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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Distracted By God
I'm convinced I have Attention Deficit Disorder.  I believe I am responsible for passing it on to my boys.  I can get distracted by simple things and I can be distracted by profound things.  It is a fact I have come to terms with.

I noticed in my reading the other day (Book of Acts) that Jesus' disciples could get distracted as well.  I can relate.  In Acts 1:9-11, Jesus is being lifted up to heaven after his resurrection.  The author records that the disciples we gazing "intently".  Certainly that was an event that would have captured my attention!  What made it interesting to me was the appearance of the two men robed in white.

"Men of Galilee, why stand there looking up into the sky?" (Acts 1:11 REV)

The disciples were distracted.  They had been distracted by God!  They were witnessing the supernatural.  Certainly this is worthy of our attention!  Isn't it?  And yet, we are confronted as the disciples were with the question: "Why stand here looking up...?"

They had been given instructions to execute.  They had a mission they had been given.  As profound as it was that Jesus was being lifted up to heaven, they had to get back on task.  I believe this was the purpose of the two messengers.

I find myself (and maybe you do too) reflecting, reminiscing, possibly yearning for a time/event/ or experience that has passed.  It could have been something profound and spiritual.  The point is, it is passed and I (and you) have been given instructions and a mission.  We need to get back on task.

When Jesus told one of his disciples to "...let the dead bury the dead..." (Matthew 8:21-22), I think He (Jesus) could have been saying that the past is passed.  There isn't anything we can do about it. We live in the present and need to occupy our minds and our activity with the mission and purposes of the present.  We need to stay on task.

What distracts you?  The past?  The future?  What may or may not occur?  As believers, we can and should help each other "stay on task".  God's Word gives us our instructions and our mission.  Today is the day and now is the moment for us to act in.  Find a "Friend" (a fellow disciple) to help you stay focused and on task.
2:33 pm edt 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Knowledge and Ignorance
Knowledge:  Possessing facts and information ("2+2=4"); Familiarity ("I know you"); awareness ("I know what is going on").

Ignorance:  The absence or lack of knowledge.

I took great joy in something I read the other day.  Jesus was talking with God and was thanking Him that He chose to reveal His truth to the simple and not the "learned and wise" (Matthew 11:25).  What made this a "great joy" is the realization that I am simple or if you prefer ignorant or maybe better stated not "learned and wise" as this world measures it.  I understand that there are things I am not going to know (Acts 1:7).  There are things I am not designed or permitted to know (Genesis 2:16-17).  There are things I can't bear knowing (John 16:12).  In my understanding this makes me ignorant.  There is knowledge that I lack or that is absent from me.  This God ordained ignorance is different than being rebelliously ignorant.

The Bible tells us of those who choose to be ignorant of things they CAN and SHOULD know (Romans 1:19-23; Romans 10:3; 2 Peter 3:5; Galatians 3:1).  This kind of ignorance falls under the heading of stupid and foolish.  This kind of ignorance has no place in a disciple of Jesus Christ.

One of things I am learning about being a disciple of Christ is that the things I can and should know (Romans 12:2 - "...the good, the acceptable, and the perfect will of God."), should be the focus of my study, meditation, and prayer.  The things I am not going to know, wasn't designed to know, and can't bear knowing are better left to God.  This is one way our lives can be characterized by God's peace.

We can't change yesterday.  We don't control tomorrow.  We aren't responsible for God's timetable.  We aren't designed to learn about or know all the evil that Satan and man are capable of (this is one reason I choose not to watch the news or read the newspaper).  We can't support knowing all that God knows.  These things are ordained for God to deal with.... not me.  I have permission to let them go, to ignore them so I can focus on what I should know (God, His Word, His will, His ways, and His people).

There is a place for both knowledge and ignorance in the disciple's life.  God has defined the place for each.  In this is peace.  How are you managing the balance of knowledge and ignorance?  Are you experiencing the peace of God?  Would you like to?  Send me a note...
11:54 am edt 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Watching God Work
I was reading in Isaiah this week.  I got stopped in Isaiah 30.  Check this out...
Verse 1:  Carrying out plans that aren't God's.  Forming alliances that are prompted  by His Spirit.
Verse 2:  Looking for help from the sinful in this World (Symbolized by Egypt).
Verse 15:  In repentance and rest is salvation.  In quietness and trust is strength.

I spent a lot of time early in my ministry trying to "do for God".  I planned.  I plotted.  I researched the methods and techniques used by the best in the business of this world.  I worked hard, pushed, pleaded, coerced, and at times threatened others into pursuing what I believed was God's plan.  It landed me in disobedience, depression, dissension, disappointment, and ultimately left me disconnected from God and others.

If we are going to be compelling as a community of believers, as disciples of Jesus Christ, it will be God's message delivered God's way through God's channels in God's time.  So what are we to do?

Isaiah relays God's message:  "In repentance and rest is your salvation".  The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12 that we are to "work out our salvation".  I want to link this to the "repentance" of Isaiah's message from God.  Our work is changing and exchanging our direction for God's.  Paul told the believers in Rome (Romans 12:2) that "transformation" was the goal through a renewed mind and that we were not to pursue "conformation" to this world order.   Jesus tells in Matthew 11:30 that his direction ("yoke") is easy and what he asks of us ("burden") is light.  I relate this to the "rest" from Isaiah's message.  To restate it in my words:  "In changing and exchanging my ways and thoughts for God's and in submitting to Jesus' direction and "to do's" is my salvation. 

Isaiah finishes verse 15 with our strength being found in quietness and trust.  Sometimes we can say too much.  In my consulting, sometimes it is better not to know all the answers and allow our partners and customers to provide them or discover them for themselves.  So it is with God, it doesn't matter what we know and understand.  What matters is what God knows and what He asks us to put our faith in.  This is what enables God to act in and through us... our faith.  In this way God gets the credit and ultimately what is accomplished is God sized.

What are you trying to accomplish?  Who are you looking to for shelter, counsel, guidance?  Is more coming out of you than is going into you?  What do you believe in enough to act out?  Or better yet, what do your actions reveal about what you believe?

Share your thoughts with me.
11:37 am edt 

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Am I Enough?
Do you ever wonder if you are enough?  I do.  I wrestle with the fear that someday the people around me are going to figure out I don't have what it takes.

The truth is... I don't.

Jesus asks the same question of us but from a different point of view.  His point of view isn't "do I have what it takes?" rather "Will you allow me to be all you need?".

So many times in our lives, as disciples, we recognize a need for Jesus but also want to add other things as a source for our needs.  We want Jesus AND career success.  We want Jesus AND wealth.  We want Jesus AND a good marriage.  We want Jesus AND health. 

Any master, other than Jesus, will be ruthless in regard to the demands made of us.  Jesus told us his burden on us would be light and the direction he gives easy.  We tend to want to complicate life by adding other "masters" into our lives in addition to Jesus. 

Jesus wants to know if he, and he alone, is enough.  What do you think?
8:50 am edt 

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