Far to many of us Christians are in the wrong mentality. We are in the mentality that we lost. We sit in a mentality that we are losing. We are sitting in a mentality that we will continue to lose. But this is wrong.
I hope you hate this. It’s something you hear a lot at a Five Iron Frenzy Concert. They never wanted to take things so serious. In fact they never wanted to have people come up and google and google all over them. They showed fake humility and in hope attempted to get a laugh. It’s also a hope that something said that night would convict us from the holy spirit.
I want to start this out, by saying I in no way mean to offend anybody by this post. This is all just my opinion.
I would never in a million years consider myself a feminist. If you are a feminist, kudos to you, stand for what you think is right. I mean I think women are great, I am one, so that’s pretty exciting. I think they are capable of a lot, but I don’t think I would stand up in your face and fight about it. I would probably just use my stubborn personality and prove it to you first hand. I also think guys are great. I don’t necessarily think either sex should have “dominion” over the other, each has qualities that are beneficial to this world. But none of this is really overly important to the true point that I want to make today.
I am currently a college student. I grew up for 18 years on a farm, before coming to the “City”. When I was growing up my Daddy was pretty strong-willed with me. I didn’t get to help a whole lot on the farm. I got to hold the occasional tool, pick rocks, and sometimes drive the tractor. It was not until I was a lot older that I got to help with “chores”. My mother, on the other hand, was a prime example of the image that I think a woman SHOULD be. My mom would be outside tossing hay-bales right along side my dad. She would be there picking rocks until dark, she was out chasing cows in, and she would be outside shoveling after each and every snowfall.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I actually watched and learned from my mother. Now that I am in college, I am faced with fixing a lot of my own problems. Recently in Nebraska we had a pretty solid snowstorm. It was a good enough combination of snowing and blowing that when I wanted to get my stir crazy self off campus, I had to shovel my own car out. Now this may be surprising, but I have never had to do that before. It was always something that my mother took care of. That’s right, my mom, not my dad. It took me 45 minutes to get my car to move, and I did it all by myself. I heard many stories of how grateful the girls with boyfriends were that they didn’t have to shovel their cars out themselves, because their boyfriends did it for them. While this may be considered cute and romantic to some, I’m not having any of it.
My main point here, is that sometimes I think couples in relationships become too reliant on each other. I know people who don’t drive anywhere, because their significant other drives them everywhere. I know people that never have to do anything themselves, because someone always goes with them. I’m not one of them. I have formed for myself an INdependence, not a DEpendence. I am honestly incredibly thankful that I came to college single, and stayed single. I have successfully taught myself how to drive on the interstate, change my own tire, and shovel my own car out. While sometimes yes, I think it would be nice to have someone to help me do these things, most times I am incredibly proud to be able to do them myself.
At the end of the day, we are all individuals. Relying on someone too heavily, I believe can become unhealthy. Learning new things is scary, but is so rewarding in the long run. It can be hard, it can be draining, but maybe someday the person you end up with will be impressed that you are so independent. So the main point: Shovel Your Own Car. Be independent.
There are many analogies out there for how ministry or churches are like (Insert your favorite right here). You could say they are dime a dozen. I am keen the the idea of ministry in the analogy of sports game. This week we are going to look at the over idea of this analogy and how we can misconceive who’s really in charge of the game. On Wednesday we can see how people can do things to change the “run of play” and a refresh of why run of play is different than momentum. And on Friday we can see how people misplace where they are in the game and how important their job is.
It’s easier to say I in our society than to say God.
Look what I have done
Look at what I have build
Look at what I have brought to God.
But that’s not who’s doing it.
It should be Look at what God has done
look at what God has build
look at what God has brought us.
We are often saying I have this ministry. My ministry is doing this. My church is doing this. At my church we just had this happen.
Unfortunately we often forget to include God in our statements or we just assumed that God is assumed in our statements.
God’s church can be hurt from this and often does get hurt by this.
I find myself doing this a lot lately to the point I’ve felt convicted that I am being bragging jerk. I am proud of what is happening at Northwest Christian Church and am humbled that God has allowed me to serve the families of the body there. But there is absolutely nothing I can do to grow that body. It’s all about God and his spirit that moves through this church.
I make over generalized statements that cause division and an attitude of a jerk when I make statements that I am doing lots in His church.
I’m not saying we can’t make these statements I’m saying we need to remind ourselves of who God is and it’s his spirit moving through our churches.
Tithe Moment #2
Last time we talked about how everything we have comes from God and ultimately belongs to Him. This time I would want to talk about how we are God’s stewards, managing His resources for His benefit.
God created us to be stewards of His creation. Stewards don’t own what is entrusted into their care; they simply manage it on behalf of the owner. God made this clear to Adam and Eve on the day He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;” (Genesis 1:28-29)
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
God also graciously provided for all of their (and our) needs from what He owns. Note also that, by God’s design, our stewardship requires work on our part: both physical labor and wise management.
When teaching about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus told a parable that drew from His listeners’ familiarity with owner-steward relationships in their day.
“For it [the kingdom of heaven] is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:14-30)
This parable emphasizes that the role of a steward is that of a slave who manages his owner’s assets for his master’s benefit, not for his own benefit. It’s not enough just to “do no harm” (e.g., by returning to the master everything he entrusted to you); the owner expects his stewards to multiply the assets entrusted to them. We must do this in our management of the resources that God has entrusted into our care. This includes all of creation, as well as our time, talents, and treasures.
Are you a steward? Something to think about…
Until next time… Kelly
A few friends have heard my heroic story of surviving an epic disaster on a recent Sunday morning. Actually, it really wasn’t all that epic in the grand scheme of things, but in the heat of the moment (no pun intended…you’ll see), I was sure I was going to die.
You know those nightmares you have about the future? About how you might die, or how you might experience those worst-case scenarios? Okay, well, one of my nightmares is a particular scene of destruction (tornado, fire, earthquake – you name it)…while I’m in the shower. The only logical result can be me standing in a towel, outside, watching my residence fall to the ground. And there I’d be in all my wet, cold glory, having lost all my possessions and my dignity as well. (I didn’t say my nightmares made sense.) There are few scenes that make me shudder more than imagining myself in that position. The result? Fast showers. (Just kidding.)
A couple weeks ago, I thought for sure my nightmare was coming true. I’d just stepped into the shower when I heard a terrible crash. I thought perhaps one of my cats had knocked something over (or destroyed something completely). I stuck my soapy head out of the shower to look around and saw both my cats looking just as confused as I. Figuring it was unimportant, I resumed my bathing. Then, my smoke detector started wailing.
Immediately, adrenaline started to pump. There was a fire. Right here. In my apartment. The whole place was going to burn down.
In a bit of a panic (just a little bit…) I stepped out of the shower, squinting through water and soap. I remembered my space heater was on to keep the bathroom warm, and assumed that it had caught on fire (don’t mind the fact that I saw no flames, nor smelled smoke). I moved very quickly (too quickly) to unplug the heater, and as I did, I slipped in the river of water I had created on the linoleum floor. I went down. Hard. So now, not only was my apartment going to burn down, but I’d be found in this state on the bathroom floor, crippled by my own clumsiness.
Thankfully nothing was hurt (or at least I had too much adrenaline going at that point to notice), so I picked up my dazed self and realized that my space heater had been just fine. I opened the doors to the furnace/water heater area which is connected to my bathroom. (Did I mention that one of my cats was also howling this entire time, bothered by the alarm? It’s amazing my neighbors didn’t call 911 with all this commotion.) I think I still had soap in my eyes, I was still dripping water all over the place, and now I was freezing cold as well – so I was going to freeze to death before going up in a blaze. Not exactly how I pictured my death.
Once my senses returned, I realized that something dire had happened to my water heater, which was now leaning precariously in the corner, having disconnected from the vent pipe. The result was a lot of extremely hot air released into this small space, which had set off the smoke detector. I could actually smell the heat, but at least there was no fire at that point.
I wound up opening a window, throwing on some clothes and calling my landlord (imagine that conversation), telling him all about it, and that by the time he’d arrive, I’d be on my way to church. (Of course I was going to church – I’d just had a near-death experience!)
In the end, all was well. The water heater’s base had rusted through, and the whole thing needed to be replaced. I had a right to be a tiny bit freaked out, but…maybe my assumption that my nightmare was coming true was a little much.
The thing is, I shouldn’t really panic at all, even with the tough stuff in life. I get it that I’m human and I have survival instincts like anyone – we’re all wired that way. But when it comes to the really hard situations, panic is something that shouldn’t even cross my mind. I’ve got a Father in Heaven who loves me to death (literally), and He’s not going to let me down. Even if I would have laid on my bathroom floor, wet, freezing to death, then going up in smoke with my entire apartment, the end result would have been me resting in God’s arms. There’s not a more comforting thought I could have.
I’m not going to stop being cautious, and I’m certainly going to call the fire department should a fire actually start. God did give me a brain after all, and He doesn’t want me to throw my life away. But I hope that in any situation – whether it be a fire, or any life tragedy (big or small) – my panic will lessen and my recovery time will shorten as I continually remember that I’m being well taken care of by Someone who loves me very much.