Here’s a thought I had last night: If everyone was a Christian…what would the world look like? Now, it’s important to understand that my thinking was not if everyone were a Christian in the ideal biblical sense (valuing community, caring, and other- centerdeness etc.) but more along the lines of the typical ‘Christian’ churchgoer in the western world today. Just a thought (and maybe way off base in a cynical kind of way) but would the world be a religious fundamentalist scary place where you’d have to be careful how you sneezed…or would there bickering over laws being passed not on the grounds of morality but more along the lines of scriptural interpretation? Would volunteer organizations suffer because everyone is too busy in church activity? I guess, it all depends on what “brand” of Christianity people embrace wouldn’t it?? Just a thought…
Scripture read (read entire of Acts 17):
…”Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city.” (Acts 17:6 – NLT)
Turn the world upside down…wow! Now that’s the kind of reputation that accomplishes things. How many Christians today have that reputation? Here Paul and Silas had been preaching in Thessalonica about Jesus. The passage records that large numbers of people (godly Greek men and many important women in the city) were becoming Christians and that the Jewish religious leaders started stirring up mobs against Paul and Silas out of jealousy. They went to the house of Jason, a believer, suspecting that he was harboring Paul – when they couldn’t find Paul or Silas they dragged Jason and others of his household out before the city council and then yelled out the above statement. They also made accusations charging Jason and the believers with treason among other things.
As I read this the words, “turn the world upside down” really stood out to me. To the jealous Jewish leaders they saw the work of Paul and Silas bringing chaos to the world and so causing trouble to their ‘way of living’ and what they know about the world. So, in one sense Paul and Silas, doing the work of Christ, were indeed turning these Jewish leaders world upside down. But in a truer sense, the spreading of the gospel message is actually, turning the world rightside up! Whatever the perspective – one thing is certain, Paul and Silas obedience to Christ and empowerment by the Holy Spirit was having a world changing influence wherever they went. I guess why this scripture leapt out at me is because I long to have that kind of influence in my life. Yet, like many Christians any influence I have is limited in scope.
Reading further in Acts 17 reveals some of the reasons why Paul and Silas had such influence. Not only did they share about the good news in synagogues and religious venues but they also engaged the philosophers, and cultural people of the cities they visited.
When in Berea they preached truth and didn’t deviate from God’s word. The Berean people searched the scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas and because what Paul and Silas matched up with God’s word more and more Jewish believers and God-fearing men and women became Christians.
Later, while Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens he noticed all the idols around the city. When speaking to the Council of Philosophers in Athens he engaged them on the subject of Christ by beginning with his observations about the idols and the cultural practices they had. Repeating a common technique he used wherever He went – Paul shared the truth of the gospel in the context of the people he was speaking to.
Summary? Paul and crew were effective world-changers for the following reasons:
1. They spoke and modeled the truth of the gospel.
2. They spoke and ministered under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
3. They sought to understand who they were speaking to so that they could more effectively share their message.
4. They genuinely cared for the people they were ministering to.
My prayer? Lord, I want to be someone you work through to turn the world upside down (even though it’s really turning the world right-side up). I pray that you will give me influence in my community and in the relationships I have as I do what Paul did – speak truth, seek your anointing, work to understand the people in my sphere of influence, and genuinely care for people you place in my life. My prayer is also for my church that we would have that kind of world-changing influence in our community!
Take a look at the time this post was written.? I’m a bit of a night-owl and sometimes I just don’t know when to call it a night and head off for bed.? I’ve gotta admit – if I didn’t have to sleep I probably wouldn’t – I just seem to find so many things to keep me occupied that sleep gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.? However, the older I get the more I realize that I have to let my body get rest.
What is it that keeps me up at night?? Well, generally speaking its either reading, or doing stuff on the computer (which lately has been programming and web-design). Sometimes if something is really bothering me I’ll stay up praying about it but that’s not a regular occurence.
Here’s my problem.? I keep saying to myself “one more hour and I’ll go to bed”–the hour comes and goes and guess what?? Yeah, I’ll convince myself that I’ll only be a few more minutes…and then that few minutes turns into what another hour already! 😉
So, I guess the purpose of posting this up here is to serve as a reminder – I’ve gotta start being a bit careful with staying up so late and get more sleep!
When babes sleep,
The peace it speaks,
Of time slowing down,
And dreams it keeps.
Well I added a photo album to YAR tonight (after 3 days of testing and making sure it wouldn’t mess things up lol). This will be a neat way of sharing with the world some pics of my family. I’m terrible for not carrying any pictures of my kids with me in my wallet…hehe now I can just give this address out 😉
Well I spent yet another full day doing finances for the church. Our church has been without a treasurer for about 3 months and I’ve “temporarily” taken over the duties until someone else fills in the position. Problem is…being the perfectionist that I am I’ve been not only doing the day to day stuff with the books but also “fixing” things that could be done better. All of this of course takes time…time that should be done in other things (shrugs shoulders). Ordinarily I really wouldn’t mind doing this stuff (in fact I love working with numbers) but nagging at the back of my mind while I’m doing it is all the other important stuff that I should be doing as a Pastor that isn’t getting done. Especially when it comes to planning.
Another thing that has been taking me a lot of time is the charity return I have to file. Arrghh…my sympathy goes out to all treasurers for charities in Canada (and especially to our past church treasurer) who have trudged through the mire and clay to file this really “easy-to-understand” form lol. Think income tax return on steroids and you’ll have a glimpse into the wonderful world of charity returns. Oh well, a learning experience I suppose but since the church’s status as a registered charity can hinge on correct filing of this return it can be a bit stressful. And of course there are yet more things I’m correcting in the way the church does accounting as a result of the things I’m discovering through doing the charity return. I’m planning on getting it verified before I send it away.
If any of my church family is reading this – have you considered taking on the treasurer position… – It would help out a lot! (hehe)
Well, tonight I put another hour into the design of the library module for Unashamed Online Basically what it will be is an online reference for all the resources available in my church library. It will also have tools for our church librarian to manage the resources (i.e. what books are signed out etc.) There will also be links for people to sign out resources when they take it out. I’m not quite sure how it’ll all work yet but it’ll be a good project to further develop my php skills lol! I’m also gonna try doing a bit more css on this module as I need to work on developing those skills as well. Of course all this tends to keep me up late at night (yawn!) I’ll need to be careful I don’t put too much time into it hehe.
Today I went with my mother to her lawyer’s appointment. My Dad died about a year and a half ago and his life insurance company denied my mom’s claim for the insurance. To make a long story short she (with the support of us!) has decided to sue the insurance company as the advice we received suggested we have a case. Anyway, with the court systems the way they are it’ll be a while until we get to trial. I said all this to say this… My mom has had a lot on her mind in the last while (no wonder!) and she’s really finding it difficult to just let go and leave things in the lawyers hands. But this post isn’t really about my mom – it’s about the the observation going through my head that worrying really puts a damper on life. While this may be an obvious one for most people it’s surprising how many of us “non-worryers” still get caught in the trap of nail-biting, ulcer creating hyper-anxiety syndrome once and a while. The funny thing is – all our worrying really doesn’t accomplish anything. There’s a favorite scripture of mine in Matthew 6 where Jesus basically tells people ‘Don’t worry!’ The conclusion of Jesus’ thought as he goes through some of the things we humans worry about is that there’s really only one thing that matters
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33, NIV)
After all, there are things that make an eternal difference (going beyond this life) and things that are just temporary.
And then Jesus, goes on to say these nifty words, “Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v. 34). How true is that! Is there anyone that can really say worrying about something made it better? If there’s something in your control – do something about it but if it’s out of your control…leave it – don’t worry because all the worrying won’t do one thing for you.
Case in point: have you ever communicated with someone (a friend maybe, or aquaintance) and later on remembered something you said (or wrote) that you get thinking, hmm…I wonder if they were offended by that — some people will let that thought run away on them and create a gigantic worry “snowball” that consumes there thoughts until eventually they do everything they can to avoid that person because they may have offended them. Instead, they could’ve nipped that worry in the bud and gave that person a quick call and cleared it up…just one example.
whoah..just realized I’m starting to write a chapter rather than a post – signing off!
For sometime now I’ve wanted to create a place where I can write down thoughts/ideas/experiences/reflections (and the list could go on…no I’m not using a thesaurus!) when I think its worth writing about. I thought about doing something on the Unashamed Online website but I’m in the midst of cleaning it up a little (which will probably take me a long time…hehe) so as to make it more streamlined and useful to visitors. Anyway, I kind of wanted to create a more “personal” space which wouldn’t really fit in with Unashamed Online. However, this blog is definitely going to be linked on the UO site and there might be cross-posting from time to time.
If your reading this (brave soul you are) you’ll find that some posts here might make sense and others might not. I find that in so many things I write elsewhere I hit the backspace key about five times more than any other key because I’m so particular about what I compose. So…the purpose of this space is for me to ramble….get my thoughts on paper (err..data…bytes – you know what I mean) without worrying about “editing” it for the “public”. Of course this isn’t a “bare all “site but merely a place for me to “think out loud” as it were. So there is an important disclaimer here: Don’t take anything I say here as my “official position” on something unless I clearly state “This is my official position” or something to the effect. When I “think out loud” its a way for me to sort out what I really believe is important – and I do that by seeing the words on the screen and (hopefully) from time to time seeing what others think in return.
Readers of this site may get a chance to gain a glimpse into the things I think about and the processes that lead me to form opinions, make decisions etc. I welcome your comments – just keep things civil 🙂
Well, that’s it for this first post – as I write, I’m realizing that I’ll probably post some of this in the “About” link –hehe killing two birds with one stone!