Artist, Builder, and More…

Theology is the study of God’s Word.  Science is the study of God’s Work.  I believe that is a quote from Michael Faraday the physicist.

We don’t need to look far in God’s Work to see what God is like!  From mountains to valleys.  From the tiny grain of mustard seed to sprawling arrays of galactic clusters His Work is everywhere giving silent witness to this great and wondrous God of ours.  We are told in the first chapter of Romans that this witness to all the world is intended to teach the world about God and His nature.

Today we see in America a newly minted President seeking to remake our nation and the world after his own image.  When we look at what our president has created in his 70 years prior to this moment in time what do we see?  Is that what we want?  We should not be surprised by his craftmanship.  But more, what does that say about those who wish to be like him, made in the image of the current president?

Listening to the Spirit

Matthew 14:19

Feeding the 5,000 comes, arises out of listening to the heart. Everything, everything comes from the Spirit. It is not what we DO but who we ARE in Christ. All must flow from this.

The normal way the church seems to do business now is our doing the work as human effort. There is virtually NO listening to the Spirit, to the Heart. What can we do to be intentional about listening to the Spirit?

I find that while in principle Christians applaud ‘inspiration’ not only resistance to the Spirit but even making fun, ridiculing the notion of listening to or following the Spirit.

When evening came, vs. 16, the disciples recommended sending the crowd away but Jesus said, no you and I lets meet this need.

Now from our perspective this is poor planning but what can we learn from this? All this happened as a response to the heart, this burden to turn aside to be alone with God the amazing things that happened followed listening to the heart and following the heart.

So it seems to me that what we learn from this is the need to follow the heart. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in our heart and respond to this. The real ministry takes place as a result of this. Listen to the Spirit in our heart and follow Him.

The way this need is met are His followers listening to Him, giving Him what He directs them to give Him? Then He takes that and makes of it what it needs to be and it is more than enough to meet the needs of the people.

What a powerful lesson I can learn from this that when I feel overwhelmed by the needs of the people if I will go to Him in conversation and give Him the little I have, He has a way of making it more than is necessary to meet the needs of the people.

What then is it that I should give Him? He asks me what I have. What do I have that I need to place in His hands?
The nature of the bread and fish was that it was really what was brought for personal needs. So could this mean that the necessary means of providing for the people arises out of my own provision for my own needs? That is, my own study, prayer, life with God which I bring to Him, He uses and He makes it what it needs to be for the needs of the people.

The Blindness that Stalks America

The Blindness that Stalks America

“The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone …” (John 1:9) “…They loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light … They stay away from the light…” (John 3:20)

In John 9 a man born blind receives his sight by washing mud off in a pool. Just like that! But the religious leaders who question the man never do see. This story’s line culminates in the extinguishing of that Light by the blind but the Light’s rekindling by God. Those who embraced that Light saw and were forever changed.

Each of the gospels reveals the progression of blindness in the minds and hearts of those who did not want to see. Like the woman whose cataracts were removed and then spent the next week in exhaustive house cleaning somewhere inside most of us have some trouble with light and what it reveals to us about ourselves.

Mark’s gospel (2:1-3:6) reveals a progressing darkness; from an honest questioning, “Who can forgive sins but God?” (2:6) to “…the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to discuss plans for killing Jesus.” (3:6)

There is an open door of questioning and discussion about race, budgets, healthcare, welfare, taxes, sexuality, and the like. When the darkness of partisanship, denominationalism, conservatism, liberalism or whatever ‘ism’ you want to call it, closes that door the result is a desire to extinguish light. This desire to put away opposition or the light of another’s perspective now characterizes our national and local political discussions. Like the crucifixion of our Lord, no matter who ‘wins’ the end will likely be ugly. Whether theologically or politically; may we embrace light, a willingness to allow that light to question us, our true motives and our heart’s desire. We may be less popular or accepted but we will sleep better at night and in eternity.

Modern builders still reject the Cornerstone

Sitting, reading, meditating this morning before the beginning of the work day and realizing its great value I think of those I meet in the course of the day.
The world around us is driven by action and by gain. The world we live in grieves because ‘the economy’ is not performing as it should. Even the church grieves the loss of the economic engine which drove its budget.
Yet in the midst of this lost of ‘economic engine’ we have continued to receive the same gift of time, 24 hours in each and every day, to be and to become.
Our loss of this economic engine, or more accurately, its sickness, has arguable given us more of this 24 hours in each day for the pursuit of being and becoming.
Yet instead of using this gift we seem stuck in a mode of lament over our loss of what the activity of this world gives and decline in money. This is the single greatest lament I hear from those in the church.
When I take time for ‘being’ I hear no applause. When I take time for doing, visiting, launching a new program, participating in the performance of music I hear applause of some kind.
Those in the church who reap the greatest accolades are not those who focus on being present for the Lord and abiding in Christ but those who make things look good, sound good and feel good whether they are good or not.
For this reason, increasingly, success in the eyes of God in the church today will look like failure in and to the church. The ones who are praised are the ones who put on the ‘best show’ at any cost. They receive the recognition, the money, and the accolades. They are the ones who are valued, esteemed and prized for their efforts.
Therefore, time and resources are set aside for them. Their praise is upon the lips of those around and their stature grows and becomes, with time, even legendary.
While this is happening, the one who focuses on the Living Christ and takes time, precious time that could be used for doing, is considered of lesser worth and in fact at times even considered a burden or blight to the church! This is a modern fulfillment of Jesus’ experience of rejection by the religious world of His day also in which quoting Psalm 118 He says, “The stone which was rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone’. (Matthew 21:42)