Falling Behind Before Fall

6086519585_59a875090b_bSit down. Breathe. Now breathe again. Two weeks from now is LABOR DAY WEEKEND. What?!? You forgot to get in your summer vacation? Oh, you’re on it now. So you’ll be all rested for the back to school bunch. Getting ready to head off to college with your brand new $1600 laptop, buying new clothes and school supplies for your kindergartner [They total over $125 this year], and wondering if your air conditioners should be put away just yet, or in November…, maybe never.

Conclusion: you’re already falling behind.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that There is more to life than increasing its speed. But every Fall in Western civilization that is all we seem to do; increase our pace of life to the breaking point. I’ve wondered why someone hasn’t yet engraved their tombstone with I didn’t finish everything.

Given the present pace of culture I’m not sure it is possible for us to finish everything. We have to pick and choose. What is critical? Next, what is important? Then, what is broken that absolutely demands our attention? NOW! Move to Critical list.

If you are married there is always the question of priority for you family. Are they? Will you interrupt your work load to spend time with your wife, your husband, your kids who desperately want your love and time?

In other words, if you don’t want to fall behind as we enter this Fall, STOP ADDING SO MUCH TO YOUR SCHEDULE. Wait…, is it jammed full already? Hummm. Let me think. CUT THINGS. Unless, of course, you’ve made yourself indispensable to every commitment in your life. Let other people fill in for you. How else will they be able to make the same mistakes you did, and learn from them?!?

You need to make a difference on this planet in the time God has given you to be here. You will be less effective if you are constantly worn down and cranky. So…, STOP now. Reassess, before you are so over-committed you don’t even have the time to do that.

For what it’s worth,
  Gary

Getting Lost – Intentional loss of control

control, lost, letting go, clueless, Christian, gary, davis

GETTING LOST: intentional loss of control

All of us face times when we feel like we are out-of-control: some of those times we actually are out-of-control. When launching a new venture it may become obvious quickly that we are not in control; at other times, we will simply lose control. This isn’t always a bad thing.

In our postmodern marketplace the smartest thing an entrepreneur or inventor can do is to let go of control at times, to watch others wrestle with the problems for themselves. Intentionally stepping out-of-control not only creates distance from projects, it often carries perspective as well. Stepping aside provides space to think, to get away from things for a while. It creates space for other people to step in and try their hand at generating solutions. They will rise to shine or they will learn from failure. This is a win-win situation all around. Corporate and personal growth comes through struggle and adversity. Stepping out of the way so others can take control gives them the opportunity to show their stuff. It will turn them into more capable employees who have greater trust and respect for your leadership.

If they do fail, they will only do so once; ok, maybe twice, or three times. But eventually they will learn from their short-comings and rise to the challenge. The next time they attempt to tackle a problem they will probably come up with a better resolution than you could. Good job team!

So step out-of-control every now and then…, intentionally. It will be good for your soul and produce pride for those who must solve the problem in your absence.

Incidentally, stepping out-of-control in your Christian life might just give God the room He needs to move you where you need to be.

[n.b. There will be no EMPulse during the month of August as we will be out of the office. Unless…, one of you would step forward to write some?  I’m stepping out-of-control.]

Honor God; honor people…, make a difference,

Gary

Black and Blue…. and White

Black, white, violence, community, love, futureDallas PD, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Charleston, SC, Newtown CT, Orlando, San Bernadino, Oregon Community College, Boston Marathon, Kalamazoo, Washington Naval Yard, Virginia Tech.

These are the some of the communities who have found their place in American history through the tragic taking of innocent lives. These were men whose spirits were fueled with anger and resentment toward the police, the military, white people, black people, and innocent children. Their crimes were crimes of racism and resentment, of control and feeling out of control, of having no voice in the greater arena of our great American culture. Maybe we’re not so great after all.

These murders and assassinations are representative of deeper divides between black & white, between police brutality and criminal license. On a deeper lever, they belie a sickness and fear within the souls of men to dominate, to be right, and to win. This is not a healthy platform on which to build a civil society. It is a platform that lays the foundations for civil war, permanent racial tension, and mutual destruction.

Is this the country we want to leave to our children?!? Of course not! But unless we act, all of us, and act now, our children will be facing the same issues 50 years from now.

Allow me to offer a course of action4now.

  1. The violence must STOP, on all sides of our conflicts. I grew up in a racially torn Baltimore, MD. I made a friend who was black in the midst of a gang war. We had to feign a personal feud to cover up our friendship. That should not have been; but it was. What if we ALL learned friendship again? Friends…, with those who are different from us? It can be done.
  2. It is easily observable that America is not “one nation under God. We are a matrix of peoples—Muslims, Christians, atheists, agnostics, Jews, scientists, philosophers and some people who are too busy earning a living to even think about their “position” on things. We are a patch-work quilt at best. It is well past the time we should know about our differences and come to allow for, if not respect, other people’s viewpoints, other people’s plights. One size does not fit all.
  3. A system, not of Social Security, but of Social Assistance should be set up. Not one where $$$ is blindly doled out, but one where people come to work together, side by side, for the common good. [See- Habitat for Humanity.] Who knows, maybe even those “row-houses” of my youth can be made to shine again.
  4. As a nation, we need to return to God. [Again, atheists & agnostics honorably excused.] But for the rest of us, it is time we took the dictates of our faith, no matter the faith, more to heart. Let’s not merely be Christians, but genuine Christians, giving to the poor; let’s not be simply Jews, but the Jews of the Book, honoring our history and caring for our fellow human beings; and let’s be worthy Muslims, obeying and honoring the teaching of Allah, and of Muhammad ﷺ, His Prophet, not killing, which is a sin, but cherishing life, bringing about great changes for all mankind.

These suggestions may go unnoticed, be seen as invalid, or simply ignored. Nonetheless, my belief is that they are not as naïve and uncritically fanciful as they might appear. One of my mentors was the business consultant Peter Drucker. One of his more famous sayings was— The best way to predict the future is to create it. It’s time we all got down to some serious, creative work.

And did I mention the difficulty and necessity of forgiveness? Do I have to?

Honor God; honor people…, make a difference,

Gary

Beyond Words-Final Take-What the future holds

future, hoverboard, clueless, christian, gary, davisA good portion of the Christian landscape in the West seems to be all about impending gloom & doom. To address this, I refer you to this web-post last August, 2015— http://worldrevivalnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-you-have-been-duped-into-believing.html. Humanity, as a whole, is doing better than it ever has. But there are still a few of us who are the crazies, the conspiracy theorists, the terrorists; the prophets-of-doom who try to drag us into their spiral so only they can “show us the way” and pull us out.

If I remember things aright, the Lord God of the Universe holds the future in His hands and we are admonished to not be afraid.

In the light of being heralded a false-prophet, or even a heretic, I would like to make some predictions about the immediate future. The sun, in all likelihood, will come up tomorrow. Some parts of life will get better; some parts will get worse. We will ALL still have to pay bills, eat, and take out the trash. Some of us will not have food to eat; some, sadly, will not. Our world governments will continue to play with the balance of power between those who HAVE and those who HAVE-NOT. Some of us will get in a vacation: some of us have no concept of that in our language or culture. So, same ol’, same ol’— with continuing sophistication & refinement.

Not much of a prediction, is it? Hardly a prophesy either.

But I hope the point is clear. At best, our future is only marginally within our control.

Since time-travel to the future has not yet been perfected, the future remains a matter of trust and vigilance. We trust that our own efforts, individually and corporately, will make us ready for whatever curve-balls life will hurl our way. But vigilance must remain constant. We need to keep our eyes open in persistent awareness that we are not the final arbiters of all things. If you are trying to make it on your own, controlling and/or containing your immediate environment you are, of all people, absurdly in over your head.

So…, what does the future hold? It holds possibility, determination, hope, pain, struggle, sorrow, loss, and celebration. It is an open door for us to step through with trepidation and boldness. We live and move and have our being within the safe perimeters of the God who made us. If we can learn to flourish within them we can change the world. So help us God.

 

Honor God; honor people…, make a difference,

Gary

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BEYOND WORDS: Take 9— a Love-Leveled Faith

heart hands love take 9After all is said and done, one thing remains. Unless our faith and witness are cloaked and immersed in the love of Christ all our efforts to express our faith in a postChristian manner, and to communicate it to people who are totally clueless about this salvation-thing, will be no more than a sounding brass and clanging cymbal. (I Corinthians 13:1)

Too much of our Christian expression of faith has become rote, perfunctory, and lifeless. We go through the motions. We’re nice Christians and the world is tired of the sham. This mechanistic approach to our faith has also seeped into our evangelism, with simple gospel presentations, to forcing conversions, to erecting an invisible barrier between us and anyone trying to find their way in life.

But we were not called to be nice. We were called to be loving…, and Truthful; not in a judgmental way, but more like fellow sojourners whose lives have intersected for a time for mutual comradery and benefit. The God of the Universe has chosen us to be His voice, His feet, and His hands on this planet to explain to everyone what it is He wants to give us. We bear a wonderful responsibility— the privilege of being Christ’s loving emissaries to a world of broken, successful, hurting, and wonderful people who have no idea of the Grandeur of Christ.

Just think of who they could be if they connected with the God who made them!

There are many facets to the Gospel of our Lord, but love must permeate them all.

So, a question—Do you love people? Or maybe, Do you feel your love for them? Do you sense Christ’s love flowing through you as a vessel of His grace, mercy, and forgiveness? You know what it feels like to love your parents, children, even your relatives (well, most of them). Do you know what it feels like to genuinely love people who have had it with Christianity? Who are sick of nice Christians? Who don’t care anymore? Or who are so angry at God and His church that they wish we would just go to hell?

If your heart is broken by these people then you are beginning to sense the kind of love our Lord has for them. We are NOT called to convert them; that is the Father’s job. We are not called to cajole them into the Kingdom. We are called to love them; to walk with them on their journey— in their sorrows, to enjoy them in their celebrations, to help them in their efforts to make this world a better place; even, to suffer with them and die for them. The Truth of the gospel takes on life in the way we love people. We must give them the Words of the Truth, to be sure; but we must also go Beyond Words.

‘Nough said.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

A Spirit Attuned Faith

Spirit AttunedSo far, Takes 1-7, we have considered the various factors that determine both our own expression of the Christian faith and its communication to those outside the Christian realm.

  • A Biblical Mindset Faith
  • A Personality Specific Faith
  • A Culturally Sensitive Faith
  • A Receiver Determined Faith
  • A Community Networked Faith

And now, we turn our attention to a critical factor that influences our faith on a daily basis and on an eternal basis as we communicate it to others— a SPIRIT Attuned Faith.

We can study to develop a Biblical mindset; we can learn from tests and others about the shape of our God-given personality; we can grow into a culturally sensitive faith; we can listen more intently to learn more about those who might receive God’s offer of real-life; and we can strive to be part of two distinct community networks— one Christian, the other— not so much. But nurturing a Spirit Attuned Faith will demand deep inward soul searches, doubtless many more than one.

For unless we are in-tune with God’s Holy Spirit we cannot read the work of the Spirit, or of His adversary in the lives of those who so desperately need to reconnect with the God who made them. Of course, becoming Spirit attuned is no simple matter. It involves a complete vulnerability, a displaying of our soul, if you will, before the God of the Universe. The searching of the soul is often not a pleasant experience. It comprises a total and true confession of who you are before a Holy God. No games, no shadows, no pretenses.

Becoming Spirit Attuned means that you are conscious of God’s presence in your life on a moment my moment basis. It means an honest washing of your soul in constant motion. The result is that you will feel cleaner, lighter, afresh with faith.

There is a down side, though. You will not enjoy your personal sin as much as you used to. You will still sin; it just won’t be as much fun anymore. Sorry.

Nonetheless, tuning-in with the work of Christ within yourself will enable you to sense His miracles at work in the lives of others. And it is amazing! It eliminated the need for a formula-gospel, a shift in our persona to “present the gospel,” and an enjoyment of entering into Christ’s work rather than fighting through those butterflies & knots in your stomach.

So, please, take some time to let the Spirit of Christ search your life, and your soul, to cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

Beyond Words Take 7 – A Community Networked Faith

In this edition of Beyond Words we will think about our place in a community. Well, actually, two communities: one, Christian; the other, our surrounding society.

First, if we are to flourish in our present postChristian culture we must be deeply networked within our churchour Christian community. We need her safety, her training, her friendships and definitely her worship together. We need to tell our stories to one another, share our lives together, and, always, eat chicken & pizza together. Maybe not at the same time.

The relationships we build within the Body of Christ are critically important for those who might attend church with us. They need to see hugging and laughter and prayer and forgiveness of one another. They need to join in on the fun. They need to see what life in Christ might be like.

Secondly, before you can ever get them to darken the doors of a church you first have to get to know them in the midst of their safe-places, among their friends and within their interests. No Christian should dwell in a void, surrounded exclusively by other Christians. We need to embed ourselves inside our office parties, Saturday baseball leagues, our children’s sports teams, even the PTA & library reading club. God never intended us to hibernate away from our surrounding culture except for times of prayer & fasting.

What He expects us to do is to become beacons of light, enjoying the celebrations of this world with the friends we make in it. If all we have are Christian friends we have somehow lost the intent of the Great Commission to “GO!” We are not given the leisure to WAIT for people to come to us. We are called to enter their world; very much, I think, like Jesus did.

WARNING: If you do this you will get your hands dirty. You will have your faith challenged…, and strengthened. Some well-meaning believers will criticize you for spending so much time among “the heathen.” That, too, is what Jesus experienced. It’s where He was meant to be.  It’s where we are meant to be too.

 

For what it’s worth,

Gary

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