Saturday, September 27, 2014

WE CAN DO MORE THAN WE CAN DO

I live charged!

Riddled with insecurity and, therefore, filled with hesitation, God has broken open an entirely new kind of world for me.  The transition from fear to faith is, indeed, driven by His majestic move.

I love God.  I love to think about Him, wonder about Him, and imagine Him.  He can do anything He wishes.  He calls all of us to leap into His context for He is able.  He is able!

Ability is to be treasured.  God has ability to boost us.  As a result we can do more than we can do.  This is not true because we train exceptionally well; but because we believe He is exceptional.

Each week proves what I'm not.  Yet, each week also verifies that the ability lies upon God's shoulders.  And...He has welcomed us to join Him in His mission.

We get to be more than we can be.  We get to do more than we can do.  We get to participate in the wonder of God because He loves to display His handiwork!

Therefore, whatever storm is tossed our way, we are assured God has never met His match.  We need not fear.  We will want to keep our eyes wide open because He can do things we have yet to dream.

We can do more than we can do because God is our Father.

Ephesians 3:20-21 will always make one's day.  Let it frame yours!

Friday, September 26, 2014

IDEAS FOR EFFECTIVE PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP


  • Every innovation has an expiration date.
  • Everything that is currently in place began as a challenge to the status quo in a previous generation.
  • What's ugly now was beautiful then.  
  • What feels irrelevant now was cutting edge once upon a time.
  • We are foolish to assume our ideas are transgenerational.
  • We are equally foolish to assume that we will intuitively be able to sniff out the need for change in our own organizations.
  • Any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.
  • The problem is much deeper and more complex than inflexibility or stubbornness.
  • It's a systems problem.
  • Consequently, change is rarely perceived as a solution.
  • In most cases it feels like an interruption.
  • So yeah, just about everything in your current "system" is conspiring against you.
Each of the above statements is from the mega-effective church builder Andy Stanley.  

We want the church to go well.  God wants it to go far.  At a very key--the key--point in history of all of God's immeasurable work, He came through the back door of success.  He took out "the" key player in His outreach plans.  

His Son was executed.  

The Pure Hope of the world was taken out.  

The darkness in mid-day was stark and shocking.

Eternity gasped.

God was more than living on the cutting edge.  He framed a rescue model on the dying edge.

It matters not how old we are nor how long we have served, God will lead us day by day into the ever and always new.  Brave and bold ideas will one day be just like the man-process of aging; old, weary, and very tired.

The lost of this enormous creation cannot afford for us to live lethargicly  rather than largely.  We must have soldiers willing to risk life and link to our shining past to the most current and brighter presence.  What we speak of today as new in the church will one day be hampering the same church due to age.  

God's process for life will always baffle the best minds in leadership.  

Yippee!  We will, therefore, never exhaust the Creator's brilliance.  Our job is to stay tuned!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

LEARN TO BE ADVANTAGED BY DIFFICULTY

Stumped.  So much of my earlier days were spent shut down.  I did not know how to proceed when faced with opposing circumstances or people.  I lived too much of my life both negative and feeling defeated.  I did not know these moments were for my advantage.  No one had told me or if they did I didn't believe them.

E. Stanley Jones' The Divine Yes turned my insecure world toward a new home-front of managing conflict; mostly within myself.  II Corinthians 1:18-20 is The Divine Yes. Therefore, Jones' words resonate.

I have learned that if you are blocked on one road in life, you can always find another that will open up to you.  If you can't go here, you can go there.  We don't have to be afraid for if we can't do this, we can do that.  They blocked Jesus by not receiving him for his face was set to go to Jerusalem.  

The disciples wanted to call down fire, but Jesus just went to another village.  We can always go to another village.  Don't bear your oppositions; use them.  There may be a pause in my program, but a pause in music is music in the making.  So every pause can make us tougher and more mature.

We can learn to take the initiative, like the airplane that goes up against the wind, using the wind to lift it off the ground.  "If life throws a dagger at you, take hold of it by the handle and cut your way through opposition."  This is the secret.

Breakthrough!  Breakthrough!

Some thirty years later I continue to find extreme and productive delight in actual factual hope in all things.  I had never dreamed this possible.  It is more than possible; it is reality.  Learn to be advantaged by difficulty.  Jesus blazed the trail.  Walk on it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ORGANIZED OR ORGANICIZED?

While the church of the Bible is often seen as a work in the wild, the church this current age develops seems to be more like a cool walk in the park.  Two different ages reveal very different results; each claiming to fit the Word of God.

There are certainly many things going right in the church.  Too, a very exciting element is that regardless of tenure even the most proficient and the most devoted are found to be lacking compared to the stature of Jesus.

I find this to be an exhilarating in challenge.  The longer we are in the church the more excited we find ourselves as our concept of God increases as our faith grows.  We must be alert to His cutting-edge call for possibly our ears have grown dull from repetitive church-life.

Howard Snyder is credited as saying, Church growth is a matter of removing the hindrances to growth.  The church will naturally grow if not limited by unbiblical barriers.

Organized or organic?  This seems to be a puzzling matter which might flush out some of the unbiblical barriers which have caused the church to become actively stagnant. We make renewed efforts to be better organized.  Organic?  When was the last time you heard it said in any meeting, We just must get better organicized?

So what would this look like?  Organized we get.  Whether we succeed at it, we get it. Move pieces to the puzzle here and rearrange personnel there.  Reorganization is an effort to pump new blood into an established system.

Organic, on the other hand, would seem to be a natural-according-to-the-Spirit process.  Prayer, mystery, anticipationary faith, linked with ultra-confidence in Spirit activity would seem to fit the parameters of organic.  We participate (walk by faith) while expecting Him to take surprise routes to effective results.

Organization can become, to some, merely one more god; even a more see-able god. Organic in style is an inward ability to go with the flow of God; we plant, we water, yet only God on His terms gives the increase.  His giving will often be from the strangest of reservoirs that man's organizational approach would have never deemed probable.

The former tries to give assurance to each step in the process.  The latter goes out not knowing where we are going.  The latter is the full force of faith.

Finally, organization has an ability to take the man-fear away.  Organic procedures embedded in the Spirit tend to lead us to put  God-trust in motion.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AMBITION CAN BE A DISTRACTION

Of course we draw with admiration to those among us who have great zeal for life. And, too, those of aggressive nature who dream big seem to be some of my more glorious heroes.  These elements, however, can become a serious distraction if not aware of subtle pitfalls.

On the run is more than Mobil oil's slogan.  It is society.  While we often voice complaint, the moving pace of our days and nights is what we enjoy.  We are about the addiction of perpetual movement.  We are about activity.  We equate mobility with success.

Stillness, on the other hand, can be assumed blatant laziness if not irresponsible indifference.

God's children must balk at our busy lifestyles.  We must stop the Ferris Wheel and settle down.  To be still seems foreign to any who are bent on serving God.  The massive world has deep need and we each feel quite puny in our approach to bring relief.  Due to our compassionate hearts we tend to step up the pace over first sitting alone with Father to absorb the divine from a pure spiritual base.

Truth be told, ambition is often a distraction which keeps us out of deeper relationship with God.  We don't/won't take the time to be quiet so that He can get a word in edge-wise.  We are on the run.  Devotion to helping others is the name of our game while often we have failed to be filled with His Spirit.  We are found to be running....on empty.

Michael Wells makes a statement which seems...well...wrong.  Here is a great secret: when we are in the perfect will of God, we hear and feel nothing.  Yet, this comment is important.  Stillness is His focus.  We are simply His.  There is no stimulation nor is there need for it.  We are simply wonderfully in God's presence.

Psalm 46:10's Be still and know that I am God seems to feel weird.  That's it? Shouldn't I be moving; roaming the earth as a representation of His Son?  Of course. And when we evaluate His Son's walk it is not obscure teaching that Jesus spent very much time alone, immobile, being near Father.

There is dire need for us to develop restful relationship with our Father.  He yearns for us to be present in mind, heart, and soul.  We struggle to take a break from the phones, emails, demands, and schedules.  Rest isn't rest for often it is bombarded with things waiting for us to get done.  

With a church-world full of whistles, bells, missions, and programs, it is up to each of us to hear His call for personal relationship over our bent on keeping the plates-a-spinning.

So how do we stop it?  How to we get off of this non-stop cycle?  Do it.  Let the phone ring.  Let the FB world go on without our watchful eyes.  Let the church do its bountiful labors at times without you.  You rest.  You'll be back.  You'll be serving so that others can rest.

Ambition can be a distraction.  No.  It IS a distraction for far too many when we trust our efforts more than we trust His presence.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

BEING CRITICAL OF CHURCHES IS NO EXCUSE TO AVOID THEM

I surely understand any who just can't take churches and church people.  We are simply weird, even mean, in places.  The one thing we seem most consistent in is probably our inconsistency.  Therefore, due to the latter, the multitude feels they deserve a pass.

Not so.

Have you ever heard of car wrecks?  Any resulting in death?  Everyday?  So may I inquire, did that stop you from learning to drive?  And did you approach such with great enthusiasm?

Again, did you ever hear of a school teacher who was rude, unfair, and biased?  Did you ever take a class from him or her and leave discouraged?  And, did you believe that because this person was ridiculous that Math or Economics or Social Studies was also just as absurd?  Do people gauge the validity/accuracy of a subject by poor instruction?

Regarding the medical field, would you know of the term Quack?  When stricken with an ache or an illness, does society avoid the medical field at large because of the many Quack-a-holics posing as reputable physicians?

No.  A thinking people does not avoid the subject in any field; even when one may target those in the field who are dismal failures.  We seem not to behave this way with one exception; religion.  In this zone we easily become uneducated, even whimsical, experts.

Referencing automobiles, education, and the medical system, we do our homework. We train to drive knowing that we must be alert to potential accidents.  Never do we bail from learning because of an inadequate instructor by concluding all education is both delinquent and stupid. In the medical profession, we inquire who's good; who isn't.

We face each of these potential challenges with brain and heart.  We have an innate capacity to sort the good from the bad and the ugly.  We then walk away from the slackers and move toward the informed.  Never do we dismiss a topic because of the silliness of the representative.

Why cannot society do the same with faith?  Why the dismissal with a shrug because we find easy excuse to claim fraud or quack?  Why do so many feel this one area can be given no attention, no study, no research?  Each individual deserves better responsibility from him/herself.  Death, dying, and eternal life is worth research before we just irresponsibly reject with smug or snarky indifference.

I work in ministry.  I grasp the bombardment of negative accusations toward religion. I agree with many of them.  We are a people of faith who are stuck, strangled, and stranded by things we claim as coming from God that He never said.  Guys like me have made faith way too hard.  We deserve being questioned.

However, God is not a fraud.  Jesus did die for every individual; history alone supports this as truth.  Calendars are based upon his birth.  The Holy Spirit is our divine supportive Friend.  These are not fake.  These, though, go without serious study by the masses.

Please, I can't think of anything more devastating than one who would waste their very own soul simply by ignoring the subject.  Devoted to risking to drive?  Yes.  To getting an education?  Yes. To being medically treated?  Yes.  Yet no backbone to research the one zone (the only zone) which will affect them for eternity?  Grave mistake.

Reject God if you will; but please do so because you have studied to find Him incomplete.  Do not waste your inner-most truest being.  The Jesus-life isn't a racket as many would parade it to be.  He is the true hope of authentic life; not just for later, but for now.

Personally, I work in a zone that connects with wonderful people who had neither interest nor time for the God-show.  Until....until they lay on their deathbeds.  Then things change.  Criticism, anger, need for getting ahead, worry over things that didn't matter seem to melt out of existence.

In her finals days, a lady asked me, Why would I wait so long to think about God? Facing one's death knocks the props of rejection out from under everyone.  Love fills their speech.  Compassion resonates. Belief arises.

I cheer you on.  Experience this God-dimensioned life for the rest of your life; not just when you are dying and conclude then that there is no one you can turn to except the One you make have either mocked or ignored.  God loves every person.  Believe Him. He is always waiting and welcoming.


Friday, September 19, 2014

QUIET OUR SPIRITS. RELAX OUR NERVES.

I read these words this morning and feel certain they would bless you.

We poor human creatures are constantly being frustrated by limitations imposed upon us from without and within....Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give.  Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down.  There is simply not enough time to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicate we are capable of.

....How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.  Eternal years lie in His heart.  For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.  God never hurries....Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.  For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast.

Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.

A. W. Tozer