Friday, October 26, 2007

Radical Transformation: Lesson #1

Trying to figure out how to live a Kingdom lifestyle can be daunting. The Bible is littered with timeless Truths and directive Wisdom. After being overseas, in a very different culture/world, my heart has been opened to some different lifestyle techniques; worldly and sacred ones. Then I read the Bible and a collision happens within my soul, my heart, and I am confronted, in a big time way, to tangibly reconcile the tension....When the Bible tells me one thing, and western culture another, it isn't that I am struggling with how to reconcile the two together because I really don't believe we have to do that all that much....what I struggle with is that the Bible tells me one thing, the world another, and the Spirit engages the flesh in an all out War of how I will practically carry out what I know/learn. This War continues to wage in me day by day, night by night. Spirit vs. flesh/world. I take 2 steps forward, 1 step back it seems....The Goal: to divorce myself from the world. How to do it: Read the Word, let the Spirit move, talk to Jesus, embrace accountability, and Trust.

God vs. World, Part 1: 1 Corinthians 9:19

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;"

One needs to look no further than 3 words in this passage: free, servant, and might.

In the context of this passage Paul is saying that he is making himself a servant to all, even though he is free, in order to proclaim the Good News. How does this vastly differ from the world's version of freedom and servants? Let us see.

World: autonomy, American Dream, self-centered, individualistic, etc.
God: self-sacrifice, submissive, giving, humble, fearing God, etc.

World: looked down upon, "the people who do the jobs no one else will do", which is code for the immigrants who work jobs Americans won't work because it only pays $7.00/hr, lazy, not driven, etc.
God: putting others needs ahead of yours, sacrificing time and resources, etc.

And finally...the word: might is very interesting to me in this passage by Paul. We are to become servants, (a.k.a.: give our own lives up for others), give our lives and desires up, so that we might be able to lead others to Jesus. This is amazing to me...Paul doesn't even say that it WILL happen, but that it, in theory, we could go about our whole lives giving ourselves to others and sacrificing, denying ourselves, so that we MIGHT lead others to Jesus...when was the last time you made a decision that was life altering based on something MAYBE happening. If you are like me, I am often very calculating with my decisions and will make many of them based on the relative "success" of the event happening.

Life Lesson #1: 1 Corinthians 9:19.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Advancing the Kingdom

French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once said:

"I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force! Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him."

The summation of the power of Christ's love and kindness. Amazing and profound. A system of backwards logic: advancing through love, meekness, kindness, gentleness, and compassion. This is the God I follow and serve.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Invisible Hierarchy

What an alien might say if he came to Earth:

"Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human's social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand that they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem."

God wired us so that He told us who we were, and outside that relationship, the relationship that said we were loved and valuable and beautiful, we didn't have any worth at all. As horrible as it sounds, it would make sense that things of worth are the things God loves, and things that don't have worth are things God doesn't love. I mean, I really started wondering if maybe a human is defined by who loves him. I know it sounds terrible, because we have always grown up believing that a person is valuable even if nobody loves them, and I certainly agree with that because God made everybody and the Bible very clearly states that He loves everybody. But, as Paul said, if those relations are disturbed, the relations between God and man, then we feel the desire to be loved and respected by other people instead of God, and if we don't get that love and respect, we feel very sad or angry because we know our glory is at stake, that if their isn't some glory being shone through us by somebody, we'll be dead inside, like a little light will go out and our souls will feel dark, like nothing can grow there. We'll feel that there is a penalty, by default, for being removed from love.

Donald Miller, "Searching For God Knows What".