Thursday, February 25, 2010
Many of us are obsessed with determining God’s will for our lives. Myriads of books have been written, sermons preached, speeches given, Bible studies pored over, all in an effort to discover God’s plan for our future. This is understandable for two reasons. One, the Scriptures are obsessed with discovering God’s will. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:17: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Second, everyone desires a purpose for their life.
I believe that this commendable desire to discern God’s will or purpose for our lives becomes a dangerous combination with the busy schedules and oodles of leisure time that belong to wealthier societies. Many of us have so much on our plates that we don’t want to take the time to wait for God to show us his way. We have so many other activities to occupy our time with we get easily distracted from waiting on the Lord. We come to expect that God will slot his map for our lives into our hectic schedules, much like a repairman, “between 2 and 4 pm on Wednesday.” When he doesn’t show, we move on to the next bullet on our schedule and get on with our lives.
This brings us to the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch found in Acts 8:26-40. Philip finds himself in an odd situation: Knowing where God wants him to be but not knowing what God wants him to do. Philip had been evangelizing in Samaria and doing miraculous signs. One day an angel of the Lord tells him to go down to the desert road. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. Now, being a desert road, I am sure Philip did not expect to find much going on. God simply tells Philip to be in a place. Have you ever heard a fellow brother explain that God had commanded him to go somewhere? “Why?” you may ask. “What will you be doing?” “I don’t know,” he replies. “God just told me to go there.” You would think that he needed a few more lessons in determining God’s will in his life.
So Philip goes down to the road and on his way meets the chariot of the Ethiopian. Remember, Philip has no idea why he is there. He may have observed several groups of people traveling the road. He may have walked north than south than north again. When the Ethiopian comes in sight, however, God gives him a most unusual command. “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Weird, huh? I know. God tells Philip to run alongside a chariot. The great evangelist and miracle worker is told to run alongside a chariot. Again, no reason why. Put yourself in Philip’s sandals. Think about how you would react in this situation. I know I would probably peel off at a hundred yards or so to go get homework done. I would ask God to clarify his will for me.
Apparently Philip is more patient and obedient than I am. He runs alongside the chariot for who knows how long. The Scriptures do not say. It explains that Philip heard him reading a passage out of Isaiah and asked whether the Ethiopian whether he knew what it meant. Again the facts are sparse. I like to think that Philip was running along listening to the eunuch reading out of Isaiah. When Philip heard the Ethiopian get to the particular passage quoted in Acts, he recognized his opportunity and took advantage of it. It was an opportunity available only because Philip had taken the time to run alongside the chariot.
I like this story because God never told Philip what to do. He only told him where to be. As a Christian, Philip, like the rest of us, knew how to behave and how to treat others. Yet we still desire God’s will for us perfectly spelled out. Philip didn’t need that. He only needed God to tell him where to be. His Christian attitude towards others took over when the opportunity presented itself.
So the next time you are impatient with where you are in life and are seeking to discover God’s will for your life, try running alongside a chariot for awhile. As a Christian immersed in the Word, you’ll know what to do when the opportunity arises.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
I need to keep this short because I ran out of time on Day 1 to actually write this note and the challenge for Day 2 is no media (this is like work and no I did not waste time on here before I wrote this note).
Day 1 - Clothing
Challenge: wear the same clothes you wore yesterday
Bible verse: Luke 12:22-34
I am going to be honest this wasn't too big of a deal to me. I don't care about wearing the same thing two days in a row maybe that was because I could tell people I was doing it to help raise awareness for World Vision. I wonder what it would have been like if I had to do it for a week or what if I didn't have an option. I know that would bother me, I would be self-conscience and feel like people were judging me.
The verse for the day was really good. I especially liked the "Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." I really liked this in light of what we are doing this weekend. It is just a great reminder that God loves us and will take care of us.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Let’s be reminded that Jesus was motivated by compassion …
Matthew 9.36 - “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Matthew 14.14 - “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Matthew 15.32 - “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.”
Matthew 20.34 - “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”
Compassion drove Jesus to care for others’ physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Without compassion we can never see people as God sees them.
I believe compassion is cultivated by pain. The most compassionate people I know are those that have endured great personal loss. Experiencing pain enables them to take pause, consider others’ pain, and respond w/ mercy.
And a merciful response is what is required of us in Micah 6:8 - “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision) wrote after seeing great need in China and Korea, "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."
Lord, may you deal w/ us as you spoke to Israel in Ezekiel 36:26 - “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Grant us compassion Lord.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Why and How I Am Tweeting
I see two kinds of response to social Internet media like blogging, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and others.
One says: These media tend to shorten attention spans, weaken discursive reasoning, lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it. So boycott them and write books (not blogs) about the problem.
The other response says: Yes, there is truth in all of that, but instead of boycotting, try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can.
Together with the team at Desiring God, I lean toward response #2. “Lean” is different from “leap.” We are aware that the medium tends to shape the message. This has been true, more or less, with every new medium that has come along—speech, drawing, handwriting, print, books, magazines, newspapers, tracts, 16mm home movies, flannel-graph, Cinerama, movies, Gospel Blimps, TV, radio, cassette tapes, 8-Tracks, blackboards, whiteboards, overhead projection, PowerPoint, skits, drama, banners, CDs, MP3s, sky-writing, video, texting, blogging, tweeting, Mina-Bird-training, etc.
Dangers, dangers everywhere. Yes. But it seems to us that aggressive efforts to saturate a media with the supremacy of God, the truth of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the joy of the gospel, the insanity of sin, and the radical nature of Christian living is a good choice for some Christians. Not all. Everyone should abstain from some of these media. For example, we don’t have a television.
That’s my general disposition toward media.
Now what about Twitter? I find Twitter to be a kind of taunt: “Okay, truth-lover, see what you can do with 140 characters! You say your mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things! Well, this is one of those ‘all things.’ Can you magnify Christ with this thimble-full of letters?”
To which I respond:
The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.
So I am not inclined to tweet that at 10AM the cat pulled the curtains down. But it might remind me that the Lion of Judah will roll up the heavens like a garment, and blow out the sun like a candle, because he just turned the light on. That tweet might distract someone from pornography and make them look up.
I’ve been tweeting anonymously for a month mainly to test its spiritual and family effects on me. In spite of all the dangers, it seems like a risk worth taking. “All things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16). The world does not know it, but that is why Twitter exists and that’s why I Tweet.
By his grace and for his glory,