Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Starting Point

In any attempt to effectively live, one's starting point in the thinking process is critical. Every day we live here in Brazil this starting point issue becomes more and more clear.

For example, in the USA we cherish the idea that "A person is innocent until proven guilty." We have heard that since childhood so we take it for granted. Here in Brazil the thought that is the starting point is "A person is guilty until proven innocent."
That is not what the Brazilian constitution says, but that is what the Brazilian public thinks and feels. I have asked dozens of Brazilians which starting point is true and they have all agreed that suspicion is king.

The practical consequence of this difference in this innocent or guilty is that Brazil is filled with rules and regulations for starting everything from business to marriages. The documents and proofs one is required to provide before beginning is truly amazing. It is an enormous and profitable industry.
Interestingly enough, after one gets started there are hardly any further questions or punishments.

In the USA getting started is so simple when compared to Brazil. In the USA the hassles and punishments come after you start and when you break the rules.

Imagine for a moment that you are in a city and you plan to be there two years. Would you buy a home or rent? I was taught that one needed a 5 year plan to stay before buying. If one is going to stay only two years it is better to rent. That is the power of the starting point in one's thinking.

In discipleship our starting point is Jesus' perfection for us at Calvary and Jesus' perfection in us right now. If we start with what is missing we will build an enormous and unneeded structure for trying to prove we are fit to be disciples. If we start with the perfect presence of Jesus the structures for discipleship will be as clean and simple as a vineyard.

The starting point makes the difference. Start with this thought in discipleship--Christ is all and is in all. Col. 3:11

Keep it simple and perfect.

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