Month: January 2018

Are You Ready?

I was overwhelmed. And I was not ready. In college, I worked in a restaurant. Two years into it, the manager promoted me from cleaning tables to cooking. I grew to love it. There was a new sense of satisfaction with cooking. But I was still green. Very green. Only five days later, the night was late and we were short on help. I was by myself for the first time. Normally this wouldn’t happen for weeks or months. But I was eager. And the boss needed someone. The experience started easy. A few meals, some tasty steaks and chicken. Then, came the rush. Orders piled up. And I quickly was lost. The manager noticed. I was overwhelmed. And I was green. As he came around the corner, he simply, yet sternly said, “Marc, stand down.” As an officer releasing a soldier from guard duty. I sheepishly watched from the sidelines as the manager and his assistant cleaned up my mess. Embarrassment and frustration welled up in me. I was not ready.

The story came to mind recently. We were talking about John 15:26-16:15 at church recently. In chapter 16, Jesus tells his disciples, “ “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Jesus was telling his disciples that he had more to tell them. But they weren’t ready for it yet. However, one day they would be. Just like in my failed cooking attempt.

A few days into cooking, I wasn’t ready. But in the years that followed, I would go through the same situation many times. And it was a breeze. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Each of us are called by God to grow in him. To read his Word. To go to him in prayer. But some understanding takes time. When I switched churches at 19 year old, I came across a doctrine that I didn’t understand. Originally, I pushed back against it. I said that it wasn’t really what Jesus taught. I said that it wasn’t how things work. But over time, I searched the scriptures. And the Scriptures confirmed it for me. Originally, I wasn’t ready. But Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. And the Holy Spirit taught me over time. John Newton once said, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am” Over time, each of us can grow. Each of us can learn. And each of us can follow Christ deeper.

Ghost – It is Better

Yesterday, we started learning about the Holy Spirit, also called the Holy Ghost. He glorifies God, empowers us, and leads us into all truth. Check out our look at John 15:26-16:15, for it is better that Jesus ascends to heaven because he has sent the Helper.

Self-Awareness & the Story of David and Goliath

The story of David and Goliath has been on my mind lately. Malcolm Gladwell has published a book about the story. And he has completely changed the way I understand the story. At the same time, 2018 and goals have been on my mind as well. How do these two come together? In my view, awareness. How might you ask? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to highlight a part of Malcolm Gladwell’s new understanding of the David and Goliath story.

Goliath was over nine feet tall. Medical researchers have studied this. They have tried to figure out how this was possible. They’ve concluded that it is most likely a condition called agromeglia. The same condition that Abraham Lincoln most likely had. Agromeglia can cause vision problems. When we look closer at the David and Goliath battle, it becomes evident that Goliath most likely had vision problems. For example, when David approaches. Goliath responds in verse 43, “Am I a dog? That you come to me with sticks?” But David didn’t have sticks. He had one sling in his hand. Goliath most likely was either near sighted or double visioned due to agromeglia. Also, his armor bearer, had to guide him on the battlefield. This is mentioned in verse Why is this? Why is this fearsome soldier, this giant of a man, being brought by the hand toward David and the Israelite army? Again, it’s most likely because he couldn’t see well. We can picture how this affected the fight. Did Goliath see David’s stone fly at him? The point is, the battle was not going to end well because of Goliath’s agromeglia.

Awareness. Goliath lacked awareness of the situation. He lacked awareness that David could easily kill him. Around New Years, we look back at the previous year. We look forward to this year. This makes me wonder, what are places in my life where I lack awareness? Granted, I’m not on a battlefield like Goliath was. I don’t have an Israelite slinger, David, in front of me. But each of us need awareness in life. Awareness of our strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of the people around us. Awareness of how God is at work. So as you look to 2018, take a moment to pray. Ask God how you are doing with awareness. Are you blind like Goliath? Or, do you have situational blindness where you can see most things but lack awareness of details or specific people? If you are brave, you can even ask friends, family, even your spouse, how are you doing when it comes to awareness?

David vs. Goliath: A Closer Look

David and Goliath is one of the most well-known Bible stories of all time. It has become a metaphor for any sort of uneven competition. But recently, everything I though I knew about David and Goliath was challenged. Yesterday, I shared David and Goliath in a way few have heard it before. This Friday, I am posting the Malcolm Gladwell video that informed it.

Friday Favorite – Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Forgotten God by Francis Chan

We’re diving into a teaching about the Holy Spirit starting on January 14th. Today’s Friday Favorite is the book that I’ve been using to prepare. It’s a book that will reignite your understanding the Holy Spirit and draw you closer to a deep connection with the Father.

One Day There, the Next Day Gone

This past week I lost someone who I highly respected. His name is Paul Heidebrecht. He is what Presbyterians called a Stated Clerk. Since most reading this won’t know what that means, think of him as the our district administrator. But he took it further. He had a love for the Lord and his people that I respected. He had a desire to see new, young leaders lifted up and involved. As I sat down to think of a few weekly words for those who read here, I thought a simple, short encouragement would be best. Love those in your life well because you never know when they might not be there longer. And for those who have lost someone dear, we shall see them again when we all are in glory. Check back next week for more!