Archive for June, 2009

Spiritual Formation

From the Father’s Heart

The other week Kim and I attended Netzer, which is a network of emerging leaders within the COB and from other denominations as well. I have only been there 2 times but each time God has shown up in huge ways at just the right time when I needed confirmation that this step that we are taking in planting Veritas is indeed God’s will.

During Netzer Kim and I read selections from a book entitled “From the Father’s Heart” and it spoke volumes to us. So Kim decided to buy the book for me for my birthday. Well she picked it up yesterday and as I flipped through it last night, it seemed like every entry as almost directed right at us. This book, I am sure, will help us on our journey. In the dark moments, I am sure God will speak through the words of the book.

Here is an excerpt from the book that speaks to me…I am sure it will speak to you as well.

“Delightful Deliverer!
You are not wrong to be stepping out in faith at the moment. Am I not the one who released you into this path by My very own words? Just remember not to judge by outward appearances. Also, refuse to retreat into doubt and introspection when some of those little steps you are taking seem to fall short of shaking heaven and earth. Bear in mind- it is first the seed and the sprout, then the stalk and the foliage, and finally the flower and the fruit.
Son, our Kingdom is an enduring one. It is built on a Solid Foundation– line upon line, precept upon precept- here a little, there a little. Our Kingdom is a quiet one, but an invincible one. Is it noise and fireworks you want, or power?
I have spoken these thoughts to your heart already, but I knew you would enjoy having them confirmed..Keep moving! I AM!
Proudly! Joyfully!

I pray that these words inspire you and encourage you as they have to me.

Spiritual Formation

Ignition Quote

Sunday night during our Veritas Core Group development time we were going over our Ignition Bible Study looking at Acts 6-8. We had some great discussion about those passages but then we came to a quote in the book and it blew me away. So I thought I would share it on this blog.

“When we examine the God of the Bible we find that he is concerned with the whole of creation. His purpose is to bring about his peace on earth and to establish the Kingdom of God in its fullness. He desires to see fallen humanity redeemed and the building up of the people of God. He is deeply engaged with his creation and drawing people to himself. Mission begins with God, not us. He has invited us to participate with him in bringing about the salvation of creation.”

This quote is amazing and to me shows what God is all about, what the gospel is, and what our role in sharing the gospel is all about. We get to participate with him in bringing reconciliation, and redemption to our fallen world. We get to help right the world. We get to help redeem the broken creation by taking care of the earth. We get to be a part of drawing people to God. It is an amazing responsibility but also an amazing privilege.

Books / Readings, Change!?!, Spiritual Formation

Chasing a Lion. . .

A few years ago at the National Pastor’s Convention, one of the freebee’s given to everyone was the just released book called Chasing a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars (by Mark Batterson, Multnomah Press). As I was clearing-out some stuff from my office last month, I ran across this book. I thought it might be a good one to take on our vacation/job hunting trip to Hawaii. I was right, there’s lots of inspiration in this book!

The book is based on an obscure story in the Old Testament of Beniah, who chased and killed a lion (2 Sam. 23:20-21). It’s not a story I remembered in my Old Testament reading, but it now certainly is a story that has impacted my life.

There are many great quotes that I’d love to share, but it would take-up too much room here. I scanned the book, after reading it to pull-out my top 10, but have decided that even that’s too many.

So, here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“. . . success is making the most of every opportunity. Spiritual maturity is seeing and seizing God-ordained opportunities. Think of every opportunity as God’s gift to you. What you do with those opportunities is your gift to God. I’m absolutely convinced that our greatest regrets in life will be missed opportunities.” p. 17

Guaranteed Uncertainty: To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways; we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.” quote from Oswald Chambers, p.79

Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty. p.85

Jesus never promised security. What he promised was uncertainty. . . I know that part of us wants God to take us to a 3 act play with a clearly defined plot. . . But Jesus takes us to the Improv instead. We want the entire script up front, but that would undermine our dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Following Jesus and keeping in step with the Spirit require the art of improvisation. We’ve got to develop an affinity for uncertainty and lear to enjoy the journey.” p.90

“Have you read the Bible lately? Faith is risky business. The goal of faith is not the elimination of risk. In fact, the greatest risk is taking no risks.” (Think of the Parable of the Talents) p. 109

Failing to take a risk is almost like losing a jigsaw puzzle piece of your life. It leaves a gaping hole. When we get to the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the missing pieces.” p. 115-116

To the average person, the circumstances presented to Benaiah were problems to run away from, not opportunities to be seized. But Benaiah didn’t see a 500 pound problem. He saw a lion skin hanging in his tent. p. 132-133

This book probably means a lot more to me now, than if I had read it 3 years ago. I now find myself in a situation I didn’t choose (being laid-off by the Mission and Ministry Board). A few people have tried to encourage me to see this as a time of new opportunity, of pursuing dreams and passions that I might not have done by staying in my former position. So, I’m here in Hawaii with my wife to explore a dream we’ve had for 10 years: living here and serving God.

The author, Mark Batterson, also writes on page 30, “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.”. What a comforting thought! God is seeking to guide us in greater ways than our seeking to be in God’s will. But as the author says over and over again, we have to take risks, and not wait for every detail to line-up before stepping out.

How do you take risks? What needs to be in place before you “step-out in faith”? What’s your dream? What steps do you need to take to reach that dream?

I’d love to hear from you!


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