Monday, June 24, 2013

Are You Honest With Where You Are At?

A while back I read a book I found at Goodwill, usually not my stomping ground for purchasing reading material, but I saw something I had heard of and wanted to read. "Good to Great". Very business minded, but it spoke a lot about leading and doing things well.

One of the chapters dealt with a huge problem in business. People aren't honest with themselves with where they are at. They think their product or their sales are better than they really are. Kind of like on Kitchen Nightmares, all the owners think their food is spectacular when everyone else knows it's not, and that's why no one is eating there.

It made me think a lot about our spiritual lives and what we talked about last night at Drink Deep, are we honest with where we are with God? If you ask the average person who well they do with spiritual disciplines they would say "good", but if you had them write out when did they pray, what have they actually read in the Bible, time served, etc. I think people would be surprised.

When Jesus came to earth, that's what he asked of us. Can we be honest enough to say we need Him?

Jesus told them, "Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." (Mark 2:17, NLT italics added for emphasis)

If you want a fun experiment this week, actually sit down and take an honest look at where you with Jesus. Then look at where you would like to be, and what you need to do to get there...


Monday, June 17, 2013

Some Is Better Than None

This is an old idea that seems to be resurfacing lately. It's in Jon Acuff's new book and I've seen it in the blog world. But it's a really simple idea. Some is better than none.

Here's what I mean: Let's say you are supposed to exercise. Now if you're like me, I'm pretty inconsistent with it. So the natural thought is, "Well, I can't commit to doing two hours a day, so I just won't start." And the problem with that is, you get no exercise. Absolutely none. Now what if I said, "I can't do two hours a day, but I can do fifteen minutes at home." I may not be getting the full trainer/bodybuilder workout, but at least I'm exercising.

Some is better than none.

Think of all the spiritual exercises we put stop because they seem too big:

The Bible is big, and I can't keep up with the year reading plan, so I'll read none of it (I am always behind in my year reading plans, but I'm always in a reading plan).

I can't pray an hour a day, so I won't pray.

The church serving event conflicts with my calendar, so I won't serve anywhere.

I don't know how to bring up Jesus in a conversation, so I just won't ever talk about Jesus.

I think too often we forget baby steps. We want to go from nothing to all-in, and it just doesn't happen. The best way to start something is to stop thinking about it, stop talking about it, stop waiting for the perfect opportunity, stop waiting until we "feel like it" and just starting doing something.

You'll be surprised what you can accomplish.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. ~ Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Can You Believe Something Without Acting On It?

This was one of the roads our discussions took last night at Drink Deep. We were talking about our core values and living as disciples of Christ, and this kind of came up. The question is can you believe something without actually doing something in regards to that belief?

The answer that came first was yes. I'm sure everyone can name people in their lives that believe one thing but act in a different way.

But, of course, I couldn't leave it at that. If someone is acting in a way that differs from what they say, the question is, are their actions different from what they believe, or are their words different? You can have a rickety old chair that looks like it's about to fall apart and ask if I think it would support my weight. If I say "yes" but I refuse to sit in it, which one do I really believe?

This can lead to some very hard inner conversations. I can say I think poverty is a bad thing, but if I am doing nothing or giving nothing to stop it, am I really that upset with it or am I content to allow it to exist because it doesn't directly involve me? I can say it is important to tell people about Jesus so they can know there is a God who loves them, but if I'm not doing it do I really believe it's necessary? Or just that it's someone else's job?

It's a scary can of worms to open, but it may help you realize what you truly believe. If someone were to look at your life without any commentary, what conclusions would they reach about you? Something to ponder...

My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, "I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat." What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!
Suppose someone disagrees and says, "It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds." I would answer, "Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them." ~ James 2:14-18 (CEV)


Monday, June 03, 2013

Get Rid Of The Little Things

Last week I went and had my oil changed. I take it to the same guys every couple of months, they've really treated me well and let me know what I need to with my car. But I felt a little bad, I was the only one there that day (someone came in for a few minutes, but they were the only other customer). Talking with they guys, I asked if it was normal to be this slow. Their response: "It's raining."

People do less when it rains. Even though you most people get in their car through the garage and the oil place is inside, still, going out in the rain is too much. Later that day I was grocery shopping, people were lined at the door waiting for the rain to stop before they went back to their car. Hey, even church attendance goes down when it rains.

Isn't funny that such a little thing can be so crippling? But then I thought about it. It's those little things that are incredibly crippling. The big things, not so much. We hear so many stories of people overcoming great adversity. But when it comes to getting things done, it seems the little things have far more power.

When it comes to faith, let's not be stopped by the little things. Go to church when it rains. Serve even if it's a little uncomfortable. Read your Bible or pray even if you're a little tired or there's something on TV. Let's not have our souls stunted by the little and the mundane.