Archive for May, 2011

25
May
11

intelligent design

I have always been somewhat of a student of human nature. I love to watch people and figure out what their “story” is. I enjoy observing culture and, as a result, I notice the inconsistencies we all exhibit from time to time. Because of this “hobby” I have to be very careful not to allow myself to occupy the position of judge because, as I am sure you are aware, it is easier to see the speck of dust in someone else’s eye than it is to see the 2×4 in our own (Matthew 7:3-5).

One of the interesting observations I have noticed, however, about those of us who are a part of this community of faith we call the church, is our adamant, and sometimes un-Christlike, adherence to dogmas of faith that we don’t really live out in the day-to-day expression of our faith.

Case in point: Intelligent Design (i.e., Creationism).

Most of us in the community of faith are like my son who when asked in an eighth grade science class if he knew what the Big Bang Theory was responded, “God said it and, bang, it was there!” (I was actually kind of proud of him when he came home and told that story.) We believe just what Genesis 1:1 declares: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

So where is the inconsistency I mentioned earlier? Well, the same Bible that tells us that God created the cosmos also states unequivocally that, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Are you living your life with that kind of intentionality? Do you believe that God has designed you for more than getting an education, getting married, getting a job and then retiring and spending your golden years tending your garden? Do you believe that the same God who created the universe with such precision has created you precisely the same way, with a Kingdom role to fulfill? More importantly than believing it, are you living your life in Jesus’ name – doing what he would do? (Remember, it was Jesus who said, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me.” John 4:34) Are you purposefully doing the “good works” you were created for?

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17
May
11

what are you afraid of?

I have often wondered, no doubt like many of you, why Adam and Eve would ever do something as seemingly inexplicable as trading the serenity and beauty of their life in the Garden for one bite of an apple (or whatever kind of fruit it was). We think, “How could our original parents be so spiritually dull? How could they be so inconsiderate?” It’s always pretty easy to judge others or misunderstand their actions until we put ourselves in their place. That was the reason for Jesus’ instruction about learning to identify with others before we cast judgment upon them.

With that in mind, author Max Lucado makes an interesting observation about the motivation behind original sin in his book entitled “Fearless“.

“But then came the serpent, sowing seeds of doubt and offering a sweeter deal… Eve was afraid… Afraid that God was holding out, that she was missing out. Afraid Eden wasn’t enough. Afraid God wasn’t enough… Fear, mismanaged, leads to sin.”

Wow! Eve was simply afraid? She had everything she needed. The world was without the imperfections and troubles we have to deal with today. She had perfect relationship with God. Everything seemed to be pretty great and she was afraid?

Before you get too upset with Eve’s actions, let me ask you a question or two (remember the “identifying with others” rule above). Are you sitting in a comfortable place (like a coffee shop like I am), warm and dry? Did you drive your car to get there? Did you sleep in a warm bed last night? Did you get enough to eat at breakfast (or, like most Americans, too much)? Oh, one more question. What are you afraid of or, in other words, in what situation of your life are you not trusting God?

As Oswald Chambers points out, because “’God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you… may have an abundance…’ (2 Corinthians 9:8), then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.”

10
May
11

spiritually discerned

The clock on the night stand says 3:30 AM, but my body knows better. I’m trying to ignore the nagging feeling that I should be up doing something productive, but it’s not working. So, here I am working away with hours before my schedule actually begins. What’s the problem you ask? The clock is reporting Alaskan time, but my body is still on Eastern time – 4 hours different. (Who knew? I always knew Alaska was huge, but its own time zone? It doesn’t help that the sun doesn’t go down until almost 11:00 PM and comes up a little after 5:00 AM and that I went to bed after 11:00 PM Alaskan time.)

I have traveled a lot of places around the world and have always been fascinated by time zones. They are as close as those of us living in the real world get to parallel universes, time travel and the like. While in a different time zone I always find myself calculating what time it is at home. (I wear a really cool radio controlled chronograph watch that reports multiple time zones and helps me with my calculations. I know it’s a little nerdy.)

I have come to realize as Spirit-filled believers we do, or at least should do, the same thing. We are not of this world and our spirit knows it. The Bible says that the Spirit of God identifies with our spirit and that we might be physically in one “time zone” but our minds, our hearts, our priorities and our spiritual man are all part of another time zone so we constantly find ourselves trying to “calculate” what’s going on in that one.

Paul explains it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:14: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” In fact, Paul spends a lot of time and uses a lot of allegories throughout his writings trying to explain this principle. He talks about seeing things through a cheap mirror, the mystery of marriage and the like, and tells us that all these things are a constant reminder of what time it is “back home”. Our job is to cultivate, through prayer, study and obedience to the Word, an awareness of Kingdom things and to align ourselves with them as the Holy Spirit works in us and gives us reminders that we are just “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 2:11) traveling through this world on our way back to our time zone.

03
May
11

how’s your prayer life?

How’s your… prayer life?

Luke 18:1 tells us: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Paul directs us in I Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” He tells us that the first priority of worship should be “that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2)

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and said, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (33:3)

Again it was Jesus who said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

James reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (5:16)

Jude tells us to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith (by) praying in the Holy Spirit.” (1:20)

These are just a few of the verses in the Bible that remind us that the Word of God continually calls the people of God to prayer, both corporately and individually, and that the Bible is a prayer guide teaching us how to pray effectively.

So, how’s your prayer life?