Gumption is a Sacred Family Value

Gumption is the character to commit and complete. It’s the essence of self-leadership in requiring something of yourself without excuse.

Everything worthwhile is an uphill battle. Luckily, God has given us the necessary gifts, talents, and abilities to win. We only need to exercise gumption to get the better life God has invited us to.

And when we succeed, we celebrate!

Striving to be Authentic

In our families, we’re never going to be perfect, but we can strive to be authentic.

Being authentic means to have consistency between what we say we value and what we practice.

For example, when we say, “God is our sovereign source of life, and the one on whom we depend,” we need to live it. We can do this by finding our significance and security from God and not in others. When we trust others to fill the void, they will eventually fail. We need to look to God and lean on Him for emotional wholeness.

God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

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.

Thanksgiving Is the Gatekeeper to Joy

There is something about giving thanks that helps us unlock joy in our lives. Joy cannot be gained by external additions, but happens as an internal transformation. The more we understand discontentment, the more we begin to see the freedom of thanksgiving.

Discontentment leads to joyless (robs joy).

Thanksgiving leads to joy (fuels joy).

 

Discontentment Robs Joy From Our Lives

Discontentment on any level undoes relationships, friendships, careers, marriages, and families.

As we feel joy slip away, we start clamoring through life, frantically searching for the next thing, or some change in relationship or circumstance, that will satisfy this discontentment.

But no amount of MORE (no money, promotion, stuff, change in circumstances), can give breath in life like thanksgiving can.

Growing thankfulness and thanksgiving in your life would be central to a breakthrough in discontentment.

Praise Recognizes God for Who He Is

The reality of who God is can shadow the reality of the problems around you. We have to filter the problems in our life with the reality that there is a good God who is our helper and our strength.

We tend to start with what we see in the natural world, and God invites us to start with Him in the supernatural world.

We are not big enough to carry the weight and pressure of life alone. We have to recognize that can’t do it alone, but with God, we can!  The first thing praise does is it invites our hearts into giving recognition where recognition is due. It brings our hearts to a higher level.

 

The Definition of Discernment

The beginning of discernment is separating out a truth from a lie.

Jesus gives us a good bit of truth to that, but not an answer for every situation. Jesus goes on saying God grants us wisdom and has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us everyday as a counselor.

Ultimately, we want to know what is truth in life, but there are circumstances where the truth isn’t clear, and that’s where wisdom and asking for guidance comes into play.

Complacent Spirit

When you come to faith in God through Jesus, you are transformed in the moment, but you’ll never fully “arrive.” You have a lifetime of pursuing God ahead. You will spend the rest of your days “in flight.”

Don’t settle for a complacent spirit that tells you you’ve arrived with God. Keep chasing Him and striving to be more like Him every day.

 

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.

 

Relationships in Flight Require Effort

Are you “in flight” with a relationship that has not yet arrived? You’re probably doing everything you can to keep building it. But often people believe that when they get married they’ve “arrived” and they don’t need to give as much effort.

Building any relationship requires effort. Don’t give up.

Theory: Everyone Has A Signature Sin

Dr. Wayne Schmidt believes most of us has a “signature” sin; an area where we have a spiritual “Achilles Heel”.

If we know what ours is and it’s persistent in our lives, we have to put it to “death” daily:

Every dream passes through the cross. Every dream takes you to where you let go of everything and everyone, every agenda and expectation, and then it is only as the Lord resurrects you and your dream that you can go on.

We spend much of our time and energy trying to avoid that place. We want just enough of Jesus to make us happy, just enough to give us peace, and just enough to make things go our way to fulfill our dreams and our agenda.

Meanwhile, He wants to take us to the cross, where our selfish dreams, egos, and plans for “great accomplishments” have to die. The cross brings you to a place of total and absolute surrender of all you have and all your are.

– Chip Ingram, “Good to Great in God’s Eyes”

 

What is Sin?

Our sin nature dates all the way back to Adam and the original sin. To make things even tougher, each of us may have a spiritual “Signature” sin that keeps recurring throughout our lives. Examples of these sins are insecurity and jealousy; hate and anger, lust, addiction – the list goes on (Galatians 5:19-21).

The good news is we do have hope! Examining your life, turning away from your sin, and living under the grace that comes through Jesus’ death on the cross will set you free.

What’s one good way to solve inequality?

From the beginning, God has given us a clear view of equality in the Bible. There is no superior race; we are all one in Jesus Christ.

Revelations 7:9 tells us that, in heaven, people of every race will worship God as one throughout eternity.

While we can’t solve all the world’s problems with inequality, we can each do our part to address it wherever we have influence. Change begins at home. Talk to your kids about equality.

Treat everyone with God-given dignity and respect.

What’s one good way to lead from obscurity?

Most of us aren’t celebrities or high-profile people who live in the public eye. Most of us lead quiet lives, and many people even struggle with feelings of unimportance.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work as if we’re working for the Lord. Be encouraged! You are known by God, and the very biggest audience of all – the Creator of the Universe – is cheering for you to succeed.

 

What’s one good way to get more in life?

Many of us get caught in the Comparison Trap. We see what others have and become envious. After all, isn’t it only fair that everyone should get the same good things in life?

The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 that we were created to earn our own way. He warns against slacking off and encourages us to work hard to get what we want.

Are you just sitting back and expecting more, or are you doing what it takes to earn more?

 

Don’t Just Care, Connect

God created us to connect in community, and through Christ’s work on the cross, we are one church family united as brothers and sisters with one Heavenly Father.

Practice the values of living in community and serving others. Connect with God and one another – because real heroes restore relationships.

 

Life Doesn’t Work When You Work Alone!

When you’ve been hurt by others, it’s tempting to withdraw as a means of protecting yourself. But there’s no real safety in solitude. It’s only through authentic relationships that we prosper through life’s difficulties.

God didn’t intend for you to live emotionally isolated and disconnected from others. Be courageous and dive into community!

 

From self-absorbed to self-sacrificing

What does it take to save a galaxy? You might think of mighty heroes with outrageous powers, or genius warriors with superior weapons. But chances are you wouldn’t think about a group of selfish miscreants made up of an orphan, a murderer, a raccoon, and a talking tree. Yet that’s exactly what Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gives us. A ragtag group filled with flaws responsible for stopping a wickedly powerful enemy.

Now, like every movie in our At the Movies series, Guardians has a message that echoes the Bible. We see in the New Testament another group of ragtag misfits brought together by Jesus. We call them the Disciples, and they were very much like the Guardians. A mix of people from different backgrounds, brought together for a purpose greater than themselves. And like the Guardians, we see the disciples take a very specific journey.

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