Are You Standing In The Way Of God’s Will?

Gods WillHow would you feel if Jesus referred to you as Satan?  Have you ever argued with God about where your life is heading?

Jesus had just gathered his disciples to tell them about his Father’s plan for salvation.  He explained that he was to suffer and die, and then be raised from the dead 3 days later.  This was God plan.  But Peter didn’t like how this was sounding.

...And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  Mark 8:32-33

You see, he wasn’t literally calling Peter Satan.  Jesus was telling him that his thoughts were not in line with God’s thoughts.  Peter was allowing his human emotions and reasoning to create a potential roadblock to God’s will.

The crazy part of this story is that just moments prior to this, Peter was the first to verbalize Jesus’ identity the Christ…the Messiah.  (Mark 8:29)

“There’s a difference between knowing Jesus’ true identity in your life…and not standing in the way of God’s will.”

Can you relate to Peter?  I know I have in the past.  I’ve even told God ‘No’ a couple of times.  And like Peter, he has a stern but loving way of redirecting us.

What is God calling you to today?  And are you good with it?

Join the discussion, comment below.

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(background) photo credit: drawnmonsters.com 
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What’s the first thought you have when Jesus says ‘Come?’

boatWhen life’s storms rise up, do you notice the wind and the rain or Jesus first?

You remember the story from Matthew 14.  The disciples are getting tossed around in their boat in a violent storm when they see Jesus walking on the water toward them.  Peter gets excited that its actually Jesus and asks him to command him to come out to him on the water.

So, Jesus said…’Come!’  

Here’s a freebie.  Be careful what you ask Jesus for.
When Peter got out of the boat and walked on water, he really knew two things to be true.
1. Peter knew that when Jesus says ‘come,’ he will make a way for us to come to him.
2. He also knew that its impossible to walk on water.

Now, Peter knew both of these truths.  Truths that contradicted each other right then.  In the moment, however, his belief in Christ was stronger and more instant than his belief in physics.   His knowledge of the power of Jesus took over and disabled his ability to allow common sense to keep his rear seated in that boat.

So, has Jesus recently said to you ‘Come?’  Is there something he’s requiring of you that seems…..well……a bit crazy?  If so, what was your gut-level reaction?  Did you want to lunge toward obedience, or sit paralyzed by the plethora of sensible reasons (excuses) to do nothing?

Trust me, I’ve been there many times.  And I’m there again right now.

Here’s what we need to do.

Jump out of the boat, fully aware of our surroundings, and keep our eyes locked in on the eyes of Christ.

When we do this, we are allowing the right truth to empower our actions.

I’d love to hear from you on this.  What’s your next step?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

Is God Asking You to do the Illogical?

Doesn’t Jesus know we’re professionals?  When we’ve tried something a dozen times the RIGHT way without positive results, why does He often insist that we do something illogical?

photo by: www.bartaste.com
photo by: http://www.bartaste.com

I thought of this after reflecting on the account of Luke 5 recently.  You’ve heard this one before.  Peter, the professional fisherman, makes it clear that they have worked hard fishing all night.  They caught nothing.  It just didn’t make sense to cast out again…..and on the opposite side of the boat.  But they did out of simple obedience to Jesus.

Guess what?  Overwhelming results!

Why?  Not because of their hard work, knowledge or experience of fishing, or great ideas.  No.  The enormous blessing came because they did precisely what Jesus instructed and exactly when He said to.

That’s it.  His ways and reasons often appear to be highly illogical to us.  That is where faith comes in.  If we truly believe in God and that His ways really are superior to ours, then why is it that His requests often cause us to question His reasoning?

Are you in ministry?  If so, you are likely to encounter at least one moment (if you haven’t already) where God proposes a method, vision, or event that sounds like He is totally off His rocker…..or throne.  When this happens, you have two choices.

1. You can roll up your nets and call it a night.

– OR –

2. You can give the creator of the universe the benefit of the doubt and try it His way.  It may seem crazy, unorthodox, or even impossible.  But if it came from God, well…..you’d be crazy NOT to give it a whirl.

As always, comments are appreciated.  

Two key points in this passage.

1. We do ministry the way Jesus tells us to.

2. We have one overarching purpose…..to point the attention of others to Jesus.

No hypocritical leadership in 2013

photo by: devotions4misfits.wordpress.com
photo by: devotions4misfits.wordpress.com

There are tons of great blogs and books out there about what to ‘do’ to develop as a leader.  Often, however, there are things we should ‘not do’ that are just as important.  Strong leadership requires bold willingness to speak truth in all circumstances.

But when Peter came to Antioch, I (Paul) had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.  When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised.  But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore.  He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.  As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.  Galatians 2:11-13 (NLT)

Paul and Peter…both tremendous men of faith and obedience to Christ and the call to ministry.  In this instance, however, Paul had to call Peter out.  Having been in ministry for over 20 years myself I can tell you that Paul most likely did not have an easy time with this.  But…he did what needed to be done.  And Paul knew that if he didn’t address this issue with Peter, he would be hypocritical as well.  Something needed to change!

I served on staff a few years ago at a church that boasted pride in honoring the Matthew 18 principle.  Many churches do and should, but unfortunately this one only talked about it.  It was never enforced and encouraged…on church members or staff.  If it had, I honestly believe my personal ministry there would not have been cut as short as it was.  I’m sure you can relate (sorry to say).

My encouragement for church leaders as we dive into 2013 is simple to state, but often incredibly difficult to put into action.  Re-evaluate your policies and documents that address your church’s approach to leadership, conflict resolution, and staff/team relations.  If it is clearly Biblical, keep it and begin talking with your leaders about ‘how’ it tangibly applies to ministry.  It it is not directly Biblical, (and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing) pray about why it exists.  It may have roots that apply to your particular church body.  If so, keep it.  But if it has no current relevance to the life of your congregation (other than its always been there)….trash it!

Here’s the gist of this post.  What we ‘say’ about how our church body is lead and structured must be a reality!  I would argue that God is not interested in moving in churches that are attempting to operate in a fictional world.  Be real and strong with your leadership and God will be very real and active in bringing you new leaders, providing for your finances, and growing you and your people closer to Him.

How do you plan to lead strong and #LeadRight in 2013?  Anything new or different?  Leave a comment and join the discussion.