“What in the world is going on?” Have you said that to yourself or out loud recently? I have for sure! If you read the headlines, if you watch your favourite news channel on television, there is an inundation of frightening revelation of sin that for decades remained hidden and silent. We are reading of major political, television and sports celebrities whose past behaviour is now coming back to haunt them. There seemingly is no hope for them. For the victims of their crimes, there is finally hope that they no longer have to live in the shadows of past events that robbed them of hope.
It has been a very difficult week. Much harder than most. We have witnessed the absolute horrific tragedy of the church shootings in a tiny town deep in the heart of Texas. How in the world do we make sense of that? Dear people who left their homes as they usually have done to attend church completely unaware what the next hour would bring. Their lives, and ours, have been changed forever. Continue reading
“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!
It’s not over yet! There are times in life when we think that we have it all figured out and just then God throw us a curveball that knocks us right off our feet! We are left wondering, “What was that all about?” Because we are frail creatures who have a limited sense of understanding we want to know all the details all at once! Thankfully, God has not designed life that way!
You can’t make it on your own. You need help. Contrary to popular thinking, it is not a sign of weakness to arrive at that conclusion. In fact, one of the great dichotomies of the Bible is this, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Continue reading
I have discovered that there are few things in life as slippery as the concept of hope. Have you ever said this or had someone say to you,”Hey, why don’t we get together real soon.” Or, “It has been so long, we ought to have you over.” You express a desire to make plans for something with a friend but couch it in the language, “I hope we can get together real soon.” It may be just me but most times the desire to get together and the reality of it ever happening are rare. Continue reading