2007/10/30

First of Three Visions

I found myself in a large banquet hall with surreal white walls, beautiful chandeliers, and an exquisite inlaid wood floor. The entire room was empty but the grandeur was overwhelming, out of this world in appeal and detail.
Finally, I began to look at the walls and noticed that there were accolades, trophies, memorabilia, pictures that told the story of someone’s life. After focusing more intently, I realized that these items all related to my life.
Wanting to inspect these testimonials, I took a step but when I want to place my foot down, I realized that the only secure spot on this floor was the place where I was standing. I quickly regained my balance at my initial spot and attempted to assess my predicament.
The entire room was a facade. There were not any white walls, chandeliers, or the inlaid wooden floor. The space was total emptiness and there was nothing except blackness.
Cautiously, I leaned over to see the secure spot on which I was standing. What I saw was frightening. The place on which I rested was the collection of accolades, trophies, memorabilia, and pictures that earlier were on the white walls of the banquet hall. They were stacked haphazardly on top of each, like a cartoon character piling items on top of each other to reach an elevated object.
I immediately realized the precariousness of the pile, which rather than appearing as a memorial to my life, instead represented a trash heap. Just as I realized the instability of what was my life, I fell off of this perch. I was in an uncontrolled free fall, unable to do anything to save myself.
After remaining in this free fall for an undefined period of time, I realized that I was no longer experiencing this fall but rather was now floating gently similar to that of a feather. I realized that the darkness had been replaced by a translucent golden-white aurora. While I do not recall feeling a sense of panic or fear, I did question what was happening.
All of a sudden I became that feather and drifted toward this luminous white object that was larger than anything that I could imagine. My feather landed in the midst of a collection of these white feathers. I still had my own identity as a thinking being but I did not exist outside of my mind.
Each of the feathers around me, equal in appearance and radiance, also were able to express themselves. The main thing that I noticed about these feathers was the sense of eternal joy and peace that occupied their being. After taking in this sensual overload, I gained my senses to inquire as to where I was and what I was doing.
I inquired of some of the beings next to me as to where I was and what was I doing. They chuckled and responded, “You must be new here. You are making up a part of the wedding dress of the Bride of Christ. If you look straight up you will see the radiance of Christ.”

2007/10/22

Wasted Moments=Minutes=Days=Weeks=Year=Life

Time has passed. What has been accomplished during this time? It is easy to look back over the last half hour and realize that I have wasted this time. I have things on my to do list and they remain. If I waste a half an hour a day, and I am not taking about constructive down time or just relaxing to reinvigorate myself, I waste three and a half hours per week. In one year that is over a week that has been wasted.

If I were to use this time constructively what would I have accomplished in this week? Teach me to number my days.

2007/10/15

"Walk With" Rather Than "Talk To"

Christians often proclaim that Jesus is the answer but neglect to get to know people to learn what it is that they need. For me to announce that I have the solution to your dilemma infers that I am familiar with your needs and that I have permission to speak to these.

Without this awareness of what concerns you and lacking permission to speak to this, my input seems like an unwelcome intrusion rather than a witness of God's love. It is easy to walk around with a smugness that proclaims answers to every problem. It is much more difficult to walk with someone who is experiencing these difficulties and empathize with them.

If we take the second approach, we will earn the respect and the permission to speak into another person's life. Without this respect, we probably turn more people off to who God is than we will ever persuade to investigate Jesus.

2007/10/08

Speaking Words of Love to One's Heart

As Christians, we often contend for our beliefs with intense verbiage and deep rooted emotional commitment. Our rationale for this is that Peter has advised us to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have within us. It seems natural for us to wrestle with many issues and philosophies, working to impress people with our arguments.

However, there is a simple answer when it comes to the reason that I have hope. It is because the Creating God of the universe loves me. God accepts me into the Kingdom of Heaven not because of anything I do but rather because out of this love God sent Jesus to take my sins away.

Persuasion or reasoning usually do not move me to make significant changes in beliefs or in conduct. However, in view of my shortcomings and sin, realizing that God forgives my sin through Jesus Christ does impact my thinking and actions. When one approaches me with genuine love, I am willing to let them speak to my heart and my mind. When one approaches me with superiority and arrogance, I may listen with my mind but they are not able to penetrate into my heart.

2007/10/05

TWO WORLDS COLLIDING

We live in any number of worlds. I first lived in the world of my parents. The next major shift in my world was leaving for college. This was significantly different than the world my parents provided. From this world, I entered life on my own and then entered the world of becoming one with my wife (now thirty-four years and continuing).

This world was adjusted by the addition of three sons. Family, my parents and siblings first, and then my wife and children, second; have been the predominant worlds in which I have lived. Because of the busyness of these real worlds that force themselves upon us, we sometimes miss another important world.

There is another world which collides with the one's which press against us. We are spiritual beings and it is easy to ignore this world. It stands in antithesis to the present world. In the present we observe hate and this world is built on love. In the present we observe greed and this world is built on sharing. In the present we observe materialism and this world is built on relationship.

If this world appeals to you, investigate the life of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes we as Christians fail to live as Christ dictated. Our failure does not distract from the Truth that is in Christ. Our failure is met with grace and love if we seek God's forgiveness. It is worth the time to check Jesus out.

2007/10/01

A History Question

There is a popular adage, "If you do not study history, you are bound to repeat it." It seems to me that this has been inferred to mean that you should learn from those who have gone before you to help prevent you from making the same mistakes.

However, think about the ways we become enslaved to a system by repeating previous solutions. I have yet to watch the new television series, "Kid Nation" but I would be interested in the dynamics and solutions that they discover. How much will they import from their backgrounds and how much will be ground breaking decisions that see a different viewpoint?

Church culture is built on constantly repeating what has supposedly worked in the past. Maybe the church needs to learn that we are repeating some of the same failures that have plagued previous church generations. The institution is self-perpetuating when in reality it is time to evaluate the way things have been done in the recent past.

Is the church impacting communities or are we building temples to ourselves? Is there a consistent demonstration of love, mercy, kindness, and self-control or is there an abundance of gossip, greed, and power plays? Is worshipping God the reason for gathering together or is it to display our giftedness and creativity? A study of history may provided insight as to how the church has functioned in the past, however; it seems that a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit would provide far more direction than reviewing and repeating what has already been tried.