Friday, March 24, 2017

THE NEED FOR BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE INPUT

Life is abundant if we will allow all of its unfolding circumstances and events to affect our walk.  A key word is all.  The tendency (or preference) clearly leans toward only the positive.  We tend to shun the negative as an interfering element that has no place in our day.  But something significant happens when abiding by only one or the other.

If one selects, even insists, upon the Positive only, a bratty attitude will permeate our daily experience.  Why?  Because not everything in any given day will go positively.  On the other hand, if we should function only from negativity, defensive selfishness continues; even escalates.  This is certainly no fun....for any of those trying to live around us!

So here's what I want you to gain.  Positive by itself sets us up for eventual struggle because life doesn't operate on Positive-only.  Negative alone grooms us for self-absorption.  The two together--I said, THE TWO TOGETHER--give us an amazing element.  That element is called Energy!

Lift the hood of your car.  Disconnect one of the battery (on the farm we referenced it as battry) cables.  Take your pick.  Disconnect the Positive or the Negative.  The result?  No power.  To get moving forward, both posts must be in harmony.  To eliminate one or the other says, You ain't goin' nowhere!

So keep in mind that for you to have a powerful day there must be the presence of both Positive and Negative.  Otherwise, we are mere battries but have no function, meaning or even calling.  Each of us deeply desires, I believe, to be productive.  Connect your Positives and your Negatives AND THEN YOU'VE GOT POWER!

You...are welcome!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A CALL OF JESUS THAT NEVER LOSES ITS POWER

When I was a little kid attending VBS at a very quaint little Presbyterian church in Granger, Missouri, our class learned to recite a simple slogan of sorts.  With our two hands interlocked with fingers inward, the recitation went something like, Here's the church.  Here's the steeple.  Open the doors and see all the people.  When the thumbs (doors) opened wide, six people (fingers--all from Granger) had packed the place!

While I'm driven with delight to connect with any who are not yet a part of a church, I wish today to draw your attention to the simplistic concept above; see all the people.

Would you be one of those church sticklers over matters of preaching style, music preference, clock boundaries when you are gathered as a church; but you don't see the need to interact with the people?  Why can it be heard from visitors that the church wasn't very friendly when the church feels just the opposite?  One, the visitor could be a critical sourpuss or, optionally, have been neglected.  Two, the members could be infatuated with greeting only those they know and have deep fear of greeting a stranger.  Both go on...in the very same assembly.

A call of Jesus that never loses its power is for us to have eyes to see any person we don't know and possibly say profound doctrinal things like, Hello.  How are you doing today?  The bigger the congregation the easier it is to hide from interaction with others.  We seem to believe that we are justified in ignoring those we don't know for surely somebody else knows them.

A call of Jesus that never loses its power is that every person matters.  If there is a glut of misunderstanding in society it is that too many believe that they are not important.  Bible stories consistently inform us that a fundamental need, which is always important, is to see people and then address them.  It builds value into their discouraged and intimidated hearts.

Every person is a big deal to God.  Granted, we can't possibly carry on meaningful conversations with everyone we see.  But we can step up the pace of intentional seeing rather than obvious glancing away in order to avoid meaningful encounter.  We are called to so love the world just as our Example did.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NO. IT'S NOT OKAY TO HAVE A FAITH JUST BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD

We are perpetually targeted to walk by sight; not by faith.  We count numbers because influence can't be tracked.  Accomplishments are more easily grasped than vision.  Such a stark trend has caused faith to subtly go stale.  Believers in Jesus have been transformed into believers in Christian theory coupled with distracting busyness.  I speak not from hopeless exasperation.  Rather, I voice a proposed reversal of practice which might bring the church a renewed and greater hope.

A culprit behind today's church propaganda is a doctrine most oft repeated, I have a faith that's just between me and my God.  How would I know such is said?  Well, for one, I hear it all of the time.  But, second, I once said it of myself...a lot.

Here's what has been lost.  Christianity is anything but a private matter.  Jesus didn't die in the shadows of a remote dark alley where others wouldn't notice.  Neither was he draped upon his cross decked out in a tuxedo.  No, Jesus was executed upon a high and public hill, naked, for all to see.  Not a top-hat; but a crown of thorns completed his wardrobe.

Jesus was public; not private.  And, we are to follow?

Much of Christianity has gone into hiding in plain sight.  We are here.  We have meeting places.  We have valuable activities and missions.  But the trend of our people in general is that when it comes to their faith; this is between them and their God.  That....isn't faith.  That's a dressy language which hides in fear of both engagement and involvement.

I want to be a part of the progress.  What can we do to reverse this deadening trend?
  1. First, we might consider that to follow Jesus will mean very personal painful moments.  To advance the Kingdom of God, there must be soldiers of the Cross rather than just participants of the ritual.
  2. To think about extending to others, rather than the preserving of self, would surely be both a scriptural theme as well as a meaningful reach toward our community.
  3. The back of self-serving, self-preserving legalism must be broken.  I live in a church world where squint-eyed judgment runs rampant while sensitive reach toward a world lost in darkness is completely dismissed by the former.  Oh, it's surely talked.  But, it isn't walked.
  4. There might be benefit to discarding the infatuation we churchers have regarding our specific religious name-brands.  Much is lost due to our incessant belief systems which always include that our group is the most correct while all others are silly for their doctrinal conclusions.  We are all silly.  We are all suspect.  We are all more weak than we are strong.  It is Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  As we grow in Him, we will move more efficiently toward important and accurate doctrine.
To have a faith that is just between us and our God is to have gone deaf to His plea that we take the Good News to every corner of the globe.  Thank you, those who live to do such.  You inspire us.  And, thank you, those who haven't maybe been the best at pulling this off; but your intent is to mature toward the goal of His higher calling.  I join you.  I want to improve.

May we reach the entire world with an eternity-shaking message that was certainly that of Jesus; EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT....BUT NOT EVERYONE, YET, HAS GOTTEN THE MESSAGE!



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WHEN LIFE SEEMS TO BE SO UPSIDE DOWN

I urge you to notice abundant life...right now.  Living isn't just for later.  If you think you will turn some magic corner and the temptations of worry and fret will evaporate, think again.  Therefore, I cheer you on to notice the wonder of now simply because there is incredible wonder to behold.

Some are never happy, never pleased, because they intend to get happy someday.  But, the day seems to be illusive because every day has enough trouble of its own.  What we want to do--must do--is to take perpetual inventory of the things going right.  And, everyone has many of those things.

Don't wait until your eyes grow dim before you begin to be thankful for sight.  Don't hold off on the tremendous privilege of hearing music or listening to your children talk until you experience hearing loss.  Too much gratitude is wasted on hind-sight.

If you were blind and could be made to see, would you spend your life griping about the potholes on your street?  If you were born deaf, and a magical procedure brought into reality a new sense called hearing, would you waste such a new beauty by bemoaning all of the negative news sources?  Or, would you find deep delight in the spectacularistic acoustics of tone levels and volumistic resonance?

See, anyone can find the what won't work and the what isn't going well.  Yet, when we enter the Kingdom of God, we gain a new perspective (Eph. 1:18) which alters everything in view.  It isn't that we no longer note the negative, the dark, or the downward spiral.  It is, though, that we see through its facade.  We see that hope is embedded; even in every cemetery.  What is isn't necessarily what's going to stay because the God-factor of faith sees glory is on its way.

When life seems to be upside down, such is the very moment to exert a counter-upside-down faith.  Otherwise, we are mere living pawns pushed and shoved by another's strongest mood.  Not us.  Faith reverses darkness.  Light comes into being.  We find that our reason to hope was legit after all!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

SET YOUR WINGS; NOT JUST YOUR CLOCK

Set your wings for your day ahead.  If you will do this, your day will find a lift that God creates; not you.  What's fascinating about this is that God is the One who figured this out.

Too often, we allow discouragement, even opposition, to take us down.  That's doing life according to the flesh-sensical approach.  However, the Spirit redirects.  Not only are we to refrain from running from difficulty, we are to use its very threat as a launching pad into higher effectivity and efficiency.

Don't let a bad day ruin your walk.  Rather, turn it on its head.  Make the bad moments serve you by lifting you higher than you would have gone without it.

Because of the very wise nature of God....we win!

Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, March 19, 2017

IT'S ALL ABOUT SIZING THINGS UP

God is so big.

We are so small.

Let there be no debate as to who is to be in control.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DEAR LEADER....

...I have you on my heart this morning.

Some of you wear the challenges of church leadership while others wear the garb of being a responsible neighbor.  Others maybe don the badge of a gentle momma or the importance of a corporate secretary.  Regardless, know that as you set out for your day two things are in your immediate future.

You are destined for His glory to fall upon you and you will most certainly encounter frustrating disturbance.  Both matters will likely fly toward the one heart on the very same day.

This is called living on earth.

Accept His glory.  And, run right at the turmoil.  In realizing both, you will become a Distraction Buster!  You will arise to become a Storm Stopper as your faith in God's inner activity will lead you to walk on top of the very things that try to sink you; drown you for lack of air to breathe.

Walk like a winner for, due to Him, we already are.