Saturday, February 20, 2010

Owned Desires

This morning while waiting for a friend in a coffee shop, I was pondering how our desires change over time. I don't think I am speaking strickly about getting old but about the redirection of our desires. Much of this has to do with people we live and work with.

When I was a employee for a paint contractor- I would head off to work in the morning and as I got to the job I would lay aside all my desires (sleep in, eat a nice "Saturday breakfast", loaf around, etc) and embrace his desires. I did this because I was on the payroll (his dime- his time). If the boss wanted me to train people I did. If he wanted me to fire someone I did. You get the picture.

But when I went home I stopped embracing his desires and again took up my own. I know that doesn't sound amazing but it is when we compare it to the kingdom. Follow my thinking.

When I came to Christ in surrender I laid down my desires, most of them sinful, and yielded myself to Jesus. Sure there were times when my mind drifted back to those desires but I fought through those because I wanted to be a person of integrity. If I claimed Christ-I wanted to live Christ. During my walk with the Lord I have learned his nature and kindness and the wonder of his character. In this time I have embraced his desires fully. Most of my desires now are "borrowed" from him. Those desires that I embrace these days were given me by him- they are learned. (I hope that makes sense). So I care about others, and am concerned about them because he is. I help people because he is prodding me to. It doesn't mean I don't have selfish days where I try to do my own thing. But those desires are largely dormant. Growing in Christ means that you have owned desires... that you heart is infected with the heavenly virus.

However, and here I confess too much perhaps, I have noticed that when I give in to the selfishness- I can fall back into the habit of rejecting his desires and embracing or recreating my own. I can hide the secret desires of the flesh from everyone but God. And the very thought of this frightens me.

Lord, Help me to serve you with a whole heart. Create in me a new heart ready to hear, let me love what you love... let me cry over what moves you... let me rejoice over the things that bring you joy. Create the desires in me... occupy my heart and inculcate the things of heaven into my spirit so that I may lose myself in serving you. Let me, like a kernel of wheat, die and then bear fruit. May I spend enought time with you everyday that my desires are shaped. Lead me in the everlasting way...AMEN

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to confess to wrong doing

These 7 points are thoughtfully put together by Ken Sande in his book Peacemaker.

As God opens your eyes to see how you have sinned against others, he simultaneously offers you a way to find freedom from your past wrongs. It is called confession. Many people have never experienced this freedom because they have never learned how to confess their wrongs honestly and unconditionally. Instead, they use words like these: "I'm sorry if I hurt you." "Let's just forget the past." "I suppose I could have done a better job." "I guess it's not all your fault." These token statements rarely trigger genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. If you really want to make peace, ask God to help you breathe grace by humbly and thoroughly admitting your wrongs. One way to do this is to use the Seven A's.

1.Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
2.Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
3.Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
4.Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
5.Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
6.Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
7.Ask for forgiveness

This sounds so simple but is lacking in EVERY CONFLICT that comes into my office! If these were practiced by the church families and marriages we would have sound relationships that would be a testimony to those around us!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Alien Visitation

Imagine if you will that visitors from outer space visit the planet tonight. They land in Chicago and get a hotel room. Curious about this planet and the American culture that they are here to visit they tune into the TV in their hotel room to find out what are the issues that this culture faces. After an evening of cruising the channels they determine that the things that are uppermost on our minds are not the problems of our rotting inner cities, not the debilitating pace of life, nor the breakup of the nuclear family. It seems that we are not bothered by the fact that our children are spending their strength and their fortunes on drugs and drink, nor are we bothered by the soaring crime rates, and we are not bothered by the loneliness and disorientation that so many face in our society. The moral decline that is evidenced by the lyrics to Lady Gaga's and R Kelly's songs is what we are trying to address on the TV. No, after one evening of watching commercials and seeing the products that are being advertised they would identify the issues that are uppermost on our minds. Those things would be easily identifiable as bad breath, body odor, indigestion, depression, constipation and erectile dysfunction.

Why are we so blinded to the real issues that plague us? Why do we not see the moral decay that is eating the foundations of the righteous institutions in our country. God help us to see what is a real issue and what is a figment of Wall Streets need to sell us one more thing.