Saturday, August 20, 2016

Following Jesus

Following Jesus often means taking a difficult path instead of an easy path. It is always worth it to follow Jesus in the view of eternity, but often in the moment we wonder why we are taking the difficult route.
Why do we try to love show God's love when we are not loved in return? Why do we try to live at peace with all people when all people do not wish to be at peace with us?
It is not easy following Jesus, but it is always worth it.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

True Success

True success can only be success which is done through God's means. Often true success may look much like failure to the world. We may have passed up on a change to "stand up for our rights" or to "push our way to the top."

God call us to walk with Christ. Often as we walk with Christ we will find that we will need to redefine success to match God's views rather than our own.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sin Depletes Long Term Happiness

Sin has the tendency to put short term happiness over long term happiness. The nature of sin is that it leaves the sinner empty.

What is offered in the moment is at the expense of the long term joy. God tells us to follow him because his yoke is easy and the burden light.

The commands of God are difficult in the moment. The commands of God also are easy in the long run as the protect us against our tendency to sell out our happiness.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Without Love We have Nothing

Without love we have nothing. We often get caught up in the details of faith and pass over the most basic teachings of scripture.

Any discussion of Christian ethics or Christian living must be concerned with love. If we have right teaching but lack love we have nothing.

If we truly love God and love others all else will fall into place.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Joy and Ministry

Often it is easy to worry about what we are called to do for God. Maybe we should simply ask what we enjoy doing for God.

In are careers we are often at our best when we enjoy what we do. When we serve God we are often at our best when we serve in areas we enjoy.

We often worry too much about calling and skills and not the joy God has put in us. If we follow joy in ministry we are often at our best.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Speaking the Truth

The task of a servant of God is to speak the truth. Having love and compassion when speaking the truth is important, but we must remember the truth is often unpopular.

Living out our faith and speaking the truth in love is not always easy. We are not divisive when we speak truth in love in the church.

The divisive theologian wishes to keep the peace at all times. To steer away from any conflict at all costs. Often the most divisive people in the church are mistaken as peacemakers.

A true Christian peacemaker cares for the truth. To seek peace at all times regardless of truth is not Christian.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Should Christians Care About Building Self-Confidence?

Self-help books and articles are everywhere. Should a Christian grab a book off the shelf or click on an article that encourages this? Sometimes Christian books and articles even seem to have a strong feeling of self-help.

The answer to this question depends on the person and how a person approaches these types of writings, because it's likely that parts of it should be ignored or disagreed with but other parts may provide some helpful points. A person who is able to know what to disagree with and what works may possibly find these slightly helpful. And, of course, there may be some books and articles that you can tell right away aren't as helpful as others, and those can be passed on.

One part of these that should be ignored is sentences that start with, "You deserve ... " As Christians, we really can't say we deserve anything. We feel grateful for all the good things in our life, recognizing God's daily help in our lives. And, it's really Jesus who is deserving, not us. We should regularly be thinking how great God is to save sinners like us and how he continually helps us grow.

We should have confidence in ourselves in some way, though, but not in that we deserve anything, but in that we are created in God's image and are given a beautiful mission from God. God wants us to be confident in that we are his children, and we are valued in that way. People who struggle with self-confidence may be somewhat mean to themselves but treat others well, or lack confidence in themselves but have lots of confidence in others. God would like us to respect and love all people, including ourselves. So there is some importance in thinking of one's self and being good to one's self, as long as that's not the only focus of a person.

Parts of self-help books and articles that are helpful could be some pointers here and there that have similarities to the Bible. For instance, one may say to focus on the positive things in life and try to not think negatively a lot or be around negative people. That's a great reminder of Philippians 4:8, where it tells us to think on good things. I even read a book that wasn't labeled as Christian that had advice for work that had this advice, that too much negative can be very unproductive and difficult.

I'd recommend, if a person knows they want "self-help," to not necessarily go to these types of writings, but  to find something that really focuses on God's great, unconditional love for us but still acknowledges the fact that we are sinners and imperfect in this life, but God's helping us (sanctification). It's a healthy balance. To grow, we need to know we are imperfect and what areas we need to grow in, but to also not lose hope, we need to remember how forgiving and loving our God is, and his help in our lives. I've enjoyed reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones and would recommend his writings if you can't think of any author/preacher right away.