Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Precious!

I've been spending some time throughout the past few months in the book of Proverbs. Recently, I was challenged to think about what is really "precious" to me. In the Lord of the Ring trilogy, we were introduced to a character that was seduced by a ring to the point of insanity which ultimately took him down a path to his destruction. He called it "my precious." As I've thought through this, I must constantly be evaluating my own life to make sure that I choose to make decisions and pursue disciplines and pathways that reflect the very things God deems as precious.

One such item that we are to consider precious is "Godly, Biblical Wisdom" The pursuit of this type of wisdom will lead us down the path of obedience which ultimately leads to life rather than death and destruction. Take some time this week to reflect upon the following words from Proverbs;

"Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you can desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 3:13-15)

"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10-11)

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Thought Provoking Letter from a Child

Like many people, our family partners with Compassion International to support a young child. We have done this for years and it is the very least we can do as we have so much compared to others within this world. Like we do every year, we send away a bit extra to Compassion so our child can enjoy a Christmas gift. To be honest with you, it has never really impacted me much before as it seems so simple to send away that little bit of extra money that would have been spent on a McDonald's run or a Little Nicki's cheesesteak and pizza. But then I got the letter and it has messed me up since...

Here is what it simply read; "Auld Family, I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you so much for the Christmas gift which you sent me. I received 21650 shillings and used it to buy a shirt, a pair of shorts and shoes. May God bless you."

Since reading that letter, I can't shake the following verse from my head "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48b)

I am currently processing what it means to be generous. I feel like we do OK and are living in obedience to what God requires per His Word, but it may be time to step out in faith a bit more. As one who lives in North America with a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back and the list goes on... what does God require of me. What does God require of you? What does God require of His church?

One day I'll have to stand before God and give account for how I lived my life including how I managed what He has entrusted to me financially. I sure don't want to stand before Him and have Him ask why I felt I had to have or even deserved that nice car or extra square footage in my home while children died of hunger without a stitch of clothing on their back. So I'm thankful our little guy was able to get a new shirt, shorts and shoes but I'm thinking the gift of his letter back to us was worth just as much if not more if it stirs me to become more generous towards the things that touch the very heart of God!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Proud Citizen of 2 Places...

I recently returned from a quick trip to my "home and native land" of Canada and had the thrill of watching the opening ceremonies from the 2010 Winter Olympics on home soil. I was incredibly proud as a Canadian and loved the enthusiasm of all fellow citizens as Canadian Olympic clothing could be seen everywhere (soon to be sported here at Grace Church). One of the highlights for me was watching and listening to the young lady (Nikki Yanofsky) sing both the national anthem at the beginning and the "I Believe" song towards the end. In case anyone is interested, I've included the following link that shows the torch relay entitled "Journey to Vancouver" that is underscored by the above mentioned song which is loved by us Canadians.

But... as excited and proud as I am to be a Canadian citizen watching the Olympic games unfold in my home country, I am even more excited about being a citizen of heaven whereby I look forward to an eternity with my Savior. Listen to the words of Paul "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21) Come Lord Jesus Come!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowing on the Righteous and Unrighteous and Lessons Learned...

Like most within Lancaster County, I've been doing a whole lot of shoveling as the snow continues to fall and fall and fall and fall.... well you get the point. While shoveling I got thinking about our grand and glorious God.

First, I got thinking about Matthew 5:45 that states "He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Now I recognize that it doesn't say snow but I am sure the sentiment is the same as we are talking about another form of water. Isn't it interesting that the pleasure the sun brings and the pain the snow brings (from shoveling) isn't a respecter of persons. It is something that a Sovereign God bestows upon all of his creation whether we claim to be a follower of His or even acknowledge His existence.

Secondly, one's response to all of this snow (or weather in general) will speak volumes on someones thoughts towards God.

For those who deny the existence of a greater power, the snow is just bad luck somehow related to some geological phenomenon.

For those who believe in some higher power, they may see all the snow as some form of punishment or just plain old bad luck.

But for me... I came to a fresh realization of just how dependent I am upon a Sovereign and Awesome God. My God is SO big that He can make it snow when He wants, on who He wants and with as much as He wants. From living through a snow storm to living through daily life, I must continue to bring myself back to the place of absolute trust and dependency upon God. There are so many things outside of my control (weather included) and until I come to that place of absolute trust in Him, life will be faced with fear and worry.

So today... I sit back and give thanks for the gift of my family (yes even the dog) stuck together in our house playing the Wii. I sit and give thanks for a God who has given me a warm house while the snow blows. I give thanks to a God who has given me the physical strength and health to move inch after inch and foot after foot of snow from my driveway. I give thanks to my God who has provided me with plenty of food to sustain the family.

Just one complaint though... It has nothing to do with God but rather poor planning on my part. I am having to survive this snow storm without my Tim Horton's coffee. But still I will trustin Him... what about you???

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leading or Managing & Other Leadership Musings...

One of the blogs I enjoy following is LeadingSmart which is written by Tim Stevens. In his most recent post, he discusses briefly a book he has worked through with and Executive Pastor Coaching Network entitled "Just Ask Leadership". He shares a few quotes that captured his attention which in turn have captured mine. Here were the two that jumped off of the page at me and my initial reaction to each of them.

First, I must be asking myself "Am I Leading or Managing?" It is noted that one of the ways in which one can answer this question is by reflecting on your weekly schedule. If I am handling issues that are months or even years out I am leading. If I spend the majority of my day handling immediate problems or issues, I am most likely managing. My immediate reaction to this is threefold. First, I have come to learn that there are seasons of ministry that require much more hands on managing until the season runs its course. Secondly, I need to evaluate what I've been called to as defined by my role in any given organizational setting. Am I called to manage or lead. Thirdly, based upon my answer to this question, I need to evaluate my daily schedule and "to do" lists to make sure I have found the balance and focus needed to successfully accomplish what God has called me to within any given organizational structure.

The second quote that caught my eye was "The person best equipped to solve a problem is the one who lives with it every day." This in part ties into the previous point. Leaders will let managers/co-workers solve the day to day problems and make decisions. If I am called to lead, I will help develop a culture that empowers those who manage and are engaged in the day to day stuff to make their own decisions with confidence as they are truly the ones who are best equipped to be the problem solvers in their areas of expertise.

I recognize that the church is not just an organization to be lead and managed. We are the living Body of Christ, but these principles are well worth pondering.