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Archive for the ‘Committment’ Category

workerKnowing how something is built is not the same as knowing how to build it.

Part owner of a construction company years ago, it was my job to know how walls, ceilings, and floors were constructed and to know when these were built according architectural specifications; but to actually do the building was totally different. Building skills are only learned by building.

Likewise, the Bible tells us how to be godly but learning how to do it comes from experience. As a young preacher I knew a lot about how following Christ was done but I am still learning how to do it.

Jesus said,

“Here’s what I propose: … If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously… love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer…If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? … You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.” (Matthew 5:38-48 Message)

There are things we must learn how to do if we expect to be of service to Christ.

How are you going to learn how to “turn the other cheek” unless someone slaps you? How am I going to learn how to love my enemies unless I have enemies? How are you going to learn how to pray for those who spitefully use you unless you have a boss that throws you under the bus or co-workers that spread malicious gossip? How am I going to learn how to trust God to provide unless I sometimes lose my job or go through difficulty?

We say, “God why would you let me get slapped in the face?!”, when all God is doing is teaching how live for Christ instead of just knowing how living for Christ is done.

– fritz

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“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” — Apostle Paul (1st Corinthians 11:1)

Christ is the one we are to follow but some don’t, yet, have that connection. Some can’t “see” him and telling them to do so is ineffective.

But they do see us and some follow if not by their actions then certainly by watching our lives unfold — whether we realize it or not.

When Jesus said in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” that we are the light of the world and then added the analogy of a city on a hill (Mtt. 5:14) he meant that more people see a light than those in the light know.

I visited an uncle on his deathbed. We weren’t ever close and had never talked so I thought he knew little about me but when I walked in he said he knew I knew God and he asked me to tell him how to face eternity. He gave his life to Christ that night and sang for joy.

Embrace the calling as Paul did and follow Christ closely — little ones, and not so little, are watching.

— fritz.

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O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. – Psalm 71:17-18

Discovering many strong desires turn out not so desirable, finding when all is said and done more is said than done, a new pain here, a lack of energy there, and there’s a tendency to sit out, turn inward, lose interest.

Even Solomon, wisest man ever, said in his later years,

Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.(Eccl 4:13).

But King David discovered a task and a cause that kept him going even through old age — showing God’s strength to the next generation.

Turning attention from our puny little goals to God’s plan provides an unending source of drive and energy!

As a young man I met an elderly couple (at the time I thought they were elderly but not so much now ) who inspired me. They were passing through to the mission field at age 60 — they had discovered the fountain of life, Jesus, and purposed to re-fire instead of retire.

Sound bite: Re-Fire instead of Re-Tire
Prayer: “Father, yours is a Lifetime calling — enjoying you, showing your strength and power. Thank you for that wonderful calling and grace to live it! Amen!”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Song of Solomon

[His call] “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse … Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” [Her response] “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” [but later] I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.” — Song of Solomon 5:1-3, 6

Some see the Biblical “Song of Solomon” as nothing more than ancient poetry but within its pages there is an important lesson — no relationship remains static, it either grows or quietly wains.

Whether with Christ or each other, within a church or secular organization, relationships are quietly built or diminished with personal responsiveness or its lack.

Seth Godin, motivational speaker and blogger, puts it this way

“Most partnerships don’t end up in court.

Most friendships don’t end in a fight.

Most customers don’t leave in a huff.

Instead, when one party feels underappreciated, or perhaps taken advantage of, she stops showing up as often. Stops investing. Begins to move on …

Just because there are no firestorms on the porch doesn’t mean you’re doing okay. More likely, there are relationships out there that need more investment, quiet customers who are unhappy but not making a big deal out of it. They’re worth a lot more than the angry ones.” — Read Seth Godin’s complete post here

It takes alertness to the subtle change and a reaching out.

— fritz@langgang.com
See related post: “Jesus Passing By” – May 21, 2011

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Eugene Peterson, Presbyterian pastor and author of “The Message Bible”, writes of his desire for the perfect congregation — one where the people are holy, alert, responsive to God’s word and experiencing glorious revival.

He decided that kind of place doesn’t exist, and he has a term for keeping that kind of image in our minds:

“Parish glamorization is ecclesiastical pornography — taking photographs (skillfully airbrushed) or drawing pictures of congregations that are without spot or wrinkle, the shapes that a few parishes have for a few short years.

These provocatively posed pictures are devoid of personal relationships…

Ordinary congregations are God’s choice for the form the church takes in locale, and pastors are the persons assigned to them for ministry.” – Eugene Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant, page 22

God uses real people and real relationships, not airbrushed images, to grow us and his kingdom.

– fritz@langgang.com

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Fr. Desmond Gooneskera

“Weak people are defined by their circumstances, strong people are defined by their commitments”

– Reverend Desmond Gooneskera
(Sunday May 30, 2011 St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church)

– fritz@langgang.com

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” Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.- Jesus (Mark 10:29b-30)

Gathered at a friend’s home with those I have known over the years and some I just met, singing without reservation, enjoying without concern, visiting with so many having different last names but the same father (God) – this is one of the “sweet spots” of following Christ!

It’s a lovely peaceful privilege reserved for those who have committed fully to Christ.

I am reminded of the book I read by A.J.Jacobs on his attempt to live the Bible. He started out a skeptical agnostic and ended a reverent agnostic – his primary hindrance was a decision not to commit. He mentioned time and again how he wanted to be caught up in peace that he saw in believers, but each time he came close he pulled back, afraid of letting go and losing control, and in the end it all eluded him. He was touched but he moved on.

Ah, but when you feel safe in the arms of Christ you can let go and let God do what he wants. You can sing with all your heart and not be afraid of what will happen. You can pray and rest without fear of what God may ask of you – you can because you know God will always do right by you. You know you are loved and accepted by the only one that truly matters.

There is peace in commitment!

Prayer: Jesus, I let go of my life unto you and your care. Amen.
Sound Bite: Let go and Let God

– fritz@langgang.com

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