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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Guarding the Interests of Others

Under pressure, half-selfish always defaults to selfish. Instead of being half-selfish, guard the interests of others. Do as the Bible instructs and put other’s interests before your own. Serve people selflessly and lovingly. Find inspiration from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3-11.

To become selfless, seek God’s help and tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. Walk the path of “dying to self.”

Half-Selfish

“Half-selfish” is when we’re all about getting what we want and fulfilling our own selfish desires, but we need someone else’s help to make things happen. It’s selfishness wrapped up in a pretty package to make it appear as though it’s something else. We might want to be about others, but we’re still all about ourselves. Jesus’ disciples understood this tension all too well.

 

We Can’t See Our Own Selfishness

The Bible teaches us in Matthew 20:28 that “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We admire that kind of selflessness in Jesus and the people around us. We just don’t want to live that way ourselves! The truth is we want others to live selflessly so we can continue to live selfishly.

Often, we can’t even see our own selfishness because we’re so blinded by the wounds inflicted upon us by someone else’s selfishness.

 

Does the Life of Jesus Flow Through You?

As a follower of Jesus, you are filled with “living water.” What will you do with that life-giving, life-changing power?

Dr. Benji Kelley, guest speaker from Newhope Church, teaches that you can be a reservoir, or you can be a river. A reservoir stores water and grows stagnant while a river passes water through it to others.

Don’t hoard God’s love and redemptive power. Let it flow in you and through you.

What Is One Thing You Wish Someone Would Tell You in Your 20’s?

While there are many different areas where good advice is always welcomed, focusing on our decisions and our destiny during our younger years is wise. Good decisions compound over time; they pay off the older we get. Bad decision also compound, but in a negative way.

The choices we make have incredible consequences for the life we ultimately live.

What Are Some Practical Resources on Christian Theology?

There are different intellectual roadblocks for some people on their journey to Christ, so we must first understand what those roadblocks are before recommending a resource.

For philosophy, “How Should We Then Live” by Francis Schaeffer is a good resource; for historical/archaeological evidence, Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”; C.S. Lewis and Ravi Zacharias are great resources as well.

As PK says, we can’t argue someone into heaven, but we can be prepared to answer their questions with integrity and authority.

How Do We Pursue a Calling and Marriage Simultaneously?

Before Christians should get married, they should talk all about their respective callings. Our callings are primary before marriage, but once we are married, our marriage becomes primary. If two people with strong callings don’t discuss their callings before getting married, there will be challenges. Figuring out how two callings work together requires compromise, prayer, and a commitment to one another above everything else.

What Practices Can Help Get Us Through A Spiritually Empty Season?

When you’re in a spiritually empty season, remember that God is still at work. Sometimes He takes a step back so you can advance two steps closer. During these times, you’ll grow your heart for God and you’ll grow your strength for seeking Him.

Learn to pine for the Lord in your spiritual winter and you’ll gain new insight in your spiritual spring.

How Do We Stay Connected With Jesus?

People commonly believe that a faith-filled life means living in a constant state of spiritual high. That’s just not true. Every Christian will go through seasons of abundance and seasons of depletion – seasons of mountaintop experiences with God and seasons of wandering through life’s valleys.

Ask yourself if there’s sin in your life blocking your connection with God, and if you’re truly seeking Him. If there’s no sin and you’re faithfully seeking Him, your spiritual dry-spell is probably just a season.

Why Is There a Generational Shift in Authority and Opinion?

Young people have constant access to their friends and acquaintances through smart phones and social media. This leads to less interaction with adults.

Then, when it’s time to make a decision, there are multiple voices competing for attention, and each begins to have equal weight – regardless of whether the advice is helpful and wise.

Embrace the positive aspects of constant communication with friends, but take time to learn from generations who’ve gone before you. They have a wealth of wisdom and experience to share.