Tag Archives: christian life

Making a Difference is Easier than You Think…

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life today, it does not get anymore complicated than that. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the money or resources to make a large impact in the world.

Be encouraged. You have the ability and opportunity right now to lift someone’s spirit.

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”

Proverbs 10:11

Please do not underestimate the impact your words can have in the lives of the people around you. That old nursery rhyme about “words will never hurt me” sounds nice, but words can wound in ways that sticks and stones never could.

However, our words can be used as a fountain of life and there many dry, weary souls in need of nourishment.

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.

Ephesians 4:29

Today, will you intentionally encourage and uplift those around you?

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Filed under Challenges, Chances to Serve, christian, making a difference, Scripture

Christian Cannibals

Have words ever felt tangible to you? At times, they jump off the page and you interact with them in a way that seems almost personal.

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.

Ephesians 4:29

I normally enjoy reading other blogs. They inspire me. I try to vary who I read to better understand different perspectives and most of the time I come away encouraged. Today was different.

The hate, disgust, contempt were palpable. Upon reading the blog itself and the comments below it, I just felt dirty.

And this was a Christian blog.

It was written to attack one particular subculture of Christians. The author attempted to be funny, but the accusations and assumptions were enormous. The irony was evident as the author and those commenting unleashed a fury of belittling comments about how they had been judged in the past.I am not saying we can’t have dialogue and discussion. We can and we should.

The difference is that dialogue and discussion is beneficial to the body of Christ, where as just unloading on an entire group does nothing but alienate and wound.

I understand we have probably all had bad experiences with certain groups in the past. I just want us to find more constructive ways to work through differences.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

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Filed under christian, Scripture, selflessness

Ignorance, Indifference, or Unbelief: Why Don’t We Pray?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

John 14:13-14

Ignorance, indifference, or unbelief. I can only think of three options.

The disconnect between these verses and our lives expands like a great canyon. The mark of our churches includes many good, even great things, but rarely desperate, concerted prayer. We have the power of heaven at our disposal, yet, if your life looks anything like mine, we live as if we have plenty of power on our own.

Three reasons why we may not pray:

  1. Ignorance: I’m not calling anyone stupid. Ignorance is simply not knowing any better. Sure, people know verses about prayer exist. They even know they should pray. However, many Christians have not grown up in churches where there are men and women with a heart for prayer. Prayer is generally assigned to a Sunday or a morning devotional and so people treat it that way. We need leaders who will mentor the next generation. We need churches where families gather to pray not because they were told to, but because they have a passion for prayer. Church leaders, we must begin to live out biblical preaching on prayer!
  2. Indifference: Indifference is an epidemic that plagues the church today. Unfortunately, our convictions are such that we act as if our beliefs are no more significant than choosing which shirt to wear. Jesus directly tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” Yet, when it comes to the many people in our sphere of influence who do not know the Good News, we hardly feel the need to pray for them. I have begun to pray that I would feel Paul’s urgency when he wrote:  “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all…we implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
  3. Unbelief: I have the hardest time with this one. I want to say we all believe God answers prayer, but do we? I feel like we sometimes try to cover for God by not praying. We just aren’t sure if He will answer the way we want. I don’t know. One of my best friends in the world was going through a difficult time recently and there were days I would neglect to pray for him. Sure, we’ll never be perfect, but I think there is also a time when we have to be real with ourselves and ask: Is what I believe just up in my head or has it sunk into my heart?

Ignorance, indifference, and unbelief. Which one do you struggle with?

 

 

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Filed under christian, Prayer

Are Dogs the Best Christians?

The epitome of a Christian?

There is an unfortunate myth that perpetuates itself throughout church communities. It can be fairly well summed up in an old saying I once heard: “I don’t drink, smoke, chew, or date girls that do.” The myth is that Christians are just supposed to stay away from a lot of things and they’ll be good.

Don’t drink. Don’t lie. Don’t have premarital sex. Don’t cheat. Don’t gamble. Don’t…..and the list grows depending on which church you attend.

Unfortunately, many people ascribe to this belief. But, that is NOT Christianity. If it were, your dog would be the best Christian around. He doesn’t cuss. He doesn’t get drunk. He doesn’t go out doing bad things. What a great dog! He’s so good.

But no, that is not Christianity. Paul addressed this issue in the letter to the Galatians. Listen to what defines a Christian life for Paul.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,         faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

Paul is telling them that their individual lives and their community (the “church”) should be defined by these things. How many people in your community, when asked to describe your church, would even mention this list?

Fact is, we spend so much time trying to “overcome” sin on our own that we miss out on the fruit of our relationship with God. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Abiding in Christ, relationship with God – that is what produces that fruit Paul talks about.

And I found this interesting: The word “fruit” in Paul’s passage is singular. Love, joy, peace, etc. is one package. They are not just a bunch of individual things we work really hard on. They are a bundle of fruit blossoming from the vine. Think of it like a bunch of grapes. One fruit, just a bunch of it. That’s the fruit of the Spirit.

What if our church was known for its love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? People long for that kind of community. Instead, we spend the majority of our time focused on the “shall nots.”

Do you see this fruit in your life?

Does your Christianity consist mostly of no’s?

Do you abide in Christ each day or work on your own power?

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Filed under christian, Scripture, Uncategorized

Becoming Last – Day 1 – 12:07pm

Funny how putting others first can be such a tough thing to do. For the last three hours I have been watching my son. I realized when I got home that the house could use a little cleaning. So what did I do? I went for a walk with my son (good stuff there), blogged about serving (ironically while avoiding cleaning), and watched Price is Right among other things.

I think you know what I need to do…I need to demonstrate my love for my wife by cleaning before she gets home 🙂

Off to clean!

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Filed under Time, Uncategorized

Becoming Last – Day 1 – 10:51am

Realization #2 – I need to give people a second look.

I’m really giving 2 Corinthians 5:16 some thought today (I’ve loved this verse for awhile). “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” 

I’m absolutely shocked as I begin to see people in a whole new way and I’m scared to think it’s just begun. I’m starting to see the hurt in people. I’m starting to see the brokeness that I would overlook before as I enjoyed my time in my own little world. God is slowly adjusting my eyes to see people as He sees them.

And even scarier yet, I’m beginning to see the absolutely staggering number of people who don’t know God. I mean really, have these people just appeared? Most likely, I’ve just begun to care. If what I believe is true, then quite a few people are without relationship with God and this is devestatingly alarming on a couple of levels. First, because most people are content without God. Second, because I really believe that in some way my life has shown that I’m content seeing them without God.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to go running around smacking people over the head with the Bible. Forcing someone to believe in God isn’t possible. My prayer is that God would continue to open my eyes to their needs and that he would give me the boldness and courage to share with them God’s love at the right time and the best possible way.

I hope you can join me in taking a second look at the people around you.

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Filed under Making God Known, Realizations, Scripture, Uncategorized

Becoming Last – Day 1 – 7:15am

Realization #1 – Excuses are lame.

Everyone knows all the jokes about excuses. Here’s one to get you started…Excuses are like arm pits, everyone’s got them and they all stink. Seriously though. Excuses are lame. My main excuse for not being able to spend as much time in prayer as I’d like…wait for it…here it comes…lame excuse…”I don’t have enough time”. As if that one isn’t overplayed.

It’s lame for me because I just found 15 minutes this morning that I’ve never used. Three mornings a week, I work way early. My routine consists of showering, checking random internet stuff (Facebook, fantasy sports, weather, scores, news), and walking to work.

I’m still going to shower, but I spend about 15 minutes just killing time each morning. I admit. I’m internet obsessed. I refresh pages constantly hoping they are updated. Then I refresh again. But here’s the rub…

I have a job that lets me on the internet at work!!! If I just waited 30 minutes I could do all the refreshing my internet obsessive heart desires as I welcome people to work out. This is a beauty of a discovery for me. It’s my first chance to give my time to something besides my incessant desire for internet satisfaction.

My goal is to use that time praying each day. Now, think about this over a year. 15 minutes  x 156  days (that’s about how many days I get up that early) = 2,340 minutes. Otherwise known as 39 hours! That’s 39 hours to be praying for people in my life. Thank God He challenged me to this. He’s already bringing some change.

Of course, now is the doing part. Tuesday will be the first test so we’ll see. If I fail, I fail. I’ll try again. But right now I’m excited about the possibility of seeing what God will do in those 15 minutes each morning.

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Filed under Excuses, Prayer, Realizations, Time