Calamities can bring out the best and the worst in people.
I have been so blown away by people from church and how they’ve given, donated, sacrificed, helped, committed, organized, cleaned, offered, contributed… (running out of words)… when typhoon Ondoy hit Manila.
At the same breath, unfortunately, some ‘took advantage’ of the situation.
When we went out to a particular evacuation center one night to distribute relief goods, we were told to leave the venue first because a certain politician was there and our goods cannot get mixed up with theirs or else he will get the credit or vise versa (since we were working with local government units for that day).
We were told to park our truck somewhere else first, wait an hour and come back after this particular person left.
I felt dejected to say the least. “How hard is it to help? Does it have to be this complicated?”
Our nation is in desperate need of leaders who will serve and will not need to take the credit to help. The sad thing is that this doesn’t only happen in THAT world. It happens everywhere – business, education, church, entertainment, banking, corporate, non-profit organizations, …
It’s often been said that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done!
Can I drink and still be a Christian? Is it a sin to smoke? Is oral sex wrong since there’s no actual intercourse?
These are a few questions I get asked.
First of all, I have no intentions of turning what is black and white in Scripture into something grey. Neither am I trying to turn something grey to become black and white. That’s the reason why I will refer to what the Bible says.
While there are certain issues that the Bible doesn’t explicitly talk about, this doesn’t mean that it is quiet about that particular topic. There are certain principles we can glean from so that we can answer the questions we might have.
For example, someone might say that since there’s nothing about internet por.nography in the Bible, then it must be ok. Obviously, it won’t be there because computers didn’t exist. But the Bible does talk about lust and impurity.
Paul gives us a guiding principle in 1 Corintians 6:12.
“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
Not everything is beneficial…
Beneficial for who? And for what?
Three questions we can ask ourselves…
1. Will it benefit me?
If you ask me, “Can I eat my cellphone?” My answer? “Sure! If you want to but it surely won’t be beneficial to you.”
Is it wrong? Not really.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
2. Will it benefit others?
If a pregnant woman asks me, “Can I join our 7 day prayer and fasting and do a water fast?”
While the activity is very spiritual, I’m just not sure it’s very wise. We have to ask ourselves the question, “Will this thing benefit/affect the others?”
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
3. Will it benefit God’s kingdom?
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means that whatever is going on in heaven, we desire to happen here on earth as well.
And if that is our prayer, then will this thing I do honor God and advance His kingdom? Or will it hurt the cause of Christ? Will I misrepresent His kingdom, since I am His ambassador?
These are tough questions but we do need to answer them. And when we do, I think we’ll have a pretty good gauge about what we need to do.
As Oswald Chambers said, “Holiness, not happiness is the chief end of man.”
“It’s rarely a blowout… it’s usually a slow leak.”
The younger son in the story of the prodigal son set off to a distant country after asking for his inheritance from his father. While what he did was arrogant and unbecoming of a Jewish young man that was frowned upon by society and culture, it wasn’t like he was evil and wicked.
He had his own idea of living life. He wanted independence. But he had no idea what he was getting into. What he went through hit him like a left hook from Manny.
No one wakes up Monday morning (like today) thinking, “Well, well, well… this week is an excellent week to backslide! I think, it’s a great day to start setting off a different direction from what God has planned for me.”
The younger son drifted.
While that happened to him, it can definitely happen to the best of us. That is why it is absolutely important to stay connected to the Source.
Remember, it’s rarely a blowout… it’s usually a slow leak.
Ryan played T-ball last year. Because they were still teaching the kids the basics of the game, the league decided not to keep scores and forget about win-loss cards.
While I understand the reasoning behind it (to encourage the kids and not worry about winning and losing yet), I thought each game at times became pointless. Why play a game when you don’t know who will win? Why play against another team if you don’t know who will end up on top? It’s probably the competitive spirit in me but that’s how I felt.
In the book I am reading, “Creating Community”, there were 3 questions that were posted that we need to answer as a church family.
1. What do we want people to become?
2. What do we want them to do?
3. Where do we want them to go?
For us in Victory, our leaders made it clear. The goal is to make disciples. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus, fellowships with other believers and fishes for men. And finally, what is the venue where they will be discipled and make disciples? Small groups.
1. What do we want people to become? DISCIPLES.
2. What do we want them to do? To honor God and make disciples. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus, fellowships with other believers and fishes for men.
3. Where do we want them to go? At this point, the best possible way to make disciples and be discipled is in the context of small groups.
All for now…
A lot of life is based on the decisions we make… what to do, what to eat, what to wear, who to go with, WHO to serve, when to do what we need to do.
I have yet to hear a telephone receptionist lash out on a caller right off the bat, though I am sure it has happened before. S/he comes to work and decides to be good at what she does – greeting, giving instructions, forwarding calls undergirded by the fact that she has to be nice and cheerful. This has to happen whether she’s had a bad day or not.
Everyday, we have an opportunity to choose. We can start it deciding that it would be a great day (whether it ends up being a good one or not but still learning from every moment) or get sidetracked into misery by every unfortunate mishap.
Tim Hansel made a comment in his book years ago that never left me ever since. He said, “Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.” Deep breath… read it again… “Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.”
Happiness is based on “happenings” but joy goes deeper than that. You can have joy in the midst of the toughest circumstances in life.
There will always be stuff to ruin our day. The question is not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens to us. That marks a leader and a disciple.
The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)