What Is That To You?

John 21:21-22  When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

john21-22

Peter, Peter, Peter… boy he sure modeled what it is to be scolded by the Lord often ha ha. How grateful I am that we get to know him so well, for I too suffer from foot-in-mouth disease and misdirected heart syndrome on a regular basis.

So as I was reading this passage (vs 15-25) I was more focused on how Jesus was restoring Peter’s heart. Peter had taken himself out of the bigger narrative due to shame and feeling unworthy.

It’s a good message for those who know they have been called but yet so often feel like they come up short time and time again (like me). When Jesus named Peter “The Rock” He did it full well of knowing where he would glorify God and where he would serve himself through fear, pride, ignorance, anger or apathy. Peter’s behavior never put Peter’s calling in jeopardy, he simply needed to be redirected and restored by a loving and grace-filled Savior.

So funny how quickly we can fall back into our old patterns so soon after being restored!

Just a few verses earlier “Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and immediately after that he’s now questioning Jesus John’s fate.

How easy is it to get so wrapped up in our ministry, family or workplace that we find ourselves preoccupied with how to help “them” get better” or “do” better. But how much did I need to hit my own proverbial wall at 1000 mph before I surrendered and cried to to Jesus?

Sometimes our best intentions can be the very thing delaying someone else’s relationship with Christ. It usually takes the hidden agenda of co-dependency. Sure we mean well, but…

I have been struggling lately with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which is basically unexplained daytime tiredness, weakness and a general nagging exhaustion. During a week’s vacation that I’m taking to recenter and refocus on the only One that matters it doesn’t surprise me that He used His word to expose my heart.

And I’ve felt Him asking…

“You have given me your son a hundred times George, when will you believe I’ve got him” 

“You pray for men and women in Recovery Groups, when are you going to trust that I’m guiding them just as I am you”

“You pray for the homeless, the sick, the lost, the broken, the leaders… when are you going to actually believe that the great I AM is on the throne”

I don’t think He is suggesting I stop praying for people and their situations however I do believe He is revealing the way I pray without belief.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see

Gee, if I ever wondered why I run around stressed out all the time I’d say this is a good starting point.

My takeaway is to become more intentional in recognizing that when I’m ruminating on a problem or situation that I need to question my perspectives and motivations.

Am I focusing on how best to offload the stuff I can’t do onto Him?

Am I looking for the things that I can do under His power?

Or am I trying to change someone else’s experiences and behaviors so I don’t have to worry about them. Or is there something else that I desire out of changing THEIR situation?

But if we’ve prayed for them, or even better WITH them, then what business is it of ours to continue worrying about the manner in which God is guiding them.

We simply participate, Jesus is the one who rescues.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Father God, we need your help this day and every day. I say I believe then act as if I don’t. I say I trust then go back to manipulating people or circumstances way outside of my control based on my own understandings of what I think is best. Forgive me Lord, and remind me what true humility, faith, wisdom, courage and surrender are supposed to look like. I can’t know if my life pleases You but I pray that my desire to please You, pleases You. May we all live simply for Your glory, in Jesus precious name we pray… 

[In chapter 7 of John Eldredge’s book Waking the Dead he poses the question “Does trust come easily for you? Are you at peace, full of a deep confidence in God? This blog entry is where I was led after pondering those questions.]

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Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As the Twelve Step movement grows within the church, Christians in therapy and recovery voice a common confusion. Am I powerless over my behavior? If I am, how can I become responsible? What do I have the power to do?

The Twelve Steps and the Bible teach that people must admit that they are moral failures. Alcoholics admit that they are powerless over alcohol; they don’t have the fruit of self-control. They are powerless over their addiction, much like Paul was:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing… waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. — Romans 7:15Romans 7:19Romans 7:23

This is powerlessness. John says that we are all in that state, and that anyone that denies it is lying (1 John 1:8).

Though you do not have the power in and of yourself to overcome these patterns, you do have the power to do some things that will bring fruits of victory later:

  1. You have the power to agree with the truth about your problems. In the Bible this is called “confession.” To confess means to “agree with.” You have the ability to at least say “that is me.” You may not be able to change it yet, but you can confess.
  2. You have the power to submit your inability to God. You always have the power to ask for help and yield. You have the power to humble yourself and turn your life over to him. You may not be able to make yourself well, but you can call the Doctor! The humbling of yourself commanded in the Bible is always coupled with great promises. If you do what you are able — confess, believe, and ask for help — God will do what you are unable to do — bring about change (1 John 1:9James 4:7-10Matthew 5:3Matthew 5:6).
  3. You have the power to search and ask God and others to reveal more and more about what is within your boundaries.
  4. You have the power to turn from the evil that you find within you. This is called repentance. This does not mean that you’ll be perfect; it means that you can see your sinful parts as aspects that you want to change.
  5. You have the power to humble yourself and ask God and others to help you with your developmental injuries and leftover childhood needs. Many of your problematic parts come from being empty inside, and you need to seek God and others to have those needs met.
  6. You have the power to seek out those that you have injured and make amends. You need to do this in order to be responsible for yourself and your sin, and be responsible to those you have injured. Matthew 5:23–24 says,

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

On the other side of the coin, your boundaries help define what you do not have power over: everything outside of them! Listen to the way the serenity prayer (probably the best boundary prayer ever written) says it:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In other words, God, clarify my boundaries! You can work on submitting yourself to the process and working with God to change you. You cannot change anything else: not the weather, the past, the economy — and especially not other people. You cannot change others. More people suffer from trying to change others than from any other sickness.

And it is impossible.

What you can do is influence others. But there is a trick. Since you cannot get them to change, you must change yourself so that their destructive patterns no longer work on you. Change your way of dealing with them; they may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.

Another dynamic that happens when you let go of others is that you begin to get healthy, and they may notice and envy your health. They may want some of what you have.

One more thing. You need the wisdom to know what is you and what is not you. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference between what you have the power to change and what you do not.

Excerpted with permission from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, copyright Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

* * *

Your Turn

“God, clarify my boundaries!” What a poignant prayer for those of us who blur the lines in relationships! Today, let’s get in alignment with God in prayer submitting to Him and working with Him to change ourselves and not anyone else.

 

Source: Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

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Wisdom Is Not Enough

Ephesians 1:17

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

wisdom and revelation

There is no doubt that True Wisdom comes from God’s Word and the discernment of the Holy Spirit within. As we ask God for direction and strength He will speak to us.

John 10:3-4

3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

But what happens when that voice from deep within our soul seems to be crazy?

Abraham should kill his son? Moses needs to go get in Pharaohs face? Ananias needs to go lay hands hands on Saul (Paul) and pray for him??? Willingly reduce an army from 3200 to 300 and bang drums?!?!

Oftentimes personal revelation from God as to a certain path or plan of action can seem like the complete opposite of Wisdom. How do you discern? How do you hear from God? Do you even hear from God?

This Thursday (August 17)  we will press into these questions and more as we finish off Chapter 6 of Waking the Dead. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

And if you’re following along Week 13 Study Notes are online

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Intimacy with God

knees

If you’re not pursuing a dangerous quest with your life, well, then, you don’t need a Guide. How’s that for an in-you-face opener of Part 3 of Waking the Dead?

Narrow is the path and many will say Lord Lord and He will answer, I never knew you.

So what does it look like to have an intimate walk with God? Is it bible studies, theology classes and faithfully attending church services every week? Millions of people do that, that would seem like a ‘wide path’, no?

So again, what does intimacy with God look like?

Don’t miss group next Thursday and remember if you’re following along but can’t attend group you can pick up your own copy of the workbook ($1.99 B&N) or download an in-house abridged version of the study guides used in our group.

See ya’ll next Thursday!

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Why is it so hard to believe?

freedom

Waking the Dead and God’s Word continues to challenge our group’s core beliefs about ourselves and our life’s purpose. Deep at the heart of this revelation is the seemingly blasphemous concept that “our heart is good”. How many Christian’s so easily profess “nothing good lives in me” and grovel in our inadequacies. It is a biblical concept however the Apostle Paul makes a critical distinction in Romans 8; “…it is not I who sin but sin that lives in me…”.  As believers and followers of Christ it is our new nature, new heart, new power through the Spirit alive in us which should dictate an outwardly visible transformation and new boldness of speech and action.

Look at Peter, one who denied Christ 3 times in his greatest time of need and who himself wrestled with shame yet at Pentecost led 3,000 to Christ with a bold sermon like never before… whoa, where did that come from?!?! Or Moses being veiled after his personal encounter with God, or Christ Himself revealed at the transfiguration.

Why then do we as Christian’s find it so hard to claim glory through Christ and proclaim the Good News with authority and boldness? Why do we find ourselves emaciated and silenced by fear of judgement or retribution by those around us and instead remain silenced and sidelined in almost complete apathy to the power we are given and the great need around us?

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Next Thursday we press deeper into the glory that has become our new narrative in Christ. We rebuke the old narratives of shame and powerlessness.

Let the sleepers awaken!
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SAVE THE DATE: Fellowship @ Bob’s

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PARTY AT BOB’S HOUSE!

Thursday June 15 6-9pm

Come join us for our summer kickoff. Good friends, food and fun!

RSVP here and sign up to bring some grub. Also consider lawn games or other favorite backyard bbq items.

For address or other info contact George, Craig or Bob.

See ya there!

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ALL-IN: Now What?

fully alive

Brothers! I don’t know about you guys but this book is rocking my world. I’ve been in ministry/recovery groups for over 6 years and yet there is something new stirring. There are new awareness’s taking grip.

Can you feel it?

As we press into the realities of spiritual warfare and not only our calling but our qualifications through Christ to engage in battle we find ourselves timidly asking, what does all this mean… now what?

I don’t have much time…

I’m not a very powerful speaker…

I’m not really comfortable being fully transparent…

I’m …. I’m not… but… but….

Regardless of the mountains of excuses or even valid (to us) reasons why we shouldn’t or “can’t” lead, God reminds us that it is not about our power or qualifications or plans but His alone.

You think Jesus wanted to go to the cross? You think Moses wanted to take on Pharroh? And we know how Jonah felt about Nineveh.

Mark 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.

It is not a matter of if but when. We will find ourselves in a situation to be a peacekeeper, or protector, or evangelist, or provide financial aid or physical assistance or the opportunity to pray into someone’s pain or exhort them to great new heights. Or called to swallow our pride in a family fight for the greater good, or give up something we’ve cherished (time or possessions) for someone we love.

The point is if we are open and responsive to the Holy Spirit within each of us, we will be fully equipped in that moment to step in, stand up, and be counted among the faithful who answered the call.

We can’t do any of that however until we are operating with our own restored heart. And that is the greatest focus of the Gospel (many didn’t know that) and the focus of our next chapter: Our Hearts Are Central.

The study notes now include the page numbers both in the reading book and work book so you can follow along in this journey if you aren’t able to be present at the group.

Blessings in Christ,

George

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