Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Grace Expressed In Faithfulness

1 Timothy 3

8Church officers should be serious. They must not be liars, heavy drinkers, or greedy for money. 9And they must have a clear conscience and hold firmly to what God has shown us about our faith.

Lord Jesus--Leadership has responsibility. There is a need for seeing leadership as something that is important and weighty. There is a need for clear conscience that has been washed clean by grace and that is living out the life that You have called us to. It is expressed in actions of holding on to the truth in a cluttered and chaotic cultural setting, not addicted to substances or money.

10They must first prove themselves. Then if no one has anything against them, they can serve as officers. 11Women must also be serious. They must not gossip or be heavy drinkers, and they must be faithful in everything they do. 12Church officers must be faithful in marriage. They must be in full control of their children and everyone else in their home.

Lord Jesus--It is living out your call in the everyday that is the evidence of my faith...it is at home that there is the chance to live out the life you have called me to. One step at a time, mistakes and mis-steps seen and owned. Repentance and forgiveness sought and then lived out. This takes consistently walking with you.

13Those who serve well as officers will earn a good reputation and will be highly respected for their faith in Christ Jesus.

Lord Jesus--The goal is to live out life in a way that brings you glory and that reflects a life that has heard the Word and lived it out in small ways and in big ways.

Help me in this day to live out the grace that you have show to me, let me be faithful in the little things as well as the big things.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Notes to the Lord::Being and Doing

1 Timothy 3

1It is true that anyone who desires to be a church official wants to be something worthwhile. 2That's why officials must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage. They must be self-controlled, sensible, well-behaved, friendly to strangers, and able to teach.

Lord Jesus--It is worthwhile to serve you. This job description is for what was called overseer, bishop, elder. The church had developed leadership that was beginning to differentiate function and also hierarchy was being established.

But this is not so much a job description as a list of qualities that the person must possess if they are going to be successful in the position. In fact, there is so little by way of function that it is surprising. Being is so much more important than just function. There is almost an underlying assumption that if the being is correct function will take care of itself.

3They must not be heavy drinkers or troublemakers. Instead, they must be kind and gentle and not love money.4Church officials must be in control of their own families, and they must see that their children are obedient and always respectful. 5If they don't know how to control their own families, how can they look after God's people?

Lord Jesus--I know that leadership starts at home. So does the need to be a person that loves Jesus and is able to communicate it to those closest and those who are some distance away.

6They must not be new followers of the Lord. If they are, they might become proud and be doomed along with the devil. 7Finally, they must be well-respected by people who are not followers. Then they won't be trapped and disgraced by the devil.

Lord Jesus--Leadership in the church is something that is quality based...character that has been transformed by the Holy Spirit’s work. It is about being not knowing functional elements of a job description.The elements that Paul is pointing to are indications that a person is ready for leadership. Leadership too soon leads to personal disaster.

Up-close and Personal--So what do I take away from this passage, Lord? Leadership is more about qualities than job functionality. That if the being is right the doing will find its own level. Or, maybe that if you have called then the functions that need to be performed will find their expression in the personal approach of the individual.

Lord Jesus--Continue your work in the “being” part of my life and walk with you. Let me be the person that you would have me to be in the day that will begin in just a little while.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1 Timothy 2

9I would like for women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hairdos, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewelry made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention.

Lord Jesus--Gender issues and the role of women was something that the early church had to work out. I am sure that some of the process was with a bit of fear and trembling. The culture at large had relegated women to a position in society that was just a bit more than property, but not much more. Practical advise was simple: focus on the inside not on the outside, take time to listen and learn, talk and walk should be in sync. Seems like that is practical advise that either gender could benefit from...

12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest.

Lord Jesus--Here is the part that is hotly debated right now. Was this a cultural accommodation that Paul made for the church at the time or a general prescription of conduct and church rule.

The thing that is interesting to me is: when Paul comes down to the nitty-gritty and says that women are save by staying faithful, loving, holy and modest...rules of conduct that are gender unspecific. Interesting.

Lord Jesus--In this day help me to focus on the essentials...let me stay in the nitty-gritty. Help me not to get sidetracked from the essentials of staying faithful, loving and holy. Help me in my walk that it would be in sync with my talk. Help me live today aware of you alive within me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Notes to the Lord:The Next Right Thing

1 Timothy 2

7This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth.

Lord Jesus--You are the one who chooses and sends. You give grace and endurance for the task at hand. You send the next right thing to do...sometimes I even trip over them. There are even times when it seems like the conveyor belt gets jammed on at high speed.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

You have each element of the journey prepared for. I just need to keep moving my feet and listening to your foot falls beside me. Lord, there are times when it seems like random acts of mercy without design, but you are the one that sees the bigger picture. I am the boots on the ground. My perspective is a tad restricted.

Recently, you reminded me by sending a friend from Hawaii to gently point out to me that what appear to be random acts on my end have impact for you even when I only see a bit of the puzzle.

8 I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands toward heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other.

Lord Jesus--The goal remains the same. The gospel having an impact for you that changes the way people live their lives resulting in worship, peace and prayer.

In the day that will start in just a couple hours let me be boots on the ground that see the bit of the picture before me accurately...that I am grateful for the mercy I have received and mindful of your direction.

Keep my feet headed in the right direction...toward mercy, grace and the random acts of following you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Simple Truth

1 Timothy 2

4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 5There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God.

Lord Jesus--You call me again and again to remember who you are and who I am. I was lost and you found me, I was disconnected from God and you became that connection. I have standing before God only because of you. The only thing that I have done is accept a gift freely given.

Lord Jesus, Never let me forget about the extravagance of your grace showered on me. You remind me again that you want everyone saved...in a way everyone is elected to be in relationship with you, and some just never accept the results of the election. Some choose to ignore the gift, never let me tire of telling the story of your grace made so real to me in this twisted heart of mine.

Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6God showed us this at the right time.

Lord Jesus--These are two very simple verses...but they are the gospel in a nutshell in simplest form. You know what it is to like to be spirit caught in flesh. You know what it is like to be so far from home. You know intimately, as a fellow traveler this journey that I am on. You had dark nights, when sleep did not come.

Lead me toward home, help me see your fingerprints on the issues that confront me today. Let this day be a day surrounded by grace experienced.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Note to the Lord:On Praying

1 Timothy 2

1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them.

Lord Jesus--Prayer is a tool and a support. It is communication and communion. Prayer is the connecting issue in the body of Christ when we are dispersed and in the world.

We are not alone ever. You are with us, but so are the prayers of your people. Thankfulness is something that should be a part of the texture of who we are, as much as humor is. or thoughtfulness, or any other element of our approach to life.

2Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior.

Lord Jesus--I know that I get to this place where prayer becomes less than it should be…just a list that could be a list of anything. You want me to make prayer and thanksgiving something so much more…an attitude, and orientation, an invitation to inclusion in life. I am not that good at this thing yet...

4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth,

Lord Jesus—You want everyone to be saved…you died for that end. You have been on a two millennium seek and save mission. You have enlisted an army to bring about this mission's end.

Remind me in the middle of a busy week that you have a plan for me to follow. Remind me that it is all kingdom work…all of it, every contact, every conversation, every email written or face book post responded to. It is all an opportunity to reflect your light shining through me.

Shine in this coming day Lord Jesus…shine through the interactions and the reactions, the hopes expressed and the feelings felt.

You know me, there will be times when I feel as if I am alone and shifting on my own with no clutch left to keep the gears from grinding. Remind me then of thankfulness that needs to flow through me from you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Listening

1 Timothy 1

18Timothy, my son, the instructions I am giving you are based on what some prophets once said about you. If you follow these instructions, you will fight like a good soldier.

Lord Jesus--The day of prophecies have not ended. What do the prophets have to say to me?

These are the thoughts that come to mind Lord...The Spirit of God works in those available Kurt...there is more that I have in store for you. Follow the blessings and see what happens. Listen to the promptings and the nudges that are sent your way. Don’t be stubborn. You need to learn the difference between stubbornness and being determined. Live in the balance and let me help you adjust the load that you are called on to carry. Where I have called, I have enabled.

Lord Jesus--The fight continues on and the instructions are still the same. Follow the these instructions and see the words of the prophets lived out in your life that was Paul wisdom to his son in the faith. I am sure that as Timothy read these words he could hear the voice of Paul in his head...and a part of him wondered if he could ever measure up.

19You will be faithful and have a clear conscience. Some people have made a mess of their faith because they didn't listen to their consciences.

Lord Jesus--Help me to listen more and to hear you speak in all the ways that you are trying to speak to me...through the Word...through other people...through the situations of life that just plain reach out and grab me sometimes without my knowing it. Speak to me of the need for change and of the hope that is always alive in you and your work in my life.

More than anything else, help me listen.