Reposted fromRadical Mentoring
Walk into a dark room and flip the light switch. Darkness disappears, replaced by light. In fact, darkness isn’t really a ‘thing’ in and of itself. Just something that happens when there’s no light.
Genesis 1:4 recounts the creation of light . . . “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Sometimes, we think of someone as bright. Every now and then, we’ll run into a Jesus-follower whose spirit shines. In church world, we want people to plug in. I guess it’s easy to compare spirituality to electricity because both are invisible and somewhat hard to understand.
The reality is that some people seem to be ‘15-watt’ people, others are ‘60-watt,’ while a few seem to glow naturally like ‘100-watt’ bulbs. If that happens to be you, you’re going to inevitably attract people (and maybe a few moths!). But what if you’re a ‘15-watt’ person? Or ‘30-watt’? Maybe you’re diligent about your faith walk but kind of private and quiet. Should you aspire to more light? And for what purpose?
I see three reasons we should aspire to have higher ‘wattage’ . . .
- Our personal peace deepens– When the Holy Spirit shines brightly within us, we’re more confident. When we trust God with outcomes, we deal better with our circumstances and we’re affirmed that Jesus is real and He’s right here with us and for us.
- Our influence grows – When we go public with our faith in Christ, others watch our lives in a special way. The cynics are waiting for us to fail so their lack of faith can be confirmed. The doubters will pay attention because our lives will enter into their decision to follow Jesus or not. And true believers will want to celebrate our faithfulness; they’re encouraged by our ‘bright light.’
- Our sin becomes more apparent – It is so easy to be dumbed down by the world, the flesh and the devil. “Hey, I know I’m not the best Christian in the world, but I’m not the worst either.” When our wattage is higher, we’re more sensitive to the sin that tempts us . . . our conscience quickens, and we’re more apt to turn away from bad stuff and ask forgiveness, both from God and from each other.
So how can we increase our wattage?
Through prayer. For over two years, I’ve told people about the strength and confidence I felt going in for my lung transplant. It was supernatural! I truly believe James 5:16 which says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” whether that prayer comes from you, a few or a multitude. I’m convinced the more people who pray and the more fervent the prayer, the higher the wattage of the person prayed for.
Let’s pray for each other in 2018, but don’t forget to pray for yourself. Ask God to raise your wattage for your good, the good of those around you, and for His glory.
Scripture: Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Today’s post is from Jeff Henderson who leads Gwinnett Church in North Atlanta. Jeff and his good friend David Salyers have seen a need and met it with outstanding results. If you’ll ever have a middle school son or grandson, don’t miss this!
Over the years, as our kids have grown older, people have often asked my wife Wendy and I this question: “What’s the most important thing you did to help transition Jesse and Cole into the middle school and teenage years?”
That’s a great question.
It’s no secret that middle school is a difficult time in life. Youth pastor Derrick Harris says, “The 6th graders of today are the 8th graders of 10 years ago. Not because they are more mature, but because they are more exposed.” From exposure to pornography to peer pressure, middle schoolers have it more difficult than ever before.
But here’s the thing: Middle school isn’t just a difficult time in life, it’s a pivotal time in life. It’s in these years that kids are changing not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a transition unlike any other.
So, for myself and Wendy, we saw the transition into middle school as an important milestone in their lives.
Milestones are moments that mark our lives in a significant way. Things like the birth of a child, graduation ceremonies, weddings and retirement parties. They represent the end of a season of life and the beginning of a new one. After a milestone moment, we adopt a new identity of sorts.
Yet when it came time for my son Cole to transition into the teenage and middle school years, my friend David Salyers and I realized that there was a missing milestone. Throughout history in nearly every single culture there was a rite of passage, particularly from boyhood to manhood. Yet sadly, in our Western culture we have lost this important idea. It has become the Missing Milestone.
The importance of this Missing Milestone can not be overstated. It affects our families, communities, and nation in innumerable and immeasurable ways. Dr. John Trent writes in his book The Blessing, “If a young man fails to receive the blessing of his father, he will spend the rest of his life looking for it in all the wrong places.”
I didn’t want that for my son Cole, and neither did David for his sons. So, we teamed up to create a modern-day rite of passage for our boys. A rite of passage that was tons of fun but also paved the way for crucial conversations.
It eventually turned into what is now Champion Tribes, a group experience that gives fathers a plan to be intentional in their sons’ lives. A roadmap that we’re working hard to bring to families all across the country.
That, I think, is oftentimes the key: Parents have the passion, but they lack the plan. If this is you, here are some things to consider . . .
- It needs to be a moment in time, yet part of a journey.
- It should build upon ceremony and ritual.
- It needs to include your blessing.
- It needs to be done in community.
If you want to learn more about our experience, how we have helped hundreds of fathers navigate this important phase of life, and teach values like Commitment, Humility, Accountability and Perseverance, you can visit championtribes.com/how-it-works.
At the end of the day, no matter what stage of your life your child is in, don’t miss the milestone moments!
Scripture: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Back in the ‘90’s, “What would Jesus do?” was all the rage. The phrase came from the subtitle of Charles Sheldon’s 1896 book In His Steps, a novel that sold over 30 million copies. WWJD caught on with young people and thousands of bracelets and bumper stickers were sold. In 2010, a movie called What Would Jesus Do? told the story of a drifter whose needs were ignored until someone thought, “What would Jesus do?” and took action. Serving caught on, the church woke up and lives were changed.
Although I never wore a bracelet, I loved the WWJD movement. But as my kids got older and sometimes acted out, I realized there weren’t many specifics about what Jesus would do in those situations since he didn’t have kids. Same for marriage or dealing with aging parents. In many ways, asking “What would Jesus do?” required imagination and was open to interpretation. For instance, my sister and I would have come to opposite conclusions as to what Jesus would do if confronted by a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy.
So, I came up with an alternative . . . “What would Jesus have me do?” That question got a little more in my face. Instead of hypothesizing about a young Jewish man living in a different millennium in a culture I don’t understand, this question led me to make it more personal. But when I stopped and thought about it, this question didn’t make sense either. Who is the question being asked of? Am I asking God? Jesus is God, so it’s like saying “George, what would George have me do?” That seemed a little crazy.
Then a few years ago, I learned to ask God directly “Lord, what would you have me know about this situation?” Amazingly, He’s often ready to answer. What He shows me is about the heart, either mine or the person I’m asking about. He leads me to patience, kindness, understanding, compassion and self-control. Sometimes I need more, so I’ll ask, “Lord, what would you have me do with what you’ve shown me?” Often that little prayer gets answered with an unction . . . a leading . . . a next step. Every time I obey, my faith gets stronger and often, it brings a ‘God-sized’ blessing.
The problem is seeing the people around us, stopping to bring God into the situation, listening to His voice, and then obeying without question. God will never direct you to do something that’s inconsistent with His Word and usually obeying requires faith . . . doing the right thing and trusting Him for the outcome. As we mature in our faith, we’re able to distinguish His voice from our own self-talk. The more we push ourselves to trust and obey, the louder and clearer His voice becomes.
I believe this is what ‘abiding in Christ’ is all about. I believe this is what ‘walking with God’ is. I believe this is what ‘following Jesus’ is all about. I believe it’s way better than “What would Jesus do?”
Scripture: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)