Archive for the ‘kingdom of god’ Category

an answer in view of the multitude of his idols

September 23, 2010

I’ve been reading and re-reading Ezekiel 14 this week.  Wondering how many of the “answers to prayer” I’ve heard have been answers “according to the multitude of the idols of my heart”.

open and honest

May 4, 2010

One of the things I do for a living is design and develop business software.  My favorite project of all time began eighteen years ago at IBM’s Toronto lab on a product called ImagePlus.  We completed the project on time, within budget, and with an unusually low defect rate.  Two doctoral students from the University of Guelph somehow heard about our project and came out to study the team and discover the secret to our success.

Each team member filled out a survey and the researchers interviewed a number of us.  Their finding was eye-opening.  We weren’t successful because of superstar team members or a new breakthrough in management theory.  They felt the keystone of our success was one key phrase that came up on the questionnaire and in interviews: “open and honest communication”.

I heard that phrase several times recently listening to Ed Catmull speak at an event put on by the Economist magazine.  Ed is president of Pixar Studios and was speaking about running a creative company.  He too listed open and honest communication as a key factor in their success.  Working with strong, creative, even eccentric personalities was all part of the job, but the real challenge is calling things what they really are.  Being un-intimidated about saying so when something isn’t working.  Willing to recognize when people are gaming the system. Thick-skinned enough to handle criticism.  Willing to trust the other people in the process to do their jobs while you do yours.  That’s what makes an excellent project team.

And couldn’t we use some of that in the Kingdom of God?

cross eyed

April 13, 2010

I’ve been reading and meditating on the cross verses:

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” — Mathew 10:38

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. — Matthew 16:21-27

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” — Mark 8:34

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ — Philippians 3:18

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” — Luke 14:27

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. — Galations 6:14

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.     For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  (24)Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. — Galatians 5:16,17,24

Pardon me for bringing this up, but if I turned on the Christian TV or radio today, is that what I’d hear?

Models

March 31, 2010

A synagogue/rabbi (church/pastor) model seeks equilibrium and consistency.

An apostolic/prophetic model is inherently disruptive and divisive.

An elder is to a pastor what a judge of Israel was to a king.

Since we do church the way the Rabbis did it, we shouldn’t be surprised that we get their results instead of Jesus’.

india

January 30, 2010

Felecity Dale has another excellent post regarding the exponential church growth India is experiencing in simple churches.  If you have a minute to spare I highly recommend it.

why we are here

January 22, 2010

Felicity Dale’s blog is so good today I’m just going to point you toward it and suggest you read it.  She’s been posting for a couple weeks now based on notes she took from a house church conference in India.  The whole series is good!

his presence

January 8, 2010

We went and did a test run at the studio last night, culminating in a couple hours of free-flowing worship.  Afterwords at Denny’s we talked a little about the presence of God.  What is it really?  We know he’s here with us 100% of the time anyway.  Not just with us – people who love him and are trying to serve him – but with everyone.  And we know he lives in every believer by way of the Holy Spirit.  We hear his voice when we pray and when he wants to give us particular instruction.

But in a time of worship it’s not unusual to feel God’s presence tangibly enter the room.  Usually everyone senses it at once, though each person might describe the experience a little differently.  So what is it about that sense of his presence that we’re feeling?

When I got home I’d probably had too much coffee (I’m almost off the stuff), so I devoted some bible-study time to the topic.  There was the cloud and noise on top of mount Sinai, the glory of God when it filled Solomon’s temple,  and the sound and flames of the day of Pentecost.  One thing that stuck with me as I finally drifted off to sleep about 5:30 a.m. was from first Corinthians 10:1-12.  It’s about the people of Israel in the desert going from Egypt to the land of milk and honey God had promised. This group of people:

  • Followed a cloud by day and a fire by night
  • Walked on dry land through the Red Sea where water had flowed only moments before
  • Ate a special food that was provided for them 6 days of the week
  • On two occasions drank water that flowed from a rock in the desert

But these same people who experienced the supernatural presence and provision of God, these people who audibly heard the voice of God from the mountain that shook them so that they feared for their lives, these people rebelled against God and died in the desert.

Wow!

I could say more here, but let me just post a couple verses:

These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

Bride? (part 2)

January 4, 2010

I’m still meditating on the bride thing.  A couple comments on my earlier post got me going again this morning.   The thing, the essential thing I think, is this.  We men tend to orient around doing things.  Getting things done.  Accomplishments.  And of course, all the appropriate tools (a.k.a.; toys) to do the job well.

Women tend to focus on relationship.  And specifically, on intimacy.  They’ve got us (men) beaten there.  They start focusing on relationships earlier and seem to have an entire sense – beyond taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell – dedicated to relationship.  I’m talking as an outsider here, but I think I’d get general agreement if I asked the question to a mixed audience.

And intimacy is what I believe we’re supposed to learn from the picture of the church as the bride of Christ.  To fully know the other, and to be fully known by them (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Passionate.  Nothing held back.  Completely open.  Completely vulnerable.   Totally in love.  Intimacy is what he desires with us, and what he want as our desire for him.

fruit and nuts

January 4, 2010

The fruit of the Spirit is [still] love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Fruit, that’s what you get when when you plant something, nurture it, and allow it to grow to maturity.

I don’t mind all the, what I might call antics, of Spirit-filled people.  Falling down, twitching, jerking, laughing and all of it are okay with me.  But the main evidence – the only evidence that matters – is a changed life as the result of constant communication with God our Father.

The Holy Spirit is our interface with the Father.  The Spirit is how we’re connected to him and how he communicates with us.

If Jesus, the natural-born son of God, needed the the Holy Spirit – how much more do we adopted children?

Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. (John 1:32)

So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. (John 5:19)

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49)

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.  He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. (John 16:13-14)

I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one –I in them and you in me — that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)

christmas 2009

December 25, 2009

It’s a different Christmas this year.  I’m less “into” traditional American Christmas than I’ve ever been.  I’m poorer than I’ve ever been on Christmas.  And I got a little fruit-of-the-spirit checkup yesterday by having my vehicle window broken in and $1200 or so worth of stuff stolen, including my laptop.  Shucks.

This morning I was reading about Moses in the beginning of Exodus.  Numbers 12 says Moses was “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth”.  But it wasn’t a humble man who killed the Egyptian.  I’d love to hear what went on between the time he fled Egypt and the burning bush.

Keeping sheep must be good training.  Abraham was a shepherd, Moses and David did it, and Jesus used sheep and shepherd illustrations a lot.