Tag Archives: Andy Stanley

Exodus 39-40; Matthew 24:1-22

A few years ago, there was something going around about what would you say to your seventeen-year-old-self if you could go back. I had a lot of things I’d want to tell myself. But one thing is this: Be you. Be everything God made you to be; delight in him and serve him wholeheartedly. I’d say it in all seriousness, despite sounding cliche.

Today I’m standing on the sidelines and watching Bezalel weave worship into garments. His care and attention are poetic, like a song, and I feel joy. He is beautiful, even if I don’t know what he looks like.

A repeating refrain reminds at least eight times in Exodus 39: just as the Lord commanded. (Be you. Be everything God made you to be; delight in him and serve him wholeheartedly.)

A tabernacle is built, and this is a holy dwelling place, where fire lights the night for all to see.

***

I listened to a sermon by Andy Stanley on comparison this past week–and it sticks with me, even as I read today’s passages. I read of excellence in preparing a place for the Lord in Exodus–doing a God-wired job. And in Matthew’s pages, I read of persecution and hatred for being Jesus followers. That we would be hated for following Jesus, and perhaps for following his command on our lives–being whoever it is he has wired us to be. This is where jealousy and comparison come in and kill relationships. Is this such a stretch: the placement of excellence in the Old Testament, jealousy/comparison, and the reality of hatred in the New Testament? Maybe it is, but it’s what I’m trying to work out.

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14 NLT.

Jesus is talking about end times and physical death. Hatred is a precursor to death. I have witnessed among believers and unbelievers, the relational ruin of comparison and jealousy. One either hates another, or hates himself.

I can’t go back in time to that girl of seventeen, but I remind myself still and today, “Be you. Be everything God made you to be; delight in him and serve him wholeheartedly.” Hatred and dislike are stumbling blocks thrown on a path–why would we do this to each other? This is not love.

Endure. The Spirit of God is a light that lives inside the heart of believers. Shine in the darkest places, so that the Good News of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world. Whatever the gift, may it be used to glorify God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

2 Chronicles 22, 23; Revelation 10; Zechariah 6; John 9

What others say …

Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin. 2 Chronicles 22:3-4 NLT.

What God says …

a priest brings people back under God through obedience; prophecy; rebuilding for the Lord; a blind man sees.

Sometimes the differences between the two can cause a great division of opinion.

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. John 9:16 NLT.

People might call “treason” when the boat of familiarity and habit gets rocked. Friendships can sever when one follows the Lord and the other follows the crowd. I’ve seen this from various angles in my own life.

A few years ago I read a book by Andy Stanley called The Principle of the Path. In it, he explains how we reach a destination, not by accident, but by a series of steps taken on purpose. The end result may be far from where we planned to be when we started out, but it should come as no surprise when we examine the choices we’ve made that lead us there.

It’s always good to examine myself: who are my influences; where am I weak; what are the choices I’m making and where are they taking me (in health, in my family, in my walk with the Lord)?

Lord, help me to see, and to change. I want to be attuned to your voice.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 20-21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10, Matthew 24

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this:  If the owner of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”   – Matthew 24:42

I’ve been reading Stu Weber’s book Tender Warrior.  He devotes a chapter to the topic of Staying Power.  In it, he laments that men do not stand fast to their commitments.  They break promises, they leave their families, and they bounce from job to job.  In his book The Principal of the Path, Andy Stanley asserts that what we may see as discrete choices are actually connected steps on a path to our destination.  In other words, where we end up is very much a function of the path that we have taken.  Seems to make sense.

Both of these books, written by living models for manhood, point to a similar theme:  It’s vigilance in the little things day in and day out that result in a Godly life.  My spiritual maturity is the accumulation of the tiny steps I have taken toward God and the tiny steps I have taken away from God over the decades.

I can definitely see this in the rather mundane area of my health and nutrition habits.  By my calculations, I have lost about 325 pounds over the last 20 years.  Unfortunately, I have gained about 340 pounds over the same time period.   This has left me about 15 pounds overweight.  Short of cutting off a limb, I can’t lose 15 pounds in a day.  It will require vigilant effort day in and day out to get to the desired destination.

Jesus teaches us the same thing in Matthew 24.  As he discusses a subject as momentous as the Apocalypse, he notes that the wise servant will be found vigilantly tending to his daily responsibilities.

Lord, give me the staying power to be obedient to your will moment by moment.  It is my greatest desire to abide in you so that when you come looking for me you find me serving your purposes.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

This post originally published July 14, 2010.

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament