I know I am way behind the times with this one but I am in the process of finishing the book called "The Shack." The book was read by many when it was released and it also caused some controversy due to the author's metaphorical take on the persons of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I have been in a place the last few years of just constantly being in awe of the sovereignty of our Heavely Father and His intimate knowing of our needs, desires, shortcomings, and the core of our heart. There is this incredibly delicate balance of a Father who has given us a gift of freedom... a freedom to choose every day who we will follow, who we choose to please, from whom and what we derive our identity, where and how we choose to use "our" resources... freedom to make any decision we please. He has given us this freedom knowing full well that we will make mistake after mistake and then the delicate balance comes in to play. He uses our mistakes to Father us, to teach us, and to grow us in to something that He considers to be a beautiful work of art.
It is incredible how much we learn or take away from our years of attending Sunday church that actually moves us farther away from the type of relationship that He desires to have with us. Performance, behavior modification, exclusionary tendencies, entertainment seeking, and a critical spirit are all things that are easily put in our handbag of coping and control mechanisms after spending Sunday mornings at church in America. I've been struggling for a while with the American church institution and frustrated with the "results" that our churches are producing and sending out in the world. God is gently pulling me back from my critical spirit and is teaching me about our (my) overall failure when it comes to focusing on the institutions of religion, economics, and politics as a means of controlling / planning my future (made clear this morning from my reading in The Shack). I have placed so many restrictions or boundaries around my relationship with God as my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and my Savior, and the Holy Spirit as my counselor that I have severely limited those relationships which directly impacts and limits my relationships with others.
By no means is this a complete thought but what God is revealing to me is another reminder of why we do what we do at Invest. Challenging each other, focusing on relationship, encouraging one another in the Truth of God's Word, and choosing individually and collectively as His Church, what we are willing to invest our lives in. Choosing each day to invest our lives in Him first by renewing our mind in Truth and being transformed by His unending teaching does not come naturally amongst the distractions and temptations of this world. Choosing to follow Him every day often challenges "conventional wisdom" but through the guidance of The Counselor, The Holy Spirit, choosing to follow Him and His plans for us becomes the most freeing and natural thing we can ever do... because that is what He created us for.
I pray that God will use my learning to encourage you today,