Archive for October, 2009

by Charles R. Swindoll

Galatians 2:4-5

Few things turn our crank faster than being around big-minded, enthusiastic, broad-shouldered visionaries. They are positive, on the move, excited about exploring new vistas, inspired, and inspiring. While others are preoccupied with tiny tasks and nit-picking squabbles, these people see opportunity in every difficulty and helpful lessons in every setback.

Few things turn us off quicker than being around small-minded, pessimistic, narrow-world, tedious frowners. Engrossed in the minutiae of what won’t work and remembering a half-dozen worst-case scenarios, they can throw more cold water on a creative idea than a team of firefighters snuffing out a candle.

It’s not caution we resent. Caution is necessary and wise. Caution keeps the visionary realistic. No, it’s the tiny-focused, squint-eyed, tight-lipped, stingy soul that drives us batty. The best word is petty . . . as in petty cash, petty larceny, petty minded.

“Pettiness,” writes George Will, “is the tendency of people without large purposes.”

Petty people are worse than stubborn; they are negative and rigidly inflexible. While we work overtime to come up with some soaring idea, they’ve already thought up eight reasons it won’t fly.

Whatever or wherever or whoever manifests pettiness isn’t my concern, however. Stopping its effect on us is. Why? Because the church seems to be the breeding ground for this legalistic disease.

Pettiness takes a terrible toll. It kills our joy!

I have been studying the lives of several of the great visionaries of the church. They were extremely different, yet they all have one common denominator: Not one was petty. I mean not one.

Let me remind you of Paul’s reaction to those who “sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.” He declares, “We did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour” (Gal. 2:5). Nor should we.

Count on this: You will encounter petty types. So when you do, shrug it off and just keep on honoring God as you pursue those large purposes.

“Pettiness is the tendency of people without large purposes” (George Will).

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A Prayer to Our Father

Posted: October 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Our FatherIf there is a prayer that is universal to the Christian faith it would be the prayer Jesus gives as a model in response to his disciples request: “Lord, teach us how to pray.”  This prayer, better known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” is recited by Catholic and Baptist alike, football and baseball players, even the particularly irreligious are still somewhat familiar with this prayer.  I can remember kneeling down before every game in high-school to “Get an Our Father” before the game started.  I guess we needed all the help we could get!

But what was the real purpose and meaning of the most beloved prayer in the Christian world?  I must be honest, I heard it so much growing up that I never asked myself that question.  But that is exactly the question A Prayer to Our Father sets out to answer.  Written by an unlikely pair of authors, a Jewish Bible scholar and a former chaplain for the Minnesota Vikings, this book is an adventure that begins in Jerusalem and takes them presumably to the very place in Galilee where Jesus first spoke this prayer.  Along the way these two discover a Hebrew version of the “Lord’s Prayer” called the Avinu, which means “Our Father.”  (Turns out we weren’t too far off when we called it an “Our Father.”)  The second half of the book is an exploration of the Hebrew origins of this prayer.  This book caused me to think of the “Lord’s Prayer” in ways that I never have before.

http://www.aprayertoourfather.com – official website

http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Prayer-to-Our-Father/64724168340 – book fan page

http://www.wfae.org/wfae/18_93_0.cfm?do=detail&id=10404 – authors’ interview on NPR

http://www.sanctuarycov.org/ee-assets/my-uploads/sermons/2009_07_12_Get_A_Bigger_Box.mp3 – Keith Johnson’s message at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, “Get A Bigger Box”

The Diversity CultureI just finished reading the book The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley.  The author is the senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California.  He writes this book to the evangelical that wants to be a “soul winner” of the “diversity culture” so needless to say this book may not sit well with everyone.  I must admit I don’t think I was the intended audience of the book but found some good things in it none the less.

The Diversity Culture discusses the bigotry, stereotyping, and assumptions that often occur when people interact with others while using the story of Jesus and the woman at the well to present an alternative approach to sharing your beliefs with others.

If you want to read the first chapter of this book for free click here.

If you want to check out Matthew Raley’s blog click here.