Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Weight of Sin...or lack thereof

My journey with the Lord has landed me reading through the book of 1 Kings currently. From that passage, the Lord really rocked my world with a thought tonight...interesting how when one prays for the Holy Spirit to speak through His word, He will, huh? Anyway, in chapter 11, I noticed an all too often commonality in my life with the life of then King Solomon. Solomon decided to start taking wives from "foreign women" (ESV translation). Man, I do that all the time!


But seriously, his taking wives from "foreign women," meant that he was taking lightly the commands of God and engaging in sin. Solomon did not think these wives would do any harm. He did not continue to place the true weight of sin on the situation. You see, God specifically instructed the Israelites not to marry these people because He knew that their pagan ways would distract and lead the Israelites away from Him. Sure enough, that very thing happened to THE wise King Solomon. Solomon treated his sin lightly.

In that moment, Solomon did NOT understand the weight of his sin. Unfortunately too often in my own life, I do not truly see sin as what it is. Filthy, ugly, despicable, grotesque, complete disobedience, lack of respect, lack of trust, self-centered, etc. Sin separates me from God. What is the result of sin? DEATH. Period. The wages of sin is death. Does that mean I'm going to immediately die a physical death as a result of my sin? Unlikely. But, it is a complete disgrace to my God. For Solomon it resulted in God allowing adversaries to rise up against him and the nation of Israel and be successful...because of his sin.

God does not take sin lightly. Too often in my life, I do. That's terrible and I'm embarrassed. Moreover, I am very good at justifying my sin, especially the "no big deal" sins. How ridiculous can I be? The thing that I was confronted with today was that there are consequences for sin. No questions asked. No matter how big or small, my sin will be dealt with and it will lead to death. Thank the Lord for His grace and Christ's sacrifice on the cross for the punishment of my sin.

I suppose my challenge to myself and you is to see sin as sin. In its full disgustingness (take that word to the bank). We must recognize the severity of our sin, and not take it lightly, even the "no big deal" ones. Getting a firm grasp on our sin would most certainly make the Gospel that much more valuable to us! God reached down a long way to pull this sinner from the pits. I'm thankful for His continued display of grace in my life.

Father, help me to understand the weight of my sin. Help me to understand how horrific it is to you. Help me to not take lightly sin in my life. Help me to not stand for it, not support it, and not settle for it. Help me to see sin as You do. Father, save me from the punishment of my sin. Thank you for the grace that you have provided for me and for the sacrifice that Christ was on the cross. Forgive me for where I fall short, and help me to stand back up and pursue holiness!

What about you? I hope you have a better grasp of the weight of sin that I too often do in my life.

...'Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ, I stand.

I got much love for you...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

From Point A to B or The Space in Between

I turned in a paper this week that was very difficult for me to complete. It is not uncommon for me to struggle with some of my papers in seminary over the content or the emotion it elicits from me, but this is the first paper to give me trouble of its kind. The paper was not designed to force me to deal with and work through some of my weaknesses in ministry, but it surely did. I am so glad to finally have gotten that paper finished! This is what was confirmed to me about myself and my ministry:

Doing the Point A and doing the Point B are no problem for me, and I enjoy them. The space in between those points is not part of my strengths. What are those points? I'm glad you asked. Point A is the dreaming or visioning aspect of ministry. Every ministry needs a plan. We must be in tune to what and how God is moving among us and how He desires us to respond and be involved with Him. Dreaming and "casting" a vision is a way that He communicates, at least to me, what He is up to. I can see where He is leading and where He desires us (myself and those I'm with). I love doing that. I love seeing what the Lord is up to! This is Point A.

Point B is about doing, living and loving. Point B is what all the efforts of the dreaming and vision play out. I love getting to know people. I love interacting with them. I love hearing their stories. I love to engage them. I love to connect with them (in spite of my shy nature). Point B is a fantastic place for me to dwell because I love being a part of the process of walking life and being with people.

This paper was completely about the space in between points A and B. The planning, the paperwork, the administration, the organization and the preparation in order to connect these two points. I'm not a fan of it! In fact, I do not even remotely enjoy it. The project was to design and implement a church and community ministry. I loved the dreaming up aspect of the paper. I loved trying to figure out ways to meet people's needs. I loved thinking about the doing of the ministry. Meeting the needs. Walking life with those my "ministry" was going to reach. Unfortunately the paper was all the details in between. About 1-2 pages of the 15 page project was the part that I enjoy. The rest was the space in between.

So what did I learn? Well I do still dislike writing papers, which probably comes as no surprise to you. I also learned that I need to be diligent to surround myself with people who are strong in doing the space in between. Two people that come to mind for me: Jason Dorriety and Bud Harlan. I think the time I was able to serve with both of them was phenomenal because we complemented each other (me with Jason and me with Bud). I am not saying that either of them are weak in the Dreaming/Vision or Doing aspects, I'm just saying that are definitely good at the administrative stuff. I'm so desperately thankful for the Lord's allowing me to work with them in the capacities that I did, and I would LOVE to be able to be teamed with them again in some form or fashion.

So what are your weaknesses in ministry? Who are your compliments? I am definitely NOT saying that this is my only ministerial weakness! I'm sure you could name a few about me yourself, and I can absolutely guarantee that Jason and Bud could write a dissertation on it, with love of course. My point is this paper really made me realize that it is most assuredly important to surround ourselves in ministry with people that compliment us. People that can be strong where we are weak. Hopefully this was something to think about...maybe?

I got much love for you...