Simple Obedience Unlocks God’s Future!

18 Sep

Jeff Leake, pastor at Allison Park Church in PA, wrote this blog entry recently,

Thoughts On God’s Will

Discovering God’s will is less about searching for it, and more about doing it!

This was the theme of this past weekend’s message. Just like a car driving in a night-fog can only see a few feet ahead, so often this is like trying to discern God’s direction. God gives us revelation for the immediate. As we do what we know, we get more light.

Simple obedience unlocks God’s future!

God’s will is so much more about who you are becoming than where you are going, who you are going with, or what you will be doing.

But at some point, a major decision will have to be reached in certain areas of life. When I am making that decision, I look for FIVE INDICATORS to align.

#1 – What Does The Bible Say? – this is the foundational question. The primary way God speaks is through His revealed Word. He will never tell us to do something against His Word. The more we learn the principles and precepts of the Bible, the easier it is to discern God’s ways.

#2 – What Does The Holy Spirit Say? – the Holy Spirit is a person and our counselor. He speaks to us through his ‘still small voice’, through inner promptings.

#3 – What Do My Spiritual Advisors Say? – parents, pastors, leaders, and spiritual friends are a great source of caution or confirmation. As we gain direction from God, we test it and improve it through their advice.

#4 – What Do My Circumstances Say? – most often God aligns his direction by and open or closed door. There are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes God says move forward in faith even though the door is closed. Sometimes an open door may be a trap from the enemy. But many times our circumstances align with the previous three indicators.

#5 – What Do I Want? – Psalm 37:4 says, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ This tells us two things. The more we seek to please God and enjoy His pleasure, the more God will lead us into what we want. But even beyond that, the more He will shape our desires to want the right things.

What I like most about this is the line, Discovering God’s will is less about searching for it, and more about doing it! . I think we can get so wrapped up in trying to discover God’s will for our life that we completely miss opportunities to walk in His will. I am an analyst by profession. I analyze everything (and yes – I really mean everything!). It drives my wife crazy. She often tells me that I talk myself out of something before I even try. I admit – sometimes (o.k. – most times) I have paralysis of analysis. There are times where I think I should do something, but yes, the more I analyze it, the less likely I am to follow through with my idea. This is an area that I have been trying to improve on. How many times have I missed an opportunity to serve God because I talked myself out of it? Wouldn’t it be easier to just obey God? As Jeff says, “As we do what we know, we get more light.”

What is your Holy Discontent?

13 Sep

Not very long ago, I wrote a piece on wanting to discover a passion for something. I’m certain that every person who is alive and breathing has a desire to make an impact on their little part of this world. I know I do. In that post, I asked a simple question, “What keeps you up at night?

Bill Hybels - Holy DiscontentI recently was given the opportunity to review Bill Hybels book, Holy Discontent. In it, he talks about the response that he calls the Popeye response where Popeye says, That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more! Here’s an excerpt from the inside cover of the book.

“Holy Discontent” can overtake you in an instant. You’re going about your business, doing life as usual, when suddenly something happens that awakens your awareness and jolts your soul. A heartbreaking personal experience, a national calamity, an infuriating injustice to someone close to you… whatever it is, you can’t take it lying down. You’ve got to do something.

It’s in that defining moment when your eyes open to something bigger than yourself that you just might hear God say, “Now you know how I feel.” That firestorm of frustration isn’t just yours, it’s his as well – and he wants you to focus its energy so that together, he and you can fix some problem that badly needs fixing.

Throughout the book, he gives examples of people who experienced their own Popeye moment, including his own. He couldn’t stand the boring lifeless church he was brought up in. Eventually, he decided that he needed to do something about it. Willow Creek is the end result. A church that has touched millions of lives. Quite a few examples in the book come from his work to end AIDS in Africa.

More than anything, this book will encourage you to search out your Holy Discontent. It will encourage you to run towards the uncomfortable instead of staying in the comfortable. It will

So, what is your Holy Discontent? What makes you say, That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!

I’d love to hear from you.

Why Should I Belong

5 Sep

About a year ago, I wrote a post entitled, The Ultimate Doctrinal Question. It was a fun look at how cerebral some churches can get. At Flatland (formerly Grace) we want to be a church who welcomes everyone. We’re beginning a new teaching series called Why Should I Belong?, where we look at reasons why someone who questions the need for organized religion might want to be part of a church, and specifically, if you are in the Omaha area, why you might want to be part of Flatland Church. You are welcome to attend our services, Sundays at 9:45am and 11:00am, to find out what is happening.

If you can’t make it in person, subscribe and listen to the podcasts! If you don’t use an RSS aggregator, you can see all of the podcasts at the website.

God’s Grace – 101

3 Sep

The other day, I was reading a book that discussed objections that some people have for not believing in God. One of the reasons was that they couldn’t (wouldn’t) believe in a God that would send good people to hell. It’s hard to think about good people possibly ending up in hell. We all know people who, while they don’t especially believe in Jesus, they are good people. They do good things. This objection also comes up in discussions about “alternate” ways to heaven. Lately, a lot of people have been espousing ideas that although we have chosen Jesus as our way to God, they believe that there are other ways to come to God. The argument goes, who are we to know the mind of God? Could a Buddhist, or Muslim who is devout still go to hell?

Stacks 1On the first day teaching his class of 250 college freshmen, R. C. Sproul carefully explained the assignment of three term papers. Each paper was due on the last day of September, October, and November. Sproul clearly stated there would be no extensions (except for medical reasons). At the end of September, some 225 students dutifully turned in their papers, while 25 remorseful students quaked in fear. “We’re so sorry,” they said. “We didn’t make the proper adjustments from high school to college, but we promise to do better next time.” He bowed to their pleas for mercy, gave them an extension, but warned them not to be late next month.

The end of October rolled around, and about 200 students turned in their papers, while 50 students showed up empty-handed. “Oh, please,” they begged, “it was homecoming weekend, and we ran out of time.” Sproul relented once more but warned them, “This is it. No excuses next time. You will get an F.”

The end of November came, and only 100 students turned in their papers. The rest told Sproul, “We’ll get it in soon.”

“Sorry,” Sproul replied. “It’s too late now. You get an F.”

The students howled in protest, “That’s not fair!”

“Okay,” Sproul replied, “you want justice, do you? Here’s what’s just: you’ll get an F for all three papers that were late. That was the rule, right?”

“The students had quickly taken my mercy for granted,” Sproul later reflected. “They assumed it. When justice suddenly fell, they were unprepared for it. It came as a shock, and they were outraged.”

Like the teacher, God has given us the assignment ahead of time. Jesus said that He is the only way to the father. No one comes to the father except through Him. God is gracious. He demonstrated his grace by sending his son, Jesus to pay for our sins. If we ignore that grace and decide that there are other ways to God, then we decide (either consciously or unconsciously) to face His judgement.

Related posts:

Religion Can Go to Hell
Understanding The Emerging Church
Pimping Jesus