God Doesn’t Grow Tired


God doesn’t grow tired of hearing our petitions. We are the ones that grow tired of petitioning. Keep praying. God hasn’t stopped listening. – Jackie Hill Perry

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What Should I Do When I Disagree With My Church?


Reposted from rethink

If you’re in community, your likely to experience conflict.

Conflict is healthy for any growing organization, church, marriage, and friendship. To not have conflict probably means that passivity has taken residency in your conversations. We are all allowed to have have our needs met and challenged.

What happens when we disagree with our Church? Let’s explore 4 questions.

1. Is this personal conflict or communal conflict?

Personal Conflict

In Philippians 4:1-4, Paul pleads with Euodia and Syntyche to get along. There is personal conflict between two ladies. Paul asks the church’s leaders and members to come alongside them.

Spiritual formation is critical to your personal conflict. Are you taking the inward journey? Why do you care about the issues that you keep bringing up? How many people need to know your bent towards other things? I know a lot of Christian who do a lot of stuff. I don’t know many Christians are focusing on being at peace.

Communal Conflict

In Leviticus 4, Moses writes that the entire Israelite community is guilty of sin when the High Priest sins. Sin/Conflict/Tension is personal, but it’s also communal. It’s not just your conflict, but it’s our conflict.

Are the issues you are feeling/thinking through also being felt by others? By others, I don’t mean your friends. That’s easy to leave a church if your friends feel the same way. Do people outside of your circle feel and express the same thoughts and feelings? That might be worth exploring. When an issue is disrupting an entire congregation, you might be stepping into an unhealthy congregation.

2. Is this a problem to solve or a tension to manage?

Problem To Solve

There are multiple ways to approach conflict. This is necessary, because you won’t get the same result if you use the same approach.

A problem to solve is something that must be “figured out.” Your personal, theological, ethical, preferences and bents have been violated, called into question, or aren’t valued. This is something where you feel like the church has crossed one of your personal boundaries.

Are you the one that’s supposed to “figure out” the problem? Are your church leaders supposed to “figure out” this problem? 

Tension To Manage

A tension to manage is a conflict that doesn’t need to be solved now or possibly ever. This conflict doesn’t cross any of your boundaries. You are ok with this.

If it’s something to manage, the inward journey is critical. It means you don’t have control of how something may be decided upon, managed, or executed. If that sits well with you, then growth happens when you decide to not jab at it or passive aggressively get others on your side. Your spirit is at peace.

3. Is this a conflict of Theology or a Conflict of Proxy?

Theology

In any discussion, on theology, there are open-handed and close-handed positions.

Open handed issues are issues that you believe strongly, but are open to discussion and seeing where others land. These are different for different people. These conversations are fun (for me), because they can be heated and intense debates, but at the end you are ok with having your views moved or remain the same.

Close-handed issues are issues you believe strongly about and are not willing to change your position. For a lot of Christians, these are issues like: Is The Bible true? Did Jesus actually live? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Is Jesus the only way to heaven?

You need to know what are your open and close-handed issues. Churches need to know theirs too. Every church as a right to their own beliefs about Scripture and its theology.

What gets a lot of churches, in trouble, is when they don’t have an official position on a given issue. If there is an issue you care about, What is your church’s official position? If your church doesn’t have any official position, set up a meeting and explore it.

Proxy

Proxy is often the reason why most people leave their church. It’s not such much their church’s beliefs as much as it the way people live. They don’t like how they are treated or how things operate.

There are a lot of great churches whom have deep convictions about theology. However, they are not willing to invite discussions with people on the “fringes of society.” They will talk about suffering, but they are not quick to help with rocky marriages. They may say everyone is welcome, but only to a certain point of comfort.

Are you someone who prefers a more “conservative approach to theology” and a more “liberal approach to loving people” or is it vice versa or something else? How you sit with those questions might help you decide if your among the right community of believers.

4. Is this a conflict for decision making rights or reconciliation?

Decision Making Rights

Every church should know why they exist….beyond the great commission. Loving everybody is a great mission, but everybody isn’t everybody. We are all different people with different preferences, dreams, and hopes.

If your church has a mission, vision, and values to reach a specific target audience, allow them to do this. It’s a heavy weight to hear from the Lord. A church shouldn’t change who they are and what they do to win everybody. It’s impossible. Jesus didn’t win everyone, neither will his churches. Sometimes people have their minds made up.

If you disagree with a church’s mission, vision, and values and it crosses your personal, theological, and practical beliefs, it may be time to go.

Reconciliation

The high note of the Gospel is reconciliation – enemies of God to peace with God. It’s hard to seek peace if we haven’t taken the inward journey. If your goal is a curiosity that leads to peace and understanding, you should remain. You should stay even if it’s not something completely  the way you would do church. If it doesn’t violate those personal beliefs and actions, stay with your church family. You have a Kingdom to gain, community to extend, and depth to growth into.

Begging for Scraps


chickfilaprayer

Reposted from Faith Tap

Helping the homeless is something that some of us love to do, and something others avoid for their own reasons. But when one struggling homeless man wandered into a Murfreesboro, Tennessee Chick-fil-A, he got the surprise of a lifetime.

The man came in wanting any leftover food scraps the store had to spare – but he left with so much more!

A father-daughter duo was enjoying a quiet meal to themselves when they witnessed the kind actions of the Chick-fil-A manager. The father, Joey Mustain, posted the entire story to Facebook as soon as they got home!

“I took Stella to Chick-fil-A today. It’s our normal daddy-daughter spot. It’s clean, so good, and the playground has a tractor beam on her the moment she sees it.

When we finished eating and she’d worked up her dessert appetite playing with the other kids, we went back to trade in her toy for ice cream. She wanted to sit at a table to eat the cone (something we usually do in the truck), and I’m so glad she did.

We took a booth right next to the spot where you wait for your drink to be ‘refreshed,’ and we had a front-row seat to this beautiful scene: a homeless traveler had walked in and asked if they had any extra food.

Mud was wet and caked on his well-traveled shoes.

His hair was matted, and his beard wasn’t a statement as much as it was a necessity and a sign that he doesn’t get to shave as often as most of us do.

People near him kept their distance, but that didn’t stop him from being kind. He spoke to people who reluctantly spoke back, and he smiled while he waited on a manager.”

It seemed as though nothing could faze this gentle homeless man.

The manager approached the homeless man, and Joey was shocked by what he heard during the ensuing conversation!
“All I could pick up on of the conversation was the manager saying that he’d love to give him a full, warm meal. Not just scraps or extras.

The only thing he required was that the man let him pray with him.

After the homeless man agreed, there was no waiting for things to die down, there was no scooting anyone to the side.

As busy as they were, the manager stopped then and there, laid his hand on the man, and proceeded to pray.

filet

I heard love in that prayer. The homeless man wasn’t some untouchable stain on business. He was the reason that store opened its doors this morning (or any morning).

I asked Stella to watch and she stared. She asked what was happening and when I told her, she bowed her head, too.

I realized then and there that Chick-fil-A doesn’t simply do business for profits, they truly use business to minister….

I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today.”

The manager could’ve easily ushered the dirtied man away from his restaurant, but instead, he chose to make a positive difference.

As the weather gets chillier and the homeless are forced to endure frigid, dangerous conditions, think about how you can make a positive change! No matter where you live, there’s a homeless shelter that will gladly take your old clothes, volunteer time or money (if you have extra to spare).
You do have what it takes to change lives for the better, just as this amazing manager did!

Chick-fil-A


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By Bill Callen:Top Right News

Chick-fil-A, the same fast-food outlet has once again proved a positive to the world. This time it did so by unveiling an amazing Veterans Day tribute that left Georgia resident Eric Comfort in complete shock.

According to a Facebook post he published on Mon, when he walked into a local Chick-fil-A, Comfort discovered a”Missing Man Table”that contained a single rose, a Bible & a folded American flag, as well as a plaque in which was the following explanation:

“This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms.The tablecloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast. The chair is empty – they are missing.”

After the story went viral, the store manager, Alex Korchan, explained to WSB that his team members had set up the table because they “wanted to honor veterans.” Furthermore, he offered free meals to all veterans and their family members on Veterans Day. Korchan also put up a poster so that customers could write in the names of loved ones who they have lost. “We’ve had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it,” Korchan continued. “It’s been special to see.”

A Soldier’s Christmas Poem


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Reposted from poetreecreations

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.” “It’s my duty to
stand at the front of the line,

That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Author: LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN, 20th Naval Construction Regiment

Respect for Character


respect

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Men need respect. They’ll go to school and keep going to school . . . degree after degree seeking respect from academia. They’ll work their butts off to be respected at work. They’ll buy things they can’t afford trying to be respected by their neighbors and friends. They’ll run marathons and IRONMAN races to be respected as athletes. They’ll lift weights and bulk up to get respect as someone not to be messed with.

But what men often miss is this . . . it’s respect for their character they truly seek. Men want to be respected for who they are on the inside. This type of respect is slow to build and hard to come by. It takes establishing a track record of doing the right thing over and over in a community of people who are watching. It’s doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. It’s telling the truth . . . being trustworthy and honest. It’s being the same person no matter who you’re around . . . in public or in private.

People say that going through tough times builds character. I disagree. Character is revealed under pressure but not developed there. It’s developed in advance of the crisis. I believe there are three primary contributors to character development . . .

1. Character is taught – We need someone to teach us right from wrong . . . someone who can interpret morality for us, giving us ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ and explaining things like tenacity, sportsmanship, gratitude, patience, humility and helpfulness.

2. Character is modeled – We need to see someone live out a life of character in front of us. We need to watch someone humble themselves, admit when they’re wrong, say they’re sorry, and lose gracefully. We can all remember people who were this kind of ‘cornerstone’ people. They didn’t ‘preach’ character, they ‘reeked’ of it!

3. Character depends on Jesus – We need to know we’ll be taken care of if we stand strong in our character. Faith in God gives us confidence to stand strong and tall. We are not alone . . . we can depend on our Heavenly Father to hang in there with us when we do the right thing regardless of the consequences. “The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness” (1 Samuel 26:23).

Our children and our children’s children will be taught different versions of character than we were. It’s increasingly up to us, the parents and grandparents, to connect the development of character to a rock solid faith in Jesus Christ. They need to hear us say, “You can stand alone . . . you don’t have to give in. You can do this! God is with you and as long as you know that, what can man do to you?” Character is never about the immediate future, it’s about the long run! The strength to stand strong against peer pressure and public opinion . . . that’s the kind of character that’s respected.

We’re often called the ‘self-esteem’ generation. But I can assure you, nothing builds self-esteem like doing the right thing. Do the right thing over and over and before we know it, our character will have earned the respect we crave so badly. And we’ll feel a lot better about ourselves along the way.

On Earth as it is in Heaven


prayer-changes

Reposted from Walk in the Word with James MacDonald

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, ESV).

When we hear the Lord’s Prayer recited, we usually hear emphasis on the words kingdom and will. It sounds like this: “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (emphasis mine).

We can subtly change the meaning of wording by altering what we accentuate. Try praying it like this: “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (emphasis mine). Whose kingdom—yours or God’s? God’s! In prayer, you submit your will and your territory to God. You bring your burdens before Him, not as an equal, but seeking and expecting His will to be done and His kingdom to prevail. You will be able to look back and say, “When I started to pray about this, I was praying the way I saw things. But as the weeks became months, I started praying differently because I came to see things God’s way. That reality changed what I asked for and the way I asked. Now I want what God wants for my life.”

Sometimes prayer changes things—and sometimes prayer changes me. And I start to pray more in line with what God wants than what I want. Prayer is part of the furnace God uses to fabricate His will. Praying puts us where He can work on us. That’s why we pray in submission, “Your will be done.”

Submission comes before wide-open prayer. Let’s be honest—many of us ask for silly or selfish things, or maybe we insist on our own way. But God doesn’t rule by committee, so through prayer, we submit and align our wills with God’s. That’s why Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). That’s not an open, unconditional invitation to ask for whatever you want, no strings attached. When you get yourself to a place of true submission to God, you can ask whatever you wish because you won’t ask for dumb stuff. You want what He wants, because your will is submitted to His.

We pray for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” How do you suppose God’s will works in heaven? If God says to the angels, “Build some more mansions,” do you think they respond, “We’re tied up right now,” or “We’ve got some supply problems, and the permits aren’t coming through”? I’m going to suggest that in heaven things happen exactly the way God wants, on time, every time. So when we pray, “Your will be done,” we’re declaring, “God, we long for it to be like it is in heaven. We want our lives to reflect the state where what You want happens on time, every time.” That’s a prayer of submission.