Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Giftedness vs. Character

This morning I read through the story of Samson. ( Judges 13-16). Some observations...

One, Samason's parents were deperate to have him. They prayed, they sought God, and when it happened they were surprised. They were also obedient.

Two, Samson was gifted. Many a leader has "risen to the top" by using their gifts. Leaders have to have gifts. The great thing is that all leaders do not have to have the same gifts. The diversity and variety of the Kingdom lends its self to gifts that are all over the board. Yet, God is the one who can use gifts that seem totally unrelated to weave together a tapestry of leadership that keeps His kingdom going in the right direction.

Three, Samson lacked character. When he "saw" the woman in Judges Timnah, he wanted her. He told his father, "Get her for me." ( Judges 14) The problem was that she was a Phillistine woman... part of the clan that hated God's people. Samson's lack of character introduced alot of problems into his life.

Four, Samson's life was beset with secrecy. The older I get the more I see the devestating effects of secrecy. Much of the secrecy in our lives is the doorway to deceit. Read through the passage and you will see that Samson played fast and loose with the truth, he kept things from his own family, and he dangled his sinful actions (violating his Nazarite vow) in front of others and even God. Ironically, it was the "secret" of his strength, that he did not keep, which ruined his life. But, he had a real character problem.

Lastly, his ultimate undoing was when the Lord left Him. ( Judges 16:20- "But he did not realize that the Lord had left him.") That is a sad statement.

I pray that you, ( and I) will live in the light. I pray that we will be obedient to God's commands in our lives, and realize that without his blessing, we nothing more than a shell of the person that we could be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WHAT IF....?

I am on vacation this week, in beautiful Chicago Illinois. Today, we venture downtown. We thought about riding the train, but it is kind of pricey, so we are driving... We will go to the Navy Pier, Sears Tower, walk ( not shop) down Michigan Avenue and wander around... Should be fun. We waited until today because the weather was supposed to be good, and it has turned out really good. ( high of 75 degrees and sunny.) I miss that about the north. In the summer the weather fronts clear out the humidity and you get a break. Of course, it all comes around in the winter with 12 straight weeks of wind, cold and snow. God has a hard time pleasing me...but then again that is not his objective is it?

Time off gets me to thinking a bit... So I write some conclusions to the question "What if?" ( Actually they are not conclusions at all, just something to think about.)

WHAT IF...churches really cared about the lost?

WHAT IF ....church members focused more on taking the gospel to those who need it than with protecting their own turf in regards to worship style, preaching style, buildings and programs? ( I guess I am sick of all the ranting and raving about who is doing what and whether it is right or not.... here I go, "ranting and raving.")

WHAT IF ... we all were willing to take a life altering risk once a year? BRIEF COMMENTARY: I mean a real risk which had the potential to go either way. Certainly it should be "God-led." But as I read more about Jesus I see him more as a revolutionary and less as a Mr.Rogers type. He was a dangerous man who called many people to take the biggest risk of their lives. I don't think there is alot of risk in accepting Christ. The ressurection settles it for me. But there is alot of risk in being an "Ambassador of Christ." That can blow away our world.

WHAT IF ... we were free to speak what is really on our mind, instead of what we think the other person wants to hear?

WHAT IF ... relationship really took precedence over programs in the church?

WHAT IF ... we really believed that Hell was real, and Jesus saves?

WHAT IF... we were committed to laugh and smile more and complain and frown less?

WHAT IF ... we woke up in the morning with ONE prayer .... "Lord this is your day... I am your child. Take me where you want, use me where you will, and at the end of the day let's both say, 'It was a good day.'

WHAT IF .... we went to bed at night with ONE thought on our mind... "Lord you were really great today."

WHAT IF .. we had time on a regular basis to ask the question, "What if?"

WHAT IF ... we asked the question "What if?" and it actually led to some sort of change in our life ( for the better)

WHAT IF ? Well who knows...unless you ask the question... and look for the answers.

Vacations do this to me... Sorry. But it is good for me. And better for you as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Summer blogging is a challenge...

Today, I find myself in Joliet Illinois. Lydia and James live here now, launching a ministry with the Cornerstone Christian Church.

Some observations...

1. It is kind of strange for us to be making a long trip to see one of our kids. They have always been either home or close to home. Now they are 680 miles away.

2. Each moment I spend with all four of our kids, I am more amazed than ever how much God has blessed us. This summer, one is in Illinois, one is in Maine, one is in Faytettville Arkansas, and one is in Joliet. All four love God and love their families. Does it really get any better than that?

3. It gets really hot in Chicago too. 94 today.

4. Traveling is still hard on me. We spent the night in St.Louis... and headed out on the last leg of the trip Sunday morning. About 30 minutes in, I got sick... and felt terrible all day yesterday. Too much activity I guess..

5. I miss getting to preach on Sunday. Sunday was the third Sunday I have had in a row where I was not preaching... I love preaching...

Our Vacation takes us from Chicago to Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma later this week. Should be fun... always great to spend time with friends and family.