Dec 30 2016

Meditation

A lot of Christians will try to read the entire Bible this coming year and it’s a noble undertaking for all of us to pursue learning more about our King and his Kingdom. I love reading the Bible. I love sitting and absorbing God’s word any chance I can get. But my favorite thing is to sit and meditate on the same passage of scripture until it gets really deep inside of me. I believe that we will become what we meditate on, good or bad, and I want to fill my mind with as much wisdom as I can so that I can be used in even greater ways by God. Joshua 1:8, Psalm 199:15, and Philippians 4:8 are some of my favorite verses on meditation because they speak of the value of meditating on scripture and give us guarantees of what will happen when we do. For the last few years I have adopted a different method of an annual Bible reading plan. I have a tendency to get stuck on one chapter or just a few verses and spend several weeks soaking up its goodness. That tends to ruin my Bible reading plans so now I take the first month of the year to skim through the entire Bible instead and then I spend the rest of the year meditating on different passages the Holy Spirit highlights to me. It’s not the best method for a new Christian but if you have already read through the Bible a few times and are looking for a different method of study to dig a little deeper, meditation is the way to go. Try it for yourself, pick a passage and stick with it for a few weeks. Read it, ponder it, ask Holy Spirit to reveal something new to you about it, and watch what unfolds.

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Dec 12 2016

Stop for the one

I had the opportunity a few days ago to bless a friend with a nice birthday dinner. I listened as he told me the story of his life, how he has lived on the streets since his teenage years; more than 40 years in total. He recounted the pain of being unloved and unwanted by his parents, the sadness of the death of his wife, the pain numbing effects of drug use, and the many stories of being mistreated by churches. It broke my heart to hear about the tough life he has endured and the continuing pain that he endures every day. I pray for him often and I wonder why we haven’t seen any major breakthroughs for his needs. When the server came with a birthday dessert and sang happy birthday to him, tears began to fill his eyes. I could tell it has been a long time since someone has taken the time to treat him like an equal and I could see how touched he was even though he quickly kept himself from crying.
We all come across broken people every day. Some are homeless, some are sitting in the office cubicle next to us. It’s easy to walk past them, especially when they are seen as societies outcasts. It’s easy to think that helping them or simply saying hello isn’t our problem. But what if we looked at it from a different perspective? What if we viewed it as an opportunity instead of a problem? It’s an opportunity to love and bless someone who has forgotten what love looks like; or maybe has never felt loved. As I left that evening I found myself asking God what the solution was for my friend. There has to be an answer, there has to be a breakthrough available for him. And I won’t stop praying until I see it.
Heidi Baker is famous for her admonition to “stop for the one.” We our surrounded by broken people who need to feel loved. When is the last time you sat with someone who is completely broken? Maybe today is a good day to start.

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Dec 1 2016

Supernatural?

I have this rule. I don’t question any action or word from my sovereign King. If he wants to do something, and I know it is him, I don’t try to stop it and I don’t get in his way. He is the King of the universe, after all. He has the right to do whatever he wants to do. But, sometimes we don’t recognize his actions because we expect him to move in a very defined way. We create this theological viewpoint that says God can’t do anything outside the framework of what we are used to, what we have previously experienced, or what we read about in the Bible. That may seem theologically sound on the surface, but it is actually a flawed viewpoint because it assumes that the fullness of God has already been revealed and that he won’t ever do anything new or different. I look at this differently. I view God as a supernatural being who has complete authority over the earth and whose actions, personality, and sovereignty can never be fully captured in one book, or even in a library full of books. Even John, when speaking about the miracles of Jesus in John 21:25 tells us that all the books in the world could not contain all the things Jesus did in his few short years of ministry. So why would we expect a supernatural God to never do anything different than what we have already read about or seen for ourselves?

I lived in Japan for several years and I watched as people would walk up to idols made of wood and stone; they would pray to these idols, light incense, and leave offerings. It confused me. I knew these idols had no power to help them and I knew that the demons hanging around behind these idols also had no desire to help them. And yet, they would come in religious fashion to pray to something that couldn’t offer them any help. I don’t want to serve a God like that. I don’t want to serve a helpless God or one limited to the same actions a human being can take. I want a God who is supernatural. One who is almighty, all powerful, and can move heaven and earth if that is what is required to help me. Who, in all of the universe, when given a choice between a powerless idol and a powerful God would willingly choose the former? So, when I think about God encountering the people he created, I expect those encounters to be supernatural. I expect things to happen that seem a little weird to us. This is why stories of feathers falling out of thin air, gold dust appearing on people’s hands, faces, or clothing, and spontaneous laughter don’t phase me.

I get it, this can be theologically and spiritually disastrous if we just allow anything to happen in a church service. But it is equally disastrous to shut down everything that we don’t understand. This is where the gift of discernment (1 Cor. 12:10) comes in. We have to be able to discern between what God is doing, what the enemy is doing, and what some random person is doing. But we also have to recognize that we serve a supernatural God. We should expect him to act in a supernatural way. And, more importantly, we should invite him to come and do whatever he wants to do.

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