A Simpler Way To A Better Path

Changing PathsStruggling with things that haven’t seem to budge in a long time sucks.  There is a better path, but no amount of New Year’s resolutions have placed you on that path for more than frustratingly short time periods.

I have a suggestion.  Nothing else has worked has it?  You’ve settled into your “new normal” because you’re tired of the disappointment of failure, haven’t you?

No More Resolutions

Instead of making another resolution to “do better,” simply experiment with a whole different game plan.  And here it is…

Let Go of the Inertia

Inertia is momentum that stays the same under it’s own energy until something effects its course.  So, instead of trying to stop doing something that you don’t want to do, start doing something else that is part of the different path you’d prefer to be on.

Then Do It Again

The first time you do something different than “your new normal” it will feel a bit awkward.  That’s just the way it is.  Like they say, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”  But, the more you simply act on that thing that’s a part of a better path, it will keep feeling more and more normal.

And Again

As you simply repeat doing the better thing that’s part of the better path, inertia begins to work in your favor.  In fact it become more and more your “new automatic.”

Trying to Stop the Inertia of Bad Choices

Trying to stop the inertia of bad choices is like hand to hand combat with the flesh and the devil.  It doesn’t actually work out very well in the long run.

But, changing the flow of inertia is quite another.  In fact, in a little time you will have the same experience I had the first time I went on vacation in the Rocky Mountains.

My parents and I were driving into the mountains on the highway that the map said led to Pike’s Peek.  I kept looking a long ways away.  But, then I turned around and looked out the back window of our car.  I was shocked at how far “up” we had come from the lower elevation.

The Emphasis of Repentance

Repentance isn’t working hard to stop one action.  It’s replacing the unproductive action with one that looks like the path you prefer to be on.  Inertia takes over.  Now, you’re living…

God’s Normal.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t do more than one thing at a time regardless of how good you think you are at multi-tasking.  Just keep experimenting with better, more pleasurable ways of doing what get’s you where you really want to go.

Now, before you leave this page, go to right, then up to the top right column and subscribe. Thanks!

And thanks for adding to the discussion with your comments.
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Is the “X” a Replacement for Christ?

xmasIs writing xmas instead of Christmas an attempt to remove the worship of Christ from the holiday?

If the facts are known, the answer is no.  Unfortunately many well meaning but ill informed Christians have been unnecessarily “scandalized” once again.

X is the first Greek letter in the title, Christ. In fact that’s how Christ was written for 1,500 years.

 

The Origin of “X Marks the Spot”

In the early days of the church, when a follower of Christ as martyred, Christians would often mark an “x” on the spot after the body was taken away.  They were signifying, “Here is a place where a Christian lost his life for his faith.

And so, “X-Mas” is not removing Christ from Christmas, it’s simply writing it in a more ancient way.  Let’s remind ourselves that it’s easy to get upset over things that – many times – have no basis in fact. 

And so as the late news commentator, Paul Harvey, used to say, “Now you have the rest of the story.”

Blessed XMas Everyone!  He Is The Glorious Reason For The Season!

Gary

 

The Grinch Can’t Steal My Christmas Joy

Grinch Navity.001This is part 2 of The “Pagan Christmas Witch Hunt” if you may not have seen it.

Peddlers of gloom who stress that Dec. 25 is a pagan holiday and should not be celebrated can’t steal my joy.

Here are a few more (I believe sane and spiritual) responses to the following objections:

1.  Jesus Wouldn’t Condone The Commercialism

I agree.  I don’t think He would.  Our Western style of commercialized prosperity has missed the mark inside and outside the church, His representative Body.

I used to try to sneak things past my father by saying, “But all the kids are doing it.”  He would always respond, “If your best friend jumps off a bridge, will you?”

The point is this:  I can live in a “commercialized society without being a participant in commercialism (whatever that actually means).  I can celebrate the incarnation of Christ at a time when attention is focused there and do so with financial dignity, and honor.

2.  Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, anyway!

I know that.  I wasn’t born on the moon.  Nobody actually knows specifically when He was born with any certainty.  The Biblical account as well as extra-biblical literature is very sparse on the timing issues of His birth.  Those opinions that are extracted from biblical passages are suspect at best because the topics in mention are “spiritual” in nature and not the subject of correct calendar dating.

It is interesting to note that a plausible presentation is given by the scholarly work of E.W. Bullinger’s “Companion Bible.”  Bullinger personally believes with confidence that it’s likely that Jesus was born on our September 29th and that December 25th would have been when Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit.   I find it interesting in that I’m one who believes that life begins at conception.  So, could it be that Jesus actually “entered” the earth 9 months earlier, through supernatural conception, on our calendar December 25?)   Still speculation, but interesting.

The Early Church Attempted To Sanitize A Pagan Holiday

I’m not going to give detail here, because I covered this in part one, however a follow-up question was asked, “Would you celebrate the birth of Christ on an Islamic holiday?

My answer:  Yes, maybe.  It depends.

A question like that assumes a negative answer by an emotionally heated shaming comparison.  However, I would rather think more deeply with my heart than that.  As I’ve stated in part one, I believe it is just as likely that the early church was not doing a cowardly job of sanitizing by turning a heathen holiday into a day to honor Christ.  But, instead, they were taking a “counter-cultural creative stand” in the face of debauchery.  They were saying, “You emphasize the birth of the sun on this day with debauchery and revelry.  We honor the birth of the True Son with our celebration.  I think that would have been a pretty ball-sy stand.

If I felt God was putting it on my heart to counter-culture my Christian beliefs in an Islamic culture, I would.

My Friend Larry De Salvo said it best

 “You know, I was wondering how so many different people came up with so many “pagan” ideas?  We can ‘witch hunt’ with so many various ideas and “pagan” days and pagan this and pagan that we can pick and choose “Which” crazy ideas we want to embrace and bring to the forefront and sensationalize and cause division within our own ranks… it seems like an excellent way for the enemy to divide and make enemies of our own brothers and sisters in The Body of Christ. It’s very easy to find a rabbit trail to follow if your looking for one and our enemy is a master of giving us something to follow whether partly true, totally true, or totally false just to keep us busy and take our focus off of the matter at hand, loving Jesus and allowing the natural flow that comes from that to our brothers and sisters…”

Larry ends with a verse that has also been on my heart, (I Samuel 16:7), “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”

Final Word:

The religious world is full of voices that have the same spirit the Pharisee’s carried.  The details are different but the spirit is the same.  The motivating force behind the Pharisee was to keep things pure.  They added many “laws” that were not inspired by God, but they carried the spirit that it was their job to keep everything pure for God.

Religion comes from the words, “to re-bind.”  Whom the Son sets free, let him remain free, indeed.

I’m not going to let any Grinch in the robes of a Pharisee steal my joy this season.  I hope you don’t either.

Gary

The “Pagan Christmas” Witch Hunt

Christmas Pagan.001As a Christian Pastor, I take my privilege very seriously!  I stand on the truth, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.”  And, I would never lead the people in my charge into paganism…or embracing it in any form.

With that in mind, I have been very troubled for the past several years over the celebration of Christmas in my church.  Some may be surprised at this statement, but it’s been an inner turmoil for me….UNTIL NOW!

I’ve read and prayed and read some more.  The internet is replete with strong denunciations of true Christians celebrating Christmas.  My heart has cried out, “What do I do?”  You see, this isn’t simply a matter of intellectual doctrinal dispute or opinion for me.  If it’s observance is anathema to my Heavenly Father is as true as myriads of Anti-Christmas proclaimers declare, then I and the people I am leading are in great danger from the wrath of God in this life, and maybe even hell-fire in the ages to come.

However, with sincere heart I’ve continued to seek His Wisdom on this most important issue!

I’ve come to the position that many sincere worshipers of God are drawing fear-laden, freedom-binding conclusions based on the same spirit as the “witch hunt” mentality.

I will list a few reasons I’ve come to that conclusion here.  But, if you’d like a more in depth examination, I’m posting a link at the end of this post.

Why I Believe You Can Celebrate “Christmas” With Your Church And Family And Not Be Afraid You Are Embracing Paganism:

Here are only a few of the reasons I have come to my conclusion and hope you will have the freedom to do so, as well (In no particular order of importance):

  1. I’m not afraid of the word, “Pagan,” from what it originally meant.  I do NOT embrace doctrines that are common to current “religious” expressions of paganism. (And btw there are as many slices of paganism as there are Christian denominations).
    In it’s earliest usage (the time all anti-Christmas folks refer to), anyone was a “pagan” who was folk-sy, outdoor-sy, and uneducated.  A common contemporary term that is very similar is “red neck.”Another term that has often been used in the same breath is “heretic.”  A heretic was an still is someone who has taken a basic truth to an extreme, and beyond a truthful biblical conclusion.  However, it is also used by many who stand on opposite sides of what they consider to be basic biblical conclusion.  Who’s the heretic?  Well, the one who is on the other side of the line I’ve drawn, of course! <—- (Sarcasm, in case you missed it.)I identify with many Charismatic or Pentecostal beliefs regarding the current practice of God’s gifts.  A very influential religious leader has assigned me to hell-flames.  I have no doubt this leader is a sincere follower of Christ, but he has openly stated that Charismatics and Pentecostals are not true Christians.

    I’ve also been labeled “New Age” because I believe that dreams can still be interpreted, among other things that are contemporary operations of the Holy Spirit’s gifts.  Do I believe the core teaching of “New Age?”  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  (But, the why is for another article.

    The point is that it’s easy to throw around terms like “new age,” “gnostic,” “mysticism,” and “heretic.”  They illicit strong reactions amongst sincere people.  But, the term easily applied does not mean that well informed truth is being told.   Saying something is so, doesn’t make it so!   And just because it’s found on the internet doesn’t make it so, either! (Internet buyer beware!

  2.  I Believe that “Sunday School” is a good thing for children.  Your church may call it something different like, “Children’s Church,” et al, but the point is the same.One of the common arguments against Christmas is that it isn’t found in the Scriptures.  Well, guess what?  Neither is Sunday School.  It originally came into existence when some churches wanted to educate poor children who were working on the farms and unable to attend school.  These churches taught basic education as well as took the opportunity to also teach the Scriptures.Yet, I have not found one article condemning Sunday School using the “not in Scripture” argument.  Oh, and btw…to be consistent…they should because, you see, Sunday is the title given to that day of the week to honor the Roman Sun God.  In fact all the days of the week are names that honor different “deities.”  Inconsistency Alert!

3. There is a huge amount of speculation to the majority of the claims that are made
about medieval times. 
I’m not denying that some pretty immoral, non God-honoring stuff
went on in that era.  However, much of the “it’s pagan” argument is based on stuff that can’t
be anything but speculation and outright error.  (You can read much greater researched
detail in the link below)

4.  I admire the early church for declaring thier honor to the true Son of God by openly
going “counter culture”
to a major day of cultural debauchery as a worship of the
birthday of their “sun god.” 
I think that probably took good old fashioned guts!  Then
again, I prefer to look at positive potential rather than seeing the “evil” in everything.
Everything that I consider “pagan heresy.”

This is a time when I am honoring the birth of Jesus.  I know it’s not the real date.  I am aware of all the cries and screams that it’s pagan.  It’s not to me, and nobody has proven to me that God is angry.  In fact, I think there’s a better chance of Him being angry with those who have made countless people fearful for celebrating the Christmas season.  I’m focused on making Jesus the reason for the season for my friends, family, and myself!  I hope you will, too!

For The In Depth Discussion,  “Christmas is Not Pagan” Click Here

Blessed Christmas To You!

Gary

 

 

 

A Key To Unlocking Christmas Peace

ChristmasPeaceGod’s peace is a quality of life.  An important part of the “Christmas” message is that peace is pursuing you.

That leaves yours and my part to be letting His peace catch us.

The story of Jesus birth was accompanied by a message from heaven,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

The Key Is A Two Letter Word

Very often the “big things” are the “little things.”  In this case it’s the two letter word, “on.”  The angels announced, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…”

Every place this word is used in the New Testament, it’s always contained within an action.  It is not stationary or passive.  In Luke 2:14 it indicates action from heaven toward the mankind.

Peace is pursuing you right now!  Stop and let it catch you!

More Little Things Of Peace

The Prince of Peace (The Pursuer) was born into the earth as a baby (a little thing).  As we allow peace to catch us, we begin recognizing it in the little things.  These little things will expand.  It’s like the mustard seed.  There is no end in the increase of God’s Kingdom…(in your life).

We begin experiencing and enjoying His Peace as we open our eyes to appreciate the little pieces of peace.  When Elijah was praying for the rain to begin, it began as a cloud the size of a man’s hand.  It then grew to a huge rain storm.

Prayer:  “Jesus, you are my Prince of Peace.  May Your Spirit open the eyes of my heart to see the tiny seeds of peace that are pursuing me.”

Peace (moving toward you from heaven) to you, my friend.  Right here.  Right now.  In this moment.

While you’re here, enjoy this peaceful video:

The First Step To Winning Anything

GIANTSThis post is not about football.  It is simply a good image to introduce the first step to winning over any obstacle in life.

Just one reference:  The issues of life never allow anyone to freely, unhindered, walk over the goal line of victory.  It just doesn’t happen.

Tough stuff happens…sometimes tragic stuff.

Remember these basic realities:

1.  Whether or not the “goal line” resistance is made up of little aggravations or seemingly immovable objects, you can be the irresistible force.

2.  Winning starts with a three word command to yourself – each and every time – as you take a deep breath.  And that command is…

Deal With It!

Let me clarify that I am emphasizing these words to mean, “I’m headed for the goal line and I’m not going to be stopped. So, I’m going to deal with it!”

Do God’s Best!

I didn’t say, “Do your best.”  That’s the default that can spell disaster.  Anytime we attempt to reach into the strength of our own abilities, we are reaching into a shallow pool.

Many of the obstacles we face are pretty intimidating.  In all likelihood they resemble Goliath against David.  But, the outcome can be the same victory as David notched on his belt if handled the way David handled Goliath.  He said, “You come to me with all of your natural strengths and abilities [my paraphrase] but I come to you in the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

A.  Reach into the power that is at work within you.  Speak His Word to yourself and your obstacle.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Quick Tip:  Strengthens me in Greek means, “Who has infused His strength within me.”

B.  Remember the victories (little and big) He has previously given you

Too many times we remember, but our “remembering” is rehashing all of our pain, sorrow, and seeming defeat.  All that does is re-enforce the present obstacle.

C.  Ask God for wisdom

James tells us in the first chapter that if we ask Him for wisdom, He will give it.  So, ask with confidence and then expect “hunches” to “poke” you.  Sometimes we get big, game changing wisdom.  Normally, for me, it’s a lot of little things I act on that come together.

D.  Act On It!

Sometimes the “hunch” will seem so insignificant that you could easily dismiss it.  At times it’s something that you’ll respond to by saying, “Oh, that’s stupid.  That won’t make any difference.”

Many times, for me, it’s following through with the things I didn’t think would make any difference that caused the first crack to show in the obstacle.

Too many times we “deal with it” by getting fearful, or further discouraged.  If you’re pretty discouraged and tired right now, I encourage you to “deal with it” like King David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 (Read the whole story for even greater impact)

“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.”

Remember…hard stuff happens.  And, it’s going to keep happening as long as you draw breath on this earth.  So, choose to take a “Deal with it” attitude.  God’s strength, God’s wisdom, and God’s creativity will take you across the goal line with a smile on your face.

If this has helped, I’d love to hear even a brief comment from you or an example from your life.  Your stories encourage us!

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Secret

MangerWe know about Jesus being born in a manger.  That’s literally true.  However, there’s a secret about the manger. (Secret = Unaware of)

There are many wonderful, powerful truths we can learn from metaphors.   They are significant because they help us picture a reality in a more clear and solid way.

One of the very powerful things that “the manger” signifies is “your and my heart”

Here’s the significance that takes on a new life for me.  And, I hope you’ll spend some time this month thinking about this for yourself.

The ultimate reality is the fact that Jesus “incarnated” (took on the form of flesh) for a purpose:

  1. To give His life FOR the world (in 33 years of example and ultimate sacrifice for our sin)
  2. To give His life TO you and me, individually, to navigate daily life in a far better way.

Jesus giving His life for me is crucial lest nothing else matters in the long run.  However, Jesus giving His life to me means I have the privilege of counting on Him to live His life in me and through me! 

Life Is Impossible Without The Input Of An Ability Much Greater Than Yours.  So, You And I Are Wise If We Stop Attempting To “Go It Alone!”

So many Christians waste so much time with the struggles of attempting to use their own abilities to climb impossible mountains (and one’s they mistakenly think are possible) than no human is equipped to climb.

[btw…that means the Lion’s share of everything you and I face everyday]

Oh, yes.  At times we can do a passing job at some of the the “little things” of life with natural effort and talent.  But, in the end that adds up to a mediocre existence….not LIFE.

He is able to do exceeding, abundantly beyond whatever we ask or even imagine according to the power that is at work within us. Eph. 3:22  HIS LIFE IS THAT POWER WITHIN US.

Upgrade To First Class

You can upgrade to first class, and the ticket’s already been paid! 

Jesus came into the plain, simple, rough manger of your heart.  He gave Himself to you!  His desire is that you allow the abundance of His life operate in you and for you starting this season of celebration.

It Starts With A Seed

The life of Jesus in flesh started as a baby.  From there he increased in stature and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Jesus Is The Word and His Scriptures Are “Word Seed”

Start your day (daily) this way:

Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” “Lord, I consider myself dead to sin and alive to Your life that is in me. I ask You to take over.”

When that, or something like that, becomes the intentional prayer declaration (that you even remind yourself of throughout the day), the seed will grow.

I believe there is no greater delight in the heart of God than to see His children depending on Jesus to daily do what He promised.  Abundant Life.   The promise of abundant life in John 10:10 is not “stuff.”  There may be “stuff” that results, but if we want to experience abundant life, then we must recognize that it is His Life that gave to us and wants to live in an through us.

Be conscious about it.  Be purposeful and intentional.  Plant and nurture the seeds and let Him do His thing.

Gary

 

 

The Secret of Bethlehem’s Stable

Street ManI saw this picture and my heart jumped.  This was the thought.  “If you see this picture with the eyes of your heart, you’ll see the secret of Bethlehem’s stable.”

It’s a secret that has the power to change anyone’s life.

Let it fill the screen of your mind.

Say, “Into thee I see”  Hear, “Into thee I see.”

The man is a metaphor.  Perhaps, as you look into his eyes, they will become His eyes.

It’s Not About Feeling Guilty

Jesus is the reason for the season, and my story today is not about guilt, but touches on a truth that I’ve been discovering for myself.  A reality that is making this Christmas season more real and satisfying than ever before.

It’s not about producing feelings of guilt, or pity.  It’s not about ridiculing the commercialism of our age, nor the removal of family traditions, as such.

It is about taking another look at God’s Story that will bring immediate, as well as, long term positive results…for others and for you.  You see…

This man represents more than a great ministry opportunity. He’s a person that Jesus reminds us at this time of year for whom he came to this world (physically and spiritually).

He is Bethlehem’s Stable.

Especially at this season of the year, we are presented with opportunities to involve ourselves, individually and as a community of faith to minister to those in greater need than ourselves.  And, that’s a good thing!  Our gifts will help, but not have the same impact as deeper and more practical “everyday” participation.

A Greater Truth

A  greater, more resounding truth is this.  Loving the poor means making room for them in “my” life. Loving those who are poor means that I stop thinking about ministry to the poor, but open myself up to being ministered to by those who are poor.  By ministering with those who are poor. Not only as part of a “team” of people (which is good in itself) but on other levels that are more personal.

Sometimes Inconvenient

One of the things that brings more impatience and irritation into our lives is being inconvenienced.”  But, allowing this kind of inconvenience has the potential of doing a much better job of cleansing from self-indulgence that anything else I know.

Self-indulgence (in the name of Godly prosperity) never brings heart level satisfaction.  Letting our hearts beat in rhythm with His heartbeat bears the fruit of the kind of peace that saturates.

Once I start making relationships with the poor that are friendships, I was only mentally agreeing with a Christian sounding effort of charity, but that’s what it actually factually was.  And then…realizing relationship means more than ministry to….but includes opening myself to ministry from these my friends…I was still operating in a half-baked belief system.

I Don’t Put Up With Them

I no longer “put up with” the less fortunate than myself, I am learning to love them as I love myself.  I’m discovering the reality of, “love thy neighbor as yourself” on a much richer level.

Okay, You Caught Me.  It’s Partially Self-Centered

I found out the the sweetest sound in all the world is the heartbeat of Jesus.  It envelopes me with peace, and joy.  And, I discovered I can hear His heartbeat best when…

I am ever deepening my relationship with the poor as I minister God’s love to them, and affectionately invite them to minister His love to me…in all sorts of interesting ways.

My hope is that we will let this season be a fresh experience.  That this season will be a time of fresh life choices that begin….as a babe in a manger, that will continue to grow into an ever-increasing purpose and stature throughout the rest of our lives.

Ever Seeking A Great Vision of God’s Purpose,

Gary

Wide Eyed With Wonder

Wide EyedThe desire and delight of the Lord is for you and I to be “Wide Eyed With Wonder”

That is an experience that He desires that we maintain throughout our “adulthood.”

The Kingdom of God, says Jesus, is made up of those that are like children. 

Your children, or grandchildren are great imitators.  It’s not to late to give them something great to imitate.  It’s not too late to be surprised by the delights of God’s Presence.

It’s not too late to be filled with your own child-like wonder.

What the devil doesn’t want you to know:

It’s child-like wonder that is the heart of “The fear of the Lord.”   There’s nothing like  “eye popping wonder” that will saturate a person like you and I with the deepest kind of awe and respect.

Discover the beauty, peace, joy, and love of wonder

Make the choice right now to tell the Lord you want to be a child again.  Accept no excuses from your “adult self” that tries to insist on the wisdom of being “all grown up.”

Wide eyed wonder is a gift that is yours in the redemption of Christ.  He wants you to begin unwrapping it, today.  

So. be like the child in the photo above.  Open your eyes wide (I mean literally).  Lift your hands up toward heaven.  Say, “Yes, Please.”  Then expect the Holy Spirit to begin a fresh stirring in you.

It may scare you a little at first

It may scare you a little at first because you probably aren’t used to having happy stirrings within.  But, just go with it.

Whenever something contrary happens that tries to make you squint-y eyed with stress, open your eyes wide with confidence in His desires and delights for you.

The first step:  You believing it…which includes true belief…which means acting on it even while it doesn’t feel real.

Yes, Lord.  Yes, Lord.  Yes, yes, Lord!

Gary

 

How Do I Find My Calling?

CallingHow do I know the will of God for my life?  What’s my calling…my purpose?  What are my gifts?

These are all questions that have intense interest for a multitude of people – young and old.

These are questions that have a great deal of focus both with young and old alike.

The question is also the invention of Western Culture. 

Now, I’m not saying that there is no value in taking a gifts survey.  It may confirm what you are good at, and what conditions help you function best.  But, to be honest with you, I have never…I mean not ever witnessed much – if anything – change in a person’s approach to life and spirituality after they’ve taken one – two – three – or, more of them.

That may be a bit of an exaggeration on my part.   Perhaps it’s not a fair judgement.  I’m just saying what I’ve honesty – over time – observed.

Our culture is one of “the specialist.”  Has it made us (really) any better?  I’ll let people with higher pay grades than I argue that.  But, I suspect – when all is said and done – focusing on the discovery of a person’s “giftings” often only makes them more self centered.  Tough words, but true.

Your Assignment and your Calling are not the same thing.

Our “Calling” is captured in the words of the Greatest Commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
(Mark 12:30)  He then added that equally, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It’s interesting to me that He immediately used an extreme example by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.  The Good Half-breed.  The Jewish outcast, God-forsaken, lower-than-life.

When you wonder about who God considers to be your “neighbor,” think about someone that you want to have absolutely nothing to do with.  Be honest about it.  

We want to squirm on that one and play word games, but Jesus gives us as much wiggle room as the thickness of a gnat’s whisker.

The Assignment:  The immediate task given by our Master.  The length of time required for that task may be an hour, or most of a life-time.  Regardless, it is never, ever to be “owned.”

In my 40 years of ministry life and observation…

The majority of the people are not really all that sure about their gifts.  Even after numerous tests, they are still “seeking.”

A “word” I believe the Holy Spirit put on my heart:

A person may become sure of their special gifts, (which usually includes the question of the D word “Destiny.”)  and still never fulfill their “Call” while a person may never be sure of their gifts and yet successfully fulfill their primary calling (as described above.)

If you are unsure.  Be at rest.  I don’t believe God cares that much about how “sure” you are and how many gift surveys you take.  I do believe, however, that He cares about your
pursuit of loving Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  As well as loving your neighbor as yourself
.

Western Culture and it’s specific practices and “rights” are not the same as the Culture of God’s Kingdom.  It may be a very good thing to not look at them as the same.

Focused Concern About What Our Gifts Are May Sound Godly, But It’s Really The Pursuit Of Self Seeking.  Our Purpose and Destiny Is To Be Lovers.  Of God and Each Other (including the outcast).  That’s Enough On One Plate For Any Man Or Woman.

Gary