Will God answer your prayer to make life easier?

Only 2 times in New Testament (that I know of) did someone ask God to make life easier…both times God said NO!

The first and primary example is of Jesus. Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” The Lord Jesus Christ asks God the Father if there is another way to fulfill His Will right before he is betrayed by Judas and captured to be crucified for our sins. There was no other way. The cup would not pass from Christ.

The second example is of Paul. In 2 Cor. 12, Paul explains how he asked God to remove a thorn from his side three times. Yet, God said no. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

In American culture we are determined to get what we want when we want it. We are determined to pray for our the easiest life possible. This is not always what God wants.

Christian Isolation

It is true as McRaney states on page 198 that, “the highest level of motivation for evangelism is love for God.”

Unfortunately, this (along with many other statistics) shows that Christians in America lack the passion to be godly and love God as they should.

We have lost sight of proper priorities in life. God calls us to “love the Lord your God with all of our Heart, soul, and mind.” (mt. 22:37)

My personal problem is isolation… I am calling it a problem not a barrier, because it is my own fault. Labeling it a barrier, to me seems like pushing the blame on uncontrolables. I know better than that, because I know that I can do something in my life to address this problem.

I am glad and humbled that McRaney straight-forwardly calls me out by saying that Isolation is my selfishness. I am selfish and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. There is nothing wrong with that in of itself, but when we are blocking our own movement from growth it is a problem. We should spend some of this “fellowship” time together sharing the Gospel together, through servant evangelism, door-to-door evangelism, inviting non-Christians to join us in our fellowship at home or church…so that they see the love of Christ with us.

When I shelter myself from the world, I am disconnected. Some of the best experiences I have ever had with other Christians and with God have been the times of brokenness and challenge. Times when I had a passion to reach the lost and I was being challenged daily to share my faith with other Christians.

Accountability in evangelism is one the best tools to avoid isolation. Two or three guys or gals should meet together regularly not only for Bible study but also for sharing the Gospel. Talk about and pray for the oppurtunities in real life, but also make oppurtunities intentionally whether you are going door-to-door or if you simply just have a get-together at your home and invite your lost friends there.

We need a passion for God and a passion to be godly. Amen.

personality or character

I made the mistake of assuming what some one’s character is liked based on thier personality. On my behalf I did not really know him (character or personality) at all, but first impressions lead me astray. It was wrong for me to assume anything about his character based on the first encounter (point of contact.) First impressions swayed me wrong, but the same was probably true of my first impressions upon him.

I was having a bad day at work and then I went to his area on the dock and he was hastling me and giving me a hard time and made one paticular comment that really hurt me so I assumed that this guy was a very negative man.
Turns out he is a nice man and even a Christian. I ran into him agian recently. He remembered our entour a few weeks ago and started giving me a hard time agian. I told him about that week and that I was having a bad day and I admitted that I made a few mistakes a few weeks back then he asked me if I was a college student…
The conversation turned quickly once he found out I was taking online classes with a Christian University. He told me he was a Christian too. We made both made new impressions upon each other.
He did admit that he enjoys giving people a hard time, especailly if they make a mistake. And I had errored that first time I met him. Still I was wrong for mistaking his rough personality with his character. These two are not the same.
This man mentioned above has developed a great relationship with me. We pray for each other and have fellowship at work!

“Ministry demands proximity.”

Distance separates people. If there is interaction between men than usually there is proximity. To get good care (physically, mentally, and spiritually) then proximity helps a lot. Let’s look at some model examples…Jesus and disciples is a great example for how proximity helps do ministry. Jesus lived with and did life in proximity of the twelve. This is one of the most effective examples of discipleship in the Bible.

But let’s not forget other examples where proximity was distanced. Paul wrote letters to a half a dozen churches. Peter wrote to seven churches. Their ministry was to oversee all of these churches! It is difficult to argue that they were unsuccessful, because both of these apostles were pretty successful. Indirectly, someone can have a ton of impact without proximity. Two ways in particular come to my mind…the first is financially. Many churches today indirectly minister to others worldwide by providing food, shelter, resources, medicine, and missionaries to the lost. The second is through distance relationships. For example phone or internet ministries. There are many ministers that do have an impact in some way through these means, also the radio is another one.

Sure these letter, radio, financial, internet, and phone ministries are not FULL, all-encompassing ministries. They are indirect ministries in a lot of ways and when you look that the full structure of each of these ministries there is some necessary proximity between someone, somehow. (Paul did not write letters to nations he could not travel too, radio stations can only broadcast so far, etc.) Although it is not exactly the same proximity we see with Jesus and the disciples.

I will say that from what we have been learning in class proximity optimizes ministry. I have been preaching and learning that Jesus’ model for making true disciples is the way to do and I still believe that. Following Jesus’ model is not the only way, but I think it is the optimal method for ministry and making disciples. Similarly, look at “family” as a model for ministry and discipleship.

I like family as a model for ministry because families “do” life together. Jesus did life with his disciples, at every interaction along life’s path there was something to learn, something to think about. Whether they were in the temple, on the road, in a home, or in a garden the disciples were learning from Jesus! Family is a natural environment for ministry.

Powerpoint from DMNS 500. On Organization as “structure.” Liberty University, 2009.

Good but terrible freight news

So Yellow is going out of business.
This is good news for me and UPS Freight, as we will pick up a LOT of new business.
This is great news for me, because I will be back to a normal, regular, steady schedule. More hours and more money.

This is terrible news because of the economy. It is terrible also because our dock is already loaded and busy, there is no way we can support all of YELLOW’s business. There simply is not enough room on the dock!
Another challenge will be the fact that we will be hiring newbies, so the dock will be flooded with more workers who do not know what they are doing, etc. But this will eventually not be a big problem.

Steelers

Great game huh? One of the closer Super Bowl games. It was fun to watch.
I’ve never been a Steelers fan and had no reason to root for them, so I did not.
I was really excited for about 2 minuets. But at least it was a good game.

I’ve been thinkin a lot about….

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to be an American, how fortunate I am to have spendable money, own toys, have drinking water, own a car, type on this laptop that is mine….

Gosh, God has blessed me more than I know. Ever since I was a teenager I have thought about what it might be like to have grown up in a third world country. I had thought that it was sort of unfair. Although God has reasons for putting me here. I want to do whatever it is that HE wants me to do. I want to serve Him.

Sometimes it is easy to live in my world. To be so focused on me and what I want, what I think I need. I think about the next purchase I want to make, my agenda for tomorrow, my next task or test…I plan my own world. I try to figure it all out. It is easy to be so wrapped up in me thinking that I miss God and what He wants. I miss opportunities to serve Him. I forget about the lost. I forget about those who are less fortunate than me.
I think that I can do something for those who are less fortunate than me. I see how I rule my own life. I see all the money and food I waste. I realize that I have a lot more than many many many others in this world. I realize though that I can do something. 
I want to do something. I feel a desire to do something more. I feel called to help other people. I am not sure exactly how or what that will look like…
I do not know why I feel compelled to even type this, but at a young age I felt called to ministry, at one point I felt that I might even be called to be a missionary…but God is still working the plans. I am not sure where the path is leading right now. I am still learning, growing and training. 
One of the lessons that I have also spent much time contemplating recently is just how much time and energy I (we, as a nation) spend building our own kingdoms….building our own barns, collecting toys, growing our bank accounts, etc…it is very selfish. 

Think about it, none of these things are eternal. Nothing is going to Heaven with us. The only thing that stands forever is the Word of God and God himself. 

Maybe I am different than most people. But I feel the need to spend less time conquering my greedy American dreams and more time helping the less fortunate. 
Another thought that piles on to the equation is this one, “Are you ready if Jesus comes back?”
I don’t mean to sound religiously bigoted or better than anyone, cause I am not. I waste a lot of time and money. I am greedy sometimes. I am working on all of these things in my own personal life, that is probably why I am typing all of this….

But think about it, chasing our American dreams sometimes gets in the way of what we are called or might be called to do by God. God wants us to share our faith and help the less fortunate. God commands us to make disciples. The early church was a
lot more 
eschatological in their thinking then we are, wheter they knew it or not… they knew Jesus was coming back and they lived ready for His return! Are we doing these things? Are we in love with our first love? Are we sharing our faith enough? Are we giving to the poor and helping the widows and children? Are we living like Christ? Is this how the early Church followed Christ? 

I am not saying we cannot have good things and we should not live with the things God has blessed us with…nor am I accusing anyone, but myself of a bad faith or a lost love… But these are things to consider…these are thoughts from my head….