Be thankful for people

One of the things Jesus does for us is to place the right people in our lives. We need to be thankful for those people because we will get nowhere without them.

Be thankful for the people who love, support, celebrate, and encourage you.

Be thankful for the people who invest their time and resources in you.

Be thankful for the people who lead you.

Be thankful for the people who offer you their perspectives.

Be thankful for the people who challenge you.

Be thankful for the people who force you to bury your offense button in order to maintain your character.

Be thankful for the people who make you consider that maybe you are wrong.

Be thankful for the people who flat-out do not like you.

Be thankful for the people you get to love, support, celebrate, and encourage.

Be thankful for the people you get to sow your time and resources into.

Be thankful for the people you get to lead.

Be thankful for the people who value your perspective.

Be thankful for the people who listen to your challenge, and don’t take offense.

Be thankful for the people who choose to like you even with all of your flaws.

Be thankful for all of these people. These people all play a role in you becoming a better, more complete person. More importantly they all play a role in you becoming a more Christ like person. I would even say this, you may reach the end of your life just fine without people, but you will never become who you are supposed to be before you get there.

God is for you, and I am for you!

 

According to the needs of the people….a lot of church leaders have abandoned this concept…..

One of the unfortunate things that happen in the American church culture is to abandon the needs of the people. A lot of churches are trying to function in such a way as to be on a continuous growth curve, but unfortunately a lot of times it is just for the sake of becoming a bigger church with a bigger name. They want to have internal growth, bigger checking accounts, and the looks of success. The problem with all of this is that a lot of these same churches have had zero growth in their community impact, and reaching the needs of the people. A lot these same churches do not even have true internal growth as the benefits only go to a small percentage of the people.

This is not what we see in the bible. I would venture to say that Jesus did not want big churches that looked like big businesses. The business world revolves around trying to increase personal profit. I think the church world should revolve around profiting others.

The two chapters that I am using today both speak of the group of people, the early church, selling their own belongings in order to distribute the money according to the needs of the people.

How much of this have you seen going on recently? How many of you would sell your own stuff in order to give the money to the church leaders in order for them to distribute it according to the needs of the people? How many of us would have trouble trusting the church leaders to do the right thing? How many of us are selling our stuff so that we ourselves can give the money to people in need? How many of us are selling stuff we value to other people who need it more than we do?

How many leaders, and people are you watching sell their own property to help others? How many leaders, and people are you watching downsize their house to help others? How many are you watching drive older vehicles? How many are you watching share everything they have?

Instead of teaching things like christians should have the biggest, and nicest house to sleep in because of blessings and favor, we taught things like christians should try to make sure everyone has a house to sleep in. Instead of teaching things like the poor you will have with you always means you can’t make everybody “get it”, we taught that there will always be people in need and therefore ministry opportunity.

The final questions: How can we change? Where can we improve? What opportunities do we have to serve the needs of the people?

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Acts 2, and Acts 4

 

 

 

Calling and purpose simplified

Everyone wonders about their calling and purpose. I would also say that most people over analyze, and over complicate their calling and purpose. I know I always have; however, things have become much more clear and simplified for me this year. With that being said I would like to share with you what the Lord has shown me in these things.

Remember this is simplified, not exhaustive.

Romans 8:28-28 And we know that [a]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (emphasis mine)

We ARE called, and we are called according to HIS purpose. Your calling does not come out of your own great idea, It comes from a God idea. His purpose for you is your calling. How does that help? I am glad you asked.

I will share a scripture that sums up purpose and calling.

Matthew 28:19-19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

So we all have a purpose and calling to disciple nations (a plurality of people). How does that clarify what you are to do personally? This is what the Lord revealed to me.

God places a desire or you could even call it a burden in us for a place, He places in us things that we are naturally good at because of giftings and abilities, as well as desires to do certain things, and He places in us a connection to certain people that we can’t always explain as well as a desire to help certain groups of people. You could possibly say that we all have the same purpose to disciple groups of people; however, the way we are called to do it, where we are called to do it, and with whom we are called to do it is all personalized by God.

So calling and purpose simplified is to go where He has put in your heart to go, do what He has put in your heart to do, and do it with the People He has put in your heart to do it with.

Now this is where faith comes in, faith is actually doing it. Faith is getting rid of all of the excuses as to why you can’t go, and can’t do.

I’m going to leave it at that. Be encouraged, let your faith rise up, and go do it.

God is for you, and I am for you!

How to live your life kingdom first series conclusion/summary

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 5 you can read it here.

This series has contained a lot of things that pertain to how we should behave and act towards other people. With that being said, the gospel message has never been about behavior modification. It has always been about Jesus Christ. You can not change people, and I would even say it is very hard to convince people, but Christ transforms people. This transformation is one where He transforms you into His likeness, and through this transformation if you are truly becoming more like Him your behavior towards other people will change because He sees people through the finished work of the cross.

We should offer our complete selves to God, and allow Him to perform an inward transformation, and completely change our minds because the truth is that they need to be changed. We conform to the standards of the world in so many ways, and the church mixes and blends the ways of the world with the ways of the king and His kingdom in so many ways. There is so much around us that is counter to the kingdom yet sounds spiritual that we must let Him do continuous internal transformation in order to avoid the traps and pitfalls.

We have to remember not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, we need His continuous help on our journey through this life He gave us. We also have to remember that our perspective isn’t the only perspective, and to show sincere love to others even when they disagree with us. We should use the gifts God has given us to serve other people, even if they have a different perspective on things. We should work hard in serving the Lord and His people loving them and showing them respect.

Care for people, be concerned for people, bless people, and so on. This is not just for those you agree with, or like. The bible even says to do this for our enemies. Do everything you can do to live in peace with people. One thing I tell people is to always try to do what you know to be right in the Lord, and don’t worry about other people being hateful and trying to make themselves your enemy. Just as the Lord continues to work in you, He will continue to work in them. I have never had anyone apologize to me after I got mad and acted foolishly; however, I have had people apologize to me when I didn’t react and they felt their own conviction later on. (I have also been the one who needed to apologize)

This is the life that we are called to live. One that is humble, and patient. One that shows love, and seeks to maintain unity with our brothers and sisters. We are all one as the body of Christ, none of us more valuable or better than another. There is not a one of us that is no longer in the transformation process. We all have struggles along the way, but we also have unique gifts and abilities to help each other along. We may only know in part, but we should use that part to live a life that reflects Christ, not the world. The world seeks to acquire, gain, and make self bigger. The nature of Christ seeks to give, become less, and make God bigger.

I hope this series has helped you in some way!

Live you life kingdom first!

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

 

 

 

How to live your life kingdom first part 5

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 4 you can read it here.

Up to this point I have written about some practical things that we can do to live our daily lives kingdom first. Today I am going to write about a few things we should not do.

We should not pass judgement on one another. I have issues, you have issues, they have issues, we all have issues. With that being said, why do we come to a point where we think it is necessary to judge other people? Regardless of what scriptures you want to use to justify judging others, turning your back, or handing them over to satan it is counter to the new covenant  message of Christ. We should make up our minds to not pass judgement, and decide to help those that stumble. We should do everything we can to ensure that there is mutual edification among us.

We should also not be inconsiderate in our freedom in Christ. If there is a person that regards something as unclean, yet you know in your heart it is not unclean for you, you should put the other person first, and not be a stumbling block to them. In example, Do not be a Jew passing judgement on a Gentile for eating something that is just fine for them to eat. On the other hand do not be an inconsiderate Gentile and scarf it down in front of the Jew. To act either way is to no longer act in love. Now just take that example and apply it to all of your modern scenarios.

This also applies to theology. We as people tend to think we are the theology police. That we are right, and anyone that believes differently is wrong. This is a pretty foolish stance to take, and it is one that will make you eat crow and humble you. (I have been foolish, humbled, and I have owed some apologies) I can say from experience that if you continuously study the word of God, what you believe now may not be what you believe five years from now. We are all on a journey, and we are all wrong about some things. This is certainly no area to be passing judgement. We know in part, and we see through a glass dimly. We don’t know it all.

Romans chapter 14 covers all of these things.

We should not provoke each other. This entails a lot of different things with the most obvious probably being that we should not provoke each other to anger. But there are many more things to consider in this. We should not provoke each other to envy. We should not provoke others to do something we are doing that we know we are called to do if it is not what they are called to do, this will only hinder them. We should only provoke each other to good works. We have all been commissioned to disciple nations; however, we are not all called to do it the same way. (Hint: do not pass judgement in this area either)

Do not grumble, and complain against one another. This is a big one in the church world. People grumbling, complaining, and gossiping about each other all the time. Acting this way is not acting in love. We are supposed to be hospitable. We are supposed to be excited about and for others. The bible even tells us to greet each other with love, excitement, and joy. All the grumbling, complaining, and gossiping usually comes from the root of us placing ourselves as judge. What would happen if we just made up our minds that we were not going to say anything bad about other people? What would happen if we looked inward and said you know what I’m messed up enough that I don’t even have time to worry about where they’re messed up? There’s a challenge we can all take away from this post.

So we know there are some things we should be doing to live a kingdom first life, but there are also some things we should not be doing.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Scriptures: Romans 14, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Colossians 3, James 4 and 5, 1 Peter 4 and 5.

How to live your life kingdom first part 4

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 3 you can read it here.

The fifth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to encourage one another.

I think one scripture really sums this up well, and that is Ephesians 4 verse 29. It says 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I will probably come back to Ephesians chapter 4 later in this series; however, for now I will just work with this one verse.

So when we look at this verse we can see that the only thing that should be coming out of our mouths towards, or about others is what will build them up/encourage them. We can also then define what unwholesome talk is, and that is anything that does not build up and encourage. If it tears people down, discourages, judges, ridicules, lies about, gossips about, curses, or anything along these lines then it is unwholesome. This does not mean that you never say anything that challenges someone, or holds them accountable as this will benefit them; however, I will say that for these types of things you should have a solid relationship with someone before you speak to them in such a way. In my opinion, if you do not have a solid established relationship with someone you will have a hard time bringing accountability.

If we are honest with ourselves about these things I would venture to say we all do roughly the same thing when we are on the receiving end of unwholesome talk, we turn those people off, we disregard what they say, or we let their words bring us down. With that we can say that a sure-fire way to NOT reach and connect with people is to speak in ways that discourage, judge, ridicule, etc. This is why preaching anger, fire, and brimstone doesn’t work. It may produce fearful, discouraged, never good enough people, but it will never produce relational, and healthy people.

How we talk to people has a huge impact on how they see us, and how they see God. It could be the difference in a person deciding to always run away, or always run to when they mess up. If they know you will judge them, they will always run away and be discouraged. If they know they can come to you and be encouraged, they will always run to you. It is the same in how they view God, if He is angry judge they will run away, if He is encouraging father they will run to.

It doesn’t matter what the life scenario is you can always encourage someone. You can always encourage someone in the hope that we have in Christ.

Every single one of us talk to people every single day; therefore, we can have an impact on people everyday. Let us do our best to keep unwholesome talk out of our mouths. Let us try to build up and encourage people every chance we get. This series is about living a kingdom first life. This is everyday life stuff, it really isn’t over complicated, you really can live your life kingdom first, and you really can make a kingdom impact everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!

Vacation is officially over…..so it’s time for How to live your life kingdom first part 3.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 2 you can read it here.

The fourth practical thing we can do to live our lives kingdom first is to humbly serve one another. This may be the thing that will stand out the most as counter to American culture. American culture is driven by chasing the dream, climbing the ladder, becoming the boss or the buck stops with me person, building bigger houses, creating personal empires, and achieving culture defined success. Furthermore, it’s done at the expense of other people, and getting creative on how you justify it. Humbly serving others goes in the opposite direction, you set aside becoming the ‘man’. Achieving the ‘highest’ rank in the kingdom if you will is to become the greatest servant. It’s not about how high you can climb the ladder or what kind of title you can get people to call you, it’s about how low you can go in order to serve others, and lift them higher. In addition to that, this is not sitting on your perch calling people higher, this is you getting down in the mud with them, and helping them out of the pit without ever asking them how they got their because the truth is it doesn’t matter. You are not their judge, you should be a servant with a heart for people. When you see those people who are struggling, and we all struggle from time to time, your heart shouldn’t be looking at how they got there, but how you can help them get out. This ties in with loving others, and accepting others. I should look at others with the love of Christ, accept them wherever they are at, and serve them wherever they are at.

Christ gives us the ultimate example in John 13:1-17. Furthermore, He commands us to do the same. Here we see the creator of all things, the king of kings, and the lord of lords come down from His position as the most high and wash some dirty stinky feet, and ultimately die for us. He said that if He washed their feet then they should wash each others feet, and He said I gave you this example and you should do as I have done to you. The truth is that you could never be higher than the one who sent you, and we are all sent by Him. To act like you are better than anyone else, or to even think it is a huge statement of pride. Furthermore, you will never be any higher than the one whose feet you are washing, we are a flawed, we are just flawed in different ways.

The word tells us in Galatians 5 to use our new covenant freedom to serve one another, not ourselves. I think Galatians 6 gives us a good picture of how we can do that, here is an excerpt: 6 “Brethren, even if [a]anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” This is a picture of humbly and gently helping someone who has fallen all the while recognizing that you too are flawed and could be tempted yourself. This is recognizing that sometimes things happen to people who cause them to have more of a load than they can carry on their own. This isn’t ‘calling’ people higher in order to sound spiritual when you really just don’t want to get dirty. This is jumping in and helping because you know that you are no better, and you may need help with your own burdens someday. We often carry way more than we could ever make it to the end of the race with, more than we could ever handle. Why do we do that? I would venture to say it is because we have been judged before, we’ve been told we won’t be blessed until we get it right, that we no longer have God’s favor simply because life happened to us.  I would venture to say we don’t want that kind of help. If He was willing to die for me when I was completely lost, then I would think He is willing to continue blessing me while I’m doing my best to live my life for Him. Human faults and stumbles don’t break eternal God promises. We should humbly submit to one another, and serve one another out of deep respect for Christ, not out of what a person has or has not done.

We should use our gifts to serve others. It is through doing this that we show ourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace. We should remain humble, and always carry a servants heart toward others.

I think Philippians 2 sums this up pretty well. Here is an excerpt: 2 “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Look at others as better than you, look out for their interests first, and don’t do things out of selfish ambition. Sounds like the opposite of what we experience everyday. We’ve been conditioned to think it is ok to use others for our own gain, and profit. However, that is not who we are supposed to be. We should serve others in a way that we make sure they get a higher value from us than what we get from them.

For me, I know that I will always be able to improve in this area. With marriage, fatherhood, family, friends, ministry, strangers, and so on it is hard to always keep the right attitude and be the servant of all. However, I know that this is who I, and who we are supposed to be.

Make it a point to humbly serve others today, and everyday.

God is for you, and I am for you!