One in Purpose

Father God,
You are holy and merciful.
You save us from eternal death
and place us in Your kingdom.
Our call, then, is to proclaim
the wonders of Your name
through Jesus Christ,
but Satan seeks to divide us.
May we seek reconciliation with You
and with our brothers and sisters
that we may be one.
To You be the glory
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

All I Want

Father God,
there is much that I want.
Sometimes my list looks eerily like a letter to Santa.
I want this…
I need this…
I must have this…
All things that I think will make me happy.

But none of them bring you glory.

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I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” 
(Psalm 32:9)
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And then I am quickly reminded of what brings You glory.
You are glorified when I seek to be instructed by You.
You are glorified when what I want is You.
You are glorified when my happiness is wrapped up in You.
You are glorified when I am satisfied in You.

And so I seek instruction from You.
I seek wisdom from You.
I seek to glorify You.

Teach me
Lead me
Show me

And therefore, all I want for Christmas is YOU,
oh God.
All I want for Christmas is YOU.

The (seeking) Pastor -|—

Mistakes

What is the best mistake you have ever made?

I can’t remember being asked a question like that before yesterday, so when it came it caught me by surprise.  I mean…it almost sounds like a contradiction ~ a good mistake?  Often times we want to put mistakes in our rear view mirror as quickly as possible and move on.  I have heard it said that we shouldn’t dwell on our mistakes.  I HAVE been told to learn from them but I have never really looked back and pondered what my “best mistake” was.

When I was asked that question I paused; looked off into the distance as if I would find something out there, and tried to recall some past mistakes.  Recalling mistakes was not the hard part, but trying to prioritize the “good ones” was difficult.  Maybe I have moved on too fast from mistakes without soaking in what I learned.  Maybe I have not connected certain learnings, skills or knowledge with past mistakes.  I am not sure what it was.  After what I deemed an uncomfortable silence I started talking about a conflict I was involved with, early in my ministry, that involved a break down in communication.  I rehashed the situation briefly and began to recall what I did wrong.  I learned through that particular situation to be more aware of what various groups in the church are doing and to be more proactive in communicating with leaders in the congregation.  I learned that I need to keep my emotions more in check and to exude a non-anxious presence during a conflict.  At the time I did not enjoy the situation but I would say that was one of my “best mistakes”.

So…what is your best mistake?

-edh

Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:  ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligent I will frustrate.’  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser that man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 25)

When we rely on our own knowledge and wisdom we get things wrong:  We think we know how to treat people, but we don’t.  We think we know what is right for the church, but we don’t.  We think we are judging people appropriately, but we aren’t.  When we rely on our knowledge and wisdom we miss the big picture, people get hurt and we don’t see the wisdom of God.

In the grant scheme of things, knowledge is easy to acquire, but true wisdom takes time.  Wisdom takes patience and prayer.   King Solomon did not pretend to know how to rule Israel.  He did not attempt to rule Israel on his own.  Solomon did not attempt to use his own (limited) knowledge and wisdom (see 1 Kings 5) to lead people.  But Solomon, when asked by God for anything, asks for wisdom to lead.  We can learn a lot from Solomon.

We can’t pretend to know how to act in the church without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to know what is the best way to treat people without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to be “wise” without asking God for wisdom and then being faithful in listening to God.  True wisdom comes from God.  True wisdom sees people on an equal “playing field”.  True wisdom does not judge certain people better or more worthy than others.  True wisdom is humble and gracious.  True wisdom seeks reconciliation.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

If we truly want to see and know God, we need to rely on the wisdom that only comes from God.  The foolishness of the cross is salvation…to undeserving people.  And those undeserving people are none other than YOU and ME.  So let’s us give thanks to God for his “foolishness”.  Let us seek God and ask for his wisdom.  Let praise God always and forever.  Amen.

-edh-