In ancient times, God tested His people’s love for Him. It is recorded in Deut. 13:3 “The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
It is a pretty typical human response to feel threatened by this, unless of course we are actually passionately in love with our God!
What if the only way to avoid sin and deception is to be deeply in love with Jesus? In reality it still is… It is only deep and real love for Jesus that will draw His people together and send us out to usher in His kingdom.
John 17:23, “So, allow Him to test us today and may it drive us closer in to His embrace.”
Are we a good judge about whether or not our actions are selfish or selfless?
What does it mean when we say things like, “This is not about me” or “I’m really thinking about what is best for you in this…“?
Are we a good judge about whether or not our actions are selfish or selfless?
The other day I read something about a selflessness that is born out of a deep awareness of who one is and what they are supposed to do. I found the idea very intriguing as it seems that in many of our relationships, we often misunderstand someone who is secure about those issues as arrogance. I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” It is actually self centeredness and pride that lead us to fear. When you and I are completely full of God’s perfect love, we are free to fully embrace who we are and we can live securely in the life mission He has designed for us to accomplish. We can then actually bring our best to our relationships and the mission we have been given.
God is still the God we read about in The Bible. He is also the God that we know and experience by the Holy Spirit. And He is Jesus who revealed who God really is by becoming a human being and who revealed to us how to live as human beings in a deep friendship with God…
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the question, “What does God want?”
By that I mean; “What would cause Him to feel amazing today?”. God is still the God we read about in The Bible. He is also the God that we know and experience by the Holy Spirit. And He is Jesus who revealed who God really is by becoming a human being and who revealed to us how to live as human beings in a deep friendship with God. He has been calling to me and pulling me into a renewed awareness that He is with us and that he longs intensely to meet with us and lead us in ways that we can release His grace in our world. But the secret is found in Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!“.
I want us to wait on Him and allow Him to be gracious toward us. I want Him to show us what matters to Him and to seek His grace in aligning my desires and motivations with His.
What do you want?
If we turn back or grind to a halt on the path of following Jesus because of fear of any kind- than we are holding out on God…
At “Thirsty Wednesday” last night, Brent Ingersoll prayed that God would “show us a vision of our calling and grant us the courage to walk into it without fear and insecurity“. As he poured out that prayer, I immediately felt the power of seeing myself and our congregation at Kings Valley Wesleyan Church moving in freedom and courage into all that God has called us to be and do. Then I quickly recognized that this would truly be miraculous and would not happen without God’s grace and without Him bringing a change in me and in us as a church.
I enjoy listening to people as they talk about what God wants them to be and do. Their dreams, struggles, successes and failures – all help me to stay in the game and to find hope for my journey. Lately a friend of mine said to me that he feels that the biggest barrier standing in the path of living out our calling is “getting over ourselves”.
He’s right!! I’d love to experience everyday life with a strong allegiance to the rights of the kingdom of God as a higher value than my so called personal/individual “rights“.
What if we lived each day with a focus on His will being done on earth as it is in heaven?
What if I were not so sympathetic with myself and others when we hold out on God because of fear and insecurity and leave His mission unaccomplished?
What if it wasn’t considered normal amongst us any more to hang back and take our time in making the courageous sacrifices necessary to show our world that Jesus cares and is here to rescue them no matter what they are going through or no matter what it might cost us?
Getting over myself and my wants is a heartbreaking experience sometimes… sad as I am to admit it… But, I do believe the answer still lies in finding my contentment and fulfillment in allowing God to completely fill me with His perfect love. I John 4:18 (NIV)…
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
If we turn back or grind to a halt on the path of following Jesus because of fear of any kind- than we are holding out on God. How can we be satisfied with that?
I am becoming increasingly discontent with myself over this issue and sometimes I even get angry about it and I am sharing here because I feel many of us are stuck and would love to break through these barriers of fear and insecurity.
There is a foundational reality that we all live in the midst of…
Acts 17:26 (NIV)
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
God knew that we would be alive in these times. It seems from what I am reading that the coming decade is going to be very challenging and likely our paradigms are going to be shaken to the extreme. Are you up for that?
I am praying for myself, my family and friends that we will be more aware of what really matters to God concerning our lives and have more integrity toward what He values. If by His grace we do that, we will be ready to face the “shake ups” and dilemmas of this new decade.
Happy New Year!
We can’t help a culture of people who are looking for a shepherd unless we own our responsibility to be leaders…
I was reading Matt. 11:35-38 (NIV) this morning.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
If I can allow myself to see my world the way that Jesus does, what will I see? The “harvest” Jesus talks about is still waiting all around us.
Jesus uses two images here to describe what He sees… the first is a massive gathering of sheep without a shepherd… the second is a harvest that is waiting to be gathered in. We can’t help a culture of people who are looking for a shepherd unless we own our responsibility to be leaders. Neither can we fulfill our life mission unless we search for it in the context of gathering in God’s harvest… connecting people with faith in Jesus Christ.
We were born for this!
The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing and He will lead us if we will stay humble, courageous and gracious toward each other….
The times we are living in, according to Bob Johansen of “Institute for the Future” (author of “Leaders Make the Future“), have produced a VUCA world… full of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. He goes on to predict that the next ten years are going to be an incredibly difficult and challenging time for leaders.
How should we as Jesus followers respond to the world culture where we exist every day? Will our churches serve as a hiding place where people can escape from a VUCA world, or can we be a place of empowering for people to turn and lead movements of change and promise as they are drawn to embrace Jesus and His teachings?
These are times of wide-sweeping and fast paced change. I am concerned that many in the church are resisting the idea that the changes have begun and our world will never be the same. While we enjoy the benefits of having peace with God through Jesus and the closeness of our church family and the security of our religious traditions, there is a world all around us full of people who are uncertain and some even terrified about the future.
What are we doing to position ourselves to communicate the hope we have for stability in our VUCA world?
The hope we have is in the kingdom of God. You and I will not capture the attention of our world around us if we don’t seek God for wisdom and a plan that will provide hope and leadership to a culture that Jesus sees as sheep, helplessly wandering around in search of a shepherd.
I hope you are investing time in God’s word with new eyes searching out the principles of Jesus kingdom and his ways of living life and serving people. I am completely convinced that we need new methods, ideas, new revolutionary approaches to expressing the presence of God in our homes, friendships, businesses and culture. It is our world’s only hope.
There is a movement of people right now who are seeking God’s help as they deconstruct what they have become so accustomed to as “church life“. By His grace they are rebuilding lives and church families that are ready to lead in a revolution of love and service in Jesus’ name, in whatever community in which they live every day.
Changes are here and they won’t be easy. But the Holy Spirit knows what He is doing and He will lead us if we will stay humble, courageous and gracious toward each other.
Just received this re-tweet from a friend this morning…
@cnieuwhof: Every organization faces one of two alternatives: slow death or deep change.
I totally resonate with the idea that our church is experiencing “deep change” and I definitely choose it over slow death. I know that I have been experiencing deep-level change for several years now and only recently been feeling like I am getting into a good rhythm again.
The church represents the “unshakable” kingdom of God on the earth.
Are we courageous enough to go through the changing process and allow Him to mold us and empower us to provide the answers for the questions the world is asking?
Part of living in truth and “walking in the light” is the freedom I can give you to not like me or what I do if you so choose…
I’d love to know what you think…
Was Jesus likable? What drew people to Him? I think Jesus was likable except to those who cared too much about how other people viewed them.
The Bible teaches that “If anyone claims to live in him they must walk as Jesus did.” I John 2:6. If we are like Jesus we are going to love each other. When you love each other you protect, trust, persevere… all of those things found in I Cor. 13. But, I don’t think I can find anywhere in the love chapter that we will always “like” each other.
Part of living in truth and “walking in the light” is the freedom I can give you to not like me or what I do if you so choose. You need to do the same for me. Once I feel as if my like or dislike for you or something you might do is going to overly affect you or cause you to change a direction that you feel strongly about, our relationship gets complicated.
Prayer: Father God, help us to grow in our inner character to a place where we can dislike each other once in a while but still walk in grace, truth and love.
A battle cry for those of us who long for people in our culture to embrace the life connecting and life renovating experience of knowing Jesus Christ…
I just read a startling quote from Seth Godin’s book, “Tribes“.
It stung because it cuts against the grain of my way of thinking… or maybe against my hard wired tendency to want to keep the waters calm. Anyway, he writes “By the time you realize that your corner of the world is ready for an innovation, it’s almost certainly too late. It’s definitely not too early.”
Now, that is a battle cry for those of us who long for people in our culture to embrace the life connecting and life renovating experience of knowing Jesus Christ. Shame on us for consistently waiting too long to change. If you are just realizing that innovation is needed in the way we engage our culture and in pursuading them to follow Jesus it may almost be too late.