We live in a very confusing world. In the area of Faith, there are an overwhelming amount of voices working to define who God is, which can lead to unanswered questions, and ultimately cause one's individual faith to seem to wander aimlessly at sea. How do you define what ultimately guides you in your faith?
What it isn't:
- The consensus'. A sampling of 20 people could give you 20 different answers to questions about faith. It's as if you've been given 20 different compasses each with a different calibration of true North. Think about the conversations you've had in your neighborhood, a party, at a bar, or at work...
- The latest. New ideas, new belief systems, new churches, a new friend, a new book, or a new zen position most likely will simply be a new faith flavor of the month which will change next month.
- What's popular. In our culture, what feels good, what I want right now, and what I can justify in the moment is the message. If faith remains undefined and open to every individuals interpretation, ultimately everything goes. If it's OK in my mind and world, I can do as I please.
What Helps Me:
- Seeking Truth. I need to regularly seek knowledge and put myself in an environment that will build my Faith. I work to be a lifetime learner in what I read, the podcasts I listen to, and taking steps to act on the Truth I learn. Truth won't land in your lap and consume your mind. Seek it and you will find it.
- Choose my peers wisely. I want to surround myself with people that demonstrate joy, love, peace, and genuine Faith in their lives. Why would I want to align myself with someone wandering aimlessly in life simply growing older? I want to learn from people that are focused and intentional in their lives. These same people will encourage me, help me be a better spouse and parent, and help me get back on the path of Purpose.
- Know myself and my weaknesses. For me, I can get consumed in my work and often get in "overdrive" spending 60-70 hours a week hyperfocused on performance and getting tasks done. I often find myself trying to grab control of my life's steering wheel and relying on myself rather than God. My faith can drift into the background... How about you? What trips you up? Work? Unhealthy relationships? Substance abuse? Money? Does anyone else know your tendencies and have you given them permission to help you?
In my life (and for full disclosure), I've found the life of Jesus Christ and His story through the Bible to be trustworthy and life-changing. To be a Christ-follower doesn't mean I need to be judgmental, a homophobe, or holier-than-thou. It's quite the opposite. I'm called to love people unconditionally, live out my Faith in a way that can bring Hope to others, and to serve others. I fail everyday. However, I believe each of us have a purpose to be part of God's story to truly change our world despite all our flaws and missteps.
Proverbs 29:18 (The Message translation)
If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
One person can be a catalyst to change a community. If you're reading this, why not you? On the heels of Christmas and hearing the story of this baby Jesus, what does that really mean in our day to day lives? How does this even translate to our hussle and bussle of work, relationships, health issues, people in need, mindless entertainment, and anything else that moves across our to-do lists?
Is it simply a story or a tradition engrained in our culture or is it a game-changer?
Christ came to bring Hope to a world that would otherwise be dark. Really dark. Here are five thoughts I'm asking myself moving into 2011:
- If I truly believe what I believe, it changes everything. What is my role in bring Hope to my community?
- What are the biggest issues around me? Unemployment? Homeless? Disease? Crime? Hunger? Marriages in trouble?
- What am I doing with my time that has no real value? Where could I repurpose that time?
- What is holding me back from engaging in my neighborhood or city? What fears do I have? What voices are in my head giving me excuses to do nothing?
- Am I taking steps to learn more about Faith, my purpose in Christ, and how that translates in my daily life?
No matter where you live, you have the opportunity to "be the church" right where you live, right where you work, and with the people you already connect with. Let's do this, our time is short.
I often live my life with my head conveniently buried in the sand. My reality is what's right in front of me and if I don't look past that, I turn a blind eye to the problems in the world. What's also true is that I am also turning a blind eye to the potential opportunity and purpose God is placing right before my eyes.
Rob Wegner has led the charge at Granger in expanding our vision of a global reach as a church. While we can't "save the world" we can focus on a particular place to bring "up there down here" and thanks to technology, we can actually bring "over there (India)" right here (Indiana, USA or any other part of the world).
- Every generation has the opportunity to make a historic "intervention"
- "Extreme Poverty" : 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day
- We are in a generation where we can eliminate extreme poverty- we have the means and technology to get it done
- Granger has been investing in this area of India for several years now, training leaders, drilling wells, building homes and churches
- "No longer do we think of ourselves as the people of darkness, but now view ourselves as the people of the Light"- quote from a changed life in India
- Dec 26, 2004 the deadly tsunami hit- at that point we had been there for about 3 years... we were contacted by multiple organizations to help- same force as 23,000 Hiroshima equivilent bombs
- Imagine a tsunami that when it recedes, poverty is wiped out, people have hope in Christ, and all disease is wiped out- this is the new Heaven and new Earth we get to look forward to...
- It starts with small interventions- it starts with a cup of water, a small gift, a helping hand
If you had the means to feed 10 people in your country or 50 in another, which would you choose? If the same investment of funds could grow your local church 20% or grow a movement overseas 200%, which would you choose? In God's economy, it's yes and yes. In looking at our individual purposes here on earth, we need to think global purpose with a global church carrying out God's global plan. Think Global. The world has gotten much smaller.