Archives For commitment and surrender

I Want To Be In On It!

Jason Petermann  —  February 25, 2010 — 1 Comment

As I was reading through some older posts from blogs that I follow (using Evernote… love that app!), I came across a post from Mark Beeson that had this Scripture in it.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 –  “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”

I love the way that “The Message” puts it here! Look at what he says:

  • “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people…” I am free, yet I voluntarily place myself under the preferences and expectations of others, so that I might reach them.  Most of us (I am speaking to myself here!) spend more time defending our rights than we do trying to reach people.
  • “…nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized…” Most of these types of people are people I was taught all my life to stay away from because they would ruin me.  Funny thing is, these are the very people Jesus sought to have a relationship with.
  • “—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.” Where did we ever get the idea that we were to stay out of the world?  That thought never came out of Jesus’ mouth.  In fact, He prayed “Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one.” and “I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me.” (John 17)  That kind of sounds like the opposite of what a lot of churches teach today.
  • “I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ” It is possible, as Paul says here to be in the world, but keep your bearings in Christ.  In fact, it is expected of us to do that!  Is that not what living the Christian life is all about? People outside of the church are not looking for holier than thou, perfect people.  They are looking for real people, with real struggles who just happen to have found all the answers they were looking for in a relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.  That is what makes impact.  That is what gives influence!
  • “I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.” Wow!  I have no where near become “about every type of servant there is…” to reach people.  Lord, give me the humility to serve people better… whatever it takes!
  • “I did all this because of the Message.” We have the most important message that there is to share.  The influence of the message in our life should compel us to take it to others.
  • I didn’t just want to talk about  it; I wanted to be in on it!” People outside of the church are tired of people inside the church talking.  They want to see us doing and being!  As Christ-followers, we need to realize that all of our talk is no match for a life lived for Him.  We need to live a life that says we are in on it!

I want to be in on it!  How about you?

The last installment from this post and this post

So, the Israelites forget all that God had done for them in the past, and they measured the task by their own strength.  We also see that…

  • They viewed things in their own perspective rather than in the light of God’s promises.

In Numbers 13:33, the Bible says that the Israelites “saw the Nephilim,” compared themselves to those giants, and decided that compared to the giants, they were like little bugs.

God had already promised them the land, yet the Israelites lived as if this was all going to depend on them to accomplish.  NEWS FLASH: God has already won the victory!  What He says he will do, He will do!  He is faithful!

We can get so wrapped up in things and our circumstances around us that we forget that God has already promised to take lead us to a determined end.  If we are going to be “Giant Killers” and not “Grasshoppers,” we have to remember the promises of God.”

Ok, one more!

  • They were more concerned about their circumstances that they were God’s will.

In Numbers 13: 27-28 the Israelites said, “It is all like God promised it would be…  It is good like God said…  It is just as He promised…”  And then they said, “But…”  (vs. 28) .  They recognized God’s will and then saw it in the light of their own circumstances (the people that were in the land) and they decided God’s will was just not worth it.

I know many people that have done the same thing.  They think they want to follow God’s will until they see the circumstances around them as they step out to follow God.  Then, they just decide it is not worth it to follow God’s plan for their life.

It is not always easy to follow God’s plan, but it is always worth it!

If we are going to be “Giant Killers” and not “Grasshoppers,” we have to focus God’s will, not the circumstances around us.

Let’s strive to live like Giant Killers, not Grasshoppers!

Continuing from this post

Not only did the Israelites forget all that God had done for them in the past, but…

  • They measured the task by their own strength and not by God’s might

In chapter 13, verses 31-33 we see Israel say “Those people are much too strong for us.”(31) Then they described the people of the land saying, “the people are like giants.” (32)  Finally, it culminated in them saying of themselves, “They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers.”

But they forgot one thing:  they were not alone!  God was on their side!  It didn’t matter what their strength was, because God was able to handle it, if they would just let Him!

It is easy to sit back and judge the Israelites, but how many times have we tried to do something in our own strength  and leave God out of it?  We try things on our own and then if it doesn’t work, we go to God and ask Him to take care of the mess!  How much easier would it be if we just let God do what He said He would do and believe Him!

If we are going to be “Giant Killers” and not “Grasshoppers,” we have to go in God’s strength, not our own!

I am amazed when I read through the Old Testament and see God’s people, Israel, as they constantly complain.  I know it is human nature to complain.  We all know people who have that “gift” of complaining.  But think about it, time after time Israel would find themselves in a spot that only God could rescue them from, and He did.  Yet they would literally forget about it overnight and continue complaining.  Amazing!  Yet, I believe you and I would have done the same!

In Numbers 13 and 14, we see the same old complaining Israel as they are just on the brink of going into the promised land.  They send out some spies to look at the land and report on it.  Those spies come back and tell Israel that the land is all that God had been promising them… it is an amazing place!  But, then you get to Numbers 13:33, and the spies reported the they saw the people in the land and said, “we felt as small as grasshoppers.”

After all Israel had seen God do, they get to this point and freeze.  They end up not getting to go into the land yet, and an entire generation had to die off before God’s plan could be accomplished (because of their attitude).  Israel made some major mistakes as they approached the promised land and what the spies saw.  Let’s look at just one today:

  • They forgot what God had done in the past as they viewed the seemingly impossible task at hand

In Numbers 14:22 God reminded them that they had seen His power, but as they looked at what was before them, they forgot all that God had done already!

We do the same thing, don’t we?  We come to a difficult situation in life and we forget all that God has taken us through already.  We forget His love and grace and forgiveness that He has displayed toward us.  We forget that He has delivered us from sin, and from temptation.  We decide that this is the one situation that He cannot take us through, but we are wrong!  He will take care of us now just as He did then!

We cannot live int he past, but the past is a great teacher for us. If we want to be “Giant Killers” rather than “grasshoppers,” we cannot forget what God has done in the past as we look at that which is before us.

Divine Detour

Jason Petermann  —  January 19, 2010 — 1 Comment

Ok, I promise, this is the last post on Mark Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase.  God is just so good to encourage and motivate with the right words at the right time in your journey, and this was too good not to post.  Hopefully is can be an encouragement to someone else as it was to me…

“Tired of divine delays?  Feel like your life is a divine detour?  Let me remind you of three things: (1) The longer you have to wait, the more you will appreciate; (2) sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is hang in there; and (3) a sense of humor can get you through just about anything.  And one more thing, no matter how crazy the Wild Goose chase gets, don’t forget to enjoy the journey!”

Sure, it is hard to enjoy every aspect of the journey.  There are times when you will feel mistreated, unloved and taken advantage of.  But here is the deal, it is in those times, the times that are tough, that we are able to grow closer to God.  The detour that has appeared in your life is not a surprise to God.  He has already been there, ahead of you, to plan everything as He wants.  We just need to change our perspective, and look at it as a divine detour that will ultimately lead us to be who God wants us to be.