Archive for February, 2010

It’s Crazy…Isn’t It?

I recently heard about a book that seemed to really speak to the heart of what this site is all about.  It’s called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I want to share just a small section of content from the back of the book and one quote from the inside.  Check this out:

Have you ever felt like we were missing it?

It’s crazy if you think about it.  The God of the universe – the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles…galaxies and E-minor – loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love.  And what’s our typical response?  We go to church, sing some songs and try not to cuss.

Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not…we all know something’s wrong.

  • Why are there are over 350,000,000,000 BILLION galaxies…that we know of, most of which the human race has only seen in the last few years due to the Hubble telescope?
  • Why does a caterpillar have 228 separate muscles in it’s head (that’s a lot for a bug don’t you think)?
  • The average elm tree has approx 6M leaves on it
  • Your own heart generates enough pressure to squirt blood up to 30 feet
  • He didn’t have to put over 3,000 species of trees within 1 sq mile in the Amazon jungle or so many different kinds of laughter (you know…wheezes, snorts, quiet, loud, obnoxious), but he did.
  • Did you know that spiders, when spinning their web can produce up to 60 ft of silk per hr while simultaneously producing a special oil on their feet so they don’t stick to their own web…that deserves some respect!
  • When you get goose bumps, the hair in your follicles is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping heat.
  • Or have you ever marveled at the fact that plants take in Carbon dioxide and produce oxygen?
  • And those same plants started as a seed in the dirt, some watered some not, that transformed and defied gravity and poked their head/sprout out of the ground and into the sunlight.

The rest of the back cover says…

Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo?  Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world in tangible, even radical solutions?  God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself.  Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of dos and don’ts – it’s falling in love with God.  And once you encoutner His love as Francis describes it, you’ll never be the same.

Because when you’re wildly in love with someone…it changes everything.

And here’s a quote from the book:

“Whatever God’s reasons for such diversity, creativity and sophistication in the universe, on earth and in our own bodies the point of it all is His glory.”

Radical Awakening – You Betchya

Radical Awakening for Sleeping ChristiansSo I’m sifting through my email one day after I wrote the about page for this blog which attempts to describe why this blog exists; and that is:

  1. To help Christians who are hungry for more of God and are searching to find information that will disciple them and help them grow.
  2. To help wake up sleeping Christians who aren’t hungry enough and have fallen into a spiritual lethargy of sorts.

Anyway, as I’m going through my email I come across this Facebook email with this subject:

“Radical Awakening” sent you a message on Facebook…

Now I found out that is was an invitation for a webinar that was going to “be talking about a new evolutionary impulse coming through humanity now that is giving birth to a new paradigm of consciousness and a new paradigm of living. This new frequency is calling us to make fundamental changes in all aspects of our lives.”

Wow…not sure what the webinar was about (very much doubting it had a biblical basis but I don’t know), cause I didn’t attend.  But this much I know…I LOVE the term/concept “Radical Awakening”.   I love it cause that’s how I’d describe my experience with Jesus over the last 2 years and it’s how I’d describe one of the primary purposes for this site.

A bit down the message the webinar inviter says “and you’re being called to awaken to your true nature and transform your relationship to Life! ” I’d probably re-phrase this slightly to read more like this:

“and you’re being called to awaken to your spirit and inner person by the renewing of your mind and transform your relationship with Jesus! “

No matter where you are in your walk/relationship with the Lord, it can and should grow stronger.  There is no coasting with God, you’re either drawing nearer to Him or drifting farther away from Him.

So which are you doing…drawing closer or drifting farther away?  The day of the Lord’s return is close…it’s almost as if the world even senses that something’s up.

Chime in with your thoughts and feelings on this by commenting below!

How To Worship God – What Is God Worth To You?

How To Worship - Making Worship A Way Of Life

Making Worship A Way Of Life

In my post last week entitled How To Live For God – 6 Practical Suggestions that Will Change Your Life, we looked at how God transforms us through living a disciplined life.  We saw that the spiritual disciplines put us in the perfect place for God to transform our lives.

I do have a confession to make though…I did have some ulterior motives by picking the topic of self discipline to write about.

You see I’m not so naturally inclined to be disciplined.  Maybe most are, but I’m certainly not unfortunately.  So writing about the topic helped me to study and motivate myself toward a higher level of disciplined living.  I would LOVE to be known for being disciplined but in reality, not so much!

But as Yoda would way, “a worshiper I am”!

Seriously though I don’t want to sound hoity toity or somehow spiritually exalted, in fact, I didn’t ask for it, it literally found me.

Here’s how it unfolded.

In early 1999 I was a professed Christian, but very much a baby spiritually speaking.  I was a jerk to those who loved me, my marriage was in trouble and I didn’t even know it, I was broke and going deeper into debt month after month…in short, I was a mess.

Then I find out that we’re gonna have a baby.  For those parents out there, you can attest to the fact that there is no way to describe the depth to which that changes your life.  So through that and some God incidences with a co-worker suggesting we attend a Vineyard church and then seeing a billboard for the same church that said “Vineyard – the church for people who didn’t think they liked church”, I started attending Vineyard Columbus off and on…but way more off than on!

I loved the church almost immediately; rock band on stage, assistant pastor had a pony tale down the middle of his back and everyone wore jeans.  What’s not to like right?

But during the worship there were these people who I now know were truly entering the throne room of worship that were worshipping with reckless abandon. I was not familiar with this and started to make fun of authentic, sold out worshipers; even calling them names and laughing at them to my wife and friends.

Less than 6 months later I found myself wanting what they had…that connection with the Father, more deeply within me than I’ve ever wanted anything before.  I was certainly no longer making fun of them!  I wanted what they had. After we had our baby, we moved from the west side of Columbus (Dublin) to the east side (Pickerington) and started looking for a church.  Someone told me about Eastside Vineyard and we attended in it’s 2nd week in existence.

That’s when it happened…

God grabbed me (and after slapping me around a bit for making fun of worshipers), told me that He wanted me up there leading his people into worship.  Now you have to understand this was all new for me.  Music no, but worship…that was completely new ground. So for the next 4 years I grew under great earthly leadership and of course God’s leadership; and let me tell ya something, God completely transformed me!

Today I lead a worship team at the church we helped to plant in Pataskala, OH called Vineyard Christian Church of Pataskala and God is transforming me… again and still! So why is that story important? Because it’s a picture of how God wooed me to Himself, loved me, and through that love and friendship changed me.  I am a totally different person now and all in good ways. I am blessed with a healthy vibrant marriage and an almost continual awareness of God’s presence. He’s continually teaching me how to be a better

  • husband,
  • child of God,
  • father
  • and friend.

God is looking for authentic worshipers and wants to offer deep, intimate friendship with them and I simply took Him up on His offer.  And when you do take Him up on His offer and give yourself over completely to genuine, authentic worship, God unlocks the door to an incredibly deep relationship and friendship with Him.

Romans 12: 1,2 says this:

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Why We Worship

First let’s look at why we worship.  In verse 1 Paul urges us to look at God’s mercy. So what is the definition of mercy?  Webster’s says mercy is a disposition to be kind and forgiving.  So this literally means it’s how He’s wired.  Gods’ natural inclination, His default state if you will is to be merciful.  It’s literally the lens through which He sees us.  And that my friend is a good thing! This kind of mercy is completely foreign to us. We are just not wired this way.  But I can hear you say, “Jason sometimes I’m merciful though”.  PLE-ASE!  Let’s not kid ourselves here…at our absolute best (times 100) we don’t even compare to God’s mercy.

Where God loves, we judge.

You say well I don’t judge people…oh really? Need proof?  Consider first impressions. First impressions are so important to us; we always want to make a positive first impression on others and unconsciously make them about others all the time. But what do they really help us do?  Judge others…and not only that, but judge them on all the wrong things!  They say “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”.  Impression of what?  What is it we’re judging about others? Here is a short list:

  • character
  • personality
  • competence
  • integrity
  • aggressiveness
  • and overall likeability

So how long does this take?  60 seconds? 30 seconds? 7 seconds?  How about the blink of an eye!  New research tells us that first impressions or judgments are made within as little as 1/10th of a second!

I was reading an article on PsychologicalScience.org about first impressions and it said the following: “A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second (or 100 milliseconds) to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).” The article goes on to say, “Like it or not, judgments based on facial appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated. Psychologists have long known that attractive people get better outcomes in practically all walks of life.”

Why Is This True?

Those Princeton psychologists have a theory as to why: “…based on evolutionary psychology, that an accelerated and accurate ability to judge trustworthiness in others may have evolved as an important survival mechanism”

A survival mechanism…really?  C’mon let’s be real here!

It’s our flesh in action.  All our prejudices and stereotypes, past experiences (usually negative first), and sinful desires cause this to happen.  God’s mercy allows Him to see past the judgment He could have about or on us and see what and who we really are.  And get this…after He searches us, examines us and sees what and who we really are He loves us anyway…despite it!

Now I don’t know about you, but I know me.  And why He takes pleasure in me and spending time with me and is merciful to me is a mystery, but I’m glad He does.  There are countless other things we could say about God’s mercy, but suffice it to say this.  This is truly a different kind of Mercy!

Worship is the only natural response to this mercy.

Ok, so let’s define worship. Worship:  [comes from old English weorthscipe or worth-ship] to ascribe, assign, attribute, declare worth. Before you can declare God’s worth, you need to discover God’s worth In his book The Way of A Worshiper, Buddy Owens asks this brutal question that I believe we should all ask ourselves “What is God worth to you”? Then Owens says “To the extent that you can answer that question, you will be a worshiper”.

What Are We Worth To God

I agree.  Discovering God’s worth is a lifelong journey and should begin with learning how much we are worth to Him because as 1 John 4:19 tells us “We love Him because He first loved us”.

So how do we discover how much we’re worth to Him?  Try to see yourself as God sees you.  See yourself “in view of God’s mercy”.  As we are able to look at ourselves through God’s eyes we begin to see that:

  • God seeks you out (Genesis 3: 7-10)
  • You are JUST what He’s looking for (Matthew 13:45)
  • You are his most precious possession (Luke 15:3-10); don’t believe it yet? 3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

I don’t know about you, but when I read these things it makes me want to say just two simple words to God; THANK YOU! Those two words are where authentic worship begins.

So now that we have a tiny view of God’s mercy, and we know that the natural response to it is worship, shouldn’t we changed and transformed as a result? Let’s look at verse the rest of verse 1 and part of 2. “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Offer up your bodies sacrificially…why do you think God wants our bodies? I believe there are two main reasons.  First, put simply, your body is God’s house.  Isaak Walton once said “God has two dwellings: one in heaven and the other in a meek and thankful heart”. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

How do you honor God with your body? Fulfill God’s purpose for your life – reach the world for Christ.  It is through your body that God reaches the world around you. We each have our own sphere of influence – people that only we can reach for Christ.  So we see that God accomplishes His purpose for your life through your body. Second, what we subject our bodies to affects our character and our character affects our walk.  Your character will be defined by what you worship.

You might ask, why did you assume I was worshiping anything?  You will worship something…it’s how you’re wired…we were literally born to worship. The question is what will you worship?

Some people worship money and they then become greedy in their character.  Those who worship power become ruthlessMen who worship women become lustful and people who worship themselves become arrogant.  But, those who worship the living God become more Christ-like.

The Result – Encountering God

Look at the end of verse 2 with me again.  “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”. If I only knew God’s will for my life I’d do it.  Have you said or felt this?

Every Christian should sincerely desire to know the will of God for their lives Not just at a high level either, but in the details of day to day, moment by moment living.  To wake up asking God for opportunities to heal, bless, and breathe life into others.  To go through your day expecting Him to take you up on your request and waiting for the opportunities you asked for to come. And what Paul is saying is that if you worship Him by offering your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice, then you will know His will. In other word He will speak to you and you will listen and hear Him.  So how does God speak?

How God Speaks

Scriptures Wise council from other Christians Divine guidance or care through circumstances or life events Opportunities and blessings Closed doors The still small voice of His Spirit speaking to and through our conscience Nature and his creation Even your children

How To Listen

The first thing you should do is to redefine the word listen as it pertains to God. As you can see from the above list, few of them involve the physical sense of hearing through some audible way.  I think Christians mistakenly think or feel that God is going to always come in a loud thunderous voice that shakes the foundations of the earth every single time he speaks. Sometimes He does, but other times I think He’s asking us to press in closer to hear HimHe blesses us with whispering because it causes us to seek Him harder and longer. Listening in this way starts with caring.

How much do you contemplate the things of God?
How often do you find yourself thinking about His greatness?
How often are you thankful for the blessings He’s given you?

The more often you care about Him, thank Him for what He’s done for you, and contemplate Him, the more often you’ll hear him speak to you through the above list and even other ways for sure.

Worship Is A Lifestyle – Pursue It!

Worship is so much more than some songs that we sing before the preacher preaches. Worship is a lifestyle…it’s a host of characteristics and traits and actions all wrapped up into one concept that we call worship including: repentance, obedience, love, compassion and grace just to name a few. Brother Lawrence described it this way over 300 years ago in The Practice of the Presence of God. He says: “I keep myself in his presence by simple attentiveness and a loving gaze upon God – or to put it more clearly, an habitual, silent and secret conversation of my soul with God.” Buddy Owens sums it up perfectly this way: “That is… the secret to friendship with God.  Are you looking for God?  God is looking for worshipers.  His invitation to friendship is open and genuine.  Will you take him up on his offer?  Will you give yourself to him in worship?”

How To Live For God – 6 Practical Suggestions that Will Change Your Life

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

“The first and best victory is to conquer self”

Plato

I’m gonna start this post out today with a quick exercise.  Unfortunately for you it requires reader participation, but don’t worry, I’m not gonna ask you to stand and do jumping jacks or anything crazy.

Just do me a favor.

I’m going to say a phrase and I want you to think of just one word, phrase or thought when I say it…this is one of those first thing that comes to your mind kinda things ok.

Ready?

Here we go:  SELF DISCIPLINE.

Ok, now lock whatever word or phrase you came up with in your mind for a second.  Now I’m not going to ask you what your word or phrase was, but let me have you think about something…was the word or phrase you thought of positive or negative?

Now if you’re like most people, it was probably negative.  There are some exceptions to this of course, but as a general rule human psychology around the phrase “self discipline” is…well not so good.

Now do me one more favor.  As you read the kind of life I’m about to describe, try as hard as you can to picture this life being your own.  Picture it as graphically as you can including feelings, emotions, scents, sounds, activities and situations.  K, here we go…as you read, remember, this is YOU:

  • You experience complete freedom now in a way that you could only previously imagine; a freedom that literally leaves you utterly care free,
  • You unknowingly experience an increasing amount of humility on a daily basis,
  • You are aware of a fresh zest and exhilaration with living,
  • You are amazed at the stunning new confidence that marks your activities.
  • Fear, worry, and anxiety no longer have a place in your life.  On the rare occasion these feelings start to arise in you, you are able to bind them in the name of Jesus and restore peace that surpasses understanding almost immediately.
  • Although the demands on your life are as great as ever and seemingly intensifying, you live in a new sense of unhurried peace and tranquility.
  • You are now aware, on a nearly continual basis, of an intense and indescribable fellowship with God.
  • You are always seeing things in and around your life with an eternal perspective.
  • Your relationships are deep, meaningful and lasting.
  • You are used often and effectively by God to edify the body of Christ and reach the lost by breathing life, encouragement and hope into others
  • You are an inspiration to people around you, not because of you, but because of who you are in Christ.
  • You are a mighty warrior for Christ against the powers of darkness and the Evil One
  • You are able to tap into the unlimited power of God that lives inside of you at a moments notice and God uses you to accomplish the same miraculous things that Jesus did and “even greater things than these”.

Now I don’t know about you, but even as I was writing those things to you, from deep within me I longed for that kind of life.  And wouldn’t you say that the kind of life I just described is the farthest thing from something negative or bad as is possible?

Well I would submit to you that the kind of life I just described can ONLY come from true intimacy with God and a Holy Spirit led life that can only be attained through self discipline.

In other words, I hope you see today that the only way to enjoy the full Christian life God intended is through disciplined living.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (New Living Translation)
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Recognize the Race & Your Part

Andrew MacLaren, a Protestant commentator, states, “There are few things more lacking in the average Christian life of today than resolute, conscious concentration upon an aim which is clearly and always before us.”

In other words, Christians today lack focus and direction

If you look at verse 24, you’ll see how Paul is telling us 2 important things.

  • You are in a race
  • You should want to win that race

I think people gloss over this when they read this passage (at least I did) but I think Paul is saying here to the Corinthian church is run the race of your life with focus and intensity.  Run it in such a way that second place is just not good enough.

In other words, don’t coast.

Dave Ramsey says that if you don’t tell your money where to go it won’t just stay put nice and safe in your account or wallet…it will go somewhere away from you!

Likewise, if your life isn’t focused on goals (the prize) and girded by underlying principles and values, Satan will literally steal your time away from God with busyness and steal your joy with stress.

The sad part of this is I’m not sure if Satan steals it or if we just hand it over to him by doing this.

Self Discipline Allows For True Transformation

So how do we prevent this?  Enter self-discipline.  Look at verse 25 with me. 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

The New Kings James Version says it this way: “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown”.

So thinking there may be more to this whole crown analogy than meets the eye and having a hard time imagining a shiny Heisman trophy like statue being awarded for first century champions, I researched it and found that the crown first-century athletes won was a laurel wreath typically worn on the head as an emblem of victory.

This is a wonderful parallel for the temporary treasures of this world that we attempt to reach.

You see a laurel wreath wilts in just a few hours. It would never be worn a second day.  The prize for us as Christians is the amazing gift of eternal life and living your God-given purpose while on the earth.

Consider the analogy of the runner used by Paul.  Serious athletes, runners included, follow extremely rigorous programs that dictate

  • rising early,
  • eating a restricted and carefully planned diet,
  • exercising intensely pushing his body to new heights with each passing day (some would call this torture too).
  • When not resting, fueling his body with the proper nutrition or exercising, he is meticulously working on honing his technique and skill or enhancing his endurance.
  • At the end of the day he goes to bed at a planned and precise hour as to ensure the proper amount of rest while ensuring he’s up early the following day to start again.

Throughout the runners day, day in and day out, he not only avoids sensuous indulgences, but he must also abstain from perfectly legitimate things that simply do not fit into his program or would threaten to crowd out some aspect of it.

You see the runner is not just concentrating with intense focus, planning and discipline while he’s running.  He understands his whole life impacts the race.

So with that understanding of the race we’re in and how we should be intensely focused on the prize, let’s look at what self discipline is and is not.

What Self Discipline Is

Now for the remainder of this post, I’ll be referring to self-discipline and self control synonymously.

Self-control is the 9th and last of the fruits of the spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22 –23.  Let there be no doubt, even though it is listed last, at the importance of self-discipline to living the empowered Christian life.

In that passage, “self-control” (temperance, KJV) is the translation of the Greek word enkrateia, which means

  • possessing power over oneself,
  • strong,
  • having mastery or possession of ones desires and impulses.

Along with the idea or understanding of discipline, there is also a notion of moderation and soundness of mind associated with this word.  So of course, it would stand to reason then that self discipline is going to keep us from indulging in selfish desires or impulses that could be described as sinful.

But self-discipline is more than just avoiding sin though.  Is avoiding sin at all costs important?  Of course.  Sin separates us from the Father and pains Him greatly.  But merely avoiding sin in our life will not make us grow spiritually.

There is a proactive nature to our Christian living, which I believe Paul is pointing out in this passage and encouraging us toward.

Just as with the athlete above there are many legitimate things – things that would NOT be considered sinful – that distract our focus or weight us down so as to not run the best race possible.  These can be things that are so time consuming or mind consuming that they literally pull us away from or distract us from our goal.

Again, we must first look at what our aim and goal is in this life, the prize that Paul talks about, and then, through a deliberate and conscious set of actions and decisions, discipline ourselves to stick to the plan and win the race.

Now that we know what self-discipline is, let’s look at what it is not.

What Self Discipline Is Not

First it’s important to understand that self discipline is NOT a matter of you willing to be perfect; true self-discipline is a fruit of the spirit not an outward result of your trying harder.  So for example, plants don’t produce more fruit from trying harder.  Transformation is Gods job, ours is to place ourselves in the soil and let the Holy Spirit change us.  This is what Paul is telling us in Gal 6:8; 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

You see a farmer is powerless to actually grow grain…all he does or can do is provide the right conditions for the growing to occur.  He prepares the ground, plants the seed, and cultivates the ground waters the seed for sure, but then the natural forces over which he has no control take over and up comes the grain.  This is the way self-discipline will help you sow to the Spirit.  The discipline itself gets you to the soil and puts you in a place where God can transform you as He sees fit.

Also, self discipline is NOT a collection of laws or rules that are used to imprison us.  This one is important…self discipline taken too far or perverted, turns into the truly ugly monster of legalism.  Now we could spend a whole lifetime of posts on the topic of legalism…but suffice it to say legalism brings bondage and leads to death.

So hopefully if I’ve done my job…even a little, you will be asking yourself where and how to get started with more disciplined living especially as it relates to your faith and walk with Christ.

Where Do I Start With Disciplined Living?

Well the first place to start is a thorough study of the Spiritual Disciplines – 3 of which are the discipline of study, the discipline of meditation and the discipline of prayer.   Through these disciplines you can begin praying for the Holy Spirit to direct you into further discipline and change in your life.  I HIGHLY recommend Richard Foster’s book on the spiritual disciplines called Celebration of Discipline.  It’s a classic and also rated by Christianity Today as one of the top 3 books of all time outside of the Bible.

If you’re looking for someplace to start, start there.

Here are some other practical suggestions:

  • First and foremost, pray about your level of discipline across all areas of your life and ask God to show you were you could stand to tighten your belt a bit.
  • In all areas of life, begin to try to live in a spirit led way more often.  The goal is not perfection at all costs here but we are modeling the only perfect life ever lived which of course is Jesus who clearly said this about Himself: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” In John 17:4 Jesus prays to the Father “I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do.” Make sure you finish what God wants YOU to do on this earth!
  • Take a class or speak to your pastor about learning how to find your gifting if you’re not sure of what it might be.  This is so you can learn how God has uniquely gifted you and to how He intends you use that gift in your life.
  • Don’t get caught up in the discipline itself but in placing yourself daily where God can transform you (remember once your in the soil, the Holy Spirit takes over, but your job is getting yourself to the soil).
  • Don’t get discouraged at failure or setbacks; this is a lifelong process and behavior pattern you’re after. Setbacks may come, but don’t let the enemy take you out of the race by quitting.

In conclusion, let me just say this; I believe with every thread of my being that many Christians unknowingly miss out on Gods best for their lives and that’s sad indeed.  But I believe there is something much more profoundly sad than that.

Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA once said this: “Jesus certainly didn’t die that awful death on the cross so we could go to church and tithe”.  In Jesus’ last words to his disciples He told them this: “I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me. You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name”. How sad indeed would it be for the people who call Him Lord of their lives to completely miss knowing Him on an intimate level and accomplishing all He wanted them to.

Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”; let’s make sure He is able to use us to whatever capacity He desires to bring life and hope to a lost and dying world, Amen?

So change the world by starting with yourself!