Movement is the Motion


“When the leaders lead in Israel,

When the people volunteer,

Praise the Lord.”

(Judges 5:2)

 

When the leaders lead the Church,

When the people volunteer,

Praise the Lord.

God’s will is accomplished,

The enemies of God perish,

The people of God gain strength,

And power follows in their wake.

What I believe is often misunderstood by the people of God’s church today, is His success in reaching many with the gospel is often just one leader or one volunteer away. Are you that one leader or volunteer?

It saddens God to see a worn out skeleton crew forging His mission to spread the gospel and disciple His people. His heart is for all to come forward and work as One body. If a church family has His heart, they also have His power. When leaders and volunteers step forward to carry out God’s will in their community, they do more than reform their behavior; they adopt a character of calling. They make revival of a community a reality, not just a proposal.

Some people lead and volunteer because they feel it’s their duty. Or they come forward because there was a pleading for help. While this is commendable that many want to fill a need, this can temptingly lead to a religious reformation. Reformation deals with the outward behavior, while spiritual revival deals with the character of one’s inward heart. When people lead and volunteer out of passion and devotion to Christ and the message of the gospel, this is results in a spiritual revival.

Character perseveres when the circumstances are not ideal, it sees the reward in the end.

Character changes lives, it models something the world lacks.

Character is contagious; it inspires others to a broader mission.

Character moves mountains, it embodies faith in God.

Character sees God correctly, it experiences His presence.

For, “with the faithful,

God proves to be faithful.

With the blameless,

God proves to be blameless.

With the pure,

God proves to be pure.”

(Psalm 18:25-26)

Character determines our perspective. If you misunderstand your part in your church and the value you add, then you will see the invitation to serve in your church as coercion or time consuming. It’s so much more, my friend! Your involvement holds in its hand life for you and your family.

I reiterate this encouragement to you and me: When the leaders lead the church and the people volunteer, we can praise the Lord, because God’s will is accomplished; the enemies that taunt and tempt us perish; the people of God gain strength in numbers to do even greater things than Jesus did while He was here on earth (John 14:12); and the blessing of it all, is a community of believers increases.

Let’s lead. Let’s volunteer. Let’s praise the Lord. Movement is the motion.

 

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Is Your Confidence Misplaced?


“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Confidence is a tricky emotion that we practice. It can go well for us or it can make life weird.

When confidence finds its hope in a person’s own eyes it becomes the precursor to the arrogant’s fall.

Maybe a person is finding success financially. Maybe a parent’s parenting is working well for them; they have obedient children, their kids are soaring in their academics, very little defiance is experienced in the home. Just maybe the goals of life that one has set out for themselves is actually coming to fruition.

Is it wrong to have successes in life? No. Is feeling confident in our successes wrong? Yes.

Confidence in our successes can lead to reliance on our own righteousness and wisdom. When we rely on ourselves and see life through the lens of what is right in our own eyes, we seek God less, and exalt ourselves more. We become impossible to instruct; unbearable to work with. In other words, when we live life by our own rules, we experience arrogance, disharmony, war, and unrest. Seeking #one (a.k.a – me) is the goal.

This is exactly what the Israelites did in the days of the Judges before a king came on the scene. Joshua, their godly spiritual leader died and “another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:11). Arrogance brought forth violence. Arrogance stripped the Israelites of peace. No longer was rest their condition; only war and distrust drove their destiny. Bottom line, what they had experienced with Joshua now was a distant memory. Life just got weird. Weird with chaos. Weird with contempt. Weird with adversity.

During the days of Moses, God had warned the Israelites that if they forgot that He was their source of confidence, their end would be grave. After being freed from Egypt, God outlined the nation’s four basic responsibilities:

love and obey God

teach their children God’s laws

be thankful for God’s blessings

keep themselves from the pagan gods of the land

These four point steps seemed simple to follow. I mean it worked in the days of Joshua. What happened? They started to do what was right in their own eyes. That’s what happened. Their confidence shifted to a different person. God warned them that if they put their confidence in what they could do, instead of what He has done, their successes would end up unfruitful.

And when we find these negative traits of arrogance, disharmony, war and unrest in our life, we need to step back and repent of our misplaced confidence, or our end will replicate theirs.

Confidence in God’s abilities vs. our own, means we will do and see life His way.  Then when trouble comes; when finances dilute, children stray, and goals change, our confidence is not shaken; because our God remains the same and His promises prevail, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

It’s not a matter of whether you have confidence or not; it’s a matter of whom you place it in: yourself or God. Confidence in God is a sign of humility and a sign of great faith. This kind of confidence produces a leader whom others want to follow, a parent whom children want to obey, a home where peace makes it a haven, and a life that does what is right in God’s sight.

May I ask you, where is your confidence? What traits mark your life? Be still and know God. Know His will. Know His ways. Know His sight. Then you can practice your confidence in the right place and find peace, harmony and fruit.

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Some Say Wicked is Good


My sons and I watched The Maze Runner a few weeks back and there was one phrase quoted over and over in the movie that disturbed me: Wicked is good. Now the real word for wicked stood for something else (not sure what it was as the movie was clear as mud, but that’s another blog); however, sublimely this phrase rang in our ears over and over as we watched this movie.

What I find interesting is that our culture is saying the same phrase over and over, just not in the same way. For example, when we watch T.V. shows today, we see hearty approval given to sexual immorality of every kind. We see violence becoming the appetite of the viewers. We want to see the person who’s been hurt seek revenge vs. seek forgiveness. Hey, let’s face it, we are all tempted to feed our flesh. Christian or not Christian, we all have a sinful nature that want’s it’s appetite satisfied; and it’s this that Hollywood counts on. Isn’t it true that culture’s demands are Hollywood’s curriculum? If it’s not twisted, gross, evil, confrontational, and sexual, most people won’t watch the shows. Very few watch what is wholesome. Wholesome typically gets canceled.

If we are saturating ourselves with the world’s appetite, we will start to believe that wicked is good. We will adopt it’s practices. We will excuse the sin. We will commit the sin. You see, sin starts in the mind, not the action. As we excuse the actions of others (even in T.V. shows), we will begin to ponder, “Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe it’s okay.” Then we will think, meditate, and ponder on these wicked acts until we have decided to give ourselves over to them (even just a little). Before you know it, we are practicing the very thing we hate. Satan is subtle in his temptations. Hollywood is his pawn, and they serve him well. They crouch at our door waiting to devour you and me. And they just might succeed if we don’t wisen up to the devil’s schemes and flick him off by the truth.

Wicked is NOT good. It’s evil. It’s destiny is death.  The one thing that The Maze Runner got right is that wicked wants death. It’s main threshold to work from is fear. Fear, death, wickedness, and deceptions were quite loud in the movie. And all that comes from the devil, who wants you and me to believe that wicked is good. Yes, it’s just a movie, but sadly, the more we watch and saturate ourselves with culture’s appetite and Hollywood’s curriculum, the more likely we will adopt it’s values.

Overcome the wicked in this world and journey the road less traveled, but more blessed – the road of scripture, truth, goodness, grace and all things that bring your soul peace. The real reason people in our world are on an anxious track is because of what they saturate themselves with. The maze of anxiety is what most are running through, and the beast they encounter is not a large mechanical spider, it’s the very sin within that draws them to wickedness. Kill the monster within by letting the Light of Jesus in every day, every hour, every moment, every second.

The Word of God is your sword! Use it!

I must repeat myself, wicked is evil and God is good. Don’t get lost in the world’s maze of wickedness by believing the subliminal lies of culture.  Instead…

“Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

“Do not be anxious about anything…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-9).

 

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