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Friday, February 26, 2010

Rocks, Donkeys, and Sheep Dogs

On Sunday, February 21st, I was introduced to Journey Church as the latest member of the Pastoral staff.  I am honored and excited to serve in this capacity.  I have no qualifications (externally) for this position but take hope in three things...

1.  God can speak through Rocks and Donkeys, He can probably use me.
In Numbers 22 (v.21-33 - v28), God opens the mouth of a donkey to communicate with a hard headed man.  In Luke 19, Jesus tells the religious leaders that the stone would cry out if people were told to hold their tongue.  If God can use donkeys and rocks, I may be usable as well.

2.  He is the Shepherd.  I just have be smart enough to be an obedient "sheep dog".  He says "go", I go.

Pray I am as good and as usable as rocks, donkeys, and sheep dogs in God's hands and thanks to Denny and Journey for the opportunity to be used.

10:42 am est 

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Conondrum

Proverbs starts...
 "The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles."
A "conondrum" is a puzzle, a riddle.  The particular conondrum that has captured me is time.

There are 60 minutes in an hour.  Never 59.  Never 64.  60.  Given this "fact" there are 1440 minutes in a day, 10,080 in a week, 524,160 in a year, and 38,263,680 minutes from the time you are born until you turn 73.  No matter what you do, there will never be more.  You cannot manufacture time.

Here's the conondrum, we must "make" time.

This phrase doesn't speak to the manufacturing of minutes nor does it have anything to do with rotation of planets.  It does speak to priorities and motives.  "Making time" is establishing that there are some activities for which we will set aside this most valuable resource (time) realizing we will never get those minutes back. 

More than money, more than talent, more than any other resource, our use of time reveals our awareness of and our priorities in this life.  I can make more money.  I can learn new skills.  I will never have more than 60 minutes in an hour.

God gives us all the time we need to do all that He asks of us.  For us to say, "we don't have time" is to call God a liar or to confess we have the wrong priorities or simply that we aren't very good stewards of this most precious resource.  Take your pick.  :-)

Our challenge as disciples is to discipline and educate ourselves so that we do those things that God requires of us first, before any and everything else.  In Matthew 6 we are promised that when we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven all that we require will follow.  Get our priorities straight and everything fits together.

Solving the puzzle of time is a matter of setting Godly priorities and determining to do those things first.  It is the "enduring" (see James 1) of being human to make ourselves do what we by nature don't want to do.  It is the process of being perfected.

My prayer for all of us, myself included, is that we would take every minute captive and use it in a way that fits God's priorities, brings honor to His name, and allows Him to delight in us.

2:38 pm est 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old and New
Luke 5:36-39

KN paraphrase...
You don't patch old clothes with fabric from a new garment... You ruin both.  You don't put new wine into old wine skins.  It will burst ruining the skin and the wine.  Old wine is good.

This parable of Jesus' was told just after being questioned by the religious establishment as to why He and his disciples did things differently than those who had come before them (fasting)... different from those similar to them (John the Baptist) and different from those unlike them (Pharisees).  I puzzled over this parable in prayer and wanted to share what I came away with.

There is one Gospel.  There is one God.  There is one Word.  There is one way to God. 
There are multiple approaches to worship and service.

This parable implies that new methods are for new works.  It is a mistake to take a tradition and try to "modernize it" or change its mission.  It is what it is and it came into being for a reason.  God raises up and God tears down.  I am not speaking about doctrine nor obedience to God.  If a tradition errors in these areas, God's Word tells us, as brothers, to set about restoring them in a spirit of meekness (Galatians 6).

I am referring to the "work" and "personality" of a tradition.  I watched fellowship after fellowship fracture over the singing of hymns or choruses.  This is new wine in an old wine skin.  I have seen believers torn from their fellowship because of a change in "emotional" nature of worship or because of a change to the work being performed by a church or because a pastor was "fired".  These are attempts to patch an old garment with new fabric.

This isn't to say that every growing of the church through the division of a fellowship is bad.  Since the church is organic and grows, it will continue to multiply.  Since God is god, and calls whom He will to the whatever work He wills, the fellowships and ministries will continue to change and emerge.

The fundamental difference is who leads the change...God or man.  There is value in traditional approaches.  The "old wine" is good.  There is a need for new to replace what is gone or what is no longer usable.  These are issues for God to decide and for us to be obedient in responding to.  As such it is critical for church leaders (pastors included) to be sure of their motives and of who is calling them change or who is calling them to stay the same.  In either case, to not follow God is a mistake.
8:24 am est 

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