Archive for January, 2016

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 290

January 29, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. “I will see you again and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22).

Jesus’ resurrection would change them forever. To see Him emerge in their room after watching His violent death would galvanize their understanding and their courage to believe that there was, indeed, something supernatural about their journey with Him. He is God! They knew it for sure now. Their eyes saw the evidence. Their faith became sight. And they would not let go of the story no matter how violently they might be treated themselves. One day, that will be us–kneeling before the throne of the One we spoke about, learned about, and tried to listen to. It will all be so real then, and the joy of the assurance of our faith will never fade, but remain bright and strong through an eternity of calendar pages. The question is, will we believe now? Jesus told one rejoicing disciple, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” I think He meant us.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 289

January 28, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices” (John 16:20).

The truth of this contrast is becoming more and more evident in the western world today. That Christians stand apart from their world on a host of issues is becoming increasingly clear. “They” cheer what we resist and “they” despise what we have come to love. In this passage, Jesus is, of course, speaking of His Cross, but that’s far from the only moment where our perspectives clash with those who don’t know Him. Are we ready for such rejection? Will we be able to hold to our eternal understanding or will the party around us envelop our eyes as well? For decades, we have enjoyed popular opinion. As that is changing, will we change with it or will we continue to see this earth through Heaven’s eyes?

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 288

January 27, 2016 Leave a comment

288. They kept asking, “What does he mean by a little while” (John 16:18).

Good question. The God who does not live within our time parameters sets His watch in a way we cannot calculate for ourselves. Now in this original moment, we sense Jesus speaking of His death, just a few days from their moment, but in a broader sense, His “little while” can also speak of a day we still endure. As Jesus will later remind them, the Father holds times in His hand. Our efforts to decide the intervals He intends when using words like day, hour, and a little while seek to use a language we don’t speak. While God dwells with us in our moments of time, He acts according to His own time. His plan cannot be calculated by our watches, nor can our calendars unlock the secrets of His return. But we can live by faith, knowing that His promises will come to pass in the fullness of time…His.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 287

January 22, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. “In a little while you will see me no more” (John 16:14).

At the end of this amazing discourse on the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus drops a bomb into their thoughts. Soon, He will be gone from them. One can easily sense the depth of relationship and dependency each of them felt with Him, as it seems nothing previously said matters as much as this. What does this mean? where is He going? In fact, Jesus will spend the remainder of this chapter answering that one. But the idea of separation from Jesus rattles each of us. We are deeply dependent on His claim to be with us always. Who among us would want to get out of bed on a day where Jesus isn’t there? How terrifying such a day would be, wouldn’t it? Thankfully, we don’t face such a day, but it is coming. There will come a day when God’s presence will be lifted and the darkness of men’s hearts will run rampant. Fortunately for us, His children, we will spend that day somewhere else–with Him!

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 286

January 20, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. “He will speak only what He hears” (John 16:13).

This Spirit of truth that will come and guide us speaks only what He hears. Within this unique relationship within the Godhead, we see both the Son and the Spirit speaking what they hear from the Father. They speak in submission to His plans and purposes. This is a portion of the nature of their unity, for such unity would be impossible without the choice to submit. Now, our own unity can never rise to the level of theirs for they are united in a relationship we can only define as Trinity. Still, we can learn from some of the pieces of this unity–such as this one. Only when one is willing to submit his will and actions to another can the two become one. Only as we give can we be joined.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

What is Worship – Part 9

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

So, after two months of blogging about worship, what is it that we conclude?

Clearly, there’s more to worship than a 20-minute music set on Sunday mornings. And even that unique part of our week must be held to a standard of focus beyond mere enthusiasm or even sincere expression. Worship, throughout both testaments and the history that has followed, has always required the whole man (woman too). Worship means everything, demands everything, and changes everything.

As we have seen, there have always been five priorities in worship–relationship with God, relationship with one another, rest (or ceasing self-dependence), giving/sharing, and remembering/praising. If we think we’ve engaged worship of our God without journeying through these foci, we have only participated in a self-styled effort–not one that follows the directives of the One we claim to worship. No, in such cases, worship is just our thing, and apparently we expect God to adjust His expectations.

That’s not okay…at least not for the true worshipper.

When we consider our list of five priorities, we see worship as it is meant to be, an effort that engages every part of our lives. Only when worship focuses on relationship with Him through an ongoing, daily pursuit of His direction, could it ever be pleasing to God. Only when worship draws us toward one another in love and motivates us to heal our conflicts and restore our friendships, could it ever hit the right mark. Only when our worship demonstrates our dependence on God could we ever truly be proclaiming His greatness and sufficiency. Only when we let go of our possessions and commit them to His giving heart can we say that we know Him. Only when we lay ourselves down in selfless service can we imagine that we are truly following a Divine Servant. Only when we celebrate the great things He has done for us and around us can we claim to truly know Him.

It’s a demanding package, a life consuming path that doesn’t achieve connection with God, but proves that we have one. Worship is…everything, and it takes a lot more than a few minutes on Sunday to fulfill its true expression. In fact, it’s going to take all week!

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 285

January 15, 2016 Leave a comment
  1. I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear” (John 16:12).

I wonder how often this statement is true for us. God has truth that we need, but the awareness that we aren’t ready to receive it. Jesus’ next statement explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the needed, but future, revelation. “He will guide you into truth.” One would think that three years with Jesus could provide sufficient opportunity to download every imaginable content. Indeed, John will later say that the full list of all He did would fill every book on the planet. And yet, some content will have to wait because we are not ready. Here is a key piece of the gap between what God can do and what God will do. Perhaps it is often that God does not respond as we wish because we are not yet ready to receive what we crave. This is the action of a loving Father–one who marks His child’s development so closely that He doesn’t bring what we are not prepared for.

Categories: Leadership Journeys