Captain Productivity

If I were a superhero I would be Captain Productivity, and my power would be that I can accomplish more than most in a single hour. But like any great superhero, I need a weakness and my weakness would be a lack of compassion and flexibility.

I really don’t mean to brag but I can get a lot done in a short amount of time. I am pretty good at putting my head down and barreling through a task list. I can plow through a to-do list faster than you can make it but there is a cost associated with that.

I can do all sorts of stuff but hold me up from my tasks and I will get, let’s call it ornery. I have some spent some time thinking about this and it comes down to selfishness. “I need to get these things done” “I need to finish” “I am so busy” “I don’t have time for this” “I” “I” “I”…

James talks about this in James chapter 4. He says “What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?” and he goes on to talk about murdering, waring, and evil desires. The principle is that when you become self-focused you lose sight of what is important and why you are doing or praying for something. You can be so busy serving and learning about God that you forget to admire Him and love Him. You can spend so much time serving your family and forget to love them and show them compassion. It is really easy to do.

It is a hard and fine line to be productive but not neglect the reasons behind your doing. It is one I constantly step over. I find the hard part is not just walking the line but admitting when you stepped over it and doing what is needed to correct it. I cannot let the goal of being a good servant, a good husband, a good father, a good friend become more important than the act of being those things. It is a good thing to work hard and do good, but it is a better thing to remember why you are doing it.

Just a thought,

Mike

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The Holy Spirit and Glory

I have been thinking about the Holy Spirit a lot lately. From Scripture, we know some things about this third member of the Godhead. For example, we know He gives gifts (1 Cor 12:4-11), we know that there is a baptism of the Holy Spirit, we know that He speaks only truth (John 14:17), we also know that He comforts believers (John 14:16), and on and on. While some debate the ability or manifestation today, we also know from reading the Acts that He empowered the Apostles to perform miracles, signs, and wonders.

We know these things but there is one other thing the about the Holy Spirit that I think, at least for me, is too often overlooked. Namely, that He points back to Jesus.

In John 16 Jesus tells us two functions or ministries of the Holy Spirit. First, He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Think about that for a second. The one who comforts also convicts. At first, it might seem odd but think about any person you know who is wonderful. Think of someone who is smart, wise, loving, kind, and generous. By their very nature, they seem to convict you of your wrongness. The Holy Spirit is infinitely more wonderful than we know so by His very nature He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. His light is so bright it makes darkness more apparent.

Second and this where I have been lately, He tells us what He hears and glorifies Jesus. The Holy Spirit constantly points back to Jesus. There is something called Erdman’s Law which in essence says that those who are most filled with the Holy Spirit are the least conscious of it. All they want is to serve Christ. That is because one of the primary functions or ministries of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. So, it reasons that if He is focused on glorifying Christ then the believer whom He indwells will be focused on that same goal. The believer who has given his life over to the control of the Holy Spirit will be focused on glorifying Christ.

This glorifying has two components. The first is that we lift up and exalt or make known the name and wonder of Jesus in word and deed. The things we do point to the glory and majesty of Jesus. We sing praises to His name and lift Him high. This is done through working in all things as if for Him, in choosing to place His glory and name before ours, and in spreading the good news of His victory over sin and death. This we all know and strive for to some degree or another. However, the second way we glorify Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit is by seeking Him in our weakness.

In our weakness and brokenness, we glorify Christ because the Holy Spirit leads us to confess our need for His power. Paul writes in 2 Cor 12:9 that the power of Christ is made known in our weakness. Our inability to perform and calling on the Holy Spirit to help us turn our eyes to Christ is giving glory to Jesus. It is giving glory to Him because it is a confession of His majesty and power. Your brokenness, my brokenness points to the fact that Jesus is able.

If we truly seek to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, then we must not only give over control to Him, but we must align our mission with His. We cannot request the power of the Spirit and expect Him to fall in line with our goals. We must align ourselves with His. His goal is to glorify Jesus and make Him known. As I said we generally know this and think of it as sharing the Gospel and in worship, but can we truly do this in brokenness as well? In our times of weakness, fear, and frailty can we glorify Christ by asking the Spirit to help us turn our eyes to Him?

Just a thought,

Mike

New Year, New Word

Happy New Year Y’all! I just back from an 11-day vacation and it was wonderful. Where did I go you ask? Nowhere. We took a one-day shopping trip out Walmart and everybody picked a couple of small items from some money that was sent to us but other than that we just relaxed at home. No work, no striving, no busyness, just relaxing. It was not my first choice of how to spend my vacation because I would like to have done more but we are a little broke at the moment. The first month of having a new foster placement always drains us a little more than expected, but I am so thankful we are tight on money right now because taking some time at home with the family was just what was needed.

I am not just being all rose-colored glasses either. It was wonderful. We could not go out and be busy, so we took time to just be. To just be relaxed and present. To enjoy each other. To just be still.

It reconfirmed a few things and one of those things is my new word. Every year our family picks a word for the year because it is a little easier to live out a word than a resolution. My favorite word was stronger and that was for 2011 (I think). My least favorite was word was inspire. Stronger was great because I was both physically stronger and all my relationships were much stronger. Inspire on the other hand was a failure. Mostly because there was too much emphasis on me to do great things instead of trusting on God to build something up in me. So, this year I am going back to relying on God.

The new word is Shalom. You might be wondering why I did not choose peace and that is a good question. The word Shalom means peace but it also means so much more. Peace is the absence of striving but Shalom is the absence of striving and completeness or soundness. My vacation was more than just absence of striving it was contentment and completeness. God took care of what was needed and gave so much more. I was a reminder that what is needed is Him and His peace (shalom) in order to feel refreshed and restored. My wife and I were able to think through some things and refocus ourselves on what we want out of life and what is important.

I want, no I need God’s shalom in my life. I need His peace that surpasses all understanding. I need shalom within myself. I need shalom in my relationships. I need that because without it I run around trying to be something I cannot be. So, for 2018 I will try and be at shalom (peace and total soundness) with God, myself, and those around me. I have no idea what the year will bring but I will not try to control it either.

Shalom,

Mike