Monday, August 22, 2011

The Snare

There are many types of traps that hunters have used for centuries to catch wild game.  One such trap is called the simple snare, and there are various traps that are similar to this as well.  The simple snare is a basic set up and is set in a way that the harder the animal fights to get loose, the tighter the noose squeezes until the animal can no longer breathe.  The animal, unknowingly puts its head right through the noose to get the bait, and as it continues to walk the noose tightens, the animal fights, and it is the beginning of the end. I have seen the results of these types of traps and know that it is very successful if set correctly.

I am not much of a woodsman, but it is a very effective trap.  

This trap came to mind recently as I sat down and looked at a list of my personal “needs” as well as some other “needs” in areas that I am involved with.  

I started lining those “needs” up with my priorities and began to wonder, how can I do the things I need to be working on and growing in for God and balance that with the everyday responsibilities that I face (and I am sure many of you do too).  

When I am faced with the challenge of my “needs” verses what I am called to do and something must give, I must evaluate the thought that the “needs” should surrender to the call.  That is foreign in our culture, I know that.  It challenges me to wonder, how much of my needs are actually preferences?  How many extra responsibilities am I adding to my load?  How many of those extra responsibilities are limiting me in my time?  Finances?  Service to God?  

Suddenly I find myself fighting more and more.

I feel the noose tightening…

…and I realize I am in a trap.

A spiritual simple snare, if you will.  

I have allowed myself to be so influenced by the bait (the preferences or “needs”) that I have bailed on the freedom and life that I am intended for. 

It might be a little easier to see to these matters in our personal life if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, but what would it look like if we were honest about what goes on in the church?

What necessities or “needs” do we “have” to take care of in the church that aren’t so much needs as preference?  Does tradition dictate our decisions?  Are those decisions guided by man’s rationale?  Do we rely on the Spirit to guide us?  Are we making decisions to “grow” the church, but really we are expanding an organization more that spreading the good news of Christ?

Buildings need maintenance, that isn’t a wrong thing…but is it the best thing?

Different people prefer different types of music, but is relying on man’s rationale of giving people what they want really Spirit led?

Suddenly, I begin to wonder if the matters we focus so much attention on, so much money on, so much man power on is really the best thing?  It may not be wrong, but is it the best?  

My thoughts on this is that we actually take time to assess the matters in our personal life, let the Spirit lead us, don’t make knee jerk decisions that will add more responsibility to your plate (which may already be too full).  Realize the value of your time, money, and activities and while there are many things that call for you (family, work, and even down time) make sure that the issues you do deal with are done with excellence and glorify God.

In matters of the church, my hope is that if we grow in our personal lives, we will see changes in the Bride (Church).  Our decisions in the church can have profound ramifications around the world.  We have to understand that.  

A quick note, I am not trying to come across as an extremist on any of these matters.  I am trying to just throw out the thought that maybe we should reevaluate how we make decisions that influence us in our responsibilities.  If a building or home needs remodeled… do it, just pray about it first.  

I believe with some wiser decisions in these matters, the church can have a greater impact and reach the world in a more effective way…and let’s not forget that is what we are commanded to do.  

Do you feel the noose of the snare getting tighter?  Only One person can set us free from such things, stop struggling on your own, trying to figure it all out.  Search out what it is that He wants you to do.

“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have been on a bit of a hiatus recently.  It isn’t because I have had a lack of inspiration, and even though my time has been a bit thinner recently, that hasn’t been the sole reason for my absence on the blog.
Really what it came down to is that I found myself sitting in front of my computer, sometimes even beginning to type out something I had been thinking about and it just felt very…Pharisaic?

I found myself pointing my finger without really wanting to do anything for it.  I found myself condemning the Bride (the Church) without giving any guidance or effort on my part to change it.  Was I unwilling?  Was I puffing myself up and putting myself in the wrong position?  

Maybe…or maybe I needed my perspective changed.

I have begun thinking about, and in some cases rethinking, matters that I can easily dissect, but what can I do about it?  

I don’t want to just point to the issues I can dig up about the Bride, I want to help her get well.  For this I realize that I must rely on God’s Spirit for guidance, not contradict the Word in what I feel led to, follow Christ’s example, and also hold in balance that there is a life to live here on this earth that produces many responsibilities and many of those responsibilities are from God…many are not.

What you will read in the next few weeks is not a bash session, if it comes across that way, please forgive me.  I say forgive me, but also give you the freedom to call me out on it if you feel otherwise.  I have found myself to be an idealist, which is not of itself a bad thing, but can come across as crass and arrogant.  Being an idealist can also lead me to making quick judgments when I do not have all the evidence.  

I don’t want to be a rash idealist, but an idealist that realizes that I serve a God who is able to do impossible things through ordinary people.

This is an invitation to those who read the blog to discuss, share, open up, and join me on the journey to look for some answers.  I don’t want to be a finger pointer; I want to be a worker.  I don’t want to be an armchair quarterback; I want to get in the game.  I want to see the Bride being glorious as she affirms the magnificence of her Groom (Christ).

I won’t have all the answers, I might only have a few, but I know God has a plan and I know the zip code that He is leading me to.  I am asking for your insight as I travel this path. There is much more to come.  

God bless.