Sunday, February 19, 2012

Furtick: on Miracles

After an interesting discussion with some people tonight about 'acts of God' or miracles, I thought it was interesting to hear what one pastor out of Charlotte, North Carolina had to say. None of this is my original thought, however I do like what he has to say and looking at scripture he comes up with some interesting points. So, I hope you enjoy and this broadens your view of a subject that has a wide scope of perspectives already.

When you look at the miracles in the Bible, you see two themes consistently emerge when it comes to the person involved in the miracle.
1) Many biblical miracles were the person’s own initiative, not God’s idea.
• Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.
• Or Namaan who went to Elisha for healing for his leprosy.
• Or the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.
2) many biblical miracles involved the person’s natural action, not just God’s supernatural intervention.
• Like when the Israelites had to walk through the Red Sea after God parted it.
• Or when the blind man had to wash himself in the pool of Siloam.
• Or when Joshua and his army had to march around the walls of Jericho before it fell.

The bottom line is that when it comes to the miracles you want to see in and through your life, God wants your involvement. I’ve said it before, but most Christians don’t want miracles, we want magic. We want God to wave a magic wand at our problem or need.
We want God to send the money out of the sky.
God forbid we would cut up our credit cards.

We want God to heal us of our physical ailments.
God forbid we change our eating habits or start exercising.

We want to see God do miraculous things through us.
God forbid we get off the couch and give God a platform off of which He can work.

I’m sorry, but God’s miracles don’t work like that. Of course they involve His unmistakable power and provision. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles. But they also require your initiative and involvement. Otherwise they would just be magic.

Maybe we could sum it up like this:
Without God, you cannot.
Without you, God will not.

Ask yourself two questions today.
1) What miracle do you need or want to see God accomplish in or through your life?
2) What involvement is God requiring from you before He accomplishes the miracle?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Best of 2012

I'm not much of one to do plugs for books, but this year I have read a couple books that have really shaped my thought in lots of ways and really changed the way I view myself, God, and prayer. I know it is still pretty early to say that these are a couple of the most influential books I have read this year, but they are changing my life little by little.

Soul Print is the first book that I read this year. It is all about being comfortable in your own skin and finding your unique identity. Mark Batterson talks a lot about how you have the unique ability to worship God in a way that no one else has because God has made you different than anyone else. He says that we rob ourselves of our true identity when we try to conform to the way other people do things, but we really just need to be ourselves. I don't want to ruin the whole book for you, because you really should read this, but here is what it looks like:

The next book has made an even greater impact on my life has been The Circle Maker. This book gets its name from the story of a man named Honi who lived in Israel about 100 years before Jesus. There was a great drought in the land and the people were worried, so Honi went out where people could see him and he stuck his staff in the ground and drew a circle around himself in the sand. He said he wasn't going to leave that circle until it rained, and then he began to pray and God brought the rain. This might sound weird, given my profession, but I have never counted myself as a really good pray-er, but this book has changed that for sure. He talks about praying for big things that seem impossible and watching God work before your eyes. I am in the process of reading this book with a small group of adults that I am in and I have to say, since we started reading this book it has been incredible watching God answer some big prayers every week. This book will change your life, not just the way you pray (I mean that most sincerely).

Batterson talks a lot about dreaming big in this book and setting goals and then circling your dreams and goals in prayer. Perhaps my next post I will share some of my dreams that I have listed while reading this book. In one night I came up with about 32 goals. I'm not a big goal setter, but it turns out I have a lot of goals! The list continues, but that is for a later day.