Who Are You? (Vocation) by Ps Michael Podhackzy

I read a blog recently on the issue of vocation. This is something dear to my heart. In it, the blogger pointed out that the,
“The deepest vocational question is not “What ought I to do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding “Who am I? What is my nature?”... [I believe we’ve got to get our own who right before we can begin to address the question of what am I to do.]
Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”[1]
In February 2017 I spoke on this very matter and asked the question “Who Are You?” This is an important road that we are all journeying down to find our God-givenvocation.

Do you know what our Heavenly Father’s vocation of you is? Maybe you have not thought about this matter before, but it is important if we are to become who He has created us to be as we engage with the world around us. We are not a mistake or accident, but we are His beloved children lovingly created with His own gift to us, that is a vocation. This will vary from person to person, but it is who we are created to be.
David contemplating this matter said,
1 “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me…13 For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You” (Ps 139:1,13-18 NLT).
Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Rohr, Richard. “Vocation.” https://cac.org/who-am-i-2018-05-28/(4th June 2018).

Waiting by Ps Dave Podhaczky

Waiting for anything in life can be a very difficult thing for many of us.
How is your patience when waiting in traffic, or behind someone with more than 12 items in the express checkout? How about waiting for serious needs or desires in life?  

Scripture has plenty to say about waiting. We can read about dozens of people that had to wait for God to answer their prayers. I encourage you to learn from these people’s stories - and from God’s role in them.

Let’s take a look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. The end of Genesis 40 and the first verse of 41 can so easily be glossed over. ‘The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him”. “When two years had passed, Pharoah had a dream”.
Joseph had faithfully endured many ordeals and difficult times since the dreams of his youth. He had been thrown into a well and sold into slavery by his brothers. He then found success in Potiphar’s house, but ended up in prison after being falsely accused by his master’s wife.
I daresay that time goes very slowly while in prison - but even so, Joseph remained faithful and found success again. Finally, a glimmer of hope presented itself for him to find a way out. Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker were put into prison and Joseph interpreted their dreams. The cupbearer was impressed and promised to put in a good word for Joseph with the Pharaoh.
Sadly, however, he forgot all about Joseph.
Two years passed. Two years. In prison. 

How would you go waiting two years for your moment of hope to materialise? And without any idea of how much longer you would need to wait.
So what was Joseph’s response when he finally got his chance to help Pharaoh?
He faithfully trusted God and continued to serve Him with a good attitude.
How do you respond to seasons or moments of waiting?

Max Lucado writes about waitingin his book You’ll Get Through This: “While you wait, God works. “My Father is always at his work,” Jesus said (John 5:17 NIV). God never twiddles his thumbs. He never stops. He takes no vacations. He rested on the seventh day of creation but got back to work on the eighth and hasn’t stopped since. Just because you are idle, don’t assume God is. He’s working for you as well. “Be still, and know that I am God” reads the sign on God’s waiting room wall.

To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to “rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; . . . not fret” (Ps. 37:7).”

Those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isa. 40:31). Delight yourself in God, and he will bring rest to your soul. You’ll get through this waiting room season just fine. Pay careful note, and you will detect the most wonderful surprise. The doctor will step out of his office and take the seat next to yours. “Just thought I’d keep you company while you are waiting.” Not every physician will do that, but yours will. After all, he is the Great Physician.

3 Things Our Culture Is Doing To Bible Reading and Discipleship by Ps Michael Podhaczky

I read an article with the above title and was challenged as to the power of Culture on our faith.[1] Mary Wiley pointed out that we live in an instant and fast-pacedworld. This is not a new message, but what she did wisely mention was the effect that is having on our lifestyle as Christ-followers. She said that,
“The more I ask questions about discipleship, the more I hear that we might be a missing link in many of our congregations.
So, what should we be aware of in light of culture to equip our people for discipleship? And how do we encourage everyone to seek out someone further along than them who might be able to teach them the basics of the faith?”

Mary offers three observations,
1.    Our culture has shifted our theology into a choose-your-own-adventure exercise,
Without being deeply rooted in the Word, it would be so very easy to believe whatever sounds best about God Discipleship is both teaching and learning to read the Bible thoroughly, and with the whole counsel of Scripture. We can’t pick and choose verses and passages to build our beliefs Without quality discipleship that leads to reading the Bible well, developing strong theology, and understanding genre and context within any given book, we can be swayed by whatever the cool thing to believe is at the time.

2.    Our culture has given us the concentration of a goldfish,
In the span of five minutes, we may open 10 different apps, read the first half of articles, and flip through 15 different TV shows… This has translated into our discipleship processes as the desire to read one verse and talk about it rather than reading context and larger portions of Scripture. What, sitand read an entire Bible letter at once? No way! Good discipleship reminds us of the importance of Scripture and the need to read it for what it says, through the context of a close relationship with another person. It also teaches us how to read Scripture, pray through Scripture, and confess sin as we read Scripture that reveals our hearts are not in line with God’s good direction. Unfortunately, good discipleship doesn’t happen by reading a verse on Twitter.

3.    Our culture would like for truth to be a sliding scale of grey,
Good discipleship allows us to ask hard questions of God, of His Word, and of each other because of the depth of relationship and heart to see one another grow. Discipleship is not just ‘doing life with someone’ and keeping it vague enough so that the relationship would make sense outside the confines of faith… Discipleship might be awkward at times, but doing it how culture tells you to will certainly result in a lack of growth. Do the hard work, make the uncomfortable asks, and grow alongside others who are walking in the faith with you.

[1] “3 Things our Culture is Doing to Bible Reading and Discipleship.” Mary Wiley https://csbible.com/culture-bible-discipleship/(23rd May 2018).

Senses by Ps Michael Podhaczky

I was sitting and watching the rain the other day and enjoying being present in the moment. It was so refreshing to watch, soothing to hear and pleasant to smell. If I had wanted to, I could have walked out into it and felt its acceptance of me and tasted its moist delights to include my five senses. But I was content at that time to embrace it with three senses.

Then I started thinking about how amazingly we have been created. We have senses that if we are honest, we totally take for granted. Then at that moment, I began to worship and thank our Heavenly Father for the way that He created us. How we could use our God-given senses to interact with His gift of rain. I thought about how fearfully and wonderfully we are made,
“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps 139:14 ESV).

This is an interesting verse as there are some things that do not come through in the English translations. For example, the phrase “praise You,” is the Hebrew word yadahpronounced ‘yaw-daw’ and mean to ‘throw,’ or ‘shoot.’ Therefore, the verb here can mean to throw or shoot praise to God the creator. While the verb ‘fearfully,’ yare  pronounced ‘yaw-ray,’ is awe or reverence.

Then there is the phrase “wonderfully complex,” which is palah pronounced ‘paw-law’ meaning ‘to be distinct, be separated,’ or ‘to be distinguished.’ Then there is the word “marvellous,” which is also palah, but it is a participle, so it translates as ‘be treated as different, or ‘extraordinary.’

So, what is all of this saying? Coming back to me sitting and watching the rain and interacting with some of my senses, it is an amazing gift. I had the privilege of throwing praise to God, as it demanded me being in awe of the God the creator because of His creation of us and our senses. That is because we are distinct and extraordinary, no two the same.

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

Einstein and Life by Ps Michael Podhaczky

This week I read an interview with Albert Einstien in a newspaper article from 1929. It was called “What Life Means to Einstien.”[1]It was a general interview regarding Einstein’s view of his life and times. We may have varying opinions of Albert Einstien, from awe to the negative. Regardless he has been written about from every angle, so it was nice to read some of his own words.

He said that he loved studying and teaching physics. However, he also enjoyed music especially playing his violin as his wife played the piano. He relished sailing his sailboat that he built. He delights in thinking in four dimensions, even if it is only abstractly. One of his great passions though was spending time alone in his attic thinking about “practical solutions to technical problems.”[2]He was quite shy, so this suited him, and his wife respected his space.

When asked by Viereck, the interviewer, “To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?”[3]he replied by saying,
“As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.
Viereck then asked about a book that was written at the time about Jesus. Einstien commented that,
“Its shallow, Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot (a witty remark).”[4]
Einstien was then asked if he accepted the historical Jesus. To which he replied,
“Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulses in every work. No myth is filled with such life… No man can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful.”[5]

Unmistakably having read the Gospels, Einstien revered Jesus Christ beyond the limitation to mere words. He believed that Jesus really did exist. However, we have no proof that he believed in Jesus as his saviour. This is something better left between him and God. But, I would like to close with one of his concluding statements that we could learn something from,
“I am happy because I want nothing from anyone. I do not care for money. Decorations, titles or distinctions mean nothing to me. I do not crave praise. The only thing that gives me pleasure, apart from my work, my violin and my sailboat, is the appreciation of my fellow workers.”[6]

Pause in His presence for a moment and think this over

[1] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck.” The Saturday Evening PostOctober 26, 1929.
[2] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein,” 113.
[3] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein,” 117.
[4] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein,” 117.
[5] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein,” 117.
[6] Viereck, George Sylvester. “What Life Means to Einstein,” 117.

The Bible: Illumination by Ps Michael Podhaczky

Finally, we come to Illumination, which is the work of God the Holy Spirit in enlightening the Bible. This is so that the reader is able to understand the Bible. This comes through in passages like (Ps 119:18, 105; Dan 5:14; Lk 24:32; Jn 14:26; 16:13-16; 1 Cor 2:10-13; 4:5; Eph 1:17-18; Col 1:9-12; Heb 4:12). This work of the Holy Spirit is based on revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and the authority of the Bible. It is important to realise that the Holy Spirit does not give any new revelation, but inwardly illuminates the given Word of God to the reader.[1]

Without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to aid the reader and studier, they might not correctly understand, apply, grasp and recall the Word of God.[2] All Christ-followers need illumination to understand, embrace, interpret and obey the Bible correctly. In the end,
“Only the Holy Spirit, who caused the Bible to be written, can make the truth of it clear to us. He does this by regeneration and illumination.”[3]

It is important to have an understanding of the supernatural work of illumination through the person of the Holy Spirit. So, concerning His work,the following explanation gives some insight on this matter.[4] Remember that Illumination is the work of the Holy Spirit and not some mystical power of the words of Scripture. The Holy Spirit will use our study and meditation, not only to help us understand Scripture but also to apply it to our lives. The Bible reader’s accuracy, honesty and spiritual life can all affect the Spirit’s ministry of illumination. So, we need to be open to His leading.

[1] Horton, Michael. Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 64.
[2]Hernando, James D. Dictionary of Hermeneutics: A Concise Guide to Terms, Names, Methods, and Expressions. (Springfield, MO: GPH, 2005), 25.
[3]God Speaks: A Workbook of The Bible. (Highbury, London: Grace Publication Trust, 1980), 1/7.
[4] Litke, “8. Interpretation, Illumination and Application.” https://bible.org/seriespage/interpretation-illumination-and-application (21st May 2018)