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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Learning New Lessons

I went Frisbee Golfing with some friends the other day.  We met a young man at the course who showed us how to throw a golf disk.  My friends figured it out quickly and effortlessly.  I, however, struggled.  It is going to take trial and error, time and effort for me to learn how to throw one of these disks.  They are not the frisbees I was used to.  Here in is a lesson about myself.

I am an external learner.  I have to have some distance in order to fully assimilate new knowledge and understanding.  I have to say it out loud or write it down and re-read it.  I have to do it (over and over).  I have to watch myself on video or listen to myself on tape (albeit very painful).  My friends were clearly internal learners.  They heard, it made sense, they did.  Not me.

The implication of being an external learner is that you have to get the stuff out of you to really learn it.  If you add to that conviction and a confident delivery, you end up sounding like you know what you are talking about (that's a polite way of saying I sound like a "know it all").  This is where my friends come back in.

I need them.  I need them to ask questions about what comes out of me.  I need them to feed it back to me.  I need them to challenge my assumptions.  I need them to be patient with a "Know it all" and allow him to be an external learner.  God is good in that He has provided me with just such a group of friends. 

Thank you to all of you who put up with my being an external learner.  I am grateful to God for you.

3:23 pm edt 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A People Called Out
Ecclesia:  The called out.  The word used to decribe God's church. 

For what purpose does God call a people together?  Why does He call them out from where they are?  Why does He ask one to leave a place of relative comfort for the discomfort of the unfamiliar?  Why does He plant a group in the middle of a "planted field"?


In the Old Testament, grace was defined as "unmeritted favor".  Doing for someone something that would be seen as undeserved.  God's continued pursuit of Israel certainly falls in this category.  In the New Testament, the word "grace" takes on a different meaning (see the Greek word translated "grace" especially when applied to God).  If you trace it to its root words, you come away with a definition closer to: "God doing what pleases God".

In the Old Testament, God did it for us.  In the New Testament, God does it for His own benefit.  Because God loves us and because God wants us, God acts for us.  It pleases Him to do so.

When God calls a group together, it is to bring pleasure to Himself.  He wants them to do something for Him.  He has a plan.  Throughout all scripture God's plans always come with promise and provision.  Read the book of Joshua.  God is delivering on His promise.

Being people of God's pleasure, being people of God's promise, isn't a passive activity.  Joshua had to prepare himself and the people to please God, to experience God's promise, and to be able to access God's provision.

If you find yourself in a group of people, called out for the purpose of serving and worshippoing God, know this...  God called you out.  There is a plan. There is a promise.  There is provision.  There is pleasure God is expecting to realize.  It isn't for you.  YOU ARE FOR GOD!

Prepare yourself, prepare your people to be God's pleasure!
10:30 am edt 

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