In Christ?

Being “in Christ”.  It’s not a concept I have pondered much at all.  Recently though I have seen and read a few things that have made me stop and think about the phrase.  One of my favorite bloggers and former baseball player Jeremy Affeldt was one who wrote something that made me think.  Jeremy talks about seeing people through the lens of grace.  When he sees a homeless person, he tries to see the person as Jesus would.  I think of it this way:  if I am in Christ and want to truly see, I need to see through his eyes.  If I don’t, I’m blind.  I may hear something, but I can’t see it without looking through the eyes of Jesus.  It’s as if I am literally inside Christ.

The same can be said for prayer.  If I pray in God’s will, He will hear me and answer.  To do so, what if I imagine I’m inside Christ.  I am part of his body.   His thoughts will rule mine so that when I pray, they will be coming from him.  The Father will recognize his voice and answer.  God says He will listen to a righteous man, and the best way for me to become one is to be in one.  If I were on my own, I would fall short and not be heard.  One caveat I might add to that is if you are truly seeking Him, He will hear and show you the way.  That’s what happened to me.  I believed in Jesus (there’s that word “in” again) and prayed, even if I didn’t know much at all about anything Christian.

So, a challenge for you readers.  Try this approach and let me know how it goes.  I’ll keep you posted as well.

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Stepping On Toes

It’s been a while since I talked about my work life.  This past month or two God has shown me something I believe is valuable for some of you out there.  It has to do with work and being right and wrong at the same time.

There’s been a few times in my career where I’ve done something right at work, benefitting the company and others, but was written up for what I did.  I know it sounds strange, and that I didn’t actually do something right, but allow me to explain.  In another post I mentioned the project I wanted to start in which employees could empower themselves and work on projects of their choosing.  The goal was to create teamwork to complete their projects, give them something to look forward to at work, and create a sense of accomplishment and purpose.  The plan was nixed before it got started.

Another time a problem customer paid half his bill and wrote “this check represents invoice x paid in full”.  No one wanted to take initiative to make a decision of whether to accept the check, so I did some research and turned the customer away.  In my state the writing on the check could be construed as a contract, but I still was written up.

You probably guessed by the title of this blog what I learned.  Even though I made good decisions/plans, I was wrong because I stepped on toes.  In a sense I was making it known that others weren’t doing their jobs.  Another way I was wrong was that I took the place of a higher up.  I needed to let them know of the situation and let them take charge.  It reminds me to “not have to be right, but to do what’s right”.  When we evangelize, I believe we need to remember this.  Sure, you know truth (Jesus, God’s word).  When you try to teach it though, you have to do so in love.  To tell someone what to do would be stepping on their toes.  They can think for themselves.  We need to help them realize the truth on their own.  I usually recommend “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, a firsthand account of a skeptic who gradually learned the truth.



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Hand of God

Amazon Prime has a series called Hand of God, starring Ron Perlman.  It’s about a man who may or may not be hearing God’s voice and seeing visions.  The writers toe the line, with one minute showing he may really be hearing God, and the next minute alluding to mental issues that are the cause of the voices/visions.  The show can be a bit graphic, but when the writers leave out the gratuitous scenes, the show is better than most.  There are a couple of issues I want to discuss about what is said or done on the show, as watchers may assume the writers are pulling straight from the bible.

One issue is that murders are committed in the name of God.  They are “justified” by what God is telling the main character.  If you pay attention though, God never does say to murder anyone in the show.  The main character thinks that what he’s to do.  In this way, the writers are staying true to Jesus’s teachings.  Jesus teaches us to not murder, hurt, strike back, seek revenge, etc.  Instead, Jesus teaches us to pray for our enemies.  We are to love them.  I know people will talk about Crusades and such, but that simply is not what Christianity teaches.  That’s people using religion to get their way, and anyone can use anything to get their way.  It’s not Christianity’s fault.  If people were to really follow Jesus, there would be no wars at all.

The other issue stems from a powerful scene when the main character is praying out loud, asking God to speak to him.  The character says “you don’t want us to be perfect, just willing”.  That’s not true to what is written in the bible.  The bible encourages us to be perfect.  God knows we can’t, hence the need of a savior.  In order to get to heaven we need to be perfect, and only through believing in Jesus can we be forgiven.  Doing good deeds doesn’t make up for what we’ve done.  Some may say that it’s the easy way out, and all one has to do is ask for forgiveness, but then they’re able to sin again.  Again, that’s another misconception.  The apostle Paul addresses this directly, saying we are not to sin again even if we have God’s grace.  When we truly follow Jesus, we will want to do only good.  It’s worship of God to do good.  To do evil shows that one truly doesn’t love, and the bible says that those who don’t love will not go to heaven.

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The Status Quo

Have you realized lately that the world is changing so fast?  What was taboo just a few years ago is now accepted around the world and even law in some countries. I believe it is a trick of evil.  Evil makes it seem like it’s ok to do what the majority says is right or good.   Evil tends to ignore the details and leads people to look jump on the bandwagon without knowing all the facts.  Please don’t be fooled into believing the status quo.  Remember what you were taught about God’s word.  If you weren’t taught when you were younger, pick up a bible and ask God to show you the meaning of the words.  Choose a version written in modern English so that you understand the syntax.  There are many versions for free online.  Read the bible first, then look at blogs or sites so that you can tell truth from lies.  Even us experienced Christians need to read a lot to refresh our memory of what is really truth.  Evil does a great job of making us forget.

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How do you know who’s on your side?

I recently had a bad experience at work.  I’ve been trying to help coworkers realize their potential by giving them opportunities to do special projects, and to even create their own projects.  That type of  freedom at work has given me fulfillment and I wanted to share in that feeling.  I thought everyone would jump at the chance, but I was very wrong.  Needless to say, people weren’t happy and the initiative crumbled.

What happened?  I kept asking myself that over and over.  Of course I heard things by word of mouth, but today I believe God showed me truth.  1 John 4 reads: “We are from God.  Whoever knows God listens to us;  whoever is not from God does not listen to us.  By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

I think this passage meant a few things in my situation.  The first thing seems evident.  I consider myself to be from God.  There were a few people who have been doing exactly what I’ve been trying to accomplish.  I knew they were trying to be God’s disciples so that made sense.  Some of the other’s beliefs were revealed to me.  I didn’t know how deep their beliefs were in God, but now I know better than I did.  It helps me now when I talk to them about Christian ideas, as I know what I can and can’t say.

The second thing I see is that personally I was to blame for part of the fallout.  I was pursuing something that could have brought me glory, not glory to God.  Now that I know people’s hearts a bit better, I can pursue a higher purpose, that is planting seeds and watering them.  I can pray for the day to see the Holy Spirit make them grow.

Sorry that I can’t give you a foolproof plan to find out people’s hearts to see who is really on your side.  Prayer is the only answer I can give there that would be a true answer.  I guess my points of this post are to be open to God’s teachings, to keep His glory your top priority, and to pray for opportunities to plant seeds in other’s hearts.

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Dealing With Difficult People – Part 2

My first part about dealing with difficult people was about praying to see where the underlying attitude comes from.  One author, Bonhoefer, believes that people can never know one another as we don’t know their spirit.  There is one who does though, and we can pray to Jesus who does know the other person.  He is our intermediary.

Today I want to talk about when someone wrongs you directly.  I found this page:

Not many people have a tougher job than law enforcement does.  A lot of the time they are dealing with people who don’t respect others.  With that disrespect comes danger.  If someone doesn’t have respect for the law, are they going to respect another person?  The officer’s really need to keep cool.  I believe there are times when they need supernatual help as well.  Believers know that comes from the Holy Spirit.  We are called to be something the world doesn’t understand.  Who blesses their enemy?  Doesn’t retaliate when insulted?  Is quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger?  The world teaches us to  stand up for ourselves.  What if we didn’t?  Only then will we see true change.

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Dealing with Difficult People

It’s probably a title you’ve seen many times.  Everyone wants to write about dealing with difficult people. It’s such a thorn in most of our sides, mostly at work, when we have to spend so much time with someone we just can’t understand.  I heard a story told by Chuck Swindoll that I believe applies to most of these situations. 

There was woman who was part of a church planning committee.  One day in their committee meeting, one of the members, a man, was stalling all the plans.  No one could understand what was wrong with the plans, but this man had problems with all of them.  As the woman left she picked up her boy from a youth group and they started to drive home.  Her boy needed to make a stop at the store so when he went in the woman prayed about the man, asking God to change him.  As she prayed, she realized that praying for his change maybe wasn’t the answer.  Maybe she had to see something.  Her boy returned and she asked him if he knew the man.  Her boy did know of him, and that he was in the military and had lost most of his platoon in battle.  That was the light bulb moment.  The lady realized he wanted to control some of the plans as in his past he felt he lost control.  When she started including the man in the planning part of projects, he stopped complaining and started helping instead. 

it’s not always easy to find the root of a person’s behavior, but prayed is a big part of finding it out.  Try it and see and let me know how it goes!

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