Thursday, October 8, 2015

“A strange thing happens with most regulated professions.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-10) from his book, Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Knowing God (p. 217). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Maybe you have noticed this or maybe you have felt it or done it.

As Larry says, “Over the years the bar to entry is slowly raised by those who are already in. The excuse is always the same: A desire to keep the unqualified out and to protect the reputation of the profession. The result is a greater sense of exclusivity and often a set of rules and regulations that would keep the people raising the bar from getting in themselves if they had to start over.”

We’re seeing that right now in our desire to regulate people from immigrating to our country from another country.  The truth is the only people who have not immigrated to the US are the American Indians.  I’ve done some work on finding about my ancestors. I don’t think my family would be here and the truth is neither would yours if they were trying to come here today. 

Larry says, “You can see the same thing happen with families who flee the suburbs or city for a more pristine rural setting. They're all for growth and easy building codes when moving in. But once enough of their old neighbors start to follow, it's not long until a slow-growth or no-growth initiative shows up on the ballot. God's people are no different. We've always had a tendency to try raising the bar to entry—after we've gotten in. We're still doing it.”

But Larry then talks about those who God reaches out to.  He says, “More often than not, they've been culled from ranks of common folks, people like you and me long ago written off by the spiritually elite as lacking the pedigree, education, dedication, or prerequisites for being known and used by God. But God hasn't seemed to notice or care all that much what they think. He shows up, recruits the humble, broken, and pedestrian, and gives us a path we can follow and a power we can access. He's the ultimate come-as-you-are God.”

Let’s get out of the exclusion and elite business and back to the reaching, accepting and loving business.  Let’s love each other as God loves us.

So you aren’t doing that, are you? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

“When no one else sees or knows what I'm doing, temptation is far more enticing.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-10) from his book, Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Knowing God  (p. 205). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Have you found that so?  Larry says, “But if I know I'm being watched, I'll most often do the right thing, even if I don't want to. That's why we slow down when we see a cop in the rearview mirror. Why a sailor's language cleans up in the presence of Mom. Why the kids never steal a cookie when the whole family is in the kitchen.”

He goes on, “Unfortunately, our culture's love affair with privacy has elevated it to the status of a divine right. The result is that we now have large islands of secrecy and anonymity where we used to have transparency. It's supposedly no one's business what I watch or download in the privacy of my home. Child psychologists tell me my children's rooms are off limits. Lawyers tell me I can pay for my kids' college tuition, but I have no right to access their grades or medical records.”

But then he says, “The Bible knows no such right to privacy, especially when it's used as a cloak to hide things we'd never do if others were watching. In fact, the Bible promises the opposite, a coming day when everything will be brought to light, scrutinized, and judged.”

Larry says, “Few of us fall apart spiritually overnight. It usually begins with a series of small steps and compromises. But if my life is a closed book, so private that I reveal what I want to reveal only when I'm comfortable revealing it, these small steps and compromises will mostly remain unknown and unchallenged. One group, however, almost always notices the first signs of even the slightest step in the wrong direction. It's the people we live and spend the most time with. They might not be able to pinpoint what's wrong, but they intuitively know something is. Unfortunately, our social conventions don't give these folks permission to speak up early. It's not cool to butt in unless you've been invited in.”

God has given you a family to help you.  Be open with them.  They can protect you from yourself.

So what is it you are hiding?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

“Potential is not a sacred responsibility.”

A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-10) from his book, Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Knowing (p. 187). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

We have been sucked into this deep desire to live to our full potential, thinking that was what God wanted from us.  But Larry has a different spin on it.

He says, “Potential is a harsh mistress—seductive, never satisfied, prone to exaggeration, nearly impossible to figure out. Those who pursue her inevitably end up in the poisoned land of self-centered priorities and me-first decisions.”

“But it's a quest that's often justified with pious platitudes about following God's calling and using all the gifts we've been given.”

“However, God's highest calling won't be found there. It's found on another path, far removed from the ‘me-first’ orientation of the maximized potential crowd. It's found on a seldom traveled side-road filled with opportunities for sacrifice, service, and self-denial.”

He then says, “We've all seen it: A well-schooled Christian decides that being all he or she can be is more important than keeping a promise, fulfilling commitments, or providing for an inconvenient spouse or family member. So they chuck it all to pursue their own dream. But Jesus didn't say, ‘If you love me, you'll fulfill your potential.’ He said, ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command.’ John 14:15. There's no way around it; obeying the clear commands of Scripture sometimes short-circuits our potential…. Obedience always trumps potential.”

And that is so true.  That puts so much of what we think is important into perspective.

So what are you going for, potential or obedience?