Thanksgiving. Many will spend the day pondering the blessings God has bestowed on their lives. I’m no different. As I reflect on God’s abundance and faithfulness I marvel at one particular friendship that has been slowly cultivated through many trying moments. This friendship has influenced my world view in ways few get to experience; I’ve met many who live in the shadow of poverty, despair, and hopelessness. These experiences have taught me that generosity has more to do with receiving grace than what one has to offer. Like the rich blessings of family, health, etc. (none of which should be overlooked or trivialized) this one friendship provides me with crystal clarity that God’s provision is perfect. I’m truly blessed!
Tag Archives: Jesus
People often ask God to “surprise me”. One dear friend recently shared with me that she had spent months praying/asking God to surprise her as she sought His will concerning a new job. Mark Batterson in his best seller “The Circle Maker” also mentions this prayer strategy. I’ve learned to ponder the pros/cons of any new concept/strategy until I can comfortably either discard or accept it as bogus or truth. For me (emphasis on “for me” not everyone else), this “surprise me” prayer concept is bogus.
A surprise by definition is when a brief emotional state is experienced as the result of an unexpected event. In essence, surprises are the result of predictions that fail.
The basis of my desire to follow Jesus is faith/belief. Belief that the promises Jesus has made are true. Jesus tells us to “steep your life in God-reality, God-initative, God-provisions instead of worrying about missing out and you’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met” (Matt 6:33 MSG). It just seems that when I ask God to “surprise me” I’m preoccupied with getting instead of giving. Asking God to “surprise me” complicates matters … I feel as though I’m fussing over something I believe I need when reality is God has provided all I need. Asking God to “surprise me” takes my focus from what God is doing in my life now to what I hope God might do for me in the future. There is a difference between being surprised and being in awe and wonder. I just want to be in awe!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
I routinely sit in a variety of meetings. Leaders who participate in these gatherings are either clergy, representatives of either a ministry or nonprofit, or friends. At some point the term “principles of Jesus” is spoken.
As I continue to develop and enjoy a very personal relationship with God I sometimes wonder if I’m enjoying the fullest measure of that relationship. These musings reflect both my humanity and my understanding that I will never fully embrace and sustain each principle. This condition is an obstacle that keeps me from fully knowing my Friend. Therein lies the problem… is my understanding accurate? Do I even know all the “principles of Jesus”?
In my quest for truth I found this listing posted on a website. I know the creators of the website are not advocating that this is a complete listing:
- That the purpose of all life is to “Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind, and to love our neighbors like ourselves.” (Matthew 22:23-40);
- That the “work of God” is “to believe in the One He has sent” (John 6:28-29);
- That God is love and that He cares for everyone. (John 3:16)
- That The Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus is: “Seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
- That maintaining relationships is important (Matthew 18:15-16), as is not letting the sun go down on divisions between people. (Ephesians 4:25-27)
- That we are not to become judgmental. Jesus said the way you judge others is how you will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Thomas Jefferson took a whack at developing a list of the “principles of Jesus”. He used English, French, Greek, and Latin translations of the Bible and cut out only segments of the Gospels and created his own “little book”. Jefferson felt as though he was “separating diamonds from the dunghill” and believed that he had created “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” No one has advocated that Jefferson’s “little book” was or is a complete listing of the “principles of Jesus”.
Sunday after Sunday “Christians” gather in church to learn the “principles of Jesus”. Is there an agreement on what the “principles of Jesus” are?
The final arbitrator is the Holy Spirit … it doesn’t hurt to gain insight/knowledge from others. If you have a list of the “principles of Jesus” would you send it to me?