Who Is In Control?

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command

Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.

Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God.  I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”

Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.

We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.

We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.

I’m In

I have always been interested in the study words and phrases and their origin. We often use phrases in our conversations but have no idea when or how it was used originally used. For example. we tell someone to “sleep tight” but what does that mean? http://bit.ly/2lhEerY

There is a new (?) phrase I heard that I like; “Are you in?” This phrase doesn’t refer to an amusement park worker asking someone if they are secure in their roller coaster seat. The phrase basically means you are totally committed to a certain plan of action. It means you have my complete support; you can count on me,

When Jesus Christ called His disciples He said, “Follow me!” If Jesus were here today. He might use the phrase, “Are You In?” Being a Christ-follower means you are sold out, totally committed, fully devoted Passionate about Jesus.

Are You In?

What Were You Thinking?

thinking

If you have raised children, they probably have done something that was foolish, destructive or even dangerous. And you ask them the proverbial question; “What were you thinking!?” The standard reply is usually, “I don’t know!” They are telling you the truth because they were not thinking! It came to their minds and without thinking or weighing the consequences, they did it.

I wonder if God asks the same question of us sometimes. Thoughts and impressions come and go through our minds and we never give them a second’s notice. But God’s Word says what we think, what we allow ourselves to dwell is very important. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to “... take hold of every thought and make it obey Christ.” Our thoughts should not control us; we must control our thoughts. Every sin and unChristlike behavior begin as a thought. In the Garden of Eden, Satan’s strategy was simply to place a thought in Eve’s mind that God was being unfair to them. Genesis 3:1 Eve should not have entertained that thought.

“Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thought,” [Craig Groeschel] You cannot control thoughts that come to your mind but you can reject from dwelling on them.

Like It or Not…

The most often asked question that a pastor is asked is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”  I have found that the majority of people who say they want to know God’s will, want to know so they can decide if they will obey it or not. It is very unlikely that God will reveal His will to people who have that mind-set.

We sing this chorus in many of our churches:

‘ll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

It does not say, “If I agree with it, I’ll say yes.” To know God’s will, we must be willing to obey BEFORE His will is revealed to us.

“Whether we like it or not, we will obey all that the Lord our God says.”  Jeremiah 42:6

Living in Unity

 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

One of the most difficult aspects of any relationship is maintaining unity. No matter if it is in the home, church or business unity is hard to achieve and even harder to keep.  

The church at Ephesus was composed of Jews and Gentiles, which was a perfect storm for disunity. I believe that unity is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only as we “walk in the Spirit” are we able to yield our “rights” and do what is best for the whole.

But there is another option. You could move to the town of Unity, Oregon (population 70). And in the truest sense, you COULD live in Unity.

I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work…”  Isaiah 55:8 (MSG)

As a Christ-follower, I have found many of my thoughts and actions are totally opposite of God’s. I am not talking about sin but just different. For example, when someone hurts you or does something to you, the ‘natural’ man will usually respond in a way that is totally opposite of the way God would have us respond. MT. 5:43-45  The world says if you want to be rich; be stingy. God on the other says giving is the way of receiving. Luke 6:38

Recently I have had a change in my thinking concerning how I view the church. For years, I have viewed the “small” church as inferior to larger churches. Small churches, in my thinking,  just hadn’t arrived yet. They weren’t as successful as the large church. Many people look at the small church as an “unwanted, red-headed step-child.”

But does God categorize churches by size? No. How does not see churches as large or small. He just sees THE church. Jesus is the head of the church, so wherever He is worshiped that is church. Mt. 18:20 Churches are not called to be successful (at least as others think) but they are called to be faithful. Mt. 5:21

God must love the small church, He made so many of them.

Obey

A little boy was having a problem obeying his mother, so she told him to sit down. He refused to obey. In her most authoritative voice, she told him to “Sit down!” The boy obeyed but replied, “I might be sitting down, but I am standing up on the inside!” Obedience? Hardly.

Sometimes I wonder if some Christ-followers have that kind obedience. But partial obedience is no obedience. Sometimes God asks us to do something that, in our humanness, if we do not understand or cannot see the logic, we hesitate to obey.

As I thought on this, I was amazed at the number of times in Scripture that God asked people to do some things that did not make sense. God doesn’t always give us the details of his commands.

Jericho. God simply told Joshua to have the people to march silently around Jericho …followed the commands of God that the walls of Jericho fell down Joshua 6:20 Marching around a city and blowing trumpets aren’t found in any military book but Joshua obeyed and the walls fell.

Peter. Jesus invites Peter to walk on water. Science says we cannot not walk on water but Peter obeyed and he walked on water.

Ananias. Acts 9 Saul (Later named Paul) was on his way to Jerusalem to persecute the Church when God intervened and asked a devout Jew to go and find Saul. Ananias reminded God that Saul was the enemy of the church. It would be like God tellings us to go minister to ISIS. But Ananias obeyed and gave him God’s message and Paul became the greatest missionary the world has seen.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted as saying, “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”

“Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” -Thomas Kampis.