Emotional Orthodoxy

When you’re under 25 years old, shame on you if you’re not a charismatic, you have no heart. If you’re over 25, shame on you if you’re not reformed, you have no brains. The problem is there’s a pride that comes with thinking deeper about your theology and obtaining a more solid approach to orthodoxy. The baby gets thrown out with the bath water, as any emotional responses to Jesus become viewed as immaturity. God made us to reason and think but He also gave us emotions to respond to His love. Could you imagine how your wife would respond if you said “I love you with my head” or “uh, sorry dear, no more sex, it’s too emotional.”
I lost my 19 month old daughter to an unknown illness. I was a typical male with controlled emotions up to this point in my life. Something happened deep within me that 17 years later has not abated. Whenever I’m at a funeral, wedding, or any situation that is heart wrenching, I feel like an emotional basket case. The worst is whenever any reference to The Lord is made, I still get all choked up. Is this a normal human response, or have I just gotten soft headed? If you are one of my kids, you’re not allowed to answer that question.
Emotions are very much a part of normal Christian life, and to deny your emotions is to only experience a part of God’s fullness. It is not spiritual maturity. The notion that all you need is in the bible, that no emotional experiences are required is total horse hockey. God wants all of you, lock stock and barrel. Withholding it is short changing your Lord of what is rightfully his. David danced before The Lord with all his might, in a loin cloth! In public! Was he crazy or what? No, he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
~ He was filled with the Holy Spirit ~

The Gift of Life

Last week my son and his wife gave birth to their 3rd child. A son named Sam. A son indeed for he carries his fathers namesake, along with great hope that he would accomplish greatness in his life. That he would have a noble spirit and a sound mind. Our prayer is one of thanksgiving to a marvelous God, who creates life from love, and beauty in simplicity. This child is born with such hope that no sacrifice is to great to nurture and care for him. In his uniqueness, he will serve God’s kingdom, and take his place in the tapestry of believers. We will make sure of that as we dedicate his life to His service, and commit ourselves to praying to that end.
Lord Jesus take this boy and make his life pleasing to The Father. Protect him from the spirit of this age that would rob him of his inheritance. Guide his steps as only you can. We pray that Your Holy Spirit would be strong in him, and go before him, to proclaim Your greatness to a hurting world.
Thank You Lord for such a wonderful gift. Thank You, thank You, thank You. Thank You for the gift of Sam.

Spiritual Gifting

What is more important, to develop our Christian character or to seek spiritual gifts from God? It’s God who grants gifts in men, but character development is entirely up to us.
God is a jealous God, who doesn’t share His glory with anybody. It’s difficult to exercise God’s gifts without taking some the glory to ourselves. Real estate signs often have a picture of the listing agent on them. I could never understand why we would want to see a mug shot of an agent when we really just want to know about the property. In the same way, while we should be acknowledging God, we often take the credit unto ourselves when He uses us in a supernatural way.
If you were to rate ministries on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being full of themselves, and 10 reflecting God accurately, Mother Teresa would be a 10 and the Y2K doomsday prophets a 1 or a 0. The object being how can I make my ministry all about God and not all about me? Of course it’s impossible for God’s word to filter through me without some of my personality rubbing off. Even guys like Billy Graham don’t get it right all the time. My 1st blog about dogs was just me having a bit of fun, ranting on about one of my pet peeves. I do however feel there is some truth to what I said so I’ll give it a 2 or 3. My last blog I felt totally inspired, but proverbs says a man’s testimony about himself is not true. I’m hoping the #’s on that one were a little higher.
I was reading about a preacher who went bad and I noticed that he was bemoaning the loss of his ministry as though it was something he had ownership of. I guess he forgot who’s church it was and who he was leading it on behalf of. When we take possession of our ministry as though it is our property, God is not too impressed.
There are 4 things we can do to improve your “God vs me” score.
1./ Soak yourself in the Word of God. Absolutely mandatory. If you are ever going to speak His word, you need to know it inside out and have a steady diet of it.
2./ Deal with your stuff. You need to deal harshly with the secret sins in your life. If you are not vulnerable with your brothers about your shortcomings, they will come back and bite you in the end.
3./ Everyone needs a pastor. The further up the ladder you go, the more you need to be accountable to someone or a group of people. There is no place for spiritual Lone Rangers in the kingdom. Even he had a sidekick to keep him in check.
4./ Put systems in place that will remind you of “who’s church is this anyhow.” If you’re a pastor, that means you can’t run a one man show anymore. You are not that important that you can’t be replaced. His church was designed to run better as a corporate entity. If you’re a teacher, you need to be mentoring others to teach rather than hogging the mike. If you fancy yourself as a prophet, you need to be part of a team and submit your words for their correction, or you’ll get all bent out of shape.
God will give us stewardship of His gifts, we just need to work on our character and our obedience to Him.

Shirts and Skins

God is looking for a man who’s heart is set on pleasing Him. One who will not compromise truth for acceptance. A man who has given up the pleasures of this world to seek wholeheartedly the will of king Jesus. A man who has known failure and defeat in his own strength, and has come to rely on God’s strength alone.
Are you that man? Has God put His seal of ownership on your life? James 4:4. “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
When I was a kid playing soccer and we didn’t have uniforms, we would play shirts and skins. Of course nobody wanted to be skins because it was cold outside. Once we took our shirts off, we were committed to that team. No matter how much we liked the guys on the shirts team, for the next half hour, they were the enemy. We need to have that kind of commitment to Jesus Christ. When we sign up to be on His team, compromise with the other team means the enemy will score goals. To follow Him, we need to nail our colours to the mast. When we take our shirt off, be clear about which team were on and determine to never compromise with the other team. No matter how persuasive the argument, or how appealing the temptation, our heart needs to be set like flint to follow Jesus. Could it be that God has called you to that kind of commitment?
Lord Jesus I’m your man. You’ve forgiven me much, and I’ve tried and failed too many times. Would you give me the strength to try one more time?