Posts Tagged ‘negative’

Sunrise

I love the sunrise, to see it you must get up early. Many people miss the sunrise because it forces you to go out of your way to see it. Those of us who have seen it know the beauty and will find ways to be present when this miraculous event happens.

I see the world around me in the same way.

I have recently gotten to walk with Ben Carlson along Aurora and introduce him to what God is doing on our street. Ben is visiting us from South Africa where he works with the Navigators and is a professional coffee taster. He has a lot of vision for life and future, and talking with him gives me a huge shot of encouragement.

As we walked from the AXIS to the garden space along Aurora and I got to introduce him to business owners and homeless men and women and show him where we minister, sparks started to fly as we praised God for his greatness. We entered the garden space and started envisioning the space green and with a small stage for music and tables and chairs and umbrellas for conversation and a coffee cart where we could sell or give away java to the “customers” of the Space.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if this space was where we held a Bible study for whoever may be walking on the street? Maybe very late at night or really early mornings. That gives me the chills just thinking about it. How about small concerts just for the purpose of bringing music to Aurora? Maybe some vegetables that are growing and people have the freedom to snack? Then Ben says, “Maybe this is your coffee shop that you’ve been dreaming about? It doesn’t even need a building!” Maybe? Oh yeah! What if the tattoo parlor next door actually started partnering with us and looked forward to us being there? Or opened up their back “yard” space to join up with the garden space for a larger venue?

The “what if’s” are huge, when you allow God to push it…

So…on another note but not really, we are at a place financially as Epic Life Church where we are living in the negative, you know – the red numbers. This is a scary place to live, that is strengthening our faith and resolve. But just because we don’t have the finances and resources to pull off dreams doesn’t mean the dreams stop coming. In fact if anything the dreams are growing and God is asking more of us. So we are trusting him in our poverty and owning this new Church as a community in greater ways than if we hadn’t found ourselves in the negative.

Praise God for people like Ben and the business owners who may not even have a personal relationship with Christ and those who are walking Aurora and those who are on our Finance Team with beautiful gifts and leaders who are moving forward even in difficult times and for a church Body who know what they are here for and vision, pure God-driven, life-infused, transformational vision.

“To see North Seattle transformed by finding an epic life in Christ Jesus.”

Find ways to “see” the “sunrise” in your world. It is beautiful and miraculous!

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Thanksgiving

Posted: November 25, 2007 in Of Spiritual Things
Tags: , ,

It’s so easy to focus on the negative. The news is negative (try to find a positive story out there in the news), conversations are mostly negative (try to have a “positive only” conversation with your friends the next time you sit down to chat, it’s hard), Politics? Again negative (try to find a politician or political group who are focused on the positive things that are happening, someone who speaks with positive overtones only), advertising is negative (try to find an advertisement that tells you that you have enough, instead of always screaming at you because you don’t have enough, you can’t be satisfied without this item). We are a society that is addicted to the negative and hence seldom giving thanks, because you only give thanks for the good stuff, right? If there is nothing good then there isn’t anything worth giving thanks for.

When it comes to our spiritual lives in Christ, in our prayers and petitions, we can get pretty negative too. We are always seeking what we don’t have – like health, peace, companionship, money, enough, care, comfort and the list goes on. Our anxiety heightens and so we pray. Our discomfort increases so we pray. Our fear explodes so we seek God.

God wants us to seek him, but in doing this we are teaching ourselves that the only time we go to God is when something is wrong, when there is a negative to focus on, and slowly our focus turns inward and our hearts become bitter, because nothing is good.

But read what the Bible says: Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Get it? Prayer and Petition must be linked to Thanksgiving.

James and Romans speak of a three stage human development. “…but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character and character produces hope. And of course Hope does not disappoint us.”

The negative that we see in our lives is the same as sufferings.

Hope is just about as positive as you can get.

David goes to town in Psalm 69:1-30 speaking about the calamity that was facing him, but he ends it with thanking God.

He goes on to praise and thank God in Psalm 95:1-7 and Psalm 100.

I think he had it figured out, that when we focus on the negative we become ungrateful negative bitter people who forget that they can be thankful, and will get upset at people who are positive. He figured out that when we give thanks out of our sufferings we become men and women of great perseverance, character and Hope, a Hope that just doesn’t disappoint us.

Make the shift. Be thankful.