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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WHY NOT RECYCLE OUR TRASH?

Have we not heard what God does?  Do we not know His great dynamic?  Did we not get the message that God does the amazing?  Still today?

I remind you of something you've always known but tend for forget.  God recycles the things that pull us down and makes fuel from those things that we can give aid to others.  Nothing is a waste.

Isaiah 53 is known as the Suffering Servant chapter.  It promotes Jesus as coming to earth to suffer enormously, immeasurably, so that indecent sinners (which would be all of us) could have life; both now and in heaven.  Suffering; the very thing no one wants.

But, we get the idea of misery....in abundance...don't we?  Pain is everywhere we turn. If we don't have it at the moment we can immediately list twenty people we know who do.  The world is in a world of hurt.

God is brilliant.  He shares His plan via the perception we see in Jesus.  He suffered for a reason.  He suffered to take on our sins and to set us free.  That's a huge secret. Jesus used his hurt to help others.

When we regard pain only as something from which we must find quick relief, we live in constant hunt.  But when we take the very thing that tends to shut us down and transform it into useful purpose, it suddenly becomes our fuel.  We take advantage of the very thing that meant to take us out.

So how does that work?  The most helpful friends you have are those who have lived in your shoes by experiencing hurt where you are injured.  The recovering alcoholic offers superior assistance to the those who hurt over their addiction.  The woman who lost a child of eight years old is far more productive in ministering to the next young momma who suffers similar loss.

We can either allow our misery to eat us alive by shutting us down or we can apply God's transforming power by using life's interferences which can thrust us into effective ministry to bless others who hurt as we once did.

Jesus is the Master at ministering to a world filled with agony.  He learned how to help by becoming just like us.  This is our secret as well.  Trials are not a waste.  These are our permeating fuel to offer strength to the weary.

May we have the will to let God recycle our pain-trash.  May He make us Suffering Servants since we will suffer anyway.  May we let our struggles be used to bless the entire world...now!

Monday, October 20, 2014

IF IT ISN'T YET, IMAGINE WHAT CAN BE

Sometimes....well often....many things aren't the way we wish them to be.

So what shall we do?

We have a choice of voicing irritation and complaint.

Or, we can express possibility and hope.

Both are effective; one may quench the spirits of others and the latter most likely will inspire.

We....shall decide to talk about potential and probability of good outcome because we can imagine.  We can't necessarily imagine what we can do; but we can fathom what He has the skill to do.

That....makes a difference in our day!

AS YOU WALK THROUGH THIS DAY

As you walk through this day be sure to tell God, Thank You.

Let neither discouragement nor celebration go by without telling Him you are thankful for His love and guidance within the very center of both.  Only believers would thank God for our times when they aren't going our way.

To express gratitude to God in all things is a powerful way to declare, Not my will but Yours.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

WHY EVERYONE SHOULD LIKE CHURCH

 I don't fit the mold of churchness.  Neither do I mind.  I didn't want to be a part of one.  It never crossed my mind that I would attend; let alone lead in any church settings.  And...I just love it!

I list my reasons for being crazy about church hoping it would encourage some who are contemplating or rethinking previous stances against it.  I hear ya.

  1. There is no greater system where one can engage in productive rebellion.  True faith is a rebellious one; not a tamed one.  Our Leader lost his life when starting the church.  We in it may appear quiet or weak when the opposite is true...if we dare move out in faith that bucks the cronie-ism scene.  A world is in gigantic hurt.  It needs help.  Daring believers endure to bring hope.
  2. One never quits learning.  When the Bible speaks of us being new in the Spirit day by day, it is very true.  I love the new reasons to hope, the new reasons to believe, and the new reasons to be needed.
  3. There is no deeper solution for the deepest pain.  People hurt.  We especially hurt over life's temporariness.  Eternal life is a fact.  Yet, the masses dismiss the idea and put off investigation regarding the most serious factor about them; their souls.
  4. It is engaged in the greatest power on earth.  Education, science, money, and political pull cannot/do not equal the power of the resurrection.  Each of these elements are significantly important.  Yet, they pale in comparison when it is faith (Romans 4:17) that can believe that the dead can live and that what isn't yet can be.  This is huge!  
  5. Every day is a personal challenge to make the church better by believing God deeper.  Each day is a new one.  Because Jesus is no longer confined to the grave and because his Holy Spirit gives plain people a new kind of unmatched power, we have reason to start over one more time and then again when need be.
Certainly there are things you don't like about church.  Me, too.  But the dynamic of the living God measuring out our days in defiance to generational habits, business odds and dark news is thrilling...simply exciting!  As long as mankind has existed, it has not discovered all there is to know about Him.  That's why He gets to be God.

So I want to say a word to some readers who are of some fame.  I get it when you would feel stirred to know about God.  You may wish to inquire but you don't want the word bandied about that you are searching.  I have worked with celebs for a long time.  You may email me at trush@memorialdrive.org.  Others will not know of your inquiry.

Please feel free to move into a seeking mode.  God has already died for you and is seeking you out.  I will be happy to cheer you on.


Friday, October 17, 2014

GROW IN PRAYER

Church members have run hurry and scurry for decades in service and ministry. Always hustling, these who are active are often viewed as the faithful.  We take faith matters seriously.  We care about church.  We care about people.  We want to see growth.  We are devoted workers.

However, a fundamental trait of Jesus seems to be easily side-stepped in some of our busyness.  That characteristic is devoted prayer.  Jesus wouldn't start anything, endure anything, nor finish anything without ardent time talking with the Father.

Mountains of books and articles address the subject.  It is central to the kingdom mechanism.  Yet, basically, our people don't.  We are highly opinionated.  We fume and panic over the actions of others.  Yet for the most-part, there isn't enough conviction in one's superior-sensed faith to be groomed in prayer.

This is surely an attack of Satan upon the very root of our faith.  We have fallen for the lie to base our success upon the visible; the things we can see and handle.  He will distract.  Irritate.  Annoy.  Disappoint.  And frustrate.  Anything he can do to keep us away from spending time with Father.

Satan will even allow us to succeed as long as we do not develop time in dialog with the Divine.

I encourage you to pray.  Pray with thanksgiving.  Pray in repentance.  Pray believing. Pray.

Talk with God as He is Father, Counselor, and Friend.  Visit with Him.  Tell Him your concerns.  Brag on Him....about Him....to Him.  Ask Him to take over your frets and fears.  Thank Him for street lights and rabbits that dart across a neighbor's lawn.  In other words, become comfortable with being on speaking terms with God.

Of course you will fumble in your wording.  Surely you will feel inadequate.  Do you think He does not understand us?  Our lack?  Our insecurity?  Our being...us?

Father isn't wanting to hear the many words we can compose in formal, stiff, and empty prayer.  He wants to walk with us.  He delights in hearing from His kids.  Prayer isn't rocket science.  It is relationship.  For heaven's sake, if you can't think of anything else, tell Him you don't know how to pray well.

If the time spent in worry and bother could be equaled in praise and prayer, lives would change immeasurably for the good.  May we be a people who spend more time learning to pray than dissecting the hang-nail matters which so easily torque us.

Grow in prayer.  Let it be a joy to spend time with the One who keeps your life moving forward.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WALKING WITH GOD DAY BY DAY

And....He walks with me and He talks with me...and He tells me I am His own.  Oh how we would raise the roof at my grandparents little Baptist church in Hitt, Missouri and later in Arbela when I was a young boy.  The grace-filled words we sang are always needed in our daily walk with God.

How do we approach the concept of walking with Him?

First, the very idea is a challenge because we can develop a rules mentality rather than relationship experience.  If not aware, God will become a game or a contest where we find ourselves trying to give all of the correct answers to a religious quiz rather than knowing Him personally.

So how are we to carry on a relationship; Him being divine and us being human?

Our best clue is found in Jesus.  He was both divine and human.  How he did and what he did gives us our best insight.  Let's see if we can pick up on a few traits which might be of help.

  1. Jesus prayed as a connecting relationship with Father.  Prayer was not a duty; but rather the means of dialog between the Two.  It was Their in-touch synchronization.  This spending time together kept their heart-connections in tact.  
  2. Prayer evidently wasn't a grocery list of needs.  I want.  I need.  I would like.  Please bless me this way.  And that way.  Jesus prayed about what God wanted and what others needed.
  3. Jesus taught that we are free to ask for what we would like on the basis that we yield to Father's will...and not our own.  
  4. A bond with God grows tighter the more we live thankfully.  Praying with thanksgiving is both meaningful and effective.
How do we transition from prayer rules to prayer relationship with God?  The possibilities are numerous.  Personally, I've moved from not caring for prayer (as a minister) to walking in contact with Him.

Progress in prayer increases as thankfulness increases.  When prayer isn't necessarily an official time but a way of life it seems God/man conversations take place rather than offering wishful words to the nearest ceiling.  God is very real; very alive.  He hears and He responds.

When I talk with God, I brag on Him to Him.  I thank Him every morning for street corners, for businesses in operation and for people...everywhere there are variations of good, hurting, lonely, or celebrating people on their way to work or to school.  Each day I list before Him the 47 neighbors that I have met so far in my three years on this street where I live.  I know them by name.  Only a handful know that I am praying for them.

And then the other side of this two-way relationship is that God speaks to us.  This action has been discouraged in our society by two factors; (1) unbelief in the Invisible God, and (2) irrational representatives of the kingdom whose talk is not backed by our walk.  Thoughtless chatter gives doubters the verification of our shallowness that they suspected all along.

At one time I doubted the line of God speaking to us.  But I have learned and I experience differently.  His Spirit may not speak in English terms; yet He has a way of sharing ideas and thoughts.  As an example, I have learned to hear from God regarding my sermon preparation as much as I have applied myself in study.  If the Spirit isn't leading, my sermons are boring presentations of a mere man.

When I walked by the visible only, I found ministry to be stifled in the man-made mode.  But when by the Spirit, it seems wonder and over-joy continues to flow.