2 things Tuesday! 2 things you can do to live your life Kingdom first! Last post for January!

  1. God created you on purpose for purpose. Just be you! You will never last trying to be someone else anyway, you can only act for so long. Houses made of cards crumble, and the real you will always surface. Here’s the good news, it’s ok. You will never be happy if you can not walk around, and be the you that God created you to be. There are a lot of people in this world to be reached by you that will not be reached by another, or a persona. Be who you are, and walk out your purpose.

2. Don’t seek the approval of people, and don’t be discouraged by their disapproval. They are both distractions, a waste of time, and temporary. High fives, and hearing great job are fine just don’t let it become what drives you. If it becomes the thing you seek then it can also become what tears you down when you don’t hear good job. (And let’s face it sometimes we don’t do a very good job) The same people who praise you one minute can be disapproving the next minute. That’s fine, that doesn’t change what God says about you, or what He has promised you. The ones that disapprove are sometimes won over, and this also doesn’t change what God says about you. You are His son, or Daughter either way. People’s words are temporary, God’s words are eternal.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

What happened to humility?

It seems to me that too many of us went to college and majored in log removal-how to remove the log from your lying, hypocritical brother or sister’s eye. How to slam your neighbor if they disagree with you. How to be hateful, and condemning in a Facebook post. How to post inappropriate pictures that show death and destruction on Facebook that you would never want your kids to see. Etc.

I see too many posts that say if you believe this, and not that you are a lying hypocrite. These keyboard warriors are really slamming these obviously ignorant people. The problem is that most of them are not offering any ideas, solutions, or putting forth any real action to solve the problems. We are demanding very difficult situations to be fixed, but acting as if we shouldn’t be the ones to do it. Let’s use the refugees for an example. Most of the people posting on this situation aren’t writing any checks to get them here, and they aren’t equipping their spare bedrooms to house them. We care enough to slam others, but we don’t care enough to inconvenience ourselves. Lets use an easier one. The county I live in has 25% of the children who live here go hungry when they are not at school. The county I live in also has way more than enough money to fix that problem. The question is who is contributing to help? Who even knows it’s a problem? Who is more worried about being right, and making their opinions known? We can war on the digital battlefield all day, all week, all year, forever, or we can humble ourselves and try to make a tangible difference while we have the chance. Hire someone, train someone, donate, open your home, do something. If you are passionate about the refugees then do something about it, not in the digital world, but the world you walk in. If it hurts your heart to see kids go hungry then do something about it.

We need to go back to school. We need to spend some more time with Jesus. The course He taught on this area was called spec removal-how to see that you are jacked up enough that you will never need to worry about the log in your brother or sister’s eye. How to walk in humility, and see the hurting people around you. How to see that it’s not all about your opinion, and realize you are empowered to raise people up. How to not waste time on senseless arguments, and to work at making a difference through loving people. Etc

We need to remember we were made perfect, and righteous by Him, but we also need to remember to renew our minds everyday. Our theology isn’t nearly as good as we think it is, we aren’t nearly as right as we think we are, and our perspective isn’t the only angle from which people can see things.

Let’s pray for each other rather than bash each other. Let’s put our heads together, and come up with solutions. Let’s put our hands together in order to implement those solutions. Let’s love and encourage one another, and spur each other on to good works.

Let’s live our lives Kingdom first!

Levi

How do I find contentment if I’m driven?

This post is in response to a reader’s question. I love the question, and I can relate. I used to feel guilty because I felt like I was wrong, and sometimes made to feel like I was wrong for continuously pushing towards goals and dreams.I think it probably comes from the bible, and people telling us to be content with what we have, but I think we turn it into something religious. We have to consider that the bible also tells us to grow, transform, and push forward. Let’s look at a short verse for contentment, and a short verse for drive.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (contentment)

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Philippians 3:12-15 (drive)

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Two scriptures out of many on this subject that we can glean from. The following is how the Lord helped me through the guilt I felt regarding my drive, and being content. You can be both driven, and content. You can always be pressing toward your goal, and be content at the same time. I believe our Father wants you to continually push toward the vision He has given you, and I believe He wants you to get where He has called you. We have to be careful how we define contentment. Contentment is usually defined as being happy with what you have, and where you are at. I will say there is nothing wrong with that definition in itself. The problem comes when we add stagnation to that definition. When we feel like we have to be stagnate, and stationary to show that we are content we mess up the application of contentment. Contentment is being happy with where you are because thank God He has transformed you, and grown you as you drive toward your goals, and you are no longer where you used to be. Contentment is walking in a spirit of gratitude towards your Father when things are going great, and when things are a struggle, but you are still pushing forward. You can be thankful for the little, or lot that you have while pushing with all you have to do the things He has called you to do. I think in a big way contentment is found when we get past selfish pursuits, and pursue the things He has in store for us. We will never be content if our goals are to obtain for selfish gain. A big part of the context to what Paul was saying in Philippians 3 is that nothing compares to knowing Jesus. If you know Jesus you can actually find real contentment (you can’t find it anywhere else) while finding your calling, and pushing with everything you have to serve that calling.

When we take things to extremes we make it religious. If you are all drive with no contentment you will just be wore out. Knowing the contentment that only Jesus brings, and walking in a constant spirit of gratitude allows you to pursue the goal with patience and persistence. Knowing Jesus allows you to be content right where you are, but it also brings expectation for where you are going.

Be thankful, be content, and don’t feel guilty for pursuing what He has called you to. Remember you do these things from a position of rest in Him, not out of personal strength to earn anything.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

What would you say?

What would you say to yourself if you walked in a room, and had the chance to have a serious sit down meeting with yourself at 18? I was recently challenged by this question while listening to a podcast.

I try to keep my posts to 750 words, or less so that they are a quick read. Sometimes it leaves me feeling like they are incomplete; however, I know that I would feel that way if I wrote 2,000+ words. Needless to say with this topic it would take a lot of words to be complete; however, I will try to keep it short.

Honestly the first thing I would tell myself is that it will take us months worth of meetings to get everything straightened out. It’s kind of funny, but true. When I thought deeply about this, and went through some serious self-reflection, I came up with two primary subjects I would talk about. You only have one meeting so you have to make it count.

Subject 1. Don’t let other people shape your understanding of who God is, get to know Him deeply for yourself. Listen, and learn from people; however, seek Him first. This will save you a lot of struggle in the near future, and a lot of time spent unlearning things in your life. In knowing Him deeply you will find that you come to know yourself as well. After all, He designed you to be who you are on purpose, and for purpose. Don’t let other people shape the vision you have for your life. If you do you will spend a lot of time fulfilling other people’s expectations, and never walking in fulfillment of your own vision and expectations. Celebrate other people’s vision, help other people with their vision, but know that it’s ok to blaze the trail towards the God-given vision that burns in your heart. Seek first the Kingdom in your decisions, not what other people will think or say. The people who matter will celebrate you.

Subject 2. You are very driven, and a very hard worker. You get that from your closest family, as it is a core value. It is a very good characteristic to have; however, it will not be enough on its own. You will have to couple some things to your drive, and hard work. Things like patience, persistence, and wisdom. The wisdom you will need will come from God, and Godly people. The wisdom of the world looks good, but looks can be deceiving. Godly wisdom will show you that good credit is simply your relationship with debt, the wisdom of the world will tell you establishing good credit (meaning putting yourself in debt) is one of the most important things you can do. The wisdom of the economic machine in America will tell you there is good debt, bad debt, and you can leverage debt to become wealthy. Godly wisdom will tell you to owe no one anything except to love them, and to multiply what you have. Remember looks can be deceiving, it can look like you have many assets, but let’s be really honest, if that asset carries debt with anyone it’s not really your asset anyway. This can lead to many troubles. These are just examples, and it’s ok for you to have this conviction even if it isn’t popular. It is also ok for you to support others that don’t carry your same convictions, whether it is this example or others. I will tell you that I’ve just stumbled onto an equation that you can use now, and in your future. I have never heard it exactly like this before. Drive and hard work + patience + persistance = wisdom = growth. Walk toward your vision, be patient and persist in the harder times, and you will gain wisdom as well as grow as a son of God. Of course it’s not a bad thing to learn from the wisdom gained by other people around you. Take this useful knowledge, and apply it to your life, it’s easier. However, you will find that applying this knowledge does not equate to the same growth in your life as earning wisdom through the before mentioned equation. It is harder, but it’s still worth it.

Bonus: Seek to be the most impressive to your wife, daughter, and family. They matter the most.

If you take this advice you will get where you want to be a lot faster, and a lot easier. If you don’t you will try a lot of things, and get caught up in other people’s ideas, but you will learn, grow, and be ok. Know your Father, and become who He created you to be.

There is so much more to be said within these two subjects, but I will bring this post to an end.

I am happy to have been able to share a piece of my heart with you. Leave a comment, tell me your thoughts, or share your heart. I challenge you to look at your 18-year-old self, and reflect. I would love to hear from you.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

2 things Tuesday! 2 things you can do to live your life Kingdom first!

  1. Never be so busy you miss dinner! The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of freedom, but also a kingdom of order. One application of this is to keep your priorities in order. Your relationship with your Father always comes first, but your relationship with your family should always be second. There will always be too much to do, put the to do list down, and pick up your kids. Take the time to eat meals together, and talk about current realities as well as future dreams with your family. There will be great opportunities come along, but none greater than time spent with your family. Work, and success are not bad things, but they are just things. Your time with your Father, and family is much more important. (read this example in Luke 10:38-42) You can also see an example of the value Jesus placed on His family when He had John take in His mother. John was to be her son, and she was to be his mother. (read it here in John 19:25-27) He wanted to make sure the people that were there with Him in His last moments would continue to walk together as family.
  2. This one is really easy to type, or say, yet very difficult to do on a consistent basis. Be no more like the world, than He is. (John 17:14) We as people tend to blend things. We tend to blend the world view with His view. If we can be more successful faster by doing it the world’s way we like to justify those areas. Sometimes our vision of success in the world is bigger than our vision to reach the world we were sent to reach with the message of the Kingdom, and the Father’s love. (John 17:16-23) His ways are higher, let us be like Him.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

I have to admit, I get frustrated.

It is frustrating to see people you know that call themselves followers of Christ spit venom at their brothers, sisters, and people around them because they don’t support the president that was inaugurated today in the USA. Life long learners, and proclaimers that never apply the words of Jesus in their life. We serve the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. There is no thing ever created that can separate us from Him and His love. He is our source, the current president is not our source. Do we really believe God works everything for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose? Do we really believe there will be no end to the increase of His government or of His peace? Or, are these just things we say to look, and sound the part? Some people are acting as if a person can change these things, people do not over rule our Lord.

So today I want to provide a list of a few scriptures that remind us all how to treat one another if we are going to call ourselves Christ like.

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.                       2 Corinthians 13:11

So encourage each other and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
 Hebrews 10:24

This is just a small sample out of the word that tells us these same things repeatedly. Let me reiterate with the words of Jesus himself, the one we say we are following.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. John 15:12

This is My command to you: Love one another. John 15:17

Let us follow the ONE commandment of our Jesus. Even if I get frustrated sometimes, I still love you all.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

2 things Tuesday! 2 things you can do to live your life Kingdom first!

  1. Learn from the King. Talk to Jesus everyday, and listen to what He has to say. Study His words everyday, and try to be more like Him, or should I say allow His spirit to transform you. Renew your mind, will, and emotions so that your soul aligns with your spirit. Do not adopt the behaviors of the world, adopt the behaviors of the King.
  2. Be a friend to the overlooked, and undervalued. Instead of being like a college or pro level coach that tries to recruit the stars in the spotlight, be like a high school coach that builds the people he or she has. Remember Jesus didn’t have a team full of religious superstars called pharisees and scribes, He had a team full of fishermen, and sinners.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

What are you building?

What are you building? The question itself implies that you should be building something, and I believe that to be true if we want to live a Kingdom first life. I personally believe there is a specific answer to what we should all be building, and that is people. I do think it is very important for us to be good stewards of all of our resources (time, talent, money, etc); however, I don’t think any of these things are as important as our relationship with Jesus, and His people. If you build your Relationship with the Lord, you can’t help but want to build other people.

Jesus used a parable to help a man who was concerned about the division of his father’s estate. He tells him to beware and guard himself against every kind of greed. I think this is something that we should always keep in mind. It is significant in the fact that it is ongoing. If you need to guard yourself, it means that you need to shield and protect yourself from attack by a strong enemy. That enemy in this case is every kind of greed. I think most people tend to think of monetary wealth and possessions when they think of greed, but Jesus specifically says every kind of greed. We can be overcome by this enemy in many areas. We can develop an intense selfish desire for power, knowledge, influence, food, materials, money, cars, and many other things. This selfish desire does not fit the character of the Holy Spirit that lives in the sons and daughters of the Kingdom.

Jesus tells this man a story about a farmer who had a fertile farm that produced so many crops that the farmer’s barns could not contain the whole harvest. I am going to describe this situation as more than more than enough. I say that because I think it is good for Kingdom people to have more than enough because we can use it to help, and build other people. (again not just money and possessions) This farmer had more than more than enough. He had what he needed plus barns (plural) that were full. I would call that good stewardship, wise planning, having an emergency fund, or whatever else you would like to insert there. However, what about all the crops that wouldn’t fit in his barns? The man decides to tear down his nice barns, and build new bigger ones to hold it all, and sit back and enjoy life. This is where Jesus calls the man a fool, and says what good will those barns be when you die tonight. He says a person is a fool to build earthly wealth, BUT not have a rich relationship with God. The but is important here. What if this farmer would have had a rich relationship with God? How may his story be different? He could have realized that his fertile land, skills, ability, etc all came from God in the first place. He could have realized without God he would not have the sun, and rain needed for his crops. He may have had a spirit of gratitude for more than enough, and not a spirit of greed for even more. He may have given his extra crops to needy families, he may have sold his extra crops for less than market value, he may have dried his crops, and given the seeds to other farmers as well as share his knowledge with them in order to build them into better farmers. The options are endless. I think that finding ways to help people is awesome, and I think finding ways to build people is even better. (You can read this parable here)

How much money do you need? How big does your house need to be? How many cars do you need? How much college do you need? How big does your house need to be? That is between you and your Father, I can’t answer that for you. I can’t tell you how big to build your house, but I can say in all of these things as a son or daughter of God you can ask how you can use it to build other people. EVERYTHING is just a resource that can be used to help ANYONE. Use your resources to build people not barns. Joshua Fields Millburn has a great quote on this, he says “Love people, use things. The opposite never works.” Jesus told the person who He called the foundation of His church to take care of His people. (read it here in John 21:15-17)

Let’s use another practical example for application. Suppose a family in your community loses their home to a fire. If you are the person that has more than more than enough home, say the large finished basement that is never used except for when family comes to visit. You can use that space to house the family, and build their spirit while they are there. If you are the person that has more than more than enough clothes, you can be the person that clothes them. If you are the person that has more than more than enough food, and an overflowing love to cook you can be the person that feeds them. If you are the person that has more than more than enough time, you can be the one that ministers to them daily to build their faith and trust that God truly does work everything for the good to those who believe in Him. This sounds like sons and daughters doing what Jesus asked us to do in Matthew 25:35-40. (read it here.) Let’s throw in one more. If you are a person with a wealth of experience in project management, and you have a wealth of relationships with all sorts of people, you may be the one that organizes the effort to rebuild this family’s home and life. These natural examples are also true in the spiritual.

We can all learn to build, but what are we going to build? I think a lot of that answer comes from who we learn from, and what system they live in. Kingdoms of the world are built through acquisition. Acquire more and more land, materials, power, money etc. The kingdom of God is built less by acquisition and more by impartation, and inspiration. If you can impart to the next generation, and inspire them to live a Kingdom first life, the Kingdom continues to advance long after you are gone. Acquiring will always fail because regardless of the resource it will eventually run out. However, the Kingdom of God is eternal. As Isaiah 9:7 says ” the increase of His government and it’s peace will never end.”

Build people, not barns. Feed and tend His sheep.

What are your thoughts? Comment below.

Live your life Kingdom First!

Levi

The courage to dream big

If you have the courage to dream big, you must have the tenacity to dream long. Most big dreams don’t happen over night. A tree does not produce edible fruit the same month it is planted in the ground. It takes many seasons, and the tree must be pruned many times for the tree to produce it’s best fruit possible. You must be willing to go through the process if you want your dream to become reality. You need the courage and tenacity to wait, you have to be a waiter.

A waiter in your favorite restaurant serves. The waiter’s whole function is to serve you to the best of their ability while you are in their restaurant. Serving is one of the ways we can live a Kingdom first life, and I am convinced that serving God and His people on your journey is the path to realizing your big dream, or promise. So what does this mean? It means that when it feels like you are making good progress you serve, and when it feels like you are stuck and nothing is going as planned you continue to serve. Serve with intentions to honor your Father, and His people.

Now let’s get real, nobody likes to wait. It can be frustrating, and tiresome; however, you will always gain way more than you lose if you just stay the course. Even if you don’t know exactly what your next step is, you can continue to serve as you let Holy Spirit guide you. If you’re like me you have a deep desire to do all that God has called you to do, and you want to get where He wants you to go, and to that I say be encouraged because He CREATED you to do those things, and He wants you to reach your destination more than you do.

So have the courage to dream big, and have the tenacity to dream long. You have a good Father, and he has great things in store for you!

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

2 things Tuesday! 2 things you can do to live your life Kingdom first!

  1. Have compassion on the people and the culture around you. There is no lack of opportunities for us to reach people. The multitudes are stressed, dispirited, anxious, and wore out with no shepherd to help them. You can be that person! Insert yourself into the culture around you and proclaim the good news of the King and His Kingdom. Good news is always accepted! Read an example of Jesus in action here in Matthew 9:35-38.
  2. Relate and reveal. Relate with people where they are at, not where you think they should be. Reveal your similar struggles, and the testimonies that Jesus turned them into. It’s hard to help someone if you can not truly relate to them. I can give a great example from my life. For most of my adult life I never had any financial hardships, and when people would ask for advice in this area I would say it’s simple, just do this, this, and this. Now that I have experienced a financial struggle, I know what it feels like, and I can truly relate. I can say it’s hard, it hurts, and this is what I did, and what I am doing to be victorious in that battle.

 

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi