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Monday, March 28, 2011

Million dollar gifts?

I'm not a huge reality TV fan, however I have seen the previews of a new series called "secret millionaire". I saw a clip from the first episode and was convinced that these people were trying to sooth some sort of guilt or needed a pick me up so they wrote a check and went on with life. Although I am still convinced of this to a certain degree, I neglected to really see the whole picture, until last night. I was sitting down relaxing after a long week and kicked up my feet, turned on the t.v. and "secret millionaire" was just coming on. I can't explain why I didn't change the station, as many of my more preferred viewing was on other channels. Nonetheless I stayed tune and once again saw a man who was admittedly lazy as a teen, come up with a great idea and recently sold his company for around 500 million dollars. As is expected he lived off poverty level income for one week, slept in poor conditions and tried to fit in with the homeless and what many would consider the outcasts. He tried to find ways to volunteer but wasn't having much success until he met a man who had a designer hat store, that he used the back room to put hygiene kits together and then took them to the projects and handed them out. Now many people give or serve and that is commendable but as they were handing out these bags a man with a walker walked by and had extremely bad shoes on. The man in our story, not the millionaire, took off his newer leather, and very expensive, shoes and gave them to this man. The millionaire began to cry and commented, I have never seen such selfless love in all my life. What a testimony to how God uses people. Those who acknowledge him and those who don't are still orchestrated together to lead us to the end result. Revealing the true character of God. Jonah fled from the call to go to Nineveh because he knew that God was a compassionate and loving God and God showed Jonah that very love by sparing his life and recalling him to go and do as he had been told. The moral of this story is the same as the ending of Jonah. God leaves Jonah with a question that we need to ask ourselves, 4:11  "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left hand, as well as many animals?" Who has received the million dollar gift of the gospel message from you?
Until next time, keep serving!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We'll see what really matters.

Each day seems to fly by so quickly and yet at the end of the day I'm left with a longer list of things that needs to be done than when I began. After enjoying a few days of this I asked myself, does it really matter?
Are the things on my "list" anything that is of significance or value. Out of the good, better, best grouping what if i lived my life in the best column? What would that even look like? My first inclination is to think that it means I would be happy everyday and every moment would be fruitful and invigorating. The reality is that it is not always cake and ice cream to live out of the best column. At times it seems so easy to question God when we feel like the course of action looks more difficult. Lets take a look at an everyday example. Food is the category for 5000 please. In the good category we have liver and brussel sprouts, the better category has lasagna, garlic toast and a cookie, the best column has ice cream sandwiches, chocolate souffle, cream puffs and after dinner mints. Now that sounds almost overwhelming but I have given this extreme example to show you how opposite our perspectives can be. Turn this around and you have a good source of energy and protein, the taste for some may be repulsive but none the less it is good for you. Now the better will always be just that. Better than the choice under it and not as good as the choice above it.
When you look at your life, your time management, and your values, do you live a life that reflects it? I know I have a ways to go on this.
Be on guard for those who think they have the fast track to living the "best" and expect you to join them. Only you can discern what it is God has for you and what is the best for you! Rest assured that God has already equipped you, before He calls you and has already considered your response. To use a simple example of this playing out in scripture one only has to read the book of Jonah. Four chapters of pure delightful, nail biting, edge of my chair reading. (As a side note I assure you everything turns out fine, for a while then blammo, Nineveh is destroyed. Be sure and follow up prescribed reading with Jonah book 2. Also known as Nahum.) This rebellious prophet spent more time and effort disliking the mission set before him and after disobeying Gods initial instruction, having dinner with a fish, he receives his second set of instruction. Remarkably similar to the first set we see Gods grace in forgiving and restoring this man to ministry. Are you ready to be restored and live in the best?
Till next time, live in the Word.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review on Herman Who

One of the joys of my job is keeping up to date on resources. Most of the time this can be overwhelming. Making certain that the author or publisher are solid, the information is accurate and what kind of setting would be best for it, not to mention how it stacks up against the other similar resources. Often times in this process I run into quality resources that would be highly recommended. That is just such the case with my current review. When I heard the claim, "Give us 75 minutes and we'll give you a masters level class on hermeneutics", of course I was skeptical. I know Todd Friel and respect his ministry but come on it takes a lot longer than that to get to a masters level in studying scripture. Hermeneutics of course is the art/science of studying scripture. This is an important tool for the Christian as we study, that we come to correct conclusions at the end of our study. I have read many books and debated many people in regards to the studying of scripture and have narrowed it down to one main resource I recommend. That is until now. Herman Who? is the title of Todd's systematic training on hermeneutics. He is very thorough and clear as he teaches us a proper way of studying scripture. He walks the viewer through step by step and sure enough at the end of the video he has equipped the lay person with some heavy arsenal to dig in and study scripture. The claim is for the most part accurate. The thing they don't mention is it will be a lifetime of perfecting as are all methods. Although some think they have "arrived", we never quite growing, learning and perfecting our studies. The thing I really appreciate with Herman Who? is the emphasis on understanding the context and historical setting in which the author writes. Its kind of like the difference of reading today's town newspaper, or a Chinese paper from the mid 1800's. We would immediately understand the context in our local paper but to look back into a time and place we are not familiar with we have many hurdles to jump. We must understand the customs, political, economical, and social aspects to name a few. The more we understand about the author and the surroundings in which he wrote the better we understand the text.
Herman Who?, is well worth the time and effort and would be a valuable addition to your video library.
Until the next time
Pastor Mark
2nd Tim 2:15