So, You Believe In God?

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Christian Living, Ministry

So, you believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder (James 2:19)
Many people believe in one God, in fact, most of the world believes in only one God. Polytheism is not as prevalent as it has been in the past. Hinduism claims about 851 million followers, which is approximately 13% of the world’s population. Christianity claims about 31% and Muslims make up 23%

Just as James says, even the demons believe in one God. They know God, who He is, and what He has done. They know who God is, but they don’t really know God. There is a difference in knowing about somebody and really knowing them. I can read books about somebody but I will never know them until I spend time with them. Generally, we understand this concept when it comes to people, but it loses a little in translation when we try to apply the concept to God.

Most of the people I know believe in God. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve been an active church member for years, but nonetheless, most of the people I know believe in God. Atheism is on the rise, but their worldwide population as of 2012 is just over 2%. The real problem is not that people don’t believe in God, although I do think there is a problem that that people don’t see a creator/designer in the natural world. The larger issue stems from those who believe in God, but seem to disregard what that entails.

What does it mean to believe in God but not know Him? A fairly simple way to gauge how we view God is by where we put our trust. As people, we tend to put our trust in ourselves, and our lives become mostly about getting more money.

We look to our jobs for our provision

We look to our retirement plans for security

Now, money isn’t the root of all evil; the love of money is. The mentality that you always need to have more fuels our greed. Money does not buy happiness. It can do wonderful things but it cannot make you happy.

What if we didn’t have to worry about money? What if we really didn’t have to worry about anything? God doesn’t want us to worry or be anxious about anything, but how is it possible to live like that?

What if we did more than just acknowledge God’s existence?

What if we decided to put our faith and trust in Him instead of ourselves, or our wealth?

For those of us who know God, we need to do these thing better:

We need to trust Him
We need to put our faith in the One who sent His son for us
We need to put our faith in the One who died for us
We need to put our faith in the One who was raised for us

What is it that we trust?

What is it that we trust?

When we put our faith in God, we realize that no amount of money is going to provide for us as well as God. When we put our faith in God, we realize that no matter how little money we have, God can still provide all we need.

Believing in God is great, but do you know Him, and do you trust Him?

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New Posts on the Horizon

Posted: September 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have taken some time off from writing, but I am going to be starting up again.  

Life has gotten a bit crazy with work and switching churches.  I am in a new young adult ministry (shameless plug below) with some great people, and it has me thinking about starting to write new posts.

My goal is to write once a week, and it will usually be based on my lesson from that week.  Feel free to add some comments or continue a discussion.  If you haven’t read anything on this site in a while, go back and take a look.  Or don’t, it’s all good.

 

Here is the information for the young adult group:

The group is called refuge and we meet at 6pm on Sunday nights in the activities center of First Baptist Church in Groveport  (5521 Grove­port Road  Grove­port, OH 43125)

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We hope you can make it out to see us

What breaks your heart? Are you moved by poverty? Is it racial discrimination that brings your blood to a boil? Do you hate seeing corruption everywhere you turn? Does your heart stir for orphans, or maybe it’s abuse victims that cause you turmoil? Most likely, all of these things bother you at some level, but is there something that really breaks your heart?

Our youth group recently watched a video of Bill Hybels speaking at a leadership conference. He was talking about what he calls our “Holy Discontent”, which is basically the one thing that really breaks our hearts and consumes us. Hybels says that great things can happen when you are absolutely wrecked by something. Not just mildly offended by something, or semi-interested in a cause, but absolutely wrecked by injustice. I may not agree with all of the things that Bill Hybels says, but I do believe that God wants us to get involved with His mission to rescue people. There are many ways to get involved, but you or I cannot do all of them. If we each work toward finding that which breaks our heart, and then allow that passion to grow into action, we can start to really help people. If we are all doing our share, we can really do great things for others. I believe that finding the injustice that breaks our heart the most is the first step in finding our calling.

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What can we do if we all work together?

If I can find my one heartbreaker and focus my attention on that one thing, and if you could find yours and focus on it, and the next person could find theirs… and so on, how much do you think we could accomplish? God wants us to be intently involved in His story. He has gifted all of us and set within us a brokenness over one thing or another. Do you know what that thing is? Do you know what breaks your heart?

A few days ago I wrote a post about a conversation I had when I was in the Army.  Click here for the link.  The short version is that during a lull in a training day, we were tasked to pick weeds out of a rock bed.  One of the other trainees said that they did not join the Army to pick weeds out of rock beds.  That post was generally about entitlement and the current trend of people who think they’re too good to do real work.  This post is going to be about the same conversation, but from a different perspective.

One thing that I purposefully left out of the details of this conversation is the rank of the person I was talking to.  At the time I was just a lowly Private (E2) and the complainer was a West Point cadet.  The interesting aspect of this conversation lies in the fact that this cadet was (unless something happened) on her way to becoming an officer in the Army.  She was on the road to be in charge of other people and to possibly make decisions that would put soldiers into life threatening situations.

My response to her, at the time, was that she needed to remember that day.  I told her that at some point, she would be in charge of people and she would need to know that this is how the other half lives.  I told her that soldiers were to do what they were told and that menial work is something in which most soldiers have an intimate knowledge.  I told her to remember that day when she is in charge of others.  I told her to remember it so that when she was leading people, she could do so with compassion and understanding.

Too many people lead by their position alone.  They are the boss, they tell you what to do, and make sure you do it.  They are sure to let you know, regularly, that they control your paycheck and, in turn, your life.  That is not leading. That’s just pushing.

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Take over to the water cooler, minions!

If you are in charge of someone or many someones, think about how you get things done.  Do you use fear?  Do you use manipulation?  Do you make sure everyone knows you run the show, sign the checks and have all of the power?  If so, you are probably getting poor performance from your team.

On the other hand, do you spend any time figuring out the abilities, knowledge, passions and talents of those you lead?  If you spend time figuring out where people shine, you can organize your team better and get better performance from your people.  If you show your team that you care about them and their needs, talents, passions, skills and abilities, you show them that you care about them as a person and not just as an employee or volunteer.  If you make a shift in your leadership to take into account those under your care, you will be amazed at how much better your team will take care of you and the tasks at hand.

It also helps to remember how you felt when you were in their shoes, especially if you don’t have a boss anymore.  How did you like hearing your boss bark orders at you?  Do you still have a boss who treats you poorly?  If so, does that give you the excuse to do the same to your subordinates?  Pulling people along instead of pushing them around is a mindset.  People love to follow their leaders, but they generally do not enjoy being pushed by insecure or egotistical tyrants.

by Bryan Allain

I was able to get a hold of a copy of 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo before its official release, and I am excited that I got a chance to read it!  I would like to start off by saying thank you to Bryan Allain and the Killer Tribes team for allowing me to be a part of your book release.

31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo is amazing.  It is a quick read, but it’s packed with helpful tips, thoughts and information.  The information is not so much about how to tweak your blog so you can get more traffic.  This book is pretty much as the title says.  It helps you hone your writing, your website and your focus to bring out the best in your blog.  This book is truly about finding your blogging mojo.  If you just want more random traffic to your blog, this is probably not the book for you, but if you want to improve your blog and pull in dedicated readers, this should be your next book.

Bryan Allain writes with humor and insight, showing that you can still have fun blogging after 10 years online.  Only having a few days to read the book, I was not able to perform all of the 31 tasks yet, but I look forward to implementing the ideas Bryan shared.  I believe it will help me to refine my writing, find my reader base and help build a stronger community through my blog.

Here is the important information for those of you looking to improve your online presence:

You can order the book on Amazon here – http://www.amazon.com/Days-Finding-Your-Blogging-ebook/dp/B005MGUFX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315838806&sr=8-1

You can get the book as a PDF here – http://31daystomojo.com/

You can check out Bryan Allain’s blog here – http://bryanallain.com/

“I didn’t join the Army to pick weeds out of rock beds.”The words were spoken over a decade ago.  In fact, it has been almost 15 years since I heard them.  I remember the conversation well.  I was in jump school at Fort Benning, GA and there was a break in the training.  The Army doesn’t like to pay its soldiers to sit around and do nothing (especially in a training environment), so when there is a lull in legitimate work, special provisions are made.  Cleanliness is a virtue in the military, and someone has to make everything neat and tidy.  The task at hand was a simple one, and not nearly as degrading as spending an entire Saturday cleaning bathrooms.  Our task at the time was picking weeds out of a gravel bed.Sometimes we have to do things that sound stupid, or seem like a waste of time.  There are always tasks that we have to do that we just don’t want to do.  We are, inherently, selfish beings who have been told to look after number one.  We are groomed to put ourselves, our needs, our desires, above all others.  We are also told that we should bail out of any situation that does not bring us joy and pleasure.

Nobody joins the Army to pick weeds out of rock beds.  But sometimes picking weeds out of rock beds just so happens to be the assignment for the day.

This is how the Army determines success

I love to complain about things.  I’m not bragging about it, but I generally need to vent about whatever is frustrating me.  At times I can take things a little far, but I know that if I don’t say something about it, I just sit and fume about whatever the problem is.  I know I complained about picking the weeds, but there is a big difference between complaining and feeling superior to the non-enjoyable parts of work.  I did not join the army to do menial tasks in the hot, July sun but that was what I was told to do.  I was not too good for that job.

I just got back from standing behind a concession stand at an Ohio State University football game this afternoon (I like to wait a few days before I edit and post my articles for those of you wondering why you aren’t reading this on a Saturday evening or a Sunday morning) and honestly, I did not want to go and help out.  I was not being paid for it, and this was supposed to be my first Saturday to relax at home with my wife in far too many weeks.  I was asked by a very close friend of mine who needed a couple of people to fill up gaps in the team.  I reluctantly accepted and woke up way earlier than I wanted to this morning to get up to the stadium by 9am.

Once I got over myself; my lack of sleep, my lack of quality time with my wife… I was able to enjoy myself.  I may not have enjoyed running around and fetching hot dogs, waters, popcorn, pretzels and all sorts of other stuff.  I may not have liked getting up early on a Saturday.  I may not have wanted to spend eight hours away from my wife.  But you know what?  I love helping people.  That’s why I’m in ministry.  That’s why I work for a school district instead of a corporation.  That’s also why I showed up this morning.  Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, because it helps others.  Someone has to serve food to hungry football fans.  Someone has to clean the bathrooms, and yes, someone even has to pick weeds out of rock beds.

My Jeep - stalking prey in it's natural environment

I love Jeeps.  In fact, I’ve had 4 of them (if you count the Grand Cherokee I had for 6 months).  If you count my wife’s Jeep, then I’ve had 5.  My current Jeep is a 2006 Wrangler Rubicon.  I love it, it’s by far the nicest one I’ve owned.  I had a CJ-5 in high school and I bought a CJ-7 just a few years ago.  I got rid of it and the Grand Cherokee to get the Rubicon when I decided owning 2 Jeeps was pretty unnecessary.  My love for Jeeps runs so deep, I even married a girl who owns a Jeep (hers is a 2007 Wrangler Unlimited for those keeping track).  Granted, that’s not the only reason I married her, but it was a pretty sweet selling point.

Now that I’m married, I have been thinking a lot about finances, specifically debt, and wondering if making payments on two Jeeps is a smart idea.  My wife and I have two car payments, a motorcycle payment, credit cards and student loans.  I understand that it’s not so abnormal to owe lots of people money.  In fact, I would venture to guess that you are in a similar situation. Although debt is normal, normal does not seem to be working anymore.  At least not for me.  I see a lot of people around me who are struggling financially, but have no plan of escape, and don’t have any idea how to even start to dig free.  I want to be in charge of my financial life.  My wife and I decided to take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course and in it, we are learning about how to look at money from a different perspective.  To be honest, we just started the course, but it has already taught us a lot about money, retirement, debt, emergency funds, credit cards and savings.

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I put a quarter in, but the loan on the piggy bank is $100 a month

My wife and I have been talking for a few months about our debt and how we plan on getting out of it.  We are both fairly impulsive with our money, and we both want need to make better decisions.  We both want to have more financial freedom and we both want to be able to give money to those who need it.  We also would love to be less tied down by our debt.  We want to be able to move around and do whatever we feel called to do.  We are sick of being stuck by our financial decisions.

We now have a choice to make.  Keep the Jeep because it’s fun, or sell it because it makes financial sense.  If I sell the Jeep, I can make enough money to pay it off and buy a cheap car with the money left over.  How willing am I to get out of debt?  How willing are any of us?  Are you out of debt?  Did you have to make tough decisions?  Are you glad you did?