Jun 24 2016

The value of honor

There’s a story found in Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6 where Jesus was teaching in his hometown synagogue and while he was there he was not able to perform any miracles. It has been taught for a long time that a lack of faith can keep someone from experiencing a miracle and that idea typically comes from these 2 passages because the account in Matthew seems to clearly point this out. But after seeing so many miracles with people who have no faith I’m starting to think the value of honoring the gift on a person is more important than believing that something will happen.

We’ve seen non-Christians healed, we’ve seen believers of other religions healed, and we’ve even seen people healed while they were still high on drugs. None of these people had any expectation for a miracle but there is one thing they all had in common; they honored us by allowing us to pray for them. One thing that jumps out at me in these verses is Jesus’ statement that a prophet is without honor in his own home. The people in the story were questioning his legitimacy because they knew him as the kid who grew up down the street as the local carpenter’s son. They dishonored him by not believing he was the Messiah. Their lack of faith in who he was is more about dishonor than about faith for miracles. Another passage in Matthew 10:41 says “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” Welcoming a prophet or righteous person appropriately means to honor the gift that is on their life. It’s a spiritual principle; dishonoring someone who represents Jesus blocks their gift from operating.

Jesus wasn’t able to perform any miracles but the account in Mark adds that he healed a few sick people. I suspect these few sick people weren’t part of the group dishonoring him and as a result they were able to receive what they needed. The simple act of someone allowing you to pray for them is an act of honor. They may not have any expectation or faith that a miracle will occur but they are at least honoring your beliefs enough to let you pray. And that little bit of honor is what releases the reward mentioned in Matthew 10. So my perspective is that, at least in the area of the miraculous, honor is more important than faith because by honoring the gift on a person we are honoring Holy Spirit since he is the one who gave the gift.

Jun 17 2016

Stir the pot

I have come to the conclusion that we need pot stirrers in the church; people who are able to stir things up through their own personal journey with Christ. Has your Christian walk ever felt stagnant? Have you ever sat in a church that you felt was little stale or wondered why your spirit wasn’t being fed? AW Tozer once said that “there are rare Christians whose very presence incites others to be better Christians. I want to be that rare Christian.” I know what it’s like to become stagnant. My spiritual life ended up there at some point and I sat on a plateau with very little growth until one day, a day I like to refer to as an appointed time on God’s calendar, Holy Spirit woke me up to a new reality. Over the past few years several different charismatic Christian leaders have put forth an idea that there is more to the Christian life, more to the experiences we were created for, and more to God than we have ever completely realized. The problem, is that until someone or something comes along to stir things up in our life, we don’t realize that we are missing out. This is where the pot stirrers come in. God uses pot stirrers to awaken the church to the greater reality of who He is and the purpose he has for all of us. It’s easy to get into a routine. It’s easy to go to church once or twice a week, volunteer here and there for a good cause, live a good Christian life, and then suddenly realize that a few decades have gone by while our relationship with God has been on cruise control. So we need these pot stirrers to come in from time to time to get us moving in the right direction. Paul mentioned stirring up spiritual gifts in the first chapter of 2nd Timothy and I think the concept here is the same. Fan the flame, stir up the gift, in yourself and in others. Start stirring the pot!