But I’m a good person

prayer

Over the past couple weeks our pastor has been doing a series called Grace too good to be true. This is been one of the most amazing message series I have heard in a long time.

It has been a reminder that we are all messed up, some more than others, but we were all once in the same place. We were all once outside of God’s grace and mercy. There are “good” people out there that do really amazing things, but they haven’t given their lives to God. There are people on death row that have realized the wrongness of what they have done, and have asked God for forgiveness and He has brought them into his circle of grace and mercy.

It’s not a matter of the things that you have done or the things that you do.  The closer that you are to God and the closer that you draw into Him, the harder it’s going to be to sin or to look to sin.  Many people will look around and say, “Well at least I’ve never _____,”  “At least I’m not doing _____”  Fill in what ever Holier than thou reference you want in these blanks.  This is the problem with Churches and Christians today.  So much time is spent calling out the sins, and belittling those that fit those molds.  God poured out His grace on the cross for ALL not SOME.   

John 3:16-17

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

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I want to take a minute to brag on our church for a minute here as well.  We recently changed our mission statement to the following : “ Helping people far from God find God.”  This simple statement sums up what we are about.  Out other big question that we always ask is: “If we ceased to exist, would our city miss us?”

At the end of the day, being a good person isn’t what it’s all about.  Being a good person makes you likable.  Being a good person may make you feel better about yourself.  But what is your standard of good?  Have you ever told a lie?  Have you ever, looked at someone lustfully that wasn’t your spouse?  Have you ever left work with a pen or sticky notes?  If you answer yes to all three, you are a Lying, Thieving, Adulterer.  This make you no better in God’s eyes than someone who is a murderer, a drunk, (insert your better than sin here).  Your story shouldn’t be that, “I’m blessed by God because I do this, _______.”  Your story should be, “ God has blessed me with this even though I’ve done this.”  It’s not about what you can do for God, it’s more about what God can use you for.  When you are doing His work for His glory, you may not be the best person, but you will be living a blessed life.

John 8:1-11

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Are you living you life comparing yourself to others or are you comparing yourself to Christ?  Are you living up to the calling that God has placed on your life?  Do you know the calling that God has on your life?  Do you know that it is God’s grace that has saved you?  You don’t have to get your life right before you come to God.  He will help you through that.  He will change you.  You don’t have to worry about changing yourself, that will come.

What makes today different?

What makes today a different day, What makes what you are doing today different?  What are you doing today to make a difference?  We all start out each day with the same 24 hours, but what are we doing in our hours to make a change.  So many times we go through our days just out of routine, we go through the motions.  Life just becomes the same ol’ different day.  But it is when we choose to go outside of our normal routine, step out of our comfort zones, that we change our lives, we change the lives of the ones we love, and we change the lives of all of those around us.

Take the time each day, even if it is just one small thing, it could make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

Check out these videos and hopefully you can find some new or renewed inspiration for tomorrow…


 

Come as you are,

Come as you are, just don’t stay that way.

So I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now and just now found the time to write it out.

In our lives we are defined by where we come from and the things that we have done, either by others or it is how we define ourselves.  But when we look at what God calls us to, it is to leave our old selves, leave our pasts behind us, and follow Him as a new person.  We go to God broken and weighed down by our guilt and shame, but we leave different.  We leave walking closer to God, walking whole and new, without the burdens and hurts.

We find ourselves though holding on, we only know ourselves as the person with this problem or that vice.  It’s hard to let go and change.  It’s hard to admin that you have faults…  What is someone else going to think…  Will people still like me if I change…  These are the questions that go through our heads.  But you have to change, you have to come as you are but leave different.

It is the leaving different part, living different, being different part that is the challenge.  The latest series at our church has been on cleaning out your soul and doing all of these things above.  But one point that our pastor made this past weekend was that so many of us, “put on our church face,” we have things that we hide in our lives that we don’t want others to know about, that continually hold us back from being the person God wants us to be.  But it is also putting on this “church face” this act, that make so many people think of Christians as hypocrites.

So I pray that you will leave different and stay different.  Think about what you can do that will show those around you that your different.  What can you do that will show God to those around you and what sets you apart?

Don’t worry, it will pass…

It’s a part of life, we all have things that we worry about.  But there are only so many things that we can actually do something about.

Stress and Nail biting

This post has been running around in my head for a few weeks now, but wasn’t ready till last week, and I’m just now finding the time to get this all out.  But we just finished up a series at Church called Courageous.  We touched on the stories of David, Gideon, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Benaiah, and Jonathan.  Bible heros who didn’t go with what everyone else was doing and what was easy.  They went against the grain of what everyone else was doing at the time.

The main point of all of these stories was that these people did not do what was expected of them.  These are my favorite type of bible story, God using the unexpected to do amazing things.  David and GoliathWe all know the stories of David, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God using young men to defeat a Giant that had everyone in the nation scared, and to change the mind and direction of a king.  You see these people weren’t worried, because they knew what God was capable of, and what God had done in the past.  It’s not a matter of knowing what God might do, it’s having faith in what you know he can do, and having the mentality to keep on going even if what God does is not in your favor.

One of our pastor’s main points in this series was to look back at your history book with God.  Look back at a time in your life and look at what God did then, and now that your in the same situation, why wouldn’t God do the same for you now.  So many times we get caught up in the situation that we don’t look back, or the situation is disguised as something completely different.

Fighting the giant

It’s these times in our lives that we have to just remember that God is always there and the He will always provide.  There have been a few times in the past few years that I have just felt an absolute peace in my life and my families life.  In all honesty, they were times when conventional wisdom would say, you should be concered, but I knew that God had worked this out this way for some reason.  A few years ago this happened right after I had been laid off from job, and another is right now, when my wife quit her job to do her student teaching.  Both of these times we were down to one income, now we have a child and we are on one income, but at no point have we had issues.  We knew that God has is hand in both of these situations, and even though we couldn’t see it at first, the end results were amazing.

Pray for it

So my advice, to anyone reading this, if you can change the situation to make it better, go for it.  If there is nothing you can do, pray for it.

The world does not revolve around…

When the path you walk always leads back to yourself, you never get anywhere – Oogway.

Anyone that has read any of my posts knows I find inspiration in the most random places. The quote above is a prime example. This weekend the munchkin, saw Kung Fu Panda as we were flipping through Netflix. It was in the short Secretes of the Masters, that I heard the above quote and thought that it was a great thought.

Then at church, our pastor was recapping the past few weeks in the series we were on, and mentioned the service 2 weeks ago that was about attitude adjustments and rejoicing. Since we weren’t there that week, I went and pulled the podcast and started listening to it. The main point was that you cannot be self-centered and still be truly joyful in your serving. While you maybe serving God, but if you are doing it for the wrong reasons you are not going to get the results that you are looking for.

Philippians 2:3-4   Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

We go through life, looking for what we deserve. We, I’m lumping all Americans into this, have a feeling of entitlement. I did the work, I should get the credit and the glory. I’m not saying that we should all just say nothing matters and if you want to steal my work and call it yours that fine. What I’m saying is that we are so lucky as Christians, the God does not give us what we deserve, death, he gives us something better, that we cannot even begin to fathom, eternal life.

I am a firm believer in the idea of you get what you put in, if you work hard, and do something that you would be proud to call your own, you will be proud of it. By the same token, if you just don’t give a (insert your own word here), it will show in your actions, and in your life. While you may not get the same benefit or payment as some else, if you did your best and left nothing behind, you can walk away proudly.

It is when we give all that we have, like the small boy who had 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish, and step back, letting God grab what we have to give, and make something amazing out of it that He gets the glory. One of my favorite songs right now, is Background by Lecrea, and it talks about not needing to be in the spot light and letting God be in the forefront. If you let God have the starring role in your life, the overflow that falls onto you, will be more than enough.

Praying with sunglasses on…

Man Praying image from Google image search

I realized this weekend how distracted I get.  Call it ADD, ADHD, stressed, etc. When I try to focus on one thing, my mind starts racing.  I try to take the time every morning as I’m getting ready for work before the munchkin wakes up, to spend time with God.  During this time I find my mind going to everything that I had to do yesterday and didn’t get to, everything that I need to take care of today, that song I was listening to yesterday, or the theme from Jem, (another story for another time).  Even focusing to write this post has taken me a few days, every time I would start to write something would come up that needed to be done.

Lost in the crowd from Google images Search

In a world where 25 hours a day still aren’t enough, we have to find time to spend in quite devotion with God.  Even if it’s just a few moments sitting in the car on your lunch break, a quick walk around the parking lot, or even getting up 15 minutes early to find a quite spot to collect your thoughts and be alone with God.  It is in these few minutes that we must make an effort to put the busyness of the world away for just a few minutes, and listen to God.

Sometimes just a few moments is all that God needs to water that seed that has been planted in your heart or mind.  Even though it may not seem that God is there, it is in these small times that he will manifest himself in a great way.

At this point your probably wondering if the title will ever tie in to the message here, and it does.  I’m sure many of us have seen, Big Daddy with Adam Sandler.  The little boy is the movie is scared at times, so Adam Sandler’s character gives him a pair of sunglasses and tells him when he is scared to put them on and he becomes invisible.  So yes I know it’s a stretch, but if it comes down to it and the only way that you can get a few minutes alone with God is to become invisible to everyone else, put on those sunglasses and spend time with God.Big Daddy Screen Shot from google image search

History doesn’t make the man, The man makes history…

2 Corinthians 5:16-19— 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

So many times in today’s world we hear about people’s past and that’s why they do the things that they do today.  We get sometimes are trapped in the stigma that what our parents were, that’s what we will be.  Or that one mistake in our past labels us for our entire future.  We get so caught up in the past, and what we came from, that we let it become us.  If someone comes from an abusive home, they will become an abuser, or always look for abusive relationships.  If someone comes from a poverty-stricken family, they will never get out of that situation.  But it is then that we have to overcome, we have to strive to do better, we have to reach for a better life


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I was lucky growing up, unlike so many people of my generation, my parents are still together after all these years.  I had great parents that always taught me the value of hard work, and the importance of family.  So no I didn’t come from a broken home, I didn’t have an abusive father, I didn’t have to deal with a lot of things that many deal with today.  So no I can’t talk first hand to these situations, maybe my outlook would be different on this subject, but I know that there are people who overcome the demons of their past.

No matter what is in your past, it is not your past that makes you.  Take the things from your past and let them shape you.  The things of your past should help you make decisions, they should help you teach others and try to lead them in a better way.  Take your old mistakes and learn from them, take the dark things of your past and find ways to not go down those roads again, learn from others mistakes, and try not to repeat them.

Take the past, put it behind you, learn from it, don’t dwell in it, use it to teach others, and go forward making your own history not shaped by your past.