Made for More
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Stress is pandemic. We easily see it as unavoidable, but is it? What if that very thought were sin. Would you work to avoid stress, then? Today we think about stress, we think about how we contribute to it and how we fan the flames. How would we live differently if we thought we could not only avoid stress but triumph over it. Jesus calls us to do just that.
Heard any whoppers lately? Here are two gigantic ones... 1) You have nothing to offer the world. 2) You have no ability to do anything that will bring the love and truth of Christ to anyone you know. Sometimes we call those lies "false humility" but Satan is overjoyed (however we come to the conclusion). Here's the truth: there is no other you in the universe. No ones else can run your race as well as you can. Please understand this primary truth... NOTHING else will give you the joy that running headlong into your God-given destiny will. Every race starts with a first step. Walk,,, then jog... then run!
When high intensity moments hit, our responses seem to be deeply hard-wired. Whether it's a sudden argument, a thoughtless child... or parent... or friend, a distracted driver, a flat tire at the wrong moment... we respond out of what seems like the verycore of our being. What does your core look like in those moments? How does God respond to you out of the core of His being?
The question is posed. First of all, when you are asked to explain your joy in this life, what people see as different in you.... can you explain it? This question supposes that someone sees a difference in you. Do they? Paul makes it clear in today's passage; people SHOULD notice, and when they do we are called on to be able to explain the difference that Jesus makes.
Evil is all around us. Although Christ has made a way for us to win in an evil world; although evil was defeated, it was not eliminated. We deal with the world in which evil seems to run wild. How should we sturdy ourselves for that environment and still be the church?
We start as one thing in this life. All our appetites rule us and it's all we can do to get all we want. Somewhere along the way a thought occurs to us.... "This isn't all there is... is it?" We can grow out of our caterpillar shell but it's going to require our complete cooperation and a part of us is going to die. This is truth... without our going along with God's plan for our change, we will never fly the way He made us to.
The culture is watching us, and listening to us. As wary as it is of us, deep down it knows that there is something we are saying that it needs. All the while, it is looking for reasons to dismiss us. Jesus-followers are called to say the right things in the most attractive and Jesus-like way possible. How are we doing?
There's a stance and a point of view that followers are called to take. Soldiers understand their position. Athletes understand their purpose. Farmers understand their dependence. Are there purposes we are to place before our own? Will you acknowledge your place and the source of your only lasting joy?
Jesus calls us to a rethinking of all of our priorities. He calls us to a faith that begins by knowing that in his beautiful grace all of the things we have believed were our core reasons for living, are replaced by better, higher, permanent and glorious things. We live in the protection of that grace, and we are called to really live by our faith.
We can miss a lot in life. Sometimes timing, or relationships, or responsibilities get in the way. Then there's doubt... our choices are not always easy.. but there is great hope available to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see God everywhere when we choose to look for Him, but for sheer beauty, nothing beats the love we see in the sacrifice and victory of Jesus.
You've had this experience, right? You don't do something out of fear, maybe you avoid it for YEARS. It could be dancing, or singing, or dieting, or taking a class, or saying 'Hi' to the neighbor.. Then, if you're lucky, a day comes when by force of will or pure chance or inspiration you break thru that barrier; you overcome your history... and your life is never the same again. The bravery that God calls us to goes a step further. Not only your life, but the lives of untold others, or families, or neighborhoods can be forever changed. You may never know such joy as you'll feel when you see God using you to build His world. Don't miss it...
I'm a lousy dancer, but I'm a pretty good listener. I love baseball but I'm not too big on handbags. You on the other hand are nothing like me. Isn't that GREAT! The kingdom of God is filled, by His making, with things and people that are radically different from each other. And this is exactly as it should be! When each of us is doing what God has made us to do, living in harmony with each other and His creation... really living in His design.. we will have the most true joy! Today's message will help you think about how to begin to grow into being that person, starting right now!
We want people to see us as we want to be seen. Pictures on the wall. Smiles and relationships. There's safety in that level of image control. But we all know how those masks can torment us. We had a dream for our life but it got lost along the way... but the dream still calls to us. Somewhere the person behind that mask still wants to come alive. A Godly man or woman can see the way in; can be the person who helps you find your meant-to-be self. You, too, can help another find their true God-designed self. We are made for so much more.