Tag Archives: faith

Granpap Fix It

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Are you smarter than a two-year-old?  I’m not.

Once again Eli performed at a higher level of faith than I’ve been able to exhibit in all my 56 years.  Here’s how it happened.

Friday was date night for the kids and grandbaby fun time for me.  Eli and I did some shopping where of course he selected a new truck for his special treat.  I was unloading groceries and he was crawling around my feet imagining a super productive construction site with his dump truck and new cement truck.  I must add its cool swiveling bucket on the back insured it as the favorite of the day.

He crossed his trucks between the kitchen tile and family room hardwood only to bump the floor strip; it moved.  Oh, how exciting to a little boy who promptly lifted it from its supposedly glued position.  I noticed and asked him not to play with it.  He let it snap into place and continued on.

A few minutes later I was washing fruit and I heard, “Granpap fix it.”  My ears perked up because I know something broke.  I feared it was his new truck with the swiveling bucket.

He walked up to me with his fearless face and said, “Granpap fix it.”

IMG_3125In his hand was one half of a splintered wood strip.  “Eli, what did you do?”

His reply, “Granpap fix it.”

That’s it.  That’s the lesson that overwhelmed me.  That’s why I need to learn from a two-year-old.  Only a child has that kind of faith.

If you don’t see it yet, let me share what I would’ve done.  I often times follow my ancestor Eve.  I’m told not to touch it.  I touch it and I break it.

I’m terrified that I will be scolded and disciplined therefore I start coming up with excuses on why I touched the forbidden thing.  I actually blame the thing.  “It should’ve been glued better.  I was only trying to fix it.”

Then I try to fix it myself which because I’m worthless with tools becomes a bigger disaster.  So I hide.  I put the splintered strip of wood back in place as best I can and I hide on the sofa in a fake sleep.

When Granpap comes home and forces me to wake, I recite my explanation and he doesn’t buy a word of it.  So guilt and shame come in and I cry apologizes for being such a waste of a person.  “I break everything.  I always make it worse.  I don’t deserve to live in the same house as you.  I’ll pay for the supplies if you will fix it.”

Then I use every tool in my womanly arsenal to try to appease his perceived anger and make him happy so maybe he will like me again.

All my efforts are wasted.  I’ll daily remind myself of my stupidity every time I step across that threshold.  Guilt will consume my joy.

Oh little Eli, thank you for constantly displaying a childlike faith.

“Granpap fix it.”

Yes, Eli.  Granpap did fix it.  He didn’t scold you.  He loved you before you did it.  He loved you while you did it.  He loved you after you did it.  His love never changes.

IMG_3129I watched as you sat next to him and enjoyed his presence all the time he fixed it.  It never occurred to you to hide from him.  Oh, if only Adam and Eve would’ve had your faith.

“Granpap fix it.”

I hope I remember this the next time I blow it.  The next time I sin.  All He wants me to do is run to him with a fearless face and put my sin before Him and say, “Abba Daddy, fix it.”

“Abba Daddy, fix it.”

He will.  He’s the only one who can.  All the time He’s repairing the damage, He’s reminding me of His love.  I can sit next to Him and watch how He restores the broken to a perfection I could never have imagined.

And now every time I walk that threshold, I’m reminded of His love for me, His beloved child.

“Abba Daddy fixed me.”

And if that weren’t enough, there’s always a special treat for faith, Granpap gave Eli a new kite, and they played together all evening.

I hope to never hide from another special treat.  How about you?  Learn something from a two-year-old?

Update to Pride and Insecurity Go Together

A fellow blogger inquired about this post.  I’m so sorry I failed to update. Truth is, I’m working on other projects and blogging is at the bottom of my To-Do list.  But I was so blessed to know someone read and wanted to know how I’m doing.  Thanks!

Here is the original and below is what I can report…

imagesI seek prestige.

Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”

Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.

James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride.  The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.

Prestige.  “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.”  “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.”  “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.”  Prestige is a consuming need for recognition.  It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back.  It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so.  It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are. 

 

The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem.  I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came.  I want people to tell me I did a good job.  I want people to think I’m special.  I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.

How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.

If you can relate, you’ll want to read on.  God’s grace covers this sin.  His grace offers power to overcome it.  God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit.  I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue.  I’ve had moments of victory.  I remember more agonies of defeat.

Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart.  I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation.  Here’s the plan:

Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.”  The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige.  I’m excited.  Actually, I can’t wait for the test run.  Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan.  Wow!

It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy.  I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”  My translation became,  “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.”  The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart.  My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.

Now, here I go again.  When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.

I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.

What I’ve learned…

All believers can overcome jealousy, insecurity, and pride using my new  favorite words in the arsenal of God’s kingdom: Believe and Yield. First believe in the accomplished work of the Gospel. The complete Gospel says: Jesus walked a sinless life to show us that “yes it can be done.” Jesus’s death on the cross absorbed ALL the wrath for our sins. His burial and resurrection give us victory over death and assures a new life in Him. He now sits on the Throne interceding for us and assuring our victory.

That is amazing but there’s more…He gave us His righteousness, therefore we are no longer guilty of sin but we actually hold the identity of Christ. He poured out His Spirit to fill us with all the power, strength, love, grace, mercy, compassion, and whatever is needed to live the victorious life until we are forever united in Glory. Now that’s the Gospel. If we believe only the parts that say our sins are forgiven and He’s coming back for us THEN we are not believing the parts that we need to live each day. He insures our sanctification. We must believe He saves us from the penalty of sin but we must also believe He gives us victory over sin each and every day.

In the blog, I used the term: besetting sin. But once I began to live out what I wrote and believe the complete gospel, I began to see I should never ever have a besetting sin. In God’s opinion, the only one that matters, I don’t!!! I only have Jesus’ record and it is perfect as He is perfect. So once I begin to believe this truth then jealousy, pride, and insecurities die as I yield to the God that lives in me.

Oh how good He is. Oh how He loves me and you.

Now how is that lived out practically,  Get up each day and declare with all the faith of a mustard seed, “God loves me as He loves His Son.  Jesus paid it all.  It’s done.  He lives in me to complete His Kingdom work.  He receives all the glory when I yield to Him.  So therefore, may the God-in-me love others, may the God-in-me serve, may the God-in-me move mountains.  I believe your promises.  I put my faith in your Gospel.  I yield to Your presence.  Your will be done this day. Amen”

Sherlock

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Many nights I put myself to sleep taking my favorite protagonist through adventures I can only dream of having.  She’s young, beautiful, gracious, but most of all brilliant.   She exceeds the intellect of the Einstein’s throughout history.  She creates life-saving technology, pens best-selling novels, gives guidance to world leaders, and solves unsolvable crimes.

When Yahweh God offered King Solomon anything he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom.  Brilliance, the proper genius, is my highest unattainable goal.  Maybe that’s why I love the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  The new BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman excels in bringing a 19th century character into the modern technology of the 21st century.  The edgy photography, superior writing, and brilliant acting have made this series to be an instant hit.  Only three shows per season and we addicts have to wait far too long between seasons.

imagesMy protagonist is oftentimes a female Sherlock Holmes though she is kinder than this self-described high functioning sociopath Sherlock.  She’d never belittle others with, “Dear God, what is it like in your feeble little brains.  It must be so boring.  Look at you lot, you’re all so vacant.  Is it nice not being me?  It must be so relaxing.”  Then to the mortician who Sherlock despises he adds, “Anderson, don’t talk out loud.  You lower the IQ of the whole street.”

In episode one, after four victims of apparent suicides, yet all died of the same poison, Sherlock deducts a serial killer.  He loves the brilliant killers, “They’re always so desperate to get caught.” Why? “Appreciation.  Applause.  At long last, the spotlight.  That’s the frailty of genius, it needs an audience.”  Now I’m beginning to wonder if I should pray for brilliance.  Can humans handle such a gift?  Solomon proved he couldn’t.

A Study in Pink offers this puzzle:  “Who do we trust, even though we don’t know them?  Who passes unnoticed wherever they go?  Who hunts in the middle of a crowd?”  When Sherlock finally comes face-to-face with the killer in a game of chess with one move, one survivor; I find my favorite lines.

2Sherlock sits across the table in a vacant classroom late at night.  He refuses to move until he studies his opponent.  “You didn’t kill four people because you’re bitter.  Bitterness is a paralytic.  Love is a much more vicious motivator.”

I would have never put love and vicious together.  Synonyms like brutal, ferocious, savage, ruthless, heartless, and barbaric stand in stark contrast to love.  Yet, I marvel at the power of these words to illicit a vivid picture in my brain.  Right now, I’m momma-bear ferociously protecting my babies from harm.  Yes, love can be vicious.  Sherlock has once again challenged my intellect and renewed my passion to learn.

A Knight’s Tale

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I suggest you first watch A Knight’s Tale for the love story and humor while you cheer the underdog to victory.  Then watch it a second time with the volume maxed out and head bob to classic 1970’s rock.  Finally, read this blog and watch it a third time and ask yourself, “What am I believing?”

Two flashbacks in this film reveal the heart of the movie.  My favorite character, William’s father, can’t even be found in Google images.  While everyone else is focused on William, Adamire, Jocelyn, or Chaucer, I’m asking, “Why didn’t I have a father like John Thatcher?”

I dreamed of greatness as a young girl.  So did William. “Someday I’ll be a knight.”  The cynic in pillory, played by my father, said, “A Thatcher’s son?  A knight? You might as well try to change the stars, ha”

2William asked his father, “Can it be done Father?  Can a man change the stars?”  Oh, how I love John’s answer, “Yes, William.  If he believes enough, a man can do anything.”

Yes!

But even these words left alone are worthless and empty.  Words are only powerful tools when engaged with action.  John Thatcher knew to make his son believe enough, he had to make the ultimate sacrifice of proof.  He gave William to a knight and left these final words to guide him, “It’s all I can do for you son.  Now go, change your stars and live a better life than I have.”

Behind this scene I see a father who reached into his chest and ripped out his heart, slammed it on the altar then sliced it in half.  But William started believing that moment and he never ran away from the challenge.  He changed his stars, became the greatest knight of his time and won the heart of royalty.

3I’ve heard my Heavenly Father say, “Believe me!  I chose you and made you my warrior princess.  You are my beloved child, pure and blameless in my sight.  Now believe me.  Live it.”  He proved His words by coming into this wickedness and enduring a brutal death on a rugged cross.   His sinless blood washed me clean and validated His claims.

If I believe, my enemies will ask like William’s archenemy Adamire, “How would you beat her?”  The answer would knock them flat on their backs, “That woman is unbeatable.”

Yes!

Take that! voices in my head, skeptics, and demons for “you have been measured, you have been weighed, and you have been found wanting.”  Welcome to my new world.

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What Your Children Need to Hear from You

IMG_1995I discovered a blog offering words to communicate to children. No doubt the list would challenge children, encourage them, and motivate them.  I would not be surprised if  any child who regularly heard such praise and motivation would not grow to be leaders among their peers as long as life’s hard blows didn’t outweigh the praises of their parents.

I marked the blog as a keeper but after a few reads, I was certain something major was missing.  There was no mention of the creator, our need for a savior, or our eternal purpose.  Yes, we can motivate children to conquer this world but in doing so, they lose everything in the next world.

So I decided to do some tweaking.  The bold italics are mine.  These I intend to teach Eli and Caleb.

IMG_21091.  I love you!  But Jesus loves you more.  There is nothing that will make me stop loving you.  Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.  I know this because God loves you through me.  My love may fail, but His never will.

2.  You are amazing!  I look at you with wonder!  Not just at what you can do, but who you are.  There is no one like you. No one!  God made only one of you because He has a special purpose for your life.  You were made in His image and because of that you are amazing and wonderful.  Without God, you and I are worthless.   But in Him we are amazing.

3.  It’s all right to cry.  People cry for all kinds of reasons:  when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely.  Big people cry too.  I do.  Jesus cried too.  God gave us His emotions so they are okay.

4.  You’ve made a mistake.  That was wrong. People make mistakes.  I do.  Is it something we can fix?  What can we do?  It’s all over.  You can start fresh.  I know you are sorry.  I forgive you.  It wasn’t a mistake, it was a sin.  Everyone sins.  A sin is when we don’t do what God wants us to do.  We can ask God to forgive us and He will.  What can you do to make sure you don’t do that sin again?  God will help you if you ask Him.

5.  You did the right thing.  That was scary or hard.  Even though it wasn’t easy you did it.  I am proud of you;  you should be too.  God gives us strength to do the right thing.  When we are scared or facing hard choices, God helps us.  We should trust God to help and then thank Him for His strength.  This gives God glory.

6.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.  I made a mistake.  I sinned against God and against you.  I asked God to forgive me, now I’m asking you to forgive me.

7.  You can change your mind.  It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change.  Always ask God what He wants you to do.  When you know it is God’s will, then stay firm no matter how hard it gets.  God will bless you for keeping your word.  

IMG_20928.  What a great idea!  You were really thinking!  How did you come up with that?  Tell me more.  Your mind is clever.  Did you pray about that?  Isn’t God good for giving you such a great idea.  What’s even better is now He will give you everything you need to make that idea work.  Let’s praise God.

9.  That was kind.  You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person.  That must make you feel good inside.  Thank you!  When you do kind, helpful and thoughtful things for others, you are acting like Jesus.  Jesus delights when you do His works.  When others ask you why you did that say, “That’s Jesus coming out of me”

10.  I have a surprise for you.  It’s not your birthday.  It’s for no reason at all.  Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.  I love to surprise you with presents just like Jesus surprises me with blessings. 

11.  I can wait.  We have time.  You don’t have to hurry this time.  I’m sorry I often rush you to keep my busy schedule.  Today, let’s do things slow and enjoy our time together.  God says if we wait on Him we can make us soar like the eagles.  

12.  What would you like to do?  It’s your turn to pick.  You have great ideas.  It’s important to follow your special interests.  God’s word says He will give us the desires of our hearts.  Let’s ask God for a special thing to do today.

13.  Tell me about it.  I’d like to hear more.  And then what happened?  I’ll listen.  Can you imagine that the powerful God of the universe bends His ear close to hear us.  He’s enjoying this story as much as I am.  Keep talking.

14.  I’m right here.  I won’t leave without saying good-bye.  I am watching you.  I am listening to you.  Jesus will never leave you.  He will always protect you.  He will always listen to you.  And because you are little, He uses me to let you know He is close.  I’m happy to know that we can trust Jesus to watch over us.

IMG_221915.  Please and thank you.  These are important words.  If I forget to use them, will you remind me?  I want to treat you with respect because you are made in God’s image like me.  I will use words that build you up and encourage you to be all that you were created to be.  When I fail, please tell me.

 16.  I missed you.  I think about you when we are not together!  I missed you so much but I knew God was with you.  Sometimes I can’t be with you but Jesus never leaves you.  

17.  Just try.  A little bit.  One taste, one step.  You might like it.  Let’s see.  I’ll help you if you need it.  I think you can do it.  With God all things are possible.  Let’s pray and ask Him to help you.  

18.  I’ll help you.  I heard you call me,  here I am.  How can I help you?  If we both work together, we can get this done.  I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked.  Just like you asked for my help and I am happy to help you, God loves to help us when we pray.  Let’s pray that He helps us do this together.

get-attachment.aspxThe ways of the world are good but when we add God into the equation, we give our children supernatural security.

He Sees Jesus in Me

imagesWhen God the Father looks at a believer, He sees His Son, Jesus.”

I’ve said that truth countless times.  My head knows the doctrine of justification.  Sadly because I’ve never defined it, I exhibit no power in those powerful words.

Until now!

After reading, “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitspatrick, I can define what the Father sees when He looks at me, His beloved daughter.

Read slowly; don’t miss this.  Imagine each statement as you look at your reflection before a Holy God.

Jesus’ perfect record has become ours.  Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus’ perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who

  • Always does the things that are pleasing to him
  • Is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food
  • Doesn’t seek your own will but seeks his will instead
  • Doesn’t seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others
  • Has always kept all his commandments;
  • Lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others
  • Loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis
  • Lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavenly Father more than anything else
  • Seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.

 …In God’s opinion (the only one that matters!) that’s your record today.

Page 74  “Because He Loves Me”

Anyone saying, “wow, wow, wow” with me right now?  If not, then you’ve missed the astonishment of these truths.

If you’re like me, you will need to lean in a bit closer to that reflection and probe for any evidence of these virtues.  If we can’t see Jesus and others can’t see Jesus in us, then maybe, there is a pride issue.

I have to remind myself over and over that his righteousness is now mine and that the way my heart harasses me is more a function of my pride and self-sufficiency than a sincere desire for godliness.  If godliness before him is what I was really after, then one look at the cross and empty tomb would suffice. 

 But I can see that I’m frequently more concerned about whether I approve of myself than the fact that he approves of me.  I sinfully long to be able to look at my life and feel good about my personal accomplishments and it is that desire that spawns crushing guilt.

 The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. 

Page 75 “Because He Loves Me”

 

The Gospel is our life, our hope.  We must daily review Bethlehem, Golgotha, Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives.  Until we are convinced that because of His great love, He came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried then rose from the grave, and is now seated in Glory.  He loves that much.

“I believe He won’t stop loving me until He stops loving His own Son.” 

How can we not passionately love and obey such a God?

You Deserve Better

MB900411745I had an epiphany this morning.  While doing my Jonah homework, the author Priscilla Shirer, walked us through the stories of Jonah, David, and the prodigal son.  They each had an ‘aha’ moment.  Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish, David was mourning the death of his infant son, and the prodigal was dining on the slop of pigs when their epiphanies shook them to the consciousness of their sin.

As I reflected on my own journey fleeing God, I shivered at the memories of my storms, deceits, and vile living. Then I was jolted to worship when I realized how gracious my God had been to me.  Years ago, He turned me from my wicked ways in an instant of revelation far different than the three examples I had just read.

One morning in my college apartment, I stared at my image in the mirror and heard these words spoken into my heart,  “You deserve better.”

Can you believe it?  The girl who was starved for true love, who craved affection and attention, and who never felt good enough heard she, of all people, deserved better.

It wasn’t just for her, she deserved it.

Not until this very morning did I realize how much grace was poured into my soul that day.  It has taken decades to come full circle to that revelation but I now know it ha always been true.

I was then and I still am, a child of the Most High God.  He saw me as a princess adorned in pure His white wedding gown.  I wore His crown.  I carried His sword.  I had already inherited all the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

It was all mine, and yes, I deserved it.  Not because of anything I had done.  The salvation of Jesus is assured to those who receive His grace through the remission of sin.  His Word says, when I believed Him and I repented when I was ten-years-old, I became a new creation.  Not only was I eternally saved but I had and still have claim to all the promises of that inheritance.

Yes, that is far better than what I was living.  As far as the beat of my heart, through the unlimited vastness of the universe, to the heart of the Lamb who sits on the Throne, better!

I’m not too old

I bought a carton of crayons for school.  Yes, for me.  Don’t laugh.  I might never tell you another secret.

My textbook said I needed playtime each day.  So I bought a coloring book, watercolors, and a puzzle.  The assignment: do something everyday just for fun with absolutely no purpose or goal in mind.

Just for fun sounded fun, until I tried it.  It wasn’t fun.  I had to time myself.  I had to complete one page before going to the next, even when I didn’t like the picture anymore.  I had to stay in the lines.

So I decided the next time to let Eli join me.  He chattered through the whole process.  He didn’t even see the lines.  He had more fun dumping the crayons on the table and putting them back in the box.

I should have just enjoyed him, but no.  I forced my hand over his and finished the picture, no matter how many times he’d close the book on me.  I’m pretty sure I have a problem.

I’d love to see if your head is nodding or maybe your looking over you shoulder to see if I’m standing there reading your mind.  Raise your hand if you can’t enjoy life because you’re too concerned about being good…enough.

How many opportunities or accomplishments have you missed or quit because your goal was to be the best and you simply weren’t?   I’m ashamed of my number.

Author Rosanne Bane wrote, “Perfectionists think that insisting on near perfect performance from the outset and criticizing themselves for every mistake will make them learn faster, but his actually impairs performance.”

I also read that to become a master in any area of performance 10,000 hours of practice was required.  I did the math.  At my current pace, I’ll need 13 years.  That’s old for me.  So I just stopped blogging.

I’ve been miserable.  Images of ninety-year-old pregnant Sarah haunt my dreams.  Then an archangel flies by with a trailing neon sign, “You’re not too old.”  I wake to the sound of the pounding nails smashing my fingers onto the keyboard.

If it took Noah 120 years to complete the ark, I can strive on.  But I need to learn a few things.

The lines stifle creativity.

Stop when the book is closed.

Go with the new thing even if it gets dumped on you.

It’s more fun when someone else is with you.

So, let me introduce you to Mike’s blog.  Check out my hubby’s new adventure.  I call him a bi-vocational missionary.  His dream: build a business foundation, network and train other CEOs, then use their combined assets to spread the Gospel.  It’s a God thing.

You can read all about it at Patriarchproject.com and be sure to sign up for his email updates.

BTW Do you like the new blog design?

Singular and Sovereign

I’ve discovered the secret to true joy.  God is not predictable.

That may not be the answer you were hoping to hear. I’m sure we’d rather have something like, God will answer your every prayer or God meets all your needs.  Though there is truth in those statements, they are still dependent upon ‘you’.  You have to pray.  You have to know the needs you want fulfilled in order to experience the joy of receiving.

True joy is absent of you.  True joy is only found in the Lord.  True joy is possible in the best of times and in the worst of times.  Solomon and Job depict both extremes and they came to the same conclusion.

Solomon had all the wealth and pleasures this world could offer.  They were a gift from the Lord.  His life journey is summarized in Ecclesiastes.  When you get past all the meaningless ‘life is meaningless’ phrases, you find a deeper secret.  It is possible to enjoy this life of confusion, disillusionment, injustice, and despair.

Job is a perfect example.  He above all others in his time loved and served the Lord.  Yet for no apparent reason to him, everything was violently stripped away.  He is in agony of soul and body.  The opposite extreme of Solomon for Job lost his beloved children and all he owned including his health.

He argues with his friends on the injustices of this world.  His friends try in vain to make God predictable.  They want to prove, ‘if a then b’.  If we pray enough, love enough, give enough, obey enough, then God has to respond appropriately to us.

Here’s where we get into trouble.  We lose our joy when God doesn’t respond to our asking and pleading, when God doesn’t act like the god of our image.

Job felt like he was completely in the dark, so dark that he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.  Yet he knew what his friends didn’t know.  God does what He wants, when He wants.   That truth terrified him.  Can you imagine meeting such a God?  Job dreaded the thought of it.  He lived in holy fear.

Live in holy fear.  That’s the same conclusion to life Solomon discovered.

I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always.  No addition, no subtraction.  God’s done it and that’s it.  That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.  Whatever was, is.  Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God.  Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 The Message

 

Notice the line I highlighted.  Stop asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.  Is it really that simple?  Only when we take ourselves out of the equation, only when we are focused on God and God alone, can we know the joy of real worship.

If He slay me, so be it.  If He bless me, so be it.  He is God.

This makes me ponder:

Would the religious leaders of His day have accepted Jesus if they had stopped asking questions and simply believed God could come as a baby and die on a cross just because He is God?

Why I think church growth strategies fail

If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve participated in at least a few of the latest trends.  They come and go.  Some work, some don’t.  It really doesn’t matter because the creator of the latest and greatest strategy got rich either way.

I find it all very frustrating.  Reminds me of the crazes that trap us into yet another diet, a few lost pounds, then regaining more than we lost, forcing us to search for the next sure thing.

Each church growth craze I’ve witnessed has gained a few believers (Praise the Lord!) but it soon mellows out and life returns to the normal often times dead Christianity until a next strategy motivates us to temporarily act.

Does the Bible give God’s perfect, no fail strategy?  I studied all the passages in Acts that stated something like, “and the church grew in numbers.”  It sounded like a church growth strategy to me.  Yet what I found was each time, the strategy was different.  God was not limited in how He worked.  I hope that doesn’t surprise you.

Consider the following examples.

Acts 2:41:  a mighty move of the Holy Spirit with the preaching of the Truth and God added 3,000 to their number that day.

Acts 2:47:  A church (devoted to teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, wonders, giving, daily meetings, praise, worship, favor of the community) acting out their faith in love to each other and God added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 5:14:  Believers walking in holiness to the commands of God’s Word not tolerating sin in the body through the practice of church discipline…more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

Acts 6:7:  Effective leadership and the body operating in their gifts of the Spirit...so the word of God spread. The number of disciples increased rapidly.

Acts 9:31:  A time of peace where believers matured in living in the fear of the Lord…and the church grew in numbers.

Acts 9:35,42:  The result of miracles displaying the glory of God…this became known all over…and many people believed in the Lord.

Acts 11:21:  The hand of God upon a refugees spread by persecutionbut preaching the truth as they traveled among foreigners…The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Acts 11:24:  Missionaries who are full of Spirit and faith going out with the Truth…and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Acts 14:1, 21:  Effective powerful debates on doctrine and theology and preaching the good news…and won a large number of disciples.

Acts 16:5:  Churches strong in obedience out in their communities.   The world takes note and wants salvation.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Acts 17:11-12:  Deep biblical Bible studies for those eager to examine Scriptures and confirm the truth of the spoken message.  Man of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent [Gentiles].

The truth is, they all work.  The book of Acts proves it.  Problem is, we need them all.  We even need those no one can make money promoting, persecution and martyrdom.

We fail when we focus on only one verse, only one way.  This creates program devotees, false martyrs, fanatical miracle seekers and over zealous strategist.

 Ponder this.  What would it take in your life and in your church to have evidence of all the above so that we could see great numbers of new believers added to our churches on a daily basis?