19 4 / 2013
“The Holy Spirit is in me for my sake; but He’s upon me for your sake.” - Bill Johnson
I love reflecting on the promises of God. In fact, I spend a lot of time remembering the things God has promised me through the Bible and through the words people have spoken over my life. I spend a lot of time listening for or waiting to discover more promises He has yet to speak over me. I spend even more time praying to take possession of His promises through faith. His promises are good, but I had a revelation today that we need to have the right perspective on why God’s promises are so important for us and the world around us.
It’s easy to adopt a self-centered theology of God. We can almost get to a place where we command God for our good and our benefit. Sometimes, we treat God as if He exists for the sole purpose of blessing us. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be jealous to desire and possess the promises that He has for us. But we have to see the grander picture of why God chooses to bless us so extravagantly.
I think of God’s promise for Abraham. God promised that He would make Abraham a “father of many nations;” that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand in the sea. First and foremost, God’s promise was a reflection of His love and favor for Abraham. His heart was to prosper and bless His son. God’s promises reflect the love and goodness He has for us as His children. Just like any good father, He longs to lavish us with his favor and blessing as a reflection of His love for us.
But here’s the second component of God’s promises. God’s promise of blessing for Abraham didn’t end with Abraham. His promise released a blessing from him to the generation after to the generation after him and so forth. His blessing extended far beyond Abraham and made its way throughout the generations that followed him. God’s promises for us aren’t exclusively for us. He fully intends that the blessings He releases in our lives make its way throughout the generations that follow us.
There are dangers when we accept one without the other. If we exclusively believe that His promises exist to prosper us, we lose sight of the grander potential of His blessings. One starts believing that life is all about God blessing me and only me. The fulfillment of His promises end with us and we have a narrow view of the world and God’s desire for it. On the other end, if we exclusively believe that God’s promises for us are simply a means to bless the generations after us, we lose perspective of the love and favor that flow from His heart as a Father. We cut ourselves off from the deep and intimate nature of His blessings. We must understand both.
I want to be one who is jealous for the promises of God, not just for my sake but for the sake of those around me and after me. I’m excited for the fulfillment of His promises because they are a reflection of His love for me. But I’m even more excited to see how His love for me will bless the world around me. I know He loves me. I long to see the world blessed as a result of it.
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09 3 / 2013
wise words from the fresh prince
“Remember, danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”
Scientologist or not, Will Smith speaks some powerful words in the trailer for his upcoming movie, After Earth. We can’t always control the circumstances that face us, but we always have a choice in how we decide to face them. Fear, anxiety, discouragement, depression, hopelessness, etc, are always a choice. They are responses to external circumstances. What we have to understand is that external circumstances have no power in affecting our internal condition unless we let them. For most of us, fear, anxiety, etc., have become our default response to difficult circumstances. What we need to do is choose courage, choose encouragement, choose peace in the face of difficulties. The more we make those decisions, the more we program those things to be our default responses. One of the greatest rights God’s given us is the power to choose. Let’s exercise it wisely.
After Earth Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUcNyzu4IdM
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07 3 / 2013
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06 3 / 2013
lovers vs. workers
Today was one of those days at work. I looked at my to-do list and started blanking out, staring into the megapixels between each word. I finally mustered up enough energy to start my work but fizzled out within 15 minutes. There was no joy, no passion, no desire to do anything I was doing. I felt like a prisoner in the jail cell of my office, looking out the window into the free world. It doesn’t help that a school occupies our lower level, so whenever I looked out, I saw children running, laughing, and playing in the sunlight. It was just one of those days at work where I would rather have been doing anything else. By the way, did I mention I work fulltime at a church?
I began thinking to myself, “I gotta remedy this.” I put my earphones in and isolated myself from everyone around me and started going at it. Nothing. I began trying to recapture the vision for why I was doing what I was doing. Nothing. I took lunch to regather myself and come back into the office refreshed for work. Nothing. Nothing was working. And the day was wasting away quickly. I felt lifeless. Dead.
Finally, something stirred in my heart. It was as if I could’ve started weeping right there in the middle of my office. I felt God. He said, “Stop what you’re doing, get up, grab the guitar, worship.” So I got up, grabbed the guitar, and walked into the other room to begin worshipping (one of the benefits of working at the church fulltime).
As I began worshipping, I felt my hardened heart grow tender. I felt myself being filled with joy. Affection began to well up in my heart. I felt alive again. It was as if in those 15 minutes, God made up for me the hours of a miserable, wasted day and transformed it into a beautiful, purpose-filled one. My gaze was set back upon my love, my reason for being, and my reason for doing anything.
“Lovers will always outwork workers.” I love that quote. I didn’t realize how much I had been working as a worker these past few days. I always talk about how having vision is crucial. If you don’t have vision for something, you’ll inevitably fail at accomplishing anything. But I realize, certain kinds of vision are not enough. Envisioning the growth of your ministry is not enough. Envisioning the countless salvations that would result out of your work is not enough. The only vision that will keep you going is the vision of the one you love. They say the most dangerous people in the world are those who are in love. They’ll do anything! Love will always outlast ambition. Take your focus off of why you do what you do and fix it on who you do it for.
I definitely lost some time getting to this place. Worshipping, writing this blog, etc. But as a lover I can get more done in two hours than I ever could as a worker in five. Be reminded today of your love and stir your affections for Him!
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17 2 / 2013
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16 2 / 2013
failure is always an option
“When doubt seeps in, you got two roads. You can take either road. They’ll tell you failure is not an option. That is ridiculous! Failure is always an option. Failure is the most readily available option at all times… but it’s a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed.”
- Chael Sonnen (A UFC fighter I previously could not stand)
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26 1 / 2013
created to be creative
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say, “I’m not very creative.” Whenever I hear that, I just want to throw down some holy slappage. It stands to reason that if we were made in the image of God and if His Spirit dwells in us, then we bear the image and the Spirit of the most creative being in the universe. I think about Adam in the Garden of Eden and how creative he must’ve been. He had the enormous task of naming every single animal in the world. And he didn’t start assigning numbers like “dog 2” or “fish 5” like most of us would do. He uniquely named each and every animal, one by one. He tapped into the creativity that was part of his nature as a creation of God.
No matter what field you are in, what hobbies you have, whatever you do, creativity is necessary. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs all need creativity to thrive. Some of the deadliest strains of viruses have been neutralized because scientists decided to think outside of the box and try unconventional things. The Church cannot afford to be apathetic in this area. There is a world out there that’s releasing creativity and innovation that’s shaping every aspect of culture. The Church must tap into her creativity.
The difference between “creative” people and “not creative” people is that creative people intentionally pursue creativity. People assume creativity flows out naturally and easily for those who are creative. Not true. Creative people simply have learned to work at tapping into the creative potential buried inside of them. Each of us have a vast, never-ending well of creativity to draw from inside of us. But only those who are willing to work at tapping into that well will be able to draw from it.
It’s not easy. There will be moments when you feel uninspired, unfruitful. But if you choose to push through and constantly posture yourself for inspiration, you will tap into a goldmine of creativity. You were created to be creative. Pursue creativity and you will surely find it inside of you.
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