The Right Who

This post is inspired by the recent message series at Life.ChurchDivine Direction.

Pastor Craig really packed a lot of truth and guidance into this 4 part series. We’ve been going to Life.Church for 4.5 years and this is my favorite series so far. No doubt, I’ve been deeply moved by many of his messages, but this one really motivated me to examine my heart and my direction.

I’ve been wrestling with a big decision, that would add to my workload and eventually change my career. I thought after the first three messages that I was prepared to make the decision – although I was still wrestling a little bit. Then, as we made our way into service, I declared my (almost decided) decision to Mr. W. He told me that as long as I was deciding to put the idea to rest, that was fine. But if my decision was based on external factors – specifically our business and kids – then I needed to pursue the idea.

Those words didn’t help – kids and business were the top two things that swayed me away from the idea. But Pastor Craig’s messages pointed out that I needed to focus on doing the things I’m already doing, and to do them well. I don’t always do things well, I tend to go for quantity over quality, and I don’t think that honors God.

I’m diving back in to my talk notes from week 1 – Power to Become. Pastor Craig used this message to drive home the point that God cares more about who we are than about what we do. I’ve said before in my posts that God cares more about our character than our comfort. Whether we flip burgers, clean bathrooms, or are some high level executive, God is deeply concerned with our heart and our motives.

God wants to develop our character before He is concerned with our calling. Even the disciples went through a long process of becoming who before Jesus sent them to do. We can have the right career and the wrong heart, and therefore do the wrong things in that career. We can have what seems like the wrong career, but the right heart about it, and the way we are honoring God and the example we are setting makes it the right place for us to be – even if only for a season.

If we aren’t doing the seemingly small and insignificant jobs well, then we don’t deserve bigger jobs. We have to be faithful with where we are before God is going to move us up and on.

Translating all of this to my own life, and where I am in my life, I’ve been asking myself if I am doing my jobs well? I tend to take on a lot of jobs, so many that I can only do them partially because then I have to run to the next job – that, to me, doesn’t seem like a job well done. I guess somewhere in my mind, me doing part of the job is better than the thought that none of it will get done. This is flawed thinking, as I’m not the only one doing jobs.

So, in the several weeks since this first message, I’ve been trying to be more diligent with my jobs. I’ve been trying to get up earlier, and I’ve been trying to slow down enough to see jobs through to completion. I’ve also been trying to get more organized and to pick up after myself regularly. (I tend to make messes with the intention of going back to fix them later, but I rarely make it back to do the cleaning up part.)

I am going to work on becoming the right who, so God can direct my steps toward the right do.

Can you see how God is working on who you are in your current season?

The Worst Advice

Our small group is doing this study, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman.

I’ve only watched the first lesson, and I’m hooked. He asked “Are you a fan, or a follower?” and I have to admit, I’ve resigned to sideline christianity. Prayer is not the first thing I jump to, but rather a last resort. I do everything I can to solve everything that comes my way and only ask for God’s help or direction when I just cannot figure it out. And even then, it’s more of a whiny request than a faith filled prayer.

Then, toward the end, Kyle was talking about a single father whose life was transformed. He went from fan to follower, was always serving and giving and was actively reflecting the light of Jesus to all the people he encountered. The change was so profound that the man’s mother requested a meeting with Kyle.

Instead of “Thanks for helping my son come to know Jesus intimately,” the woman requested that Kyle help the man see that he had “taken it too far.” He was too devoted, too into Jesus, and that he had lost the sight of “healthy balance.” (Forgive me, I’ve paraphrased some of her words.)

I stared at the video – I was baffled, and I cried. I remember someone telling me just a few years ago that church was my crutch, I was going overboard and taking things too far with the whole God-thing. I was being extreme. And I got mad at first, but then that advice started to change my view on things. I stopped going to church. I stopped praying so much. I didn’t want to be extreme, or to hide at church, or to use God as a crutch. I didn’t want people to see me that way. I don’t know why, really – but it seriously damaged my relationship with Jesus, and my reliance on God.

I know it won’t be overnight, but I am praying that once again, my hiding place will be God, that my life will be marked by service, and that my crutch will Jesus. I pray that not only will I say “God is in control, Jesus is enough,” but that I will live it in every single thing I do, every day, for the rest of my life.

How Loving Your Wife Could Change the World

(Today’s post is a guest post, beautifully written by Jason Bender. You can learn more about him at the end of the post, follow him on Twitter, and visit his blog, too! Enjoy!)

As a husband, I know I’m supposed to love my wife. However, frankly, a lot of times I just forget.

Why is that? How could easily the single most obvious thing for a husband to be doing slip from my mind?

I think it’s because, as husbands, we don’t really understand the importance of loving well. We buy into this “happy wife, happy life,” and think that’s the end of it. We make the goal of our marriage simply out to be survival, to be at least average, or if we’re really compelled, even better than average.

Certainly, I’m not knocking on committing to stay together. But is it possible that this goal is rather short-sighted?

The problem arises where we forget to love well, because at times it doesn’t seem we don’t need to. When we’ve made the goal of our marriage surviving, or being “average,” our point of reference just becomes everyone else’s marriage. And as long as I’m doing at least as well, then we’re cool – we’re just fine. There’s no urgency to love well.

So let’s look again at what Paul really says to us husbands in Ephesians 5:25,

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

This verse is so important because it challenges us that not only are husbands to learn from Christ’s love, but they are also supposed to demonstrate Christ’s love to an un-believing world. In a sense as husbands, we receive the lead role in this movie called life, and we’re called to play the part of Christ.

Therefore, not only do I learn how to play the part by watching Christ, but when others watch me live
out that role – they learn about Christ from me.

Which begs the question, “What do they learn about Christ from me?”

Understanding that our love could have an eternal impact on someone else’s life puts the urgency back for husbands to love well. There is more at stake for me to love well than just my own marriage.

IMG_0931Jason Bender is the author of the blog, “A Year of Being a Better Husband,” which features short, daily posts about his own journey of becoming the husband that God desires.
He lives with his wife in Pittsburgh, where he is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, and a volunteer worship leader for Crossroads UMC’s East Liberty Campus.
You can check out his blog here, or follow him on Twitter @JBend8