In fact, the spiritual journey can be understood as the movement from seeing God nowhere, or seeing God only where we expect to see him, to seeing God everywhere, especially where we least expect him.
Discernment is an ever-increasing capacity to “see” or discern the works of God in the midst of the human situation so that we can align ourselves with whatever it is that God is doing.
I do not believe God hides his will and we must discover it. God is working all the time around us and we must be looking to see it.
WHAT HELPS YOU SEE GOD’S HAND?
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 email@example.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.
This post is in honor of my friend of 39 years who recently had his prayer answered and made it to his home in heaven. I miss him deeply.
It was 1980. I was working two doors down from President McQuilkin directing Financial Aid and helping to begin what would become the Development Department. I was also a part time seminary student. So at the busiest season of the terms I would go home for dinner and then return for an evening of study and catching up on files and work in the office.
It was close to midnight and I was working away on financial aid files and listening to the newest music by Bob Dylan. Slow Train Coming (1979) and Saved (1980) were strong gospel albums that had Dylan booed off the stage at some of his concerts. I loved them!
( I still listen to them weekly as I exercise)
What I did not know at the time was that Robertson had come by the office also. Years later he told me that as he started down the dark hall and heard Dylan booming in the building he was all prepared to speak a word of correction to the custodial help. Instead it was one of his new hires; a young man he was sure loved Jesus. But how could he be listening to that rock and roll racket?
When I saw him stick his head in the doorway I immediately turned the volume down and explained that Bob Dylan was giving a clear testimony in his music. I asked him if he would like to borrow the albums and check it out. He said he would. So the next day I loaned them to him.
About a week later he returned the albums and I will never forget his words. “Well, you can’t read those lyrics and not believe Bob knows the Gospel thoroughly. It is just a shame that when God saved him he didn’t heal his voice.” And then he gave me his classic grin.
Robertson modeled for me a man willing to suspend a judgmental spirit and listen and learn even when what he encountered what was not part of his preferences or culture.
Lord, Help me to do the same.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have a humorous memory with Robertson? Comment below!
Robertson used to joke with me about my passionate interest in leadership. We talked for hours about many leadership subjects. Here is one jewel!
EFFECTIVE LEADERS SEEK SOLUTIONS AND NOT VICTORIES.
Robertson told stories to illustrate his axiom from his days of being president of CIU. Let me paraphrase what he shared. “I wanted the faculty and staff to be engaged and asking good hard questions. I wanted them to research what our position should be on various issues and I designed meetings and created task forces to open doors for their participation.
But there is a downside to all of this investment…. people can develop strong opinions and be passionate about winning for their side of an issue. As president, I saw my role to help us get to a sound solution not get into winning my own victories.”
So — in your marriage, with family and friends and coworkers — what is your goal VICTORIES or SOLUTIONS?
The center of God’s will is often a place of holding 2 truths in tension.
Examples: God is sovereign AND we are accountable for our personal choices. We are call to love with grace AND truth.
The Bible moves us to leading by managing a tension instead of solving a problem.
Examples: Technology is not the tool of the anti-Christ OR the solution to every problem. It is possible to hold a high view of marriage and yet offer a compassionate response to those who have seen marriage die and end in divorce. There will always be cultural and generational differences on the best ways to worship, especially with music and the performing arts.
adapted from LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP, 2016. (Purchase Here)
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT)
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
“Anything with great power for good can also become a destructive weapon. Many leaders have been guilty of using the Bible to drain and rob life, rather than give life. The Bible helps us to be creative, set goals, discern error, and view situations from a variety of perspectives. We can, however, turn this knowledge into a weapon when we use it to devalue, attack or manipulate or control another person.”
From: LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP pg. 42 (Purchase it here)
Praying gives sense, brings wisdom, and broadens and strengthens the mind. The prayer closet is a perfect school teacher and schoolhouse for the preacher. Thought is not only brightened and clarified in prayer, but thought is born in prayer. E.M. Bounds
We are too busy to pray and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results. R.A. Torrey
If you are asked, as an outside consultant, to examine any kingdom enterprise, you can determine the effectiveness by listening to how the leaders are praying. Our prayers expose what we really believe and are a great predictor of where the time, money, and energy of the leadership is going.
What we pray about gets our attention!
What we pray about sets our priorities!
What we pray about is what we do!
A leader who wants a group to behave differently should begin with helping them pray differently. Prayer is not all we do, but if we are not praying, all we do will make little difference.
Prayer is the most important tool God has provided to lead the leader and to influence the people.
From Chapter One (page 27) LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP, 2016.