Archive for July, 2002

Bush 'Texans' tried to bully G8 host

Bush ‘Texans’ tried to bully G8 host

“One official said he began to take it as a “compliment to be called a ‘f—— Canadian’ by the Americans” after resisting countless U.S. demands, including special access to Kananaskis for the White House press corps.”

I love America. I’ve spent at least a day in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Montana, Colorado, and Kansas. People were kind and friendly. God has used America to accomplish some great things. Unfortunately its incidents like the one noted above that just wreck everything. If this is how America treats it’s allies it’s not hard to figure out why there is so much hatred for the US.

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Hearing God

Hearing God

When I was visiting a seminary last April I was presented with an excellent opportunity. I would be able to further my education, live in a much warmer climate, and make enough money to pay for it all. I was ready to sign up when I felt God urging me to talk to Him about it. I consulted the Lord. I believe he told me that it would be far better for me to live in my hometown and do my internship. When I shared this with some people at the seminary they looked at me as if I’d just fallen off a turnip truck. Among some circles people are very skeptical when they hear some say “God told me”. Instead of listening for the Lord’s voice they would ask God to guide them and think it through themselves and sometimes with others.

Over the last few years I’ve come to understand why there is so much skepticism.

Inaccurate Prophecy

People misrepresent the Lord. There are many who are well meaning and make sincere mistakes. Cultural and intellectual bias bleeds through in to the prophetic message. After Sept 11 there were a number of different prophetic interpretations of the event. With some notable exceptions it seemed as though God’s agenda shifted according to the geography of the prophet. With so much feeling associated with God’s guidance how can you tell if you are reading the Lord or your own bias?



Control, Manipulation and Self Service

There are others who stamp a divine imperative on their own agenda. In some groups there is so much glamour associated with prophecy that Christians are tempted to make themselves look more spiritual. They take a gift from the Lord and try to use it for their own gain. This is particularly disturbing. Especially when “super-spiritual” leaders start casting out demons that aren’t there.



Inconsistency

I know of a family who decided not to buy a vehicle because the Lord was guiding them to a different vehicle. However things didn’t work out with the vehicle they felt the Lord was leading them to so they ended up buying the first one. It’s incidents like these that really make people question the idea of hearing God. People are attaching the Lord’s name to their own whims. This devalues prophetic ministry and God’s name.



Forcing God to speak through circumstances

It is common to hear people ask God to lead them by making His chosen option the only accessible one. In other words, “God if you want me to go to this school, make it so that I’m accepted”. If you take a little bit of time to think about this you will quickly conclude it’s a very arrogant and ineffective way to discern the Lords will. For example imagine a 10 year old boy named John. John wants to know what chores his father would have him do on a Saturday afternoon. John writes his father a note. In the note John explains how if his father wants him to mow the lawn he should get the lawnmower ready. If not he will weed the garden. John gets up to see that the lawnmower is not ready so he joyfully weeds the garden believing that it was his fathers will. However John’s father didn’t want him to weed the garden or mow the lawn. John’s father left a note saying that John should come over to the neighbours because they are having a barbeque. Because John had such a narrow focus in discerning his fathers will he missed out on a great afternoon.

In our relationship with God we need to give God the room to respond how He wants to. There are times where God does have an opinion but his direction is something we had never considered. He may want to give us some detail on what to do and how to do it. He may not have an opinion either way and we can decide what we want to do. God can also choose not to answer. He can do that because He is God. God does what He wants.



Make a Decision

Getting direction from the Lord is a good thing. However I think some people have grown so dependant on prophetic words from other people that they don’t think for themselves. In the bible the role of Godly wisdom is very prominent in the life of the believer. I depend more on wisdom than revelation. They should always line up, but sometimes God sees things from a much broader perspective which sometimes makes relying on revelation a step of faith.

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Taking Risks

Taking Risks

I had an interesting conversation with a recruiter at the Bible College I’m working at right now. We talked about the unwillingness of Christian leaders to take any kind of risk. It’s easier to follow what the others are doing. After we analyze where the herd is going we add our own theological or denominational flavour and call it our own. Those we put in leadership are handicapped by politics and consumed by unproductive tasks like asking for money. In the end they have very little time to provide bold leadership.



In business people assume risk to get a reward. The highest paying investments are usually the ones with the highest risk. People take those risks because they want the reward. In business the ultimate reward is easy to measure because it is money. The bottom line is profitability. In ministry it seems there can be a number of different bottom lines. Perhaps the most prevalent is “if nothing changes, everything is good”. Others might be donations, attendance, membership, fame, etc… It seems apparent that we are not in this for the same goal. Biblically the goal might be described as following Christ, or becoming a disciple. I might define it as being consumed and transformed by the kingdom of God for the purposes of God. There may be better ways of saying it, but the very nature of the kingdom of God is almost intangible. It’s very difficult to measure the kingdom of God. It’s hard to tell the difference from what we have made, and what God has built.

Perhaps Christian leaders don’t want to take any risks because they feel they have all the reward they need. They see no urgency. They are content to maintain the status quo because they redefined the end objective to be the status quo.



In a way it is like a business manager who measures success by how many people walk through the doors. The manager rests contently because the numbers have stayed the same. The business manager doesn’t want to look at cash flow because it might reveal things aren’t as good as they seem. Ultimately facing the facts may mean a lot of change. It may mean a lot of sacrifice. The business manager doesn’t want to change because thing are easiest right now. Unfortunately for the business manager the owner, who invested so much capital in the business, will want some return on the investment.

Perhaps there is no leadership because there is no urgency. There is no urgency because our vision is tainted. Our vision is tainted because we don’t want to see the truth. We don’t to see the truth because there is more we want to get out of God or religion than we are willing to give. What we need to face is that God has invested so much in us and He expects a return on that investment.

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