Sunday, July 26, 2009

Change Challenge

In the late 1800's and early 1900's when the Pentecostal movement was being born...or reborn, people did things their churches did not agree with, for the simple fact of experiencing God in ways they had not experienced Him before. When this began happening in the 60's and 70's again the church was not sure they wanted to accept what was happening. It was different...not what they were use to seeing or experiencing.

Today we are experiencing God again. Is it so different from previous years? The only thing different in each of these events is the way in which it was accomplished. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) He is the same, but it is important to look at the circumstances and the ways in which He moved and allowed the Holy Spirit to work. The ways were different, yet the Holy Spirit was the same...gentle and powerful. I believe God is the same as Hebrews says, but He uses the culture of the day to bring His will about and cultures change, so we must change.

God is a God of relevancy. He uses what we are accustomed to in order to reach the generation in which we live. He related to shepherds, fisherman, and tax collectors using what they were comfortable with in order to reach them. My question to the church and ministers today is, "Why is it so hard to allow God to use our culture to reach our culture?" We are not compromising the truth of God's word, we are making it relevant to a generation that needs God's word.

When the hymns, so many people love today were written, they were not the tradition of the day. Many were bar tunes with new words and the people loved them because they were telling the stories of their heart and what God was doing in their lives. This is what is happening today, but people are being inspired to write their own music with lyrics from deep within their spirit. People are using various ways to creatively reach a generation that is desperately in need of Christ, but it is difficult for some churches and pastors to grasp.

Take these thoughts to heart. Ask God to open your spirit to change. How is He wanting to work in you? Is it hard for you to change? Are you comfortable where you are at this point in your life? Maybe it is time to "upset the fruit basket" and allow the Holy Spirit to challenge you with change.

What can you change today that will benefit others tomorrow?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting More out of LIfe and Changing the World!

"I want, I want, I want," oftentimes is what we hear more than, "what can I do for you?"

As I was doing a study on giving I read the well known verse in Lk 6:38 NIV, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over..." Many times we stop there, but read what else it says, "...will be poured into your lap. For with what measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Like always I looked to see what The Message said, "Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back - given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

If everyone would grasp the full intensity of that verse we would be living in a very different world. Not long ago I was riding my bike from my house down to the boardwalk with family. Two of us had gone ahead of the others and a group of people were walking, taking up the entire Oceanfront road. When riding bikes you courteously say, "On your left," or "On your right" when you are going to pass someone. That is what I did and man did I get an earfull.

This group of people just had an attifude that many in our nation have today. That is very sad to say, but truth. We live in a world that believes everyone "owes" them something. It is "their right." This is not the way God intended for us to live. His intension was like the above scripture states, "Give away your life..." Go out of our way to do good and do not "expect" things to happen because of who we are or what we've done.

As believers it is so important that we grasp what the scripture is saying. Take it to heart. Give away our life. Give from our very innermost being. Do good to others. Say a kind word. Go out of our way to speak and give into another person's life. As we do this God will give back into our lives.

Now, we do not give to get. That is not what God meant. He is simply telling us, "Hey, this is what I would like for you to do. And you know what? When you do it look what I will do for you." (Cheryl Turnbull paraphrase) He tells us that He will not only give back, but give back with bonus benefits. As we begin living a life of generosity we will be amazed at the outcome...more people will be generous to us. Don't expect it. Don't look for it. Just let it happen.

If everyone in the world would take hold of that scripture and purposefully be generous, we could change the world!

Live purposefully today and be generous...LET'S CHANGE THE WORLD!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What Kind of a Legacy Will You Leave?

When you think of what is important to you, what comes to mind? Your career? Your family? Your relationships? All of these things are important; but, how will people remember you?

I guess I am thinking of this because my husband's father passed away a week ago, on June 22nd. His life was a life well lived. He and his wife were missionaries in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He taught at Vanguard University (when it was known as Southern California College) and worked as Director of International Ministries at CBN, where he retired. In each one of these rolls he was developing and training leaders in their call of ministry. His children have all followed their father's example in serving Christ and he leaves an awesome legacy of love for God and His work; in addition to a great love, compassion and concern for his family.

He was the epitome of Mt. 22:37-39, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself." NIV Bob did this. He loved people. Now, he did embarrass the family, at times, when he was just being friendly. To strike up conversation, he would make a comment about an earring that wasn't in the ear, or a tatoo. Sometimes the comments, made to be comical, could have gotten him into tough situations; but, he wasn't doing it out of meanness, he was doing it to try to connect with the person. He honestly loved people. He made a friend everywhere he went. We all have our ways; but, the majority of his life was loving people and that included his family. He would do anything for his family.

I look at his life...the many travels around the world he took, not only to enjoy, but preach the gospel, the way he loved and provided and took care of his wife, and the way he prayed for his children and grandchildren. That is an awesome legacy.

Looking at his life causes me to take a good look at my own life. Am I showing a love for Christ in all that I do? Am I more concerned about what I am doing and how it is going to turn out, than I am with my relationships with people and even my relationship with Christ? How are people going to remember me? Will I like what they think about me after I am gone?

If we keep those two questions at the forefront of our mind everyday, I believe it would revolutionize the way we do life in general. Sure, set goals and strive to reach them. Enjoy what God has given you. Just don't forget to love God with all your heart, soul and mind; and the people you come in contact with every day as you love yourself. Grasp Mt. 22:37-39, wrap it around mind, plant it in your heart. Live it out daily. Wake up thinking about it. Go to bed thinking about the verses. The last question you should ask yourself before collapsing on your pillow is, "Did I show how much I love God today, by going out of my way to love someone...someone that is hard to love?"

Take that thought with you and change the way you live your life.

Have a Blessed and Loving Day!