“RELIANCE”

Week two of “Elijah” looked at 1 Kings 17:7-16. There are some lessons we must learn in order to live Spirit-dominated lives:

  • Don’t interpret hard times as God’s unfaithfulness.
  • When one source of provision dries up, God always provides another.
  • God’s provision often violates the laws of common sense.
  • Beginning the faith adventure may be the hardest part of the journey.
  • In God’s economy, we have more than we realize.
  • Thank God for his capacity to make much out of little.

“THROWDOWN”

Our current teaching series at HBC is a study of Elijah. His life was so in tune with the Spirit of God, that his successor Elisha asked for a “double portion” of the Spirit just to carry on the work. Elijah’s story is amazing but we must remember that he was a “man just like us” (James 5:17). The reason that Elijah accomplished all that he did is that his life was surrendered to and dominated by the Holy Spirit of God.

The first week we studied Elijah’s arrival in the public life of Israel found in 1 Kings 17:1-6. He challenged the king of Israel…warning him of God’s coming judgment.

We see what a life dominated by the Holy Spirit looks like:

  • Adventurous Direction.
  • Risky Obedience.
  • Supernatural Provision.

Does God Need Sponsors?

The following email got past my spam filters today. I couldn’t let it go…so here is part of the text:

“God Allah Re-announced His Official Millennium Arrival and The Resurrection.

God Allah announced today He is now seeking sponsors for the purpose of The Resurrection. Applicants may apply by email. Allah states, “I am pleased to update you on My Successful Arrival. I am seeking sponsors, e.g. businesses, organizations, communities, etc. to further the cause of The Resurrection. I want the world to know I love you and am here amongst you. I thank you for your prayers and issue My Press most expediently. I believe although this is an emergency, I advise you to stay calm, pray and welcome Me unto you so I may help you.” For more information please contact Allah Media Relations at …”

Now, I feel sure that this is a money-making scheme and not from any official religious body. But I love the contrast it brings to what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Jesus.

The Bible says that “every eye will see him.” His return will be a time/history/world stopping event. He won’t need a press release to announce it or sponsors to make it happen.

Lately, I have found myself longing for Jesus to return so that I would no longer have to deal with the cares of this world. That is not good motivation … but the desire is good.

“Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” We long to see you. We long to be with you.

Until He returns, we keep working. “Let us not become weary in doing good.” May we continue to share Jesus with every person everywhere.

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

(1 Peter 4:7 NIV)

Do you long for Jesus to return? Do you hunger for more of Him now?

Best Friends?

What makes marriage work? What makes it last? I have been married for 29 years but I don’t have it all figured out. I do have some ideas. I think I am on to a few things.

One thing that must happen in marriage: become best friends. Romantic feelings can be so fickle. Building a marriage on romance is building a house on the sand.  I am all for romance and passion. In fact, I am a big fan. But something else makes for a firmer foundation. That something  is friendship. Marriage cannot go the distance without it.

Does that idea sound foreign to you? When you consider who your  best friend is, does your spouse’s face even enter the picture?

Let’s test the friendship component of your marriage. Here are some questions that will help you determine the quality of your marital friendship:

  • Do you enjoy spending time with your spouse?
  • Do you look forward to being alone with your spouse or do you dread the time you must spend together?
  • Do you ever actually spend time…just the two of you…without the kids or other couples present?
  • When you are alone, what do you talk about?
  • Do you have deep conversations? Or, do you just discuss the details of running your household?
  • Do you have interests in common? What activities do you both like to do?
  • Are you willing to do things that the other person loves to do — just so you can be with them?
  • If you could pick one person to spend an evening with, would it be your spouse?
  • What do you think is fun? Is it more or less fun when done with your spouse?
  • Does being together bring out the best in both of you…or the worst?

What do you think of these questions? What other questions would you add to this list? I would love to hear from you.

“This is my lover, this is my friend,”

(Song of Songs 5:16, NIV)

“How to Prayerwalk”

In preparation for Easter, we are encouraging our church to prayerwalk in their neighborhoods.  Many people have never done this before.  Here is a helpful “how to” article.  I encourage you to read it and begin your spiritual journey down the streets where you live.

This article is on The Waymakers website. They also have a great app to help you pray and “Seek God for the City.” It would be a great tool for the weeks ahead.

Bless you as you pray! Be ready for God to move…

“A Theology of Risk”

I love the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25:14-30. Many stereotype Christ-followers as weak, timid, or spineless.  This story paints a different picture. It teaches a theology of risk. Jesus pictures two extremes for his followers: risk or cowardice. He gives two judgments on his servants: faithful or worthless. The two faithful servants risked what the master gave them in order to gain success. They may have had setbacks…the story does not say. But in the end, the result was spectacular.

Jesus values risk-taking.

Helen Keller once said,

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

To qualify, Jesus empowers risk-taking but it is always done at his leading. If we will follow, he will lead us on an adventure of faith. Risk is born out of prayer…an intimate walk with the Savior. As we discover his heart, we will learn what risks he asks of us.  But risk is demanded of the servant of Christ.

Yet if we follow Christ’s leading, there is really little risk. Courage is needed because there may be setbacks along the way. Following Christ’s leading will invariably bring ultimate victory.

This story pictures two extremes: the successful risk-taker and the worthless risk-avoider.

A theology of risk:

  • Risk doing something over doing nothing. (Accountability demands action.)
  • Risk requires faith.
  • Risk requires sacrifice.
  • Risk requires prayer.
  • Risk requires walking in the Spirit.

I searched the internet for the title of this post and discovered a book on the subject: Faith of Leap, The: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage (Shapevine) by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch.  They cite the above quote by Helen Keller.  Have you read it? What were your thoughts?