Saturday, April 10, 2010

Manifesto

















Do you see all of those goofy looking guys in the middle picture? That was taken at a ceremony tonight at my friend's house. Tonight was our "Focus of a Warrior" graduation. This has been a path that all eight of us have been on together now for a number of years. The fella way in the back is Dr. Greg Bourond. He the brains behind this men's Bible study group.

For more about the Focus program, or Dr. Greg, click on this link.

Well, it's been almost 3 years for myself, trying to seek God in a deeper more focused relationship. Trying to understand how he has wired me for potential service for his Kingdom. I learned a great deal about my strengths, both natural and learned. I've learned a lot about the spiritual gifts that he has given me too.

I've also learned what it means when Scripture says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." In fact, working with this group of men and trying to compile my final project was often extremely brutal. Tonight we were to present to the group, and our families, our own Personal Life Mandate. Essentially, this document was to help us understand God's preferred vision for our lives. I'm telling you the truth that the moment I was finished, it was like an anvil was lifted of the back of my neck. (We were told going into this that Satan would be less than pleased, and seek to hamper us anyway possible.) It's nice to know that God always wins.

Well, I could yak on plenty. However, I think that instead I will just put my PLM up for all to read. In many respects it's a work in progress...and always will be. But I hope I did a decent enough job on it. It's always tricky because you don't want to sound arrogant OR awkward. I don't want to come off sounding like some spiritually great guy who knows better than everyone else, because I'm not. Still, if you want to have an idea of who I am, or at least the man that I hope to become...this is me.

Personal Life Mandate

by Joe

Biblical Purpose

My biblical purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. His love, grace & mercy are beyond my finite ability to fully comprehend, but I am invited to stand in awe, or Ahhhhhh! of it. Through the finished work of Jesus, I am invited into the most loving relationship possible. I am eternally embraced with a divine hug that will never end. None of this is based on anything that I have done, merited or deserved, but simply out of the love that is the very essence of God. There isn’t even any point in asking why God would do this for someone like me. The only answer that would come close to making any sense is simply that “God is somehow like this.” He loved me enough to make me his child, and that I will enjoy for all eternity.

Life Purpose

My life purpose is to be “Salt & Light” in a world that God created, loves and desires to redeem. (Acts 17:22 & 23, 1 Cor. 9:22 & 23, 1 Pete: 2:12) I am to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom through both word & deed to my family, friends and co-workers; that is that God loves them more than they can know, and desires a true & deep relationship with them. My purpose is to challenge and inspire others to think beyond the man-made religious systems that cause people to jump through hoops in an attempt to earn God’s favor, but instead to simply embrace the truth of what Christ accomplished on the cross and through his resurrection.

Committed Passion

My Passion is two fold. I wish to awaken the Institutional church in America to look beyond the walls it has built around it’s self…politically, culturally, socially, and to ask it to engage this modern culture, not in a state of fear or in a defensive posture, but through a hands-on & positive interaction that proclaims the gospel through both thought AND action (Orthodoxy & Orthopraxy) This serves as a witness/testimony to the truth of Jesus, and causes all who see it to praise God. (Gal. 6:2, Eph. 4:12, Phil. 2: 2 & 3, Heb. 10:24, James 1:2 & 2:1-7) I also desire to work with the marginalized, the Square Pegs, those in society that are too often overlooked and ignored. Because it is when I engage “The Least of These”, in the mud, the pain, the DIFFICULTIES of this life that I feel the closest to God and learn the most from him.

Major Role Characteristics

My major will be not all that unlike my biblical hero, Elijah, who spoke truth to power and proclaimed a passion for staying true to God even when he felt all alone in that pursuit. In humility and grace, I will challenge fellow Believers to think through the tough issues that plague our society. I will encourage the church in America to be a holistic body, a body that puts its faith into practice, combining both head knowledge with heart knowledge. I want to be a vital part of the local body that I attend, but also an encourager to the church at large. I also hope that regardless of where I am, my faith and love for Jesus will simply be as evident as my breathing.

Unique Methodologies

My unique methodologies are a result of personal life experience, natural & learned strengths, and the spiritual gifts that the Father has blessed me with.

  • Through the difficulties and struggle of my past, both through my own stupidity and those that simply come with being alive, God has recycled all of them to give me a richer perspective on life. 1) I have developed a rather high tolerance for things that would easily offend others. This allows me to serve in some rather dark places, and to difficult people. 2) I have developed a strong sense of Empathy for those who struggle. 3) God has taught me to understand what really matters, and what doesn’t. (1 Sam. 16:7, Matt. 5:3, 9:35 & 36, John 3:17)
  • I am very Relational oriented, and God allows me to be open & authentic in the relationships that he helps me to establish.
  • God has blessed me with a mind that is curious and loves to learn.
  • God has blessed me with a large Knowledge base, but has further blessed me with the ability to take complex biblical ideas and to make them understandable & practical.
  • My faith is strong enough so that I am not frightened by controversy. My faith also allows me to trust God even when I do not understand every issue or circumstance, and to just enjoy his mystery from time to time and listen for that gentle whisper.

Ultimate Contributions

When I die, these are the kinds of things I want people to say about me.

  • “He never pretended that he was perfect or better than me, but instead was always “Real” when he talked to me about that Religious Stuff.
  • “He never judged me…I would have.”
  • “He was OK with admitting his problems. He always said that Jesus loved him anyway, and was helping him through them.”
  • He was there for me when I was at my worst, and told me that in that moment that God was even closer to me.”
  • “He wasn’t embarrassed to be my friend, and he said that Jesus wasn’t either.”
  • “He lead by example, and showed me that I don’t have to be “Perfect” to be loved by God.”
  • “He made a difference to me at least, because I now follow Jesus too. Not because he was such a great or important guy, but just cause he lived it all out in his own imperfect way. He just seemed to let God introduce himself to me through his own life and the way he lived. He was honest, vulnerable & genuine. God reached me through all of that.”
  • “He could be such an idiot at times, but man, he sure seemed to love Jesus.”

Peace

Joe

1 comment:

  1. Love it Joe! and speaking as one of the goofy looking guys in the picture I think you're a man after God's own heart!

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