Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Necessity of Humility

I am currently doing a Bible study called "Seeking Him: Experience The Joy of Personal Revival." This is my second week working through it, and it has proven to be very convicting so far. This week's study was entitled "Humility: Coming to God on His Terms." Honestly, when I began the study on Monday I was thinking to myself that I was a pretty humble guy. I mean I am not one of those loud arrogant people. It hasn't taken long this week for God to convict me of my own pride and self-focus. CS Lewis once said, "If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud...If you think you're not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed."
As I looked at various Scriptures this week one thing was clear is that God is not a fan of pride. Psalm 10:4 says the pride keeps us from seeking God. Proverbs 8:13 says that God hates pride and arrogance. Proverbs 16:18 warns that pride goes before destruction. Obadiah 1:3 tells us that our pride deceives us. James 4:6 states that God opposes the proud. The authors of the devotional I am doing states that, "pride is a roadblock to revival." They later add, "Pride blinds us to our true spiritual condition and causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we should. ... Pride keeps us at a distance from God." Pride hinders our intimacy with God and keeps us from truly seeking Him because it leads to a faulty self-sufficient and self-righteous mindset. When pride creeps in we are less likely to humbly seek God in repentance and brokenness and neediness before Him.
God is drawn to humility. Isaiah 57:15 says, "For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite." 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, "If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." God responds to humility. We can have intimacy with the God who "inhabits eternity" when we come in humility.
I have got to get to the office so I will leave with one last quote to think about. Jonathan Edwards once said "A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Love & Basketball

Scene-ario 1
The 1995-1996 season was my senior year of high school basketball. I had looked forward to my senior year of high school basketball for a long time. I had lifted, ran, shot a lot of jumpers, and played pick up games year round for several years in preparation for my senior year of basketball. When I was in grade school I even dreamed about playing varsity basketball. When the fall of 1995 finally came I was anticipating a good year both personally and as a team. The leading scorer from our rival high school had transferred to our team and the juniors that were coming up to the varsity team were very talented. On paper we had the perfect team. We had size, we had shooters, we had ball handlers, we had it all... on paper. On paper we should have went undefeated. On paper we should have won the conference. We should have contended for the state championship...on paper. However, we were missing something. We were missing "it." We didn't have the right chemistry. We were only good on paper.
Relationships are sometimes the same way. We prepare for them. We are excited about them. And sometimes they look and feel really good... on paper. We have a lot in common, we have similar interests and passions, we even have mutual friends. We seem to be perfect for each other...on paper. But maybe we're just missing something. Maybe we're missing "it." Maybe we didn't have the right chemistry. Maybe we were only good "on paper." You feelin me?
Scene -ario 2
My senior year in high school one of my good friends that I had went to school with and played basketball with since 5th grade got cut from the team as a senior. He had always been our point guard, but our senior year he got cut from the team. The thing that made it hard was that he pretty much thought it was a given that he was going to be on the team. I mean he had the talent and the ability. Again, on paper he should have made the team, but he got cut! He was frustrated. He was angry. He even cussed.
Sometimes in relationships we "get cut." We thought it was a done deal. We thought we were "on the team." We thought we had what it took, but we got cut. It seemed great on paper, but we got cut. We get frustrated. We get angry. We even cuss. You feelin me?
Scene-ario 3
Sometimes after you "get cut" you don't want to "play the game" any more, at least for a while. You kind of need to take some time off to regroup. You put yourself "on the bench" so to speak. You "watch the game from the sidelines." The time of this "off season" varies, and often coincides with how sure you were that you were "on the team." After a while you get the urge to get back in the game. Sometimes it takes a call from "another team" inviting you to try out. Or sometimes a talent scout tells you you're once again "good enough" to "make a team." But regardless of what it takes, most athletes want to make a team. They want to finally be on a winning team with one special teammate. And that is what keeps them motivated to "stay in shape." You feelin me? Can I get an Amen?

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Logical Question

A co-worker of mine has a 2 year old son. He and his wife recently potty trained him. He was getting the #1 thing fine, but he was having a harder time using the toilet to do #2 (poop, for those of you who are not familiar with the number system). So they had to come up with some type of incentive in order to encourage him to poop in the toilet. So what they did was start giving him candy every time he "dropped a successful deuce" in the toilet. Ever since then he is quick to share with visitors, "I poop for candy."
This past weekend they were visiting family out of state. The two year old was in the kitchen with his grandma. He noticed that she had a bag of candy on top of her refrigerator. He asked if the bag of candy was hers. She told him that it was. He then asked her the very logical question, "Do you poop for candy?"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spark The Movement

Today I drove from Chicago to Paw Paw (where I grew up). On the way to Paw Paw I listened to a new mix cd that I recently made entitled "Mega Mix." One of my favorite songs off of the cd is entitled "Spark The Movement" by the South side's own Outworld. The first verse is my favorite and it goes like this,
Verse 1
"It's been a long...long time comin
But change gon' come cause we aint gonna run
We gonna stand up strong, standin' against all wrong
A new generation of Martin and Malcolms
We'll do more than sing We Shall Overcome
We gonna take it by force, read Jeremiah 1
Starting in verse 1 but especially verse 10
We're called to be over the kingdoms and nations
To pluck up break down, destroy, and overthrow will
Be the predecessor to building and planting still
Remembering our past so our future is healed
Like digging up the casket of Emmett Till
I'm asking will my young people stand up strong
The task is real not fun people round up all the like minded
Who believe this world is strange and won't find it too weak to bring this world some change
Let's pray
Let's change
Let's stand
Let's march
Let's walk
Let's talk
Let's start this off
Let's learn
Let's teach
Let's earn
Let's reach
Let's share
Let's care
Let's live in peace
Spark the movement! You, Spark the movement!
Spark the movement! You, Spark the movement!

This song really inspires me. I turned it up real loud in my van, and I was really feelin' it as I was driving to my parent's house today, until I realized I was in rural Michigan and that I had better turn it down (just playin). I think one of the main elements within "sparking the movement" is to stand for justice or to do justice. I just retruned from the CCDA conference in Indianapolis, and the theme for the conference was "Taking it Back - Radical Redemption of our Communities." And the one word or theme that was in every message was JUSTICE. I'll admit that this is a relatively new concept for me. For the first 22 years of my life I never remember hearing a message or sermon or Bible study on Justice. It wasn't until I went to Moody Graduate School and was shown Biblical passages (and lots of them) that make it very clear that God is all about justice. It is who He is. Dr. Fuder's life verse is Micah 6:8 - "... to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God." Right now I am thinking a lot and asking what it means to "do justice (or Spark The Movement)."

Check back soon as I continue to think about this...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Leaving the shallow end...

This is it. My procrastination is over. Due to the inspiration of a great man who grew up in Zambia, lived in South Africa, and now stays in a suburban urban neighborhood in Chicago, I am now beginning my blogging journey. Although I am a bit scared... I press on. I am going to work on designing my template tonight, but check back soon for my first official blog.