Tag Archive: trust


love as the highest value?love value [blog]

in the non-church world i think many would agree that this could be the highest value to pursue.  i have a working theory that in the world, in america specifically, we care more about money than we care about anything else; but that’s another conversation.

so love, that makes me feel all warm inside, & YES!! we should pursue love above all else.

but in the church…as followers of Christ…is this the highest value?

shouldn’t the pursuit of Christ be the highest value?

what about worship to God?

how about correct doctrine & theology, that’s certainly most important?

the list could continue for a while…

while it’s true that sound doctrine & theology are important,

and worship of God & all that He is matters greatly,

and we should always find ourselves in pursuit of Jesus Christ in all we do.

if we simply look at the life of Jesus [dangerous] we see that all He does is motivated by & through love.

the woman at the well…

zacchaeus’ redemption…

His walk to the cross…

i think sometimes that we get concerned about making sure the “whole” story of God is told.  and when we focus on something like “love” aren’t we then leaving out some important details about what God wants from your life & mine?

i think that can happen.  which is why it’s so important that the church you’re a part of is teaching the totality of God’s word.  but a beginning point, a motivating factor & daily, life-long pursuit is the love of God & how that impacts the world we live in.

i’m a firm believer that when we, no matter the station of life we’re in, pursue truth we end up at the feet of Jesus.

if we’re looking for a way to justify our lifestyle, we’re not seeking truth.

if we’re trying to find a way to do something that stands in direct opposition to God’s word, we’re not seeking truth.

 

if anything gets in front of our ability to love, we’ve begun the descent into a life, a church, without Jesus at the center.  we’ve decided that our preferences are of greater value than the people Jesus loves…the people that we’re supposed to love.

so love as the highest value, pursue it!

Advertisements

this issue has been brewing in me for a while now…bill-of-rights there are a host of difficult issues at play with the activation of the religious freedom act.

 FEAR

both sides of this issue have fear as a motivating factor.  for those that believe on one should be with-held services because of their sexual orientation through the lens of religious belief the fear could be placed at the feet of the question; “what’s next?  who are they going to bar next?  don’t i have the right to eat & sleep where i want?  isn’t this a free country where no one shall be unfairly judged or mistreated because of their nationality, creed, etc.?” the fear coming from the other side of the issue may sound like this; “if we, who morally object to this lifestyle, are forced to set aside our beliefs what’s next?  what will they take away next, our right to freely gather, our right to worship our God without mistreatment & persecution?” for the follower of Jesus the conversation, for me, begins in the wrong place. Jesus tells His disciples [and us] to not be afraid.  to let go of our fear, to trust in Him.  i kind of wonder, as one who is a follower of Christ, that our fear [Christ-followers] is a simple lack of faith that God has all things under His control.

 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

-mk.4:40

 something’s that at stake here for us all, is the answer to this question:  will you & i live in fear with what might happen if…? if we get under the surface at all that’s much of this is all about.

“are we headed back to segregation?”

“what will the government make us do next?”

“is this the end of religious freedom?”

“is this the end of my personal freedom?”

WORRY

are you, am i [as a follower of Christ], willing to trust in God that He has it under control? Jesus was very explicit that if we followed Him it would get tough [putting it lightly – He actually said we could die].  but that struggle, difficulty, persecution doesn’t mean that God had let go of the wheel & mayhem is on the loose.  it simply means that the struggle continues & government, no matter it’s form or goals, does not have the last word. “but what about the WORD of God standing tall?  don’t you want that?”   of course i  do.  but judgment is best reserved for God and God alone. accountability for actions is served best in the context of relationship.  picket lines & petitions don’t allow for any relationship & draw lines of one side against another; and i’m just not that interested in doing that.  i’m more interested in the love i show & how it reveals the work of Christ in me, broken & hypocritical as i can be.

 LOVE

as followers of Christ we are continually walking a thin line between demonstrating the love of Christ & doing whatever we want.  i saw a facebook post earlier this week from a friend when he simply reminded us that Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, tax collectors & those who partied too much.  and in the eyes of the religious elite, ruined His character. Jesus’ time here on earth was spent with those that the “church folk” didn’t want to have anything to do with.  and all Jesus does is spend time with them, offering them a chance to have a relationship with God. a God they may not have known. 1283-Indiana-Religious-Freedom-Restoration-Act-Frequently-asked-questions a God they may have felt abandoned by. a God they were not invited to know. we all have a tendency to get our rights all mixed up in all kinds of things.  as a follower of Jesus my rights take a back seat to the real call on my life; to love well.  Jesus tells us that how we love communicates whom we follow, so He says love others in the same way He has loved us.

 there is no fear in love. but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. the one who fears is not made perfect in love.      

1jn.4:18

 so our worry & fear stand in the direct path of God’s working in the midst of the muddy, murky water of life.

 FINALLY

the whole truth of how this all plays out is yet to be determined, but i have said this for a long time.  i believe that it’ll be settled by the wallet & not much else. we like money more than we like almost anything.  and this decision will have a financial impact on indiana more than the religious or LGBT community. when our wallets are affected we become different people, almost entirely regardless of our beliefs & convictions.  we have placed a great deal of importance on money & the false security it provides…

…but that’s probably a topic for another time.

so in the mean time love well, in the manner that Jesus loved. lay your worry to rest; and don’t let you fear be your spokesperson.  that guy gets enough air time.

we cannot do both.  if we try to do both it drives us nuts & it’ll end badly.

eph.3:20

“now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”

if we really believe this to be true of us as individuals & as a church [that’s all of us belonging to different churches under the banner of Christ] do we act like this?

we want to, desperately, answer this question with an absolute “YES!!”  and i think we answer the question believing in our hearts that the answer is truly “yes.”  this verse has the invitation to thrive in this life & not just focus on the life to come.  the truth of how we answer can show up in our practices & ways of operation.

something that i’m observing lately is the impossibility of thriving & surviving both at the same time.

here’s what i mean…

if we’re going to to all, exceedingly more through Christs we have to be willing to let go of our “we’re just barely making it” mentality.  for some of us this mentality is where we’ve lived for so long we don’t know any other way to be.

“we’re broke, don’t spend anything”

“we’ve never done it that way before”

“what if this doesn’t work”

“what if they don’t show up”

and there’s something significant that happens…

calcification of new ideas [creative arthritis]

when this happens other dominoes start to fall.  and as a result we are no longer seeking to thrive & grow & become this thing that God is trying to reveal in us.  at some point we decided the best thing to do was to cut our losses & just try to ride out the storm.

maybe this will be a helpful picture…

i’m not a horse rider, & have been on a horse a few time in my life.  but what i have noticed is the relationship to holding the reins & the horse moving.  i may need to check my facts on this, but i don’t think you can spur the horse on to move/run/jump/navigate the trail & at the same time hold the reins back.

while it’s true that there are times for survival & a tightening the reins. a ‘we’ve just got to get through this.” mentality.  but at some point the rebuilding needs to begin.  a re-structuring takes place.  recovery must happen.  we cannot afford to loose sight of what it was like to thrive & be & do something significant.  and if we’ve forgotten about those days, it’s time to connect with someone who does.  and if no one is around who remembers it’s time to re-cast a vision for tomorrow.

important point: remembering the significant things of the past do not entail a return to those things.  it’s just important to remember when survival wasn’t the only thing that mattered.

here’s another thought that’s just occurring to me.  history will record what happened; it always has & always will.  so you and i & our time here will be recorded.  i don’t want the things that i did & participated in to be thought of as missed opportunity & potential wasted; a missing of God’s call.

a lacking…

are there times in your history, if we can be honest with ourselves, that we exhibited a lack of faith?  i mean if we can really be honest with ourselves…

as we look backward & see clearly that we should have done this or gone there but it was a lacking in our belief that God was handling all the details.  and some of this is reflected in our prayer life.  i’ve come to realize that there are some significant things that happen when we begin to pray…really pray fervently for what GOD wants, not just our wish list of what would be best for us & our lives.

     WHEN WE PRAY WE ENTRUST A COUPLE OF THINGS:

we entrust ourselves to God – and we entrust others to God

ENTRUSTING OURSELVES:  when we truly do this it removes our need to worry & fret over what may come tomorrow.  when we stop worrying about tomorrow we’re able to live in today, to be present.  present with God & present with others.

ENTRUSTING OTHERS:  when we entrust others to God it removes our desire to control the action & activity of those around us.  let’s be honest here [if we can].  when we see someone that we love doing something that we don’t agree with [lifestyle choice, friendship decision, etc.] we want to change that.  because, after all, we usually believe that we know what’s best.  as a parent i hope i do know what’s best for my kids & i do want to control their activity.  but when they become adults, and even before then, my control over what they do will become more and more limited.  ultimately i have to come to the realization that i can’t control all they do & that God is supreme over all things.  even the bad choices that my kids may make.

so when we entrust ourselves & others to God, through the way we pray things can begin to happen in our lives.  we begin to behave differently & our faith is expressed in new ways.  we are less inclined to use phrases like:

we’re just not ready.

i don’t know if we have enough?

when we’ve paid that off, then we’ll do…

when God invites us to do something, shift a thing that’s been in place for a long time, make a change [significant or small] we need to remember that He isn’t asking us to hold the whole thing on our own.  He’s inviting us to join Him in something He’s already doing.

[reference to this kind of life can be found in matthew 6 & 7]

so, a couple of questions before you go:

what excuses have you made for a lack of faith?

can we even admit our lack of faith?

what might God be inviting you into that you’ve been putting off?