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 🙂
Posted in General/Administration
Tagged Christian, Christianity, Church, Clergy, community, DC, God, Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy, holy spirit, humility, Jesus, Love, Pastor, Prayer, Purpose, Purpose Driven, Religion and Spirituality, Rick Warren, Washington DC, What Matters Now
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?
Posted in General/Administration
Tagged Christian, Christianity, Church, Clergy, community, DC, Fellowship, God, Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy, holy spirit, Jesus, Pastor, Prayer, Principles, Religion and Spirituality, Washington DC
Matthew 18: 19-20 tells us “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
People gather for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, there exists a wonderful possibility/opportunity that capacity will be realized. Capacity is not ability, capability, or magnitude… these are qualitative. Capacity is quantitative…it refers to a general ability to comprehend an issue or perform a task.
We love to gather to pray in corporate settings. I’m puzzled why we fail to actually take the time (either before/after prayer) to dialogue …do we agree? How might we share our gifts (to lay down our lives for a friend)?
Because God is in our midst we miss the opportunity/possibility to build capacity. God is capacity (“I am”).
Posted in General/Administration, Prayer, Service/Volunteerism, Share/Declare
Tagged Anacostia, Capacity, Christian, Christianity, Church, Clergy, community, DC, God, holy spirit, hospitality, humility, Jesus, Love, Pastor, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality, vision, Washington DC
Sadly its a unique moment when the Church (with a capital C) intentionally gets together and ignores the many obstacles that hinder unity (organizational names, control, finances, selfish leadership, pride, etc.).
See what’s happening in Ohio: http://tiny.cc/q3rb1
They get it !
Will the Church (Capital C) in the DC metro consider taking similar steps?
Posted in General/Administration
Tagged Christian, Christianity, Church, Churches, community, DC, Denominations, God, Jesus, Love, Pastor, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality, Unity, Washington DC
Sitting in Panera (one of several places that serve as a part-time office). As usual great Hazelnut coffee and pastries. I needed to catch up on a lot of writing so decided I’d escape from “appointments” and have a “me day”.
The past weeks have been filled with those little moments where others have said or done some little tid bit that has caught my attention. I spend nearly two-thirds of my time listening to the visions of others; each vision is unique and each person has little obstacles that keep him/her from realizing their vision. Most of the obstacles are perceived and not real. The only true solution is to help each direct their sights to God’s vision not to some strategy or problem solving scheme.
One special moment was a phone call from a friend who has made some very tough choices in order to be available so He could hear God and let God unfold what was to take place next in his life. His willingness to let God be God and step aside from his own desires has spoken volumes to me about how deep his love is for God. He still hasn’t realized his vision, but God has opened the door to an opportunity that fits so well into his understanding of God’s plan that you know his faithful, patient reliance on God has been rewarded. It’s truly a “God thing”.
My wife knows my friend well. After I shared the gist of his phone call with her she quietly asked “how’s that going in your own life?” Bam! Nothing left to add. Nothing left to say. God has truly blessed me with an adventure, wonderful friends who only care about what Jesus has in store for them, and a super wife!
Posted in Prayer, Share/Declare
Tagged accountability, blessing, Christian, Church, Clergy, coffee, community, friend, God, holy spirit, Jesus, Love, Panera, Pastor, spouse, Washington DC, wife
Kudos to Mattress Discounters in Alexandria – they were very accommodating in arranging for a new mattress, box spring, and frame!! God is good!!
When we get out-of-the-way and let the Holy Spirit work the results are always better than expected. When hearts are convicted, and the motive is simply loving our neighbor as ourself, miracles take place. I think we miss most miracles simply because we aren’t taking the time to relish in any down time – we’re always on the go.
I have puzzled over why we easily want to give our “used extras” to those in need. Does loving others as ourselves mean as we are – I don’t sleep on a used mattress and I don’t wear clothes from the thriftshop (well that might not be true – my wife finds great savings at such places so I might be wearing used clothes and I’m to dumb to realize it) – there is nothing wrong with “used extras” – but if we love others as ourselves, as we would want to be treated, is it right to give folks in need “used extras”? I haven’t resolved this yet, so feel free to chime in and share your thoughts.
I continue to travel to DC several days a week to pray and mingle with the pastors, business, government, and nonprofit folks. Some are residents, some are not. I spend at least one night each week at a pastor’s home or sleeping on a couch or floor of a nonprofit. I go with expectation and each week I have various “wow” moments. I’m surprized how many pastors I continue to meet without calling/emailing to make an appointment. Each time that happens it’s a “wow” moment and I’m always anxious to see why God wants us to spend time together.
Yep, that’s what I was told yesterday. I met with friends that I trust to share my heart’s desire . If they weren’t such close friends I would have been offended, but I knew they are absolutely correct. Each of us are on a journey to purity. My son is dealing with a basic issue (http://tiny.cc/5jIOC) and I truly respect his willingness to open himself up to criticism, judgement, and valuable feedback. If he can have guts like that, than I certainly should have no qualms about sharing my basic issue. So….
My heart’s desire is constant – it hasn’t changed (Blue Sky to Blue Print). I’m a planner/strategy guy – a “get ‘er done” kind of guy. The majority of us are wired the same way. My basic issue is that I love to solve problems and fix things. You might think this is trivial but for me it is sin. It alienates me from completely “trusting in Him who He has sent” – John 6:29. When I make a plan (which is not a sin) I seek God’s discernment and it becomes our plan. I get busy with great intentions, a pure motivation, and high hopes. The issue is I see it as our plan when it must totally be His plan. I’m not God’s partner. I’m simply God’s instrument. Partnership implies I have something to offer when the truth is I’m nothing without God (1 Corinth 15:10). Simply put – Pride (one of the 7 deadly sins)!
If I “love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and love my neighbor…” than I don’t need to develop plans that will fix things or fix people. Folks don’t need to be fixed they simply need to be loved.One way to love others is to simply listen to them and encourage them to resdiscover their love for God. While we listen to each other we might discover ways we can love others and together in some tangible way we will make a difference in their life or their community. “My neighbor” is pastors/clergy. I simply need to bring them together as friends, listen to them, and encourage them to rediscover their love for God while discovering how we might love others.