04
Jan 14

What’s Stopping You?

What will it take to stop you from fulfilling the things God’s put on your heart?

Not sure? You can easily find the things that COULD stop you. Just take a step forward!

Do something bold, different, courageous. Someone will notice!

“We’ve never done it that way.”

“You make me uncomfortable.”

“It will never work.”

It can be hard to take negative feedback, but it can be harder still to know what to do with it. Here’s what I’m learning.

Some criticism comes from people who are in the game, pushing their way down the field to score a point. They’re on your team. They want to help you succeed, and they’re willing to do what they can to help you win. They’ll tell you truth that hurts, but they’ll help you heal, too.

Other criticism comes from those who are comfortably sitting on the bleachers, preferring to coach the players from the stands but refusing to take responsibility for the outcome. They will only feel comfortable when you finally get off the field and sit on the bleachers with them.

Who will you listen to?

Love everyone, remain humble, but take great care how you live!

We have but one chance at this life. Stay in the game and play for the prize. Don’t let anyone distract you or rob you from your reward!

And ask yourself this question, “Who am I listening to?”

 

 


13
Nov 13

Fearless!

Fearless, bold, courageous! I want that to be me! I want to live fearlessly–unafraid of myself, unafraid of failure, and unafraid of others! But I don’t always feel courageous–sometimes I feel more like Gideon than David. Do you ever feel like that?

The feeling of fear is a voice. It’s a devilish invitation to enslave yourself to an unholy imagination. But it’s only a voice, and you get to choose how you respond.

If you want to empower the voice, listen to it. If you want to magnify it, wrestle with it. But if you want to shut it up, ignore it. You’re bigger than fear, because you’re in Christ.

“Perfect love casts out fear”–which means sometimes fear has to be cast out.

If you wait for the feeling to leave, you’ve already made yourself a slave to fear. Nothing can change the reality of who you are in Christ–it’s only a matter of whether you will believe it and live it. Sometimes it means ignoring the voices so you can act like the son or daughter you are.

“Perfect love casts out fear.”

If you will take your eyes off fear for only a moment, you can turn your heart to something much greater–your Father’s extravagant love. If you can turn your head and look deep into your Father’s eyes, He will burn His passionate love onto your heart–a love for you that is greater than any circumstance that comes your way!

Do you get it? He loves you!

Live in love!

 


14
Oct 13

Seek First the Kingdom?

What do you think of when you think of “seeking first the kingdom”?

I used to think of people like George Mueller, who went broke caring for orphans to prove that God will take care of him anyway. I used to think of Lydia Prince, who traveled to Jerusalem without any idea of where she was going or how she would be supported financially. I used to think of Rees Howells, who took a financial risk and watched God provide. I used to think of a hundred and one people today who are in what we call “full time ministry.” All of these people were (and still are) heroes of mine.

But something was really wrong with my perspective of the kingdom of God. I used to have a dissonance between work, money, and the kingdom. While I never believed God wanted me to be poor, I devalued my work. I couldn’t see God moving in it.

But God’s been working in my heart and changing my perspective. I believe God is looking for people who rely on the Holy Spirit to go into the marketplace, influence leaders, generate wealth, and advance the kingdom of God. As I’ve embraced my job as a software developer and mentor, realizing that God loves having me here, I’ve found that I actually love being here! I’ve found a much deeper passion and fulfillment in what I do.

I used to think that to seek first the kingdom of God, I had to find another job. However, I realized that to seek first the kingdom of God, I needed another perspective on the kingdom. I’ve realized that God actually delights in the fact that I love to write language parsers–that He willingly gives wisdom for the challenging technical problems I face.

Here’s what you gotta know–that before you were even born, God put things into your DNA that He wanted to empower by His Spirit to make disciples of all names. Jesus died so that the design of God on your life would not go to waste. You can choose to get up and put it to use for His kingdom, or you can lay it aside to pursue the call of God for someone else’s life.

You are the only you. God has created no one like, nor will he. He put you on the earth for this time.

Rise up. Embrace your call. Be the person God created you to be!

Love life! Love God!

For the King!

 


05
Aug 13

Powerdigm: Forgetting the Past

(This is an ongoing series on “powerful paradigms” that hold the potential to transform your life.)

This past year, God has been teaching my wife and I a lot about our identity in Christ. Who we are in Christ remains constant–independent of our circumstances, our successes, and our failures. We’ve both seen the power and freedom of living out that identity. It’s what allows us to remain joyful and hope-filled in the missed of circumstances that would otherwise be depressing and overwhelming.

But sometimes I mess up. As I’m learning to live out my identity in Christ, I sometimes forget. I forget who I am and what God says about me, and I give ear to the enemy’s lies instead. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Yes, I’ve messed up. More than I like.

But through it, I’ve seen something powerful–I’ve seen the power of getting up again.

You see, when we’re down, the enemy likes to whisper lies in our ear. “Look at how you failed! How can you actually be made new in Christ if you act like this? How can you call yourself a man/woman of God? You don’t deserve grace. You’re never going to actually live out who God wants you to be!”

But our victory comes when we choose to say, “No. I’m not going to listen to the enemy. I’m going to get up again. I’m going to simply believe what God says about me–not because it feels true right now, but just because He said it!” We have to choose to not let what we’ve done stop us–we must come back to Christ and who He is and what He’s done. Yes, this does mean I apologize–it’s not that the devil made me do it! I made a choice to listen to his lies, and I have to take responsibility for that and repent. It doesn’t mean that I have license to sin. But neither does it change my permission to simply return to living in my identity in Christ–that He sees me as righteous, that He’s made me a new creation, and that I can live to please Him.

Paul makes this clear in Philippians. He writes, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” In fact, he further instructs us, “Let those of us who are mature think this way.”

We’ve all made mistakes. Sometimes God asks us to go back and restore what’s been broken, repent of ways that we’ve sinned, and repay what we’ve stolen. But He’s also given us permission to move forward–to not live under the weight of regret but to live with the fullness of who He says we are!

So press on! Be willing to forget the past, to let go of your regrets, so that you can press on to the fullness of what God has ahead!

For the King!


31
Jul 13

Powerdigm: The Cause-and-Effect That Isn’t

(This is an ongoing series on “powerful paradigms” that hold the potential to transform your life.)

Have you ever had a recurring problem in your life that just won’t go away? Maybe it was a coworker who constantly annoyed you. Before long, you started thinking thoughts like, “Every time Bob cracks a joke to his colleague when I’m on the phone, I can’t hear a word the customer is saying, and it makes me so mad!”

Or maybe you have trouble remembering people’s names, and you find yourself thinking, “Every time I meet someone new, I can’t remember their name, and I say something stupid.”

It’s easy for us to draw connections between certain situations and certain outcomes. We begin assume that Bob’s jokes are the cause of our anger, and we begin to assume that meeting someone new is the cause of our social mishaps.

But it’s not true.

The funny thing is that as long as you believe that Bob’s jokes make you angry, they probably will, because you’ve just made yourself a slave to your situation. The only way for you to stop getting angry is to find a way to change the situation–make Bob stop telling his crazy jokes when you’re on the phone! And the only way to avoid being socially awkward is to avoid meeting new people!

In short, the only way to live your life is to avoid certain situations because of the anticipated outcome. In other words, your only choice is to live a life controlled by fear.

Sometimes, breaking the power of these situations is as simple as disconnecting the cause from the effect. When we recognize that our anger is not caused by the situation, we receive the freedom to change our attitude. When we recognize that meeting new people does not cause our awkwardness, we receive the freedom to grow socially.

And if by chance we have lived our lives in fear, it is then that we have the freedom to define our lives not by the situations that surround us or by the outcomes we’ve trained ourselves to anticipate, but by the Spirit who lives within us. After all, He is a Spirit of freedom and of self-control.

So let me close off with some questions for you:

  • Can you recognize any of your personal cause-and-effect connections as actually being false?
  • What are situations that you have allowed to dictate your responses?
  • How would your perspective of these situations change if you were able to disconnect the cause from the effect?

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, so live free!

For the King.


29
Jul 13

Powerdigm: You Matter!

(This is an ongoing series on “powerful paradigms” that hold the potential to transform your life.)

“You matter.”

It’s not a phrase my wife or I will forget anytime soon. This summer God gave my wife the idea of making white wristbands with the words “YOU MATTER” written boldly in red. When the carnival came to town, we went out one evening to hand them out to the people we met. We reminded them that they really do matter. Unfortunately, my plans were not big enough, and our 200 wristbands were gone in half an hour! But we were both amazed by the responses of complete strangers–some surprised to receive a gift, and others astonished to be so affirmed.

While it was an incredible experience, I didn’t see the power of this message through the strangers that we met. I saw it through the transformation in my wife as she embraced this truth.

She matters.

It’s not because she’s earned a special spot with God.

It’s not because she’s able to outperform everyone else.

It’s not because she’s managed to always feel significant.

It’s simply because two thousand years ago, before she was even born, God looked at her and said, “I’ll buy that.” And when the world asked, “At what price?” He answered with the greatest possible gift–the life of His only Son. And He did not just give His life to die on the cross; He gave His life to take up residence in her!

You see, the truth that “she matters” isn’t because she loved God or believed Him. It’s simply because the Father saw her created value. He saw everything that she can be in Him, and in His estimation, she was more than worth it!

She matters, and she believes it. And because she believes it, she is free to bring her requests to the Father. Because she believes it, she has something to offer the world. Because she believes it, she is free to believe in others–because she can see something in them that they cannot always see in themselves.

So let me turn it back to you.

“You matter!”

Stop the excuses and simply believe it–if for no other reason but that God has spoken it loudly through the cross. Until you believe it, you will not be able to engage the world that you live in. You will not have faith to ask what you will from your Father in heaven. You will not have courage to chase after the dreams God has called you to fulfill. You will not be able empower others to be everything they can be.

Don’t just think it. Don’t just feel it. Live it and believe it!

“YOU MATTER!”

For the King!


26
Jul 13

Powerdigms: Introduction

From the moment you wake up to the instant you fall asleep, your life is controlled by something unseen. They dictate your choices, your actions, and your responses. They determine your attitude, your perspective, and in time, your success.

These unseen things are your beliefs. They are your beliefs about yourself, the world, those around you, and even God Himself. They are the engine that drive your life.

Many of us are unaware of the ways our mindsets affect the way we live. We try to change behaviors we don’t like, but we fail to bring lasting change. Why? We don’t recognize that certain beliefs actually keep us in our prison of old behavior. Transformation comes by overhauling the engine of life–by renewing our minds so that our thoughts line up with God’s thoughts.

And it’s not without opposition. We live in a war zone, and the enemy is fighting for our life. He wants to claim our prize, and so we fight. But we do not fight with ordinary means. As Paul wrote, “We take every thought captive to obey Christ.” How do we fight? We fight by judging our thoughts–do they empower me to fulfill God’s call and manifest Christ to the world, or do they disempower me and cause me to cower? We destroy every mindset that is not from God.

We must embrace these life-changing mindsets. I call them “powerful paradigms,” or powerdigms, because they will empower us to fulfill the destiny and call that God has placed on our life. They must become more than an idea; they must become the very heart and soul of our lives.

As you go through your day, I challenge you to consider this: What are the beliefs that drive my actions? Are these beliefs positive beliefs? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you not only places of error, but the truth that He would have you believe.

For the King.


16
Mar 13

Who Are You?

Who are you?

You were born to be you. If you had been born to be anyone else, you would be that person. But you’re not, so just be yourself.

You were born to be fulfilled doing what God made you do to. If you’re not fulfilled, maybe it’s because you’re not being you. If you find it difficult to be yourself, maybe it’s because you never had anyone show you that who you are truly is amazing.

Heaven will be full of people being themselves, in complete harmony with God’s design. That’s why when you find an environment like that on earth, it feels a bit like heaven. When we don’t allow others to be themselves, we invite a little bit of hell into this life. Hell doesn’t want you to be you, especially not if you’re a believer.

Being yourself means redefining success. You’re not competing with anyone else. You’re competing with yourself. You’re meant to be the best “you” that you can be.

Some people think you’re arrogant for being yourself. If you say, “When I’m faced with a crisis that needs quick thinking and immediate attention, that’s when I shine,” naysayers will tell you, “Braggart!” Meanwhile, they expect you to fulfill God’s call on your life while you’re downplaying whatever God has given you to fulfill that call. They don’t know your heart, but you do. Don’t be proud; but please, be yourself.

Some people get scared when you are yourself, especially if they don’t know who they themselves are. It makes them feel insecure. In fact, maybe you’re scared right now. “What if I don’t know who I really am?” That’s okay. Right now, you’re might be scared, but that will change. I know a Father who longs to give you a revelation of who you were made to be. Give into His love, and He’ll show it to you.

Some people say that those who are themselves are a bunch of jerks. But that’s not true, especially for believers. God didn’t create you to be a jerk, and if you’re a believer, you have Christ’s nature. This means that when you’re being most like yourself, you’re being most like Christ. Christ isn’t a jerk, and Christ wants to be Himself through you. So be yourself.

Not everyone likes when others are themselves. But God likes it. Besides, the world needs you to be yourself. If God had wanted you to be something else on this earth, He would have made you someone else. But you’re not. That’s why you’re “you”.

In case you’ve never heard it before, let me tell you straight up:

I like you for you.

I like who God made you to be.

I like you the most when you’re being yourself.

I like you in spite of all the things you don’t like about yourself.

God made you in His image. In other words, “You’re amazing!”

So be yourself. :-)


26
Dec 12

He Is Real!

It’s Christmas. (I think it still is, at least!) It’s our reminder that Jesus was God coming to earth–as man. But there’s more! Jesus left so we could have something better–the Holy Spirit.

If that’s true, it means it doesn’t make much sense to wish for Jesus to live among us, because His Spirit is living within us. And He thinks that’s better! The more I see what He sees, the more I agree!

Whenever God opens my eyes to more of His spiritual realities, I am astonished at my blindness and unbelief. In His Presence, so much of His truth makes so much sense and is so tangible! My surprise, oddly, is rarely, “I didn’t know that,” but, “I never experienced it like that!”

I see many, many people coming alive to a dynamic, intimate relationship with Him whom we call the Holy Spirit! He is so amazing! Yay for the Father, yay for the Son, and yay for the Holy Spirit! :)

God is pretty incredible!


23
Dec 12

Becoming Simple

This Christmas one thing keeps swirling in my heart–to simply become simple. Last year I listened to many different people from many walks of life. They challenged me, and some won me over and others pushed me away.

But my heartbeat is changing. I want a new life plan. This Christmas I just want to become simple.

I want more of His love.

I want more of His presence.

And really, that’s about it. Love and Presence. I can’t explain why I want it so much, but I really want to be that simple. Jesus, reduce me to simple!