Holiness is the most attractive quality, the more intense experience we ever get of sheer life – authentic, firsthand living, not life looked at and enjoyed from a distance. We find ourselves in on the operations of God himself, not talking about them or reading about them. But at the very moment we find ourselves in on more than ourselves, we realize we also might very well lose ourselves. We cannot domesticate the holy. Moses didn’t take a photograph of the burning bush to take home and show his wife and children. Isaiah’s singing angels were not accompanied by a Handel oratorio, which he then purchased on a CD for later listening at his leisure. John didn’t reduce his vision of Jesus into charts which he used to entertain religious consumers with titillating views on the future.
Holiness is a furnace that transforms the men and women who get too close to it. Holy, holy, holy is not Christian needlepoint – it is the banner of a revolution, the revolution.
Category Archives: Change
If nothing else, school teaches that is an answer to every question; only in the real world do young people discover that many aspects of life are uncertain, mysterious, and even unknowable. If you have a chance to play in nature, if you are sprayed by a beetle, if the color of a butterfly wing comes off on your fingers, if you watch a caterpillar spin its cocoon—you come away with a sense of mystery and uncertainty. The more you watch, the more mysterious the natural world becomes, and the more you realize how little you know. Along with its beauty, you may also come to experience its fecundity, its wastefulness, aggressiveness, ruthlessness, parasitism, and its violence. These qualities are not well-conveyed in textbooks.
Remember, the answers to the crisis won’t come from within the current thinking. We have to both transcend and include our surroundings in order to go on a search for new answers. Key leadership must initiate and guide this journey, first by getting other leaders in touch with this sense of disorientation, anomaly, and crisis. Second, leaders should try to resolve the problems without recourse to the prevailing thinking, with its overused repertoire of solutions.
What do you want to change about your life? Go for it! You have 30 days!
Often books and speakers tell Christians that they should help the needy because they have so much. That is, of course, quite true. Common sense tells us that, if human beings are to live together on the planet, there should be a constant sharing of resources.
But this approach is very limited in its motivating power. Ultimately it produces guilt….Soon, with an anxious weariness, we turn away from books or speakers who simply make us feel guilty about the needy.
The Bible does not use the guilt-producing motivation, yet it powerfully argues for the ministry of mercy….Mercy is spontaneous, superabounding love which comes from an experience of the grace of God. The deeper the experience of the free grace of God, the more generous we must become. This is why Robert Murray M’Cheyne could say: “There are many hearing me now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.”
Many congregations are in significant decline. For a lot of people, the congregation is little more than a haven in a heartless world, a dispenser of religious goods and services to individuals. Nevertheless, it is still populated by the people of God.
God chooses to create new futures in the most inauspicious of places. Through the Incarnation, we discover that God’s future is at work not where we tend to look but among the people we write off as dead or powerless to make things different.
If the Spirit has been poured out in the church – the church as it is, not some ideal type – then we are compelled to believe that the Spirit of God is at work and alive among the congregations of America. Congregations matter. But they need leaders with the skills to cultivate an environment in which the Spirit-given presence of God’s future may emerge among the people of God.
>I have just moved offices. One of the down sides to my new place is I am missing some file cabinet space. This moved me to go through my files and see what I needed to keep and what I could file in the trash.
I was amazed at the amount of stuff I did not need. There were files I had not used in 3 years. I kept thinking I will use this one day. I finally realized that I will not use it and it is time to unload it.
What is in your life that you are hanging on to thinking you will use it? Are you waiting too long to get rid of it? What is is costing you to hang on to that stuff?