Tuesday, September 25, 2012
These questions (and many more) are central to the journey we call the Flow of Faith. Faith was never intended to stand still. It is a gift of God that was designed to be motivated by grace and enhanced by our internal desire to offer a life that is pleasing to God.
It all starts with our internal ability to hear the invitation of God. It moves to our willingness to say Yes to that invitation. That 'divine yes' (see E. Stanley Jones!) will motivate us to grow in the knowledge and likeness of Christ. Before long, we will discover a place to serve and a way to express our gratitude to the Lord. It is a movement of the heart and it pleases God!
Each day gives us a new opportunity to please the Lord. Some days are better than others! We can all acknowledge days when we know we did not fulfill our potential in Christ. Then there are other days we we know in our inner being that God has been directing our steps so we can grow closer to the heart of God. It is a flow of faith that results in movement at the heart level.
Last week I had the unique opportunity to spend several days with a group of remarkable Christian leaders. They came from Russia, Romania, Bosnia, Hong Kong, Korea, Nigeria, Kenya, England, India, and even one from the good ole' USA! They spoke hope into my life because I could see God moving through their ministry journey. I could see the church coming alive. I could experience the growing flow of faith through their words and their faithful gift of discipleship.
But the flow of faith (the movement of the heart) is not just for Christian leaders. It is for you and for me. It is a gift for every believer. John 1 says that 'for those who believed, he gave the right to become children of God.' As children of God the 'right' to our inheritance is the gift of growth. It is a gift that is offered with a wonderful sense of abundance.
It is your gift, have you received it? Did you get the package God sent your way? Go ahead, open it! It is the gift of movement and that comes complete with a plan for growth. Grow a step today! Why not! It is a gift!
Monday, September 3, 2012
Highway 24 on the way to Limon has another one of those 'counting' hills. It is just outside of Matheson as you elevate to the real high plains. It too requires a 'count' to 100 technique to keep me on task. So counting my footsteps shouldn't be so unusual.
Footsteps are interesting. They get us from one place to the next, they demonstrate our desire to move forward, and they go forward much easier than they go backward. The life of a Chritian happens one step at a time. Some run, others tend to stand still, but true faith is always lived out on the move.
I mentioned that each year I evaluate my 'next steps' for my journey of faith. I take time each January to evaluate, update, and renew my commitment to growth. Here is my 'next steps' plan for 2012:
Personal Rule of Life
1. Morning prayer and meditation seeking God’s will for my personal and professional life.
2. Daily prayer for family, staff, lay leadership, and general intercession.
3. Daily study of the Scriptures that are outside teaching and preaching responsibilities.
1. Seek increased ways to simplify life style in accordance with the Gospel.
2. Set aside specific time of solitude outside designated time for personal prayer.
3. Continue support of Walk to Emmaus.
4. Work to develop a strong positive missional relationship with the Methodist Church in Costa Rica, Haiti and the Global Hope ministry in Romania
Continuing Education Goals
1. Participate in at least one major conference on congregational life, preaching or leadership.
2. Develop time for Gethsemani retreat
3. Create a continuing education event for pastors and lay leaders related to prayer and spiritual formation.
4. Read at least one new book each week related to leadership, spiritual formation, church development, stewardship, or vision.
1. Continue service on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry
2. Be available for relational conversations with younger pastors
3. Support the Asbury community through teaching, creating the Houston event, dissertation mentor, financial stewardship, student support, and student development
1. Ride at least 1500 bicycle miles on Old Blue in 2012 or new version
2. Develop and ride at least one significant tour in 2012
3. Stay in touch with my physical health through indoor / outdoor riding, time at the fitness center, and healthy eating habits
What's next for you? Are there some footsteps on your horizon?
Saturday, September 1, 2012
You can read about her early life and our personal journey in the book titled Ana's Voice: When God Speaks Through A Silent Child. There are copies in the church library or you can get an official Ana autographed copy by stopping in at my office or sending me an email.
But this is not about selling books, it is about miracles. Ana is our miracle. She was fragile and frail as an infant but today she is full of life.
One of the major obstacles she faced as a child was a small amount of contaminated blood. There were lots to nasty things floating around in that blood but the most significant element was a cluster of cells that are make up something called Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Most of us just call it HIV.
I remember 1984 when Ana arrived here in our home. Many folks were scared. Those were days of fear that was stirred by a lack of information. HIV/AIDS simply meant death. And no one really wanted to be around. Even the brave were a bit frightened. But Ana is a really great teacher. She smiles with a shy grin. She didn't know that her blood was deadly or that people found her a tad intimidating. She was just trying her best to make sense out of a life that was turned upside down with a move from a Romanian orphanage to a home in Colorado.
Then along came Dr. Myron Levin and the Denver Children's Hospital CHIP Team. They developed a plan, started on a course of treatment, studied every step, and became a core part of our support system. Today, 18 years later, they are still standing with us every step of the journey.
Dr. Levin designed a sequence of medications that were administered with great care and monitored each month. The medications all do something just a little bit different but on the whole they stop the virus from attaching and attacking the T Cell that allows the immunize system to be healthy.
Isn't that the way miracles happen? People like Myron work with the tools of the trade and God does the rest. Miracles typically don't happen without some interaction between people. I think we could call that relational theology! God uses you, me, and folks like Myron to accomplish a demonstration of love that we simply call a miracle.
Sue and I used to have a little sign in the kitchen. I liked it a lot. It said, "A coincidence is when God performs a miracle and chooses to remain anonymous."
Are you a part of the relational theology that is lived out through the anonymous coincidence of God?