Friday, March 8, 2013

real ideas; solid encouragement

Matthew Hartsfield talks at Van Dyke Church
I apologize for not posting yesterday. What I thought was just an allergy attack has turned into a full-blown cold with a fever. That plus driving to a writing assignment well before 8:00 effectively closed down this space for the day.
My gig was covering “day one” of the Real Ideas conference at Van Dyke Church over in Lutz. Even though I was sick, the assignment was worth doing. It’s not my intention to scoop the news agency I’m reporting for, so this post will be more an impressionistic look at my day (in fact, click on this link and tell my editor I’m actually driving traffic to their site!). You’ll have to go to the Florida Conference Connection to see my news article (but first I have to write it).
Ministry intern Tal Zentmeyer at Van Dyke Church
ENCOURAGEMENT: The thrust of the Real Ideas event is to present inspiration, encouragement, workshops, and worship experiences designed to equip church leaders with the tools they need to turn things around back home.
I attended a “Biblical Storytelling” workshop, ate lunch with a bunch of Methodists from Tennessee, and then listened to the kick-off message – Seven Mistakes That Hold Us Back – by Van Dyke’s senior pastor, Matthew Hartsfield.
ONE SOLID IDEA: For this post I’m simply going to share one idea from Hartsfield’s message (there will be at least seven in my article). It’s “mistake number three” in his list, and he calls it “Living with a scarcity mentality…”
I’ll post the entire Ephesians 4 passage below, but this is my verse for today: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (v 16).
Too often we live – both as individuals and as faith communities – as if there are no “Glorious Riches.” We place limits on God, effectively saying “no” on God’s behalf.
living into the promises
living into the promises
When we live out of a “scarcity mentality” we begin to hoard what little we have, we fail to share generously, and then – and this is a terrible sin – we say “I told you so,” and “good job we didn’t expect anything, because we were so right…”
Bottom line – and don’t confuse this with the “God wants you to be rich” theology – we serve a God who is always willing to strengthen us with power, through his spirit, and “out of God’s glorious riches.”
Today, I plan to live into that truth! How about you?
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

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