The Greatest Possible Amount

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart…Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Deuteronomy 6:5-6; Proverbs 3:5-6)

For some reason these two verses have been resonating in my heart which usually means God is trying to teach or reveal something to me through his Word. In reading through these texts, one seemed to scream off the page at me…all. This word appears 5 times in these verses. What immediately comes to the forefront of my mind are the sounds of coaches and teachers saying, “just give it your all!” Never did I hear anyway tell me to just give it my “some.” So why choose the word all? Apparently it carries great weight and meaning. The best definition I could come up with is, “the greatest possible amount.” Substitute that definition with the verse about and that three-letter word quickly becomes very weighty. 

You shall love the LORD your God with the greatest possible amount of your heart and with the greatest possible amount of your soul and with the greatest possible amount of your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart…Trust in the LORD with the greatest possible amount of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In the greatest possible amount of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 

That means anything less than “all” falls short of what is required for us as believers and is dishonoring to God. So what keeps us from giving our all in these areas? For me it’s pride, idolatry, lack of faith…etc. I’m constantly believing that I have the power and ability to make things work on my own and then give my heart, soul, might and ways to other things that aren’t God. I don’t know about you, but some things need to change for me. If “all” is the greatest possible amount, then there should be nothing left to give elsewhere. What will you give your “all” to?

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Rambling….

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Over the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to be involved in one of our small groups on Sunday nights who has been walking through Matt Chandler’s study over the book of Philippians. It has been challenging, yet refreshing knowing there are 20 other adults sharing the same struggle to live our lives daily for Christ. What has become evident in my own life is that my pursuit to know Christ and follow him is not as deep as I seem to think and proclaim. How do I know this? Through studying scripture with this group, it has caused me to do some self evaluation spiritually. We have studied verses like, “I count EVERYTHING as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS and count them as rubbish, in order than I may gain Christ…”–Philippians 3:8-9 (emphasis mine)  In studying this, I have found that I don’t consider all things rubbish compared to knowing Christ. My pursuit of other things in this world many, many times supersedes my pursuit to know Christ more!

What is so important to understand is that I can and should pursue Christ through the life I live daily. Here’s what I mean by that…I can pursue Christ daily in …my job, the way I treat those I encounter daily, in my attitude, in my work ethic, in lunch conversation, in what I listen to on the radio or watch on TV, my finances, how I treat my family, how I lead worship, how I teach bible study, how I pray…my daily life should constantly be a pursuit to know and follow Christ in ALL things. This is not a Sunday/Wednesday lifestyle. It is a daily lifestyle. When I am content with my walk with Christ I should be fearful because that means I have obtained all I need, want and desire of Jesus. “If God is infinite, then there is always more of him to be had,” as Matt Chandler states so well in this study.

Do you remember how much you pursed your spouse? I was always texting, or instant messaging, or calling, or going to hang out with Sara. Why? Because I wanted to know her more and more and more. Why should our pursuit of God be any different with us? It shouldn’t. Maybe you need to set some spiritual goals for yourself. Make them attainable and make sure you give yourself a timeline. Figure out how to pursue your relationship with Christ more. Write down how you are going to make it happen and when…without answering the how and when, it probably won’t happen. Make today the day you begin pursuing Christ above all else!

 

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The Example of Humility

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.–Philippians 2:3-4

These verses have penetrated my heart deeply the last several weeks and I cannot seem to escape them. This passage of scripture has revealed a dark area of my life…pridefulness. We live in a society today that everything is designed with “me” in mind and I have bought into this idea hook, line, and sinker. Here are some examples of how this has played out in my own life.

Serving on staff at a church lends itself to many opportunities to serve and help people who are in need. On a daily basis, people walk through the doors, and immediately, I am looking for anyway possible to pass them along to someone else. I judge their appearance, I judge their story, and 99.9% of the time send them away in the same state they walked in. There is no love and compassion there. I’m no bible scholar but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t reflect the words of Paul in Philippians.

Here is another example of my pridefulness. I love my wife deeply! There are a few, and I do mean few occasions that I do things for her just because I love her and expect nothing in return. Most of the time, there is a motive to my actions. There’s a new gadget I want or just want her sing my praises of how great I am. True humility is one who serves another not expecting or wanting anything in return and is done out of genuine love for another. I am not there.

Here is a great definition of humility to discovered, “A low view of one’s own importance.” That resonates with me. If we were to sub that definition in the text, this is what it would say, “but with a low view of your importance, count others more significant than yourself…”  This is exactly what Christ demonstrated for us on the cross! If anyone had reason to boast or to be prideful, wouldn’t it be the one who came to earth and lived a sinless life as the Son of God? Instead, he humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross. He looked at the entire human race and counted us more significant than himself and willingly gave his life…Not so he could gain a reward, but so that mankind would benefit. That is true example of humility.

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The Need for Change

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

The words the apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3 has really struck my heart deep. He describes in detail the difference between the “old self” and the “new self,” yet ashamedly, I find some of the tendencies of the “old self” in me. There is no doubt in my mind that Christ has saved me, yet to be honest, there are parts of my life I have not allowed him to be Lord of. To be Lord, means to have complete authority over something. Here are some of the things Paul lists as things of the old self…

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

I read that and I see myself. Not that I wake up daily striving the fill my life with those things, rather I wake up daily and decide that God’s Word is not important enough for me to open before my day begins. ESPN and Facebook seem to take priority without even thinking about it. Verse 16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” How can the word of God dwell in me when I’m not putting it in to begin with? I simply want my life to look radically different. I honesty want everything about my life to point straight to Christ. As believers, here is what we are to strive to be.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony…And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It is time I allow Christ to be Lord over ALL areas of my life. What’s amazing is what you pour into your heart and mind is what comes out through your words and actions. God’s word will be the measure by which I live my life.

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2012…Make it Count

January 2, 2012 Leave a comment

“Make it Count.” That simple statement says so much using such few words. This is Nike’s slogan for 2012 and has really got me thinking about the days ahead. To be honest, 2011 brought some great opportunities for my family and I am very thankful for the many blessing the previous year brought. But the truth is, there were many wasted moments and opportunities as well. Although you cannot go back in time and change the past, you can certainly take what you learned and apply it to the future! The New Year always brings about resolutions and goals, most which will be forgotten in a few short weeks, but the one thing I want for 2012 is that I will make it count for the Kingdom of God. Our pastor delivered a challenging message in church yesterday about forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead. What would it look life if our sole focus for this year was on the things of Christ rather than the things of self? Focusing on the character of God, the nature of God, the Word of God, and the worship of God. I’m not satisfied where I am in my walk with Jesus. I want to grow in ALL areas of my life. If I want to become a better husband, father, worship leader, co-worker, friend, teacher, it will happen because my focus is solely on loving Christ with with my whole heart and everything I do being centered around Him. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” I do not hold the future in my hands. No one knows what life may throw at us in 2012, but what I can tell you is that regardless of what takes place, the promises of God and His word stand firm! What will you do in 2012 to “make it count” for the kingdom of God?

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