Following simple directions can make life so much easier

Each generation has had trouble with directions in some form. As much as I like to poke fun at the current generation, and it’s easy pickings because I teach in a college, I am reminded of my most embarrassing moment as well.

In 9th grade biology we were given a list of instructions on a page. At the top it read: “Be sure to read all the instructions before beginning.” It was a list of silly activities to do, including writing your name backward on the chalkboard in the front of the classroom.

Of course, 90 percent of us DIDN’T read the instructions all the way through and were completely red-faced when we went through all the instructions, step by step, only to discover the very last instruction said: “Ignore all previous instructions and write your name correctly in the lower right hand corner of the side chalkboard.” About 5 people had done that and then sat back and watched the rest of us look like idiots.

So when I put simple instructions up in a classroom today and find with those instructions staring students right in the face and they STILL don’t follow them… I remember that embarrassing moment in my life.

Following simple instructions all the way through can make life so much easier. God has that in mind for us. He his BEST in mind for us… and we keep wanting to skip certain sets of rules we just don’t like. Or… we just didn’t see them.

Following what is BEST from the Father really does make life quite a bit more manageable.

The church is the hope of the world

Ben Witherington interviews Scot McKnight on McKnight’s new book, A Fellowship of Differents. The interviews I’ve read sound great. This interview in particular draws out a connection between Christ and his Church I think we keep wanting to lose in our American culture.

We have too much of this, “I love Jesus, but can’t stand his Church” kind of mentality. Quite frankly, and this is as honest as I’ve been on this, that is GARBAGE thinking. 

We like a head without a body? Get real.

McKnight says this in the interview:

The church, a local church, is the Body of Christ, a local Body of Christ. I cannot emphasize enough that Christ and his Body are in union and one can’t love the Bridegroom without loving his Bride, the church.

Most importantly, modernity and postmodernity have wreaked havoc in the church with individualism and the notion that each of us is captain of our own soul. Yes, but there’s danger lurking there. Each of us accountable to God as a person but God is at work building the church and not simply individual Christians.

The body needs to express the beauty of Christ better. I won’t argue that. But to say we love a head without a body is just… well… creepy.

22 God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, 23 which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:22-23)

I will confess my love for Christ AND his Church. He is perfect, and he is perfecting his body. We do this together.

Dear Royals… America liked you better as a doormat

Dear Royals,

I usually write my annual letter of disappointment to you early in Spring Training. I was so thankful to not have to write that this year because you took the season to the last possible out last year. What a ride!

But America seems to have a beef with you now. They liked you better as doormats. But now that you can’t be knocked to the ground so easily, and you’re showing a bit of bite to your game… writers aren’t “in” so much. Get a little moxie and people just get a bit shocked.

First of all, don’t just go out to look for a fight, but second of all… thank you. You are playing like winners from the start and you just won’t be backed down with chippy little words like you used to.

Let’s play ball and let’s get back to the Series. YOU are a good team.

GO ROYALS.

Dare the devil

Dorothy Sayers said this:

The people who crucified Jesus never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore — on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mile,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.

Mark Batterson followed that quote up with this:

If Sayer’s generation declawed the Lion of Judah, we have neutered him. Or lobotomized His wild side. And then we wonder why we’re bored with our faith?

Testify

“Hearing a testimony is the way I borrow faith from others. Sharing my testimony is the way I loan my faith to others”  — Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber (p. 150)

Give life to someone today. Tell about the greatness of God. If you need a boost, listen to a story of faith. Let’s TESTIFY to the goodness of our God!

Mark this week

I am only thinking out loud on this post. I am trying to leave record everywhere I can think of today because… well… I don’t know why. But I marked it in my journal, which will only get stashed in some box after it’s used up and I’ll never get it out again. I can wrap it in neon paper and write “REMEMBER THIS JOURNAL” and it will still get boxed up and never seen again.

But somehow I need to leave record to remember to come back to this week. SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT.

Just to note… It is Wednesday, April 22, and to this date in this week nothing has happened.

Weird. I know.

At the beginning of this week, the Lord spoke to me as I was looking over some books and picked up Mark Batterson’s The Grave Robber. I have been reading it this week and the Lord is really tearing me up on the matter of miracles. When I picked it up earlier in the week the Spirit spoke to me and said, “I’m going to teach you about the miraculous.”

So… to this date… I am making it official: NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.

Our leadership team looked at a building again some of us really liked, but a contractor let us know this was not a good place to look at for what we needed… not for the money we had to utilize.

We are waiting on paperwork to get a closing date on our church property and now I have a conference call with the buyers tomorrow… so nothing there. Only more nerves.

Not. One. Miracle.

Nothing has changed.

But I need to mark down this week. Why?

Because everything has changed. Something deep inside me on the bus this morning just shifted. I was reading another chapter in Batterson’s book… and in my mind I pictured the rudder of a ship turning. Imperceptible. Yet… the small change in the course of a rudder would alter the course of an entire freighter. Something changed. 

I see no miracles right now… yet… I see miracles right now.

(I am beginning to think I need to leave this page private. This is just too weird right now.)

Today is a day of new wineskins in my thinking and in my spirit. There is a place of possible despair staring at me as I think of what we can not know when it comes to these deep changes in the church. Yet, it is the very place the Spirit has led me… so there is instead great faith. I can’t explain it. I just know I need to mark this week and I need to mark it while NOTHING is happening.

Because while nothing outwardly is happening, something inward just shifted. Dramatically. Powerfully.

It’s like, “I was blind and now I see.”

The impossible is now possible. And the POSSIBLE is now ahead.

The word “IMPOSSIBLE”

Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.” (Matt. 19:26)

“The word impossible does not belong in our vocabulary. In God’s ears, it’s an expletive. And it’s the primary reason we don’t experience the miraculous. We let our logical assumptions trump our theological beliefs. And before we know it, our reality is defined by human assumptions rather than divine revelation.” (Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber, pp.102-103)