Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Would God Pray For?

During prayer time at church, we focus on the safety, success, and health of our loved ones, and it’s usually a rather lengthy list of children, parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, longtime friends, and fellow church members. We express thanks for their good fortune and achievements and more often we’re anxious about their welfare. 

Now turn it around and think about God’s concerns

What does God care about? Look through the scriptures and see that he is concerned for the poor, the children, and the elderly. He cares for the suffering and the ones we often write off as unimportant.

Just as we bring our concerns to him, he shares his concerns with us. 

“I’m worried about my child.” I say. 

“I’m worried about the child that no one sees. There is probably one on the street you live on.”

“I’m worried about my finances.” I share.

“I’m worried about the person who will die today because he is starving. For that matter I’m worried about the family that lives within a block of you that didn’t eat today.”

“Please watch over my nephew who was arrested last night.” 

“Please consider the man who was arrested for worshipping me.”

“Protect our youth group while they’re on their band/athletic/church mission trip.”

“Help the innocent who are caught in the violence of war.”  

Okay, I don’t really think God is trying to play a game where he trumps our every request. I think he cares for the things that affect us personally.  But I think he wishes that we showed a bit more concern for the people he cares about. 

Here’s a challenge: When you pray, ask God what’s on his mind today. See where that leads you. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wanting More

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2). 

It’s not exactly news that people hate change.  In church we bump against this tendency if we try to change the music, or the position of the furniture, or the color of the carpet, and other superficial issues.  Tragically, we often can’t get past those to the more important issues.

As a pastor, I’m interested in helping all of us go deep to discover a greater relationship with God.  Doesn’t it make sense to assume that there is always more to see and know and experience, and that we could discover things that have never been articulated before?

Am I making anyone nervous yet?

The Church, not just our congregation, not just our denomination, but the whole Church, has expended an enormous amount of energy in establishing doctrines and then debating the finer points of them with each other.  Each church reminds its members over and over as to “what we believe.”

It’s not wrong to review church doctrine, but we need to recognize that it is an attempt to have conformation rather than encourage transformation.    

I want to learn new things. I want new insights. I want to be more than I was yesterday. I want to know God more. 

I want transformation.

Jesus wants nothing less for us, and frankly, I won’t settle for less.