Two analogies: a soldier focused on his commission, an athlete building to fulfill their calling, and finally a….
Farmer (With a Target) 2 Timothy 2:6-8, 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
Here is an analogy that we are used to talking about at the crossroads, where over coffee the most common topic of conversation is the weather, where you are talking about the hard work that goes into producing a harvest, it is a way of life. Yet, just listening in my ignorance of farming, there is one conversation I have yet to hear—“Hey guys—I’m just going to wing it this year—I’ll plant the seeds that I happen to come across—I’ll just hope for enough to get a harvest, to pay the bills. There was no booth at the Farm Progress Show called—“JUST WINGING IT.” Continue reading “Farmer’s Harvest”
Paul’s first analogy holds no punches, putting us on the front line—managers rather than masters of our world, but his second analogy calls us to be like …
Athlete’s Training—Not everyone is as lucky or as cursed to have Michael Phelps’ training regimen which became famous during the 2012 London Olympics as he was reportedly eating about 12,000 calories a day. Simone Biles who worked over the competition was reported as completing 18 workouts a week to bring home the gold. We live in a 24/7 Sporting world, radio, television so we can connect with Paul’s words: (2 Timothy 2:5) Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
Just because we have been given time, talents, and treasure, how do we actually go about discerning and cultivating what we have? Have you ever noticed how easy it is for someone to call themselves an athlete? Continue reading “Athlete Training”
An old story is told about a young farmer, standing in his field, observes a peculiar cloud formation. The clouds form the letters G, P, and C, and he thinks them a call from God: Go preach Christ!
The farmer rushes to the deacons of his church and insists that he has been called to preach. Respectful of his ardor, they invite him to fill the pulpit.
That Sunday, the sermon is long, tedious, and virtually incoherent. When it finally ends, the leaders sit in stunned silence. Finally, a wise deacon mutters to the would-be preacher, “Seems to me the clouds were saying ‘Go plant corn.'” Continue reading “Soldier’s Focus”
In God’s power and goodness he created man, despite our rebellion he offered rescue to mankind through Christ, but the goal of saving the lost involves you and me…
A Divine Commission– as the culmination of what has come before (Matthew 28:18-20) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
When someone is on their death bed or going away for the last time—their final words takes on greater significance. It is Jesus last words; his greatest significance takes his life’s goal of seeking and saving the lost and turns it into a co-mission. He includes us in changing the world. True discipleship breeds duplication. Pastor Griffen put it this way: “We’ve been commissioned to proclaim God’s good news to people in bad situations and change the world. We’ve been sent to shout freedom to people imprisoned by life and the order of things. We’ve been sent by God to declare new vision to people blinded by the weight of their past and present realities. We’ve been sent by God to call people who’ve been oppressed by greed, pride, power, violence and hate and declare their freedom. We’ve been commissioned by God to change the world.” Continue reading “Great Exchange: Commissioned”
Whether Adam or Eve in the Garden or you or me in our daily life—we see the results of sin every day, we almost take it for granted. Yet, stemming from God’s authority, we find a reason to engage the world rather than just complain about it—
A Divine Concert—Even as God was brokenhearted about the results of sin, before even fully declaring the impact of their decision on Adam and Eve he revealed his concerted plan(Genesis 3:14-15) So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your bell and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Continue reading “Divine Concert”
Imagine asking for help with your homework from the most powerful man in the world. On a Friday night after a long day of school that is exactly what Amy Carter while her father Jimmy was still President. Stumped by a question on the Industrial Revolution, Amy sought help from her mother. Rosalynn was also fogged by the question and, in turn, asked an aide to seek clarification from the Labor Department. A “rush” was placed on the request since the assignment was due Monday. Thinking the question was a serious request from the President himself, a Labor Department official immediately cranked up the government computer and kept a full team of technicians and programmers working overtime all weekend…at a reported cost of several hundred thousand dollars. The massive computer printout was finally delivered by truck to the White House on Sunday afternoon and Amy showed up in class with the official answer the following day. But her history teacher was not impressed. When Amy’s paper was returned, it was marked with a big red “C.” Campus Life, May, 1981 p. 59. Talk about a check to their authority. A middle school teacher checked the entire authority of the Labor Department with barely a passing score.
Maybe that is a more common feeling than we would like to admit. Where we don’t really feel like we have the authority to make any real change, no power to make a difference or a lasting impact; whether in ourselves, in our community, or especially in our world. It doesn’t take long reading the newspaper or watching the evening news to feel a bit overwhelmed. Yet, there is more to the story than meets the eye. Continue reading “Great Exchange: Commission + Authority”
God has given us everything around us, people, possessions, and even person-hood as a way to develop our character into Christ-likeness, he gives us a chance to give in order to evaluate our Internal Condition, but a renewed character in Christ is always going to have real-life ramifications in how our world is…
Move #3: CONSTRUCTED- Our parable gives us one more character, the aptly named third servant who was entrusted with a portion of the Master’s wealth—Unlike the first two, (Matthew 25:18, 24-29) 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ Notice the paradox of what unfolds. The servant is self-centered making it all about him and he suffers. When had he focused on the master he would have found success. He gets completely consumed by excuses and consumed by the fear of failure. 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
The servant had the same calling as the first two offered to him. The same master was waiting to welcome him, but he missed his calling, too consumed by worry of the world. Continue reading “Great Exchange: Consumed”