Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unity in anything is the key

    A couple of nights ago I was suffering from a bout of insomnia, so I was watching the National Geographic Channel. They were trying to find evidence of the existence of the Tower of Babel. I think most people would consider this a negative story where people were acting badly and God came down and scattered them. But, there is a positive in this story too, In Genesis 11: 6 it says, If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they will plan to do will be impossible for them. I think that is a very powerful statement about unity, and the impact you can have when people are unified and thinking as one mind is truly amazing. Very few organizations, including churches, have true unity. I think a lot of the problems for this are poor communication, Gossip, and lack of shared purpose.
   Poor communication can come in many forms. For example, if the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing then conflict sets in. If someone sees someone else doing something, and they don't know what they are doing and why they are doing it, then it gets misunderstood and seen as competition. This causes inter-company gossip and whispering.
    Gossip will destroy any organization, or church because it is very degrading. Gossip by definition means when a negative is discussed with anyone who can't solve the problem. I find it very interesting that people would never consider committing adultery, but will gossip with and about anyone, but in Galatians 5:15 it says, But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another. In Galatians 5:19-22 it says they are on the same list. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immortality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness and orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Dissension is another word for gossip. Many of us have been in organizations, or churches where this is the norm, this doesn't create unity, it destroys it.
    Lack of a shared purpose, such as the goal, vision, and mission statement should be shared by all.
When you don't have that same vision, or you have people in places that are out for their own agenda despite the people they may hurt on the way, that destroys the organization, or church from within. When your organization, or church has made it clear that unity is a core value, then the core of the organization, or church, will act to keep the unity.
    I need to know that everyone in our organization, or church are all on the same team. I really don't think that is too much to ask, and I take it personally when the people in our organization, or church  are not united together. We must find a way to build unity in the church, if we succeed at doing this we will achieve amazing results. The spiritual, emotional, and practical power of unity is amazing when put into motion.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

     I must tell you that this is just my opinion, I have no special training. This is my truth and I hope it will lead you to find your truth, and help you learn how to listen when God is speaking.
     The main reason I started this blog was to tell my story, my faith journey. When I finished my story I felt an overwhelming pull towards needing to teach, or being called to teach. I thought maybe I was being called to be a pastor. I have prayed and tried to follow where God has led me, but no doors have opened up for me that have led me towards becoming a pastor. After many nights of praying and asking God where I was meant to be I realized that maybe I wasn't listening, that maybe I am already where I am supposed to be, and that I am teaching in way I never even thought of. Maybe I am teaching by example, showing what it takes to be a good husband, father, and hopefully a good Christian. Preach the word of the Gospel, and use words when necessary.
    Since I have started this blog I have gone on to become a Stephen Minister, quit, and then back again, because I wasn't really listening to God when I thought I was. You see, I am thinking God has already put me where he wants me. I moved to the town that I live in, became a member of the church where I found God, joined a men's group, and became a Stephen minister because this is where God wants me to be, to do His work. I just had to figure out how to listen. 
    We must listen to God in our lives, the benefits of hearing God's will for us can never be measured. But, in order for us to hear God we must make ourselves available to Him with the right attitude and  the ability to know if we have truly heard God talking to us. There are many things that can distract us from God. Even when we think we are spending time with God, our minds will wander to other thoughts. That is why making quiet time, free from as many distractions as possible is very important, difficult but important. We must also have the proper attitude to be able to listen. Attitudes like courage and humility are great attitudes to have when listening to God. We must humble ourselves to realize we don't have all the answers, and we must have the courage in our hearts to do what is right no matter how much our fears and selfish ambitions try to get in our way. Also, we must get to know God, so we know when we hear his voice. To get to know God, we must improve our knowledge and relationship with Him.  We do this through study of scripture, quiet prayer or meditation, and fellowship with other Christians.
     This is how I believe we can listen to God. As I said earlier, this is my truth, my connection to God. I hope in some way it helps you to find your connection with Him, or maybe even help make it stronger if you already have a connection to Him. I write these words down because it is much easier for me to say it this way, even if I write than read it, it still doesn't come out right. That's OK with me though, because I think I am right where I am supposed to be................. AMEN    

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is Faith ?

   What does faith really mean? The translation in the dictionary puts it like this,
  a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
  b (1) : fidelity to one's promises
(2) : sincerity of intentions
  a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
  b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof
(2) : complete trust
  : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs.
Does that sum up how you feel? I know it doesn't for me.
 I over heard a man standing in line today at a store, and he said "faith is something you believe in, even though you know in your mind that it doesn't exist." Wow, is that really what faith is? Not to me. I think the main thing he got wrong is that faith starts in the heart and not the mind. If you go to church every Sunday and pray and worship, but in your mind you are thinking that God doesn't exist. Is that faith?
 Faith is described in the bible this way, (Hebrews 11 : 1 NIV) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance for what we do not see. Faith can start by looking at the wonders of His creation, which will show us His unseen attributes, but faith must grow and become active in the heart powered by the gift of God's Holy Spirit.
  There is a faith built into every human, this faith only believes what it can detect with one of our 5 senses. With human faith we can fly in an airplane we don't totally understand, and don't know the pilot, but we trust everything will be OK. We can sit in a chair we have never sat in before and trust that it will hold. This is human faith, built into everyone by God.
   When it comes to faith in God, you have to believe in something you can't see. You have never seen God or the devil, you haven't seen heaven or hell, and you haven't seen sin, so you don't know what it looks like when your sins are washed away. That is the difference, you can't believe in things you can't see with human faith, you must open your heart, let God into your life, and use the faith that is powered by the Holy Spirit. This my brothers and sisters is what true faith is all about.