Archive for April, 2011

An Extraordinary Week

For the last  seven years, the pastor of a local congregation, literally “….picks up his cross….” and walks through downtown Many, Louisana, on Good Friday. Daniel Lowe is a familiar face in this community having pastored the Church of the Nazarene for over 16  years.  It was exciting to see the feedback from his Facebook friends encouraging him and thanking him, for his walk once again this year.  In fact, some were waiting with anticipation for his walk and would have been disappointed if something would have hindered him.

This is an extraordinary thing that Daniel does each year.   He is a humble man and will be embarrassed that I wrote this, but as I often say “…it is what it is…”  And it is extraordinary.  The definition of “extraordinary” is “….beyond what is usual, exceptional, exceeding the common measure”.   To better understand this word, think of the ANTONYMS which are “common, normal and usual”   In my book, picking up a heavy cross, dressing in ancient dress, and walking down main street is NOT common, normal or usual.  Daniel is my friend, so he is ok with me saying he is not normal!

We humans yearn for the extraordinary.   It’s in our DNA – it’s how we are made.   It’s the reason that the most loved popular films that have captured our hearts and attention involve extraordinary powers – Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Superman, Spiderman, Star Wars.  OR those movies with extraordinary heroes, Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Batman.  This is the message of the book “Extraordinary” by John Bevere which our work Bible study group began over 7 months ago and concluded this past Wednesday, during Holy Week.  Because the Psalmist said “My times are in your hands…..”, I have to believe it is NO coincidence that our last lesson on living the EXTRAORDINARY life was just before Easter Sunday.  It truly has been an extraordinary week!

Jesus said that if anyone wanted to be His disciple, they must pick up their cross and follow Him.  I don’t think that means that every follower has to do as Daniel did – and pick up a physical cross.  It does mean that whatever He calls me to do – I do it.  No matter how impossible or difficult  it may seem – if He calls me to it, He will empower me to do it.  THAT’S extraordinary!  I love the way the Message Bible says it:

Galatians 2:19-21 ( In part – The Message)

“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central…….. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”

I also want to remind you of something  this night before Resurrection Sunday.  God not only desires for you to live the extraordinary life, but He has equipped you to do so – no matter who you are or how you serve in life.  Whether you are a mortgage banker, school teacher, stay-at-home mom, pastor, secretary, offshore worker, it does not matter!  Because of the “Resurrection Power” operating inside of you – you are empowered to live a life that is remarkable, amazing, marvelous and unimaginable  – in other words, EXTRAORDINARY!

The decision is always ours – to pick up the cross – or not.  But when we do, it is the beginning of  an extraordinary life – a life that is “crucified with Christ”.    The life we were meant to live.

God bless you all – HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Bible Study Apr 6, 2011

Bible Study Apr. 6, 2011

The Extraordinary Personality

 

Our entire being is composed of spirit, soul and body.   The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May the God who gives you peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being – SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY – free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

John Bevere in his book “Extraordinary” talks about this as three circles, contained within each other, starting with a small circle in the center, and then moving to a larger circle, and then a larger circle.  He says this:

“The outer, the flesh, is the part of our being that has contact with the natural world through our five senses.  The middle represents our soul.  Some have attempted to oversimplify the soul by stating that it is merely our mind, will and emotions.  Though the soul does consist of these attributes, it is much more complex.  The soul of a human being is what makes him or unique, it’s his or her distinguishing essence.”  

I’m thinking that is our PERSONALITY!  It is what makes us who we are – it is our area of BRILLANCE! 

He goes on to say:

“The inner circle represents our spirit.  Our spirit is the life source of our being.  If the spirit of a person is taken out of his or her body, the body collapses.  When God created man, He took the elements of the earth, which He’d already created and formed a body.  Once this was accomplished, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being.”  Gen. 2:7  Our spirit, illustrated by the inner circle is our seat of life.”

Think of it like this – 3 circles – the OUTER circle is our flesh.  It is our contact with the world.  It’s our every day goings and comings.  It is how we interact with other humans!   And then think of the smaller circle as our Spirit.  And then the middle circle as our SOUL – our PERSONALITY – what we think (mind), what we do (will), and what we feel (emotion).  

Bevere says “In regard to an unsaved person, his or her spirit is dead.  This doesn’t mean it doesn’t exists, but rather the lights are off and there is no contact with God, for its in a fallen state.  Therefore, the unsaved are completely influenced by their flesh and fully controlled by a mind that’s alienated from God.   The ways of God are foreign to them; they’re truly in darkness”.

I can give testimony to this!  When I was living in the world and unconcerned about God or the ways of God, my FLESH dictated to my SOUL!  When my Spirit was born again and became brand new – my PERSONALITY began to change!  It did NOT happen overnight, I can tell you!  But gradually, my “soul” (mind, will and emotions) began to listen more to the SPIRIT rather than to the FLESH.   When I would be drawn to something that I knew the Bible said was sin – I would have to stop and think – what am I listening to?  The world and my flesh?  Or the Word of God and the new born-again Spirit that is within me?

I heard once about a Grandfather telling his grandson that there were two wolves fighting within the young man’s heart.  One was dark and black and full of rage and anger.  The other was spirit and light, grace and truth.  The grandson asked “Which one wins?” and the Grandfather said “The one you feed the most”. 

Am I feeding my flesh – or my spirit?  And which one will be controlling my SOUL? 

It’s a process, as our fearless leader, Jake says!   And the process begins by the study of God’s word and allowing it to sink deep within you, and being guided by the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

 “For the Word of  God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit….and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart….” Hebrews 4:12


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