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Err On the Side Of Caution?

We just spent the past three days at our church’s annual family camp. Along with the usual lake-side, rustic-setting outdoor activities, we had some awesome Holy Ghost breakthrough meetings with our pastor and the guest speakers he invited to share with us. Wow! We will never be the same.

I’ve had a few holes poked in my nice comfortable theological box. Much needed, I might add.

You’re familiar with the phrase, “err on the side of caution”, which means to act in the least risky manner in a situation where one is uncertain about the consequences. This is human nature. As a matter of fact, we’re even encouraged to take this approach to a give situation. It’s safe.

But what if God is asking you to take a risk? To ditch the easy way and try something new? To take a leap of faith, not knowing what the outcome will be?

I can see the expression on your face. You’re wincing.

What if God is asking you to err on the side of believing too much and acting on it rather than not having enough faith and questioning everything? Don’t you think He would far rather have you take that step and make a mistake than never take a step at all?

These are the questions I am asking myself.

And maybe you need to ask them, too.

I sat in those meetings at camp, knowing that the Holy Spirit was nudging and challenging me to take some of those risky steps. I could almost hear Him asking me what in the world would make me think He wouldn’t ask me to do something so completely out of my comfort zone that I would have to trust Him. Did I really expect the Lord to let me just relax in my easy chair for the rest of my life? Um – no. I guess not.

So, it’s time to find out what my next steps are.

I’m sure there will be opposition, because people will always try to stop you from doing what they don’t understand.

I’m sure there will be difficult days. That’s a given.

I’m sure there will be some stumbling along the way.

But I have no more excuses. I’m being pursued by Jesus Christ, who loves me and knows me like no one else does. He has work for me to do, and saying “no” isn’t an option.

 And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.  Joel 2:28-29 (NKJV)

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Are You a Person of Interest?

I’ve become a bit hooked on the TV show Person of Interest. I started watching it last fall because I really like the two stars, Jim Caviezel (aka Jesus in Passion of the Christ) and Michael Emerson (aka Ben Linus of Lost).

The whole premise of this series is that Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson), a mysterious billionaire, developed a computer program for the government that predicts terrorist threats in New York City. It was designed as a means to prevent another 9/11-type disaster, but Finch discovered that it was also predicting many “irrelevant” (non-terrorist) violent crimes. The non-terrorist data is dumped to a separate database and deleted each night. Finch realized that a great many domestic crimes could also be prevented if that data could be used. Finch built a back door into the machine that allows him to retrieve a list of Social Security Numbers of people who will be involved in those crimes in order of occurrence. Unable to investigate on his own, Finch hires John Reese (Jim Caviezel), a former Green Beret and CIA field officer who is presumed dead, to help stop the crimes from taking place. Finch made the choice of only transmitting the Social Security Numbers of the persons of interest so that if the back door is discovered, the government would have no clue as to what the numbers mean, or who is acting on the data. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_Interest_(TV_series))

As I was watching last night’s episode, it dawned on me that I am a Person of Interest (POI), perhaps not in the sense that the television show depicts, but a POI nonetheless.

You had to know I was going to say this: I am a Person of Interest to God. Do you have any idea how awesome that is? But I am also a Person of Interest to the enemy, Satan. Not so awesome. But if you will allow me to draw some parallels to the TV program, I think you’ll see what I mean.

Like Finch, who gets the daily list of Social Security numbers to deal with, I get my to-do list from God. Finch can choose to ignore the numbers and let the crimes happen without his intervention, just as I can choose to ignore what God is telling me to do. Finch needs assistance as he works on each case, which is where Reese comes in. I need help to do what God has entrusted me to do, so I call on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me, and I ask friends or family to stand with me.

But there are always the bad guys. As soon as Finch and Reece get going on their current task, the enemies show up and do everything they can to stop the progress. Well, I have an enemy too – that puss-head, Satan. (Thanks, Dad, for that very visual nickname!) Whenever I start diving into the next level in my walk with Jesus, there’s the devil, attempting to thwart me at every turn. It takes perseverance, determination, and faith to keep him off my back. Sometimes that means taking a different direction than I had originally planned. And sometimes it means plowing through, with the Sword of the Spirit drawn. In any case, I’ve got to put my Armor on and keep it on.

Yes, I am a Person of Interest. I am of great interest to God, the Father, who loves me and let His only Son die to give me eternal life. He has a plan for my life and He is unfolding that plan as I step forward, keeping my eyes on Jesus. And I am a Person of Interest to the enemy, who really, REALLY wants to distract me from God’s plan and, in plain English, wants to destroy me. You don’t get one without the other.

Think about that.

 

 

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Unconditional

I heard a sermon recently that got me thinking. You know how it is when you hear something that just won’t leave you alone? Like when you have the same ridiculous song going through your head all and it’s not even one you like (i.e. These are the people in your neighbourhood . . . yup, a carryover from my kids’ Sesame Street days). Well, this sermon wasn’t like a ridiculous song. But it was like like the Holy Spirit saying I’m-not-going-to-leave-you-alone-until-you-get-this kind of thing. Here’s what I heard:

Jesus knows everything about me and loves me anyway.

That’s not a divine revelation for those who have been around Christian circles for any length of time. Or is it? Think for a minute. First, how many friends do you have that you can honestly say that about? I would venture to say that none of us would even have a friend that knows absolutely everything about us. And if they did know everything, would they see us the same way? Second, Jesus really does know everything and it doesn’t make any difference in His love for us. But here’s the best part:

Jesus knows every stupid thing I have ever done and ever will do, and He saved me anyway.

Now THAT is unconditional love.

He doesn’t withhold His love when I mess up. He doesn’t gossip about me to other people. He doesn’t yell at me when I fall down and need His help to get up. He doesn’t roll His eyes when I forget to do something He told me to do. And He always shows up, even if I don’t.

The unconditional love of Jesus Christ is free. It’s not based on my performance or my attitude or my appearance. He just loves me. Period. And He never changes His mind about that.

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