Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recharging your spiritual batteries

I love the quote from St. Irenaeus that he wrote way back in 185 AD,  “the glory of God is man fully alive”.  But what if you don’t feel fully alive. There are those days, times or seasons, for whatever reason, when I feel as if I’m on spiritual life support.  Here are four surefire ways get a spiritual recharge and help you to come alive in Christ.

·         Befriend someone who is different from you.

·         Change your routine.

·         Take a risk.

·         Go and serve in a unfamiliar place

Befriend someone who is different than you.

I know there is a desire to be around people who tend to look, talk, and act just like me.  Most churches are assemblies of like people for just that reason.  There is a sense of comfort and safety hanging with people of like interests and backgrounds.  The problem with that is, it is difficult to grow when you are around people who think just like you. You won’t ever change much and you won’t have much chance of changing anyone else.  So you pretty much stay the same.  Instead of hanging with people who are just like you, befriend someone who has different interests, or someone from another culture. Find a church that has a diversity of people instead of one whose congregation think and worship just like you.  Or better yet, reach out to someone who is not a Christian?  Spend some time with people who don’t go to church, who don’t think like you and make an impact on them for Christ. 

One recent ministry opportunity that really made me come alive spiritually was with the Amigo program at Lackland Air Force base.  This program connected families in San Antonio with a student from another country who was in San Antonio for 6 months to study English.  Many of the students were from Iraq or former Soviet countries.  Many were Muslims.  These men and women had little to no opportunity to get off the base and experience San Antonio.  Families would commit to meeting them through Amigo and provide a way for the foreign student to experience life off of the base.  Barbara and I met a wonderful man from Iraq who was serving in the Iraq army and had been put in prison while serving in the Iraq army under Saddam Hussein.  We had dinner with him in restaurants several times and even had him over for dinner.  We got to share about our faith in Christ and hear his many fascinating stories.  It was really exciting and we left our meetings with him fully charged and felt fully alive in Christ.  We still hear from him from time to time.  He had an impact on us and I know we impacted his life also.    

Posted via email from John's posterous

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Legalism and NFL Football

I got home from church last night and to my surprise the NFL game was still on because of the double header and late game on the coast.  I am not at all a Raiders fan and because I lived for a time in San Diego, the Chargers have been a sentimental favorite.  However, the overruled call by the refs after replay against the Raiders was a horrible call and a great example of adhering to the letter of the law without any regard to the spirit of the rules.   Just what we fans fear most from the instant replay challenges,  long delays while refs try to find marginal rules violations that would never be discernable without super slow motion replay.  When a catch is made and the replay has to be slowed down to such a degree to find any sort of movement of the ball to determine if the receiver had “control” of the ball is a disregard for the spirit of the game.   The catch would have been ruled complete 100 out of 100 times by the naked eye and even with instant replay all announcers agreed it was a good catch and should not have been overruled.

Unfortunately what seemed to be a good idea has turned replay refs into Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  The refs remind me of many Christians today who love to point out the violators of the law without any regard to the spirit of the law.  Jesus was adamant about his distaste for those who were the legalists of his day.  He knew the hearts of those who tried to follow the law to gain their righteousness and Jesus strongly rebuked them.  Legalism is bad news for the game of football but deadly in the game of life.   I can choose not to watch the football games but having to deal with Christian legalism is much more difficult.  It brings discord to the body, turns non-believers away from Jesus and brings a false sense of security to Christian brothers and sisters who try to gain their right standing by keeping the rules.  If indeed we believe that somehow our obeying the laws and even our good works gain us any better standing before God, then we must believe the work of Christ alone is insufficient for our final salvation.  Don’t fall into that trap. 

John Walters

Calling Pastor

Grace Point Church

210-558-5954

Posted via email from John's posterous

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who did you encourage today?

I read that baseball star Reggie Jackson once said "I'll tell you what makes a great manager; a great manager has a knack for making ball-players think they are better than they are. He forces you to have a good opinion of yourself. He lets you know he believes in you. He makes you get more out of yourself. And once you learn how good you really can be, you'll never settle for playing anything less than your very best." Don't forget to encourage someone everyday.

How to choose the right path

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and ...