Embrace What Hurts

Most people avoid pain at all costs. It’s uncomfortable and almost unnatural to embrace what hurts us. But it’s what can make us most like Jesus.

When we are blessed with a burden, we cry, we pray, we fast — and then we act. We’re so broken by what grieves God that we’re moved to do something to make the world a better place.

We should embrace what hurts until we can’t stand idly by another minute.

Focused Passion

There are so many worthy causes and organizations to serve people in need; it can be overwhelming to choose where to serve. Keep it simple — choose one and give it your all.

Remember: many things will capture your attention, but few things will capture your heart. Whatever issue gives you the most righteous discomfort deserves your deepest attention and passion. Once you choose that issue, team up with an organization who’s already on the ground doing the work. Combine your efforts. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Righteous Discomfort

Craig Groeschel of Life.Church issues a challenge: “Consistently expose yourself to something that creates a righteous discomfort.” This means we must regularly put ourselves in situations that break the heart of God.

If weren’t not consistent, we’ll be motivated to act for a time — and then our righteous discomfort will get lost in our own day-to-day issues. And if we stay safe and don’t expose ourselves to uncomfortable situations that include suffering, like poverty, physical and mental illness, abuse, exploitation, etc., we’ll be too comfortable to ever serve those in need.

Blessed and Cursed with Comfort

Most of us are materially blessed enough that we can pretty much get whatever we want, whenever we want (within reason). Our comfort makes our lives convenient, enjoyable, and relaxed.

But comfort can also be a curse. It makes us believe our lives should be all about catering to our own needs and fulfilling our own desires. We lose sight of the needs of others and forget the less fortunate. And the slightest inconvenience to us feels like the end of the world.

Comfort is like a drug; we always want more. But living in comfort, safety, and apathy is exactly the opposite of how Jesus taught us to live.

10 Core Questions of Life

Our personal world view shapes everything in our lives — and in our kids’ lives. Our actions and reactions are determined by what we believe to be the answers to what Pastor Kevin calls the “10 Core Questions of Life.”

Using the Bible as a reference, we can teach our kids God’s answers to these questions. We’ll have to adapt our answers according to their age so their understanding will grow as their minds and bodies do. Eventually, when they’re adults, they’ll have adult-sized answers and be deeply grounded in their faith.

Bless Someone

No matter where we are, we can find someone to bless. When we start our day, we should ask God to show us who that might be. It could be a family member, a friend, a coworker – even a stranger. It doesn’t matter whether the blessing is big or small. The recipient will know they matter to God. And we might find that God even blesses us in the process!

How Do You Talk with a Non-Believer about Prayer and God’s Will?

Sometimes friends who don’t believe in God ask us, as Christians, to pray for them. When things don’t go as we hoped and prayed, our friends feel disappointment and we feel uncomfortable. Pastor Kevin explains practical, step-by-step ways to pray with non-believers and how to follow up later to initiate conversations about faith.

Lead Like a Man, Pray Like a Boy

There is so much in our lives and in our world that we can’t control. Political issues, economic changes, relational problems – many things plague us. At work and in our families, when we’re expected to lead, we should lead with strength and confidence. But when we pray to God, our protector, provider, and deliverer, we should humbly approach Him like a child.

How Will You Run the Bases of Life?

As Pastor Kevin explains, we live in a world in which most people run the bases of life backwards. Sadly, many people wait until the end of their lives to acknowledge their Creator and connect with God.

It’s a great discovery to eventually come to God; it’s a better life to start with God.

Growth Starts with Connecting with God

Using Pastor Kevin’s baseball analogy, God’s pattern for our lives starts at home plate. This means our spiritual growth starts with us connecting with God, our Creator.

We discover that God created for us for a reason, and He will give us the power to accomplish our life’s purpose.

Life begins to make sense when we understand why God created us and what we’re here to do.

Learning to Value Others

When things are going very well, it’s easy to slip into self-importance. We start to believe we’re the very reason the business or marriage is so extraordinary. But things don’t typically grow and prosper forever. Difficulty usually sets in.

When God has us in a season of humility and things aren’t going so well, perhaps He’s teaching us to value others.

Win Dependence

Sometimes as we honor God and go through trials in life, we wonder what God could possibly be doing. Life gets difficult and our situation gets worse – and we wonder, “Where is God?”

Perhaps in these times, God is teaching us to “win dependence.” Children move from dependent to independent as they grow, but as Christians, the opposite should happen in our relationship with God. As we grow spiritually, we move from self-reliant to God-reliant.

Home Run Life

4 questions that can transform your life:

1) What makes for a Home Run Life Dream?

  • Success
  • Someone
  • Self Respect
  • Significance

2) What can we learn from Joseph’s Life Dream? (Genesis 37-50)

  • Win Dependence
  • Win Within
  • Win With Others
  • Win Results

3) What is the pattern? (Gods Game Plan for Life & Leadership – Romans 12)

  • Home Plate – Connect
  • 1st Base – Character
  • 2nd Base – Community
  • 3rd Base – Competence

4) How do you run the bases of life? (How will you?)

Whatever God Breathes Into, Counts the Most

We need to train ourselves to recognize the things God breathes into. These are the things that count most in life!

When God breathes into things that matter, what is right, what His values are, He makes them larger in our lives.

But the world can take away from the things that God breathed into, like motherhood. Being a mother, is a sacred role, but our world has a way of lessening that.

Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

Drill Down for Good

Discovered: When you chase Feel Good; it progressively destroys good. When you chase do good; it grows feel good!

The Challenge: Drill Down for Good (Because God’s good goes deeper and lasts longer.)

  • Public
  • Private
  • Secret

The Secret to a Merry Christmas “good life”? (Join Jesus)

  1. Yoke up for His pardon.
  2. Learn to live good in secret

The Importance of Perspective

David knew that before He could really access joy, He had to return to a right view of God and himself.

Discontentment is not an issue of the value of the things in your life, but the perspective you have of your life. If you don’t get “discontent” settled in your soul, you’ll never be content.

The next, and the new, turns into the old and the mundane really fast if the issue is discontentment on the inside.

Thanksgiving renews the perspective of our lives and helps us see blessings again.

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

We get the feeling of happiness confused as the presence of joy.

The Bible uses the word “joy”, but culture uses happiness. Happiness is emotional and fleeting, while joy is steady and sure.

But, Joy is NOT in the emotions first, it is first in the spirit. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is in identity. Joy is higher than happiness. It can exist whether you are happy or not.

And when we get the two of these confused, we will find ourselves trying to force the feeling of happiness into the place meant for joy, but happy can not replace joy.

The strength of your walk with God is that you can sustain a life of joy, and it is connected to your ability to be thankful.

Trying to Control Grows Anxiety

Anxiety grows when we try to be in control. It pushes us to have neatly compartmentalized worlds. We want to control when we are anxious or afraid.

  • We cannot control our circumstances.
  • We cannot control the stock market.
  • We cannot control our children.
  • We cannot control our spouses.
  • We cannot control our bosses.
  • We cannot control our teachers/professors.
  • We cannot control our guilt from the past.

We have to REST in God. The last and deepest place of praise is giving ownership and control over to God. Not just recognizing Him, not just relying on Him, but giving over control.

The good news is praise and anxiety cannot share the same heart! When we live a life of praise, rest comes naturally.

Christians: Don’t Judge, Do Discern

It’s important for believers to discern the truth about how to live righteously. But using that truth to judge others can do more harm than good in trying to lead others to Jesus.

Figure out what lost people can discern of God and only share information that will invite them to investigate matters of faith further.

Shining your light to the world means leading with love. What people need most is the love of God, not the laws of God.

An Overview of The Sermon On The Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is one the most intense points of scripture. It’s lengthy.

What is it? It is what life would look like if you had perfect faith in God. The standards laid out in the sermon are not attainable by anyone on their own. However, anyone can, with the help of God. It describes the kind of people reborn Christians are, or should be.

The context of the Sermon on the Mount is to describe the saved, not declare a path to salvation.

It’s broken into 3 sections:

  • True Righteousness – Matthew 5:1-20
  • True Intentions – Matthew 5:22; 6
  • Hinderances To Righteousness – Matthew 7

Jesus is trying to move us from religion to relationship. He moves us from law to love and from behavior to belief.

We (The Church) Have Not Arrived and That’s Okay

You can’t help someone else if you have unaddressed unrighteousness in your life. Only once you’ve learned to live above the bar yourself, can you help someone else over the bar.

None of us in the church have arrived. We are all incomplete and very much a work in progress in our walk with God. The church should be the safest place to be “in flight.” Invite others to join you and make the church a safe, welcoming place.

 

Blind to Yourself, Deaf to God

A critical spirit will kill any relationship. When you judge others, it’s likely because you’ve become blind to yourself and deaf to God. This means you dismiss what you’re doing wrong and then you magnify the faults of others.

Pray and ask God to help you see things more clearly and tell Him you long to hear from Him. Then, silence the critical spirit inside you.