Thursday, May 27, 2010
I am not a proponent for words like "never, always, biggest, etc...", but this was the title for this weeks blog post. So as I share with you a fear I have, I'm not sure if it is my biggest fear, but it is a significant one. The fear I have is: "Will I be successful?"
Now I could have said my fear was snakes, or heights, or being alone. While these are all fears, as I searched my heart, I believe the "successful" issue was bigger. Now the challenge with this is what is success? As a minister, is success bringing people to a faith in Christ? Could be. Is success growing the numbers of people that come to church? That has some truth to it as well. Is success giving a great sermon every week? I'm sure that can be a part of it.
You see, success can be defined in many ways. You could ask 10 people what they think is success, and you would probably get more than one answer.
So what is success? I think Jesus was clear, that success comes from giving ourselves fully over to Him, and putting our trust in Him, and loving God with all of our heart, and soul, and mind. If we do this, then the resulting success will be determined by God.
So as I write this, all of a sudden I realize I don't need to be fearful of not being successful, because it isn't based on numbers, or being the best preacher, but on faithfulness. And the truth is, all our fears are unwarranted when we put them in the hands of God. Go ahead and do that, and see how you feel about your fear; put your fear in the hands of God.
In essence then, this blog is more like a journal writing, and you happen to be in on it. I hope this has created some thoughts of your own in regards to your own fears, and how God can take away those fears.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
When reading a mystery, you often get to a place in the story where you get excited about what happens next. In fact, I was just reading a book on Monday where I got near to the end, and I didn't want to put the book down. So I kept reading, because I wanted to see what was going to happen. I read it all the way to the end.
Life can be this way as well. The exciting parts of life lead us to want to see what is next. Maybe you get engaged, and you are excited about getting married and what it will be like to be married. Or maybe you are getting ready to finish college and you are excited to see what is next in your life. Or maybe you have a child, and you are excited about what will happen next when they are born.
But even the struggles of life can be like this, and lead us to wonder what is next. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." This is a verse that leads us to think, "I can't wait to see what is next." If God has a plan for us, a plan that has a future, a plan that offers us hope, then we should be very excited to experience it.
Are you at the place where you are excited about what is next? If not, why not? Whether you are or not, there is great hope when we walk with God; when we trust God. Each day, I want to wake up and say: "I can't wait to see what's next." I hope you will feel this way too. Blessings.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
How often do people set goals at the beginning of the year and not carry through with them? How often do people decide to read the Bible more, but fail to do so? Why is this? Lack of accountability. Accountability is not a popular word in our society. Maybe it is because people think of being judged by others, or told what to do, or they don't like the thought of their life being scrutinized. The problem with a lack of accountability, is that people’s behavior tends to be more sinful. The Bible tells us that we are prone to sin. If this is our tendency, then it would be helpful to try and support each other in making our actions the best that they can be.
This is what accountability is about, not judging each other, but helping each other be our best; being strong for each other when we can't be strong for ourself. That is why those in AA groups have sponsors, their sponsors are there to keep them accountable. Usually if we know that someone is going to check on how we are doing, then we tend to behave better and keep our commitments.
Accountability is important whatever we are trying to do in life. Whether it is setting a goal for losing weight, or working out more regularly, or cutting out destructive behavior, it is important to have someone in your life who can keep you on task.
This sets us up for the question: who should be my accountability partner? The answer to this, is someone you trust, someone who wants to be there for you in that way, and someone who has strength of character (someone you admire). Once you choose this person, and they agree, you then need to figure out how they are going to keep you accountable. Maybe they check in with you once a week, and/or maybe you phone them if you are struggling to do what you want to do, or maybe you send daily or weekly e-mails to them letting them know how you are doing. The key is that there is regular contact.
The process for accountability is not judgment, but love and growth. Are you accountable to anyone? If not, who might you choose? You life will be better for it!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
In life, conflict is bound to happen, and while conflict is not fun to experience, it can be beneficial. Meaning that sometimes conflict is what allows us to address a situation we are avoiding, or ignoring. It is not uncommon for us to ignore certain situations because we don’t want to “rock the boat” or we don’t want to create any tension in the relationship. So we let the issue linger on, while all the while it is simmering deep inside us. Finally, the situation gets so bad that it has to be addressed.
On top of this, there are those all too familiar conflicts that happen time and time again. These conflicts happen regularly for several reasons: one may be that the person whom we are in conflict with, doesn’t learn, and continues the behavior that creates the conflict (i.e. an employee who doesn’t do their job, or a friend who takes you for granted). Another reason is that some people just create conflict based on their selfish behavior. Because they only focus on themselves, they tend to bring conflict into the relationship whenever you don’t pay enough attention to them.
A verse that has been very helpful for me, which helps to guide me in the conflicts of my life, is Romans 12:18- “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” What this verse tells us is that we can only do so much to bring peace to a relationship or situation. If I am in conflict with someone, or they are in conflict with me, I will do my best to communicate with them, and seek to bring resolution. At this point, hopefully peace has been restored. I can be at peace knowing that I have done my best to resolve the issue. If they are not at peace, that is on them, not on me.
On top of all of this, there is love. God calls us to love all with the love which God loves us. Whether we realize it or not, we are often in conflict with God. This too is a familiar conflict. The conflict comes from our sin and our turning from God’s way to choose our own way. But God keeps loving us and calling us back into a relationship with Him. With this as our example, we can look to love others in spite of our differences, challenges and conflicts.
What conflicts are you facing? Usually these conflicts aren’t random, but have a visible reason why they are there. Seek to resolve it through communication, bringing peace into the situation, and ongoing love. Blessings.