Praying for the Storm

I live in the land of hurricane season. This year we had a couple of very active weeks that saw several hurricanes pass very close by and one slow-moving storm that took a path directly up the center of the state of Florida. Watching hurricane tracking charts is very emotionally draining. A refrain that becomes common is such seasons – particularly as the storm bears down on your location – is to offer prayers and hopes that the eye of the storm will change directions and follow a new path. But, the more I thought about this line of reasoning, the more unsettled I felt. At the most basic level, I was praying that the storm would move on and hit someone else. This was not prayer that was offered in humility with Christ at its center. Such desires had me at the center. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that so many of my prayers and the prayer requests I see from others have the same misplaced center. Little thought is given to the implications for others, instead I ask God to ensure my comfort, security, and affirmation. Such requests of God are rooted in the false self. Christ in the garden faced a storm and asked for another way. But His prayer did not end there. Almost immediately He offered “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus returned to the proper center for His prayers – the Father. We hate storms. With good reason. But, good can happen in the storms of life. They can help us release our...

Why Big Things?

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ – Matthew 25:21 All of us have a desire for significance. It has been implanted within us by the God who created us. In our lives, problems result when we seek that significance apart from our Creator. One of the ways that we attempt to prove our worth is by doing big things; having a big impact. The larger the impact, the thinking goes, the better our work for God. We want results to prove our closeness to God. But the verse above from Matthew says that our faithfulness is actually demonstrated in the little things. If we can stay rooted in Christ and believe the truth of who we are in the circumstances that seem insignificant to us, then we can be trusted with much. There is a temptation in the big things: we will look to them for our significance instead of God. So the pastor only feels effective if church attendance it big. An author only feels successful if they sell a lot of books. A parent determines their effectiveness by the career path of their child. A business owner gains significance from making more money. The list can go on and on. The false self seeks big things for a sense of value. God gives big things when we are secure and rooted in Him. Today at the Igniting Souls Conference that I am attending, I was reminded that impact is magnified when someone I...

What is Acceptance?

So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. – Matthew 22:10 The king had sent out a save the date announcement about his son’s upcoming wedding. Preparations were made and time went by, but the invited were to keep their eyes open and be ready. When all was set, the king sent word…and none of the invited came. So, Matthew 22:10 above tells of the king’s next command to his servants being executed – go and invite anyone you can find. Good and bad, they were brought in and the wedding hall was filled. This is a picture of a God who meets us where we are; He demonstrates acceptance. As part of the character of God, acceptance is then supposed to become part of our demonstrated character. Because of both our pride and the culture we live in, we get confused about what acceptance is. Acceptance is not to be confused with approval. Approval calls brokenness wholeness. It redefines the terms, and creates a man-based standard. It is simply doing what is right in our own eyes, and is a way to try to create wholeness apart from God. Approval of brokenness is a product of the false self. Because of the inherent worth we all have a image bearers of God, every person merits being accepted by followers of Christ and those that lead them. But, we are each in a broken state. When we accept another we understand that person is broken and is...

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