Tuesday, October 14, 2008

stuck in second gear

my first car was a 78 cutlass calias, 4-door.. cracked windshield, baby blue, wagon wheel mags. o yes it was awesome! the batmobile, as it was affectionally called, also had a little transmission problem. when it rolled off the assembly line it was an automatic, but by the time i picked her up she was barely a semi-automatic. it would stick in second gear so i'd have to manually shift her into third. but over time i didn't even notice this little quirk. but friends would hop in the car and they notice right away that my ride was broken. even to a parachute-pants-and- RATT-t-shirt-wearing kid, this semi-automatic thing just couldn't be right. but somehow i had gotten use to it, so use to it that i didn't even notice it was semi-broken.
our lives get like that 78 cutlass sometimes. things are broken, but the longer we live with it, we just assume broken is normal. this happens in marriages, in businesses, and even in churches. one of God's great gifts to us is to bring truth into our lives, often through other people, to help us realize what is broken around us- and that broken isn't normal. Jesus came not primarily to tell us that things were broken (a reality most were thoroughly convinced of already) but that broken didn't have to be normal- that wholeness could replace brokeness, we could finally shift out of second gear.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Leader's Go First, even in the Rain

Ezra was not happy it was a rainy, overall cruddy day. from the words in his book it is obvious this brother was not having a good time. he was grieved by the spiritual condition of the Israelites who were exiled from their homeland. as a symptom of their lost identity and broken connection with the LORD the men had intermarried with women who did not follow the ways of the LORD. and consequently were conceiving, birthing, and raising children that were altogether spiritually confused. and the we learn that it was the leaders to took the lead (surprise) in this act of unfaithfulness (ez. 9.2). to remedy this situation, after prayer and consultation, it was decided that the leaders would go first in making it right (ez. 10.14). the people would not change until they saw that the leaders were willing to submit themselves to the pain of change first.
what a lesson on leadership! leaders are those who go first. i mean as far as i can tell a person is not leading if they go second....ummm....because the person who went first was/is the leader. it seems to me that when it comes to change, its really important that those with positions of leadership go first even when the change means (as in the case of Ezra's people) the first to repent. As far as i can tell, leader's must go first...even if its raining!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thoughts on 1 Cor 10.1-5

I read this morning about the phenomena of a group of people sharing similar experiences yet ending a different points. the apostle Paul points out that Israel (1 cor 10) all together experienced the miracle of the exodus, they all were benefactors of God's provision in the wilderness, and yet they did not ALL honor God with their lives. Some did. Others did not. They ended up in different places at the end. That is always a puzzling thing isn't it? We see this phenomena with children raised in the same home who come out of the teenage years very different. We see it in churches, where people share experiences (sometimes for decades) but overtime become very different people. There are many reasons for these variant end points, but I think it must have a lot to do with the individual and his/her heart before God. Christianity is a community faith for sure, but it is also deeply personal- between the individual believer and God. And if this vital link, the personal walk with God, is not sustained and fostered the "community faith" will never be enough to save us.

from one to many

a few weeks ago we had an installation service here at Breiel. and installation service is sort of the official 'wedding' of new pastor with congregation. it was a very special day. in that service, a friend Brent, shared about how God had worked things out on the church's side to lead them to offer me the position as lead pastor. it was very comforting to hear and sense god's orchestrating events and the process, but the comfort soothes at an even deeper level. becuase if I am convinced that God led in one area of life, could I not also find it believable that he would orchestrate events in another area of life. and if God were working last year to bring this together in my lifie, could it not also be possible that he is working right now to bring future events to fruition in my life. and if god is working right now in my life could he also be working in the lives of a few others to bring to fruition his plans for thier lives? And if God's is doing that in a few lives could it not also be possible that god is working right now to bring about his purposes in your life....is it possible still that he is working to bring about his purpose for the lives of every person who calls on his name, greater still that god is working to bring his purposes for the entire world?