Welcome to tomthinking.com Monday, March 18 2019 @ 07:34 PM UTC

When God Calls, Get Ready, Cuz You May Not Like It

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In the recent weeks I’ve taken a large number of professional and personality assessments to help me hone in on what my greatest strengths and desires are so that I can know what kind of ministry assignments I should pursue. I want to know what I can do that fits me best. Perhaps you want the same thing?
During one assessment my coach explained to me, “Tom, you are all about belief. Everything you do you do because you believe in God’s will for your life and you pursue it. For you, nothing happens by chance.” When she spoke that to me I was in hearty agreement. But sitting in the back of my mind was another reality. What if I’m called to do something I don’t want to do? Would God do that? How would my nature of belief be affected?
In fact, contrary to the popular notion that God doesn’t call us to do something we are not equipped for, I find in scripture that God often calls men and women to do things that, normally, they have no business doing. But God is God. He is sovereign. He can do that. So let me provide a few examples from my own study and show that when God calls us he often calls us to do things that hurt us, cause us anxiety, and perplex us. But he’s God. He can do that. And if we obey him we will be the better for it.
Here’s goes.
 

Fulfilling The Great Commission Is Inevitable

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A few weeks ago I attended a dinner event hosted by Cru President, Steve Douglass. During the event Steve remarked that from what he is seeing, the fulfillment of the Great Commission is inevitable.

What is the Great Commission? It is the command given by Christ following his resurrection. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Now, to be honest, I never thought in those terms before. The fulfillment of the Great Commission is inevitable? Is that right? Yes, it is right. God does not embark on missions in which he is doomed to fail (Isaiah 55:11). The Great Commission is his idea and no task God has undertaken has ever fallen short. Consider these two passages of scripture about the inevitability of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The Grief Of Your Salvation

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Often, when a person first comes to Christ, in that initial moment of salvation there can be a sense of relief, release, and joy. The fact that we are freely forgiven by God through his grace can be a wonderful experience. But, later as we begin to grow in our faith and realize what it is we have, our thoughts turn toward those we love who have not had an experience with Christ. Out of love we want them to come to the same truth that has been revealed to us. We also think of those who have died before us, who were without Jesus, lost forever because of their rejection of him. Grief can settle in, wishing things were different. When we think of those alive, still with us, we desperately want them to know what we now know. But they resist the Holy Spirit and it seems to us like they will never come to Christ.
Is it our fault? How can we ensure that the Gospel reaches them? Am I guilty if they never come to faith in Christ? Am I responsible for their salvation?
Allow me to speak to this issue from the scripture, then I’d like to give you three points of application that might help you in your struggle with loved ones who don’t know Jesus.
 

The Most Important Job In The World

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If you are involved in ministry, whether personally on your free time, or professionally, you are doing the most important work in the world.

That is not an exaggeration.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Is Real, And I Can Prove It

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My daughter was around six years old. She sat in front of the TV watching one of her favorite cartoons. It was Pokémon, or SpongeBob, or something like that. We got to talking and I told her, "You know, what you are watching isn't real. It's just a cartoon."

"What do you mean, daddy?" she asked.

"It's not real," I told her. "People had to draw these things to tell their stories. But it's not real."

She got screwy-faced for a moment and protested, "It is too real, daddy." At that stage in her life she wasn't always able to discern the difference between fantasy and reality. Thankfully, I don't suffer from that. But the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real. I can prove it. Come to think of it, SpongeBob is real too.

Editing JESUS

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I recently had a sobering experience. As part of my role with JESUS Film Project I was tasked to select editing points for the creation of a version of JESUS for commercial television. JESUS has not been seen on commercial television in the US for more than 15 years, in fact, much longer than that. That's a tragedy since no film has changed more lives or introduced more people to Christ than JESUS. More than 200 million people have professed faith in Christ because of JESUS.

When Good Decisions Turn Bad

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I was on my way home to Orlando. I left Tucson in the morning to catch a flight to Las Vegas where I would board my connecting flight to Orlando. I sat in my middle seat, my insides trembling. I’ve never been a good flyer. For as long as I can remember, flying has always been scary to me. Only when a flight is completely smooth do my nerves calm down—but I’m always waiting for the next bump. The Tucson to Vegas flight was only an hour, but to me it was an hour of terror. I became so panicked that I turned to my wife sitting next to me and said, “I’m not getting on the next plane. I don’t care how much it costs, we’re renting a car and driving home.” My poor wife, seeing the condition I was in, readily agreed.

Six 24-hour Days Or Millions Of Years? It's The Wrong Question

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What do you believe about the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2? Would you describe yourself as a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) or an Old Earth Creationist (OEC)? Perhaps you’re one of those who is struggling in this area of biblical thought?

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Genesis and reading creation websites that hold to these views. Many of the articles I read on either side of the issue are very compelling. But it has occurred to me that the leaders in the YEC and OEC camps have missed something very important: the main thrust of Genesis 1.

Did God create the universe in six 24-hour periods or did he create everything in six unspecified ages taking millions of years? I’d like to suggest that the timing of God’s creative act actually misses the main point of Genesis 1. By asking this question we may actually be asking the wrong question, or at least a question that is not the central focus of Genesis. Allow me to elaborate.

Have You Answered The Ultimate Question?

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 No matter who we are we must find an answer to the ultimate question of life: "Who is Jesus?"

Why is this the ultimate question? Because Jesus made some extravagant claims about himself which, if true, can have a life-changing impact. And not just for individuals, but for nations, as history has shown.
When asked who Jesus is I come up with three answers that seem to me to be most important. If these things are true about Jesus then we must wrestle with what that means in our lives. Discovering who Jesus is is not simply an academic exercise. It is much more. So, allow me to give you my three answers and then three ways we must examine the claims of Christ if we want to see a radical change in our lives.
Who is Jesus?
  1. He is the Son of God
  2. He is the Savior
  3. He is the Lord

 

The All-Powerful God Of Limitations

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  Have you ever heard this one: Can God create a rock so heavy that even he could not lift it? Did you know that there is a biblical answer to that question? The answer is rather simple. Jesus collapsed under the weight of his own cross. The theological answer is that God could create such a thing when he submits himself to his own rules of creation as when he became a man, lived as a man, and died as a man for our sake.

When I first heard this question as a young Christians I was a bit perplexed. Does God have limitations? I always thought of God as being so powerful that he could do anything and that he had no limitations. But as I’ve grown in Christ I’ve learned that God does indeed have some limitations. And these limitations are remarkable in that they don’t take anything away from who he is. Rather, they encourage me that I’m involved with a God who is so utterly dependable because he is a god who does not, in fact, cannot change (Hebrews 13:8).
God is all powerful and all knowing and ever present. But he is not a God without limits. In fact, God has a few limitations. And these limitations should encourage us that we serve the real and true and living God. Let me give you five limitations of God.