April 26, 2018
- Thu Apr 26, 2018
The Father Factor
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
The Father Factor commands our person. Every man has to make the Father Factor personal. What does that mean? It means you have to accept the acceptance issue. That’s how you make the Father Factor personal in your life. You will be fathered by your Creator or your culture. You will seek acceptance and approval somewhere as a man and that journey toward acceptance and validation can be a healthy or destructive. The application of personalizing the Father Factor is this. Stop chasing the blessing of men and culture and start living in the blessing of a Father that loves you unconditionally.
The absence or the presence of a father forms people. The expectations or the lack of acceptance of a father forms people. We don’t need Christianity or the Bible to show us the destructiveness of an absent father or the expectations or acceptance of a present father. Our culture is filled with these kinds of models. Our lives have been formed by imperfect models of our fathers one way or another. There's the performance model that says, "I’m a father, I’m the authority and if you do what I say then I’ll accept you." That’s one model. It’s not the God model. There’s the acceptance model in contrast to the performance model and the acceptance model says, "I accept you; affirm you and when you feel that acceptance from me as a father, then you will soften up under my authority and accountability." That’s the God model.
The truest thing about you is not what you think about you, but what God thinks about you. He accepts you and respects you sins and all. No performance needed, unconditional love.
Father, your perfect unconditional love for me is awesome!
April 25, 2018
- Wed Apr 25, 2018
Relating to the Rascals
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5
I like being with people who are like me. It’s easier being with like-minded people — comfortable and conflict free. But I learned to also be energized by people outside my comfort zone. The Bible teaches that our inner circle of friends and advisors should be like-minded spiritually, but our focus on serving others should extend well past these borders. When you study the game film on Jesus he is constantly breaking the rules that say who He should be spending time with. Many times the disciples can’t handle the freedom with which He moves and operates in his service. Jesus is not bound by culture; He is not tethered to the opinions of men. Instead, He’s guided by compassion.
When it comes to whom you serve, the real test is not when you are with friends or family — it’s when you are with “foreigners” — culturally, socially or spiritually (although sometimes our own family seems foreign). In that case our King was countercultural. Let’s see: women, kids, prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, drunks, and lepers (to name a few); He honored them with his presence, encouragement and help. These were the people others threw money at but never sacrificed time and energy. Abraham Hechel said it this way in A Passion of Truth, “The test of love is how one relates not to saints and scholars but to rascals.” Jesus was definitely drawn to the rascals because He belonged only to the Father.
Father, help me remember it’s not about my comfort, but about the comfort of others.
April 24, 2018
- Tue Apr 24, 2018
“You hem me in behind and before, you lay your hand on me, such knowledge is too wonderful for me to attain.” Psalm 139:5-6
Remember, you will never “arrive” until you arrive. The Bible is clear that down here we’ll never arrive. We simply keep fighting, becoming more like Christ with every “success” remembering that the only true success is the one that points to Him. Here’s how you do it.
“Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7)—“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in you to will and act according to his good purpose”—“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)—He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (Peter 2:24)”But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they are going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there showing them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall in the ditch” (Isaiah 42:16, MSG)
There are times in our lives when training, gifting, and desire will not take us where we need to be as God’s men. Sometimes only some objective, brutal honesty will suffice. And while the foolish may “succeed” without acknowledging sin and faults, God’s man always knows he has, in the famous words of Yoda, “much to learn.”
Father, your knowledge, wisdom and power are awesome! Thank you for the protective shield you have provided me, Wow!
April 23, 2018
- Mon Apr 23, 2018
God’s Influence in Us
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13b
The Holy Spirit’s best work in people is seen in how He changes the way they relate to one another. You want the best parts of your character displayed in your kids. When your positive qualities, ways, words, action, and encouragement are reproduced in your child’s interactions with others, that bring you joy. However, your opposite qualities brings you grief.
In the Holy Spirit’s framework it is incongruent for the grace receiving sinner to become an anger driven destroyer. Only a man who has forgotten his own encounter with God’s grace could deny it intentionally to someone else. No believer can claim a close relationship with the Holy Spirit while acting out of anger, bitterness, and resentment toward someone else. Only a spiritual con man whose had a mountain of dept forgiven by God would try to squeeze emotional nickels out of another through a lack of forgiveness.
His point being in the parable of the wicked unforgiving servant: You didn’t deserve grace, but now that you have it, you better give it as liberally as you received it! If we don’t, the same thing grieves the Holy Spirit. All of us, by honestly and sincerely saying a prayer, can restore spiritual equilibrium in this area. This prayer acknowledges that, in spite of our best intentions, pray this prayer as a simple realignment or if a relationship is challenging you in the area of forgiveness.
Father, Help me to understand that forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a decision. The feelings will come.
April 22, 2018
- Sun Apr 22, 2018
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
When an MBA fan hears the name Michael Jordan, many recall the famous saying that emerged in his era “I want to be like Mike” How many ads that sold tennis shoes had that video of Michael flying through the air with that famous dunk?. How many kids out in the back yard shooting hoops could be heard saying “Michael goes to the hoop and puts it in?” Kids are natural imitator’s as we who have children know.
Jesus placed more than a few roadside bombs in the disciples’ minds to destabilize their dysfunctional thinking about glory and greatness. Jesus put his finger in the chest of the disciples. He made sure they were imitating Him, not Michael Jordon. “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?” Service tip: God’s man gets up off his blessed assurance and serves.
In a man’s world, authority and service often have an inverse relationship. The more authority, position, and power one possess the more that man is served. These guys get new titles and assistants, new offices and parking spots, and heaps of flattery and accommodation. In some cultures men don’t even need power or position to earn servitude.
Jesus breaks the rules to serve in person. Watch Him in the gospels, He encourages, He makes breakfast, He hugs kids, He touches, he heals, He shows up.
Father, “I want to be like Jesus”, you promised you’d help me if I asked.