Browse Month: October 2013

Monday Musings (special Tuesday edition) 29/10/13

FireThe mess of excess…

There is a tension rising in the church worldwide that has charismatics and non-charismatics, Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals facing off against each other.

Whether watching live streams here in North America, or sitting with National leaders in Africa, I watch opposing teams trying to win the face-off that leads to ultimate victory.  At the end of the match, it appears there are more questions than answers, both have things to say that hold validity, but no one seems to comes out the clear winner!

A few days before leaving Kitwe, Zambia, to return to Canada, I had to go to Auto World to get some parts for my vehicle.  On the wall was a sign that to this day I regret not taking a picture of.  It showed two oil filters, one marked “genuine”, the other marked “counterfeit”.  The caption said, “why would you settle for the counterfeit, when you can have the real thing”!  The sign went on to say that you may pay less for the counterfeit, but in the long run, you will do more damage to your car.  Trust me, I have learned this to be true, the hard way!

The tension between the counterfeit and the genuine is causing much damage to the Body of Christ.  The short-term hunger for more of God promoted by so-called prophets, coupled with the debate of so-called theologians on the subject, may be causing long-term damage to the church.

Do you remember when Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh to negotiate the release of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt?  In the first three plagues, Pharaoh’s magicians, Jannes and Jambres, were able to replicate everything Moses did.  When it came to the plague of lice, the magicians became powerless and said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God!”  From that moment on, they were unable to duplicate any of the miracles.

Here is how I see it according to Scripture:

1)      The counterfeit is dependent upon human intervention (Jannes and Jambres) while the genuine is dependent upon human beings coming alongside where God is at work (Moses and Aaron)

2)      The counterfeit is egocentric (the individual as the center of all things) while the genuine is theocentric (God as the focal point of thoughts, interests and feelings)

3)      The counterfeit is dependent upon visible manifestations while the genuine is based on faith in the invisible God who often expresses Himself in visible ways

Hebrews 11:3

          “By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible.”

The genuine is the visible having its origin in the invisible, leaving human beings with no doubt that “this has to be a God thing!”

nhl-logo-wall-decal-1000x1000If I use Canada`s national sport, the game of hockey, as an analogy for the mess of excess, I am not sure there is a clear winner.  Even if we play three solid periods of charismatic/Pentecostal, non-charismatic/non-Pentecostal debate and end in a draw, we still face overtime.  If after five minutes of overtime, we are still tied, we go to a shoot out (or should I say “shout out” in the church).  At the end of the shootout, the team with the most goals lifts their arms in victory and embraces each other on the ice, leaving their opponents heading to the dressing room disappointed and dejected.  Unfortunately, in the church league, it is not only the losing team that suffers; the whole Body of Christ is damaged!Overtime Victory

I believe there is a day coming that God is going to point His finger and say enough is enough.  When are we going to learn to take our hands off of His church?  When will we turn from our egocentric agendas that lead to a mess of excess and discover that theocentric promises lead to abundant blessing that come directly from the throne room of God?

1 Timothy 1:17

          “Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.”

 Until next time…

Don

www.reiventingthechurch.com

 

Monday Musings 07/10/13

healthy eyesHealthy eyes…

In spite of the fact that my nose has become the resting place for eyeglasses, I, like so many of you reading this blog today, need to remind ourselves that we are blessed with good eyesight.

Just this morning, with the aid of my eyeglasses, I was reading from Matthew 6.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22, 23 NIV

Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima, in their book “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership”, give some basic assumptions of “the dark side”.  Every leader (person) has a dark side, the dark side is often driven by the desire to succeed, many leaders (people) are not aware of their dark side, and addressing the dark side can avoid leadership failure.  After reading Matthew 6 this morning, I would like to add one other assumption to “the dark side”.  Most, if not all, challenges that a person faces start with the eyes – the lamp of the body.

Making a list of things that belong to the dark side is dangerous because inevitably, someone will read the list and think that they are off the hook because their “weak link” is not exposed on the list.  Jesus model prayer, found in the same chapter, reminds us that no one is immune to temptation: “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”  Temptation includes, but is not exclusive to, the pursuit of sexual perversion, the hunger for power, the drive to gossip, the allure of money, the pride of life, even false humility.  Okay, enough already of listing temptations, now you complete the list by adding your weak link!

When you think of it, most, if not all weak links begin with the eye.  Gossip is the result of what you see in another person.  Allurement of money is based upon what you see that others have, or what advertisers try to make you think you need.  Struggles with sexual perversion begin by taking a second look at those around you or by what you see on the television or the internet. Pride of life comes from what you see in your own accomplishments just as false humility can be the result of what you want others to see in you even if it is not accurate.eye

Jesus said:   “If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness”.

I found myself praying for “healthy eyes” this morning.  There are a lot of distractions available to us today.  Left unchecked, those distractions will become a diversion and those diversions will become a digression to darkness.  Just ask the Psalmist David.  He saw a beautiful woman, he sent for her, and he ultimately slept with a woman who was not his wife.  His path led to a period of “great darkness” in his life.  The good news is that, like David, we can ask God to create a clean heart within us!

Gary McIntosh suggests that many try to deny they have a dark side. Jesus suggests that before any of us suffer the consequences of denial, we need to remind ourselves that unhealthy eyes will cause our whole body to be full of darkness.  May all of us commit to a daily dose of healthy eyes so that we will be full of light!

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reinventingthechurch.com

 


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