Who's gift to whom?

I remember my pastor's wife once saying:

"Your life is God's gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to Him"

I came across this verse the other day:

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
11 the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

My abilities and skills are not my gift to God, although I often like to think about them in those terms. I say to myself, "Look at what I have done for God..." but I am like a horse who thinks his strength is his own, to offer to God, or not. The reality is that my strength is God's gift to me, and so He isn't very impressed by it; nor is He overwhelmed with joy when I offer Him some of it.

What impresses God is when I trust Him, when I look to Him, when I allow Him to direct my life in such a way that the gifts He has given me are put to work for justice and mercy...

Jesus, help me!


The Easy Road

This quote seems to go very well with my previous post:

"The road of the cross that Jesus walked was a difficult road. But it was a blessed road. The road that Jesus walked silently was the correct road. The road of the cross was not a short cut. However, although it may sound a bit paradoxical, it was the easiest road for Him. Henry Miller said that, "In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest." The cross road was the road of resurrection. No cross, no resurrection. There would be no glory if there was no cross. That’s why the cross is God’s wisdom and power."

Joshua ChoonMin Kang

To read the rest of the article click on the title link and go to article # 152


"When Christ bids a man, He bids him come and die!"

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Had a great conversation about this with my brother the other day...

It is interesting how two people can come at a point of truth from two totally different perspectives.

I was speaking of a friend and how I had encouraged him to 'die to self' in a specific circumstance he found himself in. My brother asked some penetrating questions about this, specifically addressing the problematic way in which this might promote an unhealthy dose of 'martyr-complex-death-wish' thinking, along the lines of some early Christians. (There were cases of some Christians actually seeking martyrdom at the hands of the Romans, instead of merely accepting martyrdom when it confronted them...)

It took a while for us to come to terms with each other on the subject, but when we did, I realized how different we see the world.

I was attempting to stay faithful to the call of the gospel to relinquish control to a Victorious Jesus, Lord and Christ over all Creation. I come from, however, a place of almost whimsical and carefree living. My psychology is much more spontaneous and prone to pursue whatever pleasures this moment offers. And so, I have come to see the call of Christ for me as a constant setting aside of my desires in order to learn His instead...

My brother, however, was approaching this from the perspective of one who tends to approach God from a very different mindset. One who, prior to Christ, tends to seek punishment for sins, and who views their own character flaws through a microscope will find in God a Father who offers a life of affirmation and pleasure that counters the inherent tendency to self-critique and self-condemnation...

I believe we are both talking about the same thing, yet doing so from very different places:

The call to follow Jesus is a call to die, but it is also a call to truly live!

For it is only in Jesus that true life can be found, and it is only after our own will is subjected to His that we can find it. It is on the other side of the Crucifixion that lies the Resurrection. Along any other path lies only a counterfeit, a broad and easy path that leads to nowhere, or worse...

And so, the call to come and die, is paradoxically, also a call to come and live! ...to experience real life, in all of its sensual pleasure and beauty and comedy!

The call to the cross is a call to identify with Jesus, as is the call to life a call to identity in Christ.


What do you love?

"What we love determines the kind of person we are. We pursue what we love and embrace what we desire. We become similar to the things we love."

Pastor Joshua ChoonMin Kang

Click the title link and then go to article # 292 to read the whole piece on embracing Scripture.


Be the Church

"The vision of Quest is simple, bland, and redundant. Our vision is to be the church. The process, however, can be scandalous, powerful, and hopefully, redemptive because a church ought to wrestle with 1) what the church is and 2) and how a faith community LIVES out that calling in its respective context and culture."

From Pastor Eugene Cho's blog...

(Click the Title Link)



My friend Cory said once that when we are in the midst of temptation we should ask, 'God what are you doing here?'

It has stuck with me...

Now, I have been taught to ask that question always, but had never thought to ask it of temptation! In fact, upon reflection, I have really oriented myself towards asking that question with respect to the outside world. 'God what are you at work in, out there,' but never (or rarely), 'God what are you doing in me?' Perhaps that is the result of a position in leadership? But I am bent towards other peoples lives, generally a good thing, but in this particular instance, a blind spot...

When I am frustrated with my sleepless children, 'God, what are you doing in me?'

When I am annoyed with my wife who won't simply live to serve my needs, 'God, what are you doing in me?'


So I had a conversation with a group of folks from our Church about suffering...

...and perseverance that leads to character.

And this came together as I read Ephesians 4:22-24 "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."


Why is it so easy to talk about discipleship?

Why am I so blind to the places where I am being called to grow into Christ?



If we are joined to Christ, then we will become like Him.

If we are joined to Christ, then we will be joined to each other.

If we are joined to Christ, then we will have His heart.

If we are joined to Christ, then we will give ourselves to His mission.

If we are joined to Christ, then we will live His life.

...and that is the calling of the Church.

Joined to Christ, to each other, and to His agenda. Investing in people, speaking prophetic destiny over them, and then setting them free to run to the ends of the earth!


What is Needed

I had a conversation with someone at one of our prayer nights last week...

She was talking about her job as a teacher at a place that works with teens who have mental and behavioral diagnoses. She explained something to me about the essential resources needed to accomplish a task of that nature.

What these kids need is not great facilities, or excellent books, or even high tech computers...

What is needed to help these kids approach some level of 'normal life' is an awareness of their own value; a deeper sense of life's purpose; the ability to discern, desire, and then choose good over evil; and an 'enculturation' process whereby they are not so much taught as initiated into healthy human functionality.

This doesn't come from hardware or facilities, but rather from other people!

The resource needed is people!

Here are Jesus' words on the subject.


Nothing else is needed, because everything else will work itself out if the real resource is there, YOU!

However, not just anybody will do, but rather the people who are needed for this are people who have already been put together on the inside. People who are confident of their own worth, who's value and identity flows from God's affirmation of their humanity, who are not driven by the need to stockpile wealth, or to have the fear or praise of others, or who are driven by fear, anger, pain, or alienation...

People who are able to discern, desire and choose that which is good. People who are able to do so with such consistency that you could refer to their character as essentially 'good.'

People who have been put together by God in the image of Jesus. But these people (if they are put together by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus) will not simply be put back together for their own sake, but rather for the purposes of God on this earth, for the sake of the broken and needy of this world.

People who see the resources they have (including their very life) not as their gift to God, but rather as God's gift to the world!


This is what the Church SHOULD be excellent at!

Helping to train individuals into people who are full of God's character and passion, and given to God's purposes on the earth...

This is the very mission and task that Jesus left with his disciples:

"Go and invite people from every ethnic group and social status to be life-long students of my way of life, immerse them in the trinitarian community, and teach them how to do everything I have taught you..."

Jesus imparted Himself to his disciples and they were charged with imparting that essence to their disciples. The Church is charged with making little christs...

How are we doing church?