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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”
                                        ~ Winston Churchill

At first glance, this quote may seem to have an air of arrogance, and some may say that Mr. Churchill exhumed far too much confidence, but the truth is that everyone should have a little more of this viewpoint activated in their life. It has been said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Like so many cliches the meaning of this phrase has lost some of its power from the disadvantage of repetition, but this is a biblically based idea. After His resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus left his followers with what is known as the Great Commission. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole Creation.” (Mark 16:15) In this powerful statement, Jesus is basically saying, “Be My change to the world.” What we do today will go down in the History books of tomorrow. We are literally writing History with the way we live our lives. So many times I doubt that I have a voice. I doubt that I have the ability to make a difference. I doubt that anything I do now will be remembered in the scope of eternity. Know this, you can never have enough confidence in your ability to change the world. What you do every day can influence the eternity of lost souls. Remember, that as Christians, we are not in the business of temporal. So today, join me in being the change in our generation for Him.



























“The past is a foreign place, they do things differently there.”
                                      ~ Unknown
           
All of humanity shares a common thread of silver that is entwined throughout their lives. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, this thread either binds them up, and prevents progress, or anchors them down to more secure, safer, and simpler times. There are those who cling to this thread as if it were their very lifeline, while others spend their lifetime attempting to cut it with the knife of resentment. Some look upon this thread, their eyes filled with a thousand regrets, the sorrows of a yesterday reflecting in today through the glimmer in their eyes. Yet there are those who look upon it with a wistful sigh, longing for the whimsical happenings of a yesterday in a different lifetime, a yesterday they will never grasp again. This thread of silver has been known to be haunting. Its intricate weave can remind you of events better left forgotten. It holds the power to pressure the future to live up to it. It can influence the lens in which you view the world to make your decisions. It is the past. There are two major people groups in dealing with the past. There are those who have been scarred. They reject their past completely, and spend their lifetime hiding from it, petrified that their scars will be cut open and that the past will breathe again. Others run to it. They embrace it every day and go over every detail religiously, terrified that if they miss even a moment the past will remain dead forever and that they will be left with nothing but an empty present, and a foreboding tomorrow. Both of these perspectives are flawed. If you allow your past to dictate ANYTHING that you do, it has ceased to become your past and has become your present, and tomorrow it will be your future. The past should not pressure you, determine, you, or define you. It should simply be exactly what it is, “the past.” I struggle with the past, at times I wish for it to live again, to breathe again, to simply be again. The other day, I read something that was oh so true in my life, and it helped me approach my view of the past correctly. “It is OK to miss something without wanting it back.” I realized that I needed to balance my love for the past, with the joy I found in the present, a quote that personally speaks to me is, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way. This idea is also found in scripture. Philippians 3:13 states, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own, but one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead.” Our past mistakes do not define us, learn from them and move on. The happy times of the past should be treasured, but not lived in place of the present. File them away as cherished memories in the filing cabinet of your mind, and remember the ever encouraging C.S. Lewis quote, “There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind. “Keep tomorrow in mind but not at expense of the moment. Embrace the next new thing that is coming into life. Join me today in forgetting the old and pressing on towards what is ahead and waiting!


















“The past is a foreign place, they do things differently there.”
                                      ~ Unknown
           
All of humanity shares a common thread of silver that is entwined throughout their lives. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, this thread either binds them up, and prevents progress, or anchors them down to more secure, safer, and simpler times. There are those who cling to this thread as if it were their very lifeline, while others spend their lifetime attempting to cut it with the knife of resentment. Some look upon this thread, their eyes filled with a thousand regrets, the sorrows of a yesterday reflecting in today through the glimmer in their eyes. Yet there are those who look upon it with a wistful sigh, longing for the whimsical happenings of a yesterday in a different lifetime, a yesterday they will never grasp again. This thread of silver has been known to be haunting. Its intricate weave can remind you of events better left forgotten. It holds the power to pressure the future to live up to it. It can influence the lens in which you view the world to make your decisions. It is the past. There are two major people groups in dealing with the past. There are those who have been scarred. They reject their past completely, and spend their lifetime hiding from it, petrified that their scars will be cut open and that the past will breathe again. Others run to it. They embrace it every day and go over every detail religiously, terrified that if they miss even a moment the past will remain dead forever and that they will be left with nothing but an empty present, and a foreboding tomorrow. Both of these perspectives are flawed. If you allow your past to dictate ANYTHING that you do, it has ceased to become your past and has become your present, and tomorrow it will be your future. The past should not pressure you, determine, you, or define you. It should simply be exactly what it is, “the past.” I struggle with the past, at times I wish for it to live again, to breathe again, to simply be again. The other day, I read something that was oh so true in my life, and it helped me approach my view of the past correctly. “It is OK to miss something without wanting it back.” I realized that I needed to balance my love for the past, with the joy I found in the present, a quote that personally speaks to me is, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way. This idea is also found in scripture. Philippians 3:13 states, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own, but one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead.” Our past mistakes do not define us, learn from them and move on. The happy times of the past should be treasured, but not lived in place of the present. File them away as cherished memories in the filing cabinet of your mind, and remember the ever encouraging C.S. Lewis quote, “There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind. “Keep tomorrow in mind but not at expense of the moment. Embrace the next new thing that is coming into life. Join me today in forgetting the old and pressing on towards what is ahead and waiting!


















“Years of Love have been forgotten in the hatred of a moment.”
                                      ~ Edgar Allen Poe

The ever-famous poet Edgar Allen Poe shows great insight and knowledge in this profound statement that has endured the barriers of time and remained relevant in our culture today. A moment of passion can lead to a casualty of circumstance, the lives of the innocent sacrificed at the feet of convenience, the survivors left to endure a lifetime of regret. A moment of hatred paves the path for the mistake of a lifetime, a singular action left to haunt the soul for an eternity. Throughout history lands have been conquered, relationships forfeited and lives lost, in the span of a moment.

On this principle, dynasties have fallen and innocence has been lost. In a moment of weakness, King David of Israel determined the destruction of his legacy when he lusted after Bathsheba, it was then that the downfall of Israel began. It was a moment of doubting when Eve questioned the integrity of God and sealed the fate of the entirety of the human race. And, it was a moment of triumph when Jesus Christ hung on the cross and released with his final breath the all freeing words, “It is Finished.” The barrier between man and God that had been built in a moment was torn down in a lifetime so that man could be united with God for eternity. In so many cases a lifetime, even an eternity hinges on the decision of a moment. Throughout the gospels, there are countless times that Jesus could have fallen into temptation. A plethora of situations are supplied in which he could have reacted instead of responded, and given into the wishes of the enemy. He could have let the passion, the anger, the power, or the pride of a moment doom the salvation of the world, but He didn’t. Why? I submit to you that Jesus kept his whole life so focused and centered in on the mission and the love of the father that there was simply no room for anything else. When “in the moment” Jesus saw eternity. When faced with mangled and wicked humanity, he saw a masterpiece. When set before the torture of the cross and with it the unavoidable separation between the Father and the Son, He saw the only hope of reuniting the relationship between God and man that had been lost centuries before in the decision of a moment. Love was the answer to His success. A pure love, a true love, a God love. The God of the universe stepped down from the throne of Heaven, to show us the way, to show us truth, to show us life, and to show us love. In return He asks that we simply do the same. Jesus said in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” This may seem like a tall order, or an unattainable dream, but let me assure you, it is a love worth dying for, but even more importantly it’s a love worth living for. 

Whimsical Wednesdays

“As a child, I received instruction in both the Bible and the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled in the luminous figure of the Nazarene No one can read the Gospel without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
~ Albert Einstein

Recently, I was asked what the resurrection of Jesus Christ means in my life. At first, this seemed a simple and rather easy question to answer, but after a moment of reflection, I realized how important the resurrection truly is. So many times we focus on the life and death of Jesus, and rightfully so. His ministry and mission are more miraculous than the stars, but so many times the resurrection gets placed on the back burner of Christianity. I was once in a training that taught teachers how to properly teach the gospel to children, and one of the jokes that we were always reminded of was, “Don’t leave Jesus dead.” We all laughed, but the truth is that the joke was necessary in order to remind us not to forget the resurrection. So often teachers (myself included) would speak about the crucifixion and death of Jesus and would forget to include the resurrection, essentially leaving Jesus dead to the children. Albert Einstein with all of his knowledge and genius pinpointed the power of Christianity and the difference between it and other world religions with his statement, “No myth is filled with such life.” As beautiful, powerful, and freeing as the crucifixion is, Christianity would not have the life changing impact on the human soul today without the resurrection of Jesus. Einstein would not be able to feel the presence of Jesus if He were still dead. His personality would not pulsate through every word if He were still in the grave. Without the resurrection, Jesus would be just another dead prophet. Without his life, He would join the legions of other men that have died for a cause. Without his rising we would serve a God that could be conquered by death, and if that were so what kind of God would that be? We should not make the mistake of taking for granted that we serve a living God. Go out today with the assurance of the truth of the Gospel, “No myth is filled with such life!”




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

...................Whimsical Wednesdays............

"It is sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world, that they don't care if that mark is a scar."
                                                   -Unknown

We all want to be remembered. No one among us can truly say that we would not particularly care if we slipped from this life to the next unnoticed, without making a difference, or leaving a legacy. Since the dawn of time, man has set out to change the world we were placed in. This is tragic. This is beautiful. This is truth.
We all have our heroes and villains... Vices and Versus.... Just to name a few,
Jim Elliot was a powerful young missionary to a godless tribe in Ecuador. He lived to minister. He died young, at the age of twenty-eight. Much like Christ, he was murdered at the hands of those he came to minister to... yet his words live on.
_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives 
what he cannot gain to gain 
what he cannot lose."
________________________________

C.S. Lewis was an Atheist-turned-Christian, who beautifully wove the Greater Love story of the cross into his famous series, "The Chronicles of Narnia." He was a defender of the faith, using his knowledge and wisdom to further the kingdom. He wrote, 
____________________

"It is my hope that 
When I die, all of Hell
rejoices that I am out of
the fight."
____________________

Martin Luther King Jr. Led a revolution of love against the hate of racism. He had a dream, and he dedicated his life to turning that dream into a reality. He lived, and died for his cause. He said, 

______________________

"Darkness cannot drive out 
darkness, only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate, 
only love can do that." 
________________________

These men were dream-believers, world-shakers, and kingdom-shapers. They were giants of the faith, and their legacy is an inspiration to this day. However, there are other types of world changers as well. On the other side of the coin we have, 
Adolf Hitler... his plan for world domination acted as a blade which cut the population of Jews by 63% . 5,962,129 Jewish humans were killed in the holocaust. He famously quoted, 

________________________________________

"Make the lie big, 
make it simple, 
keep saying it, 
and eventually they 
will believe it."
___________________________________

Margaret Sanger founded planned parenthood, at her best, she was a racist who viewed minority groups as, "Weeds which must be exterminated." At her worst, she possessed a killing mindset that was necessary to establish a superior race. Since it's founding, Planned Parenthood has resulted in over 50 million deaths, (at this time, more than that of the holocaust.)  She was quoted, 

___________________________________

"The most merciful thing 
that a family does to one 
of it's infant members
is to kill it."
__________________________________

These individuals have left a definite mark on the world, but that mark is a scar that will never completely heal this side of eternity. The difference between the hurters and healers, I believe is in their drive. The world cutters are driven by hate. Be it of people groups, or the voice of the victim, their hate drives them down the road of their ultimate demise. 
The comforters on the other hand are driven by a love that is not their own, They live , and at times, die for equality in chance, in choice, in voice. They long to draw others to the Greater Love of Christ by reflecting His sacrificial love to the world. We can choose to be driven by love, or by hate, and realize that we are each world changers, even if we are not the visionaries. We each have the power to invest in our environment for Christ. 
When the fallen nature of man has a significant influence, we as the church can be tempted to assume that when a ministry is not our dream, or vision, that it is not right or effective. I hope to always be aware that each established ministry is the preexisting work, and dream, of another. I want to avoid discounting a dream simply because it is not MY vision. Especially when the most prominent characteristic of a leader is their sacrifice.
I have recently felt the effects of a scar maker. The cut hurt, but the pain was not mine to claim. I do not bear the scars. It is my hope that you will go out this week ready to dream the impossible, and with God's help make it into a reality. As Elizabeth Elliot, (the wife of the martyred Jim Elliot) best put it, 

_____________________________________

"When You're wounded, 
talk to the man with 
the scars."
____________________________________

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

...................Whimsical Wednesdays............

"Knowledge speaks, but Wisdom listens."
                                                       - Jimi Hendrix
These simple, well-put words have surfaced from the shadows of my mind to the forefront of my heart. Their truth rings through the tangled thoughts and trite expressions that tear our culture apart today. 
It is often difficult to decipher the difference between knowledge and wisdom, I suppose that the separation lies in the location. Knowledge is head work, wisdom is heart work. Simply put, knowledge is an award for the pursuit of learning. Wisdom on the other hand, is a gift given to the humble seeking heart. Knowledge takes many different forms in our society. The artist interprets their version of the truth. The scholar invents questions never meant to be answered, and the philosopher questions his purpose. We listen to their pleas for attention and offer up our concentration to the desperate pursuit of knowledge on the altar of progress. This way of thinking is not segregated to the secular world, this mindset is often applied in the church today. Pastor's and teacher's wield knowledge in a desperate attempt to become more appealing to the public. There are several issues hidden in the folds of this practice. The first being that Knowledge is human gained, and anything with a significant amount of influence from man's fallen nature holds the definite potential for pride. The second point comes from the Bible in Ecclesiastes 12:12 which warns, 
"My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." This is not to say that knowledge is evil... But rather that knowledge without the proper dose of wisdom is not profitable to the soul, it tends to produce legalism, and religion; the very principles Jesus came to abolish. If we could have 'earned' Heaven, or worked our way out of the pit of sin, the cross wouldn't have been necessary. The cup of suffering could have passed. But that's not how history panned out. It pleased the Father to crush the son because the God of hope is a champion of the helpless. Where do we come off thinking that we can earn it? How dare we dream of doing it on our own? Why do we feel that we must portray the perfect image of ourselves at all times. Do we really have it all together? Personally, I believe that my beauty is found in  my willing brokenness before the "offense" of the bloodied battered cross. It captivates me daily with it's perfect mixture of suffering, sorrow, sacrifice, shame, boldness, brokenness, bravery, beauty, LOVE. So I kneel in the shadow of the cross and accept from this symbol of death the life that it offers. 
I want to mirror Jesus's love to the world... And one of the things that I love about Jesus, is that when the crowds gathered and longed to talk to Him, He didn't interrupt, He didn't disregard them, He didn't listen with the intent of responding. He showed that He cherished them in His focused listening. I want to do the same. I want to listen to others as a wisdom gleaner... Will you join me? Together we can reignite the fire of the church if we accept the gift of unity that Christ offers. Let us set out today determined to live in the wisdom and love that has been lavished on us since before the start of time. The world may call us child-like, but then, isn't that the ultimate goal? Perhaps we shouldn't focus on dissecting God's word, but rather set our hearts on living it out. After all, once you start dissecting something, it's already dead. Today I want to accept the word of God without question. As Evelyn Underhill best said, 
"If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped."
I do not wnat to become so entangled in the pursuit of knowing everything ABOUT God that I miss the experience of ACTUALLY knowing God.