diving-board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”  Jim Rohn

I love taking RISKS..do you?

When it comes to RISK, the person from the Bible who jumps to mind is Nehemiah. He is definitely a favorite of mine. He’s just a normal cupbearer serving the king, then suddenly he became a great leader building a wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah took a huge RISK by asking the king to let him go back to Jerusalem, especially since this king was the one who stopped the rebuilding of the walls in the first place.

Here are some thoughts about RISK we must consider:

  • RISK is a necessary ingredient in our faith. Without risk, I don’t think you even have faith. Just believing in an unseen God requires risk. How much more risk is involved with jumping into your calling without really knowing the end result or seeing the finish line!
  • RISK dispels apathy and indifference. Apathy and indifference are both opposites to love. When you’re in hot pursuit of God, immersed in an ocean of risk, there’s no apathy or indifference. They’re not even in the same country!
  • The greater the RISK, the greater the reward. I love this statement: “Don’t live to arrive at death safely.” Take some risk, and the reward will be equal. Why? When it costs you something, then the result will mean so much more.

Are you taking some RISKS in your life? When was the last time you really took a chance on something?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

So many times this verse is used as a reminder of our individual sins. You’ll hear it often, especially when someone blows it! I’ve said it many times: I might get a bit angry, or say something not so nice to my lovely wife. I know it’s hard to believe such a holy person as myself would do something like that. (LOL! I hope you know I’m joking!) I use it to let myself off the hook, because of that great word “all.” This means everyone blows it, so I’m in a crowd and not solitary in my sin.

The truth is, this verse isn’t really about our individual faults, but the sin of mankind. The emphasis is on falling short of the glory. See, in the garden when Adam sinned, the Bible says he realized he was naked. Why? Because up to that point, it was the glory of God that was covering him. That’s why God could come and meet with him. When Adam sinned, the glory departed. His covering (God) was no longer available.

In reality, this verse speaks more of where we’re headed than where we’ve been. We’re all headed back to that state of glory, that place where we’re no longer completely separated from God and all His glory. It’s like driving: you can’t drive looking in the rearview mirror (unless you’re going backwards). Because of God’s grace, you and I are not going backward but forward. We’re in a constant state of progression. We’re moving up!  We aren’t going to be naked much longer.

Let me leave you with verse 24 which sums up this progression: “Being justified freely by His grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah lately and ran across this verse:

“For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 9:17).

Israel had turned their hearts away from God. They had adopted much of the idol worship and ideology of the nations around them. They were not seeking God to say the very least. But His mercy was still available to them.

What strikes me about this verse is the reality that no matter how much the children of Israel turned away from God, He was still there wanting them back. God’s hands were a symbol of mercy, not destruction.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve let God down many times. I’ve not been there when He needed me. I’ve made stupid mistakes and taken Him for granted. But He has always, and I mean always, been there when I turned around. His mercy was extended to me at all moments in my life. A great definition of mercy is God not giving me what I deserve.

Take some time to thank God for His mercy today. Take some time to meditate on how God’s hand is still extended to you. Maybe say your sorry for taking your relationship with Him for granted. Either way, God’s love never fails.  “His hand is stretched out still.”

Is God schizophrenic? Does He say something then change His mind a couple days, weeks or months later? I don’t think I’d want to serve a God who can’t make up His mind. How about you?

So why do people blame God for their wrong choices or their personal flaws? It happens all the time. Someone will come to a church, get into a relationship, move to city or take a new job because “God said.” Then two days later, “God says” something else and they leave that church, stop serving, leave that relationship, leave that city, or leave that job. I really don’t think God should be blamed for our lack of discretion or poor choices, do you?

I was reading 1 Kings 13 recently (read it when you get a moment). There was a prophet sent from God to King Jeroboam. God specifically told the prophet not to eat with the king or stay in the city, so he obeyed God and left. But then another prophet met him on the way and told him to return to the city to eat.

This story used to puzzle me because I didn’t understand why God said two different things. But the truth is, He didn’t! God didn’t change His mind; the second prophet was lying and blamed it on God. The story didn’t end well: the first prophet returned to the city to eat with the second one. When he left the house after dinner, a lion ate him because he disobeyed God. It is never a good day when you get eaten by a lion!

Here’s the deal: We should be a little more selective in how we throw around “God said.” If God spoke to you–and you’re sure He did–listen and do what He told you! If you’re not sure, then don’t say, “God said.” Be mature enough to continue to seek Him for the answer.

So let’s re-cap. God doesn’t change His mind based on the circumstance or the pain we might feel. God doesn’t change His mind based on the climate of a relationship. God doesn’t change His mind just because we get our feelings hurt. God is faithful to His word if we can believe it and receive it. He is always faithful!

What is God saying to you today?

Our good friend Joel Osteen has released a new book called “Break Out! Five Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life.” We so love what Joel’s ministry stands for! We’ve partnered with him several times in the past, and we’re excited to do it again. Freedom House is giving away a free copy of this book to all our first-time guests. That’s right, you read correctly! Wal-mart is selling the book for $20, but we are giving them away to anyone who comes for the first time!

We’ve done a commercial with Joel that’s airing alongside his program on Sundays, and we’re doing other advertising as well. Check out the Freedom House Church and Joel Osteen

I hope you’ll come by and see us. If you already attend Freedom House Church, then invite a friend. If you have any questions about it, just go to Freedomhouse.cc/breakout.

If you followed my blog posts at all at the beginning of this year, then you know I gave the old “52 books in 52 weeks” a shot. OMG! I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I started off strong, but around book 12 I realized it would be nearly impossible for me and my schedule. Not to mention, I began speed-reading and not getting anything out of the books.

So with all that being said, I made it to 17 books in the first 17 weeks of 2013. I’ll take that! Failure is just an event, and I learned so much in those 17 weeks–it was amazing. I’ve gone back to my regular reading schedule now and am reading about 2 books a month. I get a whole lot more out of reading, and it’s so much more manageable. Thanks for following along.

What are you reading right now?

 

10. May 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: 52 in 52

An acquaintance heard that I’m reading 52 books in 52 weeks and offered a book written by Ray Comfort. I get lots of book ideas, but this one jumped out at me specifically because it was from someone I didn’t know that well. And it just jumped out at me when I read it. The book is called, God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life.

At first I wasn’t too impressed, mainly because the author started off bashing the church. I can’t stand when someone bashes the body of Christ. I get tired of people going on about what’s not happening in the church and what should change in the church, because it comes off as “know-it-all-ish.” The truth is, a lot of things should change in the church overall. But my position is, instead of just pointing the finger and identifying what’s going wrong, be a part of the solution.

One other thing that bothered me about the book is some judgment calls on whether people who pray the prayer of salvation are actually saved. (Okay, let me get on my soapbox here!) Romans 10 says that whoever believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth that Jesus was raised from the dead is saved. It is never my decision whether what they have prayed is genuine or true. That is between them and God. It really doesn’t matter what statistics do or don’t say. It is a relationship between them and God.

That said, I think Ray has some good thoughts and solutions around the body of Christ. We just have to be careful that we don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Let’s build up and not tear down. Overall the book is a good read.

Let’s talk about the whole Duck Dynasty fad. First, I’m not a big fan of reality shows. One, they aren’t real, and two, America seems to love to watch a train wreck! I heard that only 7 or 8 years ago there were two reality shows. Now there are 230. Crazy! But since everyone’s talking about Duck Dynasty, I decided to pick up The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, the story of how this whole thing got started.

I think they have a genuine love for God (I’m not judging, just stating my opinion), but it’s obvious that marketing was their number one goal. It’s a great way for these guys to ride the wave and make as much money as they can off their fame before people get tired of the show. The book is good, but it’s not great. It’s good maybe for getting some laughs and getting to know the crew a bit more.

Number 15 on the road to 52 in 52. (Okay, I’m a little behind–but I have a couple of long flights coming up. I’m headed to Australia, and the flight is about 15 hours. I should be able to knock down two books. That’s my goal anyway.)

The book I read recently is another brain book. It’s called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. What a book! This is another one I’d recommend specifically if you run an organization and are facing change.

Here’s a great quote:

“Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”

In other words, if your organization is trying to make a lot of changes and failing, you may be pushing too hard and the agents of change are simply tired. You may need to strategize your timing of the change. You know you need to make the change; just don’t push so hard that you lose people and momentum in the change.

One of the major things I took from this book is that many people focus so much on a problem that they lose sight of the solution. Even looking back at a problem isn’t necessary to find a solution. Instead, look at right now and imagine how it will look and feel when a solution is in place. Some helpful questions might be: Can you imagine what you would do if you weren’t having marriage problems? What would if feel like? The point is to wrap our thoughts around the feelings and thoughts of being out of a certain situation or problem. I hope that makes sense. (If it doesn’t, get the book!)

Enjoy!

Finishing Sun Tzu’s Art of War was a battle (pun intended). My son thought I would like it. I did… somewhat. It’s more of a manual on how to defeat the enemy. I am not much of a war guy, but I did get some good thoughts out of it.

So would I recommend it? Sure. It’s an interesting read. And it’s free on Amazon.com, so pick it up and win the war!