Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

17 November 2008

How many ways can I say this?

It's funny how God so desperately wants to teach us about what's really important in life, that He communicates it in so many different ways. It starts with salvation and then branches out into every area of life as he refines us. Money, time, friends... God uses it all to refine our sight so that we can see what's eternal and what's just 'killin time'.

Brian Heasley shared this from John Ortberg's "Everyone's Normal until you get to know them".

"I have never known anyone who failed at relationships - who was isolated, lonely, unconnected, had no deep friendships - yet had a meaningful joy filled life. Not a single person. The twentieth century was littered with people who achieved great things but never connected. People who accumulated vast amounts of wealth, fame, or power but never acquired an open heart. People who had a rolodex of contacts but not a single friend. Every one of them died with bitter regrets. Every one.

Conversely, I have never know anyone who succeeded at relationships - who cultivated great friendships, who was devoted to their family, who mastered the art of giving and receiving love - yet had a bad life.

No matter how little money we have, no matter what rung we occupy on anybody's corporate ladder of success, in the end what everybody discovers is that what matters is other people. Human beings who give themselves to relational greatness - who have friends they laugh with, cry with, learn with, fight with, dance with, live and love and grow old and die with - these are the human beings who lead magnificent lives.

When they die, not one of them regrets having devoted themselves to people: their friends, their neighbours, their children, their family. Not one."

Then yesterday, Paul taught so eloquently about the "Hand of Man". About us how we "participate in God's Divine nature" while keeping our hands off. He quoted Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest"

We are made "partakers of the divine nature," receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, "Oh, I can’t afford it." One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, "Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle." And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, "All my springs are in You" (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you . . . may have an abundance . . ." (2 Corinthians 9:8) — then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

Really, really beautiful.

I'm not sure that life should ever really be boring as a Christian. We may not always have fascinating activities going on or a jet-set lifestyle to occupy our time. But God is always teaching us something about what's really important if we're open to it. And in that teaching... we're challenged to change.

I don't do this as much as I used to... but I think I'll try to stop asking "How ya doin?" and start asking "What's God teaching you these days?". Question 1 should be as a result of question 2 anyway and the answer will be something real instead of mindless pleasantries anyway.

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