I do not know that memorizing ideas help anyone unless they already put those ideas into practice and understand the meaning that is implied in the stating of the idea. Ideas have to sink way down deep into your soul before they can affect a change. I was thinking about this because, as we try to communicate the Gospel of Jesus, it is definitely a heart thing and not just a head thing, right?! Another words, method and message are vitally important....The Gospel is a Relational endeavor....do not separate truth from how it is suppose to play out day in and day out in our lives...
More than an idea perhaps....
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Want a test?
Think about something you could do….some role you could play in helping others in Jesus’ name. Stop right now and think. Nobody’s going to know what you come up with. This is between me and you.
Now, think about how you might actually move forward with your idea.
I’ll bet ya that within 45 seconds, your mind ran to how inconvenient it would be to take it on.
Convenience is virtually sacred in America. And it’s taking the place of true involvement and heart-felt commitment to doing what Jesus called us to do.
I’ll make up a few ideas.... See if your thought pattern is like mine….
IDEA : “I could lead a Bible study at the nursing home for the elderly and the abandoned”.
INCONVENIENCE : “I don’t have that kind of time.” “I certainly couldn’t commit on any kind of regular basis. It would be a lot of work to get the nursing home people to agree to let me do this. It would be more trouble than it’s worth.” Potential Interpretation: I don’t really care that much.
IDEA: “They need more volunteers in our service times. I could sign up.”
INCONVIENCE : “We go to the lake house so much. And of course there’s football in the fall. I just don’t see how I could take it on.” Potential Interpretation: Serving isn’t really important enough for me to be inconvenienced.
IDEA: “Our friends are going through a rough patch in their marriage right now. We should invite them over for dinner and “love on them” a little. Heck, we might even be able to help.”
INCONVENIENCE: “Well, we already have our small group on Tuesday night. And Sam’s birthday party is next Saturday. That’s just one more thing.” Potential Interpretation: Their problems are their problems. I don’t care enough to be inconvenienced.
IDEA: “Maybe I could mentor a group of younger men for a season.”
INCONVENIENCE : “Wow, those guys are going to take up so much of my time. I’m already busy. The church staff guys get paid to do that sort of thing.” Potential Interpretation: “Me and mine” has trumped serving God and others…..again.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying we should say ‘yes’ to everything we’re invited to do. But I am suggesting we start being more honest with ourselves and ask this question….
Is my hesitance to step out and serve coming from a lack of calling or a lack of convenience?
How about you? Will you at least ask the “convenience” question before you say ‘no’ to what God may be calling you to do?
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
ALWAYS amazes me how, the lessons we think we are teaching, end up teaching us...dealing with Habakkuk today and how he questions God in trying to teach people a lesson to be just, to discipline and fairness and honoring people when we know of their dishonesty. God IS Just. He IS in control. and He DOES love us. Sometimes my questions about fairness reflect my temporary lack of faith. It is in getting from my head to my heart and actions that God is truly in control, can be trusted and will do what He says He will do, that I am learning today...For me Every day... the question box is bigger than the answer box...don't figure that will ever balance out...
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Why I’m Not More Public About My Faith (written by Donald Miller)
Occasionally I get criticized for being less public about my faith than others. This criticism always strikes me as odd because I’ve written six or seven books largely about faith, but nevertheless, I understand where it’s coming from. Many are willing to take public stands on issues, tweet daily scriptures, chime in on wide church arguments and so forth. I normally don’t, and that can at times seem as though I’m not willing to publicly identify my faith as loudly.
But nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, I think a public display of faith is fine and honors God unless that public display is really about generating a certain reputation in a religious community.
Many of us who grew up in the church understand how this works. People who are the most zealous often rise to the top in the small sub-culture of evangelicalism, especially in the microcosm of a given church. But moderation about such outward displays should be governed by scripture itself. Here is what Jesus says on the issue in the book of Matthew:
“Be especially careful when you are trying to do good so that you don’t make a performance out of it.”and
“When you do something good for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure – play-actors I call them – treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds.” and “When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom.”
Again, these aren’t the words of a preacher or a Christian writer, these are the words of Christ. (Matthew 6) The reality is, Jesus doesn’t need for us to put on a show. He doesn’t need for us to kneel in the end zone, engage in controlling conversations or argue theology over twitter.
Instead, there is power in quiet, private spirituality. If we want to see change, we can pray, and we can have one-on-one conversations. When we switch from a loud, showy public faith to a private, quiet faith we will find God begins to work and we don’t have to work as hard. This is a tough topic because it’s all about motives. Who am I to say whether somebody is sincere? I can’t. But God can. And He knows our hearts better than we do. For me, I don’t want to make a show of my faith. I believe it’s a sin and in direct disobedience to Christ. If I were a football prayer, I would not pray in the endzone. I’d pray before and after the game, or perhaps with other players. But I see a real problem with making a public show of faith.
So here’s a challenge: Try going one month practicing your faith in relative privacy. If you meet somebody you want to help, help them in secret. Rather than arguing, simply pray. Rather than fighting, pray for justice. And don’t tell anybody you’re doing it. Keep a journal and see what happens. My guess is you’ll get more “work done” for the kingdom by trusting it actually exists than a person does who trades on the values of God’s kingdom as social commodity.
We know this: God honors sincerity. He honors truth. Why tempt ourselves to have false motives? Let’s remove ourselves from those temptations just as we would any other sin. So where is the line for you? What’s the difference between a religious show and practicing your faith in community? Some things to think about…