Archives For Jerks

people

Those outside of Christ have a perception of you. They know you are a follower of Christ; but how do they label you? Do they define you by all the beautiful life-giving things you are for, or do they define you by all the things you are against?

I once heard it said, “It should break our hearts that often we are known more for what we are against than what we are for, for who we have excluded than for who we have embraced.”

Years ago when I gave my life to Christ, I became part of the youth group at the church where I surrendered my life to Christ. It was an enthusiastic group of kids. They loved God very much. However, there was one thing that confused me much.

They spent a lot of time after the message in the altar praying. Now of course there was nothing wrong with that but it was some of the prayers I heard that confused me. The prayers didn’t confuse me because they were wrong. I think they confused me because they seemed incomplete. The prayers were one-sided prayers.

I would often hear prayers of repentance over sin they had committed in their lives. Of course,  there is nothing wrong with that because it’s the right thing to do. However, I would also hear prayers of repentance over things that were not sin. I’m not sure why they did that, but I can only assume it was motivated by the desire to be holy and closer to God. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, other than you’re repenting over something that doesn’t need repentance.

The thing that was missing were prayers that would accompany them out of an altar into the darkness of their world with the love, grace and mercy of Christ as their battle cry. Instead, I often saw these same kids walk into the darkness preaching their convictions onto those outside the faith. Therefore, many of them became known for what they were against, instead of what they were for.

I once heard Billy Graham say, “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” I love that! I don’t have the ability to convict anyone. I do have the ability to bring guilt to someone but that not the same as the conviction the Holy Sprite brings. I much rather leave the task of drawing the heart of the outsider to Christ in the hands of the Spirit of God.

I don’t have the right to judge the outsider. That’s the job of God when He sees fit to do so. (Judging one another in the church is for another post) However, I will share just one scripture. 1 Cor 5:12, “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.”

It’s my job and your job to love! When we love and show God’s love to the world it melts and convicts the heart of the outsider. When people met Jesus, they didn’t walk away with an opinion of what He was against. (Well, the religious Pharisees did because they needed to be shook up) When people encountered Jesus, they walked away hopeful because of what He was for.

So, allow me to ask you one last time. Those outside the faith, Do they define you by all the beautiful life-giving things you are for, or do they define you by all the things you are against?

Live like Jesus. Love like Jesus and He will change the world through your witness.

Stage

 

You can only think about one thing at a time. Don’t believe me?

Try spelling aloud, “I love Jesus with all my heart” at the same time as you write down your address on paper. (Go ahead and try it; I’ll wait.)

I’m convinced this is a blessing and a gift of God.  There are times in our lives we need to fully immerse ourselves in Him and nothing else. We need to get our minds and hearts refocused on life giving thoughts and directions.

For instance, let’s say someone has broken your heart or wronged you in a particularly profound way. All you seem to be able to do is fixate on them and it’s driving you crazy. It steals your joy, your smile, your happiness, your forward motion and a host of other good emotions that belong to you.

When you have been wronged it brings pain. Pain is a part of life and often the hammer that drives the nail of suffering into your heart. When suffering takes over my emotions I have a choice to make. I can continue to think about it or think about the things Jesus told me to think about.

1 Peter 5:7, instructs us, “7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

You can take your pain and emotional distress and cast them on Him. You can cast them into the sea of His mercy and love and watch them sink away.

Often, we turn to God for help, but we don’t take Him the problem. We manage the problem under lock and key. We open it over and over again and complain about it. Instead, you must take it to Him and cast it upon Him. After all, that’s what He said to do. You want to be obedient, correct? I thought so.

It’s been said, “The human mind is like a stage. Only one performance can play at a time.” Now, let Jesus have the stage by thinking on the things He said to think on. He has given you the power to choose who will play on your stage. It can be the thought of a person that hurt you, or  Jesus who can heal you. It’s your move. God bless you.

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

dontlike

In a perfect world, every person you know would like you. However, this is not a perfect world as of yet. You can be the kindest and most compassionate person in the world, and yet there will be people that just don’t get you. There will be people that just don’t like you at all.

Right now, I bet you can see them with your minds eye. They don’t like you and it is just driving you crazy. It doesn’t occupy all of your thought life, but it pops up from time to time, just enough to keep you just off center in your walk with Christ.

Don’t misunderstand me, there might be a legitimate reason someone doesn’t like you very much. I’ve found in my life when that happens, it’s a excellent time to take an inventory and see if there is any truth there. If I think they are correct in their opinion of me, I take it as a chance to make some changes.

On the other hand, I know that no matter what I do, everyone is not going to like me, and the reality of the matter is, not everyone is going to like you.  The other person may have a low self-image, or they might be just insecure, and something about you just draws out the worst in them. The key is to not allow what they think of you to own you, or control you, or to fill you with questions about your worth.

Deep inside you want them to like you and that okay to want, but when you try to get people to like you; it most often leads to more frustration. You must remind yourself, that you can never please everyone. The focus needs to be taken off trying to please them.

The fact is, when you try and get the other person to like you…you are waste valuable friendship time with those who do like you. I often will find myself thinking way too much about someone who I know doesn’t like me, and when that happens, I’ve learned a little secret. My secret is to stop thinking about them, and start thinking and praying righteous thoughts over a friend that does like me.

Don’t misunderstand. I also pray for those who don’t like me, but I don’t have to purse them to my own detriment.

Allow me to give you a few tips to help you navigate people that don’t like you.

1. Don’t over focus on people that don’t like you (focus on positive relationships in your life)

2. Don’t treat those who don’t like you the same way they treat you (Kind of a Jesus thing)

3. Set a positive boundary in your life (You can only control you-not them)

4. Make a list of what bothers you about the other person (Then throw it away)

5. Forgive them (It’s the greatest thing you can do for you, and for them)

Remember Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

no-swearing
First, I’ll start with a confession. There are times I use words that I shouldn’t use. There are also times that I say things about people that I shouldn’t say. I must admit, when I’m wronged or feel like I’ve been wronged, it just flat out feels good to GO OFF!

But here is the problem with going off. Ephesians 4:29a tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths…” That’s right my Christian friend, we just can’t go there with our mouths. When it comes to a full house cleaning, it’s hard work; but once it has been cleansed, it just feels and looks right.

Cleaning up your language is like a full house cleaning. It simply must be done. We are even told in the book of James (James 1:26) to keep a tight rein on our tongues. So, if you are like me, and have problems from time to time with your mouth throwing gossip, or unwholesome words out, (which is actually a heart issue) then here are a few things you can do.

1. Many verses in the bible give you the answer in the second part

For instance, Ephesians 4:29 (motioned earlier) says, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but in the second part, it says, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. The answer is build right into the verse. Now that leads to the next step.

2. When someone has slammed a door on your feelings, don’t cuss them

Instead, bless them. When you do, you will then see the open door God has for you. God always gives an open door to bless others. Even when they have wronged you, God has a better way.

3. Picture Jesus on the cross

It’s impossible to look at the cross and at the same time, cuss and talk careless about others. You simply can’t look up at the cross and look down on others at the same time.

4. Picture the future and then behave like it in the now

Picture when heaven and earth will come together (Rev 21). In that day, God will dwell with us, and there will be no more tears or death, or mourning, or pain. In other words, sin is forever gone and the world is as it was intended to be. With that picture in mind…live like that in the now. Don’t cause any of that kind of pain to another person. Show them the future inside of you. When you do, they will see Jesus, and that is way better than cussing and gossip.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.

grassgreener
Is Sex Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence?

The fastest way to destroy your marriage is to allow yourself to fall into an emotional attachment to someone other than your spouse. Nothing can steal intimacy faster than this first step away from the covenant God has placed you in when you took your vows before God and the world. Now, let me say at this point; if you want to comment adultery, it’s your choice…but know this-it’s going to cost you. It will destroy your home and the lives of many around you. There is simply no way around the fact that it will cause pain forever.

Adultery promises fulfillment and excitement that you feel you are not getting at home. The problem is, it always fails to live up to that promise sooner or later. You must remember, love is not a feeling; love is an action that you continually do and feelings are secondary. The green grass on the other side of the fence has the same sun shining on it as the grass you are thinking about leaving.

Please remember, that the decision to cross the fence comes with consequences that are enormous and last for a lifetime. It has been said before, and I agree, “No sex outside of marriage is that good.” That new adventure also has it’s own disappoints of life waiting to show itself soon enough. Those feelings of loneliness, emptiness and boredom that is diving you to pursue someone else…they will soon surface in the next relationship also. The reason why is that those feelings are inside you. In other words, everywhere you go, there you are.

It’s a fact that most people don’t set out to commit adultery. They let down their guard, and they generally drift out to sea until land seems to far to return to. It’s like the frog place in warm water: you turn up the temperature little by little until the frog is cooked. The frog just thinks it’s having a warm bath but the truth is he is being killed.

Allow me to give you three things that will help you to remain faithful and keep you from wreaking you life and others.

1. Keep the marriage bed on fire and purse each other

Take the time to talk with your spouse about your needs, wants and desires. Share with each other what you are looking for in the bedroom. Come to an agreement for the sake of the marriage, your kids and God. Submit to each other the bible teaches us. Cultivate romance in your relationship again. I would encourage you to pursue your spouse the way you did when you first started dating. If you are not still dating your spouse, you need to restart that as fast as you can. Get a baby sitter and leave the kids at home. Go to a movie and a meal. Hold hands and look into each other’s eyes. Talk about the beauty of the past and dream with each other about the beauty of the future.

2. Close the door on your heart to any other except your spouse

Make yourself accountable to a friend that will ask you about your flirting with others. Be open and honest with them and ask them to pray and ask you regularly about it. The bible teaches us that faithful are the wounds of a friend. Trust me, you need someone in your life that will speak truth without watering it down. You eyes are the gateway to the heart. Give your eyes back to your spouse and that feeling of him or her no longer having your heart will return like a flood.

3. Don’t deny you are being tempted

You and your spouse need to make a decision that you can freely and opening talk about your temptations. Temptation is not wrong. Temptation is not a sin. However, once you act on temptation sin is birthed. If you were at the office and someone was flirting with you or you were flirting with them…when you get home sit down and talk about it. You and your spouse need to decide in advance that these kinds of talk can and should take place without judgment. Confession can be risky, but the truth is, they can also save your marriage before it is too late.

Finally, if you are on the other side of adultery and have divorced and maybe even married again, and then grace and mercy from God is there when you repent of your sin. My advice would be this…go to the top of the post and read it again. Don’t commit the same SIN again.

Not That Person Again!

February 25, 2011 — 1 Comment

“That person over there is just strange.” We have all said something like that before under our breath when we see someone coming our way that just don’t seem to fit into the group. We begin to look for an out, a way to avoid talking with them.

At the center of the human experience, we all have the need to be included and valued. It’s what connects us as humanity. The reason why, is because God created us that way and demonstrated our inclusion and value by pronouncing good over us and placing us as stewards over His creation in the beginning.

One of our greatest problems is we are not always good at reflecting those two values to one another in the body of Christ and when we don’t show those two values, we are not properly reflecting God’s image.

Have you ever felt like an outsider…like you don’t belong anywhere or that you just don’t fit in? I would be willing to bet that just about everyone on this planet has felt like an outcast at some point in their life. It’s been said that the course of our life, the things we achieve, even the happiness we feel are all in some way affected by the people around us.

We all know that at the core of our lives we need inclusion and value to make it in life because it is God given but do we know how to give inclusion and value to others?

We have a deficiency in this world of those two values and we can heal it in the church if we will only open our eyes to each other. The church should be the place where inclusion and value are celebrated and practiced for God’s glory and our good.

Go out of your way next Sunday and find that person who always seems to be left out of the family and bring them in. You know that one person. He or she is the one that when you see them coming you say to yourself, “Oh no, here they come again.” We all know THOSE kind of people. The kind that seem to drive us crazy. However, never forget…you are THAT person to someone also. Someone sees you coming and says the same thing about you. We are after all, not all that different from one another.

Peace,
Pastor Steve