i wonder how long YOU’VE been reading "WholeHearted Life"? 257 posts and nearly 1 year of writing (October 10th will be my "1 year birthday" – you coming to the party?). Well if you’re a long time reader you know that Friday is normally filled with ramblings from someone who is trying to process everything that he’s experienced in the past 5 days… if you’re not a long time reader, you must be warned: it’s Friday and my A.D.D. is truly kickin!
What am I thinking about today…
- the weekend (of course). Sunday is coming… hard to believe that "Secrets" will conclude next week – only 2 more messages. This weekend Pastor will address the issue of secret shame. Don’t miss it – this weekend could be a point of freedom for eveyone reading!
- speaking of "Secrets"… is there anyone reading that maybe has begun or had a positive experience/change as a result of this message series that would be willing to share that with me? If you have a short testimony about something going on in you as a result, email me and share.
- and one more thing about "Secrets": Pastor and I did an interview with the Fayetteville Observer yesterday about "lumbertonsecrets.com". Bonita from the Observer called on Tuesday because she was interested in doing a story on the site – it seems she thought it was an innovative idea (by the way… she found the site because she saw the signs riding down the road and wondered what it was )
- We will begin a new series on October 14th called – "DRIVEN" and I am really excited about it. More about "Driven" coming next week but i can say this – We (you and I) will show how "Driven" we are with a tangible demonstration of the love of JESUS throughout the whole series. We’re gonna meet a need in our community, bringing HIM the glory He deserves and putting our love on display…
- I love coffee.
- I was involved in something yesterday morning that impacted me beyond belief… God showed me something about myself that I hate and I’m sure that He’s displeased with (stop your wondering what kind of horrible thing I did – a few of those closest to me already know about it and it’s nothing that i ‘did’ – it’s more of a matter of the heart."). I hope that I can talk about it in the near future – it certainly impacted me and I believe it will change the way I look at people forever (at least I hope it will).
- My friend Donnie is crazy!!! God is going to use him in the most unbelievable way – Donnie’s gonna lead stuff that people say can’t be done because he ain’t scared! Definitely one of the "iron" people in my life. Now, if I can just get him blogging .
- How is your prayer life? Are you praying for God’s leadership, seeking to grow, praying for brokenness or just asking Him to do stuff for you?
- Pray that people will be honest this weekend. Especially pray that those who have followed Christ for a long time wouldn’t treat this weekend’s message as something that applies to others and not to them. I don’t know about you but I never hear a message that has no application to me personally… if YOU do, pray for ears to hear. I pray that for you right now.
I love all of you and am looking forward to worshiping with you in 2 days!
North Point Church has hosted a conference for a few years. I’ve personally never been able to attend but I’ve been listening to the Drive conference CD’s for a couple of years – i can’t get enough of them!!! The teaching that they give is the most applicable to the local church of any conference I personally have ever attended.
I decided last year that WE (us – you and I – or anyone that I could get to attend) were going to attend this conference in 2007 and guess what happened? They cancelled the ’07 conference! (Why? Because they had a really busy year and needed to focus on their own ministry – THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! Always keeping the main thing the main thing – even when people want to come learn from you). They promised to be back in ’08 to which I said, "we’re going!"
So anyway, this morning I find that they have finally announced the 2008 conference. All of you who make big decisions, plan 2 go… all of you who are leaders, plan 2 go… BFG leaders, plan 2 go… tech people, plan 2 go… you get the picture! Here’s the link – check it out! (and put it on your calendar)
Well, it should be part 3, let’s call it that. So I’m teaching this class, right? Wednesday nites – really challenging stuff (on the simple side) about spending our ordinary days in the presence of JESUS (Based on the study "An Ordinary Day with Jesus" by John Ortberg). The problem is that it’s an "application" class, meaning, it’s not a class that you just go in so you can learn something new (information) – the class is built one discipline upon another (application), meaning, to really get anything out of the class you have to actually do the simple assignments/practices over the next week.
Week 1 – Waking up and Going to sleep with Jesus
Week 2 – Learning to apply/use the "Right Gauge" in your life (love)
Week 3 – Beginning your workday in Jesus’ Name
The way that you spend your workday is huge! Most people work because they have to (money) and don’t get out of it what God would have them to…
QUESTION: What are some ways that your workday might be different if you began it in Jesus’ name? (seriously – stop and think about it… beginning your day by comitting all that happens to Him, asking Him to make you effective and successful and asking Him if you may partner with Him throughout the day.) Maybe, after you think about it a moment, you need to pause and do that very thing right now.
- We talked about placing symbols or reminders in your work setting to help you remember that you don’t work alone…
- looking for simple acts of service that you can do for those around you at work (in Jesus’ name – "how may I serve you today" to a co-worker could be an unbelievable start)
- We talked about learning from difficult people. Everyone agreed that they’ve all dealt with difficult people and most currently have them in their life. We called them "sandpaper people" (thanks Letress) and I told them that the purpose of the "sandpaper person is to rub away YOUR rough edges." We are usually so busy thinking about what we dislike about difficult people that we miss the fact that we have our own rough edge to deal with. Difficult people help us to grow in our ability to love.
- We learned a new phrase. As you wince when someone says something that rubs you the wrong way you can say to yourself, "School is in session; here’s my chance to learn about love."
- Lastly we dealt with defensiveness. Most of us tend to take feedback with difficulty (even when it’s constructive). Many of us (myself included) feel the need to defend ourself during times of feedback (or criticism). I shared that when I receive criticism I try hard to take it "like a man" then I take it to the Lord and ask Him to show me if anything in what was said might be true about me (and then I ask Him to heal that in me – teach me through the experience). I can only think of one time that someone said something about me that I found myself totally innocent. (in other words, there is often a sliver of truth found in the criticism – the rest might be trash, but learn from the truth, throw the rest away.)
I hope that my class will all grow tremendously through this study. I’m praying that we will not just be hearers of the word but that we might actually do something with the knowledge we receive. (James 1:22-25).
I’ve been in the book of Isaiah for awhile now… amazing to me how something can be so long ago YET so applicable to today – ONCE AGAIN reminding me that God’s Word is a "Living Word" – the pages of this book come alive to those who seek Him.
What I’m sharing are just some highlights/observations during my time with the Lord; Here are some things I’ve pondered recently…
- The "gift" given in a "heartless" offering is meaningless – meaningless worship is at best offensive to God (Isaiah 1:11-17)
- Our generation is work and posessions obsessed – jobs and pleasures can become idols. (Is 2:7-8)
- "Lord, please keep me from deceiving myself… let me have YOUR understanding – let me share YOUR wisdom." (Is 5:13)
- Is THIS not today?
- As long as we make excuses FOR our sin we never actually see "IT" as sin. (Is 6:5) A real encounter with the Living God has a way of showing our shortcomings.
- People are constantly looking for answers, searching for truth and will go everywhere to satisfy their questions EXCEPT to God because they would truly prefer there not be a God (Is 8:19-20)
- …then when all is not well, Who gets the blame? (Is 8:21-22) All of the blame, none of the credit!
- "Lord, please guide me that i NEVER lead people astray." (Is 9:16)
- Part of our mission is to increase His Fame in our region! (Is 11:9)
- In the day of judgment you begin to see things as they are… the unimportant things that "seem" important become unimportant again (Is 17:7-9)
- God – merciful to ALL who truly call on You. (Is 19:21)
- What a way to get a point across – PROPHESY NAKED!!! "I hope that you never call me to do something like this Lord!" (and if You do, please communicate through a burning bush or something I’m sure I’ll think I can’t be hearing You correctly!) Isaiah 20
QUESTION: Do you have a goal for the condition of your mind? Have you ever really thought about the fact that personal holiness is such a conscious decision? "Good people" have the possiblity to go through life sometimes obeying all of the "good rules" yet, at the same time, their mind be as far from God as those who live far from God. This morning we talk about living pure.
You know, purity is about WAY more than just sexuality… purity is a decision to make ALL things subject to the will of God for our lives. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 reminds us that we have available to us Divine power to overcome strongholds in our mind.
See the goal is not just to overcome your thought life in the issue of sex (which may not affect everyone as strongly)… the goal is having your mind truly be conditioned to be pleasing to JESUS. In other words, this applies to more than just the "pervs" (just kidding people ).
So, here’s a few applications – things that you can do to begin to make positive progress in these areas (in no particular order):
- Examine your mind – be honest: is there ever anything that runs through there which would not be pleasing to God? Not just sexual thoughts, what about sinful thoughts in general. Remember, this is not just about overcoming sexual purity issues, this whole thing is about having our mind be pleasing to God in all areas.
- Consider removing obstacles/temptors from your life (Matthew 5:29) This is a killer point Pastor has brought up week after week. Sometimes you must make radical changes to be free from that which you struggle with.
- "Set your mind on things above" – when you are tempted, have displeasing thoughts, etc. PRAY. Stop what you’re doing and ask God to help you to focus on something pleasing to Him.
- Set up accountability in your life. Can I stress this enough? How in your life has permission to ask you the tough questions? (do they know this – meaning, have you told them to ask you?) When you know that someone’s gonna ask and that you will either have to confess or LIE (and why have accountability if you’re just gonna lie about it?) you will think twice before you act.
- Allow God to truly hold you accountable – meaning, get serious about your walk with Him: there is no substitute for prayer and bible study – NONE. You aren’t living FOR God if you aren’t living WITH God!
You may remember a statement that I’ve made in the past: In order to live WHOLLY for God we must live HOLY to God. How do we live holy to God? The place to begin is through the renewing of our minds – Not only will God help you to succeed in this area, it is His will for every follower of Jesus – this is a promise for you – living "pure" is a pathway to a deeper place with Him. So, back to the QUESTION we began with: Do you have a goal for the condition of your mind?