You are worthy and valuable

The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. You are very valuable! You have so many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God. Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not.

The Lord put a word on my heart that I must share with you. Not sharing would be to deny water to the thirsty.

Someone needs to hear this today…

Several years ago, I’ll never forget I heard Pastor Dr. Greg Cook talk about how we’re all “self-deceived deceivers.” Spot on!

Since I was a small child, I struggled with a deep-seated sense of worthlessness. Perhaps it was my upbringing or a traumatic event I can’t remember. It was a lie I believed about myself and that lie shaped my life in many ways for many years. It led to chaos, destruction, and casualties in the lives of others. But, over the years, Christ delivered victory. To God be the Glory!

To a greater or lesser extent, we all believe lies about ourselves and our value as a human beings. We believe a deception, then we deceive ourselves, then we deceive others by putting up a facade. Finally, we believe the facade is the real us – forgetting who we are. The false notion becomes so real that our lives can be built on a lie we believed long ago. Many times, we’re not aware that we’re acting on a false belief about ourselves.

Maybe someone made you feel worthless at some point in your life. The devil got a foothold in your mind and breathed out lies that you believe to this day.

Dear Christ-follower,

DO NOT believe lies the devil or the world have told you to believe about yourself!

The TRUTH is, you are so very valuable! You have many fine qualities. You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, you have intrinsic value and worth. No one, not even you, can change that reality. The truth is the truth regardless if you believe it or not. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead for you. He took your sin and worthlessness upon himself. He gave you the crown of life and the keys to his Kingdom.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you the lies you believe about yourself. Ask him to use other Christian brothers and sisters who love you to help you see clearly and believe the truth. Repent of believing a lie and believe the Gospel. Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to yourself each day and believe it!

Here are some truths to believe:

– In Christ, you are WORTHY because He is WORTHY! (Roman 8:17, Rev. 5:12) That is TRUTH!

– You have so many fine qualities, talents, gifts and beauty in who God made you to be. There is only one you! This is TRUTH!

– You are loved by the creator of the universe, who knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139). This is TRUTH!

– You did not choose the circumstances of your birth but, God ordained them in His providence (Acts 17:26). This is TRUTH!

– Before the foundations of the world, the Lamb was slain for you (Rev. 13:8). This is TRUTH!

– Therefore, you were, you are and you always will be part of God’s Story (Eph. 2:8-10). This is TRUTH!

– It is NO accident you are on this earth. Today was and is in God’s plan for you. This is TRUTH!

If you have experienced victory in Christ over deep-seated feelings of worthlessness, praise Him afresh today! Now, help someone else experience that same victory. Encourage someone, tell someone they are valuable and they have many fine qualities.

You have the power to influence conversations tonight by how you serve and treat people in your life today. What is the story you want told this evening? …. Begin by telling it now.

Someone once said, “All of Christ for all of life!” Make it so, Lord!

Conquering the Madness of the Moment with God’s Story

God structured reality in such a way and embedded reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. For sure, the fallen world, sin and broken lives distort and dim the good world God created. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

We live in an ever expanding crisis-centered culture.

Stress at home and at work, and free-floating anxiety are in the air. It seems like you can almost touch it. The world says, “just deal with it” as moments like waves pound you like an ocean storm. Some deal with stress and anxiety by indulging in excesses like drinking, eating, drugs, video games, social media scrolling, pornography, or other unhealthy activities. Some will fall into a pit of despair, depression, or apathy. Many barely make it through the day. It’s a chore to sleep at night. The alarm goes off in the morning shouting, “Wake up! Another crisis ensues!” It can be maddening.

I hear it and see it in the faces of people everywhere. It’s a problem.

The “Out of Control vs. Control” Problem

Most situations we face are completely out of our control. You can only control yourself and your responses – which is extremely difficult.

Out of My Control:

Are you helpless to do anything about a world on fire?

School shootings, natural disasters, wars, a traffic jam on the way to work, a serious health diagnosis, a family member making destructive decisions, an abusive boss, a flat tire, or the dying garden caused by the relentless Texas heat are examples of our limited control.

Don’t confuse the madness of the moment with the bigger story. Remember, we live in moments within a bigger story.

Open your newspaper or newsfeed. You come face to face with empirical evidence of evil, brokenness, and pain. Deep down you know what you’re seeing and experiencing is bad, it’s wrong, it’s cruel, it’s unjust! The madness of the moment militates against a deeper notion that the world is not supposed to be this way. Something is wrong.

Where did the notion that “the world and life are not supposed to be this way” come from?

C.S. Lewis said about his conversion from atheism to Christianity the following, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” (Lewis’s full quote below this post)

In other words, although we live in a world of brokenness and sin, God did not obliterate goodness, truth and beauty embedded in creation. In a fallen world things are disjointed, distorted and decaying. However, God structured reality in his creation so that His image-bearers (humans) can apprehend it, albeit imperfectly. The fallen world, sin, and broken lives distort and dim God’s good creation. But, that is not the end of the story. It’s just a moment.

By God’s mercy that we have “some idea of a straight line.” The “straight line” is God’s Story.

Within My Control:

Presuppositional truths of the Christian worldview – God’s Story:

1. God is… (God exists, whether one believes or not does not change reality of God’s existence)
2. God is the source of all goodness, truth and beauty…
3. God created all things…
4. God created all things good… (God is the source of good).
5. Sin entered creation because man chose to “be like God” and rebel against his creator…
6. Creation fell into the curse of brokenness, pain, decay and death…
7. But, God sent Jesus Christ to redeem people from sin and His creation from the curse…
8. God is setting right what sin sets wrong…
9. God is currently redeeming and will restore all things in the future…

How to Conquer the Madness of the Moment

Remember The Story
So, when you find yourself caught up in the madness of the moment, remember The Story. Out-narrate the moment with God’s bigger unstoppable redemptive story. It is The Story we inhabit. The Story can be described in four chapters; creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The story of the Bible contains all other stories.

Did you choose the circumstances of your birth?

Of course not, we did not decide where, when, and to whom we were born. We were born into a cultural moment within God’s bigger Story.

Discover or Rediscover Your Calling
Every man or woman’s life mission is to seek out their unique role in The Story. Merely existing is NOT what life is all about. Escaping life’s troubles and pain through pleasure or distraction leads to meaninglessness, madness, and self-destruction.

God created you for this place and time to serve His purposes in this generation.

Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Roman 10:13) Those who God saves He calls into the biggest, truest and most beautiful Story ever told. God writes His Story with the lives of ordinary people just like you and me – moment by moment, one life at a time.

Reflect on the following:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
– Isaiah 26:3

“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.” – Os Guinness

Note: Join me as I interview Os Guinness on August 8, 2022 at 7pmCT via live Zoom (ask your questions). Link…

“For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

C.S. Lewis’s full quote from above:
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

Faithful in the Moment

You are not called to worry about what others think of you. You are not called to be anxious about anything. You are called to be faithful in the moment.

Dear Christian,

It is so easy for us to allow the dizzying moments and circumstances of life to make us lose focus. We are overcome with distractions, amusements and anxious thoughts. We are vulnerable to getting lost in the moment and losing track of the bigger story we inhabit.

Remember, you are not called to worry about what others think of you. You are not called to be anxious about anything. You are called to be faithful in the moment.

You are here in the time and place God appointed for you. Be faithful in the moment. Do not worry about what is to come. Turn over your anxious thoughts and distractions to the Lord – knowing that if you are faithful to God, the result will be faithfulness in all things.

We are faithful to that which we love and worship.

Your faithfulness and dependency on God will result in all other things being properly ordered and an outflow of blessings. You will experience troubled seasons and moments, but all God expects is faithfulness in the moment. String those faithful moments together, and you will realize your part in God’s bigger story.

Pastor Alister Begg said, “We need that dimension of understanding like the men of Issachar – that we would understand the times in which we live and we would understand the God who rules over those times.”

Moments mark cultures and histories. Moments mark stories and our lives. Don’t allow dizzying moments and circumstances of life to make you lose focus. Tomorrow has worries of its own … Be faithful in THIS moment God appointed for you.

Prayer:
Lord, may I be found faithful to you in THIS moment. Ultimately, that is all you ask or want. But, I need your help do be faithful to you. Thank you for giving me an abundance of moments to be faithful. Even when I fail in one moment, there is the hope of another moment to be faithful. May I be found faithful.

*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.

Did You Know You Were Made For This Time and Place?

Did You Know You Were Made For This Time and Place?

The Gospel isn’t a formula you apply to your life; it’s the Story you’re meant to inhabit.

Do you know your role in the story of which you inhabit?

We live in an extraordinary moment in history.

Do you know your role in this world?

What are your responsibilities and opportunities in this cultural moment?

Where do I start in the square inch God has placed me?

If you are redeemed in Christ, then you inhabit the greatest story ever told. The Gospel is not limited to the way of salvation. It is bigger than that. Yes, your faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life is important. But, the Gospel I believe is not the Gospel of Lance. It’s not about me. Neither is the Gospel about you. Our salvation is not the end game nor is it the over-arching theme of the Bible. Jesus Christ proclaimed the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom.’

Michael Craven said, “The Gospel is so much larger than the personal plan for salvation. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the in-breaking rule and reign of Jesus Christ as King over all creation – redeeming and restoring all things. Through Him, the Kingdom of God has come into this world. Jesus has completed the atonement (payment) for our sin on the cross. By his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God the Father, He is presently ruling and reigning over creation. Christ is reinstating his righteousness on the earth.”

J.I. Packer said, “The Gospel starts by teaching us that we, as creatures, are absolutely dependent on God, and that he, as Creator, has an absolute claim on us… Only when we have learned this can we see what sin is and understand the salvation from sin.”

The bad news is that our modern American gospel is man-centered not a God-centered Gospel. A God-centered Gospel is indeed Good News. There are two competing gospels, the gospel of the world vs the Gospel of the Kingdom. The former leads to death and destruction the latter leads to eternal life and human flourishing.

“Calling is at the heart of scripture.” – Os Guiness

God calls us, moreover, God invites us to inhabit His story. “When Christians see everything as calling from the Lord, we realize the dynamism of our faith” (Os Guiness). As we respond and enter into the overarching story of all of history, we go about setting things right in the world. In other words, we bring order to the disorder we find in our time and place.

“The Gospel isn’t a formula you apply to your life; it’s the Story you’re meant to inhabit.” – The Colson Center

A Unifying Vision:
As Christians, we must cultivate a unifying vision of the Lordship of Christ over the domain of our individual and collective lives as the local church. We shall live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord as we exercise dominion over that which God has placed in our care. The hallmarks of Christian maturity are; holy living, the ability to articulate a Christian vision of total reality, and a zeal to bring ALL things under the Lordship of Christ as co-reagents of His Kingdom – redeeming and restoring that which is lost and dying in the place and time in which we live.

We are witnesses to the ‘in-breaking’ rule and reign of Jesus Christ into history as we redeem and restore that which God has placed in our care. We beseech the lost world to be “reconciled to God” in Christ Jesus as we take our place in His great story.

As Christians, we are transformed through Christ. We are commanded to share the Gospel of the Kingdom with a lost world. We are also given another command called the Cultural Mandate or Dominion Mandate. “The cultural mandate is the command to exercise dominion over the earth, subdue it, and develop its latent potential (Gen. 1:26-28; cf. Gen. 2:15).” (9Marks) We create good, true and beautiful culture that transforms the world and the story we inhabit.

The late Chuck Colson said,Transformed lives transform lives – transformed lives transform culture.

We live in an extraordinary moment in history. We have an extraordinary God. We inhabit an extraordinary story. You Were Made For This Time and Place.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10

Author’s note: The piece I’ve written above are deeper reflections of my experience and what I’ve learned through the Colson Fellows program over the last two years. “Gain wisdom, live faithfully and act courageously.”

 

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*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.

Don’t Be a Coward – Creating Communities of Courage

Don't Be A Coward

Creating Communities of Courage

Cowardice has no place in the life of the Christian or Christ’s Church.

A faith that bows before cultural coercion is not biblical faith. When the individual Christian or church acquiesce to the zeitgeist (the spirit of the age), we are being cowards – we are fearing man over God. Humans worship what they fear. When Christians take their cues from the culture, we are cowards (period) – we are worshipping what we fear – the culture (man).

Throughout scripture, God repeatedly calls his servants, his people to be courageous. True courage is properly grounded in fear of the Lord. When we fear what people might say, think or how they may respond, we are not fearing God but man. If our fear is rooted in the fear of man, the fruit is always cowardice. Christian cowardice has always led to spiritual, societal and cultural decay – and the rise of barbarism (ie. the silent church in Nazi Germany). If on the other hand, our fear is rooted in the fear of the Lord, the fruit will be courage. Not only courage but wisdom, righteousness, love and reflections of God’s attributes.

God’s commands carry blessing for those who obey. The command to “be courageous” is not a suggestion, it is a command to follow obediently. And God, like a loving father, blesses our obedience.

In the face of social pressure or coercion or violence, we sometimes think that backing down or appeasing the enemies of truth will give us relief or buy us peace. That is a lie. Don’t believe a lie and don’t disobey God’s command to be courageous.

The secular zeitgeist is a bully. How does one face down and defeat a bully?
First, you must stand up to the bully knowing that he’s weak and filled with folly. It’s all show.
Second, you fight back. Bullies only pick on people they think are weak. When you demonstrate that you are not going to put up with their crap and push back, they back down. Finally, when the bully backs down, their passive and active support vanishes in a mist of humiliation. But, the church must be careful not to become a bully either.

Both cowardice and courage are contagious.

The Christian must choose. All it takes is one Christian to stand up and others will follow. This is the catalyst that creates communities of courage.

The Church needs a commitment to the truth of Scripture and vibrant communities of courage where the people of God stand against a dark culture. When the redeemed in Christ can truly claim, “we’re in this together”, we have become a community of courage. Christianity is a “Public” faith. We have a public theology. We courageously think, speak and live by truth as Christ demonstrated in his earthly ministry.

Need help in developing courage?

Check out this video: Thinking Out Loud “Courage in a Culture of Chaos”

Feel free to share your thoughts and commend below this post…

 

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*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.