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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Significance Comes From Serving

In 1 Peter 4:10 it says, “Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.” (NCV)

Whenever I pursue something in life, I do it hoping that it will give me significance. But the only way to really experience significance is to serve with others in ministry. Ministry just means doing good to other people.

Significance does not come from status or a hood ornament on your car or a logo on your shirt. Significance does not come from a bigger salary. Significance does not come from sex.

Significance comes from service. Significance comes when I start thinking about other people more than I think about myself and give my life away. I cannot be selfish and significant at the same time.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others” (NCV).

What are your talents? What are the unique skills and abilities God has given you? They were not given for your benefit. God gave them to you for the benefit of the people around you. We are all shaped for significance, and we will find that significance by using our gifts and talents and abilities to serve others.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break” (NCV).

I may think it’s easier to do things on my own. I may prefer solitude. I may need my alone time. But I will always get more done when I serve with other people.

We are not meant to serve God by ourselves. We are meant to serve God on a team. We are meant to serve God in a family, in a small group, in a church. We are meant to serve God in relationships.

If we want to find significance and give our best to God, then we need to serve him with our community.

In summary, as a good manager of God's gifts, I must use my gifts for the good of others. My abilities should be faithfully used in serving others, they aren't for my personal enjoyment or selfish gain. Fulfilling my destiny requires recognizing the unique way God has created me. God has given me gifts for a purpose. I have a responsibility to be a good steward of those gifts, not in a selfish way but for the good of others. A key to living a productive and fulfilling life is to use my gifts to serve God by serving others.  

Monday, May 6, 2024

You Learn Your Purpose Through Relationships

In Romans 12:5 it says, “Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of [Christ’s] body.” (MSG)

We only learn who we are in a relationship with others. We only learn our true identity in community.

You’ll never learn who you really are by yourself. You only learn it in relationships. That means you must connect with other people for fellowship.

If you had been born and lived your entire life to adulthood with no human contact, you wouldn’t have the slightest idea who or what you were. You wouldn’t even know you were a human being. You only know that because you’re in a relationship with other human beings. We learn our identity by being in relationships.

The Bible says we need to be connected to God’s family, the body of Christ: “We are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around . . . Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of [Christ’s] body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we?” (Romans 12:4-5 MSG).

My ear only functions and fulfills its purpose by being connected to my body. If my ear was cut off and was lying on the ground, what’s the value of it? Nothing, because it can’t hear anything.

Same goes with my nose and eyes: If they’re not connected to my body, what’s their purpose? They don’t have a purpose, because they can’t smell or see anything by themselves.

In the same way, if you’re not connected to the church, then you’re not going to know the purpose of your life. You’re not going to know your role. You’re not going to know your function. You’re not going to know your value and your meaning.

As a part of God’s family, each of us has a special role that only we can play. You have a job that won’t get done if you don’t do it. You have contributions to make that other people won’t benefit from if you’re not connected to God’s family.

You’re an important part of the body of Christ! And you’ll only find your value, your purpose, and your identity when you are connected to the church and form relationships that help shape you into who God made you to be. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

How to Face Your Fears and Indecision

In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the LORD in all you do, and he will give you success.” (NCV)

The root of all indecision is fear. We all struggle with different kinds of fears. We’re afraid we’ll make mistakes and embarrass ourselves. We’re afraid we won’t be able to finish what we’ve started. We’re afraid we’re not good enough.

One of the fears that keeps us from making decisions is the fear of disapproval. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety” (TLB). The moment I start worrying about what other people think, it’s over, because fear of disapproval is always worse than disapproval.

So how do I get rid of a particular fear? There’s only one way: Face it, and move against it. You do the thing you fear the most!

But how should I make that move? In faith. The only antidote to fear is faith. I have to step out in faith. I’ve got to trust God and start moving.

Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is moving ahead in spite of my fear. If I’m not afraid, I don’t need courage. Courage comes because I’m scared to death but I am also sure of what God wants me to do, so I do it anyway.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the LORD in all you do, and he will give you success” (NCV).

God supports those who move in faith. So here’s the question I need to consider: Where do I need to trust God? I haven’t truly trusted him until I’ve attempted something I can’t do on my own power.

In my next decision, I need to prepare for it and then step out in faith. Because my choices determine my character and destiny. Commit myself to the Lord, and he will give me the wisdom and courage to make the decision that will bring me closer to who he made me to be.

How have your fears kept you from moving forward in life?

Is there a decision you need to make that requires you to trust God?

What step of faith do you believe he is telling you to take?

If you committed every decision to the Lord, how do you think your life would look different than it does today? 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

How To Trust God for Your Big Dream

In Genesis 37:5, 10 it says, “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more . . . When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had?’” (NIV)

If I want to make it in a career, I need to respectfully show boldness. Sometimes following God’s dream for your life requires boldness as well! Boldness is the courage to think big, to show initiative, and to take risks for a dream while facing the possibility of failure.

In Genesis 37, we read the story of Joseph, who had a dream so incredible—so audacious—that nobody in the world believed him. He dreamed that one day he would be a great leader and all his brothers would bow down to him.

Was it the truth? Yes. Was the dream from God? Yes. Was it fulfilled? Yes. Was Joseph a little crazy to tell his brothers? Yes.

When Joseph shared his audacious dream with his family, “they hated him all the more . . . When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had?’” (Genesis 37:5, 10 NIV).

Like Joseph, I’m going to have to step out in faitheven when it doesn’t make sense, even when people ridicule me, even when I’m afraid, even when the odds are against me. If God puts a dream in my heart, he will honor me when you step out in faith to do it.

Even when everyone might be against you or not understand, I may need to find myself holding the line. Sometimes I just need a little bit of boldness because I believe in what God has told me to do.

Joseph made one bold decision after another in faith. As a result, he got the promotion of a lifetime—he eventually became a great leader and ruled over all of Egypt.

Where do I need to be bold? Where do I need to trust God? Maybe I need to take the initiative to step out in faith, think big, or take a risk. When I’m following God’s dream, I can know he will honor the big steps I take in faith.

Today, I’m continuing to reflect on how God wants to use me. I’ve recently been focusing on purpose, not only for my life for helping Tr to discover and fulfill their purposes. I do want to be obedient to God and make a difference in others lives. One particular audacious goal has come to mind. It combines my passion to be a personal development and financial behaviors coach. Why not expand this to helping people discover and fulfill their purpose for their lives. So I’m thinking about offering individuals and couples the opportunity to be in a coaching session with me regarding purpose. I can then branch them into thinking about a relationship with God, assistance with helping them get financial issues that may be bogging them down, or restoring relationships. I will introduce this via different methods as my goal to have 50 no-cost / no-obligation conversations between now and the end of the year. This will help not only them, but myself in having deep conversations and offering continued coaching if it makes sense to them.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Is It My Dream or God’s Dream?

In Mark 8:35 it says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” (NLT)

How do I know if I’m living for my dream or God’s dream?

We may only think we were created to get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, and go to bed, to make a little money, retire, and die. But really? Is that why God put us here?

If a dream is truly from God, it will somehow be connected to his church and his plan for the world. Why would God give me a self-centered dream, unconnected to what he wants to do in the world? He wants to use us for his dream. He wants to use us for his plan.

God is building a family, and he’s collecting family members from every nation, tribe, language, and people group. When everybody’s in the family that he knows will be in the family, it’s over. We’re going into phase two, which is eternity. That’s God’s big plan.

Right before Jesus went back to heaven after the resurrection, he gave the disciples a great dream. It’s called the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT).

The Great Commission is our commission. We’ve had 2,000 years of God building his family so that now there are 2.5 billion people in it. The church is almost as big as China and India combined. It’s bigger than anything else on this planet—because God created it. It’s the whole purpose of history.

And when God gives us a dream for our lives, it is somehow going to be connected to his overarching plan. It’s connected to the growth of his kingdom and his family until the day it’s completed and we all go to heaven.

Mark 8:35 says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it” (NLT).

We weren’t put here on earth to live for ourselves. We need to ask God to give us his dream for our lives so that we can be part of the biggest, best, and most important story.

In summary, any insistence on saving my life for my own purpose will only cause me to lose it. Those who give their lives for his name sake and for the sake of the Good News will know what it means to really live. Jesus wants me to stop trying to control my destiny and to let him direct me. He asks me only to lose my self-centered determination to be in charge. Happiness comes from service. God designed me to be happiest when I am giving my life away. God wants me to become like him. It's all about love. To have a happy heart, I should practice service and generosity every day. Jesus came to serve and give. Those two actions will bring more happiness into my life more than anything else. They define what it means to follow Jesus. If I'm not serving and giving, then I'm not following. The more I give myself away, the more God will give and the more blessed and happier I'll be. Sacrifice and serving are two of the keys to lifelong happiness.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

To Know Your Purpose, Ask Your Creator

In Colossians 1:16 it says, “Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” (MSG)

When I put my trust in Jesus Christ, I learn God’s purpose for my life.

Most people don’t know the purpose of their lives. They think they know what they want or what is best for them. But if someone hasn't surrendered to Christ, they can’t know why they were created and what they're here on earth for. And if we don’t know our purpose, we end up drifting through life. We get bounced around. We don’t control anything, really, because our circumstances end up controlling us.

No one wants to live like that.

There’s only one way to learn the purpose of our lives. We need to consult our Creator.

Sometimes people will say that if you want to know your purpose, look within. People do that every day—and it never works! We can’t tell what our purpose is because we didn’t create ourselves.

Only the Creator can tell you what you were created for. We will never, ever know the purpose of our lives until we believe in Jesus Christ, because he is our Creator. We will never know that we were made for more than this life until we commit our life to Jesus.

The Bible says, “Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him” (Colossians 1:16 MSG).

Today so many people are confused about their identity and their purpose. They say, “I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.” That’s because they’re looking in the wrong places. They’re not going to find their purpose in their career, their accomplishments, their relationships, or their possessions.

There is only one place to find our identity and purpose in life, and that’s through a relationship with our Creator, Jesus Christ.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for . . . part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (Ephesians 1:11 MSG).

So we are urged to get to know our Creator. He wants to show us how to make our lives count!