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life speak

There is a quote by St Francis of Assisi that says “preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”

And I usually hate that quote.

Seriously.

I think people have used it as a spiritual cop out for actually talking to people about Jesus.   That they’ll just live their life and people will just look and see and just get it.

I’m more the peach the gospel at all times and use your words as well!  Im more the subliminal message gospel by osmosis thing doesn’t fly so speak up and be radically bold and just be real and tell your story.

 

But.

Our lives can often speak louder than what we say with our lips.

Our lives speak loudly.

Our lives can either back up what we say with our lips or can tell a whole different story.

 

Tonight I want to challenge you to live a life that loudly shows people that God is real, that He is good, that you can find hope and love and grace with Him, that living for Jesus is the best way to live and that He has real answers for real problems.

 

“The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.”  — Francis Chan

 

Your life speaks loudly when you have faith to step out and do something for God, just as Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water.

Your life speaks loudly when you say yes to God like the boy with his lunch that fed the 5000.

Your life tells a message when you choose to trust God in the face of your problems – like Joshua and the Israelites did when they circled the city of Jericho with its massive walls in silence for 7 days.

Your life tells a message when you make a choice to do what God wants even if its counter culture, like Daniel and his friends did when they refused to eat the kings food or bow down to idols or give up praying.

 

The Bible says in Philippians 2:15

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

So that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world

 

Breaking that down it says live lives that reflect who God is.  Live lives that shine for Him.  Live lives that are clean and pure so that you stand out in a generation of darkness, a generation that lives for themselves, a generation lost.

 

 

What kind of message is your life speaking?

 

Let’s look more at Daniel and his mates, Shadrach, Mesach and abendigo.

They were 3 fine young men, born in Israel, but taken into exile in Babylon.  Their countries were at war and Babylon won and so they king there took most of the fine young men, the potential leaders, with him to Babylon.  The kings plan was to change the culture of this captured country by assimilating the key influencers to be like them.

All around us we have a culture saying BE THIS, DO THIS, LOOK LIKE THIS. We follow trends and brands and shape ourselves to fit in. There is pressure to conform and culture tries to desensitize us to the lax standards of the world so that we wont stand out or stand up for God.

But Daniel and his friends made a choice to not blend in but to stand out.

 

Let’s read about what happened in Daniel 1:

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

 

You may not ever have to make stand on what you order for lunch but there are things that go on around us every day that we need to make choices about:

 

How we dress

What we watch on tv or youtube or play on xbox

Movies we go to

How we talk

Dating and flirting and all that

 

But deeper than that – cos those things are more like external symptoms of the inside standards – how we treat other people, do we join in the gossip or speak words of encouragement, do we join in with the smutty conversation or change the topic, will we be honest at all times, generosity, kindness, forgiving someone and moving on, trusting that God will do what He says He will do and be who He says He will be, that He has a plan and a purpose in our lives and for our lives…

 

It’s the times that we change the conversation from tearing someone down to building someone up.

It’s the times we turn up to church even though we could have slept in.  It matters.  It shows that church is a priority.

It’s the attitude we serve in when someone asks you to move the chairs, or fill in for the car park guy who didn’t turn up.

It’s the respect we show in the classroom.

It’s the language we use.

It’s the loops we allow our thoughts to ride on…. Do we let them loop around like a record player saying you’re a failure, worry worry worry, who do you think you are… or do you smash that record and start a new loop that has the voice of God that says you’re an overcomer, God’s got this and that He loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The words we speak and what we think about most determine what we believe.  And what we believe will leak out in our actions and words, in the way we live.  They will preach.

Small things eh.  They tell a story about who we are living our life for.

Never discount how much of an impact these small acts make on those in our world.

 

It’s interesting to note at the end of Daniel 1 we read that IN EVERY MATTER OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THESE GUYS WERE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. Why? Because they were faithful to God and so He was faithful to them.

God wants your life to the best life He can give.  He wants to take you on God adventures.  He has plans and purposes, dreams for your life.

God doesn’t want you to miss out.

The way to live that adventure and to do all that God has purposed for us is to live a life that consistently shows that living for Jesus is real for us.

 

Now I want to add a disclaimer.  None of us is perfect.  That is why Jesus came.  He is the only perfect one.  We all have flaws and make mistakes.  We all have good days when we feel really on fire and amped and its easy to shine, and we all have days when it feels like we shouldn’t have gotten out of bed because everything we did and do was wrong.  We are all growing.  There is grace to cover that.  This is not a message to make you feel stink.  It is to challenge you and if you’re feeling challenged ask yourself why….

 

I want to finish up by reading one verse to you 4 times, 4 different ways.   It is God’s invitation to live a life that shines bright like a diamond, shines bright like stars in the dark sky.  It is God’s invitation to step out and see Him step in.  You are not created to blend in, you are invited to stand out.

 

You are invited to let your life  speak of the amazing things that God does.  To shout with your life that God’s grace is real and covers every mistake, that His love is real and never runs out.

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. CEV

Do not be conformed to this world, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. AMP

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. MSG

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stew

Life is a process of trading one thing for another. We’re all given a certain amount of time and ability which we exchange to gain other things, such as money, food, shelter, relationships, leisure, and pleasure.

We also can trade our identity – who we really are – who God says we are – for other things and if you turn to Genesis 25:29-34 we can read about a shocking exchange between Esau and Jacob that illustrates the danger of trading away who we are.

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a])31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

 

This has to be the worst negotiation in history.  Esau’s birthright meant that not only would he get DOUBLE inheritance but it would mean that he would become head of the family and all the benefits that brings.  It is the door to wealth and prestige.  It is the key to future opportunities and provision.  It was designed to be an incredible blessing for his life and his family, onwards even past his lifetime down the generations.

And he swaps it, he exchanges it for a bowl of lentil stew.

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.  How dumb can you be and still breathe?  What was he thinking?

The reality was that he wasn’t thinking.  He was just doing.  Just living.  Just breathing.  Verse 34 says Esau despised his birthright. This verse reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.  He lived for the here and now. “Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?”

His birthright should have been something he valued and protected and lived in the reality of – instead Esau trades it away for a bowl of lentil stew.

We point fingers and scorn Esau.  We shake our heads dismayed at the choice he has made.

But we all like Esau have gone astray and we have all played the trade game and exchanged our identity for lesser things.  We have all traded things that we should value in our lives for things that are of the same value as lentil stew.

Read the rest of this entry »

Continuing in our series looking at the roadblocks to vision:

 

 

Failure to see the end in mind

 

Sometimes we cant envision the end in mind, the goal, the result and are overwhelmed by the babysteps and details we have to do to get there

 

Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? and paint his fence?

The lesson of the Karate Kid has stuck with me since I watched it when I was about 12.  If you havent seen the original – then do it.  It’s not just a movie but it’s a metaphor for life.  I’m looking forward for my kids to age a little bit so they too can learn from Miyagi’s wisdom.  And paint our fence.

The point of the mundane “housework” wasn’t to teach Daniel how to clean and paint, it was to teach him the specific movements and elements that he would then use as karate moves, defeating the roadblocks in his life and achieving his goals.

Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without understanding why. Over and over again, he paints up and down, and waxes on and waxes off until he reaches a breaking point.  He didn’t come to Mr Miyagi to be a slave but to learn karate!  He thought that Miyagi was using him and wasting his time.

“But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it. Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.  There is no “awesome” and “mundane.” There is only the work that must be done. And you either love it or you don’t. There are three lessons we learn from this Miyagi-style teaching: 

  • Sometimes, practice doesn’t feel like practice.
  • You’re practicing even when you don’t realize it.
  • All of life is practice — even the boring parts (in fact, especially the boring parts).

Whatever you’re doing, don’t believe the lie that says you’re doing nothing. No, you’re practising something. It’s just a matter of how intentional you’re being.” Jeff Goins

 

What are you practising at you in your life?

What are those boring tasks that make up the learning you’re doing?

 

 

Lack of Character

 

Character carries the dream.  The word used in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is INTEGRITY. If you don’t have the character, the INTEGRITY to carry it, it will become a roadblock that will prevent you from moving forward.

Character is a pattern of behaviour, thoughts and feelings based on universal principles, moral strength, and integrity – plus the guts to live by those principles every day. Character is evidenced by your life’s virtues and the “line you never cross.” Character is the most valuable thing you have, and nobody can ever take it away.

 

 

Oscar Pitorious.  Tiger Woods.  Lindsay Lohan.

 

All examples of people who didn’t have the character to carry their dream.

 

 

Why is character important?

 

 

 

 

**** notes from housegroup this week with special guest Daria

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REAL LIFE KEY LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

 

  • Courage

not just in stepping out but also in seeing yourself as you truely are – the good and the bad

 

  • Integrity

again, see yourself truly and address the things that get in the way of other people (and God)

vertical and horizontal honesty

speak truth to yourself and others when appropriate

speak the truth with love

 

  •  Kindness

be an encourager to self and others

debrief with yourself about projects and life

dont beat yourself up

be kind to yourself

speak to yourself the same way you would speak to others

 

  • Learning Orientation

know how you learn

learn something everyday

 

  • Perseverance

all of the above require an element of perseverance

dont give up

learn the lesson

 

  • Emotional Intelligence

EQ

you can practice managing your emotions

you can set the temperature of a room

 

 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

what is the most important thing? it is people, people, people

 

 

 

+

find your passion

your influence goes on long beyond your time with someone

respect is only earned – not tied to a position or a leadership title

credibility is essential

leaders are readers

learn something every day

sometimes decisions are based on best fit not on a long term career plan

notes from the Leading and Loving It JustONE Virtual Conference this week

 

leading-and-loving-it

 

FREEDOM IN YOUR MARRIAGE

 

we often feel that once we’ve failed we’re failures – but that is NOT true

it is what we choose to do after that that matters!

Whatever happened yesterday, happened yesterday

 

many of our fights and conflicts are caused by communication failures

disagreements can happen in a healthy way but we have to CHOOSE that

 

1 have the others best interest in mind

2 integrity

3 do you get the job done or do they?

 

1 have trust that they have your best interests at heart

grace, hope

instead of defence reactions

realise how your actions affect that person

Believing the best instead of assuming negatively can be challenging

 

questions to ask yourself:

do you want to control them?

are you quick to blame?

do you protect your personal rights?

are you self focused?

do you get defensive when you are criticised?

do you often draw your attention to your own achievements?

are you hurt when you are overlooked?

are you overly concerned with what others think of you?

do you feel sorry for yourself when you are not appreciated?

 

these things can bring damage into marriage and weaken the true love and affection

they can erode your self esteem which affects your marriage and relationship

 

 

2 integrity

your moral compass

more who you ARE more than what you DO

patience

kindness

humility

truthfulness

forgiveness

pray and ask God to HELP you have these attributes – His Holy Spirit lives inside you to produce fruit

 

 

3 are you getting the job done?  or is he getting the job done?

trust levels

credibility account

 

questions to ask yourself:

do you prioritize well? – i love google calendar too!

do you have follow through?

images4

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.  "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’  1 Kings 2:1-4

 

Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go. (1 Kings 2:3 MSG)

 

these are the first and foremost instructions that David gives his son. 

the path to success and satisfaction is found in following God, obeying His commands, walking faithfully with Him.

sage words for a man that lived it and also lived against it.  through experience David learned what really matters. 

 

integrity.

faithfulness.

obedience.

commitment.

courage.

 

these things really do matter.  they do lead to success.  there are heaps of self help books and 7 steps to successful living guides, but seriously, there is a way that is right to live and a life pleasing God will be a rich life of satisfaction.  i’m not going to say a life of happiness and happy happy joy joy, of ease and comfort… but it will be satisfying and i believe successful. 

 

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:4-5

 

our lives are not our own, they are for the glory of God.  i want to be someone who walks with God.

 

how do we walk with God?

1/ practice the presence of God

2/ pursue His priorities

3/ pour out for His people

 

 

as christians its so important to pass on our wisdom and strategies to the next generation.  we saw in joshua how important it was to pass on our faith to those following after us.  we can share our life story, share our successes and failures, share what we’ve learned, share how God was and is real in our lives.

 

Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Psalm 78:5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

Psalm 79:13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you for ever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise

Psalm 102:18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD:

Psalm 145:4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

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