Relate-Ability


Many times with friend or stranger
with impatience I have erred
by attempting to enlist them
before proving that I cared.

Full of fervor and of zeal,
I took no interest in their plight,
and pressed them for commitment
long before I’d earned the right.

Why am I not growing?
What secret have I missed?
What must I improve
if their will I’m to enlist?

How many have I pushed away
because I took no time
to listen to their dreams
before forcing on them mine?

Other times have I not recognized
one’s emptiness or pains,
and spurred them on for more effort,
focused only on my gain.

Though my call to arms be noble,
even grand beyond compare,
others won’t respond
if, for them, I do not care.

So from now I will correct
my approach and appeal,
halting all pressure,
even tempering my zeal.

With empathy, I will listen,
and resist the urge to speak:
The perspective of another
at all times I will seek.

For when my first concern
is for another point or pain,
’tis then I’ll earn respect
and their trust begin to gain.

Such is the only way
my circle will expand –
I must shine the focus off myself
and on my fellow man.

For ’tis only when another
is convinced that I care,
will they listen with interest
to the words I have to share.

Excerpts from The Proverbs of Leadership

Written by

Stevenson Willis

When Christians Love Their Religion More Than Their God


Reposted from God’s Politics

shutterstock_260418431Instead of promoting Christ, Christians often promote … their theology – their culture – their values – their creeds – their traditions – their spiritual practices – their specific type of baptism – their required form of communion – their style of sermon – their church – their denomination – their definition of salvation – their philosophy of evangelism – their form of ministry – their brand of worship – their interpretation of Revelation – their interpretation of the Bible – their favorite leadership model – their social customs – their laws, rules, and regulations – their political beliefs – their moral values.

Imagine if Christians introduced people to their God instead of their religion.

Unfortunately, we often evangelize our own specific type of Christianity to other Christians rather than sharing the Gospel with unbelievers — preferring to convert, criticize, and attack our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ because we feel their version of Christianity isn’t as good as ours.

In a pluralistic society obsessed with consumerism, marketing, entertainment, and comfort, it’s tempting for Christians to endorse unique attributes of their specific church, community, traditions, and faith instead of actually introducing people to God.

When this happens, the Gospel of Christ gets manipulated from something profound into a superficial sales pitch that’s commoditized to fulfill an array of selfish desires.

A particular brand of Christianity is propagated above all others — being worshipped and valued even more than God. We lose focus on the centrality of Jesus and obsess over the infinite differences within Christendom.

Instead of being unified in Christ, we’re divided by our distinctions — our beliefs become a form of idolatry.

Rifts are created, fractures occur, and theological wars are waged. Opinions are stated, agendas are pushed, accusations spewed, and allegations of heresy declared. Churches are disbanded, communities are broken, and relationships are lost — many abandon their faith altogether.

As a follower of Christ, do you ever feel like you’re still trying to be converted by other Christians? As if your faith isn’t quite good enough — being constantly critiqued, debated, and judged by other believers?

Christian evangelism has become inward focused, obsessed with internal factions where various sects of Christianity jostle for power, recognition, and control.

Instead of focusing on the unreached world with the transformative message of Jesus, churches, theologians, pastors, and parishioners spend their energy and resources trying to convince other Christians — or shame them — in the hope that they’ll reform to their better, more holy, righteous, and perfect “faith.”

Upon learning that a friend, coworker, or acquaintance is a Christian, we tend to immediately ask ourselves: Exactly what kind of Christian are they?

It’s not sufficient that they profess Jesus is Divine and rose from the dead, or that the Bible is inspired, or that they believe in the Trinity. That’s a start, but it’s not good enough. We want to know if they’re exactly the right type of Christian — our preferred type of Christian.

So over time we try to gather the necessary information and intelligence we think will reveal everything we need to know about their faith: What church do they attend? What music do they listen to? What books do they read? What political party do they support? What social causes do they support?

Inevitably, 99 percent of humanity fails to fit into our ideal picture of what a true Christian looks like. But instead of following Jesus’s commands to gracefully love our neighbors — even our enemies — and refrain from judging others, we do the exact opposite.

Is this the type of live-giving, hopeful, joyous, and loving faith we want to share with the world? Is this the message of the Gospel: I’m right and you’re wrong?

Instead of comparing versions of the Bible — tell us what God has been speaking to you.

Instead of complaining about worship styles — tell us about a time you experienced God’s presence.

Instead of criticizing a particular theologian — tell us how God is moving in your life.

Instead of questioning a denomination — tell us what you love about God.

Instead of condemning someone’s beliefs about eternity — tell us how God has changed you.

Instead of arguing over the proper way to facilitate the sacrament of communion — tell us about the ups and downs of your relationship with God.

Instead of preaching about a right or wrong method of baptism — tell us your faith testimony.

Instead of talking about religion, introduce us to God.

Christianity is extremely complex. Thousands of years of varying traditions, practices, events, experiences, and interpretations have shaped, informed, and influenced an infinite number of cultures, communities, and individuals in an incredibly unique way.

This doesn’t mean that Christians should accept everything as being morally admissible. It doesn’t mean that all beliefs and practices have equal merit. It doesn’t mean we live in a world devoid of absolute truth. It doesn’t mean we ignore false teaching and sin. On the contrary, followers of Christ must adhere to truth and orthodoxy.

But we shouldn’t be naïve enough to believe that only our particular church, pastor, and favorite theologian is the sole holder of truth, wisdom, and God’s favor.

The most important truth within all of Christianity is God. God exists. God’s real. God’s alive today. So why do we as Christians seem to talk about almost everything related to God without actually talking about our relationship with God?

Amid a world with unlimited spiritual choices, Jesus is distinctly unique! By introducing Jesus, instead of spewing the ugliness of yet another empty religion, we will reveal the wonderful glory of God.

Finding Shelter


po11ycheck:

Where are you seeking to find shelter?

Originally posted on The Life Project:

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Where do we find shelter?

In modern life, people seek shelter and refuge in many places, for instance many seek it in money and possessions.  Others might seek it in a relationship with a loved one, while others might seek it in their careers or professions… Some might even try to find refuge in drugs or drink.

None of these can really protect us from much, for the things of men will perish after a season.  In spite of this grim reality, shelter and refuge are available for anyone who seeks them; we need only to seek them in the right place.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2

Do we seek the shelter of God?

Will we dwell in His ways…

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