Faith and Strategy

Does strategy/planning play a role in faith (faith without works is dead) or should one simply “wait upon the Lord”?

Jesus didn’t ask us to develop strategy/plan though Scripture does tell us to be wise…to “know the cost” before we jump in and get started. Reasoning and developing strategy/planning for life’s little experiments teach me to trust God to keep the promises He has made.

Jesus asked us know who He is, not what He’s done. While nature, His written word, etc. explain who Jesus is, I can only truly know who He is by the proding of the Holy Spirit…faith (divine persuasion) enables me to know that Jesus is God and that He loves me. “Eyes to see and ears to hear”.

God’s Presence

I’ve spent many years with various “bands of brothers” who have intentionally invested time in friendship.  We share a vision; we agree on what a transformed life and a transformed community might look like.  We often nit pick on how to see such an environment become reality…we’re busy men with different experiences and views, yet we continue to discuss this important matter.

Most of us have come to realize that God is always present (omni presence) and instead of going to God in prayer we don’t need to go anywhere; He’s always in our midst in every conversation.  We are continuously in prayer.  You can imagine how our time together changes when we remember that.

Most of us have matured to include Him in each conversation as active listeners.  We love Him and He continues to teach us to love others…to live His will on earth as it is in Heaven.  God is more than present, He is a permanent resident…He lives with us and we have become one family (indwelling presence).

One of these brothers often speaks about “signs and wonders”.   I’ve pondered why I see many more “wonders” when  he and I spend time together.  These “wonders” are God’s visible expression of His power (manifest presence).  I know neither one of us live in a totally right relationship with God…that’s our daily experiment.  So why do I sense God’s manifest presence/power when I spend time with thIs one guy…after all Jesus never said He would dole out His glory to some but that the glory His father gave Him has already been given to all those who believe and follow Him.

I’ve concluded that I need to continue to be a better listener while learning to be a better observer (ears to hear AND eyes that see).

Friendship

A keepsake that I obtained at a funeral has helped me to understand friendship.  It’s contents described the traits of friendship; caring enough about each other to gather regularly, think together, discuss together, pray together, and play together. 

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Friendship has a purpose: to learn to love unconditionally, serve God and not money, give without seeking a return, empower and not control, show mercy not revenge, seek justice and freedom for all, encourage and not discourage, spread hope and not despair, believe and not doubt.  Friends establish a “revolution of love” that is so powerful that division and animosity is greatly eliminated and replaced by the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation…Jesus.  Friends think, talk, act, and love like Jesus so that others can see the invisible, believe the incredible, and do the impossible.  On a daily basis friends learn what it means to “love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves”.

Proverbs 18:24 (Msg) – “Frends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family”.  I praise God that I have such a large family of friends.

Man in the Mirror (Shaving)

Recently my wife has been pointing out that I’ve missed a few spots while shaving and she’s suggested I wear my glasses while I shave. This morning I did…and that’s when I saw my dad staring back at me in the mirror.

My dad retired from a life of faitful service in the Navy; for him to not shave was the equivilent of sin. As he grew older, and after mom passed away, I’d notice that he sometimes missed a few spots…I wasn’t overly concerned. It was just part of aging. I’ll never know, but I think he missed mom, perhaps he felt as if he’d lived long enough; he was tired. I now wonder if he was wearing his glasses when he shaved.

Seeing him in the mirror this morning made me have a new perspective on “missed spots”. Often we see what’s wrong, what’s out of place. We see the result while missing the cause.

As I pray, I hope God will grant me the ability to have eyes that truly see and ears that truly hear!

God’s 10K (Update)

In my earlier post I told you about a local church that had ASKed others to pray and submit ideas about how they might allocate and distribute $10k. Spending the 10k wasn’t the real goal.  The goal of the church was to pray and have unity about what God wants them to do with these funds.  The church leadership will be meeting this weekend to review and discuss each merit of each submission.  

Following the church leadership’s review, a summation letter will be mailed to each church member asking each to SEEK truth/discernment.  Each member will then share their views and in late Sep. the church body will hold a “business meeting” to vote.  KNOCK – persistence in getting ‘er done.  Now its time to join KCC as they enter this new season of prayer.

Jesus declared God’s name to His followers so that the love of the Father that was in the Son (Jesus) might me in us (Jhn 17:26).  Imagine if churches partnered in declaring God’s truth, sharing His love, and caring for His people.  One expression of truth/love might be to take the 10K of one church and make it 20K or even 100K through a partnership with other churches. United in love!  There would be some serious worship, prayer, and fellowship taking place! 

Learning love, sharing love…making disciples!  Wow!

God’s $10K

Knollwood Community Church (KCC) exists to exalt God and reflect the glory of Christ by declaring His Truth, sharing His love, and caring for His people.  This church wants to invest up to $10k in someone who agrees in Spirit (“KCC Core Values“), can become a partner, and can help build capacity within God’s kingdom.   Now, before you go and send an email or get on the phone, take a deep breath; KCC is not soliciting proposals at this juncture:

Process:  Over the next few months (Jun/Jul), KCC is inviting the Body to pray/dialogue with God and with others … to ask, seek, and knock.  When you feel God has revealed an idea/suggestion, go ahead and share it as a comment to this blog post.  Later this summer (Aug), after reviewing and selecting some of the submitted ideas/suggestions, detailed proposals will be solicited.  After a vetting process (Sep), the KCC congregation will cast  a vote and make their decision.  If they are unable to discern God’s will, they might simply roll these funds over into the next budget cycle.   It’s all about seeking God’s will through prayer/dialogue, letting the Holy Spirit speak/guide, and ensuring that God receives all the glory.

Possibilities/Opportunities:  Should these funds be dispersed in increments so more will benefit?  Would it be better for one person to receive one lump sum gift?  Should these funds serve as “seed” money to help kick-start someone’s Godly vision?  Should an existing ministry use these funds to take that ministry to the next level?  Could a Godly couple suddenly be able to adopt that child that they’ve always wanted?  Could a church be planted?    Hmm…these are some of my thoughts – I wonder what ideas will come to your heart and mind?  The key is for the Body to have “eyes that see and ears that hear”.  

What is God saying to you?  Pray/dialogue and then post your comment.  I’m expecting some powerful, creative ideas!

Purpose Driven

We have such a need for purpose; to have our lives matter. 

I’ve wondered lately if that need comes from ourselves or from God.  We grow up being told we must amount to something.  Our resumes list our accomplishments and state what our purposes have been so that we might find a new purpose.  Author and Pastor Rick Warren has seized on the word “purpose” as his mantra.  In his book “Purpose Driven Life” he points out that real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God’s purposes for putting us on earth.  He then lists his understanding of what those purposes are:  (a) offer real worship, (b) enjoy real fellowship, (c) learn real discipleship, (d) practise real ministry, (e) live out real evangelism. His book is intended to help others understand God’s incredible plan for their lives; to see the big picture of what life is all about and begin to live the life God created for them.

As a creature of God am I that much different from the other species that He created?  I’m told the real difference in the animal and human species is my ability to choose.   Each morning my dog stretches as I open the door where his bed is kept and then he walks outside to take care of business, eats his first meal of the day, and then simply enjoys being right where he’s at.  He is always thrilled to see me,  tries hard not to get up on the furniture or puddle in the house, and he feels secure in my presence when there is a thunder and lightning storm.  He models for me what it is like to offer real worship, enjoy real fellowship, and to learn real discipleship. 

When I take my dog for a walk he’s seems a little more excited than when he’s in the house, but he really doesn’t seem to care as long as he is with me.  Is this “practicing real ministry”;  going where your master takes you and just enjoying the experience?

As a follower of Jesus, I’m mystified, amused, and grateful all at the same time as I enjoy the serenity of doing nothing; a stage in my journey that I’ve experienced before but never quite as surreal as this time around.  I fight the inner urge that offering real worship, enjoying real fellowship, and learning real discipleship isn’t enough.  I know that loving God and others is “practising real ministry” and “living out real evangelism” but without an income, high gas prices, etc., for the most part I’m simply staying put and trying to learn what God has to tell me in this stage of my journey…that’s my purpose.

Having figured that out by putting it on paper, I think I’ll walk the dog 🙂

Blessings!