Lean into the Lord

Henri Nouwen says “the word ‘discipline’ means ‘the effort to create some space in which God can act.’”

I think the Christian’s most important move is to step aside and give God the proper room to do what He does best. You see, we are completely dependent upon Him. We may not realize or accept it, but that doesn’t deny its reality. Everything we have comes from Him.

Consider the air you breathe.

Did you produce that in and of your own strength?

No. It comes from the God of the Universe.

The Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the men of Athens was simple: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

He even quoted some their famous poets in saying, “We are His offspring.”

Our lives are often marked by independence and a renegade spirit, but this shouldn’t be the case in the Kingdom of God! Our high calling is one of submission and servanthood. Our strength comes from above and can only be made active as we approach God in humility and contriteness of heart. Let’s push aside our pride and create space in which God can act!

Let’s continue to be dependent upon the Lord. Let’s lean into the Lord for HIS wisdom and strength.

A People Not Yet Created

In my devotions I read Psalm 102. There was one particular verse that really jumped out to me, as a matter of fact, it shook me deeply.

Psalm 102:18 says “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.”

A people not yet created.

That is amazing foresight.

So often, we talk about the NEXT generation and that’s wonderful and all, but too often we are just referring to anyone younger than US. For example, I’ve often thought of young adults, teenagers and elementary students as the NEXT generation. But, when I read Psalm 102:18 I was called up short on that definition. That is not the NEXT generation…that is the NOW generation!

Let me illustrate: currently our Foursquare denomination is wrestling with the realities of an aging ministerial, because the average age of our pastors in America is 56 years old and nearing retirement. Recently, I was in a series of high level denominational meetings where someone remarked that my involvement and voice in those particular meetings was representative of the “youth of our movement.

Now, I appreciated the sentiment (who doesn’t want to be thought of as young), but I politely had to interject with this: “Folks, I am 40 years old, and if I embody your definition of the YOUTH of our movement, then I think we just discovered a big part of our problem.”

Silence ensued.

Those that we tend to think of as the NEXT generation really are the NOW generation, which means we need to discover who actually is NEXT. I believe Psalm 102:18 tells us: a future generation; a people not yet created.

Loved ones, my heart is constantly burning with the vision of my faith and the organizations I lead being alive and ever-changing to embrace a people not yet created.

Together, can we have that kind of foresight?

Don’t You Remember?

Muse on this question.

“Don’t you remember?”

This is the question that Jesus asked his disciples in Mark 8. It came on the heels of two HUGE food distribution efforts. One was for a group of 5000 men (see Mark 6) and the next was for a smaller group of 4000 men. By most estimations the groups were 2-3 times larger than reported due to the inclusion of women and children. In both cases Jesus proved himself to be a miracle-worker. His batting average is perfect. Of course, isn’t that what you would expect from the Son of God?!?

After feeding thousands (and healing a possessed girl, a deaf/mute man, and oh yah…walking on WATER), Jesus and his disciples retreated to a boat ride on the lake. Shortly after disembarking, the disciples realized they had brought only one loaf of bread with them for the journey. This was clearly not enough for a day on the water.

What would they do? Where will they go? Who gets to eat?  Who goes hungry?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

Then there was one from Jesus “Don’t you remember?”

He didn’t stop there:  Don’t you get it? Is your heart hardened? Can’t you see or hear? Don’t you remember when I feed five thousand and we had a bunch of left-overs?  Don’t you recall when I fed four thousand and we had basketfuls of pieces to pick up?
“Don’t you remember?”

  I need to confess that I have a short-term memory. Do you?  Are you like me and so easily forget the past blessings of the Lord when current challenges present themselves?  It’s so common for us to watch the Lord move in powerful ways one moment then fail to trust him the next.

5000:  Fed and happy.
4000:  Full with left-overs.
Boat full of disciples with one loaf of bread between them:  Help! We’re gonna die!! All hope is lost!!!

Jesus must shake his head at the obvious display of unbelief and distrust…both then and now. Has God taken care of you in the past and yet you wonder if he will continue to moving forward? Have you given of your tithes and offerings watching how he “opens the floodgates of blessings” and yet fear grips you this month with your limited funds? Did you thank God for the food on your table last night but aren’t sure if he’ll sustain you tomorrow and the next?

 

“Don’t you remember?”
 
I believe that the power of anticipation is fueled by the practice of reflection. When you remember what God DID it builds a sense of excitement for he will DO!