Working on a Dream




Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Divine Moment(s)

There is this book I have been treading through called, "Chasing Daylight."
In the first chapter, the author offers up a pretty interesting concept he calls divine moments. He goes on to point out the connection between English word "moment" and the Greek word atom. Apparently the word atom in Greek brings with it the idea of "being unable to be broken down an further." You know, like the atom is the smallest unit possible type thing...

Anyway, the point is that we found a way to break down the atom. To split it.
And with this finding came BIG things...Like blow you off the face of the earth BIG. This is where things get really interesting. Your divine moment, is when you realize that God is ready to break into your mundane world and cause great things to happen.

-Kind of like when we spilt the atom-

Think of your life, and just how many routines you have. I bet that the majority of your day and week is spent doing the same things over and over and over.
Your divine moment is what happens when God enters the picture right in the middle of your regular life.

A recent example: I like to go to the gym and usually I do not like small talk when working out. This past week, a young man came up to me on two separate occasions and told me he needs God in his life and wants to start going to church. The first time he did this, I listened and then asked for his phone number. I wrote it down on a brown paper towel, stuck it in my gym bag and then walked over to the treadmill.
The second time, I put my gear down and listened. Unlike before, I really listened to his heart and his story. This time I was ready to shift my time and my workout for this young man.

-I was aware of the divine moment happening-
-I was ready for God to work-

It is just like God to work like this. In the book of Acts, Saul was traveling on a road with some companions and then in an instant -God showed up. I often wonder what Saul's traveling compadreas thought of the whole thing as they witnessed it. (Were their jaws hanging around their knees?) If you think about it, in one moment, Saul became Paul. His life was changed forever. And in turn, he changed the world as we know it.
-Your divine moment may might just be just one moment away-

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today is a New Day

I have been leading our youth through the book of Exodus this year in Sunday school and this past week, I came across the passage where the Israelites were about to be delivered out of Egypt. In the middle of God's wonders and power, He informs the people to change the date of the departure from Egypt to the first day of the year.

"Now the Lord said to Moses & Aaron, this month shall be the first month, the begging, for you and your people..." (Exodus 12:1-2).

Changing the calender in the middle of a jail break is hardly normal... Why would God do this?

Let me be forthright, I did not do alot of research on this, but I have an inkling that it has to do with newness. The Israelites past was one of hardship, misery, and pain. Was this God's way of saying, "This is a new day for you! Forget the past and move on with your lives! I have taken you out of slavery and am bringing you to new opportunities! Let this date be a reminder of what you were and what you now have become!" If this is true and I think it is -just imagine how we as believers in Christ should live our lives.
We are connected to THE change agent...Jesus.
Do not forget that in the middle of the mundane, you are connected with Jesus. Like the Israelites, you can choose to live the way Jesus wants you to or you can remain stuck. You can break the ties of anger, leave behind the abuse in your past and you can seize your divine moment and live to your potential.

Monday, March 22, 2010

+ + + Kind of Church

I've never been a whiz at math, so when I read through Mark Driscoll's refreshing book, "Confessions of a Reformission Rev"  I was a bit hesitant when he started breaking down the state of the Church using + and - symbols.  In the book, Driscoll explains how there are churches that emphasize certain central elements that if isolated, will deter the Church from its mission.  Using + and - symbols to get his point across made the model he proposes easy to remember and simple enough to communicate to someone mathematically challenged (me).  

1.  Gospel + Culture - Church = Para church. The para church (Promise Keepers, New Life, etc.) are types of organizations that bring the gospel into the culture, but leave behind the Church. This is usually because the Church is lacking in some area and a group forms an organization that seeks to fill that need.

2.  Culture + Church - Gospel = Liberalism. Some churches are so concerned with being hip, they forget the message of the Gospel. In their attempt to stay "relevant" they forget that their primary purpose is to be salt and light in a lost world.

3.  Church + Gospel - Culture = Fundamentalism. "Don't smoke, drink, or chew or date girls that do" might be this groups motto. This church is so into their traditions and buildings that they rarely lift their eyes to the outside world. A key indicator of this type of church is watching how they do ministry. A maintenance style of ministry is popular in these churches as they are more concerned about maintaining what they have -rather than reaching out to the next generation with the Gospel.

4.  Gospel + Culture + Church = Reformission. Why the weird word? This style combines the best aspects of Christianity. Being driven by the Great Commandments and the Great Commission, this church has a tension of respecting the past AND seeking ways to bring in the next generation.

As you can see, balance is important in life and in the ministry. Therefore, let us all work together to seek ways in which we can be the church that Builds Up and Reaches Out in Christ's Name.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living to Die

Have you ever seen the movie, Braveheart? It is one of my favorite movies of all time. On the front cover of the DVD, there is a powerful statement that is really challenging for me.
"All men die -but not all men really live."
Sadly, many churches do not embrace the above sentiment held my Mr. Wallance. Many churches are oblivious to the fact that they are to be change agents but instead have become stagnet in a world of constant flux. Irwin McManus agrees with this sentiment as he writes, "The real tragety is not that churches are dying but that churches have lost their reason to live." The Apostle Paul spurrs on the church in Rome when he writes in Romans 13:12, "The night is almost over and the day is at hand. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light." All profound theology aside, I think the essence of this verse is one of urgancy. We can all tell when daylight is about to end and the night sky is approaching. It happens mysteriously and wonderfuly everynight. We have created a world so that when it gets dark, we can still function as regular people with no problems. Our cars have lights, our houses have spot lights and so on. Q: What if the electricity went out and it was just, you know, dark? That would be scary, just you and the moon light. I bet you would take more steps to prepare for the night than you do now. This is how Paul wants us as Christians to act. Urgancy is something the church has to wake up to if it wants to impact the next generation. We have the greatest message on earth to share, let us seek the means to do so with urgancy and honor Christ.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God's Painting

I have been treading lightly through Erwin McMannus' book, "An Unstoppable Force" lately and have been inspired by a portion he wrote about the Christian life. Drawing from *Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship created in Christ for good works" McMannus writes that, "We are the paintbrush through which God will paint His masterpiece." This is both inspiring and challenging for me. There seems to be a two-fold challenge for Christians in McMannus' quote: 1. You have to be open the the Master Painter Francis Sheaffer calls this, "passive-obedience." That is, actively laying our own agenda to the side and doing God's will. A beautiful picture of this is Jesus' mother Mary. If you read her response in Luke's Gospel (1:38) to the angel when she is told that she is with child she responds by saying, "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen to me as you have said." 2. You have to be accepting of the Master's Utensils The reality is, each person who desires to follow Jesus is a unique person created to live out their Christian lives in a way that expresses God's creativity. More simply, our calling and gifts are different and when we come together to make up the Body of Christ, we should accept and celebrate this uniqueness. Think about it, a painter has more than one brush. A painter has a variety of brushes that all add something unique and different to the picture being painted. Considering this fact, some brushes may be used more often than others, while some brushes may be used for special touch up work. Regardless of their use, they are all important to the one painting. They will all be used to create something beautiful. I know this, when Christians come together in the spirit of celebrating each others uniqueness and put those gifts to work in God's Kingdom...beautiful things come of it. *Commenting on the above verse, John MacArthur states... The Greek word translated "workmanship" in Ephesians 2:10 came to mean "masterpiece." We are God's masterpiece. From the beginning His design was to conform us to Christ, our good works being the proof of our salvation. God's power is at work in your life, shaping you into the image of Jesus Christ. You are God's masterpiece

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I have recently been texing my friends with thoughtful quotes with the hopes of challenging each other and spurring one another on to great things. I have been reading through a couple of challenging books on church growth. One titled, "An Unstoppable Force" by Erwin McMannus and another titled, "No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke." Reading them side by side, they pick up on alot of overlapping material but eloquently present their information in different ways.

In I Corinthians 13:13, Paul tells us that Faith, Love, and Hope are all hallmarks of our Christian life. That being said, ask yourself the following:

Three things to ponder:
1. Do others see your faith?
2. Are you known by your love?
3. Are you a voice of hope?