Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A New Approach

I recently connected with an old friend that I had not seen in a number of years. Our parting of ways had been painful in that I saw this person reject counsel and watched their life self-destruct. For years I ‘just’ assumed that this person was in the same place that we started. I saw this person at a worship event and noticed how passionately this person was worshiping God. Hands raised, heartfelt expressions of love for God. Every sermon about the grace of God ran through my mind and the Spirit’s conviction weighed heavy on me. At the same meeting was a pastor that had been removed from his place of ministry because of integrity issues. A young lady that came over and said that she felt that the Lord wanted me to pray for this man. I struggled with the feelings of judgment, as I was aware of the many details of this man’s ministry. Again the Spirit convicted me with the scandalous grace of God.

I am amazed on how quickly we can write someone off. Sayings like "Bite me once, shame on you, bite me twice shame on me" have a pragmatic wisdom about them. We will observe a failure of character in an area of life and then make a lasting value judgment concerning that person. I have found in my thirty plus years of ministry that many who rejected counsel, sinned against the church, ruined their marriages, the list can go on and on, yet many have come to their senses and humbly returned to Christ. The problem arises when we continue to see that person solely through the lens of the flesh. We may not of been part of the solution of the problem and still view the person through the lens of offence or failure.

I am committed to getting past that mindset. It is important to see where a persons been, but it is more important to see where they are going. Grace is the divine influence on the human heart and God does not give up easily. There is a song we sing that has a line that says of God, “ you wrestle with the sinners heart” The scripture is full of stories of people who failed in some area, and God brings restoration. Jesus taught his followers to have a different attitude toward those who brought offense. Pray for those who use despitefully use you”, “turn the other check”, forgive as I have forgave you” are the commands to those who are near to God.

The apostle Paul wrote “he knew no man after the flesh” I want to live like that!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008


I ran across this and thought about life in uncertain times. So much of walking through life depends on how we choose to see it. I don't know who wrote this, it was credited as "an old proverb."

It says "You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores...and

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...yes

There's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all...."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greatest in the Kingdom?

As a young man I used to search the scripture for “principles” that I should practice so that I could experience success and “move up to greater levels of service.” I was still motivated about how I could be pleasing to God and secure a place of honor in the Church. As I have grown older and more experienced in the ways of God I have discovered that Jesus was speaking of values. Values are caught, they change our worldview, the way we navigate life. Principles on the other hand ore things we add to our existing mind set.

Jesus taught His companions that the Kingdom of God operated on a different value system. Its measure of greatness and success is at total odds with the way the world thinks. When we look at whom Jesus chose as those He would entrust the advancement of His Kingdom it is clear that Jesus thought differently than many who train leaders today.

As the gospel was being proclaimed in Jerusalem those in authority were amazed at “the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

When Jesus laid out His plan for the Kingdom it would be through the weak and humble of this world that the Kingdom would advance. Men and women who hold His values and purpose. Paul would echo the teaching of Jesus in His letter to the Corinthians.

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (1 Cor 1:26-29 NIV)

Do you feel out classed and insignificant to be used by God? Welcome to the club. Christ is looking for you. Give your self to Him and follow His leading, Jesus will use you to expand the Kingdom.

Do you train future leaders? Listen to the Holy Spirit for those He chooses. Don’t be seduced into building the Kingdom with those who fit this world’s picture of greatness.