Thursday, December 17, 2009

Loving God with ALL Our Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength

"You cannot listen to just half of what the Holy Spirit has to say. It's a package deal. If you aren't willing to listen to everything He has to say, you won't hear anything He has to say." Mark Batterson.

That quote comes from Mark's new book Primal. (pg 9) Mark challenges the reader to take a journey back to the place when they first sensed God's calling in their life. The place where they were excited about what God was doing in their life and where He was taking them. To many of us that meant nothing was going to get in the way of what we were destined to do.

His observation is that often when we lose our way spiritually, "the way forward is often backward." (pg 8) We are taken on a journey to understand what it truly means to find the heart, mind, soul and strength of Christianity. Each builds upon the other and you can't really love God fully without loving in all four areas.

Mark uses awesome quotes from many great people, bringing out Biblical points he uses throughout the book. When he writes on how we are to love God with all our mind a chapter is given to "Holy Curiosity." A quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes is used, "A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape." Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious."

This book is a great book to use as a gift for someone or to yourself. You will find yourself thinking back to the beginning of your spiritual journey; asking yourself questions regarding your journey so far, and where you are headed. It is well worth the purchase. For those who are pastor's with the Assemblies of God you will read a story of a man named Jasper Toe and John Perkins and his wife. As I read this story I was once again reminded of why I appreciate my heritage with the Assemblies of God; and realize we need to be very careful to retain this heritage, using these examples to encourage us to move forward with whatever God places within our hands. Mark points out "faith is not faith until it is acted upon." (pg 142)

I want to end this blog with a quote from the last chapter, "The Next Reformation."

"The next reformation will be led by millions of reformers living compassionately, creatively, and courageously for the cause of Christ. It will be marked by broken hearts and sanctified imaginations. And the driving force will be the love of God. A love that is full of compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy." (pg 167)

"Reformations are born out of rediscovering something ancient, something primal. They are born out of primal truths rediscovered, reimagined, and radically reapplied to our lives." (pg 169)

"Primal" will be released to public December 22. I encourage you to purchase it now by following this link. Read it as you enter into 2010. It will be a great start to a year filled with loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tough Determination

I picked up my Bible and started reading Daniel the other day. What jumped out at me was, "But Daniel was determined not to defile himself..." He had made up his mind before he was challenged.

That is where we often get sidetracked in our belief and convictions...we have not determined what our belief and convictions are. We often believe something just because someone else has told us to believe. It is good for new believers to follow the example of other believers in our churches; but, they have to be determined in their own convictions so they will be strong enough to stand in tough times on their own.

As leaders it is imperative that we have determined convictions in order to stay relevant in how we reach people. If we are only determined in systems that do not work, then we will not be relevant. Be determined to reach people no matter what the cost. If it means stepping out into the unknown, then so be it. If it means changing a routine, then do it. People are what matters to God, not our systems and routines. The only way they matter to Him is if they are working to reach people or not.

Today, I want to challenge us to look closely at what makes us who we are...are we determined about the right things? Do we have the tough determination that is going to change lives by the example we lead? If not then I believe we need to do a very serious introspection, asking God to give us the determined belief system that Daniel had.

Why? Because as Daniel was faithful to what he knew was right and was determined to live those convictions, he found favor in the eyes of God and the King. King Nebuchadnezzar promoted him to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. (Dan. 2:48)

Be determined today and see how you find favor in God's eyes and see how He promotes you.