Monthly Archives: September 2009

honesty in struggle

Part of the reason for me starting up the writing here again has been this desire to attempt at being honest with myself about life and circumstances. In that hopeful honesty, I am trying to expose some of the questions, doubts, and struggles of life. I suppose the ultimate hope is that no matter if one, two, or ten people read this, or even if this is only for me, that I can look back at some point having learned something from the experience, and not doomed myself to repeat history, be it in my own life, or in the bigger picture of life around me.

Last week I talked at length about humility and submission. I’m finding inside of that the struggle of circumstances that do not change in conjunction with my outlook. Put another way, I’m finding that place where the “rubber meets the road”.

The easiest part of confronting an issue is identification. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s pretty simple to see areas in our lives where change is needed. The problem comes in two areas. First, in implementation. If we cannot implement the change we know is necessary, then identification becomes worthless. The second part is allowing that change to endure. If we implement the changes we see need for, but cannot maintain them, then it becomes of little effect to us. The essence of the change amounts to nothing more than a shallow New Year’s Resolution. We try to make the change, but there’s no lasting power in it. Most of the time, the lack of staying power is directly tied into the fact that we’re changing for someone else, or because someone else tells us to, not because we sincerely see the need for change.

The other motivating factor behind maintaining something God reveals to us is in the fact that sometimes our circumstances just. don’t. change. What do we do when we know God has called us to minister to that co-worker, but that co-worker’s attitude and actions have not changed? How do we react when we know God wants us to take the lower seat, even if we are justified in our stance on an issue, and even have the right to address the powers that be?

Honestly, this is where I’m finding myself right now. I know what God has shown me in regards to submitting and having a humble spirit in my own life, but the struggle found in knowing that the circumstances surrounding that issue have not changed is bringing a…..time of *cough*frustrating*cough* growth. It would be so much easier to let my feelings be known, to vent my point of view to the necessary parties, but I’m finding more and more (each day, it seems) what a painful lesson obedience is. The urge to rise up when God calls us to a place of humility goes against everything our sin nature knows. I believe it is in these times though, that God’s power is most evident in our lives. When we put aside our desires, and make them subservant to His, then His glory is manifest in our life.

1 Samuel 15:22 tells us that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Sometimes, our greatest fulfillment in Christ isn’t in what we do, but what we don’t do.

More later……

Jesus Wants The Rose

Ok, last Chandler post (for awhile anyway…..). Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing about far more who have acted like the speaker he talks about than not. Frustrating.

Irreverant Silly Myths

Another nugget from Chandler, this time on the importance of Christ-centered teaching and preaching.

The 85bears – Ten Years Looks Good On You

This was posted to my facebook as well, but just in case any of you reading this aren’t facebook friends with me….

This is the new acoustic full length by Mike Siggs and I. It’s called “Ten Years Looks Good On You”. Right click the link, “save as”, unzip and enjoy. Pleaseandthankyou.

The 85bears – Ten Years Looks Good On You

Track Listing
Quaint and Country
Shadows
Meshac
Speak Now
What You Hate
Needles
Abraham
MercyUnending
The Vine
Friends With Benefits
FeatherWhite
Never
It’s All His

Matt Chandler – The Path (A Continuing Ethic)

“If you have no intention of submitting your life to Christ, but want to believe you’re a Christian because when you were a seven year old at R.A. camp someone told you that you would go to hell if you didn’t pray a prayer, you are deceived, and you are a liar.”

Download the sermon audio here:

Matt Chandler – The Path (A Continuing Ethic)

You

The Gospel in 1:30.

Humility and Submission

When you think you are humble, chances are you’re not. In fact, I’d say just the thought of having humility is a two-edged sword. The second you garner the thought of humility, you’re automatically assuming a position of arrogance, even if it’s only in your own mind.

I think humility and submission are two of the hardest traits for a believer to master. Submission is tough, because it lends itself to….well, submitting, to a higher authority. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the President, a school teacher, a pastor, or your parents (whether you’re 4 or 40), no one likes to be told what to do. It’s part of our sin nature. If given the choice, we’ll go our way 9 times out of 10, because at the heart of a lack of submission is the superior attitude that we know it all. Ask any teenager, they’ll prove this out every time.

A lack of humility takes that air of superiority and ramps it up a notch. Humility does not allow itself to be center, neither does humility look for the glory. But very few are those, especially in 2009, who are not looking for the glory. It doesn’t matter if you’re Kayne grabbing the mic at the MTV Video Music Awards, a sports star cashing in on the multi-million dollar contract, or the average Joe bragging about that big promotion, glory seekers are all around us.

The other side of humility is the desire to be right. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from the outright to the passive-aggressive, but either way, when someone is struggling with humility issues, they almost always will voice their opinion on a given topic they think they have the “upper hand” on. This antithesis to humility (pride) plays out everyday, in businesses and churches, social clubs and gatherings, from the halls of our schools to the highrises of capitalism.

Pride is a killer. It is born from within every one of us, and goes back as far as the Fall. Genesis 3:6 tells us that Eve took of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because it “was to be desired to make one wise.” At the heart of the issue of the Fall is the fact that, through the serpent’s deception, the first couple desired to be as wise as God Himself. Pride. And thus, through their action, humanity was cursed, bringing about the need for God to reconcile Himself to His creation through Jesus Christ.

Jesus, then, serves as our perfect example of submission and humility. His life on earth, His mission amongst the people He created, was to serve as the template for life, while also taking upon Himself the iniquity of all humanity; past, present, and future. He did so with perfect servitude, and with a right spirit. Surely He wanted to stray from that mission, otherwise He wouldn’t have prayed in the Garden, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Perfect submission drove Him to forgoe His desires for the greater purpose. It caused Him to ask, yes, but ultimately to bow His will, His humanness, to the will of the Father. Humility carried Him to Calvary, bypassing all His divine abilities, and instead taking on the guilt, not only of the man who was freed in His place, but also that of all of mankind.

Humility and submission, then, beg the question to be asked- “Who’s will are we bowing to?” Because submission to authority will always puts us in the right place positionally. God raises up, and God brings low as He wills. Ultimately, nothing we do can elevate us without His hand taking part, but most certainly our lack of submission can serve as the catalyst for bringing us low.

Likewise, humility, when we act and conduct ourselves with the proper attitude, will always bring us into alignment with God’s will. No one who acts with a prideful spirit will be in tune with God’s will, because God “opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) When we are bringing ourselves into alignment with Gods’ will, a humble spirit says, “I don’t care if I’m right, I will ACT right, and allow God to do the rest.”

A humble spirit doesn’t need the spotlight, the recognition, or the pat on the back. A humble spirit has a continuity of conduct, whether acted out in front of 10,000 or 10 or 1. Whether everyone sees, or no one at all. True humility, as Christ showed us, helps one to lay down their wants and desires for the good of the whole. The program of God, God’s will and plan, is always perfectly in sync with those who have a humble spirit.

8 years later….9/11

Originally posted elsewhere on 9/11/09.

Verse of the day, thanks to Hold Fast Ministries in Harrisburg, PA:

Romans 12:17-21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Quote of the day, courtesy of Walter Wink:

“In the final analysis, then, love of enemies is trusting God for the miracle of divine forgiveness. If God can forgive, redeem, and transform me, I must also believe that God can work such wonders with anyone. Love of enemies is seeing one’s oppressors through the prism of the Reign of God – not only as they now are, but also as they can become: transformed by the power of God.”

Wise words to remember today, on both counts.

Take time to say a prayer today; for the families of those who’ve experienced loss, certainly. But also for those who act out in violence, who we cannot see and do not know, but who are in need of God’s grace just as much as you and I on a daily basis.

“Any peace achieved by violence is a peace forever threatened by violence.” -Gregory Boyd