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.

20 for 20

Over the past few weeks I have posted occasionally on Facebook and Twitter about my trip to Africa. More details are HERE.

I am so grateful to those who have given and all who will pray this September when I go to Ethiopia.

I am incredibly close to completing my fundraising for the plane ticket. Here is the challenge: If 20 friends reading this will give $20… I’m done. That’s all it takes.

If you can help with this, I can purchase the ticket and have that out of the way and begin to prepare for my time in Ethiopia as I concentrate on the teaching material and prayer.

THANK YOU again for your help! The “Africa Calls” page can link you to our church giving page, or you can donate other ways mentioned on the “Africa Calls” page.

 

Graduation Day

It’s Commencement for North Central University, where I teach as an adjunct. This class represents a significant number of students I have known their entire college career. Among them are students I have had the privilege of mentoring one on one for a couple of years, those we have had over to our house at various times, those who have come to me seeking counsel over the years, and those who have made my church their home while they were students.

They are set to go out. They are set to launch into new fields, new opportunities, and areas where they will live scared to death because they have no idea how to navigate a new world that is not as regimented for them.

It’s a new day.

Families will be here. Parents who are my friends (and we’ve gone to school together “back in the day”) will be here. Parents who I get to meet for the first time. And the last.

I am excited for graduates. I am scared for graduates. I am prayerful as they walk that line today.

This is the height of a generation that has been fed the line: “You can do ANYTHING.”

They are in the middle of realizing… no… they cannot.

Here is the truth: What you can do, do it with fullness of life. Do it with passion. Do it in the grace of God. 

Do THAT.

Most of all, I pray they know Christ. 

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:14-21, NIV)

And Amen.

Thoughts on Character

One of my greatest challenges, personally, is doing what I know to do at the best of my ability… when it’s not noticed. As a pastor, I must do ministry well, though I receive no award because I don’t have huge numbers, big buildings, or large budgets. Just pastor people well.

As a teacher, I must teach well. I have that ability, so I must deliver to the best of that ability. Leave behind something, whether I get my own idea of “recognition” or not. Do things well.

The Holy Pursuit

One of the great privileges of teaching the Word is my need to be immersed in the Word. Currently I am teaching classes on Prison Epistles and Acts, along with a New Testament survey. Acts and the Prison Epistles keep me constantly immersed in the Word for class teaching.

Through that immersion I find my life undone at times. Part of biblical study is examining the Word. But it’s not really complete until the Word examines us. Paul’s passion leaves me shredded. I am working through Philippians and his fiery passion for the glory of Christ is touching my heart. I don’t mean “touching” in some nice, cushy way. I mean more like “setting my heart on fire and shredding my soul” kind of touching.

Paul laid down his body for the glory of Jesus Christ. He knew he was apprehended by Christ and as a result he threw his entire life into the holy pursuit of knowing him. Passion.

There are days I sense that burning heart. There are days I’m just in a fog trying to get from one day to the next. There is a cry in my heart to know the Christ that apprehended Paul. May he apprehend me! May I know his glory. May my life be totally given to that one holy pursuit.