Thursday, February 24, 2011

the Pegs...

If you've read my blog at all, you will know that I talk alot about love. That's because the Great Commandment is summed up in LOVING GOD AND LOVING OTHERS...The Message translation of the Bible says:
"These two commands are pegs; EVERYTHING in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

As I said in my previous blog, our cities could be transformed if Christians would simply live out the second half of the Great Commandment. Earlier this week in a blog post called 'church in the neighborhood' the blog's author, Leonard Hjalmarson, wrote the following:

In January of 2009 a group of pastors gathered to think and dream about what it would look like for the churches in their area to come together to serve the community. They asked the mayor to join them and talk about his dream for the city. They also asked him to talk about hindrances to that dream coming true.

He came with a list of pervasive issues and problems: at-risk kids; elderly shut-ins; decaying housing; hunger and homelessness. Before he started speaking he shared this: “it occurred to me that what our city really needs are good neighbors. The majority of the issues we face would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just become a community of people who are great neighbors.”

The pastors left convicted. Here they were asking the mayor what areas of the city were most in need, and he was telling them that the city could be transformed if Christians would simply live out the second half of the Great Commandment.

Hmmmm...'nuff said? I know, I know...there's the big question of 'Who is my neighbor?' I'm thinking that if we need to split hairs about that then perhaps we are not loving them.

Lord, give us an ever increasing awareness of what it means to love them in concrete ways.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Don't Confuse it with Navel Gazing...

If you do confuse it with navel gazing, and thereby choose to avoid it, you will miss out on an amazing transformation of not only yourself...but your country...and perhaps even your world...

I saw Dave Blundell of Hungry for Life on 100 Huntley Street a few weeks ago. He was being interviewed about his recently released book Hungry For Life: A Vision of the Church that Would Transform the World. (click on the 100 Huntley link to view the interview)

When I looked up the book on Amazon I saw that one of the reviewers accused him of encouraging navel gazing. I have not read Dave’s book…yet. But I know him and have heard him speak many times. He is one who encourages people to look honestly into themselves in a way that draws them closer to the LORD and challenges them to live out His Word.

I think that we sometimes confuse ‘navel gazing’ with ‘humbling’ ourselves… which starts with what may feel like navel gazing but doesn't stay there. I want to draw your attention to one of my favorite Old Testament verses:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14.

Follow the steps of this powerful verse:

Humble youself…Maybe a little navel gazing involved at this point but then...


Seek His Face….no longer gazing at the navel at this point. Now looking into His wonderful eyes which then leads us to...

Turn (from wicked ways)…repentance essentially means doing a 180 degree turn..

then...God hears…

He Forgives…

He Heals Our Land…

Sure we can stay at the navel gazing stage. But that is not true humility. True humility looks inside but is then moved to pray, to seek His face, then turn.

After which a glorious thing happens!! God not only hears us but He heals our Land…

That is what Dave is talking about if I understand him correctly. He is challenging us to look honestly at our hearts to see if we are indeed getting to know God in a way that brings about the change that His Word says will be brought about when we honestly know Him. When we honestly know Him we will begin to see healing changes IN OUR LAND.

That is powerful! Let's do it...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freedom....Choice and Responsibility

Many of us desire freedom in and from various things in our lives.

When we are free we have CHOICES. When we make choices, we then become responsible for the consequences of choices made. Some people are not truly aware of that aspect of freedom. Others are very aware, choosing to stay within the confines of whatever is keeping them from freedom for that very reason.

Responsibility is a key aspect of maintaining freedom.

The following are a few quotes that help to explain this concept:

"Man does have a choice of action. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Fundamentally, therefor, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him--mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp...inner freedom cannot be lost...It is this spiritual freedom--which cannot be taken away that makes life meaningful and purposeful." Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

'You were called to freedom, brethren, only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another' (Galatians 5:13)
God wants us free, but freedom is not license. I believe we are free by the grace of God to live a responsible life...True freedom doesn't lie in the exercise of choices, but in the consequences of the choices made...If we choose to walk by the flesh, we are responsible for the consequences of the choices we make. If we walk by the Spirit, God says He assumes responsibility for the consequences. (Galatians 5:16)" Walking in the Light, Dr. Neil Anderson

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cher had it wrong, It's not in his kiss...

It's in His face, His eyes...
Have you ever had the kind of friend who has your back no matter what? The kind of friend who makes you feel accepted even when you do the most foolish things? Or who holds your hand while others are walking away?

As I read Psalm 105:4 this morning I thought of a very dear friend whose face I would seek in a crowd when I needed reassurance. His accepting, loving gaze always gave me a quiet strength to keep my chin up regardless of what had just happened...or was about to happen.

It struck me today that that is what it is like to seek God’s face. When I’m scared, I can look in His face and He gives me strength to take the next step. When I’ve made a foolish choice, I can look in His eyes and see kindness instead of getting a tongue lashing. This makes me realize that I don’t need to be ashamed and it brings a new resolve to be more careful not to make these choices in the future. I can look to Him no matter what and be strengthened and encouraged to carry on.

The friend that I mentioned earlier passed away and sometimes I still miss him terribly. But the LORD, my GOD, He is available to me for time and eternity!

'For the glory of God is man fully alive; and the life of man consists in beholding God'. St Irenaeous,
Psalm 105:4 ‘Look to the LORD and His strength, seek His face always,”

It’s in His face, In His eyes…