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Archive for August, 2010

The other day I was looking through the upcoming concert dates for one of the bands I heard at Rock the Desert two weeks ago.  As I was scrolling through the venues, the name of one of the churches caught my eye – The Third Reformed Church.

Now, many of you know me personally and thus probably know that I have somewhat “unique” sense of humor.  As I read the name of the church, my first thought was, “Third time’s the charm – maybe they got it right this time.”  I mean, how many times does a church need to reform before it gets it right?

After repenting . . .  I began to reflect on the idea of a church needing reform.  Honestly, I think if a church ever thinks it has “arrived,” then the folks probably ought to shut the doors and find a new place to socialize.

The New Testament refers to the church as a body.  I am no anatomy expert but I am pretty sure that when a body stops growing and changing, it needs to be buried because it is dead.

The church should be seen from the same perspective.  The church should never stop growing and changing – adapting to the environment in order to minister in a relevant way.  (Now don’t hear me say that the message should be changed – just the way we minister)  Just as individual followers of Jesus are in a constant state of being formed to be more like him, the church should also understand that she is being formed and reformed as well.

Maybe every church should consider putting “reforming” in its title.

Something to think about.

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In yesterday’s post I told you about my car troubles on Sunday, and how it took me quite some time to get to church due to the fact that my car thought it was over heating.  Yes, it is a little spooky when a car can think on its own.  But it is down right frustrating when it makes stuff up.  At any rate, that is not where I am going with this post.

The Reduced Engine Power light came on which, as I said yesterday, is a safety feature to prevent any damage to the engine due to over heating.  The result of the reduced power was reduced speed.  Yesterday, I reflected on the fact that even at a reduced speed, as long as we are headed in the right direction, we will eventually get where we are going.

Today I want to think about this power issue.  I experienced first hand what reduced power means.  It was frustrating to try and get where I was going with only a portion of the power that I knew should be available.  It took forever to get where I was going and on more than one occasion, I held others up as they waited for me to pass by or they waited for an opportunity to pass me.

How often do we neglect the power that is available to us through the Holy Spirit?  Francis Chan’s newest book, Forgotten God, deals with this subject (you can read more about the book here).  As believers and followers of Jesus, we are promised by Jesus himself, that we will have the very power of God residing within us.

Do you live your life as if the Spirit of God is alive and present within you?  Today is the day that you must begin living your life boldly as a true child of God.  The world is depending on it!

Be bold!

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Yesterday morning I went out to my car to head to church.  I had a meeting at 9 and I was on schedule to be early.  I got in the car and the battery was dead.  So I pulled my wife’s car around to give my car a jump.  My car started right up so I removed the cables, pulled my wife’s car back into its spot and got behind the wheel of my car to head to my meeting.

As I pulled out of the driveway, I noticed a new warning light I had never seen before.  It said, Reduced Engine Power.  I had no idea what that meant (other than the obvious) so I looked in the manual.  The manual told me that it is a safety measure the engine is programed to perform when the car is over heating.  Of course my car had been sitting for over 12 hours so I knew that could not be the problem.  Under that explanation was another that said, it could just be that the sensor telling the motor that it was overheating could be faulty.  That made more sense.  So I headed off to my meeting with Reduced Engine Power.

What I did not know was that Reduced Engine Power translated into Reduced Engine Speed.  I think I topped out at 7 miles per hour!  I was nearly late to my meeting.  In fact, at one point it dawned on me that I could walk faster than my car was moving.  But at least I was creeping along in the right direction.

As I have reflected on that experience, it has caused me to think about my spiritual progression and the speed in which I progress as well as the power it takes to get there (more on the power idea tomorrow).  We talked about that subject last week.  We often get in a hurry to get where we are going.  We easily grow impatient and think we will never “arrive.”  We need to remember that where we are headed is much more important than how fast we get there.  I have heard it said, “I have no idea where we are headed but at least we’re making good time.”  Where we are headed should be the bigger concern.  If we are a followers of the Way, then as long as our focus is on becoming more like Jesus and pleasing God, then the time it takes to get there is not nearly as important.

God knows that as humans, we will never be Jesus, so I believe God is not so concerned about whether or not you and I “arrive.”  God is ultimately concerned about who we become.

So today, make sure you are headed in the right direction but don’t panic if you don’t arrive by lunch time.

Be blessed today!

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Tracking Progress

I ordered some books a few days ago.  When they shipped, I received an email telling me that my package was on its way.  In that email there was a tracking link so that I could follow the progress of my order.  On the day of delivery, a few minutes after the box was placed on my desk, I received another email telling me the package had been delivered and even told me who signed for it.  Amazing!  Technology allows us to track an order practically every step of the way.  We can see when our order leaves its point of origin.  We can see the stops it makes along the way and we can even see when it should arrive.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have that same ability to track our spiritual progression?  It would be interesting to be able to see how we have progressed and grown to be more like Jesus (or maybe how we haven’t).

Unfortunately, there is not a technical way to track our growth.  But you can give the idea some reflection.  Ask yourself some questions about how you have grown.  Questions like: Am I more patient and forgiving today than I was a year ago?  Am I more committed to setting aside time to spend with God in prayer today than I was a year ago?   Do I love more freely than I did a year ago?  You get the idea.

Do some spiritual tracking today – it could be very insightful!

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Keep It Simple

There is a quote (one of many around my office) that hangs above my desk by Charles Mingus and it says this:

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

As I sat in my prayer time this morning and reflecting on things, I noticed this quote.

Is this not true of our approach to Christian faith?  Have we not taken something beautifully simple and made it complicated?

When you think about the Christian faith, it really boils down to this: love God and love your neighbor.  That’s it.  We have built elaborate systems to help define what this means and how to do it, but the reality is – we have made it complicated.

Simplify your life today.  It’s easy to make things complicated.  It takes work to keep things simple.

Love God and love your neighbor.

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I heard an interesting story in a workshop a few weeks ago and I have been pondering it off and on since that time.  I did a little research and it appears to be valid.

It is the story of the development of the typewriter.  The original layout of the keyboard had to be altered because of the design of the machine.  If the keys were laid out logically and efficiently, the potential typing speed led to stuck keys.  Thus, the keyboard had to be designed in such a way as to separate the frequently used keys so that it would slow the typist down enough that the keys would not stick.

With the invention of the electronic typewriter, this design flaw was remedied, but by then, the keyboard layout was ingrained in our culture and any change to make it more efficient has been defeated.  Now days, we don’t even use typewriters anymore.  We sit at computers and type onto a screen.  But guess how that keyboard you are typing on is laid out – you guessed it – the same way it was over 120 years ago.

Here is the question:  Why is it that even when we know a change would be beneficial and make us more efficient do we resist the change?

Can this reality be seen in the church?  You bet!  We get comfortable and the “way we have always done it” gets ingrained in our culture.

Here is the challenge for today:  If the church is God’s plan to offer hope and love to a hurting world (and we know there is no plan B), then shouldn’t we do everything in our power to be constantly striving to improve how we minister?

Something to think about.

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This past Saturday, I tagged along with our students to Rock the Desert.  It was hot and a little dusty, but it was worth it.  Last year was my first experience with the event and I was so moved that I made sure to make it a priority this year as well.

We heard a lot of different artists at the concert – December Radio, Decypher Down, Remedy Drive, Family Force 5 and Hawk Nelson just to name some.  But the one that made the day for me was @lecrae.  He is an unashamedly Christian rap artist – but I have decided that he is really a youth evangelist who has found that he can put his sermons in the form of a rap to reach kids.

His words challenged me to stop and rethink God’s call on my life.  It’s not about me but about what God wants to do through me and ultimately that is to reach a hurting world with the hope and love that only God can give.

That call is the same for all of us if we are followers of the Way.

So how are you going to show God’s hope and love to those around you today?

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