Cloudy Discernment

After taking the time recently to analyze my top three spiritual gifts I determined that discernment was number three. That’s why I was pretty rattled when I read this quote from Donald Miller,

“In my own life, I notice I validate people who like or validate me. When I say so-and-so is a nice person, what I really mean is so-and-so thinks I am a nice person. And if I sense a person doesn’t like me, or thinks he is better than me, my mind will find all sorts of criticism” (pg. 117).

The quote comes from the book Searching for God Knows What and is among scores of other ideas about how we think of other people. I would love to say that the quote isn’t a good representation of how I am but I find myself understanding exactly what he is saying. If we are ever going to love others like God intends us to then we have to realize that our worth comes from Christ and not from what they think of us. Can we truly love those who do not love us? I see what Matthew 5:43-47 is talking about and why it is so hard to do.

The Relationship of Power

I’ve been thinking through an idea that keeps getting bigger as I read more and think more about it. It was triggered by something that I read in the book Spiritual Leadership by the Blackaby brothers. It says that

If Jesus provides the model for spiritual leadership, then the key is not for leaders to develop visions and to set the direction for their organizations. The key is to obey and to preserve everything the Father reveals to them of his will. Ultimately, the Father is the leader. God has the vision of what He wants to do. God does not ask leaders to dream big dreams for him or to solve the problems that confront them. He asks leaders to walk with him so intimately that, when he reveals what is on his agenda, they will immediately adjust their lives to his will and the results will bring glory to God. (pg. 29)

What this quote is alluding to and the bigger idea that has been brewing in my mind is that maybe a lot of Jesus’ power came from His intimate relationship with the Father. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that Jesus was God in flesh but maybe we attribute too much of what He did to His divine nature as opposed to His relationship with the Father. I think it’s safe to assume that Jesus was closer with the Father than any person has ever been.

The really intriguing idea that comes from this is: what could God do through us if we were more in tune with Him? I’m starting to believe that we could have almost “supernatural” abilities because of how close we would be to what God is doing. The reason I started thinking of this idea in this way is that I heard a person that I really respect tell me about an opportunity that he recently missed. He said that he could have noticed something that was going on with a person if he would have been closer in his walk with Christ.

How would I act differently if I were closer in tune with God’s heart, with God’s purpose, and with God’s values? Could I discern things that would be otherwise impossible? Could I know about things that God would do but hasn’t yet? Maybe we are our greatest limitation to living a powerful Christian life.

Leadership Lesson Learned

Wow…that is my most impressive alliteration title I’ve written yet!

We had a leadership camp for some of our students in JH and HS and we spent the week listening to different leaders share what they know about leadership and life. One of the speakers gave us a list of things to remember as we try and lead others and one thing stood out in particular. He said to remember that,

“Nobody cares how busy you are.”

While that may seem like a trite lesson on leadership it really hit me. How often have I explained to someone how busy I am (and almost always as an excuse of some kind)? Everyone is busy and the truth really is that people don’t care when we use this as a copout. I’ll definitely try and alter my vocabulary from now one to avoid this one.

My Development at Disneyland

Those of you who know me well know that I have a deep love for Disneyland. Seriously, I tried to go there whenever I could while I was in Cali for school. After my recent graduation, I took the time to enjoy another day at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

I have included my evolution in skill at the Buzz Lightyear ride. For those of you who haven’t been on this attraction, you get to shoot at different targets and accumulate a score at the end. Not only is my beautiful wife by my side…she also improves her scores quite a bit as we go. Here is a shot of my first attempt at it months ago…

Here is another attempt from last Saturday that is slightly better…and is my favorite “action” shot of me:

And finally…here is the picture proof of the fact that I achieved a score high enough to rank myself among the elite of Disneyland.

My Issues with Trust

So I realized that for awhile now, I’ve had major issues trusting God. Not in the sense that I don’t believe in Him or that I don’t want to follow Him. Much deeper issues–let me explain.

I often listen to and observe what is going on with our country and get internally frustrated. I’m not a huge person for politics, mostly because I’m not educated on the issues enough to really know what I’m talking about, but I react my own way like most other Americans. When I see how we allow immigration to the point that I wonder when I’ll be the minority, when I see how people continue to get more and more tired of what they perceive as “God” and what religion has become in America today, and when I realize that other movements like Islam and Mormonism seem to be growing at a much quicker rate that Christianity…I realize that I don’t really trust God.

I don’t really trust Him because I get an uneasy, worried feeling whenever I think about these things. I wonder what role I should play in “making things right” but I’m left overwhelmed and confused. I was reading a Psalm the other day when God really laid this on my heart. It says:

“Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the Lord judge the peoples…Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure–you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.” –Psalm 7:6-9

So, while I don’t know what the future holds, and especially what my role should be–I know that God is the ultimate One in control and that He will be the perfect judge in the end. That makes the future a lot easier to accept.

Curse Exxon

If you’re like me than the rising gas prices continually gets under your skin. I don’t understand why nobody does anything to stop the prices from getting so ridiculous. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options that we have to improve the situation. However, I did get one little gem from a buddy of mine. Click here to go to a website that allows you to type in your zip code and see the cheapest gas prices in your areas. $5 here we come…