Managing Purpose

blog-clutterI will admit that I’m not as organized as I would like to be. I can usually find everything I’m looking for, but I often regret how much time I’ve wasted having to look for it.

Clutter is a big concern for many people. Even if it’s not the disorderly assemblage on a work desk or the physical clutter in a disorganized, jam-packed room, clutter is a huge dilemma for most people.

In our society, constant noise has become prevalent. On the days that I teach at the university, I can easily note that not less than 95% of the students that I observe meandering to class have headphones pressed tightly against their ear canal. On occasion, some of these same students attempt to listen to lecture in class, contribute to the class discussion, and maintain a sense of connectivity to their music with one ear bud secured in place.

Clutter.

Unlike the clutter clearly visible on a desk in disarray or a compacted room, there is the mental and emotional clutter that seems to flourish without much visibility. Similar to the clutter produced by a noisy environment, mental and emotional clutter can cause us to become distracted and unaware. And when we are distracted and unaware, we will miss the intricate details and softly-spoken directives that God is giving us regarding our purpose. Continue reading

The Jonah Experience

blog-jonahHe was angry after he did the right thing. How does that happen?

Jonah ran from God the first time. But God’s resolve  was greater than Jonah’s stubborn nature. The assignment was still waiting, and God hadn’t changed His mind about who was to fulfill it.

So, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time” (3:1). This time Jonah followed the Lord’s command. He went to Nineveh and proclaimed His message to the people. According to verse 5, the people of Nineveh believed in the God as a result of Jonah’s preaching.

But in chapter 4, Jonah wasn’t excited, ecstatic, or enthusiastic because the people believed in God. He was angry! He did the right thing and the right thing rendered the right result, but he was angry. Jonah wanted the Assyrian people to be destroyed. He knew that if he preached God’s message of repentance to them, they would indeed repent and turn to God. The Assyrians were wicked and vile, but God is merciful and loving. He wanted to save the people alive.

Have you ever had what I like to call a ” Jonah Experience”? You did the right thing and the right thing rendered the right result, but you became angry sometime afterwards. Continue reading

Bearing Burdens

blog-burdened1Troubling times will come. It’s inevitable. Jesus did say that in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33).  There is not much that we can count “for sure” in this world, but tribulation is a certainty. What is so comforting is the Savior’s next statement to His disciples, and therefore to us as His present-day disciples. He encourages us to be of good cheer for He Himself has overcome the world.

Because Jesus conquered (nikaó) the world, His disciples have become conquerors in Him. For this reason, we can take purposeful aim at living in and walking according to the peace that He has afforded us. But sometimes we need a little help in order to grasp the eternal perspective regarding the difficulties that surface in our lives. We need others to come alongside to help us shoulder the burden. Continue reading

His Designated Presence

blog-prayer-closetWhat do you like to do first thing in the morning? Grab some coffee? Scoff down some breakfast? What about dash out to the gym? I used to do the latter quite a bit. That is, until I learned a more fulfilling and God-centered approach to my day.

I remember times when I would dash out the door, vowing to read my Bible and pray earnestly when I returned. Needless to say, this rarely ever happened as planned. I would return home from the gym and something urgent would claim my attention. Urgent, but not important.

Now though, things are quite different. Every day is a new surrender! Continue reading