Posts Tagged ‘fellowship’

What Jesus Didn’t Say

Friday, November 4th, 2016

A conversation at a new church inspires today’s word-of-the-week…

DIDN’T

truth1I met a new friend yesterday, and we talked a bit about things Jesus didn’t tell us.

For example, He didn’t tell us that people we love will always agree with us. Or that “enough faith” makes things turn out the way we want.

After our conversation, I made my own list.

He didn’t tell us that loving our enemies would make them stop being our enemies.

He didn’t tell us that people would appreciate our compassion.

He didn’t tell us that drug addicts would stop using drugs if we start programs for them or that prisoners would stop committing crimes if we visit them.

He didn’t tell us that a nonviolent search for justice would be met with acceptance and understanding, that others wouldn’t take advantage of us.

He DID tell us to love our enemies, have faith, help others, visit prisoners, and seek justice.

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

It’s okay to say, “I’m not sure.”

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The current political “discussion” inspires today’s word-of-the-week…

KNOW

imageSome folks seem to know just about everything.

The wisest people I know, the ones I trust the most, seem to be full of doubt. Where others see black-and-white, they see all sorts of nuance and shades of gray. They’re more likely to ask tough questions than to provide easy answers.

The people I describe aren’t stupid or wishy-washy. They know what they know. They aren’t afraid to speak the truth.

They also aren’t afraid of, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure how that works.”

Our culture tries to tell us we’re supposed to know.

What’s God’s plan for your life? You’re supposed to know.

Where do I find forgiveness? What does grace mean to me?

What did Jesus mean in that story? How does it apply to your life?

What’s the best way to read the bible?

You’re supposed to know. And some folks do know, and they’ll tell you the right answer, for them and for you.

I’ve noticed the wise people don’t know the answers to those kinds of questions. They’ll share their experience and help you discover your own meaning.

It’s easy to be intimidated or impressed by those with all the answers.

Me? I want to be a bit more like the wise folks I described. It makes life a whole lot less stressful.

How about making it okay to say, “I’m not sure”?

How Should We Relate to One Another?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
John 13:34


Frequently, the title for what I will write comes to me through inspiration. Typically, I will do further research as well as search my own heart for the words to express what has inspired me, being mindful that the root word of inspiration, ‘inspiros’ is Greek for ‘breath of God’.

There are over 50 references in the New Testament regarding how we are to relate to one another. Most of the passages address our behavior, not just our attitudes. Fortunately, the directions include helpful guidelines.

More than once, we are commanded to love one another. We are encouraged to be of one mind with one another, to live in harmony. We are reminded that with humility, gentleness and patience we may bear with one another.

To further encourage one another, we find that the Greek word for encourage is ‘parakaleo’ which translates as ‘comfort’ ‘to summon or call to one’s side to give aid, strength and courage’.

In community and fellowship, we come together with one another for the purpose of observing and sharing so that we might more fully understand each others needs and pains.

The command to greet one another with a holy kiss is found four times in the New Testament. The Greek word that is translated ‘greet’ means ‘to greet or to welcome,’ but the basic idea seemed to be ‘to embrace’. In the New Testament epistles ‘a holy kiss’ was a sign of love, affection, and genuine interest in others. ‘A holy kiss’ is different within each culture. Here in the U.S., it would be a warm hand shake, an arm around the shoulder, or a hug. However we may extend ‘a holy kiss’ today, we are encouraged to greet one another warmly and genuinely.

Though we are imperfect beings, what an incredible comfort to find that our creator has provided, in the Holy Bible, a detailed instruction manual that provides endless wisdom and guidance meant for our benefit.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving
one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

~*~
Becky and Jim Gabriel

Since 1980, Jim and Becky Gabriel have helped multiple numbers
of patients in Georgia and Sarasota and graduated a thousand
massage therapists from ASHA, the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts,
their Atlanta massage school.Their mission is to provide innovative, effective health care services,
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The Gabriel Center for Massage Therapy

“Not My Job”

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

hugIt’s not my job to manage or control another person.

It’s my place to listen, patiently, and try to understand.

It’s not my job to tell another person what to do.

It’s my place to hear his dilemma and help him clarify the options.

It’s not my job to be certain what I’d do if I were in her shoes.

It’s my place to understand I can never know what it means to be in her shoes.

It’s not my job to provide the simplistic answer that makes me more comfortable.

It’s my place to be okay with the discomfort of hard questions that don’t have easy answers.

It’s not my job to always fill the space with words.

It’s my place, sometimes, to just let silence be okay, because that’s how authentic relationships work.

It’s not my job to judge.

It’s my place to offer grace.

It’s not my job to demand sacrifice.

It’s my place to demonstrate agape; unconditional, sacrificial love.

It’s not my job to shout my truth.

It’s my place to live my truth.

When you hang around people who are struggling, you wonder about these sorts of issues. It’s important to know what’s not your job.

Jesus spent a lot of His time with hurting people. Do you think He meant for us to follow His example?

I do.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Jesus isn’t a weapon

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week:   WEAPON

Jesus isn’t a weapon.

He didn’t show up to give you and me the trump card in an argument. He didn’t give His life so I could make someone feel guilty for what I perceive as a lack of generosity. He didn’t offer His stories, or His life, as weapons to be deployed in a cultural war of words.

In case you haven’t noticed, the tactic of hitting people over the head with Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because only the Holy Spirit change a heart.

Violence, physical or emotional, in the name of peace is irrational.

I can be as sarcastic as anyone, and I’ll admit to having a bit of fun with some of the late-night comedy and the Facebook memes. I want to say it’s just a joke, but perhaps I’m really trying to look a bit superior. Maybe I’m only assigning myself to a slightly better class of sinner than those people.

I seem to recall something about getting the 2×4 out of my own eye before I correct another’s vision.

Jesus doesn’t want another culture war of words. He doesn’t want any war at all. Remember that “Prince of Peace” thing?

So I ask His forgiveness, and yours as well, if I’ve used Him as a weapon.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to get on with the work in front of us.

What I Assume About You…

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

What I assume about you, doesn’t tell me much about you.

I’ve bumped into the notion of assumptions a lot lately. And whenever I encounter the same idea a bunch of times, I figure perhaps God’s trying to get my attention.

What I assume about you tells me a little about the manner in which I view the world. It tells me something about the category into which I place you and about my laziness, because it’s easier to simply assume you’re like all the people who share the single characteristic I used to categorize you.

People who use wheelchairs-they’re helpless, right? Or perhaps they should all be able to ride a handcycle 1500 miles?

What I assume about you reveals a lot about me, but absolutely nothing about you.

I wrote about this a while back (The Problem Of Them). I called it otherizing: the process of discerning and accentuating differences between people so it’s apparent one group is clearly not like us.

Categorizing, otherizing, whatever we call it, it’s the first step to dehumanizing individuals so we can discount them.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.” One person at a time. I love Dick Foth’s suggestion for avoiding the tendency to otherize.

The next time someone asks, “What do you think about those people?” try this simple response:

“Which one?”

I have a dear friend who’s a committed atheist. Because I write a lot about my faith, I think he wonders if I view him as one of the others.

I hope he knows that when I think of him I never think of a category. I always think of an individual about whom I care a great deal.

People aren’t their ideas, languages, skin colors, cultures, accomplishments, mistakes, beliefs, bank accounts, or nationalities. Jesus sees none of those. When He’s asked what He thinks of all those categories that matter so much to us, He smiles and looks at individuals.

“Which one?”

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Let There Be Light!

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

In most of our homes, you simply flip a switch and light fills a dark room. Pretty incredible, really. Let There Be Light!

Now follow me in a thought experiment. Imagine it’s high noon on a bright, sunny day. Could someone invent a “dark bulb” so we could flip a switch and the room would suddenly be dark?

Nope. You can’t pump dark into a room when light’s present, because darkness isn’t a real thing. It’s only the absence of a thing.

The only way to make a room dark is to eliminate the light.

It’s such an obvious truth that it sounds a bit silly to even talk about it. But take a hard look at a lot of what passes for current public discourse and debate. Basically, it’s a series of personal attacks designed to diminish or extinguish others’ lights.
Blowing out the other guy’s candle won’t make yours burn any brighter.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)

We’re supposed to add  light, not eliminate it. We need to spend our time taking the light of Jesus into the dark corners.

Want to eliminate racism? Eradicate poverty? Stop human trafficking? Unify the church?

Don’t ask me. I’m not that smart. But I do know this.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s not our job to run around turning off the lights.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Why Are We Standing Around?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

cloudsSometimes an event in the bible just makes me laugh.

In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus gives His friends some final instructions before He leaves in a remarkable manner.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)

I’m thinking, “Well, it’s not every day we see someone float into the clouds. What if He falls? Is something else going to happen?”

And here are these two white-robed guys telling me Stop staring into the sky. Show’s over. Time to get going.

That’s really a pretty good summary of the message, isn’t it?

Jesus will be back when God decides it’s time. Until then, we shouldn’t be staring at the sky, because He left us stuff to do.

Time to get going.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

When We Try To Be God

Friday, March 18th, 2016

graceYou and I would never try to take God’s place, right?

Except I’ve noticed I do it a lot, and I suspect I’m not alone. It’s not on purpose–I don’t have a throne in my back yard or anything like that.

It happened most recently when a friend got in some trouble and I wanted very much to fix him, heal him, and save him from his own bad choices. After wrestling with myself for a few days I realized I was stepping into a role for which I wasn’t designed.

Jesus asked us to love each other, and ourselves. He never said anything about saving or fixing.

That’s His job.

I’m realizing that love, without the saving or fixing part, makes it easier to hold myself, my loved ones, my relationships–in open hands. Love says I care sacrificially, but I trust God for the outcome.

A guy asked me in class last week how I learned to trust so much. I laughed, because mostly I’ve only learned to write and talk easily about trusting. I struggle to release the illusion of control that comes with playing God.

I’m trying to pry open those hands, and I hope you’ll join me. We can change the world, the people in it, and ourselves, if we stop trying to fix it or save it.

We can change the world with our love.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Where Did They (We) Go Wrong?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. (Matthew 22:15)

It’s not an isolated incident. Religious leaders were always seeking opportunities to twist Jesus’ words, catch Him breaking a rule–anything to discredit Him and diminish His increasing influence among the people. We’ve read the stories so often, maybe we take them for granted.three four

The religious leaders are the bad guys, right? Except, they’re not. Not really. The Pharisees were folks who tried really hard to get it right, but somewhere along the way they got lost.

Ever wonder what might have happened if they approached Jesus differently?

What would have happened if they assumed the best rather than the worst?

What if they started from a place of trust instead of suspicion? What if they assumed He meant well instead of harm? What if they assumed He had everyone’s best interest at heart?

What would have happened if they asked before they judged or condemned?

What if they assumed they didn’t know the whole story? What if they genuinely desired to understand before deciding?

You and I can’t change the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. But every day I (and I’ll bet you) encounter situations, discussions, teachings, and decisions that don’t make sense. It’s so tempting to jump to a conclusion, judgement, condemnation based on my perspective.

What if I always assumed best intentions?

What if I make sure I understand before I decide?

What if I always lead with love and grace?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com