July 21, 2013

WHO are you trying to please? REALLY!

WHO exactly are you trying to please?

They don't offer a Nobel Peace Prize for most of what we do, so if not the judges, then WHO?

Try Colossians 3:23-24    It works great for me!

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

So, when you are feeling a little under appreciated, or when you feel the urge to bow down to the Cynics of the world, or things seem a little CRAZY (CRAZY Video & Lyrics by Seal) because you’re following Jesus, just remember what Jesus said to Peter in John 21:22.  

July 16, 2013

Relationships: Becoming the “Right” person

 In my message; RELATIONSHIPS: Becoming the “Right” Person, I challenged the singles in the LifeSpring Community to become the “Right” Person, as they’re searching for the '”Right” Person" (for those married or in a committed relationship I challenged them to become the "Right" person their spouse or loved one deserves).

I asked everyone to be “intentional”, not leaving this to chance, and do everything in their power to become the person who the person they’re looking for is looking for.

I’ve had many conversations with couples prior to their marriage (during their pre-marital counseling sessions), as well as numerous conversations with couples whose marriages are struggling. 

One thing I have found in married couples or couples in a committed relationship trying to overcome struggles between the man and woman is very rarely did they have “Chemistry” or “Passion” problems. 

What they almost always had was “RELATIONSHIP” problems. 

In many cases I was dealing not with a marriage with marriage problems, but with two single people problems combined. 

They had spent so much time on their “Chemistry” or “Passion” earlier in their time together, that they forgot to work on developing a good “RELATIONSHIP” with one another.

BTW, here are my telltale signs of individuals spending too much time on “Chemistry” or “Passion” when dating or in marriage:

(1) Compromising who I am and what I believe,  (2) Accelerating the process of a good relationship, or (3) Being Fake, in order to physically please the other person or to be pleased myself.

Here’s the deal:   God created RELATIONSHIP. 

God created us for RELATIONSHIPS (Relationship with God, Relationship between male and female, Relationship with humanity).

I would say that we were DESIGNED for RELATIONSHIP. 

So, with that said, how do we change?  How can we be transformed from focusing on “Chemistry” or “Passion”, to becoming the person the person we are looking for, is looking for?

By understanding what LOVE is and how important it is in any relationship.

So the congregation and I agreed to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a once a day for 7 days to better understand the key ingredient in becoming the “Right” person: LOVE.

By practicing each of these characteristics of LOVE, in every current relationship we are in now, we start actively becoming the person the person we are looking for, is looking for. 

After you’ve read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, let me know;
-  Which of these qualities is the most difficult for you to exhibit?
-  Which quality do you value most in some you want to date, your spouse, or significant other?

July 10, 2013

Do I have to love me to love you?

            In the last message of our series called Progress Report at LifeSpring Church, I began with a passage from the Bible that is sometime known as the Great Commandment.
            In Matthew 22: 35-40, while explaining what the greatest commandment was, Jesus tells His audience “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  He continues to tell people the next greatest commandment was to “love your neighbor as yourself”. He placed added emphasis on these two explicit commands by saying, “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

On the surface, it seems Jesus’ comments mean the top two commands are: 
#1 Love God
#2 Love others
            Well, sort of… you see, there is an implicit command I believe many people don’t really want to deal with: Loving yourself.   In fact, since Jesus said for us to love our neighbor as ourselves, He’s indicating we must love ourselves BEFORE we can love others.  By loving ourselves before we love others, we’re providing ourselves with a reference point, comparison point, or measuring stick of how to love others.
            This means, before we can love others: our parents, siblings, best friend, girl friend, boy friend, children, spouse, co-workers, the check out clerk at Wal-mart, the missionaries in India, the homeless guy down the street, we have to love ourselves.  In fact, based on this scripture, I would say that.

No One Can Love Another 
More Than 
They’ve Historically Loved Themselves.

            So what’s so hard about loving ourselves?  Who knows my good qualities and attributes better than me?  I know what I like, what makes me happy, what brings me joy.  We know all the things that are loveable about ourselves, so what’s the problem we have with loving ourselves?  Why can’t I love ME?
            Because I also know my BAD qualities! I know where I’ve failed, lied, cheated, stolen, been prideful, been “fake”, and nasty.  I know when the things I said didn’t match my heart and how I really felt.  Truth is, many of us feel as thought the bad in our lives out weigh the good and therefore we feel as though we are unworthy to be loved. We believe we just don’t deserve to love ourselves.
            Ah, but here’s the twist.  Since the way we love others is based on the way we love ourselves… what should the way we love ourselves be based on?  Here’s a hint.

Rule 1: God Loves You!
Rule 2: When you’re in doubt or confused and feel as though you can’t love God anymore, can’t love yourself or can’t love others, refer back to Rule 1.
            The way we learn to love ourselves is by watching and learning how God loves us first.  The way God loves us even when God sees both the good and the bad in us.  Even when he sees our impatience’s, anger, arrogance, disobedience, filthy thoughts and desires, God still loves us. God still loves us enough to pursues us.  God still loves us enough not to give up on us.  God still loves us enough to send His one and only Son, Jesus to model Love for us.

            {This would be a good time for to look at Paul’s description of what love is in 1 Corinthians 13}

            So the next time you can’t love someone whose hurt you, the next time you can’t love that jerk that cut you off in traffic, or you can’t love your child because they disobeyed you, or you can’t love your boss because he just won’t do it your way, or you can’t love yourself because you screwed up again, or you can’t love yourself because you’re a quitter, just go back to Rule # 1: GOD LOVES YOU….pause and reflect on the way’s that God loves you.  
            When you do this, I think you may understand the same thing that one of Jesus closest friends and disciple did when he wrote in 1 John 4:19 the, “We love because he first love us.”

July 2, 2013

Investing In others: Using God's R.O.I.

This past Sunday, my message to our LifeSpring Church family, ProgressReport: Investing in others,  was as followers of Jesus (AKA: Disciples in training) we are called to invest in others by helping them to …
live into Their POTENTIAL for their life
live into God’s PURPOSE for their life
live into Jesus PROMISES for their life
One of the definitions for the word “Investing” found in is
to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something:

In the business world, there is an acronym called ROI: Return on Investment.  It is a ratio used between the amount (usually money) that a person invests in something and the return (or profit) that is received by the investor for their investment, usually over some period of time.   This ROI is typically expressed in the form of a percentage.  The higher the ROI percentage, the more a person can expect to receive from their initial investment. 

Given the choice of investing a $100 in “product A” that has a 50% ROI, and investing $100 in “product B” that has a 100% ROI, the wise investor would go with investing in “product B” because they could expect twice the amount of return for the same initial investment of $100.

Here’s the thing about being a disciple of Jesus.  When Jesus calls his followers to “go and make disciples” in his Great Commission, he never asked them to “calculate the ROI on their investment of their personal time, energy, or resources” while doing this.  He just asked them to be obedient and trust that he would be with them while they were doing it, even “to the end of the age”.
However, some Christians today want to “Pick and Choose” who they invest their time, energy, and resources into while helping others become disciples too.  Many times they look at the outward appearance and decide, that a certain person’s ROI is too low, and wait on a better person to invest in.  Some are still waiting to find the best person to invest in , while hundreds of people pass by them.
In choosing the person to succeed King Saul as the leader over Israel, God once told the prophet Samuel,
Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”   1 Samuel 16:7

The bottom line is this.  God has already calculated the ROI of every individual who has ever lived,  and God’s calculations are perfect!   He has determined that every person is worth the investment of our time, energy and resources.  In fact, God backed this up by investing the most valuable thing to Him, His one and only Son Jesus Christ, to provide the opportunity for people to restore their relationship with God, and have eternal life.

So why would I choose my personal ROI calculations about who to invest my time, energy and resources in, over God’s, when it comes to investing in others.  I think I will trust Jesus and do what He says…. “Go, and make disciples”