Almost every year our family plants something of a garden. We’ve got this grate space the back of our yard that serves this purpose. We worked it out years ago when we had first moved into our house. We fenced it off to keep our rabbits and determined that it would be a place where we would, not only grow great tomatoes, but also spend time together. Our family really believes in the value of good hard work. All of our kids know they have responsibility around our home, and we thought gardening would be a good addition to that.
So just recently I made this statement about the church and Theology. First, let’s unpack what Theology is in the case that you might not know.
Theology is the study of God.
In the religious world, words that end in ology mean “the study of”. So Soteriology means the study of Salvation. Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit. There is so much more than just the study of God or Theology.
Here’s my problem.
The Church has been known for far too long as a boring place where you learn about God.
I know today seems so hard. Forgive me, but it might get worse. We really have no clue, but what I do know and understand is that the Light of the Church shines brightest when the problems of the entire world seem darkest. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that, It looks pretty dark outside right now.
What are we supposed to do?
How much time do you spend looking in a mirror?
That can vary with every person, can’t it?
I spend next to no time in front of a mirror, whereas my wife, is tied up there for a while longer! My daughter, Taylor, still more than that. There is just this sense of perfection that needs to be finished, and clearly, that takes time.
It’s one thing to get ready in front of a mirror, but have you ever just looked at yourself in mirror? What do you see?
Clearly, a reflection. That’s what you see, a representation of yourself.
People don’t typically look at themselves, they look for the flaws they can fix, do what they can, and then move on.
I started this year with an ambitious goal. Maybe not ambitious to you or anyone you know, but one that I’ve never done before, so a goal of new territory for me.
My pursuit this year is one of intentional direction and seeking what God has next. I felt the best way to do that would be a super fast trek through his word, and so began my quest through the Bible in 30 days. I’ll end up a few days late because, you know, life happens.
Recently, I’ve seen a few stories of people who have abandoned their faith because of problems with the Old Testament. They say that they cannot trust a God who would go to such lengths to destroy rather than forgive and who seemed to be more about rules than relationship.
They are speaking through their ignorance and lack of first hand investigated effort. They see this through their perception rather than through their knowledge of investigated effort.
Can I go to the bathroom?
Can I have a piece of candy?
Can we read a book?
I wondered if I could say something but I didn’t know.
Have you ever stopped and took stock with how many times we ask permission on any given day?
The Lord wants to wow you in wonder of what He can do with what’s in your hand.
What’s in your hand right now? You’re scrolling through this post with your iPhone, so that’s in your hand.
Maybe it’s early in the morning where you are and so there’s a steaming cup of coffee in your hand.
I’ve been doing a lot of remodel work at a property we recently acquired, and so frequently there have been power tools in my hands.
Whatever it is that is in your hand, I believe the Lord wants you to know that He’s able to use whatever that is to put you in amazement of His astounding ability.
Hey what are you praying for right now?
What’s on your list of consistent requests to the God of all comfort and the Lord of creation?
It’s shocking to me how many people don’t have a consistent prayer for which they are petitioning the Lord. We have grown too small in our asks and I’m not sure why.
I have a theory about why.
Are you interested?
It’s because we can’t so we don’t think God can either.
I’m going to mess with your head a bit here in this post, but I believe there is a part of our theology that places ourselves on God’s level. Without even realizing it we have pulled up a throne next to God’s and are governing our own world’s as if we had His power.
Our prayers got smaller, because we got larger.
Rather than dealing with our inability to move mountains, we decided that it would be best to leave the mountains where they stand.
So here’s the problem. Subconsciously we know we don’t yield the awesome power of God, but rather than submitting to that and humbly acknowledging His deity and authority, we would rather keep our self-positioned throne next to His and just deal with our lack.
Can you see what I am seeing? Pride is what keeps us from asking the Lord for the biggest and strongest of prayers in our lives. For when we submit to His unique ability to provide and answer, we are also acknowledging our inability to do the same.
So again I ask, what are you praying for right now?
Because the things you are seeking the Lord for are a direct reflection of your view of this amazing and almighty God who affirmed His own desire to see our prayer dependance on Him.
Stop asking the Lord for small things. Start praying mountain moving prayers that only God can accomplish. And put those prayers on repeat. Put yourself in a position to see the Lord himself move and act on your behalf and begin to see the Lord move.
I guarantee you, it will change your life
Have you ever received a gift that you just had no idea what it was for or how to use it only to find out later that it would have been the most wicked coolest thing you had?! It’s almost frustrating when you discover something you had access to all along but never figured out its intended use until it was too late.
In our relationship with Christ we receive this amazing gift in Salvation. The fact that God would look at us, in the condition we are in, and seek to Save is beyond the scope of our full comprehension! That alone is enough! But he doesn’t stop there.
It’s like insurance. The product you pay for, to insure your something, often times comes with other benefits you had no idea were there. That’s probably a really bad example.
The benefits that God give us go way beyond just that of salvation and that simply astounds me.
One of those gifts if the presence of the Spirit of God. Not really the focus of our conversation today but it’s there.
The Fruit of the Spirit is another such example. Qualities of life that are superhuman in some cases.
The part I want to focus on for this feature is the gifts God grants for us to be able to use to live, serve and bless people around us.
Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:10- “Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.”
I encounter a lot of people today who painfully express a sense of emptiness. A vacancy in their lives that doesn’t seem to be filled by anything. They are sad, hurt, lost and wondering why they even exist. Inevitably, I ask them two questions every time:
1) What group of people are you connected to that is inspiring you to move ahead?
2) Where are you exercising your spiritual gift?
If you can’t come to clarity with those two questions than it’s not wonder that your life feels the way it does. You are feeling what your body feels when you don’t exercise it, move it, and stress it.
Your faith needs movement, tension and test to be fully activated.
Do you feel you are underdeveloped right now? Maybe it’s time to pursue some solutions to your Spiritual gifting and really finding out who God made you to be.
What’s your thought? Do you feel you have this figured out or could your faith and gifting use some help?
My hands hurt.
I endured a lot of aches and pains through my life, I’m sure you have too, but rarely is it my hands that ache. But today, it’s my hands. They are scratched, bruised, and with a few cuts.
To me, every one of those is a story.
Every pain, every scar, every bruise and every wound is a story of something amazing.
Right now they are signs of a project our family is working on together. It’s our next beautiful venture. We’re probably in over our heads, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Other times, there are other aches and pains.
How about heartache over the people in your life. Our kids are those for us right now. Every one of them is fighting and facing something uniquely different. They are fighting battles we want so bad to engage in with them but we cannot. They have to learn that on their own. They are each being pressured by something whether it be medical or personal or with friends and that makes our hearts hurt.
There are times when they leave scars on our lives as well, by something they say or something they do. They might not have completely meant what they said, but the words came out of their mouths and in those moments you just wish they could see the depth of your love for them.
Come on mom, dad, tell me I’m wrong about that. They just never fully understand the extent of your love for them.
And likewise, we under-estimate the love that God has for us. He bears some scars too, you know…In His hands no less.
Think about that pain!
Think about the reminder that causes him.
Never will he forget the place where he took scars to remind us of the extent of his love
And the heartache He endured so you and I could have life.
Hey God. Thank you for taking on that pain, in your hands, so we could see the extent of your great love.
Look at your scars, your aches, your wounds, differently.
They mean something