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Monday, February 24, 2014

Cooperative Interdependence

Scripture tells us that the Adversary is a liar and the father of lies.  Untruth and half truth is his domain.  Tell me if you have heard, said, or believed any of these...

 

"I'm a self-made person."

"Independently wealthy"

Stand alone

Rugged Independence

 

All of these and any version of these is a lie.  We don't give birth to ourselves.  We don't educate ourselves.  We don't gain experience in a vacuum.  We don't buy from and self to ourselves alone.  We didn't invent and don't enforce the laws and customs alone.    I don't grow my own food.  I don't make my own clothes.  I didn't  invent, design, or manufacture my own car let alone the roads and freeway systems.  And lastly, no part of this world did we have a hand in creating.

 

In Genesis 1, God says:  "Let us make man in our image."  Scripture teaches that God is triune (three persons in one being).  God is a community and each member of the trinity cooperates with the purposes of the One God.  From the beginning, God created man to be in relationship with him.  Man was created to be in community with God, with creation, and with woman.  In Ephesians, Paul uses the relationship between a man and his wife to relate the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church.  Even the concept of "church" (ecclesia) means assembly and specifically, an assembly of believers.  This is community.

 

Paul writes to Timothy, to Titus, to the believers in Galatia, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, and Colossae sharing with them about life in Jesus.  He models for us a relationship between a mentor/teacher and student.  He plays a peculiar role, called to it by Jesus, as a messenger (Apostle).  He is called and commissioned not by himself nor for his own purposes but out of a relationship with Jesus and for the benefit  of believers and in specific, Gentile believers, you and me.  In Ephesians 4, Paul explains that God gave us Apostles, prophets, Pastors, Teachers for the up building of the church.  In fact, at no point in scripture can anyone (nor should anyone) function on their own independent from God or from a community of faith.  The roles of examples, teachers, mentors, accountability partners, and even brothers or sisters sharing the journey together are all indications from God of the design for and our need to be interdependent.

 

What makes this interdependence work is the idea of cooperation.  Paul writes in Ephesians 5:21 that we are to submit to each other.  This is cooperation with each other.  God cooperates with us for his good will.  This led me to the title of this post, cooperative interdependence.  It is the only state and relational position a disciple of Jesus Christ can take.  My challenge and the challenge for you is to examine ourselves and hear the examination of others, to have relationships where others could examine us, to see where the lie of independence may be infecting what God wants to do in, with, for, and through us.

12:40 pm est 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Front Row Seats

Do you like sitting in the front row?

 

As a kid I liked sitting in the front row at movies.  I think it was being overwhelmed with the bigness of the screen and the action.  Almost like being sucked into the movie.  As an adult I like sitting in the front row to avoid distraction.  I want to give my full attention to what is taking place.  In observing others, the "front row" attraction appears to be prestige, possibly getting a little of the event on you (be it perspiration, dirt, or some artifact from the "actors"), or possibly making eye contact with someone who is admired and sharing a moment.

 

I still like being in the front row...especially when it comes to watching God work for all the reasons above.  I love being overwhelmed by Him, by His bigness.  I love being sucked in to what He is doing.  I don't want to miss a thing and want to give Him my full attention.  I love being one of His children and having the privilege of being close and knowing Him.  I want some of Him to rub off on me and to be associated with what He is doing.  I also hope to have a moment with Him and feel Him look me in the eye and at that moment He and I know!

 

Mohandas Gandhi wrote about this in his autobiography.  He was speaking of the life of the Brahmacharya as distinct and different from a life of mere discipline.  In particular, when watching life, the Brahmacharya look on so as to see the glories of God and to praise God (Chapter 8, page 184; Dover Press) as opposed to consuming life for their own enjoyment.  The Apostle Paul wrote that all that can be known of God lies plain before our eyes.  In fact, God has disclosed himself to us.  His invisible attributes, his everlasting power and deity are visible to the eye of reason in what he has made (Romans 1:19-20).

 

I have had such occasions in my life and recently.  Front row seats to seeing God work; sometimes in and through nature, sometimes in and through people, sometimes in ways that are unexplainable.  In all of them; however, I can see God's unmistakable presence and intendance. My breath is taken away.  My pulse is quickened.  My heart stops for just a moment and God and I make eye contact and we know.

 

I love sitting in the front row!

8:36 am est 


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