Core Values

I believe everyone should know, or be seeking to know their core values. Your core values help define who you are, what you do, and what you say no to. If you have no idea where to start, here is a link to over 500 core values you can choose from.

Most core value lists are simply words, and I think that is great. However, I also feel like it is incomplete. One of the things my wife, and I have done is to agree on a definition that adds action, and emotion to our core values. I am going to share some of our core values with you, and how we defined them.

The list I will share with you today is the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. This is certainly not all of our core values, but if we are going to live a kingdom first life, I believe the fruit of the spirit better be at our core.

Love-We will lay down our own agenda out of love for our Father, and place others before ourselves. We will love others with no expectations of anything in return.

Joy-The joy of the Lord is our strength. Happiness is temporary as it is based on events. We have joy meaning sheer gladness because Holy Spirit lives in us. Our joy is not fleeting, but permanent because of His goodness.

Peace-We are free from internal struggle because we know Jesus has made us complete, and whole. We are free from external struggle because He is our source, and provider. If God is for us nothing can stand against us.

Patience-We have the capacity to wait upon the Lord, and His will. We will endure without getting angry, or upset. We also choose to exercise this same endurance when people come against us.

Kindness-We will be soft-hearted, warm-hearted, and open-hearted towards others. This internal working of Holy Spirit will be seen in our actions, and reactions towards people.

Goodness-God has made us righteous. Our goodness is His work in action. We will do what is good in the eyes of our Lord, and encourage others to do the same.

Faithfulness-We seek to prove ourselves trustworthy, and faithful to God even in spite of tremendous pressures, weaknesses, or temptations. When know that when we fail, He remains faithful.

Gentleness-We will not come with a whip, but with love and a gentle spirit. We know that no one has it all figured out, and we are all prone to weakness; therefore, we have no right to act harshly.

Self control-We seek to master, and bring our mind, will, emotions, and body under the control of Christ.

We kept our definitions short. You can make yours long, or even shorter than ours, but I challenge you to define them. Don’t use the dictionary definition to define your core values. Use your resources, but define them in a way that make them real to you.

Comment, or email and let me know if this was helpful. Which one of ours was your favorite?

Live you life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

Where do I start?

This post is in response to several readers asking the question where do I start. Specifically they are born again believers that don’t know where to start in reading their bible, and they asked me where they should begin, and what they can do to better understand their bible. I suppose there could be endless responses to this question, but I am going to share with you my response and why. However, before I do that I just want to say that my brief summaries are in no way meant to be commentaries, or anything of that nature. They are just meant to be a simple, and quick view of the content.

My advice was to first read, reread, and study 8 chapters in their bibles with those chapters being Romans chapters 7 and 8, and the book of Galatians. This was my response because these 8 chapters are not overwhelming in content or length, and they will help you understand who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in. Being confident in these three things will give you the lens that you need to look through when you are in other parts of the bible. It also paves the way for the kingdom first life. If you know who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in, you can then begin to understand why you are here, what you are supposed to do, how you are supposed to do it, when you are supposed to do it, and where you are supposed to do it in order to advance His Kingdom on this earth.

Let’s take a quick look at the content in these chapters to see where I got my statements of knowing who God is, who you are, and what covenant you are in.

Romans 7

Sin makes you a slave, but in Christ you died to sin. The law makes you a slave, but when you are bound to Christ you are released from the law (old covenant/mosaic covenant). Who are you? You are not a slave, and you are no longer under the old covenant.

Romans 8 (maybe my favorite chapter in the bible, but I don’t know if I can pick just one)

There’s no condemnation in Christ as His spirit has set you free from the law and sin. All of the righteous requirements of the law have been met in you through Christ. Those that are led by His spirit are the CHILDREN of God, no longer slaves, but through adoption are now the CHILDREN of God who call on their FATHER. You are now entitled to the inheritance of your FATHER. As a child of God you have purpose, and your Father works everything in your favor, and He is for you all the time. God is the one who justified you; therefore, nothing can condemn you. You are now a conqueror, and nothing in all of creation can separate you from the love of your Father. Who is God? He is your Father who loves you so much words can not describe it. Who are you? A child of God.

Galatians

There is no other gospel except for Christ, and all He has done. You are justified by faith, and you must not fall back under the old covenant, or place others under the old covenant. You are dead to the law, and the life you live is by faith in the Son of God. Those that place themselves under the old covenant place themselves under a curse. Those that live by faith in Christ place themselves in grace and blessing. It is reiterated that you are no longer a slave, but a child who calls on their Father. In an analogy using the sons of Abraham Paul tells us to throw out the old covenant, and take our place as children in the new covenant. You are free in Christ, do not use your freedom to walk in the flesh as you will reap destruction. Walk in the spirit so that the fruit of the spirit is produced in your life, and you will reap life eternal.

God is your loving Father, you are his beloved child, and you are under the new (best) covenant. It is in my opinion so important to have this perspective as you go about studying the whole bible. If this were the couch to 5k program I would also say that being confident in these things will get you to the 5k much quicker.

Have questions? Feel free to ask, and your questions will never become posts if you want them to be kept private.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

Have you ever been told you couldn’t do something?

There have been a lot of things in my life that I have done that someone told me before hand I could not do. With that being said there are still times in my life that I am not confident that I can really succeed in the things that God has told me I will do in His Kingdom. Sometimes I am discouraged by what others say, and sometimes I have an inner struggle about what I can do. I build my confidence in these areas by telling myself that I can do whatever God has called me to do because He is leading me, and empowering me. I remind myself of the things He has already done. Sometimes we get so focused on the gap before us that we forget about the gaps He has already helped us through that are behind us. The road behind us was once full of gulfs that seemed impassable, but now that we are on the other side we forget part of the lesson we learned by making it through. God is always faithful. He was faithful in your past, He is faithful in your present, and He will be faithful in your future.

A simple personal story:

When I was called to help start a new church, I was excited, and ready to see God work through this new church. I was ready to see the Lord build His church, and build a family of believers in this new area. I was ready to take my place in His plan, and do all that He called me to do while I was there. As the church grew, and we implemented structure and culture it was time to do our first set of ministry interviews for our first true church members, and see how we could connect them to what God was doing. One of the first interviews I read (I didn’t personally sit with this particular person) could have been very destructive. To say it simply, this person said that I should be replaced. I would be lying if I said that didn’t sting a little bit, and make me think. However, I didn’t think about it for very long, just a few minutes. It was God that called me there, and His word carries veto power. People can have discouraging words, opinions, and tell you that you can’t do something, or that you should be replaced because they don’t like your style, but none of those things can over rule what God says. God closed that gap, and several years later I am not being replaced, instead I will soon be proud to see a man step up further into the plans the Lord has for him, and I will continue on in the plans He has for me. Seek first His Kingdom, and don’t worry about the naysayers.

My life story is full of this stuff. I grew up on the poor side of town, on the wrong side of the tracks, with the bad family reputation, etc. I have always been told about the things I couldn’t do, but with God all things are possible, and my Father God always tells me about what I CAN do!

Lets look at a little bit different example from 1 Samuel 17. David and Goliath.

Long story short David ends up hearing from the naysayers before he stepped onto the battlefield with Goliath. His brothers, and Saul discouraged him. He was told he couldn’t do it. He was told the gap, or in this case the giant in front of him was too big. David’s response is important. He says I had giants in my past, and the Lord delivered me in my past. I have killed bears, I have killed lions, and with the Lord I will kill this giant too. It is also important to note that David did it from who he was as a person. He didn’t try to be something he wasn’t. He removed the armor that Saul placed on him, and he took the tools of a shepherd on to the battlefield.

The gaps you have crossed, and the giants you have killed in your past are preparation for the ones that are to come. They are reminders that God has delivered you before, He is delivering you now, and He will deliver you in the future. You can do everything He has called you to do because He is limitless, and He never fails you!

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi

 

 

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 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

 

Who you are becoming is more important than what you are doing!

Have you spent a lot of time, and prayer wondering what you are supposed to be doing for your Father and His kingdom? I know I always did, but the Lord said something life changing to me several months ago. He said WHO you are becoming is far more important than WHAT you are doing. That’s pretty heavy, but it is also simple. Let’s face it, you can be doing great things while becoming a tired, stressed, and miserable person. When you focus on what you do, you will always base your identity out of that function rather than who your Father has made you to be, and if you are not confident in who He has created you to be then you will allow others to tell you who you are.

Let me first say simply that who you are is a cherished son, or daughter of God. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12. Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:5. It is from this identity that everything else will flow. Now let’s look at the next part of this which is who you are becoming as a son of God. Matthew 4:19 says come follow me and I will make you fishers of men. “I will make you” speaks of a continuous transformation process. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” We should be comfortable with the fact that we are changing, the Lord is making us more and more like Him all the time. Who I was ten years ago, is not who I am now praise God!

If you can, or will be comfortable and confident in who you are and who you are becoming, then what you are to do will continually pour out as you are led by Holy Spirit. There is another important element that goes along with all of this and that is WHY. Why you do what you do. What are your motives? As people our motives can be pretty self-centered sometimes; however, if what you are doing is flowing out of who you are (child of God), and who you are becoming (more like Him), then your motives and why you are doing it will be healthy, and true.

Live your life kingdom first!

Levi