Friday, October 22, 2010

Shortcuts

" A shortcut says, 'God, I think I can reach this goal a whole lot quicker my way than your way.'" Pastor Rick Warren



I was planning to borrow my post today from a devotional I got in my email today from Pastor Rick Warren. His message was about shortcuts and how they don't work. Funny thing is, I kept trying to copy and paste his message here and it wouldn't work. After attempting this a few times, I chuckled to myself as I realized that I was trying to take a shortcut myself! So, here are my own thoughts on the subject:



Pastor Rick Warren says, "Shortcuts are always short-sighted. They distract you from getting to where you need to go and from what God wants you to do in your life." Shortcuts are a kind of temptation. We are often tempted to do whatever we can to reach our goals as fast as possible, but if we do that we will most surely miss out on some important lessons along the way. How often have we heard that life is a journey, not a destination? If we believe this to be true, then there is no point in taking shortcuts. We can't hurry our way through life experiences. We might as well settle in and enjoy the ride!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Redefine to find blessings

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.

Mary Englebreit

It's easy to take some things for granted. When I was little, I just thought that everybody grew up in a family like mine. That everybody learned the same life lessons. As I grew up, I discovered that is not the case. One of the things that I learned growing up is that we can always redefine things in our lives. I learned that we have the power to make some things happen, but if something happens that we can't avoid, at least we can redefine it. If we tried out for something and didn't make it, at least we had the opportunity to try something new. If we played a game and lost, we had fun and learned how to play. I still redefine things in my life. It allows me to have a different perspective on circumstances that I can't avoid. It allows me to find the blessings in any situation.

Is there a circumstance in your life that you can redefine in order to see the blessing in it?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why wait?

What if you knew you only had 1 month to live? Would you change the way you spend your time? Would you make sure your loved ones knew how you felt? What would you do differently? Kerry and Chris Shook wrote a best-selling book titled One Month To Live on this topic. It has sparked programs in churches across the globe.

It is a thought provoking question. What would you do if you knew your days were numbered?

This leads me to question, "why?" Why would we need or desire to change how we live our lives if we knew we were going to die? Why are we not living that way already? I think we get caught up in the day to day stuff and get distracted by the things of this world. Knowing our days are numbered shifts our priorities. It puts our eternal life back in the forefront of our minds.

The great thing about asking this "what if" question is that it allows us to make that shift now while we still have time to enjoy it. It allows us to live a life that honors our values and embraces our passions! It allows us to live a life filled with joy right now!

Psalm 90:12 says "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

If this question has prompted you to think about how you would like your life to be, please consider posting a comment. I think it would make for a great discussion!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflection and invitation

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
I Peter 4:10

Some lists of spiritual gifts might include some additional ones but I think the 20 gifts that I outlined is fairly comprehensive. As you read through the list and get a basic understanding of each gift and what it looks like in practice, one or two may jump out at you as the gift that you have been given. Or you might go through the list and still feel lost in determining your own gift. Gifts are distributed and brought to the surface at different points in people’s lives. If you are interested in discovering the gift(s) that God gave you feel free to conatct me – I would love to help you find it! The gifts that I have been given come together to enable me to minister to others to help them discover their gifts, their purpose and find joy in living. Nothing brings me more joy than to know that I am using my gifts to glorify God by helping others!

Proverbs 16:3 tells us, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shepherd

Shepherd - the ability and desire to oversee the welfare of a group of believers.

People who have been given the gift of shepherding enjoy long standing relationships. They give of themselves in such a way that it strengthens their own faith. They tend to be patient, nurturing, relationship oriented and willing to spend time in prayer for others. They are good at remembering faces and names, and are tolerant of others’ weaknesses.

Jesus is sometimes referred to as a shepherd in the Bible. He is the shepherd and we are his flock. He was brought to Earth to care for us and nurture us - to lead the way for us to heaven. Paul gives Timothy some instructions on how to be a shepherd in his first letter to him:

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task, now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
1 Timothy 3:1-7

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Evangelism

Evangelism - the ability to readily share the gospel with unbelievers in such a way that men and women often become Jesus’ disciples and responsible members of the Body of Christ.

All Christians are called to share the gospel of Christ with unbelievers, but those who have been given the gift of evangelism tend to be more sensitive to when others are ready to receive Christ. They have the ability to insert spiritual truths into normal conversation and the ability to sense the timing of when to do so. They have a special way of adapting their message to meet the listener where they are - whether they are acquaintances or strangers. They are sincere, confident and respectful in their conversations and are often successful in leading others to Christ.

Paul calls us to be evangelists in 2 Timothy 4:2-5
"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Administration

Administration – the ability to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular ministry and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.

People given the gift of administration are good at organizing people, tasks, or events, as well as managing details carefully and thoroughly. They are able to create order out of chaos. These people are generally goal-oriented, conscientious, responsible and methodical.

The following passage describes a situation where the gift of administration was used.

"The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?'

Moses answered him, 'Because the people come to me to seek God's will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws.'

Moses' father-in-law replied, 'What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.'"
Exodus 18:13-23