Growing to be all that God desires you be is the result of many strands, or decisions that you make on a daily basis. To grow spiritually does not happen by chance or as the result of good genes. To grow into maturity is not the end of the process but rather it is part of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in you. The goal is to experience a “transformed” life that has so radically changed that the result is a new set of values and purposes. We live to the glory of God through difficult circumstances and heart-wrenching suffering.
Tis the season for setting goals, resolutions and then, plunk! Nothing! It was a good college try but it will have to wait until the weather is warmer, or until I get over this cold, or maybe even when my schedule clears! Have you ever thought that way? “Tomorrow” is always the best day to start a new project but inevitably something else comes up that gets in the way or has greater importance on our priority scale! Continue reading
Life is precious. However, the way we treat it at times is the exact opposite of that. I am reminded of the game we played as children, we called it “King of the Mountain” in our neighbourhood. The objective was to climb to the top of the dirt pile and defend your spot with all your might! This would involve tossing all competitors off your “regal territory.” What a blast!
Unfortunately, my friends, some adults, some Christian adults, some Christian adults who are leaders in the church are still “playing” that game. But, it isn’t a game. And, it is acted out in the “dirt” of daily crux of relationships and responsibilities.
In the church of Jesus Christ the rules are different, they are the exact opposite in fact. The way up is down, the way to life is death to self, (Phil 3:8; Matthew 10:38). We place God’s agenda above our own and seek to make him the King of all of who we are. Our goal is to advance his ethic of love and forgiveness, (Matthew 28:19-20).
Because life is precious we take serious the biblical commands that are centred around the “one-anothers”, (Romans 12:3-21). In the community of the redeemed there is a mutual recognition that on our own we cannot make it, (1 Corinthians 12). We need each other to “spur each other on to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24). I, therefore, cannot claim that I am superior to you! How dare I!
The spiritual leaders of the church still need to recognize their need to practice these good works. Too often, I have seen those same leaders act as if they are above the necessity of daily practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, love, and diving into the Bible, realizing that they too need to confess their sins. Some of these people have forgotten that they have reached where they are because did practice them at one time, not because they deserve to be there!
Whoever you are, whatever title you have in front of your name, you would do well to remember who actually is the King! It isn’t you, it is the One who “bought you with a price” to remind you that “you are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Friends, we must live in the light of the truth that Jesus Christ is the true King of the mountain in our lives! How is it going for you?
For His Glory,
Pastor Bill Finch
“Does this hurt?” “How about here?” At certain times all of us have heard those words from a Doctor who is checking out what physical problem we may have. I recall running across the lawn of a neighbours’s yard and not seeing the little wire fence in the dark of night, tripping over it and breaking an arm! It wasn’t difficult for the emergency room nurse to tell I had a problem as my arm twisted in the wrong direction!
Less obvious are the spiritual wounds we carry around that come as a result of our own sin, and that of others. Emotional wounds that were inflicted by a parent, a spouse, or another person we trusted, carry their own set of damages that leave scars. We human beings have an uncanny knack of hurting one another, sometimes we don’t even realize that we do so. But when we put our needs and wants before serving God and others, we cause damage. And, the result is that we ourselves become twisted emotionally and spiritually.
The twelve men who followed Jesus Christ were not exempt from this malady. You will recall that one of their most heated discussions had to do with which one of them would be the greatest, the most important, when the kingdom of God reigns on the earth! Really? How could it be that after the Lord announced to them that he was going to be delivered to the Jewish authorities to be killed, that these men thought it correct to discuss the place of their importance! However, without them even knowing it, these men, in a spiritual sense, began to inflict themselves with a world of hurt.
Whenever we begin to think about “me first”, like the disciples did in Jesus’day, we unknowingly begin to hurt ourselves. We convince ourselves in thinking that this is something we deserve! But unless God is the one who gives it to us, our striving for position or priority actually hurts ourself, and those closest to us. We unknowingly trip over the neighbour’s invisible wire. Our attitude needs to be that which places God first, others second and me last.
Here is the sad thing we need to acknowledge, repent of and confess: the church has been the cause of this type of pain. To be specific, I’m not talking about the church as in the building, rather the church as in people who have knowingly hurt people. We have run over people in our effort to establish our agenda (we use “spiritual” language to do so!). We turn member against member. Sooner or later God will call us to account as to what we have done!
A Holy Spirit led, driven movement of God is not that. It is one where God’s people confess their sins one to another, and they don’t allow hurts to trip up God’s agenda. It is a movement in which the fruit of the Spirit is evidenced and God’s agenda takes first place. Nobody needs to ask who gets the credit but rather everyone knows it is God who gets the glory all day, everyday.
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! May we treasure him, and may that be reflected in our desire to encourage others to do so as well!
What does it mean to be a ‘spiritual giant’? I have been thinking about that term that we often use in regards to those who have tremendous significant input and influence in our lives. They could have been a close friend, an influential author, a faithful pastor or someone whose life speaks to us today having served faithfully.
I think spiritual giants seldom, if ever, realize the total effect of their lives at the moment. I don’t think, either, that this is ever the goal a person has. It is the by-product of faithfulness over time that has produced ripples of influence to you and I today. I believe that there are common characteristics of people who leave positive marks on our lives. Let’s talk about those. Continue reading
The old saying goes something like this “I’m willing to learn patience but will it take long?” Patience is one of the character qualities that is never actually learned by reading about it. Before you write that correction note to me, hang on. I know the Bible teaches about patience. It illustrates it through the lives of many people, like Job for example. It tells us that one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit controlling our lives is patience. But we don’t actually have a handle on it until we are tested.
Life is full of lessons. How about that for an understatement! “What are you talking about?” You may correctly ask. When we least expect to learn something, we pass through an experience or a situation that leaves us wondering, “What in the world was that about?” Been there? Recently, I was there, all the way!
We often say that God is in control, and we often say it to others as they are facing some adversity and difficulty. But when the shoe is on our feet, we tend to ignore that same advice that we are so quick to hand out to others. We read of the biblical character, Job, and sympathize with him in the midst of his trial. Job’s three “friends” attempted to solve his dilemma and figure out what exactly God was up to in his life. Continue reading