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Archive for the tag “Andy Stanley”

Everyone Cheats

A sign at The 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, WA

A sign at The 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, WA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that you’re cheating on someone you love RIGHT NOW???

Now I’m not talking necessarily about you cheating on your wife with another woman… a game of cards… or tax.
I read a phrase by Andy Stanley that through this out of the park for me… What if we use ‘cheating’ in the broader sense?

“Try thinking of it as simply choosing to give up one thing in hope of gaining something else of greater value”

You see when you read that you can’t help but think that you’re a cheater can you?

The reality is that our lives are so filled with ‘stuff” from work commitments to hobbies, and each is competing for our time…. so what we do to get around this is ‘cheat’ and that may mean purely allocating time the best that we can, but we know that someone that we love is going to feel ‘cheated’ don’t we???

I recently went through a tough patch with my beautiful wife Emma… it wasn’t because of anything that either of us had done… it was because time was being allocated in the wrong places.
We had just come through a really busy time of conferences and other commitments that both Emma and I had agreed to… however due to us having to take on extra  loads that we hadn’t accounted for we ended up passing like ships in the night. I would come home from work… hand the keys to Emma kiss her and she would head off to another meeting… and the same was true of the weekends, one of us always seemed to be busy, and we were cheating each other of ‘couple time’.
This went on for 4 months… and the tension started to build, in reality I was spending more time with the people at my work and creating bonds with these people, and wasn’t able to invest the same amount of time in my own wife’s life… it was a steep learning curve.
We both knew it was a problem but it was like watching a crash in slow motion… and because both Emma and I are communicators and weren’t able to communicate, things started to happen and intimacy evaporated… *poof*

There was business… there was illness… there was commitments… etc… all of which were taking our time away from each other, and due to the amount of time we were spending apart we were investing that same time in the things we were involved in… we were cheating on each other… with our work and our friends… it was time and intimacy we were robbing each other of.

“Someone is going to get cheated. Worse yet, someone is going to feel cheated. You’re not giving him/her what is deserved or needed.”

The issue is never “Am I cheating?”

The issue is “Where am I cheating?”

New Years: From here we can do ANYTHING!

Deutsch: Mutter Teresa (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); 1...

At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like Mother Teresa?”

A Telecommunications company in New Zealand had recently put into their advertising the phrase ” From here we can do anything”… at first I thought it was a bit arrogant sounding however when I started to put it into context of my Christian life it suddenly looked pretty good.

I believe that God has ALREADY placed a seed in our hearts that leads us to doing what we were originally designed and ultimately destined to do. How do I know this?

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10

So God has ALREADY place a passion, a dream into our lives… and he’s got it all mapped out.

So what is holding us back?

You might be wanting kids… but holding back because you want to pay off more of the house.

You might want to travel the world… but are scared of leaving your own country.

You might want to start a business… but your friends are telling you that the climate isn’t right for it.

And the list goes on… a dream… and the excuse why you’re not pursuing it. All of these things are a good to think about, however if you let them get in the way of what God has planned then you’re playing God in that part of your life.

When I read the Bible I see stories of men and women who changed the world regardless of their circumstances.

A shepherd boy defeating a trained fighter… a farmer building a boat that would save the world from a flood… a young boy who dreamed that he would become in charge of all of Egypt… even in our time there were people who weren’t willing to lie down and let the world pass them by… A old lady sat on a bus and refused to let the prejudices of the time dictate her right as a human… an inventor failed again and again until he invented the light-bulb.

What is holding you back?

Are you using the excuse that it’s just not your time?

That may be right… however are you preparing for when it IS your time?

I’m not sure if it’s really God or just me? Is what you have in your heart something that just won’t go away? Then it’s a good sign that it’s bigger than you…

Andy Stanley wrote in his book ‘The Next Generation Leader’:

“Generally speaking you are probably never going to be more than 80 percent certain. Waiting for greater certainty may cause you to miss an opportunity”

It’s always good to pray that the wind and waves will stop crashing round you, and in fact it says all throughout the Bible that it’s good to pray first, however there is a time when you need to stop praying and step out of the boat with your eyes fixed on Jesus and start walking on the water… something impossible that you were destined to do. Failure to do anything can lead to it being your greatest regrets.  It’s the only way to be true to ourselves, and more importantly, true to God.

In Mark Batterson’s book ‘Soulprint’ he says this:

At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa?” He won’t even ask, “Why weren’t you more like David?” God is going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like you?”

In other words what are the fears holding you back?

Are you sitting waiting for the storm to pass?

Or are you preparing for the adventure that God has already placed on your heart?

With God beside you from here you can do ANYTHING! 

To those on the outside looking in… it may seem arrogant… but what we have is  a Holy confidence… an audaciousness that we know that our God won’t let us down… we may get things wrong… but we can never fail.

What a great way to start the New Year…

 

 

 

Heart exercise… a new way to a healthier heart

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

Image via Wikipedia

An unfit man went to the Doctor… he was seriously over weight and this was causing him all sorts of problem… but mostly heart problems…

His Doctor said to him “You need to start to exercise and this will make your heart stronger and make you healthier”

“I can’t exercise” the man protested “I get out of breath really quickly and I sweat a lot, I need you to fix my heart so that I can exercise and run and play with the normal ‘fit’ people”

“I can operate on your heart” the Doctor replied “but that won’t change anything… you need to exercise to make your heart stronger and put in some hard work and this will make you stronger, your heart stronger and it will be easier to go through life without too many things affecting you”

“I can’t exercise it’s too hard” replied the man… and he left.

Awww…. that’s a sad story.

But here’s the kicker… We do that ALL the time.

We want to be more patient, so God puts people into our lives that annoy the heck out of us… why? Because people who annoy us the most are the people who help us deal with our own issues the most.

Have you ever wanted to be a better sales person? The best way to do that is to try and sell to people who are really hard to sell too… after that everything is easier.

Have you wanted to be more people focused… then you’ll end up being surrounded by people “dropping in”… but they will do it when you are wanted to get your own stuff done…

You see to have a better heart… you have to exercise, and often you need to exercise the areas in your life that are your weakness.

It’s great to know your strengths… but that doesn’t mean you don’t exercise to boost the areas you lack…

It will hurt…

You will get frustrated…

But you will get stronger.

 

(the story was adapted from Andy Stanley’s “It Came From within”)

It was good.

"Thumbs up" picture, mostly uploaded...

Image via Wikipedia

In Genesis when God was creating the world there is a phrase that keep on popping up

And God saw it was Good

For ages I always thought of that as a way of God saying “Nice Work” or “Good job” but the more I read it the more I discover that it is more than that.

If it was literally God saw that it was Good… that would be kind of like “God saw that the light was good” or that “God saw that the living creatures were good”… kind of like God didn’t know they were good until he stepped back and looked at them… was it just an experiment that God did that just worked out ok?

Or maybe God was comparing it to something he had done before?

It would be like “I’ve made light before… but this time it was Good”

I don’t think so… and most would agree that the above statements make it sound all a bit odd.

I’ve heard someone describe it as ‘morally good’… but that really doesn’t make sense either… because light or water or earth etc can’t be morally anything… water can only be water (in it’s states) , light can only be light… you get the point.

God said it was good…

Pastor Andy Stanley asks this:

Good for what?

Good for who?

Good for God? Did God benefit from the water being separated from the sea?

Here’s the thing… if we read on in Genesis 1:29-30 we read.

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

God created the world in all it’s goodness… and he gave it away.

He didn’t just give the keys of his car to a teenage boy… he gave the world to us…

So when God was saying “It is good”… he was saying “You’re gonna love this… you’re gonna love what I have created just for you… with you in mind

This was where we first discovered God’s Amazing grace

Money… “it’s ALLLLL Mine”

Crane Paper Company in Dalton produces the pap...

Image via Wikipedia

Isn’t if funny how when we are getting low on cash or in dire need of it we cry out to God “Lord give me money so that I can get ______” or “so I can pay for ______” .

We’re not shy of asking God for ‘more’ are we?

And you would most likely let God know that we expected him to do it too… wouldn’t we?

And when he pulls through we are soooo grateful… You let everyone know what an awesome God we serve and how he’s such a great provider.

Years have passed and you have more than enough money… ok you’ll never have ALL you need but you are certainly comfortable…

so why don’t you question God about that?

When we don’t have enough we wonder why… yet isn’t it amazing how when we have more than enough we don’t question that at all… in fact the thought doesn’t even enter our thoughts.

Pastor and writer Andy Stanley says this about Greed

“Greed is -I owe me”

OK… so it’s your money you earn it… and so it must be yours… right?

You may do all the physical work that you can see… but I have a feeling that there is someone behind it all making it all come together.

Let me use this as an example… a farmer spends time in the fields and uses all sorts of techniques to grow the best crop ever, he sells them at the market and makes an amazing profit… he worked for it so it’s all his… right?

It sounds fair – until you look at the seasons… you look at the soil… you look at the water fall for that year.

How many time do we see in the news farmers struggling due to drought?

There is only so much a farmer can do… the rest is up to God.

And when you have all the money… what are you going to do with it?

I hear people talk about early retirements and living life to the max… the problem with that is, you don’t know how long your life will be, and when you die ALL that money or possessions that you have been holding onto will just be given to someone else anyway….

A Rich business man died and everyone wanted to know how much the man had left behind… so  the Press waited to speak to the lawyer, when he arrived they all asked

“How much did the business man leave behind?”

To which the lawyer replyed

“All of it!”

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