Knowing Who You Are

(c) Deviant Artist nilemaster

When the preacher gets done and invites people up to the front for prayer it is nevera good thing for your daughter to look at you, smiling, and tell you that you should go get prayer.

That happened today. At Springhouse Worship & Arts Center, Barbie Loflin, one of the pastors, was preaching on being judgmental. The Holy Spirit My daughter convicted me – non-judgmentally, of course. Because I do judge. I do judge a lot and I know it.

What I didn’t know was why I judged, which is something that Barbie explained well. In her words:

I was asking God what I was going to teach on and I heard Him answer, “Who do you say I am?”

According to Barbie, we think judge because we think we are better than others but in reality we judge because we don’t know who Christ is and who we are in Christ.

If we judge we:

  • are insecure
  • are non-discerning
  • need a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit
  • really are better than everyone else

I am all three of those. (That last one makes me feel a little better, even if possibly not true.) I do need a revelation of Christ and a revelation of who I am in Him. I need a dose of reality to strip away my perceived superiority.

It hit home when Barbie said that judging is actually a counterfeit of discernment. Being a know-it-all I want to be right, but when I judge I am actually being wrong, whether I’m accurate or not.

I want to be discerning. I want to see people as God’s sons and daughters. I need empathy. I need a soft heart.

And sometimes I just don’t have one anymore.

Keith Green expressed how I feel best:

My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood

So I went up and prayed. Because my daughter called me on it and because I knew I needed to change. All I could think of, all I could pray was, “I repent and I want a soft heart.”

Know what I mean?

Does Anyone Thank God for You?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that at funerals the deceased was only good things like loving, funny, generous, caring, always been there for everyone, and so on. Prior to their death, however, I wonder how many times they were told these things. And because I’m narcisistic, I wonder how many people think these things of me. Now, I mean, before I die.

Then I come across passages like Philemon 1:4-7, where Paul is thanking God for three fellow Christians and I wonder if anyone thanks God for me. Have you ever wondered that yourself?

Does anyone thank God for you?

Here’s the deal: I think you gotta have a lot going for you to have someone thank God for you. First, you got to have a friend who is actually a good enough Christian to actually think about praying for someone other than themselves (and the new car they want, and so on.) Next, you got to live a life where your friend just can’t stop themselves – they just have to thank God for you.

Assuming you have such a friend, have you considered whether or not you live a life where people actually want to thank God for you? I am tonight and I’m pretty sure I don’t like the answer.

I know my wife sometimes thanks God for me. Without me, who would teach her longsuffering and patience? I also get to count my kids as a “yes” too since I’m their boss and I can totally boss them to thank God for me. Friends and people I know, though? I’m much less sure.

Here is what Paul said,

I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ. For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

So to be worthy of thanking God for, according to Paul, you need to answer yes to the following questions:

  • Am I known for my love and faith for Jesus and love for all the saints?
  • Does my love for everyone cause joy and encouragement among the people I hang with?
  • Do my actions refresh the hearts of the saints like a ice cold Coke on a summer day?

For me? Not exactly. To be way too transparent for comfort, I’m probably best known for:

  • My love of sarcasm and poking fun at people I know.
  • My laissez-faire attitude toward authority.
  • My salty personality that drives young women to weeping and old men to gnashing of teeth.

Yeah, I can totally suck sometimes much of the time. But the thing is I really, really want to be someone who people thank God for. But clearly, I just don’t want to work for it.

So we have two choices: 1) I can try harder to actually follow Christ (like the name Christian implies), or 2) I can talk all of you in to pretending that I’m like Philemon, Apphia and Archippus and to thank God for me even though I don’t deserve it.

History tells me that I’m extremely unlikely to go with option 1 so that leaves option 2. What do you say?

Photo by Deviant Artist hfootball.

Born Again

With a title like that you may expect something religious in this post. You may even come to think of this post as sacriligious after you recognize that I’m not talking about something religious. To be clear: this post is not about believing in God.

It’s about this blog. Over the last six years I’ve used Blogger for all of my posts. A couple of things have happened over the last couple years that have convinced me to switch to a self-hosted blog. First, Blogger sucks for customization. If you’ve ever used Blogger you know that’s true. The best plugs ins and themese are WordPress conversions. So why not use WordPress instead? Why indeed.

Second, I’ve learned a lot over the last few years working on other people’s websites. It started with Springhouse Worship & Arts Center, which I helped move through three different web sites before settling on a WordPress theme hosted by GoDaddy. When I first started working on that website (then SmyrnaAssembly.org) I had little idea what I was doing. But with help, a trip to a conference in Franklin, TN, and with a ton of help from Brian Entzminger (especially with the WordPress site, which he now manages) I figured out enough to step out and help other sites. I’ve since worked on EatMoreSnacks.com – my first eCommerce website – and then ShootPhotography.com – my first art site, which also includes eCommerce.

Finally, I wanted a do-over. With six years of blog posts I know that some of the things I posted back when no longer reflect my beliefs accurately. Sometimes I think we bloggers come to see our posts as a sort of diary and view deleting or modifying the posts unfaithful to history. I no longer feel that way. I wanted a new start and I get to have one. All my old posts are here and I’m gonna go through and re-read them and see if they are worthy of being published now. If they are you’ll see them. If not, do me a favor and forget they ever existed (that’s what I’m gonna try to do.)

Welcome to the born again AshertopiA! I hope you find the visit worth your time. Let me know.

Scott Asher