I suspect that a lot of Christians struggle with people-pleasing in general, since we often delude ourselves that many characteristics of people-pleasing are godly ones. The truth is, though, sometimes a preoccupation with people-pleasing can actually inhibit our spiritual growth. [Click title to read more.]
Do you live in fear of fellowships that last over an hour, and cringe when you're the first one to leave? Do you dread the small-talk exchanges that crop up during small group meetings and church meet-and-greets? Do you feel like you don't quite fit into your church or your spiritual community? If you struggle with any of these issues, if you're an introvert, or if you're an extrovert who wants to understand a little bit more about your quieter, thoughtful brothers and sisters in Christ, now's the time! [Click title to read more.]
We want to have the "right" answers all the time. We want to look like we know what we're doing. We hate the idea of "looking bad" in front of the world. We like to focus on the positive. But we're human. [Click title to read more.]
Faith is not the blind belief that everything will be fine. Faith is not a self-hypnosis that magically transforms the bad things in our life into good ones, or automatically makes us content to struggle forward without answers. No. Faith is an effort of will. It is the resolution of heart and mind. [To read more, click title.]
God's economy seems antithetical to the modern age we live in. I and most people I know would run back to get the sheaf of forgotten wheat, would linger to make sure we hadn't left anything behind. And if we found any scraps on the ground we'd ask Pinterest how to use them to make centerpieces. To us, this sort of act seems sensible, and yet it runs directly opposite the commands of God. Leave the leftovers, He commands. They're not for you to use. [Read more...]
The danger in this is that - if we're not careful - the loving and serving that the church is supposed to be doing can get submerged beneath a corporate outlook. The Message becomes a logo. Outreach becomes a business wherein believers supply love in exchange for attendance, salvations, and baptisms, and are tempted to move on when they see no signs of a harvest.
Humility is not a contrived performance or a degrading of the self, but rather the attitude natural to those who act with empathy, compassion, and selflessness.
This verse reminds me that the temptation is always there - that there will always be a chance I might use God's words to lend myself credibility, rather than use my life and my words to lend God credibility.
Let yourself dwell on the richness of the truth that, miles and miles and years and years removed from the bodily incarnation of Christ, we who believe without having witnessed these signs in person have had a special blessing spoken upon us.
If Frederick Buechner is correct that "the place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet," then this blog satifies at least one half of the equation; writing is where I find my deep gladness and all of my joy. And there is nowhere I would rather be than right here.