Two in a row.

Don’t “they” say that repeating something two times is the beginning of a habit? If not, “they” should. I guess it really depends on two becoming three, and ultimately the activity becomes routine or a habit. (I am babbling about a second post in a row starting this year.)

Yes, my plan is to continue to be totally random for a while and write what comes to mind. Maybe this is stating the obvious, but that can be a good thing.

Speaking of habits. They can be good as well as bad. Doesn’t it seem like the word has taken almost a totally negative connotation? Maybe there is a better word for the positive things we do that are essentially automatic. I guess routine may be a better word than a positive habit. What do you think?

Isn’t it, as you can see I think it is, interesting how the meaning of words changes. Here are a few examples that I believe need a “rediscovery”; Christian, church, and love. I hope this year to explore some of these words and work to rediscover their meaning. The result may be that new words are required for the original purpose, but that is to be explored.

Back to habits. I want to be nearly habitual in my spiritual disciplines. Please don’t jump to the conclusion that this means ritualistic or religious. (Religious is another word to explore.)

I believe that one of the best expressions of spiritual discipline is habitual. By this I mean making spiritual disciplines an absolutely inviolable part of my daily life. That literally the very first thing I do each morning without fail is to consciously talk with the Lord. Not limited to that I “must” be faithful in this, but that I “get to be” faithful in response to what God has done and is doing in me.

I believe intentionally giving up lordship to my life after saying good morning and thanking Him generally for another day to breath and live is spiritually essential. In other words choosing to reject lordship of my own life that day by giving it up so that He will literally be my Lord and Master.

Following the potentially meaningless declaration of lordship is action. I find the tougher part of this essential process is truly giving up my life and obediently doing God’s will the next moment and the rest of the day. It is easy to say I am going to “die to myself” (Galatians 2:19-20) and then at the end of the day realized I never even opened God’s word or really asked what I was to do that day.

Last week I was helping a guy prepare the sermon for Sunday. It was wonderful to hear him seek a deeper understanding, as am I, of what it means to live James 2:14-26. Faith in action – what does that really look like every day? It looks literally like Jesus life! I believe it is also God’s desire that others see me and get a better than pathetic perspective of obedience to God’s will daily.

Paul was bold to state it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:1. “Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.” (Berean Literal Translation). Isn’t that to be the living statement, in word and deed, of every person who calls themselves a Christian?

Ok, enough for now minus one more thing.

Praise the Lord for His amazing, perfect, limitless, and relentless grace.

1 Degree Principle Introduction

For a few years I believe the Lord has been teaching me a principle related to living and God’s will.

Actually this principle is rooted in a much longer-term spiritual learning concept for me – God’s will, God’s way. For about 10 years I have been seeking the Lord’s direction for what it means to live according to not only God’s will, but also as He designed and therefore God’s way. The 1 Degree Principle is one important part of God’s will, God’s way, but only one part.

I think my pondering over the 1 degree started when I was preparing messages on the Sermon on the Mount at the InterNational Church of Wroclaw (INCW). Primarily Matthew 5:48 caught my attention as most translations of the Bible say “be perfect”.

Though it is true the verb in verse 48 is in the future tense, therefore it is that we “will be made perfect”, and I learned it is more about being mature and or complete, it still remains that there is a spiritual type of path for believers.

Add John 14:6 with Matthew 7:13-23 and we get an even better, I believe, idea of the overall process Jesus was teaching. He is the “way” and we are to follow Him (Matthew 16:24).   Jesus implies in Matthew 7 that He is the spiritual “narrow” way, and stating it another way He is the perfect way or path.

That led to me wondering what happens when I fail to follow, as it were perfectly, Jesus according to God’s will (Matthew 7:21-23)?  Thankfully it is by God’s grace, not only for salvation, but also the long-term process of making us “mature and complete to lack nothing” (James 1:2-3) that any of us can spiritually follow Jesus at any time or in any way (read Romans 7:13-25 for an example).  In the end it is God who is truly doing the “hard work” of making it possible for any of us to follow Jesus.

Always keeping God’s grace in mind, it still remains that whenever I swerve even 1 degree from obedience to God’s will, ie following Jesus, I am going down the wrong path. It seems so minor at first to be only a tiny bit off of following Jesus, but the long-term affects can be catastrophic.

My intent is to continue to hone my understanding of this principle as I seek the Lord for His insight on the subject through the Holy Spirit. In response to the search I also intend to begin documenting not only what I learn, but how it affects us in application as well.

I would be honored if you feel led by the Lord to join me in this journey so don’t hesitate to write any comments, insights, suggestions, and or kind disagreement.

Serving Our Savior

Special part 1 – Spiritual Leadership, Wood Shavings

Lessons on Leadership, part 1
Special Wood Shavings

I continue to discover that leadership is more of an art than a science.  Add to this the element of a spiritual context and it even gets more challenging, I think?  (It is likely that I am making it all more complicated than it really is – I have a tendency to do this with nearly everything.)  For example in John 13 Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and tells them to do likewise.

For the last 30 plus years I have been a leader in various ways.  The first situation I remember is when I gathered some of my junior high friends to do cleanup at construction sites where my dad worked.  Early in high school I was elected to lead an informal, which grew into a formal youth group.  At the time I really didn’t think much about the process of leadership or efficiency or stuff like that, I just liked to do stuff with other people.  One of the lessons from the recent training is that I generally don’t do stuff unless it is with others.

Since those high school years there have been a variety of leadership roles from project manager of a production class in college to starting a new ministry in Russia.  What continues to baffle me is why people “let” me lead.  Generally speaking I do not have some key natural abilities for productive leadership.  I realize this sounds negative, but it isn’t to me.  God has, I believe strongly, called me to be a spiritual leader!  So now more than ever I am seeking God’s heart, through prayer and study, for His leadership of me.  My greatest desire is to become what God designed me to be!

It is likely people have chosen me to lead in the past is because I like the “spotlight” a bit and I like a challenge among other things.  My hope and prayer is that these traits grow so that I truly become a Godly leader.  The training confirmed that I too often venture into leadership without all the “tools” necessary to be successful.  I have a lot to learn.

Something also confirmed about me is that I consistently like change!  It is said that the only thing consistent is change.  I guess this is convenient for me since I like it so much.  Before going any farther though about consistency I must state the fact (often assumed and therefore under respected in my opinion) that God is the ONLY consistency in all of existence.

Now back to the issue of liking change.  I tend to be very adaptable and good at naturally going with the flow.  I have been characterized as being a – chameleon.  As a chameleon I adapt to my surroundings, not that I try to hide.  The danger with having these traits is that I can easily be too adaptable and go too much with the flow.  I am learning that a few of the greatest factors related to change are: truth, facts and convictions.  This is terribly inconvenient since I enjoy most “feeling” my way through nearly everything.  Feeling in this regard is more related to intuition and regular adjustment (change), which may or may not align with the truth and facts.  The nature of using intuition is antithetical to convictions.  (But I really didn’t want to write that last statement and want to defend otherwise.)

I will stop for now, you might already think I was really done long ago.  I would love feedback – good, bad, or ugly (but please share the bad and ugly with kindness).

But wait, there is more.  Hahah.  The following are my first impressions and intuition.  What do you think?  What do you think God thinks about these topics?

My definition of a spiritual leader and leadership:

A spiritual leader is a man or woman who: 1. is in the lifelong process of loving God in every way and passing it on to the next generation (Shema, Deut. 6:4-9), 2. constantly seeks to obediently follow Jesus, 3. is empowered by the Holy Spirit, 4. is informed by the Bible, and 5. is motivated by the desire to glorify God.  The natural and progressive result is a person whom God uses to lead others to Himself!  This person is a disciple maker (Matthew 28:18-20).  Only Jesus was and is a perfect Spiritual Leader, Disciple Maker.

Spiritual leadership is the process of God using a spiritual leader to lead (encourage, influence, guide, mentor, ?) others to be Jesus’ disciple makers.  This is a process of God’s design and will.  It is God’s Will – God’s Way (a phrase I believe God gave me some years ago).  It is about BEING who and what God made us to BE and from that flows the doing.

Key verses: Deut 6:4-9, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 6:40, (I need to add lots more)