Church

Measuring Up

There seems to be a common thread that ties people of all social and economic genres together. While that is usually a good thing, I think in this case it is to our detriment.

The thread that I’m referring to is that of comparing ourselves to others.

I’ve seen successful people compare themselves to someone else in their area of expertise and diminish their worth because the other person has more or has done more. Of course it happens in sports. We “size-up” the opposition usually to find ourselves questioning our own faults and weaknesses. It happens to us at the gym, regardless of gender. “If I only had their _____.” Parents compare themselves to other parents. Teenagers do the same, to the nth degree. People who don’t have compare themselves to those that do. Those that do have find those that have more. Even pastors find themselves mentally and emotionally pitted against other pastors. They have a bigger church than I do. They preach better than I do…

It’s sad really.

A couple of things come to mind when I think about this struggle of ours.

1) You don’t know everything that goes on in the life of your comparison subject. Some people put on really exquisite fronts. The reality may be much harsher than it appears. Just because it seems to you that they have it all together doesn’t mean they really do. You know your faults inside and out and bring that to the table, skewing the comparison.

But the actuality is that it doesn’t matter if they are that much better than you.

2) God didn’t ask you to be somebody else. He asked you to be you. I have this redundant statement that I use as a reminder of this verity. “You are the only you and only you can do what you can do so you better do what God has called you to do.” Let me break that down for clarification.

You are the only you.
Only you can do what you can do.
You better do what God has called you to do.

The comparison trap is an easy one to fall to. However, it’s one that we should strive to prevail over.

We’re not called to measure up to other people. We’re called to be children of God. That is our identity.

Fully Convinced

Fully Convinced. I use this term often.

However, something that I have noticed about my faith is that it is somewhat liquid. I’ll explain.

My thoughts about God and His nature and characteristics and what that demands of me are constantly being shaped, formed and reformed. What I thought about God 8 years ago was more rigid than I think He is today. Then I trusted more in my ability. Now I understand grace as unmerited favor. Then I acted as if I could make God love me more by an almost masochistic faith. Now I am learning the art of rest. You get the idea.

So what I was fully convinced of then is not what I am fully convinced of now? Maybe. I’m “fully convinced” there are aspects of our faith that will grow and stretch and change as long as we are alive.

However, I also think there are some constants that can provide some stability to our frenetic lives. Examples:

  • God is love. That never changes.
  • Jesus as Savior. That work has been finished, it can’t be tampered with.
  • Sin kills. Always has, always will.

This is where it gets practical. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it, thus being fully convinced. I find out what I am fully convinced of when I am backed into a corner. I find out what I am fully convinced of when one of the truths that I value is attacked.

Paul said in Romans, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

Whatever it is that you believe, believe it because you believe it. Not because somebody else believes it. Not because it was the most attractive option. Believe it because it has you fully convinced that its origin is one of validity.

This is so pertinent for followers of Christ because the passion with which we convey the greatest message of all time rises and falls on our belief in it. That’ s no small thing. Passionless delivery diminishes the effectiveness and value to the listener. Don’t try to sell me something that you’re not smoking!

The take away: Let’s get about the business of owning our faith. Let’s study, pray and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to “Lead us into all truth”. BE FULLY CONVINCED!

Monday Morning Quarterback

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “Monday Morning Quarterback”, I’ll gladly enlighten you. By definition it is a person who, after the event, offers advice or criticism concerning decisions made by others; one who second-guesses.

I always feel a little like this the day after we have our experiences at Motion. When things don’t go quite as planned, or there are certain things that you forget to say that would have been perfect with point 1, subpoint b, or a technical miscue…. You get the idea. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

But here is the interesting thing: Most people don’t even notice the things that make me freak out. If I put it in the proper perspective it changes everything. They really are just mole hills, not mountains. Even with a few shortcomings people still connected relationally, had an opportunity to worship God and heard and applicable message about Jesus. Not a bad day.

While I’m not excusing laziness or sloppiness, I am saying that we can lose battles and still win the war. In the grand scheme of things, giving it all we’ve got is all that we are required to do. The rest is out of our hands and into some pretty trust-worthy ones.

If you’re looking for a life application, here it is. When we fall short. When we don’t think we measure up to whatever standard we’ve set for ourselves. When we look back and say, “I wish I would have…”. In the middle of the chaos that we create, I can almost hear Jesus saying to us, “Stop looking back. Stop second-guessing. Stop allowing shame and guilt to consume you. Look forward. That’s where I am.”

Here is great scripture to complete this thought.

Proverbs 21:31- Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.

Guaranteed Victory!

I’m an avid sports fan. I watch the sports. I watch the commentary before and after the sporting event. I even listen to the radio station that spends the majority of it’s programming on sports.

One of the most common phrases you hear in the sports world coming from confident, ambitious players is some variation of, “I guarantee a win!” Of course we know that they seem to be wrong most of the time. The ones that actually predict their victory are lionized like Joe Namath.

I was thinking about this concept of “guaranteed”. In our world nothing really seems to be guaranteed. Everything is changing, shifting and adjusting. Our careers, schedules and relationships are seemingly always subject to change. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it just is the state of our society. In other words, it is what it is.

On the flip side, I was reminded of some things that are guaranteed. I think about 1 Corinthians 13 where it says, “These three remain: faith, hope and love.” I think about one of my favorite songs called “Your Love Never Fails”. I think about the scripture in Matthew 24 that says, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My word will stand forever.” Guarantees.

The point of all of these ramblings is this: The only real consistency that we are going to find in this life has its origin in our relationship with God. We know that things decay and depreciate. We, at least intellectually, know that people will eventually fail us. Even the things that we have some control over, such as our health, can take a turn for the worse without warning. However, if we keep the main thing the main thing it should certainly help us to have a better shot at a “Guaranteed Victory”.

My Thoughts on the Motion Experience

First, let me start by saying that it was freakin’ awesome to get to hang out with the Motion peeps yesterday. I’m so glad we’re going steady now (that won’t make any sense if you weren’t there yesterday).

I’m absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of our leaders and volunteers. They understand the virtue of honor and embrace it whole-heartedly. Like I’ve said before, “They make THIS what THIS is.”

It was so encouraging to see so many new faces. We will continue to work diligently to make Motion a place that you can believe in enough to invite your unchurched friends and family. Our vision is simply for people that don’t know Jesus to come to know Him through the church. I heard a quote one time that seems fitting: “We want the Message of Jesus to be comfort to the afflicted and affliction to the comforted.”

One of the Laws of Motion (core values) is generosity. We got to live this out by giving 10% of our offering to an organization called charity:water. You can track our campaign by going to http://mycharitywater.org/Motionchurch

The grand crescendo is this: the best is yet to come. Not even in a metaphorical sense, but literally, we are just getting started. We are already larger in attendance than the average church in America. We’ve got some great things planned, but God has even greater things than we can imagine. It’s appropriate to finish this post with the lyrics from the chorus of the song that is somewhat of our mantra.

“Greater things are yet to come,
Greater things are still to be done
In this city!”

Break The Wrist and Walk Away

Napoleon Dynamite is quite possibly the dumbest movie on the face of the Earth. Which is exactly why I LOVE IT!

There is one particular scene that reminds me of a scenario I was in recently. Since we’re being honest here, I have to tell you that there are some people that just rub me the wrong way. Don’t go getting all sanctified on me, because I know you feel the same way about “that person”. You know what I’m talking about. The “one” who makes your blood pressure go up at the mention of their name or during a chance encounter at Wal-Mart. The one that you would rather punch than pray for…. OK, so that may have been too much but you get the point.

The solution: “Break the wrist and walk away.” Now while we would possibly like for that to read “break their wrist”, that’s not exactly what is going on here. You know what I’ve learned about harboring animosity and unforgiveness? You’re the one that loses. The other person may never even entertain the thought that you get so worked up about their issues. So, break the wrist and walk away.

Separate yourself mentally from that persons failures, shortcomings, stupidity, or whatever it may be. I heard a quote one time that seems applicable, “Don’t let people rent space in your head.” In other words, put a “No Vacancy” sign out front. Don’t give them the emotional, mental and spiritual energy that they may even deserve. Break the wrist and walk away.

Romans 12 says that “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” It seems to indicate that there are some people that it just isn’t possible for you to be at peace with relationally. So to keep peace perhaps you need to steer clear of them. Break the wrist and walk away.

That is all.

I attached a link to the video as a refresher just in case you haven’t seen it in a while.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcw6xBaCaXM&feature=related

Hope Against Hope

 

I found this poem the other day when I was looking up the phrase “hope against hope” in reference to Abraham in Romans 4. I thought it was good so I decided to share it with those who join me in the blog action.

 

Away, dark thoughts, you autumn clouds!
A golden spring is here!
Shall it be thus in sorrow and in lamentation
That my youthful years pass away?

No, through all my tears I still shall laugh,
Sing songs despite my troubles;
Have hope despite all odds,
I want to live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

On this poor, indigent ground
I shall sow flowers of flowing colors;
I shall sow flowers even amidst the frost,
And water them with my bitter tears.

And from those burning tears will melt
The frozen crust, so hard and strong,
Perhaps the flowers will bloom and
Bring about for me a joyous spring.

Unto a winding, flinty mountain
Shall I bear my weighty stone,
Yet, even bearing such a crushing weight,
Will I sing a joyful song.

Throughout a lasting night of darkness
Ne’er shall I rest my own eyes,
Always searching for the guiding star,
The bright empress of the dark night skies.

I shall not allow my heart to fall sleep,
Though gloom and misery envelop me,
Despite my certain feelings
That death is beating at my breast.

Death will settle heavily on that breast,
The snow covered by a cruel haze,
But fierce shall beat my little heart,
And maybe, with its ferocity, overcome death.

Yes, I will laugh despite my tears,
I’ll sing out songs amidst my misfortunes;
I’ll have hope despite all odds,
I will live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

 

So whatever you’re dealing with, there is always hope!