psalm 68:35 says, O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God! The psalmist, having prayed for and prophesied of the conversion of the Gentiles, here invites them to come in and join with the devout Israelites in praising God, intimating that their accession to the church would be the matter of their joy and praise (Psalm 68:32): Let the kingdoms of the earth sing praises to the Lord; they all ought to do it, and, when they become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ, they will do it. God is here proposed to them as the proper object of praise. (Matthew Henry)

Strength and power! Is that what you experienced last time you entered into the sanctuary to worship with the Saints? If not, we may want to rethink our attitude before entering the sanctuary. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are distractions, buzzes, noises, loud songs, bulletins, newsletters, donuts, coffee, parking lots, people movers, crowded hallways, kids running everywhere, announcements, etc., etc., etc! You know, we really have to focus through a lot of stuff to find God in it all. It is all for God, but at times it's just more stuff. All a matter of focus.

So let me ask you, this Sunday, what will you focus on? The stuff, or will you accept the invitation of joining in with the assembly and praising God, and will it be a matter of joy and praise?

I pray that you will be touched by the Almighty this Sunday as you look to God and say, You are awesome from your sanctuary.

Praising Him in the sanctuary with you,


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who Are You Contending With?

Hey Worshippers!

Today I was reading out of Isaiah and it reminded me of some of my early childhood upbringing. There came a day when I began to wonder, Why? Now, you probably didn't ask your parents this, but as I began to have a little more confidence, I would ask why?

No you can't go outside and play, Why? No, you can't ride your bike to your school and back, Why not? No, you can't have that pack of gum, Why? As a parent, I now understand the exasperating look on my parents face as they continually said, "not today".

I have three children and a few years back my youngest asked if she could spend the night at a friends house. My "off-the-cuff" response, We'll See! Promptly, my oldest chimed in, "that means no". My delay-until-they-forget tactics had been uncovered. I was now being pressed to the issue of why. This dialogue would sometimes go on and on and soon would reach that all too familiar climax, "Because I Said So!" This emotionally-driven, argument ending proclamation would always conclude the conversation and hence put the final nail in the coffin of spending the night at a friends house.

In our Christian lives, we also ask, why? We go to the Lord and we plead with Him over various difficulties and challenges in our lives. We pray with discipline, looking for an answer. We, at times, fast in order to hear what God's answer to why?, might be. We even plead with God and use as coercion our loyal following of Him to get an answer, only for Him to stay silent and not answer. I've even been told, by Christian leaders, that I respect, that sometimes a no-answer is an answer, yet I'm left with the question, why?

Isaiah 45:9-13, says, "What sorrow awaits those who argue with their creator. Does a clay pot argue with its' maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, 'How clumsy can you be?' How terrible it would be if a new born baby said to its father, 'Why was I born?' or if it said to its mother 'Why did you make me this way?'" This is what the Lord says- the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: "do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command. I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people- without seeking a reward! [he ends with an argument-ending proclamation] I, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!"

Now, that is about the loudest "because I said so" that I've ever seen. I the Lord of Heaven's Armies, have spoken! Paul also emphasizes God's sovereignty in Romans 9:20-21 when he says, "On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

Our response to God, as a disciple, should always be, Lord, Your will be done. It's natural for us, just as our own children do, to ask why? At some point, though, the Lord will say, because I said so. It's not out of impatient, exasperating frustration. It is because He is sovereign, He loves us and knows what is best for each of our lives. He is not hampered by time and space, He sees so much further ahead than we do, fact is, He sees the entire picture. We can trust his direction. Let's trust Him today!

May you be at peace today, if God says, because I said so!

Becoming a disciple with you,


Friday, September 4, 2009

How Do You Enter?

Hey Worshipers!

Here's a question for you, how do you enter the sanctuary on Sunday. No, I don't mean, what door do you come in from. But, what's on your heart and mind as you make your way to the car, perhaps run through the drive-through to get your favorite Mocha Latte and then pull into the full parking lot at Wanamaker. As you get out, do you begin to imagine what could happen today during our celebration? Do you wonder how God might speak to you this day?, or is your mind on other things? Questions. . . So many questions and thoughts that plague our minds. What will I do with this job I'm in, or how will I find that job? The things that our minds get fixed upon and the trips around the world we can take in our minds, at times, serve only to engulf our imaginations and put us on pause over things that we wish could be and the disappointment and sadness that enslaves when we decide that those things just aren't in the cards for us.

Not everyone is a dreamer, like me, so I'll let you off the hook, but once again, I must ask, what occupies your thinking as you approach that moment of your week that has the potential to change your life forever. Doubt? Fear? Boredom?!

With our services being somewhat condensed at times, we must begin our journey toward worship at the moment we awake. Prayer can start the moment we awake, not so much kneeling beside the bed, etc., but just beginning the dialogue of the day with our Lord.

Psalm 95 says, "Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hand formed the dry land, too. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care." If only you would listen to his voice today! [My Emphasis] This is our God, we are under His care, will you hear his voice today?

Don't miss it, this Sunday! As you awake, begin pondering how you may hear His voice. Ask yourself questions like, "What might God share with me today?" "Lord, How would you like for me to enter your sanctuary today?" "Is there something I need to confess to you as I make my way to 3501 SW Wanamaker road?" And lastly, "who might I encourage today?" You come into the assembly of saints with unique life and Christ experiences that may relate well to what someone else has experienced this past week. Will you encourage a brother or sister in Christ with your testimony of how God has been faithful to you? Let's be the body of Christ, this Sunday and everyday thereafter.

Entering with You this Sunday,