Sometimes we find spiritual truths in the most unlikely places. As Christian philosopher Arthur F. Holmes puts it, “All Truth is God’s Truth.” And such was the case with my recent viewing of Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure.
When Katherine and I sat down last week for a movie night, I had no idea that God was going to remind me of something. Something so very central to our collective Christian life.
In Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure, our two bumbling “heroes” ride a telephone booth time machine through history, gathering up key historic figures for an oral report and reminding people to “be excellent to each other”. And at first pass, their catch phrase seems like nothing but moronic drivel. But a deeper look reveals that’s not the case – this is exactly the kind of thing that Jesus told us to do. Continue reading
I had big plans Saturday but I didn’t accomplish them because I was sidetracked.
Katherine was out at a church event so I had some time “to myself”. I had a few things planned, one of which was to write another blog posting. As I sat down at the computer, I dutifully checked my email and Facebook account and then settled down to get started.
As the creative juices started flowing, I remembered an article about Feedly.com, an ever-so-interesting RSS feed aggregator and reader. So I just HAD to check it out. As it turns out, it only runs on Firefox, so I just HAD to download and install the update to Firefox. And then I HAD to head back over to Feedly.com so that I could install and set up their Firefox add-on.
As you can probably already tell by both my lack of a Saturday morning post and the meandering story of my “accomplishments,” I was sidetracked. That got me thinking about how often I fail to accomplish anything because I lack clear goals. Continue reading
Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of creation and the gift of rest. Thank you for the rhythms of your grace that guard and guide our lives. Help us to submit ourselves to your rhythms rather than trying to impose our schedules on you.
In your divine wisdom, guide our decisions, meditations, actions, and destinations today. Fill us with abundant joy and wisdom. As we focus our hearts and attentions on you, fill our lives with the recognition of your presence in us, through us, and around us.
Help us to impact our communities and the world in the same way you have impacted our lives. Be glorified.
Most holy God, thank you for a new day. Thank you for the strength you have given us to do your will.
As we enter this day, remind us of your divine rhythms of grace and the mercy you have given us, the incredible gift that is salvation, and of the call you have on our lives both as individuals and as your body – the church. Help us to effectively share these gifts – grace, mercy, salvation, and calling – with others both near and far.
In your divine mercy, grant us revelation of spiritual truth and eyes to see your ongoing work in the world. Give us the wisdom and direction to know how you would have us be part of what you are doing.
I need the church – the community of saints, the body of Christ. I need to spend time with the church. I need to know and be known by the church. I need to identify with the church.
God, in his wisdom, has commanded that I do so but sometimes, in my thick-headedness, I forget that God wants only the best for me. Sometimes I, in my immaturity, need to see the “why” behind God’s command. To see why I need the church.
Here is why I need the church: Continue reading
I remember as a child being taught to share. Of all the things I had to share, I believe that sharing my toys was the hardest – especially sharing with my brother. I remember countless hours spent fighting with him over Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys and Legos. I believe that if our mother hadn’t come from such a great gene pool, she would be completely white-headed right now. And probably resting, medication-assisted, in a padded room.
Now that I’m older, I still struggle with sharing. I don’t always want to share my time or my compassion or my money – as though they’re actually mine. And sometimes I don’t want to share my faith – not because I’m selfish but because I feel so inadequate. And maybe a little because I’m scared that I’ll be look (or be proven) ignorant or foolish.
This inadequacy, however, is precisely the foundation of my faith. Continue reading
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Help us to see the grace with which our lives are infused and share it with those around us. Renew in us the high calling of the Kingdom and grant us the strength to follow you as you lead us there.
In your mercy, provide for the destitute. In your love, move us ever nearer to you. And in your divine wisdom, remind us that while this world is not our home, we are stewards of it. That one day we will be in your unbridled presence.
I saw this yesterday on Cass Midgley’s Facebook profile. Cass’s friend Jim is a church planter whose perspective on church planting and spiritual development has changed over the years.
Cass has given me permission to reprint a portion of his article. Check it out below:
If Jim Were Planting A Church Today
Setting the Stage
I have planted two churches. One has developed into a very healthy attractional church, the other a cutting edge missional church. I worked much harder than I needed to and focused much of my energy attempting to achieve the wrong things. I would trade anyone anytime to be able to plant a church today in comparison with 30 years ago. Now I have other things to do but I want to help others who are interested in this work have more fun, achieve better (and more interesting) goals and survive the psycho- spiritual battlefield one encounters in this work.
30 things I would do differently
- Have a career in an unrelated field – like music, teaching, marketing or my own business
- Realize that if money were removed from ministry most pastors would quit.
- Accept some money from my spiritual community out of principle.
- Gather people around serving others instead of knowing more.
- Be happy with leading 5-10 people and knowing them personally.
- Serve my spiritual community by making connections for them in our local community.
- Introduce people to Jesus in the context of serving others.
If these intrigue you, stop by Cass Midgley’s Facebook profile to find the other 23 things Jim would do differently.
The ability to earn and multiply wealth is a gift from God that he intends to be used for his glory. We can’t do that if we have a “hierarchy of callings” where overt full-time ministry is at the top, teaching and the pursuit of social justice just below, and business is a last resort if you just can’t cut it as a full-time minister, teacher, or lawyer for the underprivileged.
God has created each of us in unique ways and wants us to make the most of all of our gifts, talents, and uniqueness within the context of a godly lifestyle. That means all callings (vocations) are holy, meaningful, and equal in the sight of God.
Steve Grossman a friend of mine recently sent me off to read this blog posting by Dr. Niel Nielson, the president of Covenant College. He has quite a bit to say on the subject – specifically to those who question their calling into business or to those who disdain those with the ability to generate wealth and yet go to those same people for support.
One of the most shocking portions of his post is the quote below from Wheaton Magazine. I think that I had always assumed that the “wealth gap” between the most prosperous areas of the world and all of the rest was due largely to the rich exploiting the poor and struggled with that very “fact”. Read below for a different and more balanced perspective. Continue reading
Wealth (money, land, intelligence, talent, etc) is unevenly distributed and with wealth comes the choice of what to do with it. There are many options but if we follow God, it’s impossible to be wrong.
Today I’d like to look at a couple of ways that we can give back – money and effort. After all, because wealth isn’t limited to money, there are many ways that we can give from our wealth to help others.
Additionally, I’d like to focus on two philosophies and look at our options to give based on those two philosophies.
- We should give daily needs to those who are most in need.
- We should help others so that they can “support themselves”.
In these, we find balance between James writing that if we see a brother or sister in need and send them away with nothing but a blessing, we have done nothing and Paul’s statement that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.
There are options for both of these. To help those who cannot help themselves and also to give the dignity of work to those who are able. Continue reading