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Devotional: Because God Works

Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all.
Psalm 104:23

Psalm 104 is wonderful in its description of the whole of creation, rightly sweeping it under the domain of God… clouds, springs, mountains, moon and sun, lions.  

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.

 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

 The birds of the air nest by the waters; 

       they sing among the branches.

 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

 He makes grass grow for the cattle, 

       and plants for man to cultivate— 

       bringing forth food from the earth:

 wine that gladdens the heart of man, 

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Stupid things I said in my 30s

faith rest rēstart work Aug 13, 2020

“Let us make every effort to enter that rest
so that no one will fall by following their example
of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11

South San Francisco has many small hills and winding roads. Clearly I was directionally challenged as I tried to find the small home where the social event was happening. A pre-smart-phone passenger suggested we use a map. I replied, “Who needs a map when you have a full tank of gas?” At <40 it seemed a smart, perhaps even a pioneering-sounding statement; 35 years later it sounds dumb. I am aware most days that I have less time and energy than I did back then, and the days don’t seem to get longer nor the gas tank bigger.

Which takes me back to Hebrews chapter 4. Whoever wrote the book of Hebrews was acutely aware that some people got the whole Jesus thing, and others missed what was under their noses. “God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail...

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Hoping to inherit?

When I see the word “inheriting” I generally think about getting something for nothing, having assets passed on to me that someone else stored up. Psalm 105 reinforces this idea:

He brought out his people with rejoicing,
    his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
 that they might keep his precepts
    and observe his laws.

Even the phrase, “they fell heir” sounds like something falling into one’s lap. Quite a number of Hollywood movies have been made about young people inheriting a father’s or grandfather’s billion-dollar business or estate, usually subject to quirky conditions which make the movie entertaining. 

This week I noticed a different angle on being an heir, or inheriting. The writer of Hebrews starts this way:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the...

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The World Would Be A Better Place

Some mornings you wake up, read a few lines and think, “If we all did this, we would sort out a lot of problems. If we all had this mindset then things would clear up pretty quickly.” I know there are complex problems, but I challenge us to stack those problems on one side and this remedy on the other and consider the outcome.

1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves.

2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.

3 For even Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."

4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.

5 Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus,

6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord...

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The Women With Mirrors

“They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” Exodus 38:8

Tsaba is a Hebrew word that means “to go forth, wage war, fight, serve.” We don’t know who these women were, or how they got there, but there they were ministering at the entrance to the place of worship. There is no record of Moses saying, “How about we get a women’s fellowship, or a weekly ladies prayer meeting…” These ministering women just appear. They probably saw, not just with their natural eyes, that God was up to something, and they wanted to be right there.

Theirs was not a soppy, soaking, sloppy worship either: it was “tsaba” – waging war, fighting, going forth. These were women on a mission, with a purpose, doing spiritual battle before anyone stepped into the tent of meeting. 

Scripture does not tell us whether these were single or married women, but it...

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Don't Waste A Crisis

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

We are living in the midst of a three-headed crisis: pandemic, politics, profiteering.

It is no wonder that various groups are trying to make the most of the crisis. While the concept of not wasting a crisis is wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, the real source of the phrase is found in “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. It was later used by Barak Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel (who is also a former Mayor of Chicago). “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” 

A lot of energy nowadays goes into making sense of what is happening in the world. Crises are not new, and the patterns used by those who would leverage them for their own ends are premised on discontent and disorder. The general idea is to find a crisis, amplify it with as much emotion as possible, propose your unique solution (which fits your ideology), make sure that...

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Myth #12: Convergence Is Balance

Many people have asked, "How can I get more balance in my life?"

This is the wrong question, and God is not obliged to answer bad questions. Convergence is not about balancing different parts of life. It is about submitting all to God and integrating.

Why might the balance question be the wrong question?

  • Keeps us in control
  • Keeps everything in play
  • Doesn’t allow the Holy Spirit to redirect – planned in advance
  • Allocation – stressed out all the time with everything equal
  • Too busy to hear God
  • The harder we try, the less balanced we are
  • Removes humility

Integration is not easy, but it is rewarding. It carries an authenticity that is rare, a peace that is palpable, a centeredness that calms. 

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Myth #11: Work Is A Consequence Of Sin

convergence work worship May 09, 2020

Man is made in the image of his/her Creator. Our Creator is a worker. Without his work, we would not exist. Without the things He created, we would not know what He is like. Before a book was written, His divine attributes and nature were visible through His work. The old Quaker saying says, "Work is love made visible" is true.  Work is worship (it is the same word in the Hebrew).

However, sin did mess work up: it became a sweaty drudgery, the ground and sky and sea not co-operating as it had done before. Then came the 2nd Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. He redeemed many things, including our work so that we can, from here on out, work with him in a divine-human collaborative.

Amazing! Discovering work as God designed it is key to Convergence.

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Myth #10: If You’re Doing Your Passion, You Will Never Have To Work A Day In Your Life

Find your passion, then work will be easy! Or, as many a NextGen-ers have said, "If only someone would pay me to do what I am passionate about!"

The problem is, Ms. Millennial, next month your passion (about which you are convinced today) will have changed. Human trafficking will be out of vogue, and the pink-striped salamander will need saving. 

Work is work. Sometimes it is inspired, but after the inspiration comes the perspiration. I have written many books, and I love the process... and I hate it. Sometimes it is like wading a swamp, other times like soaring with eagles. If passion--and, by that you mean, feeling constantly excited and uber amped--is your guiding light, you will end up chasing fireflies down a winding path that goes nowhere.

Purpose trumps passion; obedience is bigger than both.

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Myth #9: Success Is A Pre-Requisite To Significance

The idea behind "success to significance" is good, and it is bad. The good part is simple: people can realize there is more to life than just being successful. We were made for something more.

If, however, we make a pursuit of significance, we fall into an equal and opposite error, for anything that is pursued before God becomes an idol. 

Another bad outworking of "success to significance" is that it opens the possibility of dualistic thinking, where these are two different tracks. The net result is fragmentation, and 

“Fragmentation decreases our ability to comprehend truth and make sense of life. This is why satan uses compartmentalisation as part of his strategy to “steal, kill and destroy” thereby reducing our ability to experience the God who is One.” - Brett Johnson

 

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