Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Water’

3 Critical Calls for Moving Day

In Gospel Living on September 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

moving-home

Moving can be a joyful and stressful!  We are closing on our new home soon and have spent time calling the utility companies to ensure that there will be no interruption of service.  For those who may not know, service does not automatically transfer to new owners.  That convenience would be handy, but a call has to be made in order for service to transfer into the new name.  There is a certain amount of personal information needed to process the request.  In some cases, options are available and a decision has to be made: which service do I want?

As I sat there on the phone with 3 different companies, it dawned on me that transferring service is much like putting your faith in Jesus.

Water/Sewer/Garbage

Before you put faith in Jesus, there is no service in your life.  Water always represents life, both in Scripture and other literature.  Hydration is critical to the vital organs to survive.  Death is the result of lack of water.  Before Jesus you simply had trash and sewer piling up in the backyard of your life.

When you transfer service, Jesus brings life and cleansing.  Through confession and repentance your spiritual sewage and garbage is being handled.  You couldn’t do anything with it, but Jesus can.

Electric

Before you transfer service to Jesus, there is no clean power.  The company you use before Jesus supplies a certain amount, but it is dirty energy and cuts out regularly.  You find the breakers in your life blowing and appliances breaking down because of the inconsistency.  Customer support is useless because they don’t care.  Your climate is unbearable and dark.

When you transfer service, Jesus brings clean power that allows light and climate control again.  His energy is very efficient, able to distribute power to every corner of your life.

Gas

Not every home has this, but ours will.  Providing warmth of air and water.  I stood in a bathroom in Africa where I took a bucket bath with cold water.  Trust me, you want warmth in Texas Panhandle winters!  Before Jesus, life is cold.

When you transfer service, Jesus brings warmth to your life that was absent before.

 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Have you transferred service?  Do you feel stuck and cannot make a decision?  Make the call and ask God to transfer your service by faith in Jesus today.

3 Tips on Coffee and Relationships

In Chrisian Life on September 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

coffee-bean-growing-belt

Whether it is Costa Rica to Cambodia, or Ecuador to Ethiopia, I have probably drunk it.  Coffee is as natural in the morning as the sun rising.  From Keurig at home to Campfire coffee in Africa, I have enjoyed cup after cup, though, not all coffee is good.  With hundreds of coffee options and thousands of coffee-making options, what makes a good cup of coffee?  Rather, how do I avoid making a bad cup of coffee?  Here are a few tips on making a good cup of coffee.

Water

The water is really critical.  One day I was making coffee and noticed a particular smell.  I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I felt that the feedlots must have spilled into the water system somehow!  I got a glass of tap water and tasted it.  Needless to say it was nasty!  I had just received some fine coffee from a friend and was glad I did not waste it by letting it soak in the water!  I understood later that day that the water supply was from a lake that was “turning over” and caused the water to taste funky for about a week twice a year.  Now I knew about the smell, but now how to get rid of the “floaties” in the water?  I bought a water purifier!

In the same way we don’t want our coffee to be brewed, or pressed, in tainted water, let us be careful not to taint those around us because of our pungent moral smell or floating moods.  Let Christ purify you each morning so that you can enhance the flavor of life around you.

Strength

I have always said that if you can see the bottom of the cup through the coffee then you really just have dirty water!  I recognize that I enjoy stronger coffee than others, but not as much as my Eastern European friends.  While on mission in Hungary I was introduced to “sludge”.  I believe my army buddies would even cringe a little at this strength!  The coffee was so strong that it felt like hot melted creamy peanut butter as you swallowed it.   You have to find the right balance.

Some people you see right through and others you couldn’t hack your way through.  I believe, no matter the personality type, one must find a balance in dealing with people.  If we come off too weak we will we discarded and disregarded.  If we come off too strong we can alienate and become alone.  The strength is important when it comes to dealing with people.

Filtration

In Africa, or on the range, campfire style coffee is often made from mixing coffee and water and then boiling it together.  What happens here is that, unless you have way to filter, it all gets mixed together.  In desperate moments, this coffee will do, but not every day.  Every morning, I would get up and make the coffee.  Every cup would have grinds in the bottom and it would be a little bitter.

When we do not filter ourselves, bitterness results.  Other will look just like the face you make when drinking bitter coffee or when trying to pick grinds out of your teeth, if we do not learn to filter what and how we says things.  Not everything that hits your mind must leave your mouth.  Not everything you hear has to be repeated.  Learn to filter.

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.    No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.    In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Pure Water

In Chrisian Life, Decisions on August 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Having traveled on several mission trips, there are some places that are more difficult than others. The difficulty usually involves the water supply.  God has allowed me to travel to Africa a few times.  Our location did not have water we could drink safely unless we boiled it.  For it to be useful to us we waterislifestrawneeded to remove the impurities.  However, there are many places around the world without clean water even for the indigenous.  The weakest members of communities and villages are the most vulnerable. Every day, water-related diseases claim the lives of 5000 children under the age of five. Millions of people are stricken with preventable diseases because of the lack of clean drinking water. The Straw conveniently hangs around one’s neck and provides him or her the necessary clean water to survive for an entire year.  Water straws provide a filter for the water that lasts one year for $10.  Falls Creek Conference Center is host to 8 weeks of youth camp each Summer involving over 50,000 people.  During this Summer, a collection was taken to purchase Water is Life straws and over 3500 were purchased!

Since our theme for the summer was “THIRST” I thought it would be a great connecting point for students to draw the parallels between a physical thirst and a spiritual thirst. Providing filtered drinking straws for students in Ghana (via WaterIsLife.com) was a way to engage students in meeting the needs of physical thirst for those in need of water. When we taught them how to share their testimony, we were giving them a means to meet people’s spiritual thirst.

Andy Harrison, Falls Creek Program Director and Student Ministry Specialist for the BGCO

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. (Proverbs 25:4, 5 ESV)  This scripture teaches us an important lesson.  A silversmith needs pure silver or the vessel is weakened and compromised.  This is easy to understand after reviewing the Water is Life website.  When a child who is already malnourished drinks contaminated water they get sick and die.  Our lives are like that water or silver.  We need to have the impurities removed in order for God to use us effectively.  Because we are indigenous to this culture we may not see the dangers so clearly.  Like the little child who will go to the pond/lake/puddle and drink the water but fails to recognize the manure and animals in it and will likely get sick because of bacteria and other contaminates, so can we who fail to see the contaminates all around us.  How can we live pure?  How can we stay clean?  How do we manage in this world but keep an eye on the next?  Here are a few suggestions.

Awareness – we must become aware of the contaminates around us.  Take a moment and examine with God’s perspective in mind.  Are you aware of what those lyrics really just said?  Are you aware of what you are wearing and what is showing?  Are you aware of the liver damage by alcohol and the mental damage by marijuana?  Are you aware of you 5 closest friends and whether or not they are leading you closer to Christ?  Are you aware that the money you just dropped on lottery tickets could have paid your electric bill?  Are you aware of the disrespect you just showed your spouse?  Are you aware that your kids are not even home?  Are you aware?  I fear that we keep going to the ponds of media, gaming, and escapism and are unaware of the effects.

Accountability – share your struggles and concerns.  Find someone who has wisdom, experience, and a close relationship with Christ.  Talk to them.  Share what you have discovered in becoming more aware.  Ask them to pray over you.  Ask them to help you become more responsible.  Be honest with them when they ask.  Admit the mistakes to God and come clean before Him too.  Confessing before God and conversing with a friend will move you ahead in this process.  If we hold back on either we are just hurting ourselves.  Holding back is hindering your progress like cheating on a diet and wondering why you don’t lose weight.  Holding back is like cheating on your spouse with porn and wondering why the love just isn’t there anymore.  Holding back is like cutting and wondering why the pain is still there.  Do not try to go it alone.

Avoidance – stay out of vulnerable situations.  We all have our weak spots.  The real issue is whether we know it or not.  Once we know where the weak spot is we can divert pressure away from it by avoiding situations that compromise yourself.  In the beginning, this will sound easier than done, but pays huge in the end.  Some situations we cannot control and others we can.  For those moments where you have a choice then avoid the vulnerable ones.  For example, nothing good happens after midnight so you should go home and sleep.  Don’t go to the bar to hang out if you are trying to quit drinking.  Pay at the pump if going in is too hard to resist the lottery tickets.  Hide or de-friend that person if it is too much to handle and your blood boils.  Change the presets on the radio, clear your mp3, and don’t be on the internet privately.  These are simple things to assist in avoiding being vulnerable.

Acceptance – you cannot just empty your life and expect it to stay empty.  Our lives are not designed to be empty.  Jesus said He wants to give us a full and abundant life.  So if you clear your life of the contaminates then you need to fill it with pure water.  Be willing to be shaped by God through scripture and church attendance.  Allow God’s Spirit to sow the seeds of purity so that your life produces the spiritual fruit of God.  Trust me, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control will give you a long and full life that is not only well-pleasing to God but completely satisfying to you.

Action – this is not automatic.  You have to work at this.  The four items listed above take a decision by you.  However, when you choose, God will provide the energy you need to sustain and the power to break though to the other side!  Don’t delay act now!

Clogged Up

In Chrisian Life on May 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

Opening up the dishwasher to find that nothing is clean is frustrating.  I had noticed over the past few weeks that more and more things were not getting completely clean.  Then there was the other morning when I opened up and found nothing was clean.  What was going on?  I began to run diagnostics on the machine.  I knew water was coming in.  I knew that water was draining.  There was something wrong with the circulation pressure.  The wash arms were not spinning.  In fact, there was no water even coming through the center and upper arm.  I just knew the pump was shot!  I looked up pump prices and cried a little.  To replace the pump was half the cost of a new machine.  I listened again and heard a familiar sound.  I had heard this before with the pool pump and thought an impeller was broken.  After completely unhooking the machine I drug it out into the middle of the floor to get a better view of things.  I removed the entire pump assembly and began to investigate.  What I found next was both disturbing and disgusting.  It looked something like this:

clogged_screen  After much cleaning and rinsing, I was able to put it all back together, with the obvious extra screw, and turned it back on.  The swishing sound was almost melodic and brought back memories of when we purchased it new.  The next morning I opened up the washer to find everything absolutely clean and ready for use.

How often our lives get clogged up.  We can have spiritual flow going in and flow going out but there just isn’t any power.  Have you felt like that before?  You go to church, work at the food closet, help with homeless shelter, teach Bible class, help the poor, etc but there seems to be something missing.  We are tired.  We are cranky.  We expect to feel different.  Why is that not happening?

It very well could be that  your screens are all clogged.  We can fill our lives with spiritual music, phrases, life sayings, devotionals, and books but not have power to do that which we are called and designed to do.  We can even drain our lives through missions and ministries but not accomplish what we are designed to do.  Like a dishwasher, you were designed with a purpose.  The washer is supposed to wash the dishes.  Some might argue it is actually more like rinse and sanitize, but the point is that filling up with water and draining water is not the main purpose.  Your life is not designed by God to just be filled with spiritual stuff, whether sappy or solid.  Your life is not designed to just drain out onto the public sayings, clichés, etc.  Your life is designed with something else in mind.  Filling and draining are requirements of them main purpose.  What is my purpose on this Earth?  (No, that is not a plug for Rick Warren though he does  make a point and you can read that here.)

1.  Glorify God.  We are to live in such a way as to cause God to be treated more excellently than would normally be considered. (Isaiah 61:3)

2.  Live holy lives.  In other words we are to live up to the standard for which we have been made.  We are created in God’s image.  We are recreated at the moment of faith.  Now it is time to act in that capacity. (1 Peter 1:13-16)

3.  Make disciples.  We have the unique opportunity to spiritually produce.  As we follow Christ we are to bring others on this journey.

While some of this is external, much is internal.  You know whether you have power (water pressure) or not.  You can mask it with spiritual inflow and outflow but without the main purpose being accomplished all that will fail.  We need proper spiritual flow but sometimes our lives bet clogged up with the stresses and pains of this world.  For this reason Jesus said and I leave you with…

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things will be provided for you.
34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow,
because tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own

Shade

In Missional, Suffering on February 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

Shade Tree

He was unaccustomed to the terrain and unaware of the toll the heat was taking on his body.  Running out of water in his bottle, the man wiped his brow only to discover that there was no more sweat.  Heat and dehydration were robbing him of hope for the future.  As he walked on he came upon a beautiful sight: a shade tree.  With the last bit of energy, he ran to the shade.  As he sat down under the tree he noticed a small pool of water on the backside.  He filled up the bottle with the tepid , but cool enough, water and drank deeply.  Exhaustion has taken over and he rested for a while in the shade of this lonely tree.  Soon the heat of the day had passed and the man was able to travel on in the coolness of the evening.  He will ever forget the moment he found the shade.  In the most desperate of times, shade made the difference.

1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty
Psalm 91:1

Wherever you find yourself there are those whose lives are on the brink of exhaustion.  The Kiefer marriage and family have spiraled out of control.  The fiscal cliff and the years leading to it have robbed Jim and Edna of everything they once had.  Jill lost her job last week and faces panic attacks every morning as she feeds the kids.  Brock is closing in on graduation with no hope of a job.  Emma goes from one man to the next hoping to maintain her habit.  Bob blows his money at the track and can’t seem to stop.  Rita has become hopeless and spends her kids lunch money on lottery tickets hoping to win more than she spent.  Caring for his aging mother, Jason has assumed a larger responsibility.  He works more and sees the family less.  So many are within touching distance.  Lives falling apart.  The heat of life’s fire and the dehydration mentally and spiritually robs them of any hope for tomorrow.

Be someone’s shade today.

1.  Let them relax in your presence.  Create an atmosphere where they can rest.  Maybe your friends, small group, or study group could help bear the load for an evening.  Love them and give them shade.

2.  Let them find relief.  Sometimes another conference or retreat is not the answer.  A book does not always fix the issue.  Give them shade.  Watch the kids, clean the house, make dinner, fill their car with gas, take a meal, or something that brings shade to their soul.

3.  Let them rest.  There are those moments when a person needs to take breath.  I have found that going to lunch, or supper, or coffee, or hanging out can be an opportunity for someone to rest.  In those moments of shade, the stress of their life might pour out.  It might emotional.  It might be messy.  Yet, the rest that follows is critical for the continuance and continuity of life.  Without this type of shade we become parched, dry, and brittle and bitter towards life and ourselves.  We begin to close ourselves off to the world around us.  We die a little more each day.

Be someone’s shade today.

Blank Slate – Day 2

In Decisions, Evangelism, Jesus, Leadership on January 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

pigeon-hole

Definition.

To define something or make specific.  We define muscles.  We define words.  We define terms to an agreement.

My son’s muscles are achieving definition because of swimming.  Each one is specific but not isolated.  The muscles work together to keep us upright and walking/running.  A more defined situation is desired by many.  I have well-defined table muscle but that is irrelevant to the discussion!

As followers of Christ, we have intertwined the word definition with compartmentalization.  Our culture has placed upon us an understanding that to define is to compartmentalize; to be pigeon-holed.  According to this everything is isolated from other things.  In the Creation account in Genesis we do not find this to be true.

6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” Evening came and then morning: the second day. 9 Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Definition reveals separation without loss to integrity.  Too often our form of separation causes us to lose touch with reality.  Our church life and work life no longer intersect.  Our “old” friends are dumped for our “new and improved” friends.  When we define ourselves as followers of Christ there will be natural separation.  However, why must there also be segregation.  Why is it suddenly secular and sacred?  Why do we cut all ties?  Why do we burn bridges that can be modulated into evangelistic opportunities?  Definition will result in separation but it does not mean complete segregation.  Jesus went to the sinners, the sick, and the sacred.  Why don’t we?

Definition gives explanation not expulsion.  God, after Day 2, had a planet with various atmospheres.  The universe was still intact.  The Earth was being further defined while still being a part of the galaxy and universe.  The upper and lower waters and sky were connected because God deemed it so.  The defining of these things did not suddenly cause expulsion from the universe.  There was a not a moment where God said the earth was now better than all the other things and created a micro-universe.  Yet, that is exactly what we do.  When I redefined my life in college I had an expulsion of a huge amount of music.  Good music.  80’s Music.  Why did I throw it all away?  Because I did not understand how to define myself as a follower without an expulsion of everything else.  The old must become new.  The old is gone and the new has come.  Jesus did not throw his heritage away.  He was still Jewish.  He still went to the temple.  He still partied at the festivals.  He kept it all together with a higher purpose and so should we.

As we seek balance, we must define a few things in our lives.  In defining yourself, your goals, and your ambition, do not lose sight of the higher purpose.  The relationships you have are still valid.  Be defined.  Be toned.  Be ripped. Don’t forget those around you need to see integrity.  If in your separation you segregate they will feel abandoned and bewildered.  Love them as you have been loved.  Lead them as you have been led.

Define yourself.

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