Our calling is to live daily with Jesus (period).

WEB-0027The last 48 hours God has used a quote from CS Lewis (see the article below from Relevant magazine) to stir my heart and call me to cry out to God in new and deep ways for the “daily bread” including His provision of grace to respond to his leading today and trust him for tomorrow.

C.S. Lewis reveals the alternative in Mere Christianity:   A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never … commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

The Christian Case for Carpe Diem

Why seizing today matters.

BY MICHAEL D. GIAMMARINO

A couple of years ago I remember seeing an interesting Pepsi ad. It depicted young people celebrating, socializing, and having a generally great time on what seemed to be a rooftop party. The ad concluded with the campaign’s slogan, “live for now.” The whole thing felt like a promotion for a life of depravity and debauchery—essentially, that one should embrace momentary pleasures with disregard for future consequences.

Commercials like this Pepsi one have long influenced me to think that living for the moment was a bad thing. There couldn’t be a more naturalistic perspective, I thought. Christians are to be the most future-oriented people of all with eyes gazing past death and into eternity, right? What’s more, I found the Church reinforcing this mindset by saturating sermons with encouragements to “Follow your dreams,” and that “Your best days are right ahead of you.” Simply put, I’ve never been exposed to a “live for now” outlook on life that has come from the Christian community.

That is until now, of course.

You see, living for the moment and living wildly do not necessarily go hand in hand. Where the secularists get it wrong is that they conclude something like, “If I live for today, I’ll just pretend I won’t have to deal with the ramifications of my decisions.”

But that’s not how that goes. After all, by putting greater emphasis on the present, wouldn’t someone be more inclined to make better decisions since it would require more focus and time? It is the person who is so future-focused that they neglect the importance of smaller, everyday actions and thus unwittingly damage their future. He is sawing off the branch on which he sits!

C.S. Lewis reveals the alternative in Mere Christianity:

A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never … commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

Living for today is all that we can do. We can’t live and take action tomorrow because we only exist today. We have no control over tomorrow and we never will. Duty can only be done and grace can only be received today, in this moment.

Today is what we are given. That is all.

After the Lord personally showed me this reality, it ushered in a deep sense of relief followed by conviction. I was relieved because for the first time I felt I didn’t need to strive endlessly in mind and body to make tomorrow turn out the way I hoped. I often became frozen, like a deer in headlights, in deep thought about my future. It was very stressful, to say the least. And that is precisely why I was convicted. I finally understood that the reason I stressed tomorrow so much was pride and control.

I needed to control my future because surely I knew how it should pan out better than God. I couldn’t fully let go of my hopes for tomorrow and place them into His hands. That’s asking a great deal of me! What if He doesn’t come through? Or worse, what if His plans aren’t what I want them to be—what if they aren’t my plans?

But as Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, God’s plans are good! Plans of “hope and a future.”

I also realized that I made an idol of my future. Frequent daydreams of that perfect life drenched my mind. It’s coming soon. Certainly. I thought to myself. I just need to hurry through this scrappy present so I can receive my future. Once I’m there, in my perfect life, I’ll be happy. I hadn’t realized that it was an idol. I did what Lewis advised against: I committed my virtue and happiness to the future.

How often I have neglected the small joys and blessings of everyday life because I was moving too quickly to receive them. I knew little of the irony that in receiving those momentary blessings, the future takes care of itself. It doesn’t work out in spite of a slower paced, live-for-the-moment kind of life. It works out because of it. By embracing today by receiving and giving all you can in it, you are surely setting yourself up for a better tomorrow.

This is no surprise. Jesus Himself told of this simple principle for healthy living:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:33-34

God knows your desires. So just loosen up your death clutch on life and give it to God.

Tomorrow can surely be thought of, hoped for and even planned for. It must certainly be prayed for. But we are nonetheless given today. That is all we have. We’re given this moment and it is our duty to live it out in a way that honors God. He’ll deal with the rest.

Carpe diem.

MICHAEL D. GIAMMARINO

is the author of Discovering Justice, a book that analyzes the modern concept of justice in light of a historical Judeo-Christian framework. He currently resides in New York City and studies business and theology at Oral Roberts University located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rich Resources — Two Teachers Who Shaped My Life in Large Ways

See the free library of written, audio and video resources by Robertson McQuilkin  http://mcquilkinlibrary.com/

and James “Buck” Hatch

http://buckhatchlibrary.com/

Both men have crossed over into a new level of eternal life.  So much of their teaching is classic — it is not dated in the least.

Enjoy!  And leave comments below of resources you find helpful.

Help Us Name A Church

In January 2017 we settled on the name “Market Common Community Church” for the new work we trust God to do here.  In March we found out that we cannot use the trademarked name in our church name.  SO — would you take time to read the message below and pray and send me any ideas for a name by May 31?  Thanks

Aristides was a Greek philosopher who died around 134 AD.  The Roman Emperor, Hadrian, asked Aristides to study the Christians and report on whether they were a threat to the Empire.   Read these selections from his research below.

“But the Christians… show kindness to those near them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly…

They do good to their enemies…

If one of them have bondsmen and bonds women or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction.  They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness.  

Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another….And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting.  And when they see a stranger, they take him into their own homes and rejoice over him as a very brother…

And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity…

And if there is any among them that is poor and needy, and they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food…

Such, O King… is their manner of life… And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine in the midst of them.”

This describes the kind of church I long to be a part of.  As we ask God to establish a church based in the Market Common District of Myrtle Beach, SC this is what I am asking God to raise up.

We found out that we cannot use the name “Market Common” in the name of the church.  So help me out.  Send me ideas for what you would name a church we are seeking to start?  Send your submissions by May 31 to roymking@gmail.com  Thanks

Aristides, “The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher,” in the The Ante-Nicene Fathers, first series, original supplement to the American edition, vol. 10, ed. Allan Menzies (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965)., 276-78.

 

New Jobs for Roy & Pandora

Photo of Roy & Pandora

The Recent Past

I concluded 20 years of teaching at Columbia Intl University June 30,2016 and became Professor Emeritus.

Pandora retired in December 2016 after teaching in Special Education for over 35 years.

OUR NEW CHAPTER

In January 2017 God provided us with a home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and helped us sell our home in Columbia.  It was painful to leave friends, family and be a 3 hour drive from our Grandchildren.  But often God calls us to let go to go forward.

In this journey God affirmed where we were to be (Market Common District of Myrtle Beach), but it has taken 4 months to clarify our role and contribution.  We can now see some of God’s  plan for how we can specifically be a part of his kingdom work.  He has been working for the past 12 months to deepen our commitment to walking by faith.  

This quote from Oswald Chambers captures it well.  

“Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.  And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. . . .Faith is the supreme effort of your life—throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.”

How Our Life Map Looks Now!

God has affirmed our strongest gifts and skills are in coaching and mentoring.  You will see that theme in all of the facets of our work.  Over the past year Pandora and I have used Acts 1:8 as a way to map and organize the assignment God is giving to us.  

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jerusalem = Our local area

We are actively pioneering a church start based in the Market Common District of Myrtle Beach.

The Grand Strand is the 2nd fastest growing MSA in the US.  37 people move to Horry County every day and over half of them move into Market Common.  People in transition are very open spiritually.

Prayer Items Locally –

  • To grow the intercessory prayer ministry in prayer gatherings and walks.
  • To discern the next steps in a partnership with the CMA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) and NCC (National Community Church).  We are asking them to help us find and support at least 2 couples, age 30 to 50, who will move to Market Common with passion and skills for evangelism and a church start.  Pandora and I will play a coach/mentor role with them.  Until they arrive we will lay a foundation and create infrastructure.

Judea and Samaria = Our nation

We are serving as Coaches with Five Capitals to coach Church Leaders with a passion for greater effectiveness and vitality.  (see http://fivecapitals.net/)

FIVE CAPITALS, is a global initiative working with business and church leaders in the areas of personal development, leadership skills and organizational growth. Pandora and I can join with them as coach/mentors.  We would serve those in non-profit, church and mission organizations. Some of our clients can pay for coaching services and others need subsidy to have access to this customized service.

Prayer Items Regionally

  • Pray Pandora and I can get to know the other Five Capital coaches around the country and receive referrals through their business leader coaching clients of church and ministry leaders who want to raise the quality of equipping and disciple making.
  • Work with Brandon, the Founder and CEO of Five Capitals, to produce online courses which provide a taste, intro and overview for new people and additional courses to assist those who are in coaching relationships.

The end of the earth = Outside USA

We are serving as Coaches throughout the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on leadership development of the next generation.

Prayer Items — to the ends of the earth!

  • Pray we can be effective when we are with our clients there and can continue to coach via video chat when we are in the USA.
  • That God would use to raise up prayer, financial and volunteer support for this vital work that is spreading streams of living water in the Arab world

Ways You Can Help Us

PRAY for us often!!!!  I will send out updates every few weeks to update the requests. If you like to receive this personal and specific information on our new ministry assignment we would welcome you to our team.

 

Send us an email roymking@gmail.com 

 

God is….

Recently I have spent time with several caregivers.  My sister and my brother are providing great care to our parents and I have also spent time with some other spouses, and adult children in this serving role.

In many of these cases the caregivers are bound to the person for whom they care in a deep love commitment.  This makes it very challenging to set limits or margins in the relationship.

Caregivers are an excellent model of sacrificial servanthood.  My Dad has been the caregiver for my Mom over the past five years as she has descended into dementia and for the past 6 months he has spent every day in the nursing home required after her stroke.  He has poured out his life to care for her.  All of the phone calls revolve around Mom’s day — “Did she speak?”, “How much did she eat?”, “Did she respond to people coming by?”  My Dad’s life has been focused on her needs, her care, and providing any support that might help her improve.

God is my caregiver.  He never tires of being with me.  He hears my sighs of relief and he can tell not only my physical state but also my mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

God does not need respite.

God can stay up all night — night after night.

God is motivated from pure, unconditional love.

God is not embarrassed  or awkward as he serves me.

Thank you God…

Forgive my complaints, and please forgive my self-centered view of life that makes my needs and my pains the center of the universe much too often.

Taking the LONG VIEW

My wife, Pandora, will tell you I live my life by ticking off lists.  When I start a project I generate a list of next actions.  When I plan a week I generate a list of possible actions.  As I go through a day I check off completed actions and scan the list for the next action to engage.  This is not all bad but I am learning it is an incomplete picture of how we should live.

I am learning to take the LONG VIEW.  I do not mean thinking about what I want to accomplish or where I want to be in 20 years or some other number of years.  Being a time traveler into the future in my head may have a place in our reflection time that is a helpful to visit but it is not what I mean.

The LONG VIEW for me is to recognize that the life I really want to live has to be the fruit of a daily process that is part of my life over the long haul.  When I check items off my list they are deleted from my screen.  They are done, finished, and I can erase them to make room for the next actions.  But long view looks like choosing to walk each day holding hands with my best friend, Jesus.  The LONG VIEW is to see a listening, engaging, trusting, and loving interaction with Jesus  as the center of every day of my life and  I would not ever want to complete it or check it off.

When I take the long view on any loving relationship it changes.  Marriage, Parenting, Grand-parenting,  and Friendships are made vibrant by viewing what is done today to be in relationship as deepening the connection we will enjoy tomorrow and all tomorrows God gives us.  I do not want life to just be checking off my devotions or taking my wife out for dinner.  Life has a center, a solid stable place to live out our life by being connected to Jesus at its center and constant reality.

How do you live with the LONG VIEW?

The Ministry of “Scattering”

RoyGLRetrSep2010dJohn 16: 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. . .

Just below the surface of my life I can be wrestling with several agendas…
Follow Jesus and no turning back or falling away,

OR
Live for a safe, comfortable life,

OR
Avoid pain or rejection,

OR
Preserve the current reality and refuse to go into the future. . .

these and many more conflicting life ambitions and motives simmer like pots on a stove competing for my attention.

Don’t be surprised that God will engineer circumstances to expose the confusion I am tolerating.  It requires faith, mixed with courage, and the strength of the Spirit to put a knife in the throat of any goal — save one — STAY WITH JESUS.

Oswald Chambers, MY UPMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, April 4

“Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. . . .

We will be scattered, not into service but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. . . 

But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. . . .

“. . . you . . . will leave Me alone.” Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us?”