Archives For priorities

Much of our lives are spent chasing the myth of security. We seek to live in safe neighborhoods, work in good parts of town, and save to achieve financial security. So much time is spent pursuing the myth of security we rarely have time to think about living dangerously. Unless and until we are ready to sacrifice our own comfort and security, we will never be able to take the light of Jesus into the darkest places on earth.

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If we won’t shine the light within us, who then will go and rescue the hopeless, the desperate, and the lost? Instead of pursuing the myth of security, we should be bounding headlong into the certainty of risk and danger.

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The Bible talks a lot about bringing God your “firstfruits”. To bring your firstfruits means to give God the best of your efforts. In terms of finances, it means you give back to God before spending anything on yourself. In Scripture, it amounted to dedicating the first growth of your crops, or the first born from your flocks and herds, and even your family.

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You give back to God first, and the remainder is for your blessing. These days, we don’t often give God our firstfruits. More likely we give Him our leftovers and expect Him to bless us abundantly in return.  This is embarrassing at best, but I must admit my own guilt in this area.

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There is a time thief lurking in all of our lives. Time is our most precious asset. You cannot acquire more than you’ve been given. We each have a finite amount that dwindles by the second. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Yet so many of us treat time as if there is a never ending supply. We spend our time foolishly on the nonsensical and irrelevant.

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What if we spent our money the same way we spent our time? It would be the equivalent of throwing cash out the window every second of our day. If we are not intentional about our time, a time thief will steal away what God has entrusted to us. We all have a time thief; what’s yours?

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As a year wilts away behind us, another blossoms on the path ahead. There’s something beautiful and fragrant about new beginnings. A new year heralds an opportunity for a fresh start. What was is no longer, and what will be is largely up to the choices we will make. This is our chance to shape what lies ahead in ways totally honoring to God. My theme for this year is “Move the Needle”, and nowhere will this be more important than in my walk with God.

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Everything revolves around and springs from my relationship with Him. Moving forward into a deeper knowledge of God necessitates doing something different than we’ve done before. If this is your desire for the new year as well, there is one thing I know. If we want to move the needle in our connection with and understanding of God, we can’t stay here.

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We humans ascribe an inordinate amount of focus and power to dates. We put off big life changes until a Monday so as to have a “fresh start”. We set goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year almost exclusively.  Perhaps worst of all, when a week, month, or year is coming to a close, we tend to put it in neutral and just coast until the next big marker of time.  December is a month rife with coasting. Most are so caught up in gift-giving and home decorating that little time is left for anything else.

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It becomes easy to lose focus and take your eyes off the things that really matter. Unfortunately, our spiritual life and goals tend to follow the same fate. Instead of finishing well the work God gave us to do this year, there is a tendency to end with a whimper instead of a bang.

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With the new year approaching, it’s a good time to reflect and examine what you have done for the Kingdom over the last year. Is your walk closer to God or further away than it was a year ago? What have you done to make a difference for Jesus? The sad fact is most Christians never give these questions a lot of thought, much less spend any time intentionally planning how they will grow closer to God and have a greater Kingdom impact on this world.

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Why is that? Shouldn’t our relationship with Christ and what we do for Him be the most important thing in our lives? There’s not a single New Year’s resolution worth anything unless it furthers the Kingdom of God and draws us closer to the One who created us and gave His life for us.

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In “It’s Not What You Think”, Jefferson Bethke writes, “Life isn’t about going to Heaven when you die, it’s about making Heaven true on earth in every facet and level of our relationship with God, others, and self. The Christian life is asking, how can I make what’s true of Jesus and His gospel true in [every] aspect of my life?”

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It’s a question that perfectly sums up what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. As you go throughout your day, how can you reflect the gospel of Jesus in everything you do and say? Most of us never take the time to ask the question or consider how the answer to it might dramatically change our lives.

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Do you want to know what’s really most important to you? Follow the money. Are you curious how close you are following the Lord? Follow the money. If you are wondering if your priorities are in order, well, you guessed it… follow the money. It’s easy to say we believe in something or hold some value important, but actions never lie. Neither does where we spend the money God has entrusted to our care.

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How we spend our money always tells the truth about who we are. Your bank account has no hidden agenda; it only has the mission you give to it. As pastor Aaron Brockett recently said, “Your heart will follow your money so send your money where you want your heart to be.”

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Do you consider Christ a project to be promoted, a cause to be served, or a Lord to be obeyed? In our world today, it seems many have become confused about their relationship with Christ. I see preachers on TV proclaiming Jesus in a way that makes it sound like the latest product pitch from Madison Avenue.

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At times, we can also get caught up doing things for Him in an effort to prove our loyalty. But at the end of the day, all Jesus asks and requires is our whole-hearted obedience to His words. He simply asks us to follow and obey.

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Each of us is exactly who we want to be in our relationship with God. We know Him exactly as much as we choose to know Him. We love Him exactly as much as we choose to love Him. It’s far easier and more convenient to blame circumstances, surroundings, and our own backgrounds as being limitations for our walk with Christ.

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The truth is we are exactly the kind of disciple we have chosen to be. The only person responsible for how close our walk is to that of Jesus is the person we see in the mirror every day. We are responsible. We make the choices. We choose how close or how far away we are from God.

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