Gene Ort's Blog

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Sermon on the Mount

by on Jul.16, 2017, under Israel, Uncategorized

This is located very near to where it is believed “The Sermon on the Mount” was given. It is very near the northern most point of the Sea of Galilee where the Jordan river enters the lake. It’s walking distance to Capernaum. It’s a few hundred yards from where the fishermen of the first century would have kept their boats.

Jesus says : “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:24-29‬ ‭MSG‬‬ edited.

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Holy Narcissisim – Wanting our own way

by on Apr.22, 2016, under Uncategorized

image

Wanting our own way.   1st Corinthians 10: 6-12

The ancient Israelites saw miracles, were set free from slavery and all their physical needs were met. They saw God’s wonder and grace. Yet they failed. A surprise to God, I doubt it. It is a picture of who we are most of the time. Paul says it can happen to us just as easily as it did them.

The warning: “be on guard”… against what? Wanting our own way!
Wanting our own way is our cultural norm! Our culture is saturated with wanting our own way.

Being “on guard” … that’s a militaristic term. Standing ready, alert, prepared. Weapon out of the holster. Not asleep at the wheel.

Not wanting our own way…. This teaching is counter intuitive. We all want our way. Pain-free if possible. Well fed, well rested, well healed, well respected, etc. Wanting someone else’s way doesn’t even sound right. Unless that is what we were really designed to do and don’t know it.
Actually wanting “God’s way” in my life means I half to believe he has my best interest at heart, and that he has the desire to make my life better then I can make it on my own. We say: Father, your will be done, not my will be done.
This is directly opposed to my personal rebellion!
My Rebellion says: “my way” or you will be punished to some varying degree. With a child, it looks like a tantrum! The same is true of all of us (adults) at sometime or another. Tantrums abound.
Narcissism is defined as “excessive self interest”. We are to “guard our hearts” against such self interest. But there is a good self interest. In essence, surrender to God is the ultimate self interest. For he has our best interest always at heart, but with the clearest perspective of our life. Similar to that of a good parent to child.
When that healthy relationship is in place, We cry Abba father. We are to guard against narcissism and push past this rebellion to surrender to him who loves us, who died for us, and lives for us, who will live with us!
Paul was calling us to “excessive God interest”, a kind of “holy narcissism”.

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The Vine

by on Aug.21, 2010, under Uncategorized

John 15:1-5

1 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.2 He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.3 You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.

_______

For  a while now I am been directed to this passage in John. Abide…  The theme keeps reoccurring.. The other day, as I was pondering “Abiding” the thought came to me to visit a local vineyard, Tabor Hill. I had been there once years ago when given a gift certificate from my staff.  I originally thought I would just drive out to the vineyards early in the morning and walk around and take a few pictures. With a little more thought, I realized that would be trespassing. I decided to call first.. decided a lunch trip would be the best decision.. so lunch and a free guided tour became the plan.

So I left on a God hunt.. to get some deeper insight into the vineyard metaphor..
I was consciously seeking Him most of the time..I had a really great time..  nice lunch, great glass of wine… a fun and informative tour.. and a great stroll through the vineyards taking pictures..  no great lightening bolts…  I was a bit surprised by not getting some kind of divine impartation.
The next morning, I realized something.
It was a date.. a very good date. God just wanted me to spend time with Him… without the expectation of receiving some great insight to impress somebody or feel important.  I think God wants me to look for Him in that way more often if not everyday.
As to the metaphor..  I hear God telling me to trust Him to make my life bear the fruit it’s supposed to. This is an area I often try and take control of. I am quite sure I have expended vast amounts of energy in none fruit bearing misadventures.
God is the vinedresser.. that is precisely His concern. The branch does not make that decision. The vinedresser re orients the shoots continuously to allow for “breathing” ( air flow ) and exposure to the sunlight. The vinedresser trims away weak shoots and clusters that rob the branch of its full potential.
Jesus told the disciples that they were already being pruned by the teaching they had received. Teaching, directing, motivating, cultivating.. they are all pruning. Positioning. Pruning eliminates unproductive efforts. Unproductive in God’s perspective.  The worlds systems and ways of thinking are the wasted efforts. The worlds way of living apart from God is a fruitless, distracted way of living.
For weeks God has been directing me to abide in the vine. Saying, stay close….  My desire is to abide and experience intimacy with God like never before. The fruit is the vinedressers business. The surrender takes place when I give up the job of self pruning and abide.. stay attached and embrace the pruning which will certainly be painful and at times confusing, and confess, I do not have the perspective of the vinedresser.
I am putting down my pruning shears.
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Chandra

by on Jun.18, 2009, under Uncategorized

This is a quick post.. heading back to CSI school for girls. They are going to dance for us.  I would like to introduce Chandra. Mary and I have decided to sponsor her through Compassion International. She will be going to school with her sister, Sangetha, who the Wegner’s sponsor.   A lot more later…

img_9223Chandra and Sangetha

sangetha-chandra

Chandra and her Mother

chandra-motherThe view from their roof….. need I say more ?

yuck-2

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Chennia

by on Jun.09, 2009, under Uncategorized

We are on the ground. Great seats on the plane. We were upgraded !  Praise God !

img_0193img_0192

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What a great family!

by on Jun.06, 2009, under Uncategorized

wegners-in-london

I don’t remember right off hand ever being on any trip just like this. Rob and Michelle with there three lovely daughters, Madi, Whit and Belle have included me in what clearly is ” family time”.  I am humbled, honored and blessed.  

We are on our way to India with a lot of clear objectives. Somewhere in the process a decision was made mostly for the girls I think to break up the trip with a short break in London. I have been allowed an inside look into the way this family lives together. In a few words, they love each other. We are all tired !  Changing time zones in the middle of the night and trying to force your body to adjust just messes you up..really !  In short, any one would be proud of the way they are handling it.

Rob will be teaching a family life conference to about 150 pastors in a couple weeks in Chanai, Tamil Nadu India. He will be addressing issues related to being committed, Godly husbands and fathers. He would not have much left to teach if they could all just follow his family around like I have.

You can pray for these Indian pastors and the people they will be teaching when they return to their villages. There culture has done a lot to weaken the role of men in their families. Our culture in America is not far behind.

It’s 6:55 back in Michigan. It’s 11:55 here.. I think I should sleep… I really want to go eat something… Fatigue wins.. off to bed.

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Flight # 1 Done..

by on Jun.06, 2009, under Uncategorized

In London.. waiting for breakfast..its 4:45 Mi time.. my body already has no idea what time it is.. We got here safe and sound. A baby screamed almost all night on the plane. I felt sorry for the mom and the people near them. I met a nice lady from Kenya. She had been visiting her daughter in Indy. Her husband manages a 6 thousand acre tea plantation in Kenya. She was a Christian..  Her name was grace.

grace

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