A view from the good seats (at the feet of Jesus – Matthew 18).
A view from the good seats (at the feet of Jesus – Matthew 18).
My roommate in college got cancer, became weak and eventually died. My biological father also got cancer, became weak and eventually died. It’s inevitable. We all have a shelf life. Our body’s become weak and someday, we die. Death is a result of our weakness… our shortcomings… the inability to to fight off “the death blow”. Something takes over and causes the body to shut down.
That something, that weakness, is sin. Sin is shortcoming. Sin is a weakness we all have. Think about it. Weakness is a state of being utterly helpless, without power or strength. That’s death. When you die you are utterly helpless, without any power or strength.
In the book of Genesis (an account on how the world came to be), Adam and Eve choose to sin in the garden. Because of their sin, the consequences to breaking God’s laws were that they would eventually become sick (weak) with the disease of sin and die. They choose it by disobeying God’s security. Not only did they choose it, it was passed down from generation to generation to all their offspring (you and I).
Adam and Eve choose to sin, therefore… we all die (“As in Adam, all die…” 1 Corinthians 15:22).
In our weak condition (our sin) we are helpless because we have no one who will come to our rescue. Maybe in life we have the consequence of sin which is death. But wait… what if there is a cure for death. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to go through dying. However, what if there is a cure once death has been “diagnosed”? What if you have to take the medicine before the diagnosis?
The Apostle Paul says that God (the creator) gave His Son (Jesus) who we have a choose to believe in (trust – the remedy for death) to overcome the weakness which is our sin. In that belief, the antidote for the diagnosis that we know is coming, Jesus gives a gift (counselor and guide) on how to live, how overcoming the weakness that causes death and live in such a way that will prepare us to spend an eternity with Him.
Loving this God for His gift of life after death gives us power over weakness that will come. We need not fear when the diagnosis comes because we know that we are already trusting in the remedy – Jesus Christ death and resurrection on the cross.
Are you feeling weak? Let me encourage you with what Jesus offers those who will call upon His name…
“At the right time Christ died for the ungodly… rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.” Romans 5:7
Few people might possibly be willing to die to save the lives of the weak… Jesus went beyond that, Jesus died in the place of the weak, for the ungodly, while we were in our sin and weakness and for His enemies. What kind of God does that? Name one other God that does that for His followers?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Where you are weak, God makes you strong through the power of Jesus remedy for those diagnosed with death. Will you take the cure in an act of faith and rely on it’ power to daily guide you in the ways you need to go?
Vault is a conference on how to do church … for people who don’t like church. There are many books and conferences on how to grow a “successful” church, but unfortunately they’re not focused on how to reach the unconvinced and cynical. Read more about Vault here.
Vince Antonucci became a Christian out of a completely non-Christian background and ever since his passion has been reaching the “lostest of the lost.” He was the founding Pastor of Forefront Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a church where 72% of the people who attend were previously unchurched non-Christians. Vince recently moved to Las Vegas where he started a new church, Verve, in the heart of Sin City, just off the Vegas Strip. Vince is the author of I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt (2008), Guerrilla Lovers (2010), and Renegade (2013).
Session 1: The Call to Reach God’s Lost Children
Session 2: Programming Church Services for People Who Don’t Like Church
Session 3: Diving into the Chaos
Session 4: Radical to Radical
Session 5: Questions and Answers
Session 6: No Splanga, No Glory
An Excerpt from Henri Nouwen on faith: “The Flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers. The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice sessions, gave me free tickets, asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.
“One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, ‘As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.’ ‘How does it work?’ I asked. ‘The secret,’ Rodleigh said, ‘is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar.’
“ ’You do nothing!’ I said, surprised. ‘Nothing,’ Rodleigh repeated. ‘The worst thing the flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe. It’s Joe’s task to catch me. If I grabbed Joe’s wrists, I might break them, or he might break mine, and that would be the end for both of us. A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.’
“When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind: ‘Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.’ Dying is trusting in the catcher. To care for the dying is to say, ‘Don’t be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don’t try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.’ ”
Great day drinking from a fire hydrant.
A friend of mine asked me a month back to let him propose at church. We sat down over dumbbells to plan the scenario. With little interference from his soon to be bride we were ready for action. Yesterday he popped the question using great form and perfect timing. Not only did she say “yes”, he got a standing ovation.
Standing ovations are awesome.
The standing “O” makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing. While a human audience’s applause only last a moment, God’s glorious applause for His people lasts an eternity.
As my friend asked his soon to be bride for her hand, the congregation saw an outward action of an internal change. God was on “His feet” because he is in the process of learning what Scripture teaches, living it out realistically, and giving the credit back to God.
Many times we will try and live out what we think we know is best and then go back after a downfall to learn what God’s work teaches on the subject. To make matters worse, if we did consult the scriptures, we will often give ourselves the credit! Double fault! Living out what we think is best and giving credit to ourselves for victories limits God’s favor and silence His applause.
In short, we must learn to give credit where credits due.
As John said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) That means I learn the truths in the Bible, I live it them out and I give credit to the Lord. In order to truly believe that God will step to help us, His people who believe in Him through faith by the blood of Jesus on the cross, remember that our outward actions are symbolic of what is going on inside, and when we are overcome for Christ, we give God the glory He rightly deserves.
This is how you mature in a relationship with your creator.
Have you ever received a standing ovation? Would you like to get one everyday? Learn God’s Word, live it out and give credit to him for letting you have access to His glorious plan. After all, a heavenly ovation trumps human applause any day of the week!
Rewiring is not only essential to getting information and power back to the people; it’s vital to us growing in our spiritual walk with the Lord. Internal rewiring is a concept that consists of going back into our memories to see where negative feelings and emotions have caused pain. If we can see where our emotions stem there can be great change in the future. While rewiring can be painful, if we are willing to open ourselves to identify internal pain, the freedom obtained will change the course of the future. Imagine being free… Imagine healing and restoration. It’s possible.
STEP 1: Identification – The first step involves identification of what negative emotion you re actually experiencing. Is it unhealthy anger, pride, resentment, loneliness, guilt? What exactly is the emotion causing the main issues in your life? If you are experiencing anger, then you need to understand the first and foremost you’re angry. When we’re aware of our emotions and willing to accept that these emotions exist, that is exactly where at a place where God can use this the most.
NOTE: Sometimes we can identify negative emotions and sometimes it takes the voice of another. Identification also means that we are honest with ourselves when these emotions are presented. This means that identification could come from our own knowledge or a result from hearing the same thing from various people in different situations and circumstances.
STEP 2: The Rewire – Once the emotion is acknowledged, we can now retrace or rewire back to where these emotions stemmed. This involves starting at the most recent event or occurrence the emotion occurred and then tracing back days, weeks, months, and even years to how long this emotion has been prevalent.
NOTE: Understand that this is the most effective when these timelines are written down in a tangible format (think journal, piece of paper, etc.). To actually be able to visually see an emotion and how it has taken root in the soul is what ultimately helps us become free.
STEP 3: Trigger – To deal with an emotion and properly run another “clean” wire means that we will look openly and honestly at what exactly triggers these emotions and terminate them immediately.
NOTE: Understand that some emotions can be tied to people, some emotions can be tied to places, and some emotions can be tied to things. When one identifies these people, places, or things that cause these emotional triggers they then can see what needs to be released from their life.
STEP 4: Terminate – The last of the rewiring is extremely challenging, involving a radical amputation of whatever has caused these specific emotions. In situations that are extreme one may need to move from house, eliminate a relationship (not spouses), or throw out/give away material items such as computers, cars, possessions, etc. We see this a lot with people who smoke cigarettes, as they are encouraged to get rid of their vehicle if they have smoked in that specific automobile. Again, one must understand that this takes either great personal dedication or enlisting the help of someone else.
It’s possible to rewire but understand it takes time, patients, an open mind, and lot of help. You were not born to live with negative emotions from scars in the past. That’s what Christ restores to the broken when they identify, rewire, trigger and terminate what is causing unrest. Allow people to hold you accountable and seek the opportunity to do the hard things to make big change.
You can do it. There is no better time than now.
In elementary school and much in the junior high school there were various complaints on the pace my completed assignments. The thoughts of rushing to complete a test because someone turned his or hers in before me are still crystal clear. The to-do-list was much too important than the tasks on the paper. Forget the individual items getting completed properly, that list needed to get done.
In my immaturity and years of learning to discipline myself to slow down the pace of learning, there was a realization that rushing to complete the list is not always the most beneficial fixation.
If the tasks are accomplished properly, to the best of my ability, the satisfaction of completing the list when accomplished will be twice as great.
If we would slow down and focus on executing objectives at a proper place, to the best of our abilities, we would not only be benefiting ourselves, but ultimately bring glory to God because we are taking pride in our work and focusing all our efforts to one centralized place.
We often lose our momentum due to our distraction. Multitasking has replaced fixation. The focus on executing the “get it all done” mentality has declined the overall quality of our work. Listen, what happens if you don’t get all done? What would happen if one task gets completed to the best of your ability? Which one is better? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to complete an assignment to the best of your ability instead of doing ten other objectives half way?
In honing in on a task to the best of our ability, you need to be aware of the under current of change. Change is the proper route in self-improvement. Think about a professional athlete. Do you think they got to the big game as a 10-year-old? Not even close. They made it to the big stage because they worked on one skill at a time until they mastered it and moved on to the next. They had coaching talking through each step of their weakness and making small adjustments to master their position.
We all need the same.
What are some goals in your life? What are some small items that need completed properly in order to achieve those goals? Who do you need to come help coach you? Who needs to make small adjustments so that you can master one, central skill?
There’s a good chance if you rush the road to success you will eventually find yourself back in the box of doing many wrong items extremely well. In order to be great for the kingdom of God, understanding that changing yourself to avoid multi-tasking, focusing on accomplishing one thing well, and slowing your pace is key.
May you see the value and appreciate the value of learning in continuously improving on who you are, in the proper time, at the proper pace.
Submissive. That word never really sat right with me. I always thought the Bible used the word to reference how a woman should conduct herself in a marriage relationship. To me the word never had much weight for a man or even a leader.
Submissive has many implications for the life of the Christian, a leader, and men and women in the kingdom of God. While wives are to indeed be submissive to their husband, Paul gave seven qualities in Titus 3 on how Christians can honor the Lord through submission.
Seven traits of a submissive Christian. This is the hope and strength that we need in order to win our community to Jesus Christ and reach the world near and far for the Gospel.
What are you in submission to?
In my younger years the neighbor kids and I used to play army in the backyards of our neighborhood. We would chase each other around glorious gardens shooting make-believe bad guys with artificial ammunition. We were soldiers. Warriors. We loved every minute of our fairy tale firefight.
While my friends loved hand-to-hand combat, my own internal exhilaration came after moving troops in various directions. In the heat of battle I barked orders in the heat of imaginary firepower. My fellow soldiers would then go out and win the war under my direction. I hated fighting on the front lines. They loved it. I would rather be in the background tactically figuring our how demolish the enemy while they put in the blood and sweat on the battlefield. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I fought but my passion was in the tactical approach.
I’m sure you might be thinking how much of a pansy I was for not going our to
slay the imaginary enemy. Thanks for the confidence. However, the friends on
the frontline loved every minute of being in the battle while I loved being on the back lines. After some time there was a realization that evaluating the situations as a whole gave a better ability to be victorious by attacking the enemy in the right way. They needed me to scout out the enemy. They needed a leader.
People need a leader.
We all do. In life some people want to be on the front lines while others would
rather facilitate victories. There are leaders on the frontlines of hand-to-hand combat and there are leaders who gather various points of view to maximize the potential of the team.
Remember Jesus? Remember Jesus sending out the twelve disciples? He sends them out, giving them “authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 10:2). He doesn’t have to be on that front line because the disciples are going to experience a better victory if they are faithful with the orders from their captain. They know the the mission is going to be one of great difficulty. Jesus himself says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.” (Matthew 10:17)
What a rush; for both sides!
What am I getting at here? I’m glad you asked.
There are so many implications for these two stories. The question I would ask is, “Who are you?” Do you like being on the front lines or are you more of a background leader who facilitates through stimulating, listening, observing, capturing, promoting, clarifying, and summarizing? How has God gifted you?
If you’re a frontline leader keep fighting and taking direction from your superiors. Your captain is most honored when you follow his directions closely and carry out the mission in precise detail. If you’re a back line leader, don’t lead with your opinions. Draw out conclusions from the people you are leading through listening and learning so that when you do need to summon an attack you can state your position with more conviction and clarity.
“War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.” General George Patton Jr
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12