My thoughts on faith, books, and life in general
I just finished Max Lucado’s newest book, Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine. Once I picked it up, it was a really quick read.
Max Lucado is a master storyteller, and uses a nearly endless arsenal of anecdotes to great effect as he shares the greatness of God’s grace. I’ve been a big fan of Lucado’s work for many years, and if you haven’t read any of his previous works, I highly recommend them. While his works are not always deep academic or theological tomes (and I overlooked them for that reason in my seminary days), they have great devotional value and are great for application. It doesn’t have to be academic to be meaningful.
It’s often been said that Sin is rebellion against God, but Lucado does a great job at illustrating that point from the teachings of Jesus.
Read Jesus’ one-paragraph definition of sin.
A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten servants and gave them ten pounds of silver to invest for him while he was gone. But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say they did not want him to be their king. (Luke 19:12-14 NLT)
To sin is to state, “God, I do not want you to be my king. I prefer a kingless kingdom. Or, better still, a kingdom in which I am king.”
Imagine if someone did the same to you. Suppose you go on a long trip and leave your residence under the supervision of a caretaker. You trust him will all your possessions. While you’re away, he moves into your house and claims it for his own…He claims your authority and send you this message: “Don’t come back. I’m running things now.”
It’s a shocking picture, but Lucado is right in using this picture to illustrate how God sees sin. You and I think it’s minor, but to God, who is creator and rightful ruler–it’s open rebellion.
There are a lot of things that you should have on your “To Do” list this year, but if you haven’t already, you should put finding your purpose at the top of that list.
John Maxwell says:
There are two great days in our lives – the day we are born and the day we discover why.
What are you made for?
Dan Miller (author of 48 Days to the Work You Love) offers this:
Here’s an uncomplicated process for knowing your purpose:
What is the thing that I do that convinces me I’m making a difference?
Knowing your purpose doesn’t have to be big or original – it just has to be ‘you.’
In trying to find your life purpose, try asking questions like:
– What activities/work do I enjoy?
– If money were no object, what would I spend my time doing?
– What kind of person do I want to be?
– What do I want to excel at?
– What can I be really good at if I apply myself?
Michael Hyatt suggests picturing your own funeral (let’s overlook any morbid thoughts to get to the key question): How do you want people to remember you?
It’s still early in the New Year, and if you haven’t already set goals for 2013, there’s still time. Take the time this week and set some goals. Remember, not all goals for the New Year have to be big or particularly challenging, in fact, let me tell you today why at least some of your goals should be easy ones.
Have you made any resolutions this year?
It’s good to plan things you want to do, but I want to encourage you to try something else that I’ve done for a few years now. Focus on character traits that you want to cultivate.
One of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind.” This is crucial for planning your life. Who do you want to be?
Do you struggle with laziness, and wish you were more of a hard worker? Make set a course toward that character trait by making goals consistent with working diligently.
Decide what kind of person you want to be and set goals that will help you build those character traits. At the same time, set goals to root out those activities or habits that take you away from the person you want to be.
Andy Stanley, author of The Principle of the Path says this is the Path Principle:
It is our decisions, not our desires that determine our destination in life.
For more on setting good goals check out this article from business and finance guru Dave Ramsey.
This year, don’t just resolve to do. Become the person you want to be.
What character traits do you want to cultivate this year?
If I’m going to blog again, I guess I should give an update on what has happened since I last blogged.
2012 was a big year for me.
I guess things really started rolling in 2011. About the time I stopped blogging here, I had decided to go “all in” for the ministry God had for me. Having served part time in the church and part time in the military, I had the feeling that something had to give. I volunteered for something that I had considered unthinkable before – spending six months away from my wife, serving on the other side of the globe alongside our fighting men and women. I had about six months to prepare. Then, in November, I quit my job at the church, Kelly and I moved out of our apartment and I got on a plane to the Middle East.
It was an incredible experience – one of great personal and professional growth for me. I was uncertain about what God had for me after I got home, because there was no guarantee that I would have a full-time job in the Air Force, and I had no other prospects.
Thankfully, God was paving the way for me. I applied and competed for an Active Duty slot with the Air Force, and won what turned out to be the last of 23 slots for the year. I returned to the States, and got to spend some great vacation time with my wife, and at the end of the summer we lived on an Air Force base in Texas until we got the assignment to head out to California.
The Central Coast of California was never where Kelly or I imagined we would find ourselves, but being here now, we are thrilled to see the work God has ahead of us.
I welcome you to follow our journey as we share what God is doing in our lives and ministry.
It’s been all over the news for the last few weeks, and watching the fall of Congressman Anthony Weiner has been like watching a train wreck in slow motion. There’s a lot that can be said (and most of it has been) about this situation, but I want to point out two lessons that everyone can learn from Weiner’s failures.
I just finished reading The Next Story by Tim Challies. I really enjoyed it! I believe this book is a must-read for pastors, and anyone who wants to better understand and confront the new realities and theological issues of the technological world in which we live.
Author/pastor/blogger Tim Challies does a great job at highlighting some of the new issues and realities that confront us as users of technology today. This is a topic that needs to be discussed, and Challies may be one of the first to take this issue on and discuss it in depth.
Sometimes I act like I’m my own favorite speaker, and I’ll bet you too may have this before (especially if you’re an extrovert like me).
A big part of my job involves interacting with people from my community, and one thing I do a lot is listen to what they have to say. Talking comes easy for me – listening, not so much. Even though I’ve had training to be an effective listener, it still can be hard.
The other day at work, a lady was talking with me, but I found it hard to be a good listener. You see, I kept wanting to interrupt and give my opinion while she was talking. Not only would this have been impolite, but I realized that (honestly) the things I wanted to say weren’t really that important anyway. It was more important for me to listen to her than to talk.
Reflecting on this and other similar situations, I realized that sometimes I talk as though I’m my own favorite speaker. Maybe you can relate. Sometimes we can talk just to fill the silence or maybe to hear the sound of our own voice. Nobody wants to be characterized that way: “they love the sound of their own voice.” What’s worse, nobody wants to listen to these “super talkers” – trust me, I’ve been around a few. It leaves me praying, “please God don’t let me be like that.”
Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” Wise people listen, but fools only talk. I don’t know about you, but I want to be wise. There’s also the matter of pride. The proud person believes that what they have to say really matters, but nothing you have to say could be important.
Have you ever been around someone who talks and never listens?
Have you ever been that kind of talker?
What did you learn from that situation?
Jon Acuff’s new book Quitter is definitely one of the best books I’ve picked up this year. Acuff starts with the question, “Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you’d love to do?”
Sharing from his own personal journey from cubicle-dwelling-advertising wannabe to bestselling author,blogger, and communicator, he the reveals lessons he learned. These lessons helped him and will help us make the transition from doing what pays the bills, to doing what we love.