Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
My wife has been extremely busy at work lately as they have been having registration for the upcoming school year. She works in the Financial Aid office and so she has been dealing with many many people as they get their finances straight before classes begin. One thing that has frustrated her is when people haven’t done the necessary paperwork, etc. for their funds but complain anyway. Especially when it might be a small amount that makes little or no difference. I used to work in the Financial Aid office of another college and I remember students getting upset about $500 when they hadn’t done what was necessary to receive it. They get upset like they are entitled to the money. They are not entitled to anything unless they do what is necessary to obtain it.
This has been hard for her as she wants to say (but is professional and does not) to them that it is not as important as they are making it out to be. When a student has complained about something like this she wants to respond “yeah and I don’t have a dad anymore because he just passed away”. I deal with the same things in my position where people feel they are entitled to something and the truth is they are not.
What we must all realize is that we are not entitled to anything. We are not even entitled to salvation by Jesus Christ, but He freely gives it because He loves us. I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that leads us to believe that we are entitled anything in life. What I read is that we are to humble ourselves and serve others. I know personally that when I allow myself to fall down this past that it leads to more sin in my life.
This is just something to consider today. Are you living your life with expectations that you are owed or entitled to anything? My prayer is that you humble yourself and be the bondservant that you are called to be.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
I want to talk about one more aspect of God’s revelation and that is confusing what God is saying as opposed to what you want Him to say. This is one thing that can either make me laugh or make me really frustrated. Funny because I have heard some ridiculous things that people have said that God has told them to do. Frustrated because people have said to me what they “think” God wants me to do.
Let’s think about the first one. I have heard people say that God is leading them to do something that is obviously not something that God would lead them to do. So I believe this is the first thing you need to consider when listening to God: Does what He is saying line up with His Word? If what you believe He is saying contradicts or does not line up with the Bible then He isn’t saying it to you! Secondly, is what you say or think God is saying to you actually only what you want Him to say? There are many things in my life that I wish God would say to me or lead me to do but He isn’t and so those are paths I cannot travel.
Now for the other things that can be frustrating. Sometimes people take it upon themselves to share with someone else what God is leading them to do. This is an area where you have to be extremely careful. God gives people the gift of prophecy, which is speaking the Word of God boldly and proclaiming His truths. This can include but is definitely not exclusive to telling individuals such things as what you believe God is saying to them. God may lead you to do this, but you have to know for sure that this is true. You have to ask yourself those questions in the last paragraph: “Does it contradict the bible? & Is it what you want instead of what God wants?” I am afraid that people sometimes might speak to others this way and be totally out of line, while at other times they may be spot on. The thing is you have to be extremely careful here. I know that I have been offended and frustrated by others in the past when they told me “what they thought God was telling me”. The truth is it either didn’t line up with God’s Word or it was totally what they wanted themselves.
I just wanted to share one final aspect of God’s revelation that was on my heart and encourage you to always consider these areas when you sense God is speaking to you.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Today I want to share another time in my life when God revealed Himself to me through special revelation. I am not exactly sure why I feel the need to share this, but I know that I do not always have know why God is leading me to do something. One of the ways that God reveals Himself in special revelation is through dreams. Now this is one you have to be careful with. If we took every dream we have as believing it was God speaking then we would probably all do some crazy things. I know that I can speak for myself in saying that I have had some pretty ridiculous dreams. However there was one time that I know for sure that God was speaking to me.
My call into ministry was pretty wild when I think about it. I struggled with the call for a while, and even took a different job trying to avoid it. However I remember knowing for sure that God was calling me into ministry, specifically youth ministry at Clearwater at the time. I made it known that this was what God was calling me to do, but it was a long process (which I now know was preparation and a time for me to cling to God). However through this long process I doubted myself, I doubted that God was calling me, and I doubted that it would work out. It was pretty incredible all the different ways that God spoke to me during these several months, but one in particular I will never forget.
My granny had died unexpectedly in February 2008. A couple of months later I had a dream that was so real that I remember so much of it in extreme detail. I won’t share everything in it, but the gist was that in my dream I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with my granny as we walked and talked about a few things, including a little about my confusion of God calling me into ministry and my doubts concerning it. As we were talking about these things my granny looked at me with a big smile and said “Nathan, it’s all going to work out”. I woke up knowing that this was a way that God was speaking to me and confirming in me what He had already revealed. There were so many other details in the dream that were vivid letting me know that this was a message from God.
I want to be careful in sharing this because I think we need to be careful in believing that God may be speaking to us through a dream. Like I said earlier I have personally had some crazy dreams in my life and know that they would have led me to do crazy things if for one moment I believe God was speaking in them. I know that God has never spoken to me in any other dream than this. Also there was definitely no doubt that He was speaking to me in this one. Again I don’t know why I felt the need to share this on my blog, but I have wanted to for some time.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I think the toughest questions I have ever been asked are “How do I know God is speaking to me?” and “How do I hear from God?”. There is definitely no easy or quick answer. It has especially been tough when a non-Christian or someone who has never been exposed to church asks this. God speaks to us in so many ways and that is so exciting when you think about it.
I have learned that the ways that God speaks to us can be placed into two broad categories: General Revelation and Special Revelation. These are the two broad categories of the way God reveals Himself to us. It’s interesting because my first series I did with the students was “Glory Revealed”, then at one point I did a series simply called “Reveal”, which is also this years See You At the Pole theme. I think one of the biggest ways some may confuse God speaking is with emotions. Usually our emotions are not a good indicator of what God is saying because our emotions are fickle and can’t be trusted.
General revelation is very broad and can be broken into three categories itself: the universe, the conscience, and God’s providence. Special revelation on the other hand is the direct communication from God to mankind. There are several ways that God has revealed Himself or still does reveal Himself through special revelation. These include: the actual voice of God, theophanies (the appearance of God in a physical or visible sense), God’s activity throughout history, dreams, visions, the lot, the urim and thummim (Exodus 28:30), angels, prophets, object lessons or illustrations (why it’s so important to listen in church), the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Now I know this seems like a seminary lesson but I want to share a few instances of how God has spoken to me.
I want to share in this post about how God revealed Himself to me just yesterday. As I have shared previously, these have been extremely difficult and emotional times for us and as I mentioned earlier it can be tough to distinguish when God is speaking during emotional times. Well with that it has been hard for me to find motivation for some things and to be honest I have been frustrated with a few things and experienced some confusion. I decided to spend a couple hours at my favorite coffee shop Java on the Square and do some studying as I prepared for the next few Wednesday nights. It seemed that as soon as I opened my Bible, read some scripture and some notes I had on my computer that God really began speaking to me. I was trying to figure out what to do as a back to school series and what I wanted to convey to the students regarding making this year a fresh start if the past year(s) hadn’t been so great for them. God led me to the right scripture for it. I have used this scripture in Isaiah 6 earlier this year but we are going to focus on a different portion of it than before. Not only that but when I had been in Isaiah 6 earlier this year I felt God revealing Himself to me then. It was incredible getting that confirmation that it is where we need to spend a few weeks. Then all of the sudden a special song comes on the radio that confirms what God is speaking to me even more. This along with a couple of cool conversations with people in the coffee shop even more grounded in me the things that I knew God was saying to me. I know the explanation seems very generic and I feel it needs to be. I guess I could say that my exhaustion, emotions, and taking to heart some hurtful things that people have said have led me to doubt some things. But in this moment God gave me a peace about what I was sensing He was revealing to me. I was overwhelmed by the way God was speaking to me and the peace He was providing and found it difficult to not cry while sitting in the coffee shop. I want to share this with you not to say “look at me and the encounter I had with God” as to brag about it. Instead I want to say cling to God and He will reveal Himself to you. I want to encourage you if you are struggling with hearing from God, to continue to listen for Him to reveal Himself. I don’t have all the answers just yet, but know that He will reveal them to me as I need them.