Thursday, August 28

"When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord" (Acts 11:23)

As I was reading in Acts the other day this phrase seemed to jump out at me: "with purpose of heart... continue with the Lord". So I start looking at what they meant by purpose and I found that in the Greek (the language of the New Test.) it suggests a deliberate plan, a proposition, an intention, design. (word wealth NKJ study bible) 

Our relationship with God is not just some hap-hazard walk, not something we just stumble onto and clumsily try to make headway with.  Or maybe the problem lay in the fact that for most of us that is exactly how our relation with God is: happenstance. 

In Acts, Barnabas encourages these 'new' believers to continue with the Lord purposefully.  Be intentional in your walk with God. Any spouse knows that a relationship does not just sustain itself on random encounters. You have to daily remind self to be selfless, to show love and understanding even when your tired, to listen when you want to be the one speaking and so on. This is how our relationship with God is. Of course at times this all comes naturally and we find ourselves talking and listening and growing and its great. Then there are other times when we have to remind ourselves to 'go to a deserted place and pray for a while' to regain what we didn't know we were slowly losing.

My thought for the day... what is your purpose of heart' to continue in the Lord. How are you being intentional? 

Tuesday, August 19

unforgiving world

Hung Xa of china had a close to flawless routine tonight, well tonight for where I am from.  Over and over the commentators were amazed and spoke praise and accolades for the mans routine. Then he makes a mistake. That mistake is all that was replayed, all that was mentioned from that point.  We live in an unforgiving world. A world in which it doesn't matter if 9 out of 10 things you do are near perfect all that is replayed on the 10 o'clock news in the one small part where your hand slips off the bar and catches under your arm then the clip is cut right before you lift yourself back up again to finish the routine by doing a few summersaults and land standing tall with your hands in the air. 

a problem

Do you ever find that while you are reading your mind can take a tangent off of an authors seeming tangent and you find yourself thinking about something totally different than the main topic of the book you were enjoying?  As I was sitting at Starbucks the other day this very thing happened to me.  The author (M. Robert Mulholland Jr.) went on a seemingly incongrous "tangent" about the suicide rate of youth and then the elderly (which at one point was double the youth rate).  He (the author) began to describe the problem: as a culture, we determine people's value by what they do for us as a society.  A teenager flipping burgers or an older person collecting their retirement doesn't count, aside from us lusting in our minds of what it will be like when we don't have to get up early and go to work anymore.  This was the point where I should have put the book down because I will inevitable have to reread the rest of the chapter again since I missed everything the author said after sharing this problem.  

The questions I couldn't get out my head are as follows:

Whose responsibility is is now? Whose 'job' is it to fix the problem?  I think it is our job as christians. In scripture the early church looked out for the orphans and the widows those who couldn't fully look our for themselves, those who were displaced due to things outside of their control.

Secondly, How? How can we give back a place in society for people who in our won minds we find very little need of in our day-to-day life? How do we transform our own thinking to see people based on the quality of who they are not what they can or can't do. How do we fix this problem with out just finding a place for them to "do" more stuff so they become valuable again, but really place value on who they are. I am talking about more than just plugging people in now so they feel useful, I am talking about changing this cast system we have in the west and placing value on people simply for who they are, for their being. 

This goes beyond just the elderly but to all 'those' that we simple place out of our minds: kids, teens, elderly, homeless, orphans, the drug addicts, the abused, all those who have been displaced.  

Lastly, what am I suppose to do about this problem. Not the church or the government but me personally? How can i transform my own mind and live in a way that includes the displaced and those who are often overlooked or left out?  What can I do?

As you think about theses things please add in the comments ways we can get involved and change the way things are.