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Monday, August 21, 2017

Discarding the Aged

There are Christian organizations of which I am aware, that have jettisoned their older staff to make room for younger staff to move into leadership.  As a consultant in business I have seen businesses run into the ground by the sons and daughters of the founders.  There are exceptions, certainly.  One local company had each of the children of the founders paired with an older mentor as they took the reins.  That business is thriving in a very competitive environment.
Discarding the Aged
One of the men I admire, called last week.  He is approaching 80.  He shared with me his wonder and excitement that he is now learning more about the Lord both in quantity and quality than he has in his life.

I am experiencing similar richness.

I think it is for both of us a result of many years in the Word seasoned by multiple attendant struggles.  When we read or study a passage, we are seeing and experiencing the Lord through the lens of years and years of extended time in the Word through a lifetime of struggle.

At some point, all of us must step aside to allow those with more physical energy to assume their place in leadership.  In doing so we need to ensure that those who are stepping in have been under the influence and equipped by one who has walked the same path they will walk.  Those who are stepping in would be well advised to hang on tightly to those who went before, to honor and continue to seek their wisdom honed by experience.  One cannot be 60 when one is 30.

Isn’t this the pattern of Scripture?  Isn’t that what Paul exhorted Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:2?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Brokenness Obvious or Hidden

I was at MD Anderson Cancer center earlier this week.  I had some tests and a visit with my doctor, plus I got to see some people that I wanted to see but was sure I would not be able to visit.
Brokenness Obvious or Hidden
On the second floor of the main building (the picture is the main building one of several that make up the complex) there is a large atrium named “the Park.”  It is in an L shape.  It has ceilings at least three stories high with large translucent skylights.  There are large planters throughout with trees, flowers, and shrubs.  There is a “cafĂ©” where one can purchase coffee, soft drinks, smoothies, and a hot or cold meal.  Tables and chairs are everywhere.

Tuesday afternoon I went over to get a smoothie for lunch.  I was going to spend some time in the Word and do some other work.  I was waiting for my mango kale vegan smoothie; a boy about 12 walked by, his left arm was gone.  In line to get their lunch or something to drink were one or two people pulling their IV trees with several bags hanging.  Off to my right there were several people some walking some sitting at tables with their care givers, with several bags hanging.  One man was in a hospital gown laying on his crossed arms at his table, IV tree behind him, obviously not feeling well.

Monday afternoon while I was waiting for my turn in the CT scanner, a woman came in with her care giver, she was in obvious distress.  She was moaning, holding her head, could barely get from her wheelchair to a chair.  She was obviously nauseated.  A close member of my family is still a patient there.  They have been going through what this lady has been experiencing for the past 10 months.  My father passed away at MDA in January after a 4-year battle with cancer.

So being there is a reminder…

Sitting in the park, drinking my smoothie, every direction, nearly everyone in sight was in obvious brokenness.  It was all around.  Inescapable.  As I pondered this it occurred to me that it is the same at church.  The difference is, at church it is dressed up, covered up.  Instead of moaning and IV trees; smiles, coffee, and everyone is “fine”.

I shared this with a friend Thursday.  He observed that the people that go to MDA are going for a cure, while those who go to church are going for a shot.  Most who make the trek to Houston – and they come, literally, from all over the world – are coming committed to do whatever the doctors say.  I am not sure that – yeah, I am sure, that not all that come to the church are committed at the same level.

I am still processing this.  I do not have solid answers, not even sure that I have the right questions.  However, the seed thought is that we are doing something wrong about the brokenness in our communities.  We are not good at acknowledging the reality of the cancer of sin and the brokenness it creates in our communities.  Canned programs and mass-produced curriculum doesn’t seem to be making that much of a difference.

Where is the passion to cure and to want a cure?  Why aren’t people flocking to the Church from around the world in desperation?  Why don’t they know that the answer, the cure is in Him?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Building the House – Summary

The last nine posts have considered 1 Chronicles 29:1 – 2.  The point was comparison of David’s passion to build a house for the Lord and our assignment to be involved in building the Kingdom of God through making disciples.
Building the House – Summary

Here are some of the questions that pondering this comparison raises for me:
  • There is nothing that I can accomplish apart from abiding in Him.  Am I engaged in anything that I am depending on me rather than Him?

  • Jesus said that I am to seek His Kingdom first.  What have I placed before Him and His assignment for me in my priorities?

  • God gave me gifts for the benefit of the Body.  However, I need others in the body to build me up in my gifts.  Where have I isolated or cut myself off physically, emotionally, or spiritually from those in the Body who are there to help me grow deeper in the knowledge of Christ?

  • The assignment I have been given, to make disciples, is difficult.  However, there are clear models in the Scripture for me to follow.  How well do I understand and follow those models?

  • The assignment I have been given is not so that I am recognized or exalted, but so that the Lord is shown as the glorious strong Lord that He is.  Where have I wanted to, or taken credit, or sought credit rather than pointing those who would praise me to the Lord?

  • The Lord equipped me to serve Him.  Where have I been tempted to use those gifts for my benefit or my glory?

  • David was all in, in his commitment to the Lord.  Where have I reserved portions of my life for me rather than completely surrendering to the Lord?

  • David provided for work that he would not see finished in his lifetime with all of his ability.  Where am I holding back?  Where am I looking to provide for me rather than trusting the Lord’s provision?
Those are some of the questions that goad me as I work through this passage.  I am not particularly fond of any of them.  In fact, I don’t much like it when I am challenged in that way.  However, I am reminded that the Bible was not given to us to coddle us but rather to move us toward our Father.

That requires dealing honestly with difficult questions.