Mission Accomplished?

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Dr Bobby Clinton’s leadership emergence observes the progression of development in the lives of those who embark on a journey of Christian service (more here). A aeronautics mathmatician turned theologian, Dr Clinton and his students made thousands of case studies on Christian leaders to discover patterns in how God forms their lives.

One of the most interesting paradigms in Dr Clinton’s work is the significance of boundary periods in our lives. These transitions can take years and are often the most intense times of learning in our lives. The majority of leaders studied experienced lives of drastic change over and over, which was part of what made them so productive and resilient.

When we ourselves set out to follow God’s calling on our lives, maybe we imagined that if we followed His prophetic leading and worked hard enough our lives would be an upward straight line from calling to destiny. But if you’re like me you might look back after decades of ministry and feel like the twisting road is less of a victory march than a puzzling sojourn.

Is it possible that part of our discourgement looking back at the seasons of our lives – the places, projects and people we invested in – is the expectations we brought with us?

Kati and I are finishing a season of three years in the U.S. between our time in Brazil and our new project in Portugal. The gospel teaches us to seek to be Christlike (Rm. 8:29) more that do impressive works. But part of being created in God image is to desire to express our creativity in productive ways. We all love to accomplish significant milestones and look back in satisfaction. So what have Kati and I accomplished in these past three years? There are certainly a list of things I thought would happen that didn’t and surprising fruit that came unexpectedly. And what about our kids? Maybe the purposes of this season had more to do with them than with Kati and I.

Any life worth living according to the vision of Scripture is one of community. At moments all of us pout about projects left on the backburner and time seemingly invested and wasted. Lately when I’m tempted to feel this way I feel the Holy Spirit telling me, “David, it’s not all about you”. My choices as a husband and father have a huge impact on my wife and kids, who ultimately belong to God. And the Lord has a plan for my wife and children’s lives as well, for which often dad needs to get out of the way.

I thank the Lord for the mysterious and beautiful story He weaves through our lives as an expression of His Kingdom. Who are we to say what should have been accomplished? How can the pot say to the potter, what have you done (Is. 29:16)?

Teach us Lord to submit ourselves under Your might hand and celebrate the fruit that comes naturally from abiding in the vine… today.

Deus não está do seu lado

É jogar baixo usar Deus para apoiar seu lado de um argumento com alguém.  Eu vejo isso sempre.  Duas pessoas estão brigando sobre algo e uma delas diz, “Bom, eu estava orando sobre isso e senti o Sebhor dizer que você precisa ser mais aberto”, ou, “Mais paciente”, ao algo do tipo.  Bom, se Deus disse que você está com a razão quem pode discutir com isso?  Legal você hein, aproveitando a oportunidade para me dar uma palavra do Senhor!

Não digo isso num tom áspero, nós cristãos devemos poder rir de nós mesmos e reconhecer nossa tendência manipuladora.  A maioria de nós provavelmente já fez isso uma vez.  Há situações em que somos genuinamente movidos pelo Espírito Santo a corrigir e exortar alguém.  Mas é preciso ter discernimento de quando Deus nos daria uma palavra para nosso irmão e quando não. 

Isso também não funciona no casamento.  Se você dizer, “Querida, Deus me mostrou que eu estou sendo espiritual e você está sendo carnal”, tenha certeza de ser Deus mesmo.  Se for seu cônjuge ou um amigo, eles vão perceber seu joguinho.  “Pois em parte conhecemos e em parte profetizamos… Agora, pois, vemos apenas um reflexo obscuro, como em espelho; mas, então veremos face a face.  Agora conheço em parte; então, conhecerei plenamente, da mesma forma como sou plenamente conhecido” (I Co. 13.9,12).  

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