Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Living Words of God

I came across this quote by John Calvin this morning, "Hence the scriptures obtain full authority among believers only when [people] regard them as having sprung from heaven, as if there the living words of God are heard."

"As if there the living words of God are heard" - how beautiful is that. And how often to we open our Bibles expecting to hear the living words of God rather than simply reading an assigned passage or look up a particular saying?

Now I read my Bible most every day for a variety of reasons. Some for study, and some for personal spiritual growth. I'm going to start a new habit of asking God to open my eyes and ears for "The living words of God." I believe it will make a difference in my reading experience.

I invite you to join me in this discipline - where ever the scriptures are read, in you home, at work, at church - I invite you to open your heart to "the living words of God,"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Uncertain Blessings

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Psalm 25:8-9

There is a little town in Texas called Uncertain. There are days when I feel like I live in the town of uncertainty and it doesn't feel good. Read on to see what the verse above has to do with being uncertain.

You see, there was a time when I knew what I was doing. I had been teaching for many years, and had pretty much figured out what worked and what didn't. Of course every student with special needs is different and repsonds differently to various teaching techniques. But, I had collected a pretty big bag of tricks and it didn't take much trial and error to figure out what would work best. I was pretty sure of myself as a teacher.

Then, I left teaching and became what I refer to as a mid-life rookie. I started seminary where everything was new and only a few of my teacher skills were helpful. Since then I've been a rookie two more times - first as a hospital chaplain and then when I went to work at the North Texas Conference office. Now as a first year solo pastor I'm back in the rookie role, and weekly I am faced with new situations that I'm not certain what I should be doing or how I should be handling it. Needless to say, I.pray.a.lot. It feels like I'm always asking God for direction and guidance.

Last week was definitely one of those weeks. If you come to church this Sunday you'll hear about my grandmother who didn't like to be wrong. Well, I simply don't like feeling uncertain about what to do or unsure of myself.

However, this morning's reading brought me to Psalm 25. It's a good Psalm and I encourage you to read the whole thing, but the verses at the top of this post really spoke to me about when I can best learn from God - not when I'm most sure of myself, but when I'm most uncertain and most willing to lean on the Lord - in other words when I am humble or more importantly have been humbled. When there is less of "what I know," there is more room for what God desires.

So as I move through this current "rookie" period, I am reminded of the blessing of uncertainty and the opportunity it affords me to be open to God's leading and to learn more about God's path. I'm also pondering what this means for a congregation who is seeking God's will for their future.

My question to you dear readers (if there are any left out there after my long absence) is where are you being opened to God's guidance? Talk amongst yourselves.