Archive for February, 2012


are we willing to let God do whatever He wants, whenever He wants to, with whomever He chooses?

this is a big question because he may, in fact probably will use some unlikely characters in HIS story.  and that’s an important point!  HIS story.

so much of our culture; 21century, western is built around us as individuals.  what commercials aren’t catering to the idea that the world isn’t about you?  what part of life do you  not  ask “how does this thing that i’m about to buy, do, participate in, go to make my life better?”  that’s the culture/era we live in.  it’s something that’s been handed to us & we’ve just willingly taken it on, as if this is the way it’s supposed to be.

SO, when the story doesn’t go our way & it seems a bit too difficult & weighty [even as Christ-followers] we are tempted to think that God has abandoned us.  or it’s confirmation that God doesn’t exist.

but the story is God’s to tell & His story line is different than ours.

something that i’m going to try & learn in the coming year is the difference between taking responsibility & taking control.  this is something that i recently heard donald miller talk about.  he, in so many words, defined it like this; though the life of joseph [yea, from the bible].

taking responsibility would be living through the circumstances of life, but not in spite of them.  meaning we wouldn’t just grit our teeth & fight through to the end.  we would see this part of the story as a chance for God to do something great.

taking control intimates that we’re going to change the circumstances for our benefit.  the idea being “we don’t have to sit here & take this!”

joseph simply lives thought the story line and allows God to move the characters.  he leaves a gap for God, he’s not passive, he responds to doors that God opens up.

God provides courage though the difficult, negative turns that come in our lives.  we need to be ready to allow God to use unlikely story lines, unusual situations & unlikely heroes in His story.  we must remember, He is the story-teller.

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failure in modern times

just learned something interesting.  no, not the name of the driver of this vehicle & he’s my neighbor.  something different.

i was just reading ron martoia’s blog & he posted something intriguing about the word “religion”.  this word is latin in root & means to re-join or re-connect.  check this link to read the whole post, good stuff.

the interesting thing is that the very thing that was supposed to re-connect us to God is, for lots of people, the very thing that has pulled us away from Him & His presence.  tragic, but true.

this matters to me, this realization that is, because this is perhaps a big reason that the church has fallen on such hard times.  so many people have pushed away from the church, or it’s been pushed away from them, because of the seemingly endless rules & dogmatism that crowd & de-focus true relationship with God.

recently i’ve been talking about Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  in the first part of that talk He continues to say “blessed are you, are they who…”  and i’ve also learned that a faithful understanding of that word “blessed” is an announcement that “God is with you”.

interesting, Jesus shows up & tells a bunch of people who don’t have it all together, who are under an oppressive government rule that God is on their side?  now this seems to be the reconnecting that’s supposed to happen.  the re-joining that Jesus is after in the first place.  an announcement that God is with you!  awesome!!

 

the following link is from a blog post from ed stetzer [author & church researcher].  there has been a move in NYC to remove churches who rent the local school on the weekends siting church & state separation.

Ed Stetzer – A LifeWay Research blog on theology, missiology, missional church, church planting, church revlitalization, and innovation..

unfulfilled

what happens when the things that you thought God was going to do & that thing just didn’t happen?

what do we do with promises that God has made that d0n’t seem to be coming true?

gotta’ be careful here, because it can seem that i’m making God out to be a liar.  and that’s just not the case.  the things that God says He’ll do, He’ll do.  the struggle here is that there are times when His promises seem very far off & we won’t see the result here, in this life.

our world is so built on results & outcomes & bottom line issues.  we’re addicted to making sure our effort is worth the end result.  we want to be sure that we didn’t waste our time doing something that ends up not producing.  this approach can be problematic…

hebrews 11 lists out the “heroes” of the faith & in verse 13 says this: “all these people were still living by faith when they died.  they did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

oh…that sounds disappointing.

UNLESS – this…

jack heyford once said this; “Jesus needs to be the sum & substance of our lives”

meaning, if our lives are lived for the end result [how great this thing goes or how big that event is and it doesn’t materialize & land the way we thought it should] we then have a problem.  especially if we reach the end of our lives, looking back at all the things we felt like God was asking us to do & accomplish, and we see empty rooms & broken furniture & unfulfilled promises.

however, if our lives are lived out in the promise of God to use us to HIS end, then no matter what happens; missions accomplished or left undone, buildings built or not, successful events or no…we are able to realize those things were never really about us in the first place; they were about Him & what He wants done in His time.

so a question has to be asked and answered:

are we willing to run into God’s future with the possibility of not seeing the end result [in this life] of promises made?

is it ok to pour our lives into something that much of the rest of the world deems foolish & wasteful.

we will be confronted with choices like this each time we enter the requests of God.

 

[important caveat: it believe it’s so critical that we [the church] do things with excellence & plan for success.  but there are times when we’re planting the seed, times when we water, other times when we have to weed & some of us even get to harvest]