Raw Reflections from the Journey

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Good Idea or a God-Idea?

My friends were puzzled about my relative silence. "This isn't like you. What's up?"

A portion of my quietness was due to information overload. The previous hour had been spent with two friends in the U.S. Sentate Chaplain's office (Dr. Barry Black) for a private meeting during which he shared many nuggets of God-given wisdom, including the following, "Everyday, Alan (his chief of staff) and I look out that window to see man-made monuments surrounded by God's creation." He went on to explain that man can do apparently great things, and pursue great ideas, but that it is all in the context of what God initiates, allows and blesses. "Alan and I are in this office by God's appointment to share His Word. We didn't put ourselves in this position, and any day He wants to He can remove us from it." The genuine humility of men who have every reason to be spiritually arrogant was humbling.

Another portion of my silence was due to the fact that I had been quietly praying in an attempt to discern if the idea's of a friend were good ideas or God-ideas. "You make a lot of suggestions to connect with people", I said, "But which of your ideas about connecting and pursuing relationship or ministry partnership are God-ideas and which are simply good ideas?" I asked. The implication is that only God-ideas are worth pursuing.

Alan chimed in on this thread. "Jesus only did what He saw His Father do" he said. "He never ran anywhere in his ministry, but rather he seemed to rest and retreat between active engagements with others." As Alan suggested, that's pretty remarkable, given the fact that He only had three years to launch a global, eternal ministry. If it were us we'd certainly have been running everywhere!

For whatever reason, I'm tired of chasing good ideas that come to naught. Maybe it's because I'm in my mid-forties, or because I've run on and therefore run-out of adrenaline in accomplishment-driven ministry pursuits to validate myself. Whatever the reason(s), I'm tired and therefore unwilling to expend energy on other than God-ideas. I think this is a good thing, and I think that God thinks it is a good thing. Coming to an end of self brings us to the beginning of Him.

"I'm rather non-plussed by the 'doing' of ministry" I confessed to my concerned friends. "I'd rather just be quiet and alone in conversation with God than to speak, teach, or even coach" I continued. Alan, one of my spiritual mentors for the past four years simply smiled and patted me on the back. "Hang in there" he said lovingly. This was said with wisdom born of experience along a similar path of spiritual maturity.

Does God work through our creativity? Certainly. Is every one of our ideas a God-idea? Certainly not. How can we tell? We can take them to Him and then we can listen.

So now, after speaking for a bit I'm going to get quiet again.

Praying you joy on your journey,



  1. Jeff,

    the sentiment is right on target. The challenge is in being capable of distinguishing between "good" and "God" ideas. I know...listen to Him. Sometimes that's the biggest challenge of all!
    Thanks for giving me another challenge. (I actually mean that sincerely!)

  2. Thanks for the honesty and transparency, Jeff. You continue to inspire through your blogging of "raw reflections".

  3. Good ideas are worth pursuing, for only truly good ideas are from God, but as Martha learned they are not always "best".

    Your "journey statement" says it well, "to live with a piercing awareness of His Love for me in a relationship that feels real and satisfies me like no other".