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Finding answers to questions about the way life, self perception, and human behavior all work together to affect creating a successful life and is a subject that most people are interested in understanding better. One of my primary objectives is to be a resource person to help others find solutions to the life that will work and bring happiness, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment. Knowing why we do what we do is a critical subject to every relationship of life and helping enable experiencing productive lives. There is an important connection between the spiritual life, a healthy self relationship, and others. Therefore, engaging in successful relationships and living effectively in ways that are strengthened by understanding motivation for behavior and focusing on solutions is foundational to life coaching. My goal is to invest in others by taking time to to think about what is important to each person and how to create a plan for a successful life. It may make all the difference in someone's life. Thanks for visiting ...

The Depth of Personal Faith


god-is-in-control

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)

A Question About the Depth of Personal Faith

Jesus asks some questions of his disciples that seem so very simple when you read them, but they actually are more difficult for most people to put into action in daily living. This same question has an obvious answer for all that most would agree to, but evaluation is called for at the conclusion which makes the illustration of Jesus much more challenging. The question Jesus poses to them is to consider the amount of faith that they have inasmuch as God cares for nature that does not possess the capacity to exercise faith.

The question does not focus upon God’s ability to supply what is needed, but the disciple’s ability to exercise faith to receive. As the contrast is established, Jesus says to them that God clothes the birds of the air with feathers, the grass in the fields with health and nutrition, and the beauty of the flowers have no worries about their existence.  It seems almost like hyperbole that sets a contrast from the extravagant emphasis upon God’s care for natural things. Jesus emphatically states the greater importance of His care for His disciples, who cannot seem to get past their concern for immediate needs and anxiety about how or when it will come.

I think that often we worry the most because we have a concern for an immediate and pressing need along with a diminished understanding of God’s concern for our lives. This unduly exposes a primary focus upon things superseding a primary focus upon God as an avenue of blessings in life. The statement Jesus made emphatically, “O ye of little faith” reminds all readers about how out of focus priorities become in Christian living as the focus shifts on things and end states. While so much concern apparently arises as a natural human response, it is a misplaced concern with holding on to money and acquiring things first. In a stark contrast, the emphasis centers upon putting God first and focusing efforts upon seeking on His (kingdom-rule) over our heart-life to construct a life of faith. The application stands out clearly that disciples must learn that God precedes all of the material things in life.

Obviously birds don’t have faith, the ability to reason, nor does grass have the ability to worry; they simply live out their existence as they are designed. However, in a contrast disciples are given the ability to think and develop faith; then, reflect their true identity as a believer. The matter that is disappointing points to the failure of this band of disciples to spend time developing a faith life focused upon God instead directing their concerns toward the material matters of life. A lesson Jesus teaches in the story elevates the central importance of our priorities in what we are seeking in life. The message clearly speaks that disciples are to seek Him and in doing so, place their lives in a position to develop faith in Him, instead of worrying about fading material things.

It is hard to wrap our head around the idea that God is supernatural and out of a life of devotion to Him that God will orchestrate things we cannot imagine in human terms. Unfortunately, the fact that faith is developed out of the fires of life, keeps many out of focus until the day that the fire changes our life focus from things on this earth to the Father and His purpose. Today is a good day to change the focus of life and make a commitment to seek Him and His Lordship over life.

Prayer for today: Father may my faith develop a trusting, knowing, powerful faith that will take my focus off of holding on to things, money, or material goods a source of security. In the fires of my life today, develop a faithful trust in a sovereign God who can bless my life with good things as I seek you first, your reign, your rule over my life today.

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Authentic Christianity


Romans 12_2Authentic Christians are people who are transparent on the inside who reflect their inner values on the outside. The kind of individuals who don’t find it necessary to hide who they are, even when it isn’t perfect in the eyes of others. Authentic Christians are secure people who are able to live a natural life expressing an individual identity of reflective spiritual development giving the person confidence to be who they are at any given stage of their journey. People like this are hard to find and have are people who have learned through hard experiences that the transparent life of the soul is more likely to bring the joy and peace of the Kingdom in the process, so they align with their core self and are honest about things happening in their own lives, as well as, issues they have with other people.

Think about it, if you have been in church very long, you know there are people who are evasive, secretive, and others who are downright deceptive about how they live to prevent anyone from knowing their secrets. It is because they are deeply insecure, afraid, and have not learned to trust God in a life of intimate transformation. It takes being broken by life and people to bring a person to the place of transformative grace and allow them to be honest, open and transparent.

Among Christians, there are the ones who are living in denial, i.e., individuals who have issues in their personal lives or their relationships that they never acknowledge and deal with things carefully hidden away, choking away spiritual life, and preventing honest transparency from happening. Unfortunately, from these buried problems, there is often the source material of people who often create division and confusion in relationships in the church or organizations because in a crisis situation the hidden and unresolved personal issues come to the surface.

Because authentic Christians live transparent lives, they tend to be able to trust in God through the problems knowing that he loves them beyond what cannot be grasped in human understanding. As such, the authentic Christian does not have to be deceptive because transparency provides realization that hiding behind fig leaves only derails intimacy with God. So, when you see a Christian who knows how to live a transformed life of intimacy, you will see authenticity and experience honesty in Christian living. Wouldn’t it be great if we all lived up to that kind of relationship with God?

Authentic Fellowship


Walk in the LightAuthenticity and transparency go hand in hand with wisdom in the way life is expressed and with whom the heart I shared. Considering that even Jesus said “not to cast your pearls before the swine”, care should be taken in the choice of people that we share our heart with through life. The piercing truth about human nature is that many people do not have the capacity to receive or understand transparent and authentic people because they are not.

Transparent people learn the wisdom of living wisely and honestly in their spiritual relationship with God, self, and others. The principle of authenticity indicates that we are first and foremost transparent in our relationship with God knowing that He recognizes us as we are and yet still in spite of all we are or are not still loves us as we are —the person He created. When we are able to be honest with God and learn to be comfortable in His presence, we have started the journey of self-acceptance and honest assessment with our self where transformation is possible. One of the keys to living that transparent and authentic life is that people learn that a life of peace with others begins with having peace with yourself. You cannot love others as you love yourself until you actually learn to love yourself in a healthy way.

If we walk in the light, the light exposes all that we are and every attitude that precedes our actions. I wonder when you look at yourself in the light of Jesus’ reflection, what do you see? Is that person someone that you can live comfortably alongside of without hiding, deflecting, or faking? Think about this: Think about this: When we live in the light of His presence, forgiveness of our sins and walking in truth and light, with God and with others, will always be natural and authentic result of having fellowship with the light.

 

How Can I be Intentional About Helping Others?


Lifting People Up Instead of Pushing Them DownGossip girls

Many people are professional critics, self-centered, and see it their life’s mission to make as many people miserable as they can each day. Many churches, work places and other types of organizations have the same type of people – People who take pleasure at pushing someone down, instead of lifting them up.

Wow!! That may sounds like me or someone else you can readily think of, but before you think of someone else, think of yourself and ask:

How can I be a help instead of damaging others in the daily processes of doing working with people?

It is Person Centered … One person at a time.

FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALS INSTEAD OF THE CROWD

Jesus was followed by a large crowd . . Two blind men shouted, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on us.” (Matthew 20:29-30) As long as we label people, we will never be able to help them. Often labels are used to tag people as “groups that do not matter.” One must never forget – everyone matters – Everyone.

While there is a constant focus upon on changing America, making more laws, regulations, controls to govern the problems of people, maybe we should have a foci of helping one person at a time.

LISTEN SINCERELY TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS

“When Jesus heard them. . ” Matthew 20:32 If we do not care enough to listen, we do not care enough to help bring about change. Listening is hard work. It is amazing how much we can learn with out mouths shut and our ears open.

TAKE TIME TO BE PRESENT TO OTHERS

“He stopped” (Matthew 20:32).  If we want to demonstrate genuine care and interest in people’s live and situations, it is going to take a commitment of our time. We cannot be too busy to help.

DETERMINE THE FELT NEED OF OTHERS

“Jesus asked, ‘What do want me to do for you?’ (Matthew 20:31) It is easier to talk about someone than it is to talk to someone. Do you know why they do what they do? Are they hurting, lonely, ill-equipped for the task at hand? We will never know without talking and listening.

EMPATHIZE WITH OTHERS

“Jesus felt compassion for them” (Matthew 20:34) Empathize means to hurt with them. Share their sorrow. In the expression of words of empathy, to “Feel their pain” expresses an identification with others and that we sense the suffering of another in a way that moves us. When we understand why, then perhaps we can begin to help bring about change by taking appropriate actions.

TOUCH OTHERS WHERE THE HURT AND NEED IS GREATEST

In Matthew 20:34 “Jesus touched their eyes.” What can we do to help meet the needs of others? What kind of help can we offer? What are we willing to invest in others?

Change begins with me. If I want my world where I live then a good place to start the change change is to look within and see how I can change and make life and the world a better place.

Some Practical Advice About How A Right Response Can Keep Relationships Balanced


Do you find it Hard to Keep Loving Those Who Act in Unlovable Ways?

Passive Agressive Humor

From the person who cuts you off at the checkout lane to the former friend who spreads slanderous words about you, you are often hurt by the thoughtless or deliberate words of others.

How do you typically react?

Honestly?  It is no fun to be hurt.  The old sandbox saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” simply is not true.  Physical injuries heal over time for the most part, but the bruises from emotional conflicts do not disappear over time without specific, spiritual remedies.

From a worldly perspective, it is considered normal to react in kind-the “don’t get mad, get even” philosophy.  That is part of the reason that Jesus tells us that our behavior must be radically different in order to get the attention of a hurting world around us..

Jesus says:

  1. “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . . And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.  Moreover, if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.”
  2. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
  3. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:27‑38).

The content of this passage is astoundingly rich; the Golden Rule alone is the subject of profound study.  However, one thing is abundantly clear: the believer is called to a response of unconditional love to others.

Loving Both The Unlovely And The Unloving Is Not Easy.

Jesus did not say that this response would come naturally. If it did, He would not spend so much time explaining these principles and the importance of following His example in your dealings with those around you.  Here are some basic steps to help move you toward a Christ‑centered response.

1.      Forgive the offender.

Hurt turns into bitterness and an unforgiving spirit when it isn’t dealt with properly.  Think of it this way ‑ through the grace of Jesus Christ, you have the spiritual resource to truly forgive others.  (Matthew 18:21‑35; Psalm 32:1; Ephesians 4:32)  When you release someone from the debt he or she owes you, you are free to see that person as Christ does, and anger and bitterness no longer have the power to rule your decisions.

2.      Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.

Practice the skill of being a good listener and try to imagine the perspective of the offender.

What might his motivations have been?  What is going on in his life right now?  Many times, a person who hurts you is the victim of hurt himself.  He feels that the only way to release that anger and “get back at the world” is to do the same thing to someone else.

The process of loving someone enough to ask questions and hear the other side does not mean excusing the behavior.  You must still recognize the person’s action as wrong and hurtful and then forgive, but understanding the offender’s private pains could be a key step towards reconciliation or preventing further conflicts in the future.

3.       In keeping with a spirit of Christ‑like love, speak with non-combative yet truthful words.

A perfect verse to keep in mind at such times  is Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Speaking in love does not mean that your words will not be sharp and pointed; sometimes truth is very unsettling, and the individual who has come against you may need to grapple with some tough issues.

If you think the conversation may be difficult, or if you are unsure of the right approach, consult with some wise and godly friends or a Christian counselor first.  It is always helpful to keep the overall goal in mind. In confrontations with nonbelievers, your role is to point them to Christ.  With believers, your function is basically the same, except that God may be using you to help bring your brother or sister to maturity.

As you practice loving the unlovely and refusing to enter the retaliation game, you will develop a lifestyle of love, keeping in mind Christ’s limitless mercy.  1 Timothy 1:15‑16 says: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

In any conflict, you need to realize that the outcome is not in your hands.  No matter how hard you may try, you ultimately cannot force someone to listen or change.

Only the Lord can work with that person’s heart, as you continue to extend patience and love.  Who knows, maybe someday your “worst enemy” could become your best friend in Christ.  Whatever the result, you can be sure of God’s blessing as you seek His way of dealing with those who hurt you.

RLM/12/08/2012

Knowledge Dissemination and the Gospel in the 21st Century


English: Framework for 21st Century Learning In USA Today (March 5, 2009), Greg Toppo’s article, “What to learn: ‘core knowledge‘ or ‘21st-century skills‘?”  presents a thought provoking description of the changing emphasis in how knowledge is ranked on a gradient of importance in contemporary American culture revealed that at least 10 states have committed to helping students develop 21st-century skills in schools the workplace and beyond. Analysis points to an effect that  rates technological skill as the premium among valued knowledge in the atmosphere of the present  emergent culture. Considering this information in contrast to past attitudes toward learning and what knowing indicates about education, there is growing disparity between traditional views of based upon theory and core knowledge as a frame work for analysis of information as opposed to skills as the model of preparation for a career path.  Present emphasis suggests that a shift in epistemology and how knowledge is valued (axiology) presents a revolutionary change in approach to educational theory and delivery because of marked developments in modern culture.

To emphasize this point, Toppo reports, that a Massachusetts task force concluded that straight academic content is no longer enough to help students compete an education that will place them in the work force in the 21st Century.   This presents a  perspective that shifts the central focus of past generations from  theoretical, content based knowledge, while at the same time emphasizes a shift toward technological skill-based proficiency.  This perspective drew a rebuke from The Boston Globe,  which states that it is not clear that the current approach education can be implemented without eliminating  the important role that academic academic content has played in educating students with analytical skills in prior generations  (Toppo, 2009).  As a result,  changing paradigms in educational approaches have resulted in a shift in  the design of educational delivery systems and  indicates developments within culture driven by economic, industrial, multicultural, and technological differences that are not only changing the content and application of knowledge, but how value and meaning is assigned to knowledge as a concept and operationalized.

Shifting Paradigm of Knowledge

The evident change of meaning related to knowledge is readily apparent in the influence that is constantly changing media platforms that are impacting the content of knowledge and how it is understood.  The effects of the shift in cannot be underestimated because new educational philosophy is placing significant influence upon  the way knowledge is formulated, as well as, the conclusions made by knowledge that is communicated.   Therefore, given that there is a shift in the influential way that skill development is outweighing theoretical knowledge acquisition, a significant challenge is to understand how the shift of epistemology from traditional sources of knowledge will impact the future.  A fundamental question that arises out of the shifting paradigm is how  the shift will influence the way people will approach what is  knowable,  relative, and of value in the days ahead.  It seems that the societal evolution of methodology reflects the thinking of George Kelley’s construct theory.  Kelley saw everything only relative to the present moment and disconnected from the past and disassociated with the future.  In fact, he held that nothing is really stable or fixed and that all constructs are constantly being rewritten as they fit the present.  This type of thinking is diametrically different to the philosophical assumptions of a educational culture that has been based upon a body of theory taught to build  a skeleton that a discipline is built upon from embracing the collective knowledge of theorists’, philosophers, and the skilled artisans of truth who have built disciplines that bring great value to truth.  More to the point of my thoughts about this paradigm can spiritual leadership and Christian ministry be reduced to a skill to be taught, a marketing technology, or a professional ability without being grounded in the truth that has developed in our understanding but nonetheless timeless?  On the other hand, can a culture of technocrats who have been retooled with a new epistemology be touched by a gospel that presents a wisdom that that is not based upon skill, but in power and demonstration of the gospel of collaboration and technology designed to put information at people’s fingertips, but allows them to stay as they are? Jesus came to change lives, not just to impart data to add to information technology.  Have you ever looked around and looked at the condition of the world and wondered why the church is having little impact upon beliefs, values, and practices in the 21st century world of spirituality?  Technology and skill cannot save people, only Jesus can.

Clashing World Views

One thing that is abundantly clear is that there is a clash of world-views that is not about skill or technology, but about spiritual, theological, and philosophical assumptions related to knowing as opposed to doing.  Have people lost sight about the fundamental truth that God alone imparts knowledge of himself through prayer, His word, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  There is no way to to place that in a data base or teach a skill to create a formula that imparts the power of the gospel. Unfortunately, the demand for crowds, the dollar, and the entertainment culture of the church has made us much more reliant conventional wisdom from the world in the moment than it has upon to power of the gospel from a sovereign God to ignite people with the knowledge of God that draws them to Him through obedience to timeless principles presented in the gospel.  On the other hand, over reliance upon informational technology and undereliance upon discipleship, obeedience, prayer, spiritual transformation, sacrifice, servanthood, and surrender questions the validity found in conventional theological, philosophical and historical authority by shifting the focus to pragmatic artificial intelligence based outcome, rather than processed thought and obedience to the gospel that is a spiritual discipline, away of life that is valued rather that a skill or trend that is popular for the moment.   The point is that the skills involved in technology are tools of the gospel preaching church, they are not the gospel.  Skill can greatly enhance the gospel, but cannot stand in for the gospel, can greatly enhance the presentation of the gospel, but is not the gospel, and can greatly multiply the reach of the gospel, but is not the gospel.  The gospel is about Jesus and His provision of eternal life through His sacrifice on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead.

The Abundance of Popular False Teachers

Evidence of the contemporary misuse of technology can be observed by considering the plethora of sources of distorted knowledge; spiritual teachers, television preachers, and Internet religion—offering knowledge challenging the theology of gospel in the scriptures and espoused by popular icons on the technological wonder called television. The apostasy is not the technology or skilled people who provide services, but the pseudo propheton- false prophets.  Jesus and Paul warned about them and warned not to go out after them. Paul said they would go from house to house leading silly women astray.  What an apt description of much of the television religious networks that are no mere than religious entertainment for the undiscerning and underdeveloped.  The result is felt in frustration experienced by conservative Christianity in understanding that what was once knowledge found in a system of thought is now subjugated to the popular beliefs of entertainers, politicians, or musicians who have deceived people with shallow materialistic theology. Therefore postmodern technology developments have played a role in shifting  information processing constructs i.e, “Knowledge can be described in terms of an intellectual — and spiritual –marketplace” (Adams, 1997).

Historical Revisionists

This point is demonstrated by Thomas Guarino (1996) presents a point of view saying that, “Postmodern thinkers reject foundationalist ontologies [sources of knowledge], of all types because these philosophies seek to ‘close down’ effective history,  to end historical consciousness” (Guarino, 1996).  Therefore, the source of knowledge about spirituality in matters that are religious and non-religious has been deligitimated. The source of authority in knowledge is now located in the many voices of consumer driven media messages communicating a changing value system of knowledge.

A fundamental question hinges upon whether it is right or wrong? Obviously, that depends upon your view of knowledge in an accepted value system held.  It might be better to recognize it being what it is than spending time in criticism of the change.  A better question is related to effectiveness in the 21st century economy and culture.  If what is held as a personal belief system is important enough to feel it needs to be preserved, then maybe we should spend time thinking about how to communicate the message, definition, and meaning of spirituality in a technological– media driven culture that has embraced collaboration as a mediator for knowledge.

References

Adams, D. L. (1997). Toward a theological understanding of postmodernism. Retrieved March 30, 2011, from Crosscurrents: http://crosscurrents.org/adams.html

Guarino, T. (1996). Postmodernity and five fundamental theological issues [electronic version]. Theological Studies , 57 (4), Retrieved from EBSCOhost March 30,2011.

Toppo, G. (2009, March 5). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st-century skills’. Retrieved 6 2011, April, from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-03-04-core-knowledge_N.htm

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Calling From God that Goes Beyond the Natural Life


Couter Cultural Christianity“11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” (Galatians 2:11:17).

The Call of God and the Authenticity of the Gospel

Politics, nepotism, and social pressure from cultural religious networks of people are nothing new to the religious world. In fact, the context of this scripture suggest that these forces were at work placing pressure upon the early servant of the faith and many times severely hindered the work they were trying to accomplish. Look at the words of Paul as he spoke of his past life and the way he was entrenched in a religious system of belonging, controls, and social pressure creating conformity to the ideas of men, which equaled religious humanism in the 1st century. Unfortunately, those immersed in these cultural representations could not see the problems associated with these socio-cultural entrenchments because of  their ingroup affiliation that validated their life and existence. Thinking upon this morning, I am reminded of how much that churches have become social units,that are heavily influenced by traditions of the world and have moved away from a clear sense of calling from God, and have become social units that propagate cultural Christianity that is indigenous to a culture and not subjected to the scripture or submissive to God.

The Counter cultural Message

The apostle Paul presents a counter cultural message that asserts that its source is God alone. Therefore, the call of God is not a call to serve Him through contact with God and that contact with the nature of God will develop my understanding of the call and the direction it will take. Further, contact with God will assist me in gaining an understanding of what the call of God means for my life and how the call is to be measured out into definable actions. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service, which results in my life, is best suited to me and is an expression of my nature that God has created in me and works through me. A deviation that occurred from the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul that was initiated by God—“When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [the message purely and solemnly expressing Him alone] among the Gentiles”

The Call and the Developing Understanding

Two challenges speak very loudly as I read Paul’s statement about the way he received and understood the message. The word revelation is overused, misused, and misunderstood by many Christians to mean some private mystical and private word from God that others have not heard. That was the heretical teaching of 1st century Gnostics, the experience of paranoid schizophrenics, as well as, other cults and mental disorders. Therefore, this application leaves a a unreliable etiology to reliably understand what revelation points toward. It is abundantly clear that the Bible is the only revelation of God that we will ever need and is the full disclosure of the supreme revelation, Jesus Christ. When Paul says that he received his message by revelation, it was not until his eyes were opened by Jesus and he could see past the temple, the Torah, the Targums, the Mishnah, and the Rabbinical writings that were a part of his enculturation. Then, as he met Jesus, his eyes were opened past His acculturation. God took the things that he had been taught in the Old Testament writings and revealed Jesus that he had not seen before because he was blinded by everything that he was absorbed in within his culture believing he was doing right and everything within him that attributed meaning, as he understood it from a human cultural perspective. Then Jesus cleared it up for him in a process of three years. As I read this, I am really aware that the word of God is of no private interpretation and God has a process of revealing His message, but it comes when we become aware of Him and separate ourselves to let His word speak to us that we might understand the revelation of God. A firm conclusion reveals that Jesus is the revelation that made the message clear as Paul’s previous knowledge was clarified by an encounter with Christ, God’s supreme revelation

Separation to Service

Service does not result from belonging to a ingroup, it results from belonging to Jesus and being devoted to Him alone. The message determines the mission and service is the overflow, which pours from a life filled with love and devotion for the Savior who calls us to a radical mission. Service is my gift of obedience in the relationship and reflections my identification with the nature of God that has been revealed to me. Service becomes a natural part of my life when I have separated myself from cultural Christianity to radical Christianity that elevates the Gospel to its proper place of priority in our life and the church. Service occurs when God breaks my will and brings me into the proper relationship with Him in order that I can understand His call, and then serve Him from a pure motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature that invites me to participate in His work. Therefore, when I accept His nature and hear His call with an understanding ear, it is at that moment that the words that God has spoken in His word are revealed clearly.

Your words oh Lord separate me from the normal way of the world to the higher ways of God that result in sacrificial service that does not come from men or through men, but are a result of an encounter with the nature of God on the road of life. Lord, Your Word comes so quietly and so pervasively to convict my heart —Lord protect me, insulate me, and isolate me from the trappings of cultural Christianity and religious conformity that has a death grip on the church. Break the bonds in Jesus name through the power of the gospel.