Three Word Legacy


Reposted from Radical Mentoring

I’ve never been much of a funeral guy . . . not that anyone is. The first one I remember was for my father when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve attended plenty since then, but not until my 40’s did I notice a distinct shift in my perspective.

Before 40, my dominant funeral emotion was numb. Aware of the sadness, but not overwhelmed because death seemed so far away.

Post 40, my emotional state changed. Possibly because I’ve attended funerals of people my age, but more likely because the idea of ‘legacy’ is now more of a priority for me. Sitting through these funerals, I catch myself wrestling with questions like . . .

  • What will my family say about me at my funeral? What about my friends?
  • Who will attend my funeral and why will they be there?
  • How do I want to make others feel when they are around me?
  • What do I value most and how am I living out those values daily?

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the funeral for the mother of a family member. Even though I’d never met her, attending seemed like the right thing to do. My family member would have been there for me if the roles were reversed.

This funeral was unique as this lady suffered a stroke almost 30 years ago. She spent the past 30 years trapped in her temporary ‘earth suit’ . . . wheelchair-bound, with a limited vocabulary. It was said at the service that she was a “prisoner in her own body.”

As her grandchildren spoke and reflected on her life, they shared the words spoken to them most often during their visits . . . “I love you” and “Thank you.” Even with her physical limitations, she still let them know she loved them and was grateful for them. That is a legacy.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul reminds us “not to lose heart because while we are wasting away outwardly, we are being renewed every day” and to “fix our eyes on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary.”

Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is Thank You, it will be enough.”

Funerals are never events we hope to attend, but they can undoubtedly shape our perspective on eternity and remind us of the temporary nature of this life. After attending that funeral, here are some of the things I’m pondering. Maybe you’ll join me . . .

What are my eyes fixed on?

Am I allowing myself to be renewed every day?

Am I allowing the temporary circumstances I face every day determine the words that come out of my mouth?

If I could only speak three words or less, what would they be?

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God Told Me


 

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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

There’s a little twinge in my spirit when I hear the words “God told me” come out of someone’s mouth (including my own).

Did He? Does He? How do you know it was God?

What’s our motive for qualifying what we’re about to say with “God told me.” Are we trying to sound ‘super-spiritual’? Do we think the truth we’re about to share has to have the heavy-duty punch of “God said” to be worth the attention?

I try not to get into theology on this blog because there are usually as many opinions as readers. Nobody has concrete answers to theological questions. I subscribe to this quote (often misattributed to St. Augustine) . . .

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

As Jesus-followers, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus and His Kingdom well. We’re told in Corinthians to be “ambassadors for Christ.” To me, that means when people see us, they see people living as Jesus lived. Loving. Serving. “Gentle and humble in heart.”

The humble in heart part is what I’m talking about here. It’s hard to appear humble in heart while we’re saying “God told me,” or “God wants me to,” or the even more dangerous, “God wants you to . . .”

Personally, I do believe God speaks to us individually. It’s almost always about matters of the heart, and it’s always for our good. But His words for us are just that . . . they’re for us. When we start adding “God told me” to things we’re saying, there are often unintended consequences . . .

  • Listeners get distracted from what’s being said by the “God told me” part. If what you’re saying is truth from God, won’t the Holy Spirit reveal that without us having to punctuate it with “God told me”?
  • Unbelievers can be intimidated and feel even more like outsiders . . . pushed further away from meaningful faith.
  • New or less mature believers lose heart, feeling there’s something wrong with them because God’s not speaking to them.
  • The believer doing the talking accidentally glorifies himself instead of Jesus.
  • The person talking could get it wrong, repeating things they imagined but God wasn’t in.

Let’s be thoughtful, careful and prayerful with our words, especially when we invoke the name of the God, who is so holy that the Jews didn’t even speak His name for 300 years.

Let’s be careful to avoid sin . . . including the sin of self-righteousness.

Scripture: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

Our Work Can Be Worship


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Many people dread their work. If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink: “Divine tasks performed here, daily.” Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple. You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

Reposted from Max Lucado

There is Always Something You Don’t Know


Reposted from Radical Mentoring

A lot of us work somewhere that’s not ‘headquarters.’ Not ‘corporate.’ Not ‘the home office.’ That was me once. When the orders were handed down to us in the field, they sometimes seemed dumb. Out of touch with the real-world situation on the ground. I’d say, “What are they thinking up in the ivory tower?”

Then it happened.

I was promoted and transferred to corporate. One of my first tasks was complicated with all kinds of HR and union concerns . . . things I had no knowledge of a few weeks earlier. When the new instructions went out to the field, my phone lit up. “Regi, what are you thinking?” “It sure didn’t take you long to forget what it’s like out here.” “You’re just like the rest of them . . . out of touch and totally insensitive to the headaches you’re creating for us out here!”

My boss picked up on it. He took me aside and taught me something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “There’s always something you don’t know.” In a lower-level job or a remote position, there are things people ‘upstairs’ know that you don’t. We never have the whole picture.

This same principle applies in everyday relationships. When your wife comes home acting cross and impatient, there’s something you don’t know. When someone races past then cuts you off in traffic, there’s something you don’t know. When your teammate turns critical and negative, there’s something you don’t know.

And when God doesn’t cause or allow things to work out the way you want them to, there’s something you don’t know. A lot of what we don’t know will never be known until we’re there with God in the next life.

Lean into what you do know. God is good, and God loves you. That’s really all you need to know.

When You Lose Your Belief


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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

There’s a finite amount of belief in a person. You can’t create more belief. You can move your belief around, believe more of one thing and less of another, but each human has a unique capacity for belief.

Here are a couple of controversial examples. Colin Kaepernick lost his belief in standing for the national anthem. It was overtaken by his belief that our country “oppresses black people and people of color.” No matter where you come out on his protest, it has clearly cost him. Right or wrong, he’s suffered for his beliefs, becoming a divisive and unemployed quarterback.

Edward Snowden lost his belief in obeying the law and leaked classified information. His stated reason for those actions was his belief that our right to privacy was so strong, it outweighed his belief in the government. I don’t know how much he’s suffered. I know he can’t come home and is living in exile as far away from law enforcement as possible.

A lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to have lost their belief. Their desire not to be known as ‘overly religious’ has overtaken their desire to be active, engaged, and public about their faith. Rather than suffer embarrassment or rejection or conflict, they’ve chosen to blend in rather than stand out. They’ve drifted from Christian values to become like everyone else.

Have you lost your belief? Has fear of rejection driven you into a spiritual ‘shell’ like a turtle’s? Has your need for approval overtaken your calling to be faithful and true to your Heavenly Father? He’s ready and willing to give you the courage to come back. All you have to do is ask.

The Believer’s Purpose


God has a purpose for your life. If that weren’t true, He’d have taken you home to heaven at the moment of salvation. Do you ever wonder why He left you here?

The Lord intends to influence others through you. Our purpose is to be a vessel through which Christ overflows to others–touching those who hurt and desperately need a Savior. Once we are saved, Scripture teaches, our involvement is threefold.

First, we love others. Jesus clearly stated that this was one of the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:38-39).

Second, we share the good news of salvation (Acts 1:8). Some travel across the world to spread the gospel, while others teach neighbors across the street. The Holy Spirit will direct us to the right people if we are willing to obey.

Third, we serve in a variety of ways, like helping those in need, sharing our resources, and lifting others in prayer. Jesus is our perfect example of all three. His entire life was marked by caring for people–both those who loved Him and those who did not. In fact, the Bible teaches that He humbled Himself and became like us, willing to give up His life for our redemption. There is no greater love; there is no greater act of service.

Scripture clearly defines the believer’s purpose. Aligning ourselves with God’s intentions for His children–loving others, witnessing, and serving– bring us great satisfaction. In fact, we’re still on earth not merely to hear more teaching but to act on it and share with others what we learn.

Reposted from In Touch Ministries

Religious – Yet Lost


Reposted from Max Lucado

A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful: Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!