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Thanksgiving and Gratitude

November 23, 2011

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it brings to mind things that we are grateful for. As an American, still celebrating the holiday while in South Africa, I want to remind my countrymen to be grateful.

When someone hands you a gift, the appropriate response in almost any culture is to say; ‘thank you.’ You receive the gift and treasure it. You treat it with respect. Your feelings towards the giver are affected, causing love and gratitude to flow.

In the United States, something we often do to express gratitude for something someone has given is to write a note. In this note, we express appreciation for what has happened. This is a thank you note.

We do not feel a need to climb the ladder to achieve some elusive spiritual platform. We simply respond with gratitude, desiring to get to know the Giver of the gift. We do this because we want to. The gift of God does not come with strings attached.

Being Intentional About Growth

November 21, 2011

What do you pursue in order to stimulate growth in your life?

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, estimates that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something. If we are willing to put in that kind of time we can master our craft.

Over the past 18 years, I have spent a lot of time in a Bible School that journeys through all sixty-six books in only nine months. Every year, day after day; I have spent a significant amount of time in the Word of God.

Eighteen years on, I can see the difference. I can’t totally explain it, but when I am teaching things are different. Passages come back to my mind faster. I am able to draw on the depth of study to answer difficult questions. There is a well that God can dip into to bring things back in a timely fashion.

This is the second of a two-part post looking at Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Click here for the first post.

Francis Chan is challenging the church to not be lukewarm, which is great. He just goes a bit too far.

In the interview portion of the book, he says “salvation has nothing to do with performance. If we are truly saved , out actions are going to show it.”

But based on the standard of not being lukewarm (see first post), how do we know we really saved? When do we have assurance? Is salvation a fragile thing that one lukewarm action or motivation could derail?

The actual verse that speaks about being lukewarm comes from Revelation. Jesus is speaking to one of the seven churches the book was written to, the Laodicean church.