cursing cussing

Do our words matter more than we think they do?

A friend of mine wondered this out loud. Here's what he wrote:
Someone called me out on FB for cussing yesterday. Agree or disagree with my response?
I don't think cussing is a sin (and I don't find anything in the Bible about cussing), they're just words when u don't have other words. I use them for emphasis. Now if I call someone an a******, yes that would be wrong, but if I called them stupid it's the exact same thing. And that's what bothers me about "religious" people, they'll criticize someone for cussing or having a drink and weigh 500 lbs lol. I'm like, "gluttony" is in the Bible! Jesus said "remove the plank from your own eye before trying to remove the speck from your brother's."

I replied back:
This is a great question. I love that you're asking it. Now that you've had a number of replies, read through your responses back - do you find yourself truly being teachable on this or more defending your original slant? That will be a helpful insight in itself.

I personally went on a journey with this as when I came to Christ I was the "dirty joke teller." It felt like I needed to let Jesus have His way in my life in every area, including my tongue. So I invited Him into this area. Someone once said that the use of profanity is our way of saying, "I couldn't think of an intelligent way to make my point, so I'll use a power word instead." Maybe there's a better way. A couple key passages for me: 
"And do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 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 like including the verses before the one that specifically speaks about our language, as I have to first ask, "Am I giving the devil a foothold in my life in any area?" The passage then speaks about how there should be a noted change in our life after coming to Jesus. As if sating, "By the way, that involves your language." The KJV states it, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." The original word there for "corrupt" or "unwholesome" language translates as "rotten" or "of poor quality." 
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:26-27)
What an interesting challenge to us. On one hand, God loves it when we do good deeds for the world on His behalf, loving and leading people to Him while we care for the poor. On the other hand, all of that can end up being worthless if we don't keep a tight reign on our tongues. James 3 goes into greater detail on this, adding, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" It adds, "no human being can tame the tongue." 
So it goes back to how we can argue our position on this nor try to get better. It comes down to surrender - will I live as I think it's okay to live and use "grace" to do so, or will I invite the Holy Spirit of God to rewire me from the inside regardless of it's how I would do it?"

That's the key - because I've seen some "non-swearing" people say some pretty harsh things that did incredible damage. Likewise, I've seen some Jesus-loving people fail to invite Jesus into this area of their life and end up short of the full life He's called them into.

I play a lot of online games with my boys, and sometimes I hop into a chat party with some guys who are pretty loose with their tongues. Over time they've noticed I don't swear, and strangely they've adapted their language to not swearing when I'm online... even apologizing when they do. I never asked them to do that, but I found that they for whatever reason were inspired to do so be it by my example or Jesus in me.

God loves you... I'm confident He loves that you're asking this question, too. Stay on the journey. Cheering for you and Jesus in you.
What if the next thing we say is a bigger deal than we realize?

Because it often actually is.

outsiders are not on the inside

Everyone has an opinion, but you don't have to listen to every opinion... especially if God has already spoken.

Via Nehemiah 2, as the Israelites begin to rebuild the walls of their city after being in exile for years, a lot of outsiders begin to share comments and feedback. I love Nehemiah's response:
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked.

I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”

You will regularly hear from many people who have something to tell you about how you should change what you're doing. Perhaps you should listen to them... or perhaps you shouldn't even slow down to give them a moment of your time.

It all comes down to who is doing the speaking versus if God has already spoken.

If God has given you or a group of people together seeking Him a recent clarity versus you feeling tickled by something that you have yet to understand, protect that. Just be careful - because you may mistake one for the other and assume you have a clear mind. We like to think when we're hearing from God that no one else is... but we also have to protect what God has told us as His people to do.

May you live in both humility and conviction. May you not assume that if He has spoken to you that He hasn't also spoken to others, but may you also follow through on what God has spoken to you.

Outsiders are not on the inside...

but the Holy Spirit always is.

hubris


At the heart of what we face every day is a real Enemy.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)


He’ll stop at nothing to gain new ground, including causing you to kick at the ground He's put you or others on. It's the sin of hubris that is often seen when we have the best of intentions to help but do it in a way that hurts.

The Enemy has a way of asking intriguing questions that sound smart, even in how they're asked. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

This is why the Church matters - a community under the accountability of Jesus Christ and each other who stick it out when others up-and-run. It's made up of people and God, which means some days the "people" side shows... but some days the "God" side shows

May your desire to not be caught off guard end up blinding you from how you've been caught off guard. May you in a desire to multiply not end up dividing. May we not be charmed with spiritual-sounding arguments out of the clear pathway Jesus set up for us to follow...

BE the Church.

stand in the gap


"Stand in the gap."

You've heard the phrase.

Do you know what it means?

Like many things, it's a common phrase that goes back to a truth in the Bible:

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God.” - Ezekiel 22:30

The idea is God gives us many warnings before we face the consequences of our choices, be it from the decaying culture we create or by His discipline to get us back on track. In this passage, He speaks to one of His prophets about the role any willing person can play in changing that - that He's looking for someone to “stand in the gap” so the cycle of destruction can end.

We do this when we bring people to Jesus so that He can work miracles on the inside of their hearts and minds when the outside of their lives feel less-than-miraculous. We also do this when there has been a loss and we become the hands and feet of Jesus in how we comfort and bring Life into death.


So my prayer is that you are able to do that for the people around you.

That through you (and Jesus in you) a cycle can end... maybe something life-giving can begin... to embody the possible hope in any seemingly impossible situation.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

a word on word-of-mouth


I'm just going to let this one stand on it's own.

"It is always best not to know, nor wish to know, what is being said about you, either by friends or foes. Those who praise us are probably as much mistaken as those who abuse us." - Charles Spurgeon

hills worth dying on: sanctuary

It’s the Easter season.

Many people use it as an opportunity to jet into a local church, sing some songs, snag some communion and jet out early to beat the traffic.

I apologize if that comes across as a shallow summary. I don’t apologize if it’s accurate.

Others use Easter as a springboard to something authentic. Perhaps they’ll return to church the following weeks. Maybe they’ll begin to intentionally reengage God.

After all, the typical person invests time this way:
  • 8 hours of work.
  • 6-8 hours of sleep, so 7 as an average.
  • 2 hours of general prep, clean up, showering and eating.
  • 1.5 hours moving around, be it driving or walking.
  • 1.5 hours catching up on tasks.
  • 1 hour with family… if you actually do this. The average dad, for example, speaks with his kids only 23 minutes a day.
  • 1 hour on a special project, be it around the house or at work.
  • 2 hours on a phone or computer (or any other time-consuming hobby).

If that’s your pattern, you’ll only give fumes to your faith… 

and ironically wonder why you don’t feel close to God.

What if you reclaimed that last bullet, though?

After all, it adds up to wasting a month every year (and a year of your life every ten years).

You could use that time for sanctuary – “a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea.”

Jesus Christ himself did this: 
“…each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37)

If that was a value or “hill worth dying on,” what might that mean for you?

Author C.S. Lewis described how he once entered into a dark tool shed to look for something. He noticed a crisp beam of sunlight unexpectedly invading the shed through a crack above the door.

Lewis stood there for a moment, noticing the dust dancing around in the light. Other things were passively lit up as well, but only from a sideways perspective.

He then turned and looked into the sunlight through the crack. The light was now directly in his eye, and he could see the larger world beyond the shed. Green leaves moved about with a deep blue sky behind them. The sun itself was on display… millions of miles away, but intense as if within reach.

These are the two ways we can look at life, people and even God himself:
  • By looking sideways along whatever light is available, only focusing on seeing things in our dark shed a little better.
  • By looking into the light and letting our eyes widen in the process so that even when we turn away we still see the light everywhere we look.

Think of it this way: Do you unconsciously regard God or other people as "extras" in your life who should get on board with your “right” way of doing things… or do you understand you are a participant in a much larger Story we’re all living in?

As a great poet once said: “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Easter can be about scratching your religious itch, or about you scratching the surface of something more enduring. Jesus will either be someone who can do something for us, or for the Savior of the world that we get to do something for. It’s quite the difference, and yet close enough that we can get it wrong.

Again, Jesus wasn't immune from this tension. It's why he regularly found a hill that he would find sanctuary on. Maybe you need to find that spot in your day where you pause and dive into Truth that combats all the lies life will throw at you.

Perhaps once you do that, then every hour of every day can become a type of sanctuary where through God you know and are known, understand and are understood, love and are loved.

Don’t waste time wasting time. Find a quiet spot today where you can sift through the noise in life and hear the voice of Truth.
“…each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37)

there is no safe investment


We're all afraid of taking a risk and getting snapped in the process.

You're not alone in that.

So we "try" to move forward in belief.

Sometimes it works out. Sometimes we are proven wrong and "never want to do that again."

So we grow protective of taking any risks.

Remember...

Belief, by definition, involves faith.

Faith, by definition, involves a lack of complete knowledge...
but enough facts that you can take a leap forward.

You will be wrong at times, but better to be wrong leaping forward than go nowhere holding back.
"There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Waiting around for this world to be heaven without doing something about it only makes this world that much more a hell.
Don’t sit there watching the wind. Do your own work.Don’t stare at the clouds. Get on with your life. Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman,So you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock.You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:4-6, MSG)

from oblivious to legacy

Leadership tends to emerge over time.

Sure, there are moments when you might dramatically jump into something because of a crisis "out there" or "in you."

Most of the tie, leadership happens in phases. Think of this in the world of performing arts:
  • Oblivious: "I know nothing about theater, acting or singing."
  • Audience: "I saw a show."
  • Fan: "I rather enjoyed that show and have started following the people behind it."
  • Audition: "Maybe I can do something like that, be it up front or behind-the-scenes."
  • Chorus: "I'm on stage. Right there. Next to that other person. I have a line. Wait for it!"
  • Performer: "I need to study for my part in this. I'm in several scenes."
  • Lead performer: "My face is on the poster. That means I have a key role in this soaring or flopping, so I'm all in."
  • Creator: "What if we did this? Or didn't do that? Or did something else instead?"
  • Producer: "I'm going to invest into making something happen that allows others to shine."
  • Legacy: "Those people I invested into? They're now investing into others."
Don't for a moment think that because you're in the audience today and not at a legacy stage that where you are right now doesn't have significance.

Just keep growing... keep moving... keep emerging.
"So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” (2 Samuel 16:11)

spunk, purpose, hard work and La La Land


The big presentation requires everyday perspiration.

These regular investments aren't as spectacular, though.

Maybe that's why we're not as likely to do them.

We'd rather show up to the big presentation and "wing it."

If it makes you feel any better, we all feel this way. Even those of us who show up day after day for practice after practice would rather put their feet up on the couch and relax.

There is absolutely a place for that. It's called "Sabbath." Whether you can claim a whole day for one or carve out a hole for one in your day, it is a meaningful investment that invests meaning fully into you.

But rest without work... Sabbath without sweat... is laziness.

Sometimes we get weary in doing good, so we become good at "doing weary."


Years ago when I was an emerging adult, I didn't know why I was going to college... which meant I didn't show up for classes... which led to me fizzling out.

And then I took a trip - two weeks without an agenda among people in one of the busiest cities in the world. Near the end, God broke my heart for people. I embraced my purpose for life through Him.

So I came back and started showing up for class. Soon I was on a pathway toward becoming myself - the "self" I was created to be.

You have spunk in you. 

There is purpose oozing around in parts of your soul you have yet to uncover.

You'll only find it (and find it again, and find it again, and find it again) by owning this before God, receiving a Resurrection from Jesus Christ and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And then... you'll soon start showing up in your work clothes do work your work.

Whether it's a matter of doing that inner journey of the soul or giving your best in the trenches...

Plan your work. Work your plan.

Only by being faithful when it isn't glamorous does "blah" and "bland" become La La Land.
"For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies." (2 Thessalonians 3:11)
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23-24)

is it this simple?


What if the opportunity to L.E.A.D. others is just this simple?
  • Listen
  • Encourage
  • Adapt
  • Develop 
Ya think?
"...to equip people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." (Ephesians 4:12)

giving up the struggle

In Exodus 25 there's a real interesting thing that happens.

God asks the people to take up an offering for Him... meaning, whatever would come out of that would belong to Him and not the people. He didn't ask for cheap stuff, either. What was collected ended up becoming the Tabernacle, the Ark and other tangible things that let the people better connect with Him in that era.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

We often struggle with giving without having full knowledge of whatever that offering would be used for. It's why we pause when someone on the street asks us for a dollar or when a "certain" family member or friend hits us up for a loan. Especially in today's information-overload, we're tempted to only be generous when we know everything.

On one hand, it's wise. We only have so many resources to go around and need to manage them well. It's good to know the story behind the ask to realize that the opportunity and impact are real.

On the other hand, sometimes God wants you to give. When He moves your heart or asks you for something costly, don't hesitate... let your relationship with Him trump your desire to ask Him for a spreadsheet.

The world would be a much healthier place if you and I didn't resist being generous.

To stop struggling with giving, start giving up the struggle.

sometimes we don't get the job

Sometimes we don't get the job.

I'm putting this out there - perhaps someone who comes across it one day will need to read it.

I read a post in an online group I'm a part of where people in ministry share life and stories to get perspective from each other.

Recently, someone shared this:
Really frustrated: just got a text from a potential new church after we flew down to interview and they offered the position to someone else. That being said I had asked what we did wrong or could do differently.

My wife and I are a team and we both have a lot of different strengths that make us a great team. That being said the pastor pretty much said they only pay one person and my wife needs to back off and let me do my thing. I'm frustrated and my wife is devastated and has told me she is done and it's all mine now.

She is a huge part of the our ministry and now she is done and doesn't want to be apart of it anymore. Thoughts and prayers appreciated. 

Throughout the years of being in ministry, I've been there.

Here's what I wrote back.


Grieve.... just grieve.... it's okay.

Because you will replay this scenario over and over in your mind as you each dissect what you could have or should have done differently. You'll begin to believe that if you were just more _____ and less _____ that you would have been accepted...

wait, "accepted?"

Because you'll then realize this has become unexpectedly about acceptance. You'll be surprised at how you didn't see that sneak into your hearts. It'll feel like this getting this job was a matter of validation and security. "God, I really wanted this. We both really wanted this. We've served you so hard and hoped that this would be a sign of a fresh start."

And then, wow... pretty soon you'll then realize you're thinking this is how God works - that if you only would have fasted one more time or not said that "one thing" in a message that maybe you would have been found/seen/felt to be faithful. You'll each feel like the "dirty one" in the relationship - your wife will feel like she let you down somehow, while you will feel like you let her down somehow.

Meanwhile, life will demand you do something... go grocery shopping... pay bills... navigate the awkward silences in between watching your favorite TV show or brushing your teeth. You'll bump into the remnants of your trip, too - perhaps paperwork you grabbed that has the church's name on it, or your bank statement that shows all the restaurants you ate at on your trip wondering what you might get the "next time" you stared at their menu.

The clock will still tick as it always does - 60 seconds in every minute; 60 minutes in every hour. Only it'll feel more like 600 seconds and 600 minutes. To compensate, you'll hit refresh on your internet browser about 600 times a day hoping for an email or update on a church job posting website.

This will go on - with one of you being "up" while the other is "down" (and then vice-versa). You'll get ticked off. You'll wake up ready to cry. You'll tell God what you think of Him.

Which will somehow create this weird on-ramp to honest prayer. In fact, you'll rediscover ways to pray that you haven't prayed in a long time... prayers that involve lamenting, an often forgotten spiritual practice.

Maybe this will prompt you to look through old journals of times in your life when you were just as confused and didn't know what was going to happen next. It'll speak volumes as your "older, wiser self" wishes you could tell your "younger, naive self" that whatever you were sweating years ago will all work out in an unplanned way...

and then somehow you'll realize that by remembering the journey your "younger, naive self" was on with God back then you have perspective today. Perhaps you can't confess that you know what'll happen next, but you can confess your certainties in the Lord. Somehow that in itself will feel like a breakthrough.

Over time - maybe a day, or perhaps days, or even weeks - you'll start to clarify your "creed" - what you believe about the Lord and your calling. And you'll as husband and wife reconnect through intimacy, remembering that you are on this journey together for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in want and in plenty and so on.

Pretty soon you'll own that you can actually take "the hit."

Wow, that day actually will come.

You can take "the hit." You'll say it out loud a few times - "I'm okay, now. I can take the hit."

But letting the hit overshadow the amazing, phenomenal calling that God has put into you? The idea of not standing up to find a new way to pour forth what's in you? That'll kill you.

So you'll then worry a little less about the future and instead begin loving the next person in front of you.... because... it's in you.

Wow, that's actually in you.

Sure, you'll be diligent in putting your resume out there again and realizing that the same thing may happen all over one more time... and then again, yet again. But you'll be making a difference today.

Because this is ministry. We're not being called into heaven just yet where everything makes sense, but into a war zone where spiritual battles happen inside and outside of the church; where people (even those in pastoral leadership) are flawed and careless without intending to be that way; where you don't get the La La Land ending you want, but get called to make a difference on the mission field before you today. The reason it's called "ministry" is because there are real needs in the world that need "ministers." To quote Jesus, we are not fed by what is given to us but our "food is to do the will of Him who sent me."

And then you'll grab your wife's hand, and she'll grab yours, and you'll somehow realize that you're able to do this because God has first each grabbed you. He loves you.

And He loves lots of people. Not just the ones in the church you had plans to go to, but people who are before you today.

It'll take time. It'll take Jesus. It'll take each of you. It'll take a community of people who won't just commiserate but who will help you cultivate, ventilate and formulate.

Maybe you're not there yet, but maybe you will be.

So in the meantime...

Grieve.... just grieve.... it's okay.

go crazy

You're a little crazy.

That's what you'll hear, at least.

That innovative idea you have that you fear trying because of the peanut gallery commenting on it?

It just may be the "crazy" idea that all the "sane" people need to hear.

You know how when people are driving along on a road and see a fire burning off in the distance they slow down and pay attention to it?

What if you could light the right fire so that people will slow down and pay attention to it?

Consider the perspective of Charles Spurgeon on this:
"All those who have done wonders for Christ have always been called eccentric and fanatical. Why, when Whitfield first went on Bennington Common to preach, because he could not find a building large enough, it was quite an unheard of thing, to preach in the open air. How could you expect God to hear prayer, if there was not a roof over the top of the people's heads? How could souls be blessed, if the people had not seats, and regular high-backed pews to sit in! Whitfield was thought to be doing something outrageous, but he went and did it; he went and broke the alabaster box on the head of his Master, and in the midst of scoffs and jeers, he preached in the open air.

And what came of it? A revival of godliness, and a mighty spread of religion.

I wish we were all of us ready to do some extraordinary thing for Christ - willing to be laughed at, to be called fanatics, to be hooted and scandallized because we went out of the common way, and were not content with doing what everybody else could do or approve to be done."
It's time to do that crazy thing.

It's time to get your family back into church.

It's time to get your church back into being a family.

It's time to reach out to new people who are not like you in any way.

It's time to be reached out to by people whose phone calls and texts you've been avoiding.

It's time to step up and reveal the greatness inside of you that blush about.

It's time to blush about the not-so-great things you've gotten used to happening in the world.

Go crazy.

And if the elevator tries to bring you down... go crazy (Punch a higher floor!)
I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.  (2 Samuel 6:22)

one

What are you known for?

I've been spending some time this year reading about the various people in the Bible. None other than Jesus were perfect, but each was known for something. One that has its own unique summary takes place in an era when everyone else had become notoriously corrupt:
"Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation." (Genesis 6:9)
Still, when we think of Noah our mind quickly jumps to images of a ship packed with animals or a smiling man next to a rainbow. These are images we see in baby nurseries or church coloring pages, but there is more to the story of Noah. The biggest lesson comes at the beginning story—the lessons of a man who stood alone for God.
One song can spark a moment.
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest.
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship.
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea.
One word can frame the goal.
One vote can change a nation.
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness.
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits.
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom.
One heart can know what’s true.
One life can make the difference.
You see it’s up to YOU!
-Anonymous
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

So can you and I.

Noah was thought of as blameless.

So can you and I.

How? Noah walked with God.

So can you and I.

Be the example.

Be that "one." 

flawed thinking


When we don't know who our enemy is,

we start with people who look like our flawed idea of our enemy.

We even begin to second-guess those we were meant to count on, including God himself.

One flawed reason for why we question God is we mistakenly begin with ourselves as an accurate reference point for love and justice.

Thankfully, flaws don't have to have the final word.

God's bigger than any error in your judgment or any mistake you've made.

BUT... it helps to specifically invite Him into those mistakes.

AND... it helps to own when we have left things or people we should have stuck with.

Confession unpacks freedom.

Freedom unpacks purpose.

Purpose unpacks clarity.

Clarity sees through flawed thinking.
"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck." (Proverbs 3:21-2)

flawed thinking


When we don't know who our enemy is,

we start with people who look like our flawed idea of our enemy.

We even begin to second-guess those we were meant to count on, including God himself.

One flawed reason for why we question God is we mistakenly begin with ourselves as an accurate reference point for love and justice.

Thankfully, flaws don't have to have the final word.

God's bigger than any error in your judgment or any mistake you've made.

BUT... it helps to specifically invite Him into those mistakes.

AND... it helps to own when we have left things or people we should have stuck with.

Confession unpacks freedom.

Freedom unpacks purpose.

Purpose unpacks clarity.

Clarity sees through flawed thinking.
"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck." (Proverbs 3:21-2)

flawed thinking


When we don't know who our enemy is,

we start with people who look like our flawed idea of our enemy.

We even begin to second-guess those we were meant to count on, including God himself.

One flawed reason for why we question God is we mistakenly begin with ourselves as an accurate reference point for love and justice.

Thankfully, flaws don't have to have the final word.

God's bigger than any error in your judgment or any mistake you've made.

BUT... it helps to specifically invite Him into those mistakes.

AND... it helps to own when we have left things or people we should have stuck with.

Confession unpacks freedom.

Freedom unpacks purpose.

Purpose unpacks clarity.

Clarity sees through flawed thinking.
"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck." (Proverbs 3:21-2)

come clean

Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover up their inadequacies/insecurities before God.

We use accomplishment and good deeds.

Come clean.
"Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the LORD "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD. ( Jeremiah 23:24)

jump anyway


When the "hits" just keep on coming and you want to jump into your Father's arms, remember:

There's a great difference between trusting Him for what you want Him to do... 

and trusting Him for who He is. 

They do overlap, but He may spin you in a different direction as you embrace Him than what you planned for.

Jump anyway. He's your Father.
"O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." (Isaiah 63:16b)

rethinking our mission statements and values



Richard Branson is nothing short of a Type-B conundrum in the world of Type-A leadership gurus. I'm working through his book "The Virgin Way" right now. This quote caught my eye:
"Before anyone tries to come up with a mission statement... there is the little matter of actually considering your company's commitment and ability to live up to it. If neither of these conditions is present then there's no point in trying to 'put lipstick on the pig' by means of a fanciful, pie-in-the-sky mission statement."

What values in your life do you swear you hold to...

but your commitment and ability to follow through on them don't seem to be growing into those values?

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.(1 John 4:20)

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18)

why prayer matters right now


Prayer is one way to honest with your foundation, but also with your opposition.
 
It allows your circumstances to overlap with a larger story, and a larger Story to overlap with your circumstances.
"I know I am anchored, but the waves are thick today."
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (Ephesians 6:18)