Archive for September, 2012

Another Monday is here.  For me, Monday’s are a day when new to-do lists are written out and a successful Monday will set the tempo for my entire week.  It will frame what I accomplish and often will frame how I accomplish it.  Part of my Monday practice includes a time of deep contemplation.  It could be on a variety of things but usually settles on a ministry methodology, a scriptural passage or future planning.

Today I find myself contemplating the significance of a verse that the Apostle Paul penned.  He wrote in Philippians 1.21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  I am not sure why it has become stuck in my head but it is there stuck nonetheless.  Besides the obvious question: is this verse a reality in my life? I find myself contemplating what this verse actually looks like in our society and what it’s implications are.

I believe when evaluating  modern society  the verse could sound something more like this: For to me, to live is all about me, and to die is failure.  As a whole, humanity has defined living to be all about us.  We seek to cram as much as we can into our lives and enjoy our life to it’s fullest as if that is all there is.  Yet as society has nosedived away from accepting God-given principles as the normative way of living there too has been a cascade affect within the walls of the church.

I read articles nearly everyday written by men who I believe truly desire to make an impact but they are inherently flawed in their approach.  They ask the wrong question.  The question should not be be how can I please the masses rather it must be how I can please the Master.  At some point I wonder if those of us in leadership have forgotten that seeking blessing from God does not always mean pleasing and appeasing.

After all when you consider the life of Christ, it was one that was marked by hardship yet coupled with effectiveness.  He faced rejection everyday yet approached His ministry with a posture of prayer.  Yes, the masses followed Him yet the masses also rejected Him.  That did not make Him ineffective rather it showed the dichotomy that exists between a life that is focused on Christ and a life that is focused on self.

I wonder what you think…How do we fix the me-focused society?  How do we fix me-centered husbands?  How do we fix me-centered wives?  How do we fix me centered children?  How do we fix me centered churches?  How do we fix me-centered _________________(fill in the blank)?

Not a theological dissertation rather the musings of someone trying to make a difference…

Lord help me to maintain an eternal focus.  Please remove the temporal focus that so ofter pervades my thinking.  Allow me to model what a life lived for you truly is to look like to all who cross my path.

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If you kiss an alligator you will die. If you play in traffic you will probably get hit by a car. If you eat at the buffet everyday then you will become obese. If you break into my house you will get shot. If you shave your head you will be bald. If you refuse to go to school then you will fail. If you challenge me to tetris you will lose. If you drive your mom’s minivan and live in a small farm town, you are not gangster. If you jump into the bear exhibit at the zoo, you will get mauled. If I take up skateboarding, I will hurt myself. If you come to my house and disrespect my wife, I will ask you to leave. What goes up, must come down.

What am I talking about: Cause and effect. We understand in every area of our lives that we are responsible for our actions. If I stop showing up for work then I will get fired. If I drive 90mph everywhere I go then I will lose my license.

I make my choices and then my choices make me. The same is true when it comes to our spiritual walk. Yet we often seem to feel that God owes us something. We will declare with our lips, “God I love you”. Then we will choose to live in and sin and ask, “God why do you feel so far away”. Or we will neglect fellowshipping at church, reading the Word or spending time and prayer and say “why does my faith feel so dead”. Why is there confusion?

I am interested to hear what your feelings are? Can you think of any contingent promises in Scripture?

Andy Stanley writes about God’s grace in a way I have never read before.  He makes you recognize that the entire work of creation centers around the grace of God.  He paints a beautiful picture with the creation of the world being its’ focal point, and then weaves in how grace is a key factor in creation. 

If you are looking for a new way to look at grace, I would suggest you look no further than at Andy Stanley’s “The Grace of God”.  His writing style will draw you in and will shed new light on the significance of God’s grace.  I highly recommend you add this book to your must read list!