Friday, December 09, 2016

Peace in the Present is Found in the Pause

Chuck Mingo

Matthew 1:18-25
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."  --Viktor E. Frankl

Three things that come in the pause:

1.  Get Revelation - You can hear from God in the pause...  In the midst of this unplanned detour, that you didn't expect, God is up to something good.
There are verses in the Bible that oftentimes we misapply, even if we don't misquote them.  Romans 8:28 says: "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose."  Let's not misunderstand this verse.  This verse does not say:  "If you love God, if you're in relationship with Jesus, and if you're following his path, only good things will happen."  That is not what that verse says.  What that verse says is:  "When you love God, and when you're following him, and when you have the presence of God in your life, God becomes the ultimate alchemist in your life, and he can take even the brokenness, even the unplanned, unexpected things, and he can work them together in his holy way for your good, and for the good of what he's doing in your life.

But if we just react, we miss the revelation that comes-- that even in the midst of what I don't understand right now, God could be up to something good.  See, the problem we have in the moment is we can't see what God sees. I love how 1 Corinthians 13:12 puts it:  "For now we see in a mirror dimly..."  That's our problem-- We can't see what God sees. But in the pause, you can get window into what God is doing.  That's one of the reasons prayer is so powerful.  Because to pray is to pause.

And it's interesting how the science research is proving what the Bible has said for centuries-- That when you pray, it doesn't just change things, it changes you...  When you are living in fear... your brain goes to its most base, most animal place of fight-or-flight... and yet people who pray have ability to activate different parts of their brain that produce emotions like love, joy, and self-control, which is what the Bible calls the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  So when you pray, it's an opportunity to pause and understand that even in what you can't see, God might be up to something good.  And in the pause, you can receive revelation, and that revelation can bring you peace in your present situation.
2.  Get Redirection -  Joseph goes in a different direction than planned, based on the revelation he received.

Mark 1:15
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
Jesus specifically uses a word for time, that we have to understand the meeting of.  He didn't use Kronos = chronological time; he used Chiros = moments in life when time stands still.

From Wikipedia:
Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the 'supreme moment'). The ancient Greeks had two words for time: Greek: χρόνος (chronos) and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a period or season, a moment of indeterminate time in which an event of significance happens. What is happening when referring to kairos depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative, permanent nature.

3.  Grow Resolve - We lack peace in the present because we can't see enough context about where we are.  If we knew a little bit more, we could have the resolve to deal with the difficulty of the present moment.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

If darkness is the place you choose to meet with me...

Robbie Reider (14:25)
You know, at the top of this song it says, "If darkness is the place you choose to meet with me..." Another verse says, "If it's in the mystery that you are found..." I love those lines, because they refer to the place that we see a lot of people throughout the Bible. You know, the folks that God seems to interact with are folks that are in some predicament, they're in some place where there is no hope, where this no way of rescue. And it's in that place where you see really honest prayers come out. It's where you see the pretense fall away and you see the real brokenness of humanity just go, "God... where are you? I thought you would be here." And it's in those places where you see God go, "Yeah, I see you're broken and I've come to rescue you." And so what I love about that is it give me hope, it gives us hope as we walk in here, you know, a bunch of humans with our own unique stories of brokenness, our own unique stories of needing to encounter a Savior.

And in those places, what we see is God takes brokenness and his ability to redeem, and he puts things together and those are the people that he uses and brings close to Him. It's not the people who pretend to have all their stuff together, it's the folks who are like, "Yep, I'm the first of the broken."
Thank you, Robbie.  On so many occasions now, you've said something that touched me and turned the music into a personal prayer.

If the darkness is the place that you will meet with me
In the dark night of the soul, your love it reaches me
When the sun can't reach, your light it carries me
If the darkness is the place that you will meet with me

Make me yours, though I'm broken through and through
Make me yours, though I've nothing left but you

If in the mystery is where you are found
In the shadow of your wings the poor become the crowned
In the dark and in the deep, your voice it speaks to me
If in the mystery is where you are found

Brian Tome

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Philippians 2:1-4
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Several years ago (like 2007, maybe?) Greg Boyd spoke at Crossroads.  One thing he said, which struck me so much that I wrote it down and have kept it with me all these years, was this:
If you're ever in a theological debate, or any kind of a debate, and winning the debate becomes more important than expressing Calvary-like love to the person you're debating, do the Kingdom of God a favor and SHUT UP.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Knowing vs. Believing

Robbie Reider (1:00:40)
It's easier for me to connect with God as a King, because a King is going to ask for loyalty, and I can be loyal. But a Father asks for intimacy.
My actions are rooted in what I believe, not in what I know.
And like I tell my kids, I know that you love me when you obey me, or when you come to me with a problem. It means that you believe in my character, as being a good dad.