Whimsical Saturday- Looking Up

14 12 2013

The pursuit of whimsy, the light-hearted, yet serious, adventure.

Love sometimes means looking up…

Looking Up

to find your way in this world.

“Set your mind of the things above, not on the things that are on the earth,
for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God”
Colossians 3:2-3

Advertisements




Two Announcements…

6 11 2013

God’s House Maui
This Sunday, our church is having its first service at Pu’ukukui Elementary in Wailuku (see directions below).  Brothers Steven and Kris Miyake, Maui born and raised, returned the island to start this church after several years on the mainland doing ministry. This church and its leadership share a similar heart and vision for ministry on the Hawaiian Islands with our ministry, Pray Hawaii, and because of those connections, we recently joined the pastoral leadership team as Life Transformation pastors.  We are excited for this new opportunity and ask for your prayers as we begin to serve in this new role.
Please read below for more information about God’s House.

The heart of this church is to see the island transformed by the love of Christ.  The cornerstone principle for God’s House comes from Matthew 6:33.  “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  The vision is drawn from John 12:32, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.” The vision for God’s House Maui is “to lift Christ high above the islands of Hawaii to draw all people to Him.”  The mission comes from the great commission found in Matthew 28.  “To disciple people into an authentic relationship with Christ by teaching them how to love God genuinely, to love each other unconditionally, and to live obediently by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Prayer Requests
Will you join us in praying for our Church begin services at this new location. Please pray for the Lord to bring the people He wants to this fellowship.  Please pray for the pastors and staff of this church as they seek to follow the Lord faithfully.  Pray also for a release of resources to help this church meet its new obligations.  Finally, pray for protection for Pastors Kris and Stacey Miyake, Worship Pastors, Arthur and Amanda Criste, and all other pastors and staff at God’s House Maui

Finally, if you are on Maui and would like to attend services, the first service is Sunday November 10 from 10-12.  Here are some directions to help.

Coming from Wailuku (on High Street)
1.Drive past Wailuku Elementary.
2. Turn right onto Kehalani Makai Parkway.
3. Drive straight up the hill.
4. As the road curves, take the left turn into the gated street.
5. Welcome to the Pu’u Kukui cafeteria and campus!





Loving the Unlovable

11 09 2013

I was reminded this week of Jesus words in Matthew 5:43-48 where He tells us that we are to love our enemies. Instead of, doing things the old way, you know, loving our neighbor and hating our enemies. Recently, these verses have taken on a special significance in my life. I found that I looked forward to dealing with a certain kind of people, while, simultaneously, I dreaded spending time with another. And I don’t mean like simply trying to avoid someone who I find annoying. I mean D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G talking to, looking at, pr hearing from this type of person. What I really discovered is that I didn’t like them because they weren’t very easy to love.

20130910-223350.jpg

Which brings me back to this passage, Jesus didn’t say love those who are easy to love. He said love your enemies. While I don’t consider them my enemies, my attitude toward them has been unloving. Which is a nice way of saying I hated them. That last part was difficult to write. Because as a Christian, I should, and do “know,” better.

Another thing interesting happened to me, as I pondered these verses and my hateful feelings. I started substituting for a life skills/work place readiness teacher at a local high school, and the first subject that I was going to teach was about attitude. This interesting item that got my attention was the definition of attitude contained in the materials. The chapter of the book defined attitude as your feeling toward something.

The light went off for me when I read that definition. You see, I have been taught my whole life that my attitude in life was my choice. I could choose how I would respond to my circumstances or to people I encountered. In other words, I can choose my feelings, and my choices reveal the true condition of heart.

What does this have to do with love? For me, it means that I don’t have “right” to be annoyed by, to dislike or to hate a person. I, especially, can’t show those feelings toward that person. I do believe that this “demanding” position of Jesus on loving our enemies is impossible under our own strength or “will” power.

I do believe a proper perspective helps us in this struggle. This perspective to me come from Romans 5:8, ” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse coupled couple with verse 10, “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,” clearly indicates that God loved me as His enemy, a sinner. How can I do any less for those I view as enemies?





Unity: A Word Study

9 04 2013

Unity is a word that gets bandied about quite often in our (modern day) church culture.  It is also a word that is misunderstood, misused, and abused in that same culture.  The misunderstanding comes when we think it means 100% agreement on all things.  Misuse is evidenced by unhealthy compromises made in the name of unity.  And abuse occurs when others are accused of divisiveness if that don’t agree with everything a leader says.

Since the word is not that well understood, I thought a brief study of the word might be helpful.  The word comes from the Latin word unitatem (oneness) which comes from the Latin unus one.  The Latin unitatem combines the word unus (one) and tatem (as a state of being).  Therefore, unity means the state of being one which is a pretty abstract concept.  What is oneness? What does oneness look like? Who has seen oneness?

Perhaps, perspective is important when considering unity or oneness.  No single human, apart from Christ, was/is complete unto his/herself.  As a matter of fact, we were designed for relationship.  This is often seen in marriages: one spouse will have strengths in the other spouse’s weaknesses, and vice-versa.  Look at the body of Christ as well, each church could be looked at as carrying out a particular function for the body of Christ.  Some churches are really great a developing mature believers, and others carry a heavy evangelistic anointing.  Still others believe and expect God to perform miracles while some believe those gifts died with the apostles.  Taken as a whole, these churches have one mandate, one goal, one head, and one faith.  Their goal is to glorify God by praising His Son, Jesus and proclaiming the good news to those who haven’t heard it.

Jesus is the head. The goal of the body is to uphold the head, which will occur through unity.  Ephesians chapter four talks of this unity.  Starting in verse 11, “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (emphasis mine)

There is so much packed into these verses, but  I want to focus primarily verses 13 and 15-16.  From verse 13, the phrase “unity of the faith” in the Greek has the connotation of an agreement of faith in Christ.  The idea being that when we operate in the gifts and offices that Papa God has given us, we will, together, have a complete faith in and complete understanding of Christ.  Without each part, the body is incomplete, and therefore, our understanding is incomplete.  In short, we need each other.  This idea is explicitly expressed in verses 15 and 16, and it uses the relational word love for how we are to communicate with each other.  Furthermore, the healthy function of each part is integral to growth in love (see verse 16, “so that it builds itself up in love).

An application from this passage is to stop ignoring the rest of the body because our doctrines tell us some of them are no longer necessary.  Even if your denomination or church doctrines don’t recognize the gifts in their assembly, you can still honor their presence in other assemblies. Those churches that still recognize those offices can love those churches that don’t.   And through the healthy function with love and respect, we can begin to grow in love toward one another.  As we grow in love, the world will know that we are Christ disciples (see John 13:34 & 35).





In His Presence

30 04 2012

There is a song about desiring the presence of God called “I’m a Lover of Your Presence.”  The song’s second verse goes, “Our passion’s stirring deep inside, You’re all that really satisfies, We worship you.”  While I agree with this verse, I don’t always feel this way.  This thought occurred to me as we started the process of moving from “our” new home in Hawaii.

Living “with” a view or living “in” the view.   Our current home has amazing views of Maui’s famed North Shore and the island’s dormant volcano, Haleakala, and we are just miles from both locations.  We can get to both relatively quickly, but it’s quite different from living in either place.  Not that I want to live anywhere near a volcano that might erupt, but the town of Pa’ia (where we are moving) is home to some pretty famous beaches. We are moving from having a view to being in the view.

Looking at evidence or living in His presence.  To me, having a view of something versus being “in” the view became an analogy for seeking the presence of God.  As believers, we unconsciously carry the presence of the living God around with us.   Sometimes we get so busy looking for evidence of the presence that we forget that truth.  Paul says we have in us Christ, “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  We are literally carriers of God’s living presence.  Yesterday, one of our pastors said, “We need to be heaven on earth and stop trying to be the Kingdom” (Jason Fernandez).

Seek relationship, not the gifts.  We often come to God for the things we can get from Him rather than for Him.  Even “good” gifts.  Oswald Chambers said, “God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants us to get to know Him” (My Utmost for His Highest (MUFHH, April 27).  For me this means as we get to know God, we get to be like Him.  Knowing, in this case, means submission by obedience.  Obedience to His call, to His revelation leads us closer in relationship with Him.  Not that this requires an extraordinary effort.  Chambers continues, “There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want, but only what He gives” (MUFHH, Apr 27).

This mirrors what Jesus told his disciples after He sent them out.  In Luke 10:19-20, “Look, I have given you the authority…over all the power of the enemy.  However don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  In others words,  I gave you power, so what.  Instead, return to the joy of being rightly related to me.  Interestingly, one of the definitions for the word rejoice is to turn around which is also the meaning of the word repent.  Therefore, we get the gifts as a product of our relationship to Him when we obey His leading.

May we turn away from seeking His gifts to enjoying His presence.