Posts

Showing posts from February, 2014

SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS

Image
James 5:19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

I am often discouraged and troubled when I see people that I love distance themselves from the truth. There is a knee-knocking, stomach-knotting decision that I know I need to make. I need to have that crucial conversation and challenge them to come home.
The verb translated in 5:19 as "bring back" is epistrepho; it is the same verb in 5:20 as "turns." It can mean "convert," but there is no distinction made here between evangelizing a non-Christian and discipling one who believes. In either context, James wants his readers to see the urgency of bringing people to repentance.
This is what Douglas Webster calls "the work of spiritual direction". It is a ministry of cutting through the deceptive comple…

HOW DO I TELL YOU THIS?

Image
STEP #12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sinners, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

So, what about the sin struggle that you’ve experienced? What is it? Who or what warned you to change? Someone or something was a messenger to you. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are also a messenger. Go into the whole world preaching the good news to everyone… tell your story of salvation.
You have no moral authority over others, even when you are sinless, but you have every right to tell someone what has happened to you. Your experience may be the clearest message of Jesus that another will hear. Tell your story.
So whom do you need to talk to? Surely, there is someone you know that is struggling with the same things that you have. How should you approach them?

VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

Image
Throughout history, prophets are ridiculed and persecuted. Is it because they speak boldly or because people are not ready to listen? In the gospels we read about a prophet who was known as John the Baptist.





Matthew 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

A voice of one crying in the wilderness… why do people go to the wilderness? Isn’t it often to get away from people? Before any prophet has a message, they have a wilderness. In the place of disconnection from community, there is a voice and it is crying.
The sinner finds themselves in a lonely wilderness and if the conditions are right, there is a cry to God. Before the prophet can be a messenger to anyone else, they find themselvescrying out to God. 
The message of needed change s…

OUR PROPENSITY FOR SHOOTING MESSENGERS

Image
Have you noticed how reactionary people are to the gospel of Jesus Christ? They get upset if you talk about sin and God help you if you try to convert anyone. 



As usual, people have some negative experience to tell of a person who was a ‘Bible-thumper’ and/or a hypocrite. It is a grave sin in the eyes of some to ‘proselytize’.
While an inappropriate or pushy person might cause any of us to get defensive, it does not change the fact that they might have a legitimate message to be considered. We are more likely to shoot the messenger than to actually hear and consider the message.
What about the message of Jesus? Is it a good message? Is it something that has changed us and needs to be shared with other strugglers?
What are you supposed to do when someone you know is wrapped up in a destructive practice or mindset? Do you ignore it? Do you pray from a distance or do you make the attempt to approach them with loving confrontation?

HELP FOR SIN ADDICTS

Image
Let’s review the twelve steps. These are adapted from the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:


We admitted we were powerless over sin—that our lives had become unmanageable.Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.Sought through prayer and me…

LEARNING TO BE WRONG SETS ME RIGHT

Image
People are not disposable. If we can understand that loving is a lifelong process, we keep the door open to as many people as possible. We do everything in our strength to have peace and harmony with everyone.


Perhaps the hardest three words in the English language are ‘I was wrong’. ‘You were wrong’ rolls off the tongue with greater ease. It’s easier to own that another is wrong. It’s more troublesome to live in my own sense of being the offender.
And yet, learning to be wrong sets me right. It is in owning my failures and confessing them, that I get a sober mind and strength to change.
Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
You may have made things right with another, but that does not give you credit to be underhanded and abusive again. To make amends means I cannot go back to the way things were when I cheated you. I must with God’s help have a healthier respect and love for you.
I do not need to let years roll by before I admit my…