Sunday, July 16, 2006

Showers of Blessing

Let There Be Showers of Blessing

(This prayer began during “silent prayer time” at Church, but continued in an afternoon expansion of the prayer.)

Oh Father we pray, pour out Your showers of blessing on these your people in this Church this morning. But Father, no sooner do I say those words than I “see” a people carrying umbrellas.

But You do, don’t You? You already pour out Your blessings in such a deluge of Grace and Love that it is incomprehensible - it is beyond our understanding. Why do You love us so? Why do you give us such an abundance of good and wonderful things, and essentially, ask nothing in return? It is a free gift. It is free for the acceptance. And yet we… walk around with our umbrellas up.

Why do we do that?

Why do we keep asking for Your blessings, and yet even as we speak, they are cascading down our huge, golf-type umbrellas, falling to the ground at our feet? Are we really that oblivious to the downpour around us? Or, are we afraid to let down our guard; to close the umbrella; and to let Your blessings soak us to the core?

Are we afraid to expose ourselves to You? Do we think the umbrellas protect what we already have? Don’t we realize that “every good and wonderful gift” comes from You? Just what do we think we’re protecting them from?

Or, deep down, do we know that if we “expose” them to You, we are actually “offering” them to You? And what happens if I “offer” You my time? What happens if I offer You my talents; my intellect, my possessions? God, what happens if I offer my money to You…? Don’t I understand that they were ALL Yours, before they were mine? Don’t I understand that by surrendering everything I am, and everything I have to You, I am gaining far more blessings and the freedom to enjoy them than I ever thought possible?

As long as the umbrella is up, the only blessings I have are what I can “keep dry” and contained underneath the shelter. But, if I close the umbrella, and “risk” everything, then EVERYTHING becomes possible.

God, give me the faith to close the umbrella.

In Jesus’ name.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A New Twist on an Old Song

I’ve been reading an interesting blog recently. It is called “Real Meal Ministries” and is written by Dr. Brian Russell. He is an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies on the Orlando campus of Asbury Theological Seminary. He teaches courses on Old Testament Introduction and biblical interpretation.

On this blog Dr. Russell often writes using the term “Missional” such as “Missional lifestyles” and studying the Bible with a “Missional” attitude.

He is currently writing a series titled, “Learning to Speak Human.” The following is one quote from the latest post:

“Engage the world. Mission is a lifestyle. If we only study and talk about mission among followers of Christ, we are not on mission. Mission is action in the world. It is our participation in God’s intentions for His Creation. We need to enlarge our own visions of God’s intentions for the neighborhoods, cities, and regions in which we live. We need to avoid compartmentalizing mission and rather think critically about how mission needs to be the foundation, the means, and the end for all that we do as followers of Jesus Christ. This means that we need to engage the world!”

On this Prayerlogue, I most often share prayers and meditations, and many times, I get replies saying how much something helped or touched the individual. However, this week, instead of encouraging you or uplifting you, I want to challenge you.

It’s not just about us, folks. Yes, we each have struggles, and we have issues, but we also have a mandate - and that is “to go into all the world, preaching and teaching, and making disciples, in Jesus’ name.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the song “Sanctuary”. The words go: “Lord prepare me, to be a Sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. And with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, Sanctuary to You…”

Maybe we need to change the words to:
“Lord prepare me, to be a missionary
filled with service, through and through.
Make me a giving, self-less living
missionary for You.

At this time of celebrating “Independence”, let us take our freedom and the responsibilities that go with that freedom, very seriously.