Monday, March 15, 2010

Woooo Hoooo!! Gandalf's coming!!

In Season 4, Episode 9 of the forever cult favorite "Friends" series, Ross and Chandler get a call from a college chum they affectionately refer to as "Gandalf". Gandalf is obviously a nickname in reference to the wizard in the "Lord of the Rings" series, adored by nerds everywhere. Now, am I saying that Ross and Chandler are nerds? Yes, to a degree I certainly am but no more than I would consider myself because I, like much of America, relate to these two characters, particularly those of us that matured during the 80's. This post is about Gandalf and his importance not in the fight between Good and Evil on "Middle Earth" as in LOTR, but the very same battle on our very own Earth. Our Lords Earth.

Let's start by identifying WHY Gandalf of "Friends" is nicknamed such. Here, the old college buddy is the "wizard" of good times. Gandalf knew where to find the party and everyone followed him to get there. Gandalf led others to the most outrageous, rock and rolling good times imaginable. In Episode 9, Gandalf cancels his trip to New York to the disappointment of Ross and Chandler. His influence is still so strong that even in his absence they try to simulate what Gandalf would have done with the help of Joey. Obviously with age and lifestyle changes they fell short of expectations, but the fact is, that Gandalf had such a strong influence that these dorks were led to his example even when he wasn't there. That right there is leadership.

Now in my life I have known my Gandalfs and to others, I assure you I have been the Gandalf.  There is no Gandalf shortage to help find a night of sinful good times. However, what if Gandalf got saved. What if our Lord were able to use the wizard to influence others and to lead them not to a crazy drunken good time, but to an eternal life basking in the Glory of our Savior. Through Christ, could Gandalf have such profound influence that in his absence the Chandlers and Ross's try to emulate him?? The answer in short, NO. But Gandalf can have the influence to introduce them to Gods party and in turn, when Gandalf is absent they will strive to be like HIM. They will strive to be Christ like.

In this past weeks church sermon we had the opportunity to write down a name of a person that needed Christ in their lives and then come to the altar to pin it on a cork board so these names could be prayed over. The name I wrote down may be confusing to some but to me it was clear as a bell: Gandalf. I pray that the Gandalfs in our communities find Christ, so they can bring people to Jesus through leadership. Can Jesus put a wizard to good use? You bet he can. He already has.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's your fault.........but whos' responsibility??

Our Pastor recently gave a sermon on responsibility, accountability, and fault. I thought it to be worthy of mention here. Particularly for those who did not hear this message, I hope you get the concept from the following:

In Joshua Chapter 9, we see Joshua deceived by the Gibeonites. At this time Joshua had identified the surrounding lands as that of the people he would conquer. In order to prevent an Israeli invasion the Gibeonites pretended to be from a far land and requested of Joshua a treaty, so they might be servants to the Israelites. Under the impression they were from a far away land and not from the nearby hills, Joshua honored a treaty. Three days later, when Joshua discovered he had been deceived he still honored the treaty he had agreed upon in the eyes of God. Although the Gibeonites were at fault with their deception, Joshua took responsibility for his own part in allowing himself to be deceived. He could after all, have investigated these people further and seen through the elaborate plan of deception.

Through this Joshua was blessed as he acknowledged his responsibility as witnessed by his Lord Almighty and in turn the Lord saw to it that Joshua found the strength to honor his commitment to the Gibeonites and to be victorious in doing so.

Through this we see a clear difference between fault and responsibility. How often are we wrong and at fault and we leave someone else to pick up the pieces because we didn't take responsibility. Here someone else is taking responsibility for our faults. Consider when someone is at fault and others carry that burden, that pain, that punishment.

God will bless us when we take responsibility. He will give us strength to make our wrongs right and to work through the burdens of our own undoing. When we are at fault and fail to take responsibility we are not with God. Fault without responsibility is a curse on those that fail to acknowledge that they have made a mistake. The absence of accountability is the choice to carry the burden of a curse rather than the blessing of God through responsibility.

So, have you made mistakes in life? Can you think of recent examples in your life where it's your fault? Did you take responsibility? Are you in a place right now where you can take responsibility but the thought of doing so is overwhelming? Take the responsibility. Our Father will take the "overwhelming" away. He will lift that off your shoulders or at least lighten the load so that you can manage.

Are you at fault???.............or are you responsible????? Huge difference.