Murder and Riots

What follows is not a political position statement. Ready for a completely different perspective of current events?

Obviously, no right-minded person is happy about what is going on right now.

The different perspective I bring is that it highlights how people react. It got me thinking about people who take an event like this from the mindset of “an activist”.

I don’t mean rioters, but people who want to help the situation. It highlights something I learned from a book called “Sacred Pathways”, by Gary Thomas.

The premise is that there are more ways to worship than just in church. Some folks are predisposed to serve Christ by addressing social injustice. Those who are moved to take action by helping, not adding to the problem, are to be commended.

Just remember the example we are given by Jesus is motivated by love, not hate.

Remember Praying for Revival?

Depending on where you went to church, you may remember when praying for Revival was commonplace.

If you are a church history buff, you know about some revivals that were awesome. It seems they all had one thing in common. They started with a small group of people praying fervently.

If this topic is unfamiliar, just google it. Or look up Azusa Street.

Today’s post asks a different question…

“Do you desire a “personal revival?”

A symptom may be just a feeling that your walk with Christ isn’t what you remember it was like at first.

Personal revivals also start with prayer.

I’ve produced an easy to consume slide deck called, Getting your prayers heard. It is free for the asking. Just let me know where to send it by asking in comments.

God bless, and look forward to a closer, more vibrant relationship with Christ.

P.S. – May I suggest you follow this blog?

Want to leave me a voicemail?

If I want to leave somebody a message, I don’t want to fill in a form. I want to leave a voicemail. Call me old school, it’s just easier.

My last post mentioned I found a piece of software to make it easier for people to contact me. I was challenged by having to embed the code. Finally gave in and hired help.

Victory! (Well partially) It is up and running, but only on my web-pages. Even the pro couldn’t get it on my email. The 3 Steps to Wholeness pages all have it.

If you follow this blog, you probably have the various pages. Maybe you should follow this blog?

Many of you will be getting a “Launch” announcement soon for the #3 Steps to Wholeness” discipleship course.

Have a Question or Comment?

I just found some software that lets people leave a voicemail on a website.

Don’t you just hate having to fill in a form, then hope somebody gets back to you? So keep an eye out for a button on this site.

I’m trying to embed the code now. But that is certainly not my strong suit.

Hope to hear from you.

Me, a Hypocrite?

Please forgive me.
I’ve been negligent about posting consistently.
This came to mind, embarrassingly, when I suggested to a colleague that they should post to their LinkedIn account more consistently.
I was instantly convicted in my heart of being guilty of the same oversight.
The virtual summit, called “The Christian Growth Symposium” that I am hosting got technically challenging enough to take my eye off the ball on this blog.
All I can do is promise to do better.
Thanks.

God is THE Source

God is our source, everything else is a resource.

(Dr. K. Shelette Stewart Convenenow.com/podcast)

My father, myself and both my kids are researchers. Before you can research somebody else’s work, there must have been someone who first did the search for that new data.

Just as there is search and research, there is SOURCE and then resource. People and businesses worldwide are looking for more resources. But let’s not forget to look first to the Original Source, God.

To help you accept that premise, I’ll refer to a scripture.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

So when you are trying to identify your calling, and pursue a life of purpose, doesn’t it make sense to start with the original source?

Motivational Gifts are Different than Spiritual Gifts

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I hope this clarifies a point of confusion…

We say we want to do the will of God. But often we are unsure of what that is for our lives.  

A useful guide is to be found in 1 Cor. 12:11

“But one and the same spirit is active in all these types, distributing to each as He wills.” 

This verse appears right after the listing of the spiritual gifts. I have observed that there is a great deal of confusion regarding the differences between the spiritual gifts and the motivational gifts. I hope to clarify this issue in this post. 

In the above scripture reference I would encourage you to take note of the word “Distributed.” 

Remember that this verse refers to the spiritual gifts. The distribution of these gifts are specific to the set of circumstances. Our God, the Great Orchestrator, knows what is needed and when. 

So, part of the answer to what should I do with my life has to do with being willing to receive and operate the spiritual gifts.

But we are not constantly given an unction, or desire to act in this way, are we? 

The key to understanding the difference between the Spiritual Gifts and the Motivational gifts lies in knowing that the Motivational Gifts are a permanent part of your design. This is evidenced by the segue between the spiritual and the motivational to be found in 1 Cr. 12:18

“But now God has placed in each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.”  

The analogy to body parts follows. An eye and an ear have separate functions, which stay consistent to their design. That is true of the motivational gifts. Since you are designed to perform a distinct function within the body, operating your motivational gift is automatically doing the will of God. (And you will find it is easier than doing whatever else you might think is the thing to do.)

So, to summarize, we have 2 guides as to what to do with our lives. When in the situation where you are called to do something that is specific to the time and place, or the person you are intended to impact, operating the appropriate gift of the spirit is called for. (The timeliness of the need is why it is so important to act on the calling immediately. As someone must has said, deferred obedience is disobedience.) 

But what to do with the rest of your life? 

Operating your motivational gift is how you fill in those gaps, staying in the will of God by so doing. 

If you are not familiar with what the Spiritual and Motivational Gifts are, see the next post.

“That Doesn’t Work for Me”

“That doesn’t work for me.”

I’m writing this post because I can’t stop the title statement from popping up in my mind. It was spoken by someone close to me. It was uttered in response to my comment, “Jesus wants to be in relationship with you.”

If I understood the person who said it correctly, it is a denial that we have a God who did more than “set the clockwork in motion.” The statement was offered more than once, by a person who acknowledges the existence of God.

I believe it conveys a very limited theology. I know it is a position that is held by many. It is not my intent to be critical. But I am sincerely concerned that it will lead to hearing, “I never knew you” when the day comes to meet your maker.

That is not a threat or a judgement, but only a true concern for the eternal destiny of anyone who excludes relationship with Christ from their lives.

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was meant to reconcile man to God. No matter what a person may hold as an image of God, the desire to be in relationship must be part of it. I can’t help but wonder what people who think this way think the bigger plan is.

In my limited experience, everyone who professes a “mental assent” to the existence of God, while holding that He is not involved in our lives, all have another thing in common. I’m going out on a limb, but here it is.

They all have a reluctance to accept scripture. Please forgive me if this strikes you as offensive.

So let’s talk about the veracity of scripture. I’m not going down the road of defending “inerrancy.”

Current culture supports many variants of arguing about how much of the Bible is accurate. Let’s not argue about mankind making errors in translation, or which versions of the Bible are the most accurate.

Let’s take another tack altogether. Instead of quibbling about each word, let’s consider how much of the scriptures have to be denied to hold the “uninvolved God” position.

Even if you just can’t reconcile the first 3 chapters of Genesis with your understanding of empiricism, read the rest of the first book. It reveals much more about the long term plan of God than just the beginning of things.

Beyond that, I’ll offer some other sweeping examples of what must be disregarded.

Almost all of what Jesus is quoted as saying refers to His desire to be in relationship. He saw His own mission as reconciling man to God. To seek and save that which was lost refers to the relationship between man and God, which was lost at the fall of man when sin entered into the picture.

More specifically, try this experiment. Take the book of John, and redact every statement in it that refers to Jesus and love. You won’t have much left, will you?

“I doesn’t work for me” belies an insideous flaw in thinking. Please comment if you think I am off base here. For me to say that I reject the vast majority of the scriptures is very different from saying there are some parts I think are erroneous.

The flaw is this. “What I think is more important than what God thinks”. Our culture has supported the incorrect view that we are more gods than God is God.

Personal preferences, the desire to have our viewpoints given more validity than the viewpoint of God, is preposterous.

Beyond the mere mental assent stance, comes faith in the simple fact that God is superior to us.

If He is not superior, He is not God.

I really would love to hear any comments that would help me better understand how an uninvolved God can be reconciled with scripture.

The Gift of Life

I don’t mean to turn this blog into a diary. But this example of giving is too great to go unacknowledged.

In a previous post I mentioned having received a liver transplant that saved my life back in 1996. All the following years I have been on immunosuppressant drugs to keep my body from rejecting the “foreign” tissue. For many patients these are tough on the kidneys. After 20 years of extended life, my kidneys succumbed to that stress and failed.

I have been on hemo-dialysis for about 2 years. During this time I have been on the transplant waiting list again. The waiting time averages 5-6 years. Thousands of people every year die while on the list. The need is so much greater than the list of registered donors.

This week I was informed that a friend has offered to do a living donation. I have to thank all the previous people who had offered but couldn’t pass the medical requirements. (They are very careful at the transplant center to not endanger the health of a donor.)

But this man is healthy enough to qualify. Glory to God!

I mention it in blog not just to thank him, but to discuss giving and being blessed. Let’s face it, this is not something most people would do. But one thing that I’ve learned from watching people give over the years, is that they are blessed.

I believe this man will be blessed in many mighty ways. You don’t give give just to get. But if you are open to receiving the blessings of God, the more sacrificial the gift, the more God takes notice that you are living with a loving heart. He loves that.

Have You Learned to Love?

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A small group of friends and I just finished going through this book together. While I recommend it wholeheartedly, it is the last video segment that I want to write about today.

In  it the author poses a situation where you are in front of God, giving account for your life. The only question He asks is…

“Did you learn how to love?”

Can I share a confession with you here? If I had to answer that question just a few years ago, I’m afraid the honest answer would be no. How can a man get into his 60’s without learning how to love?

All I can do is to be thankful that the love of Christ has finally softened my heart enough to sometimes see His children as He sees them.