Monday, June 30, 2014

Pursuit of....?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “pursue”?

The first thing that comes to my mind is how I pursued my husband back in 1996.  I would make it a point to talk with him, hang out with him, get him to notice me.  All in the hopes that maybe he would want to date me.  Almost to borderline stalker type fashion.

Which makes sense, really, because the definition of “pursue” is:
To follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time.

Secondly, I think of the Declaration of Independence that states God has created us with these rights: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Interesting contrast to what I’m reading in 1 Timothy 6.

Paul is writing to young pastor Timothy just before this verse he warns Timothy not to get wrapped up in pride, money, and possessions.  He reminds Timothy to be content with the food and clothing he has.  Timothy was serving in Ephesus a major city of trade on commerce within the Roman Empire.  It’s no wonder Paul had to remind Timothy not to get wrapped up in pursuing happiness in money and things.  But to be content.

1 Timothy 6:6-7
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Questions I’m Asking Myself:
·      How have I gotten sucked into pursuing happiness in money or possessions?
·      How can the pursuit of happiness hinder my ability to be content?
·      What is the benefit that comes from being content?

Paul goes on to tell Timothy what we CAN and SHOULD pursue:
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  1 Timothy 6:11

Questions I’m Asking Myself:
·      What would it look like to pursue (to go follow after to catch or capture over a long period of time) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness – In Christ?
·      How is that different than pursuing my own happiness?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sharing My Class With You

Sharing my class this week.

Check out this video teaching.
Stoping and asking: God what have you already been doing?

One of my assignments...
In response to the content provided by Jerrell Jobe in the Begin Where You Are video, work through this reflection exercise.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul reminds us that it is God who began this good work in you and that he will carry it on to completion. God is not only active within us, but he is also moving within your church or ministry.

With this in mind, we want you to pause and reflect on this idea: God is already on the move. My goal is to discern his activity and join the momentum. Strategy begins here.

In your journal or on a computer, respond to the following prompts:

A)  Confess to God that ministry belongs to him and ask him to show you where he is already at    work, both in your life and in your ministry.

B)  Write down specific ways that you sense God has been moving:  in situations, circumstances, relationships, conversations, ideas you've found in books or sermons, etc.

C)  Pray for God to show you how you can best join with him in that process.

Note: At this stage, try not to focus on the ways transformation is not happening; only consider where transformation is currently evident.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What are leaders called to do?

So, I’ve been reading through 1 Timothy.  All throughout the book, one theme keeps repeating itself over and over – anyone who leads MUST love with integrity.  It’s not a suggestion. It's not a bonus.  It's a requirement for leadership.

Paul begins writing to young pastor Timothy.  The letter begins by reminding Timothy of his calling.  Which is to simply love with the love that only comes from Christ.    

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

Paul says, Timothy, if you've ever wondered what your calling is to LOVE (period).  
Here's how you love.  You love out of the overflow of your relationship with Christ.  Which produces a pure heart in you.  Which produces a good conscience within you.  Which produces a sincere faith.

What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and my motives ARE pure.
What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and my intentions ARE good.
What freedom to know that my sin IS gone and I AM following Jesus in sincerity.

After repeated remarks on those who are false teachers...those who do not serve out of the overflow of relationship with Christ.  Paul begins to close out his letter giving Timothy a glimpse of what occurs when we allow sin to creep or linger in our souls.  

In 1 Timothy 4:2 he goes so far to state we can allow sin to enter our lives to the point of actually searing our conscious.  We can allow sin to control our minds to the point where we have gone so far to convince ourselves that we are in the right, when actually we are not.  Because of this Paul tells Timothy...

"The sins of some people are so conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.  So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:24-25

Basically there are times when it’s obvious that someone isn’t ready for leadership.  Then there are times when it’s not quite so obvious.  However, as we serve along side folks over time we can determine if someone is operating out of pure heart.  Over time self-seeking motives are seen.  Over time impure thoughts, and a seared conscious (1 Timothy 4:2) come to the surface.  Over time faith can become rooted or it can wither. 

On the flip side good works can also be hidden.  There may be a leader that is hiding in the shadows or behind the scenes.  Their leadership may not be loud.  But good works repeated over time make for a pretty loud testimony that cannot be hidden. 

I saw this first hand back in February as we celebrated my mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.  It was amazing as guests drove from miles away to attend their open house.  We thanked guest for coming and over and over we heard “we wouldn’t have missed this for anything”.  These were people my dad worked with.

Families my mom had babysat for.  Church friends.  Old neighbors.  Coworkers from jobs 30 years ago. Distant relatives.  What I saw was a picture of how all of their little conspicuous good works are being added up to lives well lived and are undeniable.

Eventually sins are found out and eventually good deeds are found out too.  I may be doing a lot of small inconspicuous things, but eventually those things become loud enough that my life points people to Christ.

In order to get there myself, I recognize it takes time with Jesus.  It takes allowing Jesus to cultivate my character, my mind, and my faith.

In order for me to develop a leader it also takes time.  It takes honest coaching and effort.  And the leader I'm coaching also has to be personally invested in their personal growth.

So I end my time in 1 Timothy having learned a lot.  Been constantly checked in my motives and love (or lack there of) and now continually praying David’s prayer desperately wanting to fulfill my calling - to LOVE (period)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)