An entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t wait for others to follow, it just moves on with or without the support of others because it believes in what it was called to do. It is passionate, goal-oriented, disciplined, organized, driven, energetic, positive, and detail-oriented. We are blessed to have this kind of spirit moving on our behalf; the Holy Spirit. In the midst of doing what we believe ourselves are called to do in Christ, we have only to move with it and we too can share in its character. We’ve already been given the best product there is – Love and Service. Thanks be to God!
Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Lent: Day 16 – I couldn’t wait to get out of my parents home. I felt shackled, bound and unable to move about freely. Worst of all I felt as if I was forced to do things certain other people didn’t have to do, like cook, clean and wash dishes. When I left for good I vowed I’d never go back and I never did. Although I wasn’t wild and uncontrollable, I wasn’t necessarily free. Even when we live alone we find our selves bound to something if not some one. It’s not all bad. However when the bonds that we’ve adhered to begin to adversely affect the self or others, the person, thing, or both to which we are bound becomes an overwhelming problem. At times, our bonds are so overwhelming in fact we lose touch with mercy, we lose touch with grace and finally we lose touch with self. The good news is that even when we’ve lost touch with the self, grace and mercy does not lose touch with us because God knows us from within. When Jesus met a man lost in self and encumbered with legions, mercy and grace was the first order of the day. Whether we are bound by choice or bound by force, good or bad the consequences always have their way. However, the day we commit to be bound by Christ is the day we will begin to serve freely.
Mark 5:1-20 He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain;4for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.
Lent: Day 5 – As humans we have an uncanny propensity to latch on to people. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for no one person is an island unto one self. Personal, business or otherwise, I believe we need relationships. As mature adults, our relationships, in connection with how we think and respond to one another, says something about who we are. For example, Paul in all of his education had one goal, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who would believe. He did not consider, that it was his responsibility to speak in educated terms, thus selectively appealing only to those who could understand what he was saying, by using eloquent speech. No doubt we are all drawn to people who are most like our selves. We have a tendency to travel the journey, in the direction of who we believe our selves to be. However, as Christians, regardless of the road we travel, it should always lead to the one common goal to proclaim the gospel. What purpose does it serve us, as brothers and sisters in the Lord, to argue about the road we travel as long as Christ is the only lead we follow? Lent is the opportunity to create a habit of meditation and contemplation of the scripture, in order that the Holy Spirit becomes the one who leads us to God who guides, supports and protects us along the way. Then ultimately, God’s purpose prevails.
1 Corinthians 1:1-19 …for Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
Mark 1:1-13 He (John the Baptist) proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
Genesis 37:1-11 His brothers said to him (Joseph), ‘Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?’
I believe God’s authority reigns over all. All other authority has no power except that which we give it. However it is not okay to break the laws put in place for a civilized society. By doing so we can expect a consequence. When the scribes and the Pharisees, approached Jesus concerning a woman caught in adultery, Jesus does not question their application of the law, but rather their desire to judge her character and condemn her to death. He reaches the heart of the matter in that they seem to forget in their own history, God’s desire to show compassion and mercy. Jesus never said that what the woman did was not unlawful; he merely helped the authorities to see that they too were not without sin, effectively separating legal authority from human authority. We have the authority to show compassion and mercy where the law does not. Since all have sinned, the mercy and compassion we show one another will be the mercy and compassion God shows with us.
God’s authority; Man’s authority; The law; Compassion & Mercy;
…on leadership and authority
A short strip of material at the beginning and end of a reel of film or recording tape for connection to the spool; a length of filament attached to the end of a fishing line to carry the hook or fly; a shoot of a plant at the apex of a stem or main branch; all three definitions we don’t often use to characterize a leader. However, metaphorically, sometimes our purpose as leaders in the church is as preparation for something greater (movie, fish or bloom) yet to come. The strength of the leader depends on how well it is connected to its foundation. Paul’s journey to Rome, plagued with storms, and his subsequent house arrest never weakened his obedience to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. In fact several of his letters to the churches were written while he was in “captivity”. Today 2000 years later the message of the gospel endures. We cannot be dismayed when God’s use of our ministry for his purpose seems to be non-functioning. On the contrary, our sure foundation in Christ is always at work leading the way.
Psalm 22 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
Mark 14:27-42 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’
Acts 28:1-16 The believers from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage… When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
I just recently saw the movie “The Help” in which the mother of a main character said something that still rings clearly in my mind; “Sometimes, courage skips a generation.” I suppose it’s easy to say one has courage when life is comfortably isolated or protected in some way. My guess is that each and every one of us has or will have an opportunity to display courage. It is the opportunity to change the course of events if not in our own life, but in the lives of others, and very often both. From the movie we know that courage is not the absence of fear. On the contrary fear has everything to do with it. The question is, fear of what; change or remaining the same, the greater good or physical self-preservation, God or Man? We also see that courage takes sacrifice, and if you truly believe in the action or path you have chosen to take, one must be prepared to lose some things that were never intended to be lost. The good news is that we never lose God’s love as expressed through people who have always loved us; parents and family, the dearest of friends, and sincere mentors (council). So when the day of courage comes take confidence in knowing that you are steadfastly prepared and God has chosen you not because of your fearlessness but because of your fear. (Exodus 1:8-2:10).
Exodus 1:8-2:10 But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.
Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Romans 12:1-8 Do not be conformed to this world,* but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD
In today’s language a steward is someone who manages other’s peoples property or affairs. It’s important that we understand this because individually like the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) we are called to be responsible overseers of the church. The church in turn is called to be responsible overseers of its people. The relationship is a reciprocal one in which our giving of time, talent and tithe is returned back to us in spirituality, fellowship, and reconciliation with God and one another (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Some have a tendency to believe that the giving and the receiving is disproportionate. In the physical realm this is true. There are times when what is received is greater than what we have given in return. There are times when we give more than what we receive in return. But in the spiritual realm our giving comes from the heart and the measure you give will be the measure you receive (Luke 6:38-49). God has given us each different gifts (1 Peter 4:8-10). Regardless of our level of giving our first true offering is the heart and soul of the self. I believe the story of the poor widow and the two copper coins (Mark 12:35-44) is a reminder of the importance of stewardship as an integral part of life. First we know that God doesn’t need our money (1 Chronicles 29:14-16) people do. Second, our stewardship is a testament of our faith. To give all that we have shows trust that God will provide for our needs in the same way (Proverbs 11:24-25). Third, our stewardship helps sustain the spiritual life. Much of what we understand about our relationship with God is experienced through our fellowship with the body of Christ. Without our support we risk diminishing the church’s ability to serve one another and possibly the kingdom relationship that God desires to have with the church and its people.
Mark 12:35-44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.
1 Corinthians 4:1 “Men should regard us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God…Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a person be found faithful to his gifts.
Deuteronomy 16:10, 16-17 …No one shall appear before the Lord empty-handed, but each of you with as much as he can give, in proportion to the blessings which the Lord, God has bestowed on you.
…justice for all
In a democratic society our leaders are elected, chosen or both. The individuals who elect or choose them do so with the expectation that they will be represented as to their needs within the society. Subsequently, laws are passed to serve the needs of the people, and for all intensive purposes this generally works. But as we all know the system isn’t perfect and for various reasons there’s always a marginalized group of people who don’t quite fit perfectly into the equation. Therefore there is always room for someone to rise up as a leader specifically to address the needs of those who have been unaccounted for. Unfortunately there are two kinds of leaders who rise to this occasion. The first is self-appointed like Absalom the rebellious son of King David and the second is anointed like Paul the Pharisee, Apostle to the Gentiles. The difference is in what comes from the heart. The one who continually seeks the face of God will make known God’s character as opposed to his own. Today, let us pray for our own discernment of the leaders before us that we may gain the portion of our inheritance promised to all those once marginalized but are now accounted for.
Psalm 105:1-22 When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, …he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.
2 Samuel 15:1-18 “If only I were judge in the land! Then all who had a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give them justice.”
Mark 10:32-45 You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them,…But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.
Acts 21:27-36 …he has actually brought Greeks into the temple…