1 John 4:16-21

We all have emotional triggers in our lives that let us know when things are ok and when they are not. God knows that one of the triggers to get my attention is that He will let me get angry because He knows that I’ll then “cry out against the injustices done unto me! Woe is me!” It’s His way of getting my attention and getting me to talk with Him again.

When I do get angry, I begin to slow down my thinking process and start cranking up my Bible reading and devotional process. It’s a healthy way of identifying the sources and dealing with them in a more Christ-like manner.

1 John 4 states, “…perfect love casts out fear,” but for me, it casts out anger also. When I’m angry, it’s often because I’ve lost “that loving feeling” (sorry for the Hall & Oats song reference). I have to remember how loving our God is and re-experience that again.

First, God is Love. “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16.

God expresses Himself through His actions towards us (1 John 4:7-9). You see, we teach what we know; but we live, think, do and reproduce what we really are. God’s response to our actions is just – but loving.

God’s plan to create us so that we could know Him in relationship is a loving act. He did not need us to know how glorious and gracious He is but we need Him to know that.

God’s plan to redeem us from the sin-mess that we tangled up is a loving act. He provides the Scriptures that we may know what is right and wrong behavior. Then He provides a fair Judge in the person of Jesus among us. And finally He provides the Sacrifice to atone (or propitiate) for our sins in our place.

Second, God loves us. “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.

   God loves His workmanship – that’s you and I! I have to reread and remind myself of the Scriptures that prove the Lordship of God over Creation and my place in that (Genesis 1:1-3; Ps. 24:1-2; John 3:16-17).

God loves His Son. John 1 teaches us that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, second Person of the Trinity and the absolute Beloved of God the Father. God has given to Him the Source of Life (John 1:3-4), all Authority (John 5:26; Matt. 28:18) and the perfect Bride that He is preparing Himself (Eph. 5:22-27; Rev. 21:1-3).

So, what should we do with that? We should love. “And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:21.

I must relearn to love myself as His child and Christ’s Bride. I must let the Holy Spirit transform my mind and my understanding to remember who I am in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:1-2; Eph. 2:10). Usually when I stop loving, I stop feeling loved and loveable.

I must relearn to love others the same. Give others the same opportunity to feel loved and loveable, and then to love us and others.

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Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Jesus’ Words

“Jesus’ words are an invitation to contemplation, a call to awareness. His admonition is the gentle but powerful reminder that a great deal of the work we do as we follow Him along the way is to keep opening our eyes and ears to the truth of Who He is. He can never be exhaustively described by us. There is always more about Him to discover. The ingredients of mystery and humilty are part of what fuels our journey with Him.” ~ David Rohrer, The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry

Published in: on August 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Want to Live

I Want to Live…

I want to live in a way that I work enough not to worry that others aren’t.

I want to live in a way that I give enough that I don’t care that others won‘t.

I want to live in a way that I laugh enough that I bring joy to those who have none.

I want to live in a way that I abide so deep that I am in community whenever and wherever I am.

I want to work with those who work, give with those who give, laugh with others…

I want to abide and abound in the grace and good works my Father has prepared for me…

I want to live better more than longer…

And, when I go home to my Father in heaven, I want to say, “Thank-you…”

Live a life that will be worth it in the end.

~Andy

Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Helping Others

“As pastors, it is all too easy to find another center to our ministry. Rather than being radically Christ-centered, we can become program-centered, whether the ministry programs are well-planned and well-executed worship services, vibrant youth groups, shelters and soup kitchens, or child-care centers. We often end up reducing the God of all grace and truth to a program that we seek to carry out in our own strength for our own glory.

“Or we can become cause-centered in our ministry – focusing on social justice or pro-life issues or education funding or creation care or racial reconciliation. No doubt, these issues are crucial ones and faithfulness to Jesus Christ demands thoughtful and challenging involvement with them all. But if in the end we are more oriented to the issues of justice than to the God of justice, we get the cart before the horse and we loose sight of the only One who can motivate and energize our engagement in the long run, the only One who can forgive us for our failures.

“Sometimes we can become more theology-centered than Christ-centered or Gospel-centered. As a theology professor, I can be tempted with this. At the end of the day, am I more concerned with my theology of God or with the God of my theology? We need to ask ourselves whether our specific doctrinal convictions are ultimately more central to our lives and ministries than the Christ-centered core message of the New Testament.

“No doubt there are positive benefits to all these emphases. They can and should be a part of our ministries. But all too often they end up squeezing out Jesus as the ultimate center and focus our efforts to help others. If we allow the good to become the enemy of the best, our people will be impoverished.

“For, in the end, it is only as we and those around us fix our eyes on Jesus that all of us can join together and keep on running the race marked out for us. Only with our eyes fixed on Jesus can we grow through our failures more and more to reflect our Maker and Redeemer.” – Steven Roy, What God Thinks When We Fail

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, theauthor and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Himendured the cross,despising the shame, and hassat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Forconsider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow wearyand lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Experiencing Failure

   Consciously or subconciously we sometimes allow our failures to form our identity. We move from admitting that we have failed to believing ourselves to be failures.  We define ourselves and our lives in terms of the bankruptcy, the divorce, the unemployment and our parenting weaknesses.

   What a far cry from the identity our heavenly Father wants us to have, experience and live out – that of being a beloved child of His forever!

Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Success in the Eyes of God

“Few of us will be hugely successful in the eyes of the world. Not many of us will climb to the pinnacle of the corporate ladder or become all-star athletes or Oscar-winning actors or actresses. The vast majority of us just don’t have the rare combination of gifts and abilities to excel above our peers. As a result, we will never be famous and receive the widespread acclaim and applause we so often link with success. If we are limited to these cultural understandings of success, most of us can never hope to be successful.

But all of us, as followers of Christ, can be faithful to God. Faithfulness does not require extraordinary gifts or a large stage or public notoriety. It’s not dependent on having a certain amount of money or education. It’s not dependent upon on good luck or fortuitous circumstances or knowing the right people. Every one of us can love God. Every one of us can be a  loving servant to our neighbors. We can all humble ourselves. You and I don’t need to be in good health to love God. We are never too young or too old to love our neighbor. We can all be servants, whether we are married or single, employed or unemployed, illiterate or holding a Ph.D.” – Steven Roy

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fwalkingdifferent.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost-new.php&jsref=&rnd=1327028363451

Published in: on January 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Whose Eyes?

“…living as a Christian involves more than a cognitive affirmation of… biblical truths. It involves a personal appropriation of them. This means, among other things, that we should conciously recognize God to be the ultimate significant Other in our lives. We should invite Him to play that role and continually seek to grow in valuing His perspective and His evaluation above all. To be sure, none of us does this perfectly. All of us are in process in this area. But as we seek to live faithfully as followers of Christ, we endeavour to look to His perspective above all.” – Steven Roy

Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Violinist and a Pastor

When I’m honest with myself, however, I have to admit that it is much easier to say… things than to live by them. It’s well and good to say that Christ’s evaluation is the only one that really matters. But when I try to live that out, things start to get messy. Questions arise. How will Jesus Christ evaluate me? What are His standards? Perhaps more importantly, and certainly more difficult, how can I internalize His standards so that my own assesment of myself matches His? – Steven Roy.

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

You have to laugh…

Found this today.. Made me laugh!!! How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?
Charismatic: Only one. Hands already in the air.
Pentecostal: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against spirit of darkness. …
Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.
Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.
Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks, and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church-wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.
Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.
Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.
Amish: What’s a light bulb?
Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 7:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Published in: on January 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment