Leaving can take you from maintaining to creating

Maintaining can be very positive.  However, God has made us more than maintainers, but creators too.   When God called Abram to leave, He told Abram, “I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Through God’s grace and gifting, we create things like wealth, opportunity, something bigger than ourselves, or a network for others to benefit.  God wants to move us from taking to blessing.  Some of you are asking where am I going to get?   God is calling you to ask “Where am I going to give?”  He is calling you to greatness so that you can create positive change in your world.

Unrecognized?

It’s hard to leave home, because we leave security to face uncertainty.  Still, many times God can’t change you unless he changes your atmosphere.   Most of us are drawn towards atmospheres where we are recognized – I know that I am.   In fact, one of the loneliest place in the world is when we are unrecognized.   Could you imagine how unrecognized Abram must have felt when he left his home for an unfamiliar land?

Yet, this time when we are not recognized can be a sweet time of communion with God.  If you are scared to leave when God calls you to, don’t be scared of loneliness.   When you are unnoticed by the world, then you are free to live for the approval of God.

Want to be great? Be ready to be misunderstood

GalileoIn 1632 Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Why?   He believed correctly that the sun was the center of the universe.  He could have chosen to be accepted by agreeing with the status quo, but he chose to be misunderstood.

He joins a list of great leaders who were misunderstood.

Noah prepared for something never seen called “rain.”

After 400 years of slavery, Moses declared from God “Time to let my people go”

Jesus told the people “Your religious leaders are wrong; I have a new yoke that is easy & light.”

Paul told believers that it’s ok for Gentiles to be saved

John Wycliffe translated the Bible in the people’s language.   The Church expelled Wycliffe from his teaching position at Oxford, and 44 years after he died, the Pope ordered his bones exhumed and burned.

The German monk Martin Luther championed the authority of the individual believer.

John Wesley demonstrated that preaching can happen outside of the church, so he took the gospel to the streets, coal mines, fields and factories

Charles Parham & William Seymour preached and demonstrated that speaking in tongues is for today.

Bill Hybels proved that church services can be relevant to a non-Christian.

Easy for them to be accepted, but instead they were misunderstood.  If you want to be great, get ready to be misunderstood

Abram’s Journey From Good to Great

Earlier this decade Jim Collins released an excellent book called Good to Great in which Collins identified the difference between good and great in the business world.

In Genesis 12:1-2, we read that God demanded a lot from Abram in order for him to move from a good life to reach greatness.   Upon the death of his father Terah, Abram would have become the leader of the family group. God’s commands to Abram were intensely demanding because they caused him to leave his place, his clan, and his family in a world where such actions were simply not done. Only the poverty-stricken or the defeated would wander; only the landless and the fugitive would move about and leave their ancestral homes.

Sometimes you must leave what you know to get what you’ve never seen.  For Abram the real journey was not the physical distance, but a journey of his heart, motivation and destiny.  I hope you are willing to leave familiar places for the same kind of journey when God tells you to leave.

Aaron’s College Football Preview

Tommorrow night begins the College Football season.   Instead of boring you with the same top 5 list everyone has for the 2009 college football season (i.e. 1. Florida 2. Texas 3. Oklahoma), I want to give some less obvious predictions:

Crompton

– Tennessee’s quarterback Jonathan Crompton will have an all-conference season.

Illinois Iowa Football

– Someone besides Ohio St or Penn St. will win the Big Ten.   Look for Iowa or Illinois to surprise that conference.

Vanderbilt Logo

Vanderbilt will scare LSU to death in Death Valley on September 12th.  I can’t predict a win, but it very will could be.

OSU Cowboys

Oklahoma State will beat either Texas or Oklahoma.  The Cowboys are really good.

Baylor FootballBaylor will beat Texas A&M and Texas Tech, and return to a bowl for the first time in years.  Go Baptist! I mean Bears!

Kentucky will take a step back, but Rich Brooks is still a great coach.
TCU Utah football

– This will be the last year Gary Patterson will coach TCU – my childhood team.   TCU will have another strong season, and some major conference, state school would be silly not to hire him away from Ft. Worth.

God’s Pearl of Great Value

In this short, but beautiful parable most of us see ourselves as the merchant.   We are giving up everything for the gospel.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)

Look at this parable from a different angle.   What if God is the merchant who found the pearl of great value?  He found something so unique and so valuable, that he gave up everything to purchase it.

From God’s perspective people are priceless.   To us, people are disposable.
As spiritual leaders we are tempted to label others – lower class, uneducated, snooty, liberal.

When we begin to place a varying value on people, then we forget that each person is God’s pearl of great value.