When God serves us

1392627-hubble-telescope-images-of-planetsIt is an amazing phenomena that we have in North America that we try to serve a God who serves us.  I find it amazing the amount of people who have expectations that God needs to fill.  It isn’t a new concept either.  There have been people for many decades that treat God like a genie in the sky.  Just say the right prayers, have the right amount of faith, and God is obligated to move and fulfill our expectations.

It sounds a little ridiculous I know, but there are whole doctrines being taught today in churches which in essence teach this very concept.  We see it when people leave churches because God didn’t answer their prayers.   Someone didn’t get healed.  Someone they cared about passed away.  We see it when God begins to move in our lives and we disregard what God wants to do because He didn’t follow our plan.

The biggest concern I have with this idea is when we try to obligate God into doing things our way, and we do it in so many many ways, we shrink God down until He is beneath us.  We remove Him from being supreme, sovereign creator, to being, I hate to say it, a butler required to do what we wish.  One of the greatest tragedies we have in churches today is the fact that God has become so, so very small in our lives.

We do what we want, when we want, and expect that God simply will bless us.  We set our schedules and plans, and create our programs and turn our eyes to heaven and say, “look at what we have accomplished, come and place your seal of approval on it.”  I know we don’t consciously think this way, but our actions demonstrate this very thought.  We don’t just plan our churches this way.  We live our lives this way.  Just look at our budgets and schedules and the time we have for the lost around us and it doesn’t take much searching to see that we are serving a really small God, reduced to following our plan, and using our wisdom.

And then we turn to the world and say, “Come and follow God with me.” and wonder why no one wants what we have.  I believe it is time for us as Christians to re-evaluate our view of God.  Is your God to small.  Have we diminished Him so that He has to follow us?

I believe in a God who spoke the entire universe into being.  A God who planned me and you from before creation happened.  A God who knew He was going to have to enter our world and die in our place before He said let it be.  A God who holds the entire universe in the palm of His hand and sustains it with the power of His word.  I believe in a God who is so deeply in love with us that He freely chose to enter our world and open the door again to knowing Him and His abiding presence to us, and who calls each of us by name to accept His invitation.  I believe that we are called to serve a God who exists outside time, who knows the beginning from the end.

I believe we need to see God again as He is, that we are called to follow Him.  Not just in word, and by going to church when we feel the need.  But to be a people who come to know Him as He is.  To be so captivating by the awesome and terrible presence of God again.  The that so many people who have encountered Him have immediately fallen on their face and worshiped.

We, as Christians, have lost the awesome, powerful, majestic nature of God in our lives and substituted it for something of worthless value.  I believe that God is again moving on the hearts and lives of His people, calling us to again know Him for who He really is.  To again know and walk in the power of His abiding presence.  To follow and walk with the One who simply said “Let it be..” and it was.  It is my prayer for all of us that like David we could “magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalms 34:3 NLT 

It is time for us to stop diminishing God and begin to magnify Him.  To open our eyes and hearts to the majesty of who He is once again.  We serve an amazing, incredible, awesome, powerful God who desires us to know Him.  Will we remain as we are, or will we begin again to magnify God and see Him as He truly is?

When God doesn’t follow your plan

image What do you do when your plans come apart and everything seems to go wrong. When all your hard work seems to have been a waste and your left feeling wasted and confused by life. Every one of us has had times in our lives where this is exactly what has happened. Life for everyone of us has it highs and its lows. And sometimes the lows can be extremely difficult and painful. There are times in all our lives where life simply sucks. There is no other way to describe the feeling inside.

Often when things fall apart many of us tend to blame God, especially when things are extremely painful. The death of a loved one can be extremely traumatic. And often when we have prayed and prayed and prayed for God to do something and they still die we can become very angry with God. Or when a major business deal falls through. Or maybe it is the ministry you felt called to do has come apart. As Christians this can be an extremely sensitive area we face as we talk with people about Christ, because everyone, everywhere faces extremely difficult lows in our lives. Some more painful than others. I cannot say I understand the pain of a child or a spouse passing away. That is a pain I can’t say I would wish on anyone. But in my own life there has been some extremely painful experiences. Some where I wished I could simply just die so the pain would stop. No one is able to corner the market on pain. We all face it. The pain you face may be different, but it is still pain none the less.

The most common question people ask when things go wrong is “Why?” Why did this have to happen? Why didn’t You heal her? Why, why, why…. The why’s can be endless and are as various as the pain we face. We all wonder why, and then look for some reason to justify the reason for the pain we are in. I have heard many Christians as God why, and get very frustrated when there is no explanation. I know I have been angry at times when God explain Himself in my life. We may never know the answer to the question why.

In my own life I have come to understand that there is purpose in my pain. It may not be pain for a purpose, as many suppose. Sometimes it is just pain. I know that God may not have caused the pain in my life. The pain usually is my fault, or the mistakes of people I care about. We all cause a lot of pain for ourselves, and pain for those we hold close. So God often doesn’t cause the pain, but He did allow it. If God is sovereign He could have simply said no and stopped it from happening. So then the pain has purpose in my life. God always is able to use our pain and turn it into something beautiful. One of my favourite scripture passages is Romans 8:28 ” We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” (The Voice)

The pain we face can have purpose. We will probably never be able to understand why because God doesn’t think like we do. His wisdom completely supersedes our wisest of wise. ” because the wisdom of this rebellious and broken world looks like foolishness when put next to God.” 1Corinthians 3:19 The Voice, and ” This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” 1Corinthians 1:25 NLT. Asking God to explain Himself to us is like a three year old asking for an explanation from their parents. The level of understanding isn’t even close.

We may never know the purpose of our pain in this life. But one thing I do know is God always has our best in mind for everything He does or allows, and it will all work out in the end. Sometimes the pain we face today is what pushed us to achieve the best we achieve tomorrow.

The “Yuck” Factor

yucky-faceWhen God moves in our world it is often confronted by the wisdom of man.  Many times man has stepped in front of what God was doing and stated “This is not of God.”  Only to be proven wrong when we look back through history at what God had accomplished.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy[a] when God called you.   Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”  Corinthians 1:26-27 NLT

Many times throughout history God has moved in great power.  And those who were supposed to know God’s hand and ways criticized and declared it wasn’t God.  Something we see all through the life and ministry of Jesus.  He came into this world to reveal the Father to us and to ultimately pay our penalty so that a relationship with God and us could be restored.

Every time God moves there are critics to the way He decides to move.  Someone once said “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”  And often our heart gets in the way of what God is wanting to do.  The way He moves or the methods He uses cause us to turn our noses and say “Yuck.” I have had the privilege of studying many of the past moves of God, and the changes that have been made in the church throughout history, and I have been amazed that the trend is always the same.  As the presence of God increases, the opportunity to simply say “Yuck” when we see what is happening and dismiss it also increases.

Whether is our pride that gets in the way, or the way we “believe” that God should move, or the methods or people He chooses to work through.  The move of God always reveals what is in our hearts.  Do we desire the presence of God more than we desire our comfort and security?  Do we desire the anointing of God more than our reputation and image?

There is an awful lot of crap in our world today being disguised as “Christian” , or “God moving” and we do need to be careful what we choose to believe.  This is what we are encouraged to do in scripture.  “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”  Even though we need to be careful about what we see is God moving, we also need to be careful what we write off as not God.

Jonathon Edwards said “the task of every generation is to discover in which direction the Sovereign Redeemer is moving, then move in that direction.”  God is doing a great work in our day and time.  I am excited to see what He is going to accomplish and the lives He is going to change.  The question is will we decide to be apart, by being open to His lead, or will we hold tight to what He has done in the past and dismiss what He is doing today?  We can turn our noses up and say “Yuck” if we choose as many many many people have done before us.  Or we can allow our hearts and lives to change and enter in to what He is doing here today.