Monday, March 7, 2011
Each of us has been entrusted by our Creator with skills, talents, abilities, and resources to be used for His glory and to further His kingdom. Each of us will one day give account for how we have used the resources entrusted to us. In order to be counted faithful we must maximize the return on every skill, talent, ability, and resource we have been given.
Does that mean that if I am supporting a mission organization, and I learn they are not using their resources as wisely as I believe they should, that I redirect my support to another mission organization where the resurces entrusting to them will be used for better purposes?
Some would quickly answer that question with a loud "Yes!"
How did you answer?
Here is a follow up question:
How about our Lord?
Is He going to take resources from us and give them to another who will give Him a better return?
Think about it! Is there any resource your Lord has given you that you are not fully utilizing?
Are you wasting irreplacable time on Google Earth, facebook, e-mail, chat, twitter, skype, IM, etc?
Could your Lord find another servant who would do your job and give Him a better return?
Are you faithful?
Sunday, October 31, 2010
How many of you reading this would like for your life to be more fulfilling? How many of you have tried time and again to make your life more fulfilling, only to end up more frustrated than ever?
If you are like most people then one of those two options fits you. I’ve spoken to people whose lives were so frustrating that they didn’t want to wake up and face another day. If that were where things ended it would be pretty frustrating, but things don’t have to end there. There is hope! There is hope for you! You can have a fulfilling life!
Is there a catch? There’s not a catch, but there is a choice. If you keep on doing what you have always done you will keep receiving what you’ve always received. It’s like any other process. If you don’t like the way your cookies turn our then you must change the recipe, the oven temperature, the time you leave them in the oven, or something. Leaving everything the same will simply give you the same results. The same is true for our lives. You must choose to make a change.
Are you willing to change? If not then you might as well stop reading right here. Save your time and go watch your favorite TV program, eat a cookie, drink a coke, or do something else. But if you want to have a life that will give you a greater thrill than you have ever imagined then read on.
First Point: The whole basis for a fulfilling life is discovering your purpose. Look, everyone knows that every person has unique fingerprints, heartbeat, brainwaves, DNA, etc. Why are we all different? We are all different because we are each designed for a different role in life. Like a huge jigsaw puzzle, each of us have a unique function. But most of us look at someone else’s life and think we want to be like them, and then we get frustrated to death trying to be something we were never designed to be. Trying to become like someone else will never fulfill us because we miss out on being us, who we were designed to be and what we were designed for. Give it up! Forget trying to be like someone else. Let go of that frustration.
Second Point: Nobody can tell you what you need to be or do. Hundreds of people want to tell you what you need to do and what you need to be. Forget it. They don’t know what you were designed to be or designed to do. That’s for you to figure out. That’s your adventure. That’s your life. Nobody is exactly like you and nobody can tell you what you were designed to do.
Third Point: To find your life purpose you must get right with your Creator so that He can guide you. Now don’t go thinking I’m getting all religious on you because I’m not. Let me define a religion for us: all religions try to help man find a way to earn or deserve the favor of their God. I’m not talking about you having to earn, pay for, buy, or do anything else to gain favor with God. You can’t do anything to gain God’s favor. What I am talking about is accepting God’s gift so that what is separating you and Him can be taken away and you can have the relationship with Him that He created you to have. You can’t do it, but you can let Him do it. You have a choice to make because it’s what you have done wrong that has separated you from Him. So since you are the one who did the wrong you have to be the one to give Him permission to remove that wrong and get it out of the way. God is a gentleman and He will never violate your will. How do you start a relationship with God? Easy. Check out www.NeedHim.org and follow the links, or call them. Post a reply and I’ll get in touch with you just as quickly as I can. Please keep in mind that sometime I’m traveling outside the U.S. and may not get to read my e-mails for a week or two.
Forth Point: Once you have a relationship with your Creator you can get direction from Him. In fact, he wants to give you direction. In Psalm 23:8 God says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Count on it. God will guide you and direct you. Another verse to keep in mind is James 1:5 where God says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Fifth Point: You can’t do it on your own. You need to find a mentor who will help you grow and reach your maximum potential. Find a person of the same gender who has walked with God longer and has gone down the road of life further then you have and ask them to take time to meet with you weekly to share their greatest lessons with you.
Sixth Point: By design, God’s plan for your life is too big for you to accomplish it without Him. We like to play it safe and only take on projects we can accomplish on our own, with resources we can pull together, with funds we can raise, and with volunteers we can recruit. God wants us to take on projects so big that they will never succeed without Him. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that we cannot please God unless we have faith in Him, and I believe the reason is that if we never learn to trust Him we will never take on the projects God designed for us. We must learn to step out of our comfort zone and take on those projects that our heart craves yet also scare us half to death. Most people live their lives never taking on anything they can’t do on their own. That’s called playing it safe, and those people never need to see God show up. As a result they never experience the thrill of seeing God show up and being a part of something God is doing.
Seventh Point: Step out of your comfort zone and trust God. Begin with those small things of being faithful and little by little God will give you larger and large projects until you are doing what thrills your heart and soul. You can’t keep playing it safe and avoiding risk if you expect God to show up. God only shows up when we trust Him enough to step out and attempt the impossible. Get good godly counsel and move forward trusting God to show up.
Well, by now you’ve got some ideas. Share them with me and let me know what you’re thinking. I’d love to hear from you.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Have you ever considered expressing the Christian life mathematically? I hadn’t either until I was sharing with my wife how often we get an incorrect view of our life in Christ. I told Debbie that often we think only of our part, and we forget that God has a part in this too.
Here is what came to Debbie when I told her that:
(Me + My Problems + My Solutions) + God = Christian Life
Now that pretty well explains how I was taught. I was taught that once I came to know Jesus as my Savior I needed to surrender to Him and obey Him. I was told all of what I was supposed to do but not given much hope of how this was supposed to happen.
Here is the other part Debbie came up with:
God(Me + My Problems) = Victory
That’s it! God influences me and God influences my problems to give me victory. It’s not all up to me! The truth is, I can’t do it on my own. I know because I’ve tried, failed, and gotten frustrated and depressed over how many times I’ve failed.
Dear friends, we were never supposed to life the Christian life on our own. We are told to live our new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Look at what Philippians 1:6 says:
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
While it is true that our part is to surrender and obey as much as is humanly possible, we must also keep in mind that God has a part, and that is to fill us with the power of His Holy Spirit to enable us to do what in humanly impossible.
If you were raised as I was you may be skeptical. I don’t blame you. But just take a look at these verses and make then make up your own mind.
“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
“For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
“that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” Ephesians 3:16
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” Ephesians 3:20
“strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously” Colossians 1:11
“For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Colossians 1:29
“for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;” 1 Thessalonians 1:5
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
See my point? That’s why I had to conclude that I was missing something, and that’s why I began searching God’s word for what it was I was missing. I hope this challenges you to search too and discover the power of God to lead you to a victorious and abundant life in the power of Jesus.
Until next time,
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Dad’s, if your kids hate to eat their peas and carrots what do you do? Well, there is one thing I know and that is you don’t do is feed them a strict diet of peas and carrots until they grow to like them. Of course not! That would only make them hate you as well as the peas and carrots. You continue to introduce them to peas and carrots over time, hoping that they will get to the point where if they don’t like them they will at least get to where they will eat them because they learn that peas and carrots are good for them.
Why is it then, that we pastors keep on harping on the things our congregations don’t grasp? Our people don’t serve so we harp even more on their need to serve. Our people don’t give so we harp over and over on how they need to give. Our people don’t share their faith so we harp repeatedly on them about how they need to be sharing their faith. It’s no wonder people stop serving, and stop giving, and eventually stop coming to church all together.
We teach our children and help them grow and mature so that they will make the right choices. Once they become mature we expect them to eat what is good for them so that they stay healthy. We teach them the fundamentals and then we teach them more mature subjects until they get to where they can make mature decisions on their own.
Let’s do the same with our church family. Let’s stop harping about the same subjects that they don’t get and lets focus on helping them become mature. Let’s stop trying to change them and let’s start feeding them the food that the Holy Spirit can use to convict them of what they need to do. Let’s help them grow to maturity so that they can begin discovering things for themselves.
Remember, Jesus said He would grow His church. Let’s stop frustrating ourselves by attempting to do God’s work for Him and let’s relax and do what He told us to do, make disciples. If we’ll do that then lives will be changed, we will be a lot happier, God’s church will grow.
Grow them to maturity and make disciples.
Until next time…
Your success as a leader depends on having these three people in your life
1. You need a mentor – an older person to give you guidance
2. You need a companion – a person who will listen and encourage you
3. You need an apprentice – a person you are training
A mentor teaches you faster than you can teach yourself. The stories, the guidance, the wisdom that they provide give you the benefit of understanding the world we live in before you actually live it. And the emotional support and reassurance that somebody who has "been there and done that" can offer to a greenhorn is invaluable as you navigate your way through new experiences.
One of the most beneficial steps you can take is to seek out mentors. It is no accident that Luke Skywalker needed his Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars series, that Daniel-san needed Mr. Miyagi in the classic Karate Kid movie series, or that Alexander the Great needed Aristotle as his teacher and mentor. Each of these mentors played a huge part in the success of their apprentice.
Every young hero (you) needs a master to learn from so that you can grow in knowledge, insight, understanding, and wisdom. You need the guidance of somebody with greater experience to act as a sounding board and sympathetic ear in those confusing and difficult times.
I urge you to seek out a mentor. Whether it’s an old boss, a more senior colleague, or simply and older person that you admire, develop those relationships that can make your growth and development richer, better-informed, and more successful.
The companion is that person who knows you so well that he can read between the lines of what you say and hear what you aren’t saying.
Your companion must share your core values, those things that make you who you are, those values that you never want to compromise even when you are all alone and no one is watching.
This person must be of the same gender, close to your age, and have things in common with you. This person listens to you when you’re happy, when you’re sad, and when you’re angry.
This companion is more than just a friend. This companion is the person you can count on to come help you at 2:00 a.m. when you are working night shift and your car breaks down on the way home.
This is the person who cares so deeply about you and your success that he will give up his own convenience for your good.
The apprentice is the person you are teaching, mentoring, and pouring your life into to help them in the same way your mentor is helping you.
We never really master a subject until we have taught that subject to another person. You need an apprentice for you sake as well as for his sake, so that as you help another person you yourself are mastering the subject.
As you teach another person the knowledge you have gained become clearer, you begin to see how that knowledge and shaped you, resulting in your successes or failures. In other words, that knowledge becomes wisdom as it moves from simply head-knowledge to heart-knowledge.
Until we begin teaching what we have learned and experienced our knowledge remains foggy and unclear. The lines never become defined so that we can explain why we believe what we believe, so that we ourselves cannot make full use of the knowledge we have gained over the years. But as we begin teaching another person we rethink our experiences and explain them through examples to where they move from our head to our heart, and the result is that we ourselves establish a firm basis for our own personal convictions and believes.
Until next time…
Recently I was challenged by someone telling me something to the effect that it is better to have church growth through multiplication than through addition. They mentioned the early church in Acts chapter 2 as the example.
Is that really true? An even better questions is this: are we supposed to be growing the church, or is that God’s job?
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said that He would build His church. In 1 Corinthians 3:6 Paul write that God was the one who made the church grow.
In Acts 2:41, 4:4, 5:14, 6:1, 6:7, 9:31, 9:35, 9:42, 11:21, 11:24, 14:1, 14:21, 16:5, and 17:12 we find people were added, people believed, the church increased, the church grew in number, people turned to the Lord. It seems that in each case people were added. Nowhere do we find any mention of multiplication.
In Acts 4:31, 8:25, 11:19, 13:5, and 13:44 we find the disciples preaching the word. Actually, we don’t find them doing anything else.
So here is the real question: Are we attempting to do what Jesus said He would do? Are we attempting to grow the church, instead of letting Jesus grow the church? Are we coming up with our methods, (such as saying we prefer multiplication over addition) instead of simply following God’s methods?
Have we become ineffective and frustrated because we are attempting what our Lord never intended for us to do? Should we focus on preaching God’s truth and letting Him grow His church?
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you on this one.
Until next time,