“Buffet-Style Spirituality”

OUR TEXT:  Joel 2:28 and Romans 8:14.

“And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

So many choices
So many choices!

Well, THANKSGIVING DINNER will soon be upon our family once more.  No matter which one of our homes the dinner will be at, there always seems to be too much food!  My wife and I have often asked ourselves over the years “What are we going to do with all the leftovers?”

My son-in-law…“bring your famous stuffing”, or my daughter-in-law–“I just love that dessert you make.  Could you bring that again this year?”  And on and on.

All the dishes, including the carved turkey (and ham for the ‘patriarch’–that would be me], along with everything else being served “buffet-style”, all because the table can’t hold all the choices.

What does all this have to do with “Buffet-Style spirituality”?

It simply means, it’s where you pick and choose… a little of this and that of what you like from that RELIGION…and others; a little of something else from here and there.  If that’s the case, you are probably going to exist in the future with a lot of “leftovers” that will have to be freezer-wrapped for months, then warmed for another time when too lazy to prepare a new meal.

The Number One Religion in America and Perhaps the Country Where You Live:

Numero Uno is… we are fiercely independent thinkers; we have a John Wayne/Clint Eastwood mentality.  “Don’t tell me what to do – and “if you think you can, well, just MAKE MY DAY, PILGRIM!”

The problem with that way of thinking, when it comes to spirituality, you can be sincere in what you think – it just doesn’t mean you’re going to be right in what you think.  Your words determine your thinking…right or wrong!

And when it comes to God’s way of thinking…

Just because you’re SINCERE about what you think, certainly doesn’t make you right–or acceptable in God’s eyes.  You can’t pick what you simply want, to believe about God.

In fact, SINCERITY aimed in the wrong direction can get you in big trouble.  GOD decides for Himself how He is to be worshiped; THAT is the issue and the whole idea of God.  He alone is Sovereign…in charge…or He really isn’t God.

GRASPING THE OBVIOUS.

9056343278_e45991ba2cSherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were on a camping trip.  They had pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep.  Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson:

“Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you see.”  Watson says, “I see millions of stars, and even if a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might be life.”  Homes replies,  “Watson, you’re an idiot, somebody stole our tent!”

Grasping what is obvious to the command,  WORSHIP HIM, and not our own IDEA of who He is or what we think!

Somethings Are Obvious–

Like Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, if we are going to grab hold of the obvious, about what Joel and Paul said living life is, as led by the Spirit of God, then what is it we will grasp?  What can be said about a Spirit-led life?

It’s a Life of Dreams and Vision…

It is important to define our terms at this point.  On the way into the city I live nearby, I have noticed a sign posted in front of a well-kept building: Psychic Readings Available.  You know, someone who says they can interpret your visions and dreams–connect you with the departed.

The Word “VISION” in the Bible: 

The Hebrew word is “chizzaoyoon, literally, a revelation.  It means we “plan” or “contemplate” tomorrow.  Animals can’t do that.  They react to their surrounding influences; they respond to instincts from within–to build a den or protect cubs.  Only humans set GOALS; dream of tomorrow’s possibilities!

Being Led by Holy Spirit…

Being LED by the Spirit is to bend your will to His and allow His already revealed Word (as we have in the Scripture); to inform your human mind and spirit–to shape you into the image of Christ Jesus:

OBEDIENT,

YIELDED, 

USABLE.

A Spirit-led Life–A Life of Dreams and Visions:

AND…it’s a LIFE in the LIGHT–

DARKNESS is for bumping into things.  We’ve all made our share of mistakes…we’ve all jumped to the wrong conclusions at one time or another…we’ve all played the jerk!

LIGHT is a matter of finding-out, we don’t have all the answers; sometimes we are chasing a dream that may not exist.  Reality has disappeared, and we are on the run with it.

VISION is Good!

God’s LIGHT on that VISION tells us if we have been in the sun too long, or not on the right track.  James helped me out here in understanding:

“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him”  (James 1:5 AMP). 

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it.

“If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–ask him, and he will gladly tell you.  He will not resent your asking”  (James 1:5 NLT).

Is your VISION, your DREAM a pipe dream; “a hope, wish, dream that is impossible to achieve”?  Does it match with God’s will, His written Word?  How do we bring the light of God’s Word to bear on our VISION?  Again, how do I do that?

Question #1 is always,  Does it line-up with God’s Word?

Another way to bring your VISION to light is to share it with respected leaders in the Kingdom.

The Scripture says,  “Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”  (Proverbs 11:14).

Clarifying our VISION and GOALS by sharing in the light of Godly believer’s counsel is God’s way of sharing wisdom.  We can’t live without VISION!

“Where there is no VISION the people perish”  (Proverbs 29:18 a).

Being led by the Spirit–It’s a Life of Growth.

Every living thing is born, grows and dies.  That’s the life-cycle.  Yours and my Visions and Dreams are living things.  If nurtured and tended to…they will grow!

One real hallmark suggestion I’m learning to live with in being led of the Spirit is:  It’s not how many “screw loose” ideas I come up with; nor is it a way a person can pray publicly, or lay out policy and church program changes; it isn’t about having a phony smile on your face as you enter the church doors on Sundays, or singing Kumbayah with feeling.

Being Spirit-led is all about sticking to the PURPOSE for which God placed you on this planet.

It’s about being an OBEDIENT and BENDABLE instrument in the hands of God to accomplish His will.

It’s all about hard work, commitment with no personal agenda, other than being the best servant on earth, approved in Heaven.  My mother-in-law would always tell my wife in growing up:  “If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing right!”  It is all about what the Apostle Paul told Timothy he needed to be about:

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth”  (II Timothy 2:15 AMP).

Do You Dare to Be A Dreamer?

Our pastor, pastor Kyle, his message to us all included the request… asking God for a VISION in our lives.  Now I don’t know about the rest of the assembly, but to me personally…it became a dare!

Do you dare to have VISION and DREAMS?

Do you dare to bring them into the light of God’s wisdom, sharing them with the family of God?

When we were kids growing up in our neighborhoods, how many times were we confronted with a “DARE”?  “Mel. I DARE you…I ‘double dare’ you to jump off the roof of the house.”  Did I jump?  What do you think?  He “double dared me”!

According to The Free Dictionary, the term DARE means:

To have the courage required for…”jumping off a roof”;  To challenge (someone) to do something requiring boldness; To be courageous or bold enough to do or try something.

You and I can be that way when it comes to asking for a VISION in life…then SHARING the vision with other believers.  God told us Jesus died for that…so we could be living an abundant life, to the full, in the overflow with the poured-out Spirit, the living God (John 10:10 AMP).  He did it because He loves you and I.

John Nash – One of the Greatest Dreamers:

The movie, A Beautiful Mind, is a wonderful and compelling story of a 1994 Nobel Prize winner John Nash.  Nash is a genius and after a decade of productive life, suffers a breakdown.  His life falls apart and the beautiful mind becomes a tortured mind, plagued by schizophrenia.  His lovely wife stands by him, fiercely holding things together as John suffers in a mental hospital, struggling to rid his mind of persons who torture him emotionally.  These people only exist within his mind…not real and yet…he chooses to ignore them and love his wife.  At the awards ceremony, Nash s’ acceptance speech has this statement:

“That search for reason and logic has taken me a lifetime, through the theoretical, the metaphysical and the delusional and back.  And it is only in the mystical realm of love I have found any reason and logic.”

LOVE…the Final, Lasting, Overcoming DREAM!

Do you want something to build a life on?

Do you want to DREAM a VISION that will withstand the scrutiny of light?

Do you want a life of GROWTH with REASON and logic?

Do you want to settle for “leftovers”–left out for you the rest of your life to pick through?

Building Dreams and Visions in God’s Love for you:

“But anyone who does not LOVE does not know God, for God IS Love”  (1 John 4:8 New Living Translation Bible – NLT).