Monday, July 27, 2009

Never Disappointed

For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." Rom 10:11

Imagine that you lived in a world where nothing lets you down. All politicians do what they promise, your job is secure, products work as advertised, everyone thinks you are great, your church exceeds your expectations and your pastor never makes mistakes or offends you.

In motivational seminars they often ask, “What would you do in life if you knew you would never fail?” They then offer to sell you a product that will help you achieve that goal, and if it does not work you will be disappointed with the people who sold it to you, disappointed that you couldn’t fulfill that dream and disappointed at yourself for either buying that product or not having the initiative or talent to make it work.

Yet God promises that in such a world of guaranteed pain and failure it is possible to NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED. That is, if we trust in Him. But what does it mean to trust in Him? The list of scenarios are as long as life itself, but trust in God implies ultimate trust and this is where we can begin in our understanding of never being disappointed.

Ultimate Value: If you allow anyone on this planet to define you or ascribe value to you then you will be disappointed. The best that I can do even as a Christian leader is let you know how God values you, but I might also be having a bad day and by not being as polite as I should you might judge your value by the amount of attention that I give. This is a best case scenario – it happens in every church every Sunday - but this world is even meaner and will rip you apart with unkindness. However, God shows us how He values us by what He gave to save us, His only Son.
Jn 3:16

Ultimate Purpose: Forrest Gump asked his mama if he had a destiny, but even his mama could not fully define his destiny and she truly loved him. We are not feathers floating around to nice theme music. The reality is more like hopscotch in a mine field at times.

God defines our purpose, but He does not wind up our lives like a toy and then walk away while we stumble through the pitfalls of this world alone. He is actively fulfilling His promises and causing all things to work together for ultimate good. Even when man lets us down by dropping the ball of our lives – case in point the
life of Joseph – God is the one who is really in control. It is a promise. Rom 8:28

Ultimate Accountability: I am accountable to many people, but ultimately I am only accountable to God. If I seek His face and obey Him the best that I can and still am not successful by man’s standards I can be content. I am called to obedience. I am also called to fruitfulness, but that fruitfulness is based on abiding in Him and may not always be deemed success by this world or even by some in the church. By some of the standards that I hear these days people would even call the life of Jesus a failure if I were to tell the same story in a modern setting and change the names. The same would go for the Apostle Paul. But God was pleased, well-pleased!

God never promised freedom from pain in this life. He never promised that people would not let us down. He never promised that everyone would love us and be for us and be excited about our destinies. But He did promise that our hearts would never be broken by Him, and if we will come to Him with broken hearts, He will heal us. He also made a few more promises that will not fit in this post, over 3000.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:3-5

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Honk If You Love Jesus?

You have all seen it if you have been behind the wheel enough. An elderly couple at the stoplight has stalled their car, and the impatient line of cars behind them resorts to a cacophony of honks and insults to remedy the situation. The longer they wait the worse it gets.

Of course it makes perfect sense, and everyone knows that loud complaining and inaction is the best way to change a scenario. Just the other day my car was having problems so I drove it to a local stadium – that’s right, a stadium – where I paid hundreds of people sitting on their laurels to shout at the top of their lungs, speak curses and you know, it was just the thing to repair my car!

It was then I knew I was on to something, and as a missionary this approach might come in handy. The church needs more material and people resources for the task at hand, and even Jesus said that there were not enough workers to go around. It must be someone’s fault, and I doth protest! The scandal! The outrage! Someone should write another blog!

Or consider the following. The frustrated citizen turns off his motor, unbuckles and gets out of his car. He stands on his bumper to look ahead to what is holding up progress and quickly discerns what must be done. He walks up to the stoplight, inspires a few more complainers and they together help to start the elderly couple’s car.

In the end action is much better than reaction, and in the church there is only one responsible party and one source of resources. Ultimately I am responsible to be a part of solving problems and not to just whine about them, and Jesus told us to ask Him for our resources and not to grumble and complain.

Anyone can parrot the nightly news, diagnose a traffic jam or complain about the church, but who can bring change? If you really love Jesus then get out and push.