Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicken Bones, Tea Leaves and the Spirit of God

Ever been in a situation where you are looking for direction from God?  Perhaps it is a pressing situation where the clock is ticking and decisions must be!  As a Spirit-filled Christian I am continually looking for not only God's direction, but also for Him to break though into my life in very real and tangible ways.  It is a great joy of mine to look back and see how the Lord has led me, provided for me and used me.  However, if I am honest in my looking back, those times were filled with doubt, uncertainty and fear.  You see God never showed up exactly how or when I wanted Him to.  And in those times I was constantly searching for His will so that I might live accordingly.

So here's the thing.  It is so tempting during these times (I am in one of those times again) to get caught up in looking for "signs."  Because of fear, timeline pressures, expectations of others, etc. Christians can drift toward superstition.  Certainly God uses signs to communicate to us, but that is not His main voice.  Signs usually only serve as a CONFIRMATION of what He has already spoken.  BUT, it is difficult during transitions times.  

As my wife and I have been praying about different churches that we have had conversations about regarding me coming to pastor, in each case we saw different "signs."  Although we were never sure what they meant exactly.  As I was talking to one church in Ogden, UT and I saw a man jogging and on the back of his shirt in big orange letters was the word "OGDEN."  I thought...well this must be it!  It wasn't.  If I had been paying attention in my heart I would have known.  Other times there have been similar "signs," but something was always absent internally.  It can be a confusing and frustrating time.

So where do we learn how to discern God's will?  The same way we learn anything about God; we turn to His Word.  In His Word, we see the Holy Spirit taking the lead.

Ever notice that Judas' replacement was chosen kind of OT style in Acts 1, but after Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers there is never again any mention of "casting of lots?"

Some people look at times of delay or things not working out smoothly as having missed God.  How ridiculous!   Again we look at God's Word.  Did things always work out "smoothly" in the life and ministry of Jesus?  How about the Disciples and the early church?  Weren't most of them killed in a gruesome way according to Church history?  What about the expansion of the Kingdom of God through the centuries?  Smooth sailing? Hardly.  Fact is that there will be gaps, struggles, flesh issues that are part of the mix in following Jesus where He leads.

So put the chicken bones, tea leaves, and fortune cookies away.
In all seriousness don't be an 'dumb donkey' and start opening up your spirit to the demonic by consulting horoscopes, tarot, or so-called psychics.  

Trust in the Lord.  (Prov. 3:5-6) Walk in His Spirit. (Gal. 5:25) Live in His love and provision for you.  (Matt 6) He will lead you as He has led my family and I so faithfully all these years.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Stages of Growth - Part I

There are three stages of growth in the Christian's life.  Where are you?  We read in 1 John:

   “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one."  1 John 2:12-14

You see three different types of people that John is writing to.  God has something to say to you at every stage of growth in your life.  In other words you never outgrow your need for His voice.

Do you remember when you first experienced God?  I'm not talking about religious education, but when you first felt the touch of Almighty God.  That time when you KNEW that your sins were forgiven and that you were made brand new!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I remember in college when I experienced God in a world-shaking way.  When I finally surrendered all of myself to Him and stopped playing games.  The joy was overwhelming!  I would walk around giggling like a freak show.  God's Word had come alive to me as I read it.  What was so wonderful?  As John says "because you know the Father."  To feel Him so near, to experience His Spirit, to have my eyes opened as if for the very first time.

Perhaps the cares of this life have drowned out the voice of His Spirit.  Perhaps the worries of this world have sucked out your joy. Spend some time today remembering what it is like to be a 'child' in His arms again.  For as much spiritual growth as we may experience, we should never truly grow beyond being able to experience the joy of being a child of the Father. 

To be continued...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay Marriage

I thought it relevant to repost this message I did back in 2009. I've been told it is a fair and thoughtful look at the subject. Perhaps you are confused or just don't know what to say about everything that is happening. This might help.

Here is a 10 minute clip of "Speaking to the Gay Marriage Agenda".  For the whole message you can watch here