As Jesus followers we are called into the Kingdom Life. This blog will help us converse and learn what that means. It will contain thoughts on Scripture, Sermon Reflection, Leadership Training and interesting reads. -Pastor Jeff

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Achilles Heel

COMPETENCE is the Achilles Heel of the Christian faith.  The more COMPETENT a person is the greater the temptation for that person to take care of things on his/her own.  If I am generally COMPETENT in ABILITY, perhaps I have talents that enable me to accomplish much with little concern for God’s will.  

If I am COMPETENT with LIFE CHOICES, perhaps I can put off the air of having things together, managing the exterior space of my life, the space that everyone sees.  If I am COMPETENT in KNOWLEDGE, perhaps I can maintain the illusion of wisdom and counsel.  If I am COMPETENT in WILL, perhaps I can most often make the appropriate choices, willing myself through great difficulty and trial while standing on “my own two feet.”  

Unfortunately, COMPETENCE is an OBSTACLE to faith.  The longer I cling to my own capabilities, the less I turn to God for the POWER and SUBSTANCE of GRACE that infuses all I do with HOLY POTENTIAL.  The COMPETENT PREACHER speaks well, relates to his/her audience, can be considered relevant and funny, offers engaging content with thought-provoking illustrations, but often lacks the PRAYERFUL ANNOINTING that comes on a person when they’ve been CALLED BEYOND their capabilities and into a space of complete DEPENDENCE on GOD.  The COMPETENT CHRISTIAN can fulfill all the exterior expectations of religious practice, being in the right places, reading the right things, often choosing the right moral direction at life’s little intersections, but often misses the FULL outpouring of GOD’S SPIRIT that TRANSCENDS our NATURAL ABILITIES and empowers us to live LIVES pointing to GOD alone.  THE COMPETENT CHURCH conducts its business well, EXCELS in its programs, hangs its hat on its staffing, and celebrates its EFFECTIVENESS in engaging it TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC, but often NEGLECTS the kind of KINGDOM-minded ministry that LEADS us into the UNCHARTERED WATERS of faith where we are utterly DEPENDENT on GOD every step of the way.  

COMPETENCE treats PRAYER as a last resort once all other OPTIONS have been tried and found wanting.  COMPETENCE treats GOD as a solution to a PROBLEM rather than the SOURCE of all LIFE. 
LORD, may we never SUBSTITUTE our COMPETENCE for DEPENDENCE and FAITH in you.   

Monday, October 26, 2015

Never Running Out

WORDS FAIL.  We live in a culture of “just enough” and “it’s running out.”  Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, just barely squeaking by.  Our bodies seem to run out of energy.  We’ve watched relationships apparently run out of love.  There’s either just enough or not quite enough.  The worries about the “amount left” seem to affect everything we do, including our relationship with God.  We often wonder, when is God’s love, mercy, grace, patience, and forgiveness going to come up short for me?  When is He going to run out…just like everything around us?  

GOOD NEWS – God never runs out!  God never has just enough!  God never just gets by!  God is OVER THE TOP!  That’s why I love the language of Scripture, it’s EXTREME.  It says things like…the grace of God that He “LAVISHED” (Eph. 1) on us.  We are promised that God can do “IMMEASURABLY” (Eph. 3) more than all we ask or imagine.  His love is described as “BEYOND KNOWLEDGE” (Eph. 3).  His grace is always “SUFFICIENT” (2 Cor. 12).  We are promised that His strength never fails us and we can do “EVERYTHING” (Phil. 4:13) through Him who gives us strength.  The grace of Jesus “OVERFLOWS” (Rom. 5) to the many.  

This EXTREME language reminds us that God has more than enough for all of us.  His supply never fails.  HE NEVER RUNS OUT!  His MERCY endures FOREVER.  His GRACE is LIMITLESS.  His LOVE is INEXPLICABLE.  

The only thing that runs out in our relationship with God is our words.  WORDS FAIL to capture the super-abundance of God who always goes OVER THE TOP and whose favor towards us can’t be measured.  Rest assured today!  GOD is OVER THE TOP in LOVE with you!  HE does not RUN OUT!  HE always has MORE THAN ENOUGH!!