Friday, February 20, 2009


It's been an absolute delight having Jacob home these past several months since he graduated from college and has been waiting for the RUF internship interview. It occurred earlier this week in Dallas and he was approved on the spot. He is eager to follow God's leading as he moves into this next phase of his life, and is full of excitement and anticipation as he awaits his campus assignment in April. I am thrilled for him, of course, but I have also been preoccupied with the thought of how difficult it is going to be when he leaves again.
It's quite a different dynamic when your children are young adults and you have managed to successfully work yourself out of a job. I am enjoying it immensely. Jacob is zealous for the Lord and loves to read, so we have had some spirited and soul-satisfying conversations about God's character, the ups and downs of a life of faith, "rightly dividing the Word of truth" and how to live a practical, effective and balanced life as an apprentice of Jesus Christ.
This morning we were talking about an article a friend of his had read recently titled, "The Myth of the Extraordinary Christian."
The idea is that most of us tend to think there is such thing as a "super-Christian" and measure ourselves against that presumed and, I might add, arbitrary standard. The thinking is that the person who sacrifices his life as a missionary to China somehow operates at a higher calling or a deeper level of faith than the person who works a 40-hour a week job, attends church, and tithes to support that missionary or one like him. Or the person whom God blesses and enables to make great sums of money has again, a greater blessing from God than the person who barely scrapes by. The comparisons are endless and so is they grief they can cause.
But it's not true. We are all saved the same way--by grace. We all are delivered from the same thing--sin. We all have the same Savior--Jesus. We are all taught and led by the same source--the Holy Spirit. We are all destined for the same place--heaven.
Now it is certainly true that we have all been given different jobs to do and differing levels of responsibility. Both 1 Cor. 12:12 and following and the parable of the talents affirm this truth. Some are given more to do, some less; some jobs are more visible, some behind the scenes; some people are given more gifts and talents in order to get their job done, but that doesn't give them any greater standing or favor with God than the person whose job might require less.
We do ourselves (and I am speaking to myself here as much as anyone) a tremendous disservice by comparing ourselves to others in any way. It can suck the life-blood out of you faster than a ruptured jugular vein.
The truth is, we are all on a journey of faith, endeavoring, for the most part, to grow spiritually, to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling," to resolve recurring problems, to be led by God, to walk in greater obedience, to somehow develop the character of Christ while striving to fulfill our personal destiny so we can one day stand before our great God naked and unashamed.
Everyone who calls himself a Christian is doing these things to one degree or another on an ongoing but consistently inconsis- tent basis. And it looks different for all of us.
Some are doing it on the mission field. Some are doing it while raising a family. Some are doing it in affluance, some in poverty. Some are doing it while working a "regular" job and socking money into an IRA. Some are doing it with a king Midas touch and sowing mightily into the Kingdom. Most of us are doing it in the midst of the mundane and repetitious lives we lead.
Yet God is at work, "To will and to do (in us) according to His good pleasure." Billy Graham is no more of a super-Christian than a church secretary. Both are simply doing the job God called and equipped them to do while He is faithfully at work in them to make them more like Him.
We need to believe that. We need to give ourselves a break. We need to pray until we truly grasp the unconditional, non-com- petitive, all-encompassing, unilateral love of God.
We need to understand that we are all "in process" and anyone who looks like they are more spiritual or have it all together is either just a little further down the road we are all traveling or is just faking it better.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It's been a while, huh? I apologize. My thanks to those of you who e-mailed me and asked if I was ever going to post another entry or let the site go to the great blog wasteland in cyberspace. I keep telling you this, but it really is very nice to know there are people out there who actually read this and get something out of it. All half dozen of you...
To tell you the truth, and I'm not joking, it's been so long since I posted that I actually forgot I had a blog! Someone recently said they assumed I was too consumed with what the Lord was doing in my life to post anything and understood that I had to take a break to attend to the business at hand. You have no idea how much I wish that were true.
Unfortunatly, the facts are much more dismal and fleshly than that.
The good news, you'll be happy to know, is that you missed my vitrolic party-pooper rantings about Christmas and my intentioinal lack of New Year's resolutions. By my own unscientific but probably very accurate calculations, only one person in a thousand actually sticks to a New Year's resolution long enough to see any results. Everyone else is depressed by mid-February and wondering what's wrong with them that they can't ever see anything through. So I did myself a huge favor several years ago and made a New Year's reslution to never make another New Year's resolution. Which, ironicllay, makes me the one in a thousand. The rest of you might as will go ahead and get your perscription for Prozac filled.
Seriously though, isn't it a huge relief that you don't have to "try" in the strong arm of the flesh to accomplish anything? Oh, sure, it might work for a while. But eventually even the most strong- willed among us will "become weary in well-doing."
My Bible tell me "It is for freedom that Chirst has set us free." That's a powerful statement worth meditating on.
(Side note: I was watching a PBS special on the brain last night and the doctor lecturing said that meditation, rather than slowing down your mental processes, actually heightens them! I makes you more energetic and better able to concentrate, set goals and complete tasks! You need look no further than the opening paragraphs to realize this is something I need to incorporate more fully into my life...but not in the flesh, of course...)
This freedom means if I have an area in my life that needs changing or a habit that needs to be added or subtracted from my life I don't have to "set my mind" or "steel my will" or "make every effort" in my own inferior strength. I simply need to present my need before the throne of grace and then "set my mind"and "make every effort" while relying on the power of the Spirit to work through me to accomplish the goal.
Granted, this can be a difficult tightrope to walk. We are often in danger of falling off on the side of trying and ultimatley failing in our own strength, or attempting to rely on the Lord to the point we expect Him to do it for us rather than enabling us to do it with His help.
Two verses that beautifully illustrate the tension of our efforts coupled with God's empowering grace are 1 Cor. 15:10 and Phil. 2:12-13. The first says:
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God in me."
And: "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
The upshot of all of this is that we both have our part to play. Our job is to rely on the power of God. God's is to fill us with that power which then enables us to make the choices we need and want to make and move forward in victory.
I really didn't mean to get off on all that! But I have to get dinner on so I am going to leave it. I will try to post again tomorrow and let you know what the news is in my world.
Let me hear from you!