Monthly Archives: October 2015

You’re Not BER (Video)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8 (NLT)

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Good Deeds

  
I love the idea of paying it forward. I always smile when I read a post on Facebook that is thanking an unknown person for buying their coffee or lunch. I think those actions and posts inspire others to do similar things for other people. At work, I challenge new employees to do one thing for someone else each day. It can be as little a gesture as opening a door from them to letting them go first in the check out line to buying their lunch to wherever their mind leads them. The point is to train them to open their eyes to the needs of others.

Human nature has always look inward rather than outward. To break that habit and to begin looking to the needs of others, you have to challenge yourself to look up from your own life. Each of us have enough things going on in our lives that make us too busy, too poor, and too blinded to help others. We have excuses lined up as to why we don’t have the time or resources to help someone out.

The truth is, that simple gestures, like opening the door for someone, cost you no money or time. They are things you can easily do, but make a difference in others. Do you remember the Golden Rule? “Do for others what you want them to do for you” (Matt 7:12 GNB). If it’s a gesture you would appreciate, then do it for someone else first. Pay it forward so that you begin the chain reaction of people doing something good for someone else. The Golden Rule is a simple concept really, but it requires us to think beyond ourselves and to be the initiator in positive actions.

Decades after Jesus taught the Golden Rule, Paul was writing to Titus, a leader in the church, about the behaviors Christians should exhibit. In chapter 3 verse 8 he says, “I want you to give special emphasis to these matters, so that those who believe in God may be concerned with giving their time to doing good deeds, which are good and useful for everyone.” Doing good for others should be part of the DNA of all believers. It should be our concern to find things to do for others that are both good and useful.

So today, be on the lookout for people who you can do a good deed for. You’ll be surprised at how big a small gesture can be to some people. You’ll feel good in the process and who knows, it may even open up a door to share your faith or to pray for someone. Start today. Begin making an effort to look up from your life and you’ll find that opportunities abound for you to do good deeds for others. It’s an easy and effective way to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that desperately needs His presence.

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The Apron Of Humility

  
Several years ago, our area was hit by Hurricane Ike. Our electricity was out for over two weeks. Because of the work I do, I had to go to work anyway to help customers. A couple of days after the storm hit, the CEO of this Fortune 15 company flew down here. Each day, he put aside his tie, put on our uniform, and got behind a computer to help customers at one of our stores. When regular customers didn’t recognize him, they’d ask who he was. When he told them, no one believed him. He had to pull out his business card to prove it. Even then, there were skeptics.

To me, that’s a lot like what Jesus did. When the world was dark and powerless, Jesus left Heaven to come to earth to help us. He put aside His Heavenly body to take on the form of a man. He walked among us to help us. Many did not recognize Him nor believe He was who He said He was. When He proved it by doing things only God could do, they were still skeptical. Even though there were doubters, He continued to do the work that He was sent to do

Philippians 2:5-8 tells us exactly that, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (NLT). What it says first is very important. We should have that same attitude.

We should never be above doing any work in the Kingdom. There is no position high enough or level of spiritualness that you can attain where you don’t have to get down in the trenches and serve like everyone else. Jesus was still exhibiting the qualities of a servant the night He was betrayed to do what He came to do. He made it clear He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and yet He served others. John 13:4 says, “So He got up from the supper table, set aside His robe, and put on an apron” (MSG). He took off the robe that signified His greatness and position, to put on what the lowest ranking person wears in order to serve.

Christianity is not about becoming a great and powerful leader. It’s about becoming an humble servant. It’s following the example of the One who gave up all authority in Heaven and earth to wash the feet of others. It’s about meeting people where they are so they can see what God’s love is like. If the CEO of Heaven took off His robe to put on an apron and serve, we should put aside our pride and follow His example of serving others. Wearing the apron was an outward example of the position of His heart. If you feel you’re above putting on the apron of humility, pray that God would give you the same attitude Christ Jesus had.

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Harvest Festival

  
This time of year, it seems there are harvest festivals everywhere. Towns celebrate that they’ve brought in enough food to feed their families and to sell. Most of us don’t live in rural areas where the size of harvest is a make or break time for families. We celebrate this time just the same though. It’s the start of cooler weather and beautiful colors throughout nature.

The Bible often refers to harvests as winning souls. It commands us as Christians to plant seeds in other people’s lives, to water them, and to harvest them. God is concerned with the harvest to worker ratio. If you don’t have enough workers to reap, some of the harvest is lost. But when we do reap a harvest of souls, all of Heaven has a harvest festival and erupts in celebration. They understand the importance of harvesting. It’s time we did as well. 

To help us, I’ve compiled a list of scriptures talking about the harvest.

1. You know the saying, “Four months between planting and harvest.” But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.

John 4:35 NLT

2. For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.

Genesis 8:22 MSG

3. From the fruit of his words a man shall be satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hands shall come back to him [as a harvest].

Proverbs 12:14 AMP

4. A sensible person gathers the crops when they are ready; it is a disgrace to sleep through the time of harvest.

Proverbs 10:5 GNB

5. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Psalm 126:6 NLT

6. A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall.

Proverbs 20:4 MSG

7. They do not say from the heart, “Let us live in awe of the LORD our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.”

Jeremiah 5:24 NLT

8. What a rich harvest your goodness provides! Wherever you go there is plenty.

Psalm 65:11 GNB

9. We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.

Matthew 10:40-42 MSG

10. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.

Matthew 9:38 AMP

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Miracles In The Wilderness

  
There were two instances where Jesus wanted to feed a large crowd. One was a crowd of 5,000 and the other was of 4,000. In both instances, they were away from the city with nowhere to buy food. In Mark 8, we find the story of the 4,000 people who were following Jesus and it says they ran out of food. Jesus had compassion on them and indicated he wanted to feed the mass of people. The disciples were incredulous and asked, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?” (NLT)

They knew that Jesus was looking to them to feed the people. I’m sure the “we” in that sentence had some inflection in it indicating they thought He should be the one finding the food. He was the Son of God after all. But Jesus didn’t waiver. He stayed true to who He has been since the beginning of time. He looked to them for an act of faith. He wanted them to be the ones who looked at an impossible situation and to offer Him something to multiply. 

When their faith saw only the impossibility, He threw them a hint. In verse 5 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” He was looking for them to trust Him with their own bread so He could do what only He could do. He wanted them to see He could perform miracles in the wilderness if they just put what they had in His hands. He didn’t have to be in a lush environment or around a lot of people in a city to perform a miracle. He just needed to be by a few people with enough faith to trust Him with what they had.

You may be in a wilderness right now wondering what God is doing. You may look around you and think you don’t have anything to offer God to take care of the mass of problems in your life. I believe God would say to you what He said to them, “How much bread do you have?” What is your bread that God could multiply? What is it that you can offer Him in the wilderness that He can multiply? Remember your multiplication tables, anything multiplied by zero is zero. God has to have something from you to multiply. If your faith can’t see what your bread is, ask God to point it out to you like He did with the disciples. Then when you put it in His hands, He’ll perform miracles in your wilderness. 

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Missing Abilities

Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 (GNT)

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Don’t Fake It Till You Make It

  
I used to love watching “Flip This House”. One of my favorite flippers was Richard Davis. In one of the episodes, he flipped the Charleston Crab House. I’ll never forget that episode because he shared how poor he was when he started out. He couldn’t afford to have an office anywhere nice, so he rented a closet at an upscale office building. He put the address on his business cards to impress potential clients. When a client would ask to meet at his office, he countered with, “Why don’t you meet me at the Charleston Crab House. We can discuss it there. It’s nearby and it’s my treat.”

He revealed in that episode that he couldn’t even afford to buy his own lunch, much less theirs. The restaurant had offered him a tab and when he closed a deal, he would settle up with them. It was years later before he made enough to really move into that office building. It was a real life success story of fake it till you make it. Because he and others have been successful at that approach to life, others have tried it more than they should have. The sad part is that many people also try that approach with Christianity.

It’s better to work at moving into a closer relationship with God than to fake it and pretend you’re closer than you really are. People who are honest about where they are in their walk with God are given a lot more grace than those who choose to hide where they truly are. The fake it till you make it Christian is the reason so many people think the Church is full of hypocrites. They are turning people off to what it means to go through the process of growing a relationship with God.

Proverbs 12:9 says, “Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process” (MSG). I think this applies to our Christian life as well as our work life. It’s better to be an ordinary Christian who is working out their salvation with fear and trembling than to be one who pretends to have it all together and is starving spiritually. In Matthew 7:23, Jesus tells us that on the last day that He will address the fake it till you make it Christian and say, “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourself important.”

Our lives are much like one of the flipped houses on the TV show. They are constantly under construction and have areas for improvement. There are things we’d like God to change in our lives, but we aren’t willing to pay the price to get it. When we do that, we become a work in progress that won’t fulfill the potential God sees in us. The superficial, fake it till you make it life will crumble the moment hard times come. But those who take their time, pay the cost of discipleship, and invest quality time with God will be accepted by God and their lives will point others to the cross and salvation through Jesus.

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