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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ministering thorugh pain

I've come across a couple of conversations lately where sincere brothers and sisters in Christ have expressed a deep sense of inadequacy in fulfilling a leadership role in our church family.

"How can I be a small group leader when I don't even have my own act together," is what I hear.

Let's talk about this for a moment. It all comes down to perception.

I think sometimes we get the idea that a small group leader is the person who "has it all together," leading a group of those who don't "have it all together."

No, no, no!

No one is ever completely "ready" for ministry.

Besides, small groups are based around relationship. We are all fellow strugglers helping those around us do the best they can - with the help of the Holy Spirit.

None of us have it "completely together."

I have often said, if you knew me the way I know me, you probably wouldn't be reading this right now. But before you click on something else, if I knew you the way you knew yourself, I probably wouldn't want you to be reading this.

As one person put it, "we are all beggars telling other beggars where to find bread."

In fact, and I have experienced this, the deepest, most fulfilling, most effective time of ministry that I have ever walked through was when I ministered through pain, or ministered through a time of deep need in my life.

That brings me to Duane and Evelyn. Evelyn just found out that she has cancer. She is going to begin chemo immediately. I talked with Duane today and he told me that they are going to go ahead and lead their small group.

I agree with that decision.

We agreed that during this season of their lives, the ministry that takes place through their pain will be powerful. That God will use them in a very, very effective way.

In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.

True ministry does not end with pain, it begins with pain. For it is only, truly, as we enter into our own pain that we are able to minister to those around us.

And here's the deal. Duane and Evelyn will receive ministry in return as well.

May you enter into ministry knowing that the supreme example for us all - Jesus Christ - ministered through pain and suffering as well.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Have you ever resented someone? Of course you have. It's not much fun. Resentment is like a drug, it becomes addictive and can bring all kinds of harm in our lives.

I have truly resented two people in my life. While there have been others who have hurt me, there are two people in my life who when I think of them, or have some kind of contact with them, there are all kinds of negative feelings and emotions that come forth like a volcano.

To be candid with you, I can't think of one positive thing that comes from holding resentment in our lives.

Resentment destroys relationships. Some people are so bitter over "that person" in their life, they won't speak to them or have anything to do with them, even though "that person" is a close relative or they see them frequently.

You're going to take your pride or alienation to the grave with you.

Sometimes your resentment alienates you from close friends. If you've ever had a relative go through a divorce, you know the tendency to divide into camps; in order to be a friend to somebody, you must be an enemy of their enemies.


Resentment alienates you from people because it destroys your personality. I don't know many great things that Buddha said, but he did say one thing that was good. He said holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal in our hands with the intention of throwing it at someone. We're the ones who get burned.

Resentment is emotional suicide. It's self-inflicting because it destroys the personality. Maybe you withdraw into a shell and become protective, planning never to allow yourself to get close to somebody again because it hurts. You're the loser. You become vengeful, joyless, negative, and bitter.

Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." There are minority groups, some militant feminist organizations, and some bitterly handicapped people who have become resentful and angry. Although they have legitimate hurts, they are so bitter in expressing and vocalizing that people don't listen. Prejudice is a terrible sin—but so is resentment.

Martin Luther once was so depressed over a prolonged period that one day his wife came downstairs wearing all black.

Martin Luther said, "Who died?"

She said, "God has."

He said, "God hasn't died."

And she said, "Well, live like it and act like it."

In The Living Bible, Job 5:2 reads, "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do."

What can I do to deal with resentment?

The very best prescription is prevention.

Don't allow yourself to be resentful. The Bible says that God buries our sins in the deepest sea and doesn't remember them any more.

We can't forget because we don't have that capacity. At least, it takes a while for us to forget. But we can bury the past.

If we're going to get along with people, the best way to overcome resentment is not to let it happen. When somebody hurts you, just bury it and go on. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Don't get your feelings hurt easily. Just forget it and go on.

Peter once asked how often he should forgive a man. Seven times? Jesus said, "Seventy times seven." In other words, forgiveness is just a continual attitude in our lives. We realize people are people and don't let resentment build.

But what about wounds from the past so deep you just can't overcome them? You're struggling with bitterness and resentment. What do you do? The first thing you have to do is to admit the problem. Jesus confronted Peter with the issue. You will not be released from resentment if you deny it's there.

Rick Warren has a slogan: Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. Don't deny resentful feelings.

Admitting your feeling is the beginning of healing.

Job 7:11 reads, "Therefore, I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul."

I think that means you find a close friend whom you trust and say, "I don't need a lot of advice. I just want to tell you about some of the bitterness I've been feeling, and I want you to pray for me." You admit the problem.

Decide to forgive. Some people say, "I don't feel like forgiving. I don't want to hear about forgiving, because I can't forgive." It's not a matter of feeling. It's a matter of obedience to the Lord's command.

Harry Emerson Fosdick said that when he was a boy, he overheard a conversation between his dad and mother at the breakfast table. He heard his dad say, "Tell Harry he can mow the grass today if he feels like it." As his father left, he heard him call back, "Tell Harry he'd better feel like it."

Forgiveness is not a matter of whether you feel like it or not. It's a matter of a command from your heavenly Father. Mark 11:25 records these words from Jesus: "When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Forgiveness is not an option; it's a command. I doubt if Jesus felt like going to the cross, but he did it because he was obedient to the Father even unto death.

By the way, remember the question Jesus asked the helpless paralytic at the pool of Bethesda? The guy had been paralyzed for 38 years, and he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

I would ask some of you who have allowed resentment and bitterness to fester for a long time: Do you want to get well? Or do you really like nursing that grudge and feeling sorry for yourself and getting attention? Do you want to get well? If so, you will forgive.

Take the initiative. Jesus initiated the conversation with Peter when, after his resurrection, he said, "Go tell the disciples and Peter."

Sometimes when we've been wounded, we sit back and wait and pray that the person who really hurt us will come and fall at our feet and beg for forgiveness. Then we'll forgive them. But that seldom happens. Most of the time, if we are resentful, we have to determine to forgive and take the initiative ourselves.

Matthew 18:15 says, "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." Go tactfully, but take the initiative.

Release the offender. Romans 12:19 reads, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

When you begin to forgive, you say, "God, I turn this person over to you." You're not saying they didn't hurt you or that you were in the wrong. You're saying you're not the judge or the executioner. You're saying, "Lord, I'm going to trust any vengeance will be taken by you."

In Psalm 109, David struggled with resentment:

O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. …

Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand … May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

Aren't you glad he's a man of prayer! See what he's doing? He's telling God he's bitter and admits it. He's going to release it to God but is giving God some suggestions about how to get even.

Ruth Graham said it was a great day in her life when she realized it was not her job to change her husband. She said, "It was my job to love Billy and God's job to change him." It's not your assignment to make somebody pay. You release the offender to God.

Focus on the future. There's value in analyzing and reviewing your past just as there's value in occasionally glancing in the rearview mirror of your automobile. But there's a time to get your eyes off the rearview mirror and onto the road ahead. That's why the Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to trouble and defile many."

Believe that forgiveness is possible. Believe that, through the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life, the forgiveness can take place.

Father, help us to forgive those who have wronged us. May we worship you continually in Spirit and in Truth.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Everyone is important

You are important. That's right. You are important in God's kingdom. Everyone matters. No one is better or worse than anyone else.

The ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Mike Yaconelli in his book, Messy Spirituality, wrote of how individual believers, who may think they are insignificant, are brought together in the body of Christ to create a magnificent work of art.

Moorhead, Minnesota, the home of Concordia College, lies across the state line from Fargo, North Dakota, a very bleak part of the country (especially during the winter). All year, the community anticipates Concordia's annual Christmas concert. Each December, a huge choir and a full orchestra give a musical performance in the concert hall at the college.

Every year, the people in the community create a unique background for the concert—a one-hundred-by-thirty-foot mosaic. Beginning in the summer, about six months before the concert, the community designs a new mosaic, rents an empty building, and the painting begins. Hundreds of people, from junior high schoolers to senior citizens, paint the mosaic. They paint by number on a large-scale design that has thousands of tiny pieces. Day after day, month after month, one little painted piece at a time, the picture on the mosaic gradually takes shape.

When everyone has finished painting, an artist goes over the entire creation, perfecting the final work of art. When the mosaic is completed, they place it behind the choir. It has the appearance of an enormous, beautiful stained-glass window. The weekend of the concert, those people who helped paint arrive early, along with their friends and neighbors. Throughout the building, you can hear people whispering, "See that little green spot below the camel's foot? I painted it."

Every year in the middle of the summer in Moorhead, Minnesota, thousands of unknown, ordinary people paint a tiny insignificant tile. Six months later, the result is a spectacularly beautiful masterpiece.

Remember, what you are doing today is going to have a profound effect on tomorrow. When it's all put together, God makes something beautiful.

Don't give up! Keep on going! What you are doing right now is important!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Keeping your eyes on your calling

Discouragement is a natural by-product of consistent ministry for God. Even the best of us find ourselves down, wondering if we can go on.

Have you been there? Of course you have.

What's one way to keep on going? Keep your eyes on your calling.

Steve Sjogren is the pastor of a Vineyard in Cincinnati, Ohio. One Monday morning he was feeling particularly discouraged and announced to his wife Janie, "I'm quitting the ministry! And this time I mean it."

Janie had heard this kind of talk before so she suggested, "Why don't you go for a drive and think things through? Usually that helps when you're stressed out. And while you're out, could you be a sweetheart and pick me up a burrito?"

Steve drove around for about an hour, complaining to the Lord the whole time. Finally, he was in the fast-food drive-thru to pick up Janie's burrito when he sensed the Lord speaking to him. He is very careful to say, he did not hear an audible voice ... nothing came over the drive-thru speaker. In a subtle, quiet way he sensed the Lord impressing this message on his heart, "If you open your door I will give you a gift."

Even though he felt silly, Steve figured he had nothing to lose, so he opened the car door, looked down and saw embedded in the asphalt, a tarnished penny. This is what he wrote about the experience:

"I reached down to pry out the coin and held in my hand feeling less than thankful for this 'gift.' The Lord spoke to me again: 'Many people in this city feel about as valuable as discarded pennies. I've given you the gift of gathering people who seem valueless. Though these are the people that the world casts off, they have great value to me. If you will open your heart, I will bring you more pennies than you know what to do with."

Paul writes to Timothy, "... I can endure all these things for the sake of those whom God is calling, so that they too may receive the salvation of Christ Jesus..." (2 Timothy 2:10).

We have a saying here at First Assembly: "If we go after people nobody wants, God will send us people everyone wants."

People are hurting. People need love. People need the Lord.

It's a great motivator in times of discouragement. And keeps me going when I am down.

May you be encouraged today by the needs of those around you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rip Van Winkle moments

Have you ever had a Rip Van Winkle moment? Where all of a sudden you are awakened from your sleep? Your slumber? Your daydreaming? Rip Van Winkle did after 20 years.

Sometimes we are like that spiritually. We find ourselves coasting. Not paying attention. On cruise control with God. In a deep slumber.

And all of a sudden we wake up as if from a coma.

Churches find themselves doing that as well.

In 1988, a failed effort at attaching two train cars left Polish railway worker Jan Grzebski with massive head injuries. The damage was so extensive that Grzebski slipped into a deep coma, and doctors told his wife, Gertruda, to expect the worst.

Gertruda, however, was undeterred by the doctors' opinions concerning her husband's fate. She dutifully cared for Jan each day he was comatose, carefully shifting his position in bed every hour and planning meaningful visits by assorted family members.

Nineteen years later, Jan finally woke up.

And what did he notice after having been "asleep" for 19 years? He first noticed a loving wife, a hero.

"I am sure that without the dedication of his wife, the patient would not have reached us in the good shape that he did," said a rehabilitation specialist. "He can now move his feet, feeling has returned to his limbs, and he can hold light objects. If he continues to make such progress, he will soon be able to walk."

Grzebski also noticed it was an entirely different world. Consider that just one year into his comatose state, Communism fell all throughout Europe. Gertruda says, "He was amazed to see the colorful streets, the goods. He says the world is prettier now."

Sometimes if we are not careful, we can wake up from a spiritual coma and realize that the church culture around us has changed and we are still operating in ways that were popular and effective decades ago.

Years ago, church culture changed every generation. When I first started pastoring, the culture of the church was changing every 15 to 20 years. Than every 10 years. Than every 5 years. Now, some church culture authorities tell us that church life is changing every 18 months. Reasons? Technology. Transient populations in our churches. An ever changing society.

My desire is not to be recent but relevant. I desire to be continually watchful and awake as to the culture of the area (country) I am ministering in.

At this stage of my life, my greatest fear is not of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't matter.

May we all awaken from our slumber! May we be relevant in the city and state that we are in!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bible characters and you

What Bible character most describes you? If you could pick a character in the Bible that would give a description of whom you are like - who would it be?

It's an interesting question.

When I was asked that I spontaneously answered, "a mixture of Paul and Peter." I feel that I have Paul's drive and leadership abilities, but at the same time love to be around people like Peter.

Yet the more I think about it, the more I feel I am like David in the Old Testament. David was described as a "man after God's own heart." He was a warrior and a king. A leader. A man of passion. A man with many strengths, but many weaknesses and flaws as well.

There are times when I pray the Psalms and my prayers are cries to God for a reconnection of intimacy and contact with Him. I relate to David when he practically shouts out for forgiveness. And there are times, admittedly, when I pray what are called the "impecatory psalms," where David unashamedly asks for God to deal with His enemies in a strong way.

I long to draw closer to God. I really do. I long to walk in His will. I long to be tender in my spirit toward His presence in my life.

So, I ask YOU the question today. What Bible character most describes you today?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Growth through purpose

What is your reason for living? What's your purpose? Victor Frankl discovered that your full potential is released when you are convinced that you have purpose and meaning in life - and that your purpose is yet to be fulfilled.

That is especially true when we choose our destiny based on something that is beyond ourselves. When we begin to give ourselves to a cause or a purpose greater than ourselves, it changes us, it makes us better, it makes us stronger as we are forced to live by faith.

When you and I dream of a better world, we become better people. We grow. We distance ourselves from our comfort zones.

One of the roles that I have as a pastor in the church is to place people in our church family in ministries that fit their giftedness.

Sometimes people fit. Sometimes they don't based on their giftedness. It's like sticking a round peg in a square hole, they just don't fit. Availability does not always means success.

Yet at the same time, when I come across someone who is gifted in a certain area and challenge them to lead or help in a certain ministry and they balk for whatever reason, I go back to this thought. Are you wanting to grow? Are you wanting to break out of your comfort zones? Do you really look at people the way Jesus does, as those who need our help in a time of need? Are you willing to fulfill the purpose that God has for you in your life?

Nothing makes us feel better than helping someone else in whatever capacity.

I challenge all of us today to discover that God-given purpose he has for us - and then to take a step of faith and do what God has called us to do.

And here's the kicker: Even if you never achieve all of your dreams, you are always shaped by those dreams. And the higher the purpose, the stronger the person.

May you dream, and dream big today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


You know what can hinder the effectiveness of any organization (especially the church) is pettiness.

Michael Yaconelli has written, "The problem with the church today is not corruption. It is not institutionalism. No, the problem is far more serious than something like the minister running away with the organist. The problem is pettiness. Blatant pettiness."

I just looked up the word "petty" in the dictionary and it means, "trivial, trifling, narrow-minded, mean."

Kind of sounds like some Christians that I know.

He goes on to say:

"Petty people are ugly people. They are people who have lost their vision. They are people who have turned their eyes away from what matters and focused, instead, on what doesn't matter. The result is that the rest of us are immobilized by their obsession with the insignificant.

It is time to rid the church of pettiness. It is time the church refused to be victimized by petty people. It is time the church stopped ignoring pettiness. It is time the church quit pretending that pettiness doesn't matter. ...

Pettiness has become a serious disease in the Church of Jesus Christ--a disease which continues to result in terminal cases of discord, disruption, and destruction. Petty people are dangerous people because they appear to be only a nuisance instead of what they really are--a health hazard."

His words have caused me to pause and look in my heart and ask the question, "am I petty?" Do things have to always go "my way"?

I especially want to avoid (as I grow older) the trap I see so many who are older than me fall into. Becoming sour. Critical. Mean. Petty.

May God help us all to remain flexible, pure, walking in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What is the true church?

Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Now that's a bold statement. Am I right in saying that the Pope is articulating, "I'm right and everyone else is wrong!"

What is the church? The church is simply the people of God.

The Latin word for "church," ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and Kaleo, which means "to call." The "called out ones."

The church is people. You and I. Anyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord.

The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centered on temporary death to an existence focused on eternal life.

I would suggest that no man is the head of the church - Jesus is the head of the church, His body, broken for us that we might have an abundant life in Him.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Should you stay or should you go?

Have you ever thought about that question? I would suspect that you have - perhaps even today. Should you stay in the job or go on to another one? And what about moving to another city?

What do you do?

Well, let me give you a thought to balance out those feelings of "the grass is greener on the other side" type thing.

As the persecution of Jews increased during World War II, Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl had the opportunity to go to America and avoid the imminent threat of suffering. His parents were thrilled for him, but he struggled with the question: Should I leave my parents behind in Gestapo-controlled Austria? He asked God to give him a hint from heaven.

One day Victor Frankl's father, who knew nothing of his son's inner turmoil, brought him a piece of marble taken from a bombed out synagogue. It contained a small bit of writing that Victor recognized as being from the fourth commandment: Honor your father and mother.

This was the hint he had been looking for; Frankl decided to stay. The decision was not without a price; he and his family were arrested and imprisoned. His parents died in concentration camps, and he himself spent years in Auschwitz. But he survived, and as a result he was able to provide strength and encouragement to millions through his writings—most notably his book "Man's Search for Meaning."

During this time a German theologian named Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the opportunity to take a teaching post in America. He, too, struggled with the decision. Ultimately he declined the offer, choosing to stay in Germany because he felt an obligation to be with his own countrymen during the time of national crisis. Bonhoeffer was eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp, where he died shortly before the war ended.

Both men had the opportunity to leave; both made the decision to stay--and both paid a price for their choice.

Sometimes our best decision is to stay. Greener pastures may be calling us elsewhere, but our true calling is right where we are. Staying doesn't often result in glory and honor. In fact, it's more likely to result in suffering and hardship. And, yet, it is in choosing to stay that we most often do the most good.

The Apostle Paul wrote...

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

The race marked out for us. Many of us struggle with the question: How do I know whether it's time to stay or time to go? How do I know if this is the race "marked out" for me? The answer to that question can often be found in the answer to another: Are you running to avoid pain, or running to gain the prize?

If your reason for wanting to go is simply to avoid something unpleasant, that might be a hint that God is calling you to stay.

In the race marked out for you, there will be times when you must take a bold step of faith into the unknown. And there will be times when you must take an even bolder step of faith into the known. And defiance of the call to the face of certain struggle.

Are you struggling with a stay-or-go decision? Ask yourself: which takes me closer to the prize? If you need a hint from heaven, God will provide one; just be ready to take an obedient next step in the race marked out for you.

Obedience is the key - the willingness to trust God step by step.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Not playing God

I read a great quote today.

"Forgiveness means that I continually am willing to forgive the other person for not being God - for not fulfilling all my needs. I, too, must ask forgiveness for not being able to fulfill other people's needs."


Forgiveness means that I continually am willing to forgive the other person for not being God.

Sometimes we expect people to be God in our lives don't we. We expect them to meet our needs and when they don't, we get upset. We pout, we cry, we show anger, or worse yet, we separate ourselves from that individual.

Here's what I am learning. Only God can really meet my needs. Only God can ultimately satisfy me. Only God will never let me down.

You see, maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't be so hard on that person who has let me down. And maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't be so hard on myself for letting someone else down. For no one can replace God in someone else's life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Strength in the midst of sorrow

John Claypool, when he was the preacher of the Crescent Hill Baptist Church here in town, had a little daughter who suffered with leukemia. When she went into remission, everybody thought maybe God had healed her. On an Easter Sunday morning she went into a terrible recurrence. In his book, Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, Claypool relates how for two weeks his daughter was wracked with pain, her eyes swollen shut. She asked him, "Daddy, did you talk to God about my leukemia?"

He said, "Yes, dear, we've been praying for you."

She asked, "Did you ask him how long the leukemia would last? What did God say?"

What do you say to your daughter when you can't help her, and the heavens are silent?

Emotionally and spiritually he was exhausted. A few hours later, she died. The following Sunday morning, John Claypool got into the pulpit to preach. I've heard the tape. It's one of the most powerful sermons I've heard. He preached on (Isaiah 40:31), which says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Dr. Claypool said something to the effect, "There are three stages of life. Sometimes we mount up with wings as an eagle and fly. We're on top of the world. Sometimes we run, and we don't grow weary. We just go through the routine. Sometimes it's all we can do to walk and not faint, and I need your prayers and your encouragement."

At the moment John Claypool was at his lowest, he preached probably his most influential sermon. Perhaps his greatest contribution came at his darkest hour. He could have said like Paul, "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Any time you think life is unfair, look at the cross. It wasn't fair for a 33 year old man to be nailed to a cross to die.

Three days later, he rose from the grave, and God showed his triumphant power. He has promised us that if we walk by faith in him, he will do the same for us.

I encourage you to day to draw your strength and encouragement from Jesus!

He understands!

And maybe, just maybe, you are in a position where God will use you in ways you never dreamed of.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Faith as a way of life.

I'm learning something about faith that fits into the direction and vision of not only our church but my personal walk with God.

Since the reformation period, and the rise of empiricism, the word faith has become focused on belief. Doctrine. Head knowledge. Facts. To know God is to have a right understanding of the doctrines of the church. We even call some Christians, "believers."

But faith is so much more than that. Faith rises out of a right relationship with God. Faith has three components, three words that give definition to the word. Trust, faithfulness and Vision. Trust meaning the ability to put my life in the hands of God no matter what the circumstances are. Faithfulness meaning the ability to be consistent in following the teachings of God's Word. To not commit "adultery" by giving into the temptations of the world. Vision meaning having a positive perspective on life. That's not a pollyannish view of the world. We view the world through lenses of reality, yet knowing that in the end, in the eternal scheme of things, God is in control and we can rejoice.

Faith is heart knowledge. Faith is a way of life. It's more than sitting in a church service and believing things that are being taught. It's living the principles of God's word. It's a way of life.

Our vision of love God, love others and serve others, connected by relationship is consistent with this.

In the past, the church has spent 80% of their time on doctrine head knowledge, and 20% of the principles of living the faith or heart knowledge.

God is calling us to do the reverse. How much "head knowledge" does one have to have before they are "saved" and "sanctified".

Before you write me off as some kind of heretic, please know that doctrine is important. Belief is one of the anchors of our "faith".

But God is calling us to spend 80% of our time on "living the faith" and 20% of our time immersing ourselves in right doctrine.

There is such a mystery to knowing God and having faith in Him. Perhaps our journey should be to not know God in a more systematic way, but to know Him closer in a personal way, day by day.

Just some thoughts.