The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.

Archive for the ‘Over My Shoulder’ Category

Seems So Uncomplicated, Doesn’t It?!

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Let’s just let this speak for itself!

Written by phil

June 7th, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Over My Shoulder

How Many?

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How many workers does it take to clean up a small key fuel spill at LAX?

12!

That’s not counting the two police men in their car watching.

Here’s the count:

2 to spread speed dry and push brooms.
1 to talk on a walkie talkie.
9 to supervise and watch.

Sound familiar?

It could be a service organization or the Post Office or a road patching project or a neighborhood clean up project or… Let’s be honest here, church!

Everybody wants somebody to do what anybody could do but nobody wants to expend the effort to do it.

While we are all gifted by God to have a spiritual gift, most people often spend more time talking about what it might be or trying to discover it than trying different things that need to be done and seeing if God brings His delight and confirmation to it!

So the next time you look at a worksite or a project or a customer service counter or a foyer at church and see a lot of people and not much action ask yourself two questions:

  • Which one of these people am I most like: the two with the brooms doing all the work or the one on the walkie talkie trying to look important or the nine standing around doing nothing trying to look busy?
  • How can I help and bless someone in the name of Jesus?

How many does it take to bless someone else? Just ONE — you!

Written by phil

May 4th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

How Many?

without comments

How many workers does it take to clean up a small key fuel spill at LAX?

12!

That’s not counting the two police men in their car watching.

Here’s the count:

2 to spread speed dry and push brooms.
1 to talk on a walkie talkie.
9 to supervise and watch.

Sound familiar?

It could be a service organization or the Post Office or a road patching project or a neighborhood clean up project or… Let’s be honest here, church!

Everybody wants somebody to do what anybody could do but nobody wants to expend the effort to do it.

While we are all gifted by God to have a spiritual gift, most people often spend more time talking about what it might be or trying to discover it than trying different things that need to be done and seeing if God brings His delight and confirmation to it!

So the next time you look at a worksite or a project or a customer service counter or a foyer at church and see a lot of people and not much action ask yourself two questions:

  • Which one of these people am I most like: the two with the rooms or the one on the walkie talkie or the nine standing around doing nothing trying to look important?
  • How can I help and bless someone in the name of Jesus?

How many does it take to bless someone else? Just ONE — you!

Written by phil

May 4th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

God’s SIGnature on You!

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The LORD’s message came to me: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I chose you for a special work. I chose you to be…” (Jeremiah 1:4-5 ERV).

Like Jeremiah who first heard this word from the LORD, our first instinct is to say, “But Lord GOD, I don’t know…” We tend to look at those great people in the Bible that God called into service as something special — something we tend to think we are not. We often call them “biblical characters”! But as an old friend named Stanley Shipp used to say, “There’s no such thing as biblical characters, just a bunch of characters running around when the Bible got written down.”

The problem with us, just like everyone God called into service during the time “when the Bible got written down,” is that we know ourselves. We tend to see our flaws, our failures, and our inconsistencies. “How could God ever really use someone like me?” we ask ourselves. Of course the bottom line truth is this: we are the only kind of folks God has ever had available to use!

So before we dismiss the call of the LORD in life — before we explain away God’s purpose for us when we were still in the womb because we think, “I am no Jeremiah!” — let’s think together for a few minutes about one incredibly humbling and empowering truth. We are God’s masterpiece: an original work of the Master’s hands, lovingly created and fashioned to be a one of a kind person who lives to bring him praise for the incredible work of his hands.

covenant_1peter4_10

Don’t believe me?

Still have your doubts?

Well go back and read that incredible passage that talks about us being saved by grace (Ephesians 2:1-9) and then notice how it ends:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

What’s even more amazing is that God has put his SIGnature on you and marked you as his own work, called according to his great purpose for you! Let me share with you briefly what I mean.

The S in God’s SIGnature on you is what I call your Strengths. You may call them talents. It’s the DNA your Father in heaven gave you when he formed you in your mother’s womb. You came into the world with these strengths programmed into who you are. Just like Jeremiah, God knew you and had a plan for you before you were even formed in the womb of the woman who carried or held by the mother who raised you! Notice the words David wrote for all us to say in our worship to God:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in a your book. Every moment laid out before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:13-16 NLT).

Yes, a big part of who you are and what God wants you to do for him and for the Kingdom was built right into your DNA! I hope you can say with the words of the Psalm, “Your workmanship is marvelous!” and know that you realize that you are God’s workmanship!

The I in SIGnature is what I call Interests. As we grow and experience life, especially after we have given our life to Jesus, God is at work in those experiences to fashion us and bless us. Most of us know the incredible promise found in a Scripture that is many people’s favorite Bible verse:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT).

In other words, we are more than our DNA! When God re-creates by his grace, he makes us new spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:17) and he gives us new interests and things to do for him (Ephesians 2:10). Every step we take from that moment on, God is involved in our lives. The Holy Spirit is alive and living in us, working to form Christ in us (2 Corinthians 3:18). And every situation, every circumstance, every experience we have is filtered through God’s grace and is used to shape us for our good and God’s glory.

Along the way, because of our experiences and the God’s providential work in those experiences, we develop new interests and abilities. We find certain aspects of our character and faith strengthened. We realize that new doors of potential ministry are opened up to us because our experiences have been used by God to prepare us to share his grace with others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). New areas of interest and ability are discovered. Other areas of interest and ability either buried or forgotten are uncovered. Some of our favorite interests and abilities are honed and made better because God is always at work in our lives “to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).

The third mark of God’s SIGnature on us are the Gifts we are given by God — the Bible emphasizes these gifts come from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — when this precious gift from Jesus is given us at our conversion (Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:3-7). Four key places in the New Testament talk about these spiritual gifts:

While we don’t have time or space to delve into the nature and types of spiritual gifts we have been given, suffice it to say, God is at work in us to do amazing things to honor him and bless his people. Spiritual gifts are not about us, but about God’s grace working through us to grow our church family to be more like Jesus in what we do to bless others both in how we serve them (Ephesians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18) and in the power available to us (Ephesians 1:17-20; Ephesians 3:14-21) to do the work God has called us to do!

So we have covered the S-I-G in SIGnature, but what about those last letters — “nature”? Well, that’s the discussion of much of the apostle Paul’s writings. We can live by the flesh, or by the Spirit. We can be led by our flesh, or sinful nature, or we can be led by the Spirit, our Spirit-filled nature. Life in the Spirit is realizing that we have been born into a new “nature” — or as Paul says, we are new a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-17). Life in the Spirit is about learning to be filled and led by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-21; Galatians 5:22-25). As we do learn to let the Spirit lead us, then we begin to see the life of Jesus — both his compassion and character — come alive in us! Yet when we look in the mirror, we still us… ourselves… except only now, the light we see shining through us and reflected from us, reminds others of Jesus!



One of Phil’s roles with Interim Ministry Partners is to do a workshop for partner churches on SIGnature living. Find out more here: Spiritual Gifts Workshops

Written by phil

February 22nd, 2013 at 10:29 am

Posted in Over My Shoulder

Pause for Christmas!

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How about taking a quick pause and getting in the Christmas Spirit?

If you can’t see this on your mobile device, follow this link.

 

Written by phil

December 13th, 2012 at 7:26 am

Amaze Your Friends

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Two things strike me as absolutely hilarious and a bit sad about the the YouTube video below.

First, wow, what a different world we live in today than just a few decades ago.

Second, sex sells. Always has and advertisers will always use it. The sad thing is how much more “sexploitation” it takes to sell today.

So go ahead, amaze your friends and drag out one of these old phones and see if the instructions still work for you … or better yet, just laugh and remember when … if you can.



 

Written by phil

November 30th, 2012 at 10:48 am