vision

Vision – Part 1

Over the last several years I’ve given much thought to the subject of vision and have written a few times of it here on Cross Connection. Verses like Proverbs 29:18 regularly come to my mind — “Where there is no vision, the people perish” — and keep me cognizant of the fact that vision is important. It is however strange to me that discussion on the topic of vision seems, for some, to cause a problem. I’m not entirely sure what the problem is, but often when I speak on the subject, people (especially pastors) will, almost aggressively respond with things like, “Well, I’m not a visionary leader,” or “I’ve never seen a vision,” or my all-time favorite, “I haven’t had any visions since I became a Christian and stopped taking psychotropic drugs.” With that in mind let me begin by saying, I too have yet to “see a vision” and have never tried psychotropic drugs. Furthermore, I’m not sure I’d account myself as a “visionary leader.” But I do recognize the importance of vision, especially from Christian leaders and for Christian churches.

I greatly appreciate that the New Living Translation translates “vision” in Proverbs 29:18 as “divine guidance.” This translation sheds light on the fact that Christian leaders need to be led. Most Christian leaders (i.e. pastors) can accord with that. They fully recognize the need to be following the Lord in their leading of others, thus we seek the Lord for His guidance. His vision.

So as I’ve contemplated the question of vision I’ve concluded that there are five important aspects of vision that pastors and leaders should be aware of. Over the next several weeks I’ll be developing them here.

1. Receiving Vision

More than a few pastors have confessed to me “I am not a visionary leader.” I don’t necessarily believe them when they say so, because I am not convinced that they’d be leading if they weren’t. One of the problems is that we tend to look at those doing extraordinarily cutting edge things in ministry as the “visionaries” of the bunch. But I’d suggest that those leading edge pioneers are not the only ones, and that if we allow ourselves to think that only they are, then we will in some way fail to lay hold of the vision for which Christ has laid hold of us for. Well then how do we lay hold of, or receive the vision that God has for us? It’s actually easier than you might think.

In considering my personal ministry experience and the observations I’ve had of other’s, I’m more convinced than ever that divinely guided vision is as easy as a wish. In other words, vision begins as a desire. Thus, if you are to receive divinely guided vision you should delight yourself in the Lord. Yes, I’m referring to Psalm 37:4, in the sense that those who delight in the Lord will find their will (read, desire) subdued to God’s will. For, it is God who works in us to desire (Philippians 2:13).

This, I believe, is one of the “signs of life” for a Christian, new desires. Just as at physical birth a newborn baby experiences new desires it has never experienced before (to breath, to eat, etc.), a newborn babe in Christ does as well. This is almost instantaneous. How many times have we encountered new believers that say things like, “I just don’t want to do the things I use to want to do”? Why is that? Because the Spirit that dwells in us yearns jealously (James 4:5). His Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that we are in fact newborn children of our Father in heaven. And as we delight ourselves in the Lord He imparts to us new desires (i.e. visions) to do things that we would not have other wise done.

Although it’s something of an aside, I think that it is important to highlight that there are a number of things that can aid in receiving vision. Since vision, in the context in which we’re speaking of it, is divine guidance, I believe that it is important (especially as a leader) to place yourself in the places in which God has told us that He will be. For your consideration I’ll give a few.

a. Jesus told us that He is with us when we are “going” on behalf of his name and kingdom.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

– Matthew 28:19-20

b. God has revealed that He is present when His people praise Him.

But thou are holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

– Psalm 22:3

c. Jesus revealed that He is in the midst of those gather in His name (i.e. fellowship).

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

– Matthew 18:20

Now, the problem with visionary desires at the conception stage, they’re not always entirely clear. Just as there are times when we have a [carnal] desire to eat but cannot necessarily figure out just what it is that we’d like to eat. The specifics of the desire are indistinct and the details of the vision unclear, which leads us to where we’ll be heading next time with the second aspect of vision.

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What in the Worldview….

This article is an excerpt from my book Ahead of the Curve (published in 2011)

We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the non-believer. We need to think about how they see the world. We need to analyze how they interact with the world. Cross-cultural missionaries have been doing this for thousands of years. It is time, however, for us to apply the same skills here in the West to bridge the great divide within our culture. On any given Sunday, in most communities across America, there are vastly more people not going to church than there are in church. Fifty years ago, there was not as drastic a difference between the worldviews of the churchgoers and those of the non-churchgoers. But now there is a great divide, and in order to be effective, we must take the time to understand how the non-churchgoers think and feel. We have just seen what makes up a worldview. Now we will take some time and look at what has made the twentieth century what it is, the worldviews of modernity and postmodernity. My intention in this book is not to be exhaustive in any sense of the meaning, but will briefly sketch some of the defining contours of both modernity and postmodernity so that we can see what this emerging worldview actually is.

Modernity is often called the Post Medieval period. It runs roughly from 1400 until about the 1930s. Historians tend to break modernity into an early and a later period. The early modern period continues until about 1800. The modern era begins in the nineteenth century with the advent of industrialization. It is this latter period of modernity that has the most weight for us. It is what is commonly called the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment paradigm is also known as the “representation paradigm” in academic circles. Its goal is to see the world empirically. Reason has the upper hand. Proponents of modernity see the world as a mapping of what can be empirically understood.

Although the church seems currently obsessed with understanding postmodernism, I find it interesting to note that postmodernism began as an intellectual and cultural phenomenon in the 1920’s. That was almost a century ago! Postmodernity’s focus on social and political out workings has been the norm since the 1960’s. The church is behind the time. We are trying to understand something that is nearly a century old, yet we still don’t quite have a handle on it. Even the name by which we call the worldview, postmodernity, shows that we do not quite understand it. Think about the name of the first automobiles. They were called a horseless carriage. They didn’t know what it was, but they knew it wasn’t what they were used to. They had been used to horse drawn carriages and these new things did the same thing but without the horse. We call it postmodernism because we know that it is beyond modernism, but we do not quite know what it is still. This is more than a little disconcerting.

Tim Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, gave a basic outline of Western intellectual history in this way: Pre-modern (or Medieval) thought posits that we can know things truly through both reason and revelation. Modern thought believed that we can only know things truly through reason but not through revelation. But postmodern thought believes that we cannot know things truly either through reason or revelation. This is what Gerry Grant Madison meant when he said Post Modernism leads to aporia or intellectual exhaustion. This is why postmodernity is typified by relativism (there is not truth as it is all relative) and pluralism (one understanding is no better than another).

Postmodernity’s great critique of modernism is that it left out the individual in understanding the world. The individual himself brings something to an understanding of the world. In many ways, this is why postmodern thought tends to be overly self-focused. Joe Queenan’s book, Balsamic Dreams: A Short but Self Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation, is masterful at showing how self-improvement and self-centeredness is the predominant ideology of the boomers. Postmodernity brought the self to the forefront of the discussion and obviously, the self enjoys the adulation. It has been commonly said that the postmodern worldview has three problems that must be overcome in order to do effective Christian evangelism.

You will notice that all three problems exist on individual and personal grounds. The problems are: the guilt problem, the truth problem and the meaning problem. There is a guilt problem because most postmodern people do not have guilt over their mistakes because of their truth problem. They essentially do not believe in truth. Like Pilate, they ask the question, “What is truth?” It is a rhetorical question that assumes there is no such thing as truth. The guilt problem stems from the truth problem, which stems from their meaning problem. Because truth is relative and unknowable, how can anyone know what something really means? You can see how pure postmodernism leads to intellectual exhaustion!

Two of the main consequences of postmodern thought are the fragmentation of authority and the commoditization of knowledge. Postmoderns see things in terms of power plays. All authority is seen as an oppressive hierarchy. Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud’s theories on this subject set the stage for what have now become readily accepted cultural beliefs. The whole situation is exacerbated by modern technology, which brings the world closer and makes it seem smaller. The Internet brings knowledge to us at a rapid pace. The postmodern person is used to having information from all over the world instantaneously accessible. This is a lethal combination. When distain for authority (and their truth claims) meet copious amounts of knowledge mixed with self-centeredness, the result is an inability to correctly assess meaning, truth or guilt.

Postmodernity, by and large, rejected on a grand scale, the empirical and rational claims of modernity. Postmodernists rejected truth and accumulated information. Postmoderns typify what the Bible speaks of when it says, “always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” But as I look at the prevailing worldview of both the Northeast and the West Coast, I see something different than postmodernity. There is not the rejection of truth claims at all. But what is unique is that rather than rejecting what has come before, there is a prevailing sense that other viewpoints should be integrated into the worldview. Not just in an acknowledgment of viewpoints, but in the actual amalgamation of truths.

In the report from the After Post Modern Conference it says this:
General statements of “truth” and objectivity’ are permanently ambiguous––but this does not mean that truth and objectivity are lost. Rather they require more––they need a further contextual completion from what we are just then living, before we can choose among variants for an activity at hand. Instead of mere pluralism, we can create “complexes of multiple truths” involving a demanding and sophisticated steering of scientific research with multiple applications and resonance to local contexts.

It is these complexes of multiple truths that I see clearly on the coasts of our country. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. At this point, I am happy to introduce you to post-postmodernity. Let us give it a proper name. I would like you to meet the “Integral Worldview.”

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Paying the Cost

In my last post I introduced the idea of remaining vigilant in the process of growing in grace, and not doing the easier things of life and ministry as a means of avoiding the harder things, or next things, that need doing. I used the metaphor of caber tossing and triathlons as a means of expressing those things that come easier to me versus those things that I tend to avoid like the plague.

I said I would write in my next few posts about those things that can be very hard for many of us, so in this post I want to explore “paying the cost”. “WHAT?” I can hear the theological gears going into overdrive in response to a phrase like that. “Jesus paid the cost! What kind of craziness are you proclaiming here?” Before I lose you in your own theological tangent, follow me to Luke 14:25-35.

In this oft mentioned portion of the Gospels we read about “the cost of discipleship”. The standard sound byte we hear associated with this passage is “counting the cost”. I say, “wrong!” If we look closer at the passage we see that the metaphors Christ used involved both counting and paying a cost. That was the whole point, in fact. If you don’t count to see how much you have to invest in the endeavour before you begin then how can you pay what’s necessary to carry out and complete the task? When it comes to discipleship, we must not only count… but pay.

Before answering the call to foreign missions there was an admonition from others to “count the cost” in advance. I did so. I truly searched my heart, surmised certain scenarios and circumstances, imagined ill-fates, focused on hard realities and uncomfortable truths. I carefully considered the costs! And after much meditation and prayer concluded that we, as a family, understood the costs.

Some of the “costs” I had counted were in relation to my children (aged 9, 6, 4, and 11 months at the time). I counted the cost that I was separating my children from their grandparents who loved them dearly and loved to spoil them. I counted the cost that my children wouldn’t be able to see and play with their friends any more, that they wouldn’t have English-speaking kids all around them, making it much more difficult to make new friends and playmates. I counted the cost that my children would only be able to bring a couple of their toys with them in the move, and not get to enjoy cartoons or the latest instalment of “Ice Age” at the movie theatre. I counted the cost that they would have to eat very basic diets and be cautious of dangerous creatures. I counted the cost that my children might be unhappy, uncomfortable, and upset, that they would be exposed to life-threatening illnesses and in the worst case scenario even death. These were the costs I calculated in regards to my children.

But counting and paying are two different things!

These costs were easy enough to calculate, but very difficult for me to pay because I often struggle with viewing success as a father as heavily dependant upon my success at blessing my children with fun, toys, activities, friends, playmates, food they enjoy, and entertainment. Even though I know better, I’m honest enough to admit that I still have a hard time in this area. So for me this was, and is, a “hard thing”; a cost easy to count but painful to pay.

I thank God — truly, truly thank Him — that some of the costs that could have been required were not. We still have all of our children. In fact, we gained two along the way! I thank Him that some of the tolls on our road weren’t as high as they could have been. Though two of our youngest girls had a deadly strain of malaria on a couple of occasions and our oldest son contracted Tuberculosis while on an outreach to an extremely remote village, we all still have our overall health. But even now, as we have left the more physically threatening environs of East Africa and live in the more modern world of small-town Ireland, I still struggle to pay the cost of not being able to bless and spoil my kids! It sounds silly in comparison to the costs I was willing to pay in so many other areas. But as I said in my last post, different things are hard for different people. Not being able to afford to take my kids to McDonalds — or by them treats or snacks or toys or ice cream — is still a cost painful for me to pay.

Counting and paying are two different things.

I bring this up only as an example. Many times it’s easy to think we’re moving forward in sanctification and growth because we’ve become experts at counting the costs, talking about the costs, telling others about the costs, but we still avoid wilfully paying the cost the way a fat man avoids a triathlon (yes, I’m fat so I’m allowed to say that).

Shepherds… we can blog about how pastors or churches should do this or change that, telling others how important and necessary it is, and yet never really do it ourselves. We can teach about true discipleship and yet never make any true disciples. We can preach about holiness and yet never implement church discipline for fear of the potential financial implications involved. We can proclaim the importance of church planting and yet never implement a plan to plant a church. Scriptures tell us not to muzzle the ox that treads out the grain. Are you an ox that treads grain, doing the hard things and paying the cost of discipleship by the power of the Spirit? Or are you an ox that pontificates on the nature of grain and grain-treading?

Sheep… we can talk about how “the church” should do this or that or the other, but never be the ones to do it. We can agree with the pastor that we need to support local outreach and foreign missions more but never give a dime towards it. We can ask for prayer for our neighbours’ salvation but never share the good news with them. We can make a stand for righteousness come November, but not live and walk in the light of Christ’s righteousness in our thoughts, in our homes, and in the secret places of the heart year-round. Scriptures call us “the body” of Christ. Are we paying the cost of discipleship that the Spirit has empowered us to pay by moving according to the commands of the Head? Or are we spastic and undisciplined members of the body, moving on our own and even against the signals from the Head?

Counting and paying are two different things. But the Spirit gives us the ability to pay!

If I were going to actually enter a triathlon there would be MUCH to count as far as costs go (not many 6’3″ 340lb men in triathlons). I could talk about the triathlon and the costs involved in entering it. I could even sign the forms to enter, preach every Sunday about how good and necessary it is, and encourage others to enter as well. And doing all of that would probably make me a popular pastor. But it wouldn’t make me a healthy pastor… a true leader of God’s sheep… a disciple who does the hard things God calls him to by the Spirit of God, for the glory of God, and the good of the Kingdom of God.

Please pray for me, and consider yourself as well. May we as shepherds (and sheep, too) go beyond our mastery of counting and get to the often difficult duty of paying the cost of discipleship — a spiritual discipline made possible by the Spirit of God in us. Christ has laboured in this discipline before us, and bids us to be yolked to Him and join Him in the unexpected joy of slavery.

Pray Hard

I’ve Got to Pray More

Last week my wife and I drove down to Twin Peaks, CA for the Calvary Church Planting Network’s reEngage Conference. While we were only able to be there for two days, those days were well worth it.

All of the content and vibe of the conference was tremendous, but I want to share briefly about the impact Dave Earley’s message had on me personally. He spoke during the Tuesday evening session.

He talked about prayer. Here are some notable quotes that deeply encouraged me.

Speaking on the incredible success of the apostolic church, and the power they possessed: “We’ll never have Acts 2 until we have Acts 1.”

Referring to the urgency and necessity of prayer in spite of very busy pastoral schedules, he quoted C. H. Spurgeon: “Sometimes we think we’re too busy to pray. This is also a great mistake, for prayer is a saving of time.” In that regard, he also quoted Luther’s famous “I’m so busy I must spend the first three hours of my day in prayer” statement.

As he talked about the giants of the faith and the source of their successes: “If you want what they had you gotta do what they did.” In that context, he was talking about prayer and the prayer habits of the George Muellers, D.L. Moodys, and Hudson Taylors of the past.

Commenting on the ridiculousness of operating on our own strength and vision apart from the Lord, Dave asked: “How many of you think that God can do things bigger, better, and faster than you can?”

He talked about the three jobs of pastors … to pray, to teach, and to develop and release leaders.

In my own life, I have learned to pray well over the 39 years I’ve lived since I was baptized with the Holy Spirit in August of 1973. I have been shown—by the Lord Himself—how important prayer is to my walk with Him and to my calling and ministry. But I have to be honest and say that my prayer life has been anemic by comparison. I talk to the Lord every day, but have not been in the habit of daily getting on my knees for any real length of time … whether in worship, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession.

I was not condemned by Dave Earley’s message. Rather, I was encouraged as I was being rebuked and exhorted. I sensed the Holy Spirit Himself speaking to me during the message.

I want to change my priorities and habits in my latter years. It will be a battle, I know. The enemy will fight hard to gain control of the most effective means to marginalize and ruin his methods. But I must do this. I must pray. I get to pray. I/we are privileged to pray.

The last five days have seen growth and improvement. I am hopeful. And God is faithful and able.

Local church lessons from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Part 2 of 2

I’m fairly confident that most of the people who actually read this blog already know this, but I want to emphasize this well known truth right up front:  At some point, every analogy or illustration does break down, especially if it’s stretched too far in one or more of its specific components or even if it’s taken too far as a whole.  The similarities I’m about to draw between a U.S. Navy aircraft and the local church will not be an exception to this truth.

–Similar to an aircraft carrier that is guided by the captain of the ship, a local church, (especially a church within the Calvary Chapel group of churches), is guided by a Senior Pastor.  But neither the captain of the ship nor the Senior Pastor of a local church are ultimately in control.  They are both under the authority of their commander in chief.

–Similar to an aircraft carrier which exists primarily to accomplish a mission external to itself, a local church exists to fulfill the commission given to it by its Creator.  In the very first invitation He gave to His first 4 disciples, (Matt 4:19) Jesus included the reality that to “follow” Him had a purpose…to be made into a “fisher of men”.  In other words, He calls us to a relationship with Himself for a purpose larger than our own interests.  And before He ascended, He made clear how big the pond was that they were to now fish in, (Matt 28:18-20).  He commissioned them to GO and make disciples of every ethnic group that He Himself created and placed in various locations around the globe.

–Similar to the captain of an aircraft carrier, the Senior Pastor of a local church must ensure that those he leads play their specifically designed role alongside and in unison with every other member so that those who are called to be launched to far away places can accomplish the mission they’ve been called to carry out.  Although only a small percentage, (similar to an aircraft carrier) are called to go, it’s their going that gives meaning and purpose to everything done by everyone else.

–Similar to an aircraft carrier, whose success is not measured by well or how comfortable the lives of the crew are, a local church’s success is not measured by how well or how comfortable it’s members are, but by how equipped, effective, and engaged they are with other members of the crew to accomplish the mission and ensure that those that are launched to do the far away mission are equipped for success.

–Similar to an aircraft carrier, if a local church does not regularly keep the bigger mission in front of its members and launch those that are called to far away places, the members of the church will lose focus, begin thinking that the church exists primarily to meet their own needs, and then many of them will cease to serve and just become consumers of the religious “products” the church offers.

–Similar to an aircraft carrier, in addition to the ultimate mission of launching some of it’s own to far away places, the local church needs to be ready to engage the area right around where it sits.  Although every member should be “fishing for men” in their day to day lives, the church as a church, should also have a contingent of it’s members engaging the local community that it exists within.  And though this is crucial, even local outreach must be done with the global mission in mind that God has called every local church to be a part of.

The similarities could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point.  Here are a few final thoughts:

1.  Every Senior Pastor needs to be confident that some of those in the church he is called to pastor ARE CALLED to be launched to far away places, and intentional about discovering them and equipping them.  To not discover who those people are would be like the captain of a carrier not bothering to figure out who the pilots and flight crew are.  It would clearly indicate that that captain doesn’t actually know why his ship was built and the ultimate mission it is assigned to accomplish.

2.  Although the analogy does break down here, how silly would it be for the captain of a carrier to actually go on missions regularly himself, but then ignore the fact that there are pilots already on board his ship that are called to and willing to die out there if necessary?

3.  We’ve already been told what God’s “end game” is, (Rev 5:9 7:9). Jesus said to GO and make disciples of all nations, the Jerusalem church leaders didn’t take that seriously, so God established a local church that would take it seriously–Anitoch (Acts 11:19) and then that church launched two of its own leaders (Acts 13:1-4).  It’s the local church that is the launchpad for those personally called to obey the commission to go the ends of the earth.  Participating in that ultimate purpose that God has given every local puts all of the inner workings of every local church into the proper perspective.

Finally, as I had the Thursday night NFL game on in the back round last night, (while I was reading), there was a great ad for the U.S. Navy.  The Navy’s slogan now is:

The U.S. Navy, a global force for good…..THEY AND THE BLUES BROTHERS HAVE STOLEN OUR LINES!

Contrary to what the Blues Brothers and the U.S. Navy say about themselves, it’s the local church that is “On a mission from God” and is the God-glorifying “Global force for man’s ultimate good!”

 
 

 

 

 

 

Prism

Perspective

Like-mindedness is a great thing. I love working together with those who are reading from the same page as me. Having theological, philosophical, and relational unity in ministry is no small thing. For the ministry in our church, these seem to be concentric circles. The depth of ministry I have with others seems to filter through these circles.

However, there is a danger here that we must be aware of.  Our ministry can be limited by the least common denominator, which reduces the breadth and scope of our ministry. In other words, I only minister with or learn from those like me. If we are to stay Kingdom-minded, we must never allow our little kingdoms to rise against the Kingdom. We need to be careful of this locally in our town in relation to other gospel believing brothers and churches, but also as a movement of churches.

Almost sub-consciously a church or movement can become insular in relation to outside churches. It is always easier to work with and have connections to those who are like us. In the long run, this can have harmful consequences. Over time secondary issues (doctrines) morph into primary issues (doctrines). It seems safe to say that no church or movement is truly self-aware. Just as individuals require relationships with those unlike them to help them see their blind spots, a church or movement comprised of individuals would also need such illuminating relationships.

If we enshrine our views on secondary issues, then those who do not hold those views become classed as unfaithful to Scripture and are villainised. We begin to fear their views rather than be challenged by them. We begin to canonise our theology as ‘the’ true theology.

Others are then compared by our standards and what began as desire for accuracy in biblical interpretation turns to elitism. Paul speaking of those who make themselves the true measure of orthodoxy speaks insightfully in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

It is healthy for us as church leaders to bear in mind that we all have blind spots, and someone who holds another perspective shines light on an issue in a way that I may have been previously blind to. If I am not teachable in this respect, what does that say about me? By teachability, I am not implying a lack of conviction on things, but humility in the reality that I see through a glass dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). The nature of the diversity of the body of Christ (and I include here diversity in theology within orthodoxy) means we can see more clearly corporately than we can individually.

As a closing illustration, look at this picture. Many of you will have seen it before. What do you see? Multiple perspectives shine light on the nature of the image. Is this an old lady, or is this a young woman? Is it one to the exclusion of the other? Is your appreciation of the image enriched by a different perspective? Our appreciation of God and his Word should be enriched by orthodox perspectives that may be different from our own.

 

 

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Retrospective in Respect to Future Prospects

My how this week has flown by. This year even. I remember several times as a child my dad explaining to me the relative nature of time. Not necessarily the Theory of Relativity, but the fact that a year to a 10 year-old seems longer — as it is 1/10 of his/her life — than a year to a 30 year-old, as it is 1/30 of his.

I’ll be 33 at the end of next month. When I graduated from high school I couldn’t imagine myself in my 30’s. it seemed so incredibly far away, but now high school is a fading memory. Granted, I’m quite thankful for that.

I don’t quite know what it is, but I get nostalgic at this time every year. Perhaps it is that the fall/winter tend to be my favorite time of the year or that my birthday and the holidays are approaching. It might just be that football is back on TV, who knows? Whatever the case, I’ve been thinking back on the paths I’ve traveled while looking forward to those things that are to come and I’ve been confronted again with Paul’s words in Ephesians 5.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a friend on a Friday night, about this time of the year in 1998. We had just pulled up to my parents house, after driving the 45 miles back from Bible College for a weekend home. I don’t remember all the details of the conversation, but I do remember telling Charles, “I don’t want to love my life in such a way that years from now I look back and say, “Oh, I wish I would have ______.”” Admittedly there are a number of things that I look back on and say “I sure wish I wouldn’t have done that,” but frankly, by God’s grace, I’ve yet find a single instance where I find myself thinking, “I sure wish I would have chosen option B over C.

It has been said “Time stops for no man.” I guess in the case of Joshua that wasn’t true, but statistically speaking the odds are in the favor of time. Each of us on the other hand, have a decided end approaching. Wisdom says that we should number our days and make the most of every opportunity. How are you stewarding the precious commodity of time?