Thursday, October 30, 2014

WORDS OF CORRECTION THAT NOBODY WANTS

Life is wonderful.  It is fantastic.  And, it is often found to be overwhelming.

It seems a trait is strongly developed in society which is affecting all of us negatively.  I point to it should we be able to join forces in making, what I believe to be, a necessary adjustment.

I speak of correction.  Whether personal or painful or both, mankind basically does not stand for being corrected.  We have too many options which calls for our flight.  We don't have to take words that challenge or critique.

The pendulum has surely swung.  No one wants to receive hurtful words lambasting from squint-eyed loud-mouthed individuals who beat us with their accusations and their fierce anger.  No one wants to endure one more tongue-lashing.

Yet, what has happened in fighting off the uncontrolled monsters is that we, completely unaware, have built a resistance.  We will not tolerate being corrected.

II Timothy 4:2 urges us to preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  This passage is one of the first that I memorized and I took off like a rocket.  I had the reprove, rebuke, and exhort locked in.  Seldom noticed was the with great patience and instruction.

A colleague sat in my office yesterday and told me that there is a thing that I say that is damaging to the church.  While half of my statements had been true, I was causing a huge and misunderstood gap in our church.  I just hadn't thought of it.

We are living a life where we are in over our heads.  We don't need whiners and gripers nipping at us.  But we do need friends who will love us enough to point out how we might step up the good life God is giving us.

If one were to have the love and courage from the right heart to sit down with you face to face, would you receive correction with gentleness or with anger.  Would you listen? Or, would you defend?  Would you balk?  Or would you evaluate?

Surely we do not think everything we do or say is ideal; let alone perfect.  Therefore, we might need to be warned that our personal defenses can get in the way of living a robust life of faith and hope.  We need assistance.  We must make perpetual adjustments.

If we have become a people, and we have, who will bolt and head out to a new circle of friends because someone dared to have the love to correct us, we will be a very weak society.  Living only to be sure we are personally pleased by all of those around us will result in a deficiency.  To be without corrective words in our walk is to create a shallow and immature framework of a life.

When we can admit that we are in need of others' words which may sting a bit and surely challenge, it is then that we will most likely find fundamental progress being made which will prove much more productive.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DISCOVERING THE UNLIVED PARTS

Sue Monk Kidd has become a new author-hero.  In one book from the very beginning, I became a fan.  Consider the very first page of chapter One of her book When the Heart Waits:

For some months I had been lost in a baffling crisis of spirit.  Back in the autumn I had awakened to a growing darkness and cacophony, as if something in my depths were crying out.  A whole chorus of voices.  Orphaned voices.  They seemed to speak for all the unlived parts of me, and they came with a force and dazzle that I couldn't contain. They seemed to explode the boundaries of my existence.  I know now that they were the clamor of a new self struggling to be born.

I contend that as long as we live upon earth we experience a call to enter the unlived parts.  This is exciting and certainly challenging.  At no time do we reach our limit unless by voluntarily surrendering the privilege.

It was in his 80s when Colonel Sanders struck out with a wild idea of a chicken franchise.  So why not us?  Why not awaken to the wonder planted by God within ourselves?  Even the word retirement could be noted as completely one task in order to have time to focus upon another.

I believe we routinely experience unlived parts.  Our God is jamb-packed creative.  He can't seem to stop.  Look at the trail of new inventions, new ideas, new discoveries. This thread has not weakened with time; but it has grown exponentially.  This indicates the backing of a living God.

I urge you to be attentive to the unlived parts within you.  Awaken to perpetual wonder.  Take a cooking class, start writing notes to the discouraged, expand your horizons, or volunteer to assist someone who serves the community.  Go crazy living the unlived parts of your unique and energetic world.

The negative voices around us which seem to assure us we can't only have power as long as we give them permission.  When I wanted to preach, no one encouraged me other than the man and woman who converted me.  All others told me I didn't want to really do that.  I understood why; but they didn't possess the dream in my unlived parts.

You've got them.  A trip out of state.  An investment.  A reconnection.  A project.  A wish.  You have unlived parts.  We all do.  Whadya say we ponder living some of them?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ANN VOSKAMP COMING TO MEMORIAL DRIVE...SOON

              A CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA!

Compassion International will present The Gift of Christmas with author of One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp, Dove Award winner Ellie Holcomb and Amena Brown.  This amazing evening will begin at 6:30, DECEMBER 6, at our place...the Memorial Drive Church of Christ. We're excited!

                     DECEMBER 6....6:30

ANN VOSKAMP  
               AMENA BROWN  
                                ELLIE HOLCOMB
   
churchoffice@memorialdrive.org     918-838-1621

              Invite friends.  Give them a gift that encourages the heart!
                                   Tickets will be going on sale soon for $15.  A great gift!

Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Louis Cardinal Outfielder dead at 22

Oscar Taveras, along with his girlfriend, were killed in a car crash yesterday.  The news continues to rock the Cardinal Nation.  Stunning and seemingly impossible, death has snatched yet another from our presence.

Verses in the Bible such as life is just a vapor resonate so very clearly on this day after.  I am so glad God has put an end to death for He has insisted that this life is temporary as He calls us into a permanent life that will not quit.

Colossians 3:1-3 would seem so meaningful this early morning as we are called to hide our lives in Jesus who defeated the grave.  To be buried in him in baptism (Romans 6:3-5) places each of us into the temporary grave of Jesus.

Life is many things.  One of them is temporary.  Regardless of class, rank, and status, each of us just must invest our own souls in the One who beat the death rap.

May Oscar's family and friends know that we celebrate his young and successful life.  He was a sensational rookie.  May he rest in peace.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

BEWARE OF THE HERD MENTALITY

We must be ever so on guard that we don't form mistaken conclusions because of the crowd mentality.  The crowd called for Jesus to be crucified.  They were caught up in...well in caught up-ness.  But they were not being lead by individual conviction of truth.

Reality has a way of being blurred by bias.

These calling for Jesus' death had that herd mentality of moving with the group for it all seemed to be so right.  They were caught up in the moment; but not from knowing accurately the truth of the matter.  Hot under the collar...they all were driven to extreme measures.

One of the truths Jesus would teach us is to stand for what's right which will very often find each of us alone.  Contagion of irritation by a herd of people does not reveal the truth.  We must be aware of this.

Even as the church-herd moves about the landscape, we must constantly ask ourselves if we do what we do because God calls for such.  Or, are we playing into the hands of the church-crowd philosophy?

Be strong and courageous was not just a phrase out of Joshua's past.  It is to be within our hearts; even when we feel quite alone in our convictions.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

THE EXPANSE OF GOD

God.

We marvel.  We shudder.  We search.  We cry out.  We receive.  We enjoy.

Or....do we?

Have we the Living God who moves about in both complete stillness and break-neck speed simultaneously?  Or, have we a god whom we have created to fit our wants, needs, beliefs, and religious moods?

The latter is so prominently possible that this could explain why a significant number of very good people say they don't believe in God.  Could it be they would believe Him if ever there was a chance they would experience the Living God over the managed, cut-out, flannel-graph, we-gotta-keep-him-happy god?

I am still learning to be wowed by God!

How many things are there to know, to study, to examine about Him?  How many...millions of fibers and specks and molecules of God information can there be? Every time I learn something new about Him, it seems I've taken a step backwards as such information calls for my undoing of a few things I had misunderstood to this point.

Especially in doctrine are to be nudged more toward Jesus and less toward what the church herd insists we believe.  And especially in systems we are to be attentive to the yet undiscovered manners in which our lives may be enhanced beyond today's knowledge.  And especially in the range of the power of the Cross are we challenged to grow in understanding of the dynamic of the event.

Especially....in so many levels and zones and ideas.

We pass tests and move on to junior high school.  We pass deeper more expansive tests and move on to high school.  We pass more tests and go on to college.  We pass, indeed, more tests and move on to employment where we have specialty tests in order that we qualify.  Life just keeps unfolding with new ideas.

God's ideas are never exhausted by man's conglomerate mindset.  We are always wonderfully short on truth because the real God is so massively, undetectably Intelligent.  We are called to approach Him, seek Him, and learn of Him.  Yet, we will never come close to knowing everything about God.

Our real work is to believe Him.

The expanse of God is so....much!

Enjoy the sheer wonder of believing Him!

Friday, October 24, 2014

FAITH: A NEW WORLD ZONE

Faith, as long as we have researched it, remains cutting edge mystery.

We pushed it, pulled it, begged it, and promoted it.  Still it eludes and evades.  It seems....well....it surely seems to be an authentic dimension of God.  Therefore, note that this will be a huge challenge before our eager hearts.

Man is always in a pinch and faith is always God's call.  I wonder, though, if we have taken a higher divine element of the spiritual and reframed it to lower human management in the flesh.  Faith like Abraham's of not knowing where he was going can be reviewed goalless as well as irresponsible.

Thus, we bring goals and responsibilities to the table with hopes of being in sync with the Vibrant Lord who will get bigger things done for us than if our going had been without Him.  The tendency, from man's quarters, can be that God will align with our vision and support our mission.  The reverse is significant for life effectiveness.

This differs from man's abiding by His calling.

Calling.  Now there's a Bible term for us.  When we insist that we do Bible things Bible ways, I don't recall this word being bandied.  No.  It wouldn't fit our obsession with knowing where we are going.

Faith is a tremendous challenge before us.  It is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.  Faith moves forward without verification that it knows what it's talking about.  Believing is movement without proof.

When we develop a sense--and faith is surely a sense--aligned with the assurance and conviction mentioned above, we are in a new world zone.  Faith isn't regulated by a clock, a paycheck, or a formula.  It functions only by the hands of Almighty.

When man moves by faith he steps out of explanational safety and into wild mystery.

We want things.  We want children to know God.  We want churches to thrive.  We want very noble things.  The good news is that God wants these for us.  Our challenge is that much of the time, if not attentive, we will try to provide a new kind of world operation by forcing it into an old world form.

Faith is a new kind of world zone.  May we have the interest, the awareness, and the courage to enter in.