God's Will or My Dreams?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, February 24, 2009 0 comments

Have you ever been so busy that you don’t know which way is up or down? Have you even been so busy for the Kingdom of God that you are actually not doing much earthly good? You’re busy running to church or school activities or trying to do your homework in order to please your teachers and family with good grades. Or maybe you’re busy trying to get into that perfect college or busy with your job.

Now don’t get me wrong — being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can, however, divert our focus away from God and His desires for your life. He may be calling you to be a doctor or a lawyer, but your attention is on goofing around and having “fun.” He might be calling you to work with your hands and be a carpenter or a machinist, but you have other dreams and desires that you would rather fulfill. Instead of following His lead, you decide to be selfish.

Some of us may even get so focused on doing things for the kingdom of God that we treat our fellow man in horrible ways. Jesus said to love our enemies. How much more then should we love our brothers and sisters in Christ?

I recently needed to apologize to a sister in Christ. We had passionately argued about something petty, and I should have treated her more kindly. So we apologized, forgave each other, and moved on. This is how our interactions with each other should be, as Jesus Christ taught His disciples. In order to stay in check with Christ, we must be in His Word daily, pray to Him constantly, and seek His ways in everything — especially when we have wronged someone.

In everything you do, I encourage you to recognize how God is moving in that situation and to join Him in His work. When you mess up, apologize, seek forgiveness, and move on. Every aspect of our lives needs to center around God and His work. Without this proper focus, you will labor in vain, and, before you know it, you will be retiring from your job and wondering where all the time went. Don’t serve yourself. Serve Christ. You won’t be disappointed.

For further study, check out Matthew 5:43-48.

Speed Racer Revisited

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 9, 2009 0 comments

A few weeks ago I posted a blog entitled “Dealing With an Institution: Racing Toward the Answer.” In it I discussed some problems that I and many other pastors and lay leaders see within the church. The response has not been surprising, but I believe that I need to comment on this topic again.

Using Scripture as our guide, let’s look at I Timothy 3:1-13. I will stay away from the hot topic of whether or not women should be in church leadership and focus on verses 2-4. It says that whoever seeks to be an overseer should be above reproach, self-controlled, the husband of but one wife, etc. It also states that he must manage his family well and ensure that his children obey him with proper respect. Read verse 5 to see why this aspect is so important.

I understand that people have things happen that are out of line every now and then, so I am not writing about an instance that occurs every once in a while. But in a broader sense, how can we put people into leadership in the church when we know that they have family issues? Or how can we support someone preaching from the pulpit who has just gotten a divorce or is a practicing homosexual? How can we allow this when Scripture provides such blatant guidelines? Galatians 6:1-10 has the answer. It states that those who are spiritual should gently restore those who are caught in a sin. We are to carry each other’s burdens, and, in this way, we will fulfill the law of Christ.

Let’s think outside of the box. How can we restore someone gently? First of all, we need to address the situation. Consider if what we think is happening actually is. Secondly, if this person is involved in sin (keep in mind that every situation is different), he should be removed from leadership for a time. Let me elaborate on what I mean. If the pastor is involved in a sin, those in lay leadership should have the integrity and guts to call this pastor onto the carpet. Reveal the truth and offer grace.

What might this look like if a pastor is going through a divorce? One thing that the leadership could do is to tell the pastor and his wife that he is going to be out of the pulpit and leadership for a specified amount of time, such as 6 months. The leadership can offer to pay part of his salary and pay for marriage counseling in order for them to reconcile. Reassure the couple that the church is there for them, loves them, and is seeking God’s guidance (For example: A prayer and fasting time held by the leadership of the church or maybe even the whole body). After the specified amount of time, the leadership can reevaluate the situation and seek God’s direction.

We need to hold each other accountable. We need to restore each other gently. Most of the time, this does not happen. We either simply run these people off or accept them in their sinful state without helping them recognize their need for repenting of their sin and asking for forgiveness.

My friend Angela here in Ohio refers to this concept in our next podcast, which will be posted on Feb. 16th. She refers to the similarity between the church today and the Israelites in I Kings 18:16-46: The Israelites are dancing around the altar of Baal and cannot choose between two opinions. Here’s one last thought as I finish. Another friend of mine just told me this on Friday: “Truth without grace is judgment. Grace without truth is license.” I think this statement rings true! Speak the truth in love.

For more reading, check out Matthew 18:15-20.

Predicaments We Get Ourselves Into

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 2, 2009 0 comments

Doing Things Our Own Way:

I am blessed to be able to travel and speak to youth leaders and students all over the country. Thus, I have had a variety of traveling experiences, both positive and negative. Once when I was on a tour with the band Silverline, we had a little trouble. We were headed to a state college in Pennsylvania for one of our evening events with Worldview Warriors and were driving Silverline’s bus with a trailer in tow through a very hilly, tortuous, windy part of the state. As I was lying down in the back of the bus, I noticed I was beginning to move side to side vigorously, and it continued to get worse. I was seriously beginning to wonder if we were going to make it out of this apparent accident, for we were currently passing a semi-truck and trailer.

Ryan, Silverline’s vocalist was speaking loudly to Isaac, the driver, “Let off the gas! Quit trying to correct it; just let it correct itself.” Although I don’t drive the bus too often, I knew this situation couldn’t be good, for Isaac was calmly but sternly saying, “I am!” Praise the Lord that Isaac finally corrected our potential detour route over an embankment, and we were on our way again.

This experience reminded me of how often we over-correct when trying to fix our predicaments. We know the Bible’s model for a strong marriage and that a good name is more important than riches, but we still try to do things our own way rather than simply apologizing and seeking forgiveness when needed. Boy, do we mess things up from time to time. However, the good news is that God is right there to take over and guide us, if we will allow Him to do so.