Thursday, January 22, 2015

Faith Kitchen Nightmares

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  Ephesians 4:14-16

This is Not an Endorsement
Occasionally, I tune into a television show called Kitchen Nightmares.  The show features Chef Gordon Ramsey going into various restaurants around the country, helping them identify fatal flaws in how they conduct business, and getting them back on the road not only to profitability, but serving top notch cuisine.  It is a shame that Chef Ramsey feels it necessary to periodically use foul language in what he does, otherwise I could endorse his show to just about anyone!

It Isn’t the Food…
In a recent episode I saw, Mr. Ramsey trying to confront an owner/chef who refused to face the fact that his food was…well, the word Ramsey used was: “deplorable” …as in, it was so bad that it shocked and disgusted.  Now that’s bad!  The entrĂ©e was effectively raw, swimming in grease, and apparently lacked any resemblance to what it was intended to taste like.  It was only through difficult intervention by the owner’s daughter that he could face the reality that what he was serving was really, really bad.  Finally, the owner/chef confessed that he knew he was failing, but didn’t know how to start over.  He was so depressed, so lost, so frustrated…

All About Grace
Most attractive to me in this show is that element of grace that runs through it.  There is little doubt in each episode that the reason the business is failing is some chain of human error or neglect.  Chef Ramsey and his team come in and perform an effective reboot for the business.  They identify critical destructive business patterns, and managerial habits, make improvements to the facility in the form of new paint, tables, chairs, and decorations, and offer an improved menu.  The improved menu is generally simplified, replacing meals that weren’t satisfying with new ones that are very attractive and tasty.  Then the staff is coached on how to interact with customers and given a new system of operation that runs more efficiently.  THEN, they open the doors and put the plan into action.  All in all, it seems that Mr. Ramsey really is turning businesses around.

I Have to Confess
Kitchen Nightmares really inspires me somehow.  …No, not about running a restaurant, but about running my own life and faith walk.  His no-holds-barred attitude toward correcting all that needs to be corrected inspires me to be examining what I am doing for the Kingdom of God, What are those critical flaws that keep me from accomplishing my life callings and aspirations…that keep me from growing up in all aspects, even unto the head which is Christ (See  Ephesians 4:15 above)
Here is some good news! Our loving heavenly Father has set us up with everything we need to turn our lives around! Systems and resources have been made available for us to have a faith-system reboot when we need it…if we will use them!  But not only for a reboot, or a tune up, but a veritable overhaul of how we live, love, and serve.

·      He has given us his Holy Word to guide, correct, discipline, and strengthen us.  Psalm 119:105 declares: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” But really, this point is benefitted by reading Psalm 119:97-106.  Let us examine ourselves: Are we daily bring the scriptures into our lives and yielding our lives to its standard and wisdom? Many confess unto salvation, but neglect themselves unto spiritual starvation!  FEED on the Word!

·      He has given us his Holy Spirit to counsel us, give us understanding, and empower us to accomplish the work of His righteousness in us.  Are we seeking and relying upon the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and counsel us? Acts 1:8 promises: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

·      Proverbs 27:17 reads: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” God has placed us in fellowship as members of the Body of Christ…the Church, where we may be instructed and corrected, encouraged and matured in our Christian living, loving, and serving.  Is it possible to attend church and miss the purpose entirely?  Absolutely!!  It isn’t simply about hearing good songs and preaching… In Hebrews 10:24-25, we are instructed: 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Church fellowship is certainly about worshipping the Most High God, but it is also about spurring one another along, drawing strength and faith from one another, and receiving that instruction that causes us to repent, realign, and recommit to the urgent business of our faith.

Almighty God, thank you for inspiring me in strange ways sometimes.  I see what you are doing in calling us to Christian maturity.  Work in me your will, and bend my will toward Christlikeness.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.

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