Archive for July, 2016

The two letters “i” and “n” can be powerful or insignificant, but if tacked on to the word “convenient”, everything changes. Convenient can mean close, agreeable, or easy. It usually implies comfortable.

Now, think about out obedience for a while. We like to use it to refer to kids listening and doing what a parent says. It’s a little more challenging to be the one in the focus. We have all kinds of ways of skirting around this word or issue when the focus is on us. We’re ok with going the mile required, but what about the second mile? Check out Matthew 5:38-48.

We don’t grasp the implications of the gospel if we define when obedience ends and inconvenience wakes up. Judges 21:25 in The Word on the Street says “These days, with no king to call the shots, everyone does their own thing, if it feels right, just do it.”

In the movie “Field of Dreams”, the challenge then was “go the distance.” Obedience defined correctly “goes the distance.” Barnabas and Paul and some other men were men who “risked their lives” to help others know Jesus. Check out Acts 15:26.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Never add conditions to obeying God. Don’t limit what God wants to do through your life by adding “in” to convenient when you think of living the gospel. Keep track of the “second mile” opportunities God gives you and get some better walking shoes.

The verses are Philippians 2:5-8. They are exciting to read, greatly encouraging and severely challenging, but essential to live by. Look at part of it in The Word on the Street “…he checked his global contacts list, walked off without his body-guards. He unplugged his airwave connection, left his precious star collection, He said,”I give it up.” And took up a new role-a role well below him. He became flesh and blood, skin and bone, and stepped down from his heavenly throne to his new earth home as a normal guy…”

This is great news, but also sets the bar high for us if we intend to make any difference in people’s lives God sets in front of us. We don’t mind inviting people to a church service (although that seems to be risky), but influencing people to consider Jesus is a whole new ball game.

Jesus’ time with people was “everyday.” Our waving a couple of times as we drive off to whatever, doesn’t quite measure up to influencing anyone to think about Jesus. Our Christian life should not be lived separated from daily life  with people. We need a little “gloves, mud and normal life ” with them.

WHAT THIS MEANS: How can you and I carve out time to really live and get to know what our neighbors had for dinner last night? Can we really get that close to them? Plan on talking with or having coffee or a glass of wine with a neighbor this week.

 

 

 

 

Maybe you’ve planted a garden, fertilized it and watered it, but you don’t see anything happening. Wait a while! Or, maybe you’re convinced he or she is the right one but they are cool to your trying to advance the relationship. Give it some time! We really don’t like to wait for much of anything. Technology has advanced our lifestyle to such a place where waiting is unnecessary, or so it seems.

We carry this way of doing life into our dealings with God in the same manner. We prayed once for whether we should stay or leave, we sent an email  to twenty people and two responded, we even offered our house for a bible study, but no one seemed interested.

We’re often ready to get after it and God seems to be taking an extra long lunch. What the spank is going on? As it turns out, much of life is one of waiting. We can easily run the risk of getting out in front of God in our decision making and that can lead to disappointment with God and our not believing this stuff is real or matters.

Acts 1:8 in the Message helps. “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses…” The early followers of Jesus were ready, but if they had charged off the line without knowing the play, they would have been knocked out on the first play!

WHAT THIS MEANS: It’s uncomfortable to wait, but it’s the only way to see God do his thing and use us to impact people’s uncharted or wrecked lives.