Thursday, June 10, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-06-10 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Service: Discombobulate Them!

If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Romans12:20
Have you ever been discombobulated?
I'm not making things up - it is a real word.
It means "To throw into a state of confusion; to befuddle or perplex."
Many Christians have discovered how a genuine, loving and sincere act of service can discombobulate people. It shakes their presuppositions, breaks down their defence-mechanisms and opens their hearts.
Paul is quoting Proverbs here and, as far as the burning coals go, Proverbs is probably making reference to an old Egyptian ritual which the NIV Study Bible describes as follows: "A guilty person, as a sign of his repentance, carried a basin of glowing coals on his head. The meaning here, then, would be that in returning good for evil and so being kind to your enemy, you may cause him to repent or change."
I picked up two stories that illustrate this.
A church group went from store to store volunteering to clean up their staff toilets. At one shop the manageress was aggressive and suspicious. When she saw how well they worked and realised that there were no hidden strings attached, she told the pastor of the brokenness and waywardness of her life and then with a quivering lip she asked "would there be place in your church for someone like me?"
Another church offered free car-washes to the community, but they did not get many folk coming because people suspected that there was some kind of catch. So the next time the church advertised a "One Dollar Car wash" and this seemed to allay suspicions and soon there was a long queue of cars to be washed. When customers brought their cars to be washed, they were met by cheerful people with big smiles and warm welcomes and the car was well washed. You can imagine the speechless surprise for customers then, when the car had been washed, the church folk GAVE them a dollar and wished them a safe trip and a blessed day.
Service discombobulates people.
It breaks down the stereotypes of hypocritical Christians and creates a willingness to receive the message. So, after we have preached with our actions, we may just get to preach with our words too.
I'll be taking a break from eDevs for the school holidays. Have a great break and please keep our country in your prayers. Make a special effort to serve others and you may make a big difference!
God bless!

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-06-08 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Service: Jesus did it

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew20:26-28
This text is Christ's Mission Statement:
"To serve and give my life as a Ransom."
All His life was prayer and love.
He gave Himself generously:
- Sacrificed the glory and perfection of heaven for the brokenness of earth.
- Put omnipotence in the background to embrace our frailty.
- Tasted poverty and simplicity, working for a living. (Can you imagine the Creator of Heaven and Earth, making furniture to put food on the table?)
- Once His public ministry began, He sacrificed privacy and "me time" for the sake of the needy masses. (Even the disciples disturbed His prayer times.)
- Healed others even though energy would leave Him when He did. (See the account of the woman who touched the hem of His garment.)
- Walked, Worked and Taught to the point that it left Him tired. (See Him sit down at the well in Samaria, "tired as He was.")
- See Him washing the feet of disciples who were arguing about who was greatest, and this after three years of being with Jesus!
- He wrestled with His destiny at the cross and accepted it, even the the enormity of it weighed very very heavily on Him. (Describing His state of mind to the disciples in Matt26:38 He says:"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death...")
- He endured the cross and all of hell for us
- Even after His intercession He continues to serve us, because the writer to the Hebrews reminds us that He makes intercession for us. (Heb7:25)
In His letter to the Philippians, Paul quotes what many scholars believe to be an early Christian hymn:
2:6 [Jesus] who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!
If Jesus lived a life of service and He is God's Son, what excuse do we have not to serve?
Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Friday, June 4, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-06-04 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Service: What is love?

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1John4:7-10
If God is love and we, in His image, are called to love and serve our neighbours, then what is love?
Selwyn Hughes offers some definitions:
* Bringing out the highest good in another person.
* Love is the only service that power cannot command and money cannot buy.
* Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love, you'll find you are left holding yourself.
* To love is to be vulnerable.
John's definition of love is simple: When God saw our need, He took the initiative. Jesus came into our circumstances, He paid the price, He shed His blood.
Love is when we
1. take the initiative,
2. step into the situation
3. and give of ourselves.
Although this looks simple - it is actually very profound.
The enemies of love are fear and self-centredness.
And the more we reach out in love, the more these get pushed aside. A little later in the same chapter John writes: " 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear"
May we begin to practice this kind of love.

Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-06-03 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Service: Give as God gives

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalms86:15
The Fifth of the Spiritual Laws is "Service" ("Giving yourself to Others")
Selwyn Hughes describes his own journey into a new paradigm - a "Spiritual Revolution." It all began when he was reading a theological book on the Trinity by DB Knox.
These two sentences grabbed his attention:
"We learn from the Trinity that relationship is the essence of reality and therefore the essence of our existence, and we also learn that the way this relationship should be expressed is by concern for others. Within the Trinity itself there is a concern by the persons of the Trinity for one another."
The nature of God is to share, care, and give.
Granville Morgan, the much-loved Welsh Minister who served at St Columbas Presby Church in Parkview for many years, once said:
"God's favourite word is AND. He made trees _and_ flowers, elephants _and_ kangeroos, planets _and_ stars, you _and_ me."
All the bounty of creation is testimony of God's extraordinary and extravagant (in the best sense of the word) generosity.
Created in His image, we reach our fullest created potential when we are generous and serve others. Being loved by God and created in His image, we are impelled to serve others and all the more so when we are confronted by the staggering example of Christ's earthly life of generosity and sacrifice, succinctly wrapped up in his own mission statement "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
We give and share because that's what God does!
Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-06-01 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Forgiveness: And now it's time....

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke6:37-38
Do you have a scarcity or an abundance mentality?
People with scarcity-mentality see everything as a finite resource,
- the glass is on its way to being empty,
- they are afraid for the future,
- they fear that there will never be enough,
- have a cynical perspective on life,
- pain and resentment is their god
- and they find it hard to forgive.
Verse 37 describes the symptoms clearly:
- They are judgemental
- Quick to condemn
- Slow to forgive and uncertain of their forgiven-ness.
People with an abundance-mentality see a world brimming with opportunities because they are convinced that God is good,
- their glass is on its way to being filled,
- they are optimistic for the future,
- and trust in today's blessings as hope for tomorrow's provision
- and are able to forgive because they have a deep and abiding sense of being forgiven.
Which are you?
We've talked about forgiveness, we'd explored the foundations, the walls and the roof of forgiveness - now it's time to move into the house.
It's time to forgive.
But how??
1.Own your own forgiveness. Draw deep on the well of your forgiven-ness - think of Jesus forgiving you while hanging on the cross - Hear Him say "Father forgive..." and "It is finished."
2.Make a decision to let it go!
- Remember that God will sort out the justice side of it.
- Speak it out! (This is Behaviour Modification.) Whether you tell the person that you forgive them, speak it out in prayer or write it in your journal, the point is you need to make a statement of forgiveness.
- Remember forgiveness does not make something all-right, it is just letting go. (Remember God deals with the justice side...)
Ask God to help you remember without pain.
3.If the memory hurts, go back to step 2. (Remembering without pain)
Deal with any lingering resentments.
4.Wish the person well. You don't have to be their buddy, you're simply relinquishing the blood-lust of vengeance.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest yet most-important things we can do.
The choice is yours:
You can:
- walk around with festering resentment toward people who don't know,
- live with unresolved rage toward people who may even be dead already
- or harbour bitter condemnation toward yourself for past failures.
Alternatively you can GET FREE by letting it go. Read back over the last 6 eDevs, get your head around it and fill your heart with forgiven-ness and just do it!
Now is the time.
Theo Groeneveld
You can see past EmmDevs at