Mission Improbable

  1. After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

The heading for for today’s bible journal is called Mission Improbable, at first when I thought about this heading I needed to remind myself of these two words.  The definition of mission is: the calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.  The definition for improbable is: not likely to be true or to happen. 

What makes this mission improbable?

As we read the Lord sending out the 70 or 72 (depending on the version you read) why would it be so improbable? Then I read verse 2-3, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 

Looking back at Luke 9, Jesus had just sent out His 12 disciples.  Now, those who had seen, heard, and believed in Jesus were willing to go into the harvest field.  The 72 were appointed by Jesus, given instructions, and sent out in pairs.

Consider these questions.

  • Where and who has God purposely placed in your  life today to be on mission?
  • What faithful role does God wants me to have in His work? (not my work)
  • Am I doing all I can for the harvest, or am I just watching?

As you reflect on those questions today be encouraged by these points.

  1. The harvest is great: We do the work knowing how important and big it is.  God’s Kingdom!

29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. Colossians 1:29 

2. The laborers are few: We do the work knowing that we have a key job. This job involves the opportunity today to possibly leading someone to a glorious Kingdom in contrast to destiny in hell separated from our God. Don’t try to do it all alone.  Be in community. Talk with a brother or sister in Christ about the opportunity you have to speak life into someone else.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Eccl 4:9-10)

3. Pray the Lord of the harvest: We do the work with a lot of prayer.  Our job is to pray, pray for these opportunities. Pray for in your conversations and interactions with others.  Pray to help equip others.  Honestly, I can sit and be a spectators at times.  Except,  Jesus has called us to be laborers. I have to be willing at all times to have conversations as well.

 

4. Go your way:I am sending you, like lambs among wolves: We do the work making ourselves vulnerable. We will be met by opposition. This dangerous mission requires sincere commitment. Let God be our strength today and every day. .

Charles Wesley wrote Lord of the Harvest, Hear. in 1742

LORD of the harvest, hear
Thy needy servants’ cry;”
Answer our faith’s effectual prayer,
And all our wants supply.

On Thee we humbly wait;”
Our wants are in Thy view;
The harvest truly, Lord is great,
The laborers are few.

Convert, and send forth more
Into Thy Church abroad,
And let them speak Thy Word of power,
As workers with their God.

Give the pure Gospel word,
The word of general grace;
Thee let them preach, the common Lord,
Savior of human race.

O let them spread Thy Name,
Their mission fully prove,
Thy universal grace proclaim,
Thine all redeeming love!

On all mankind, forgiven,
Empower them still to call,
And tell each creature under Heaven
That Thou hast died for all.

 

The picture I shared is a sign I drive by daily.  Jesus prepared the 12, He prepared the 72, He is preparing you.  Today, as you go to work, go to school, stay at home, go to practice,… you are one mission, and God has equipped you.

Faith University

Todays Reading : Mark 9

 

While preparing and researching for the blog today, I came across several headings and overall topics.  The heading that I found most interesting was “Slow Learners”. I think that this is intriguing because in the grand scheme of things we collectively are perpetual learners and sometimes others grasp ideas faster than others.  From the beginning of our journey from birth until we pass away we are learning in this Faith University.  Currently we are in the midst of graduation season, which makes me reminiscence of undergrad and graduate school.

The formal ceremony that the graduates attended is called Commencement.  It is the beginning of their journey with this newfound knowledge and confidence. Many will go into the world and succeed without question, yet there are many who continue to have life lessons that will allow them to continue to grow and mature.  The latter set understands that the process that started them at the beginning is not finite, yet a continual process.  These individuals see that the process might be slow, but the reward is great.

One particular time that I remember very well in undergrad as a Slow Learner is Organic Chemistry II.  This was a class that was required for my degree program. I enjoyed the class, but the lab session always created new adventures in learning.  Many of the labs were multi-week labs.  So you would start a certain portion of the lab, allow it to mature, then on the returning week the completion of the lab is finished and your results would be recorded.  Almost 90% of the time, my second week lab had some type of mishap that would happen and I would have to stay several hours later to complete the lab.  The only saving grace that made me smile during these weeks was the final product would be correct and the yield within the required range.

In Mark Chapter 9, Jesus is continually teaching his disciples some of the most important aspects of the journey in this Faith University.

  • Take time to experience the presence of God without questions, concerns, or haste.
    • In Mark 9 : 2-6 : And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one[a] on earth could bleach them.And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,[b] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
    • God does not need our outward show of grandeur or pomp; he just wants to share time with us. Sometimes He gives us a glimpse of Glory.
  • Remember in all things enter any situation with prayer.
    • Mark 9:27 -29  27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”[e]
    • After several of years with Christ the disciples had forgotten the basis of all the lessons: prayer. They had been given the Spirit to heal and cast out demons, but they had forgotten that the communication and relationship with God is the true power of the process.  It is more about the communication and relationship than the results.
  • Open your mind to the different ways God will bless you.
    • Mark 9: 38-4138 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,[f]and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us.41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
    • Sometimes we forget that God chooses to bless us in the most amazing and uncommon ways. Let us pray that we allow God to open our eyes and soften our hearts to receive the blessings He has for us no matter how they are given to us.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing us to have this journey in this Faith University and continue to teach and strengthen us daily.  God, thank you for being the Master teacher and mentor who will guide us through every possible hurdle with love and compassion.

 

 

Clarity

 

My son had to have a vision test done yesterday and the Dr remarked at his excellent 20/20 vision.  He said that he rarely sees anyone anymore with 20/20 vision.  I then discussed with Jackson about how as you age your vision declines and how now I have to wear “readers” and glasses for distance when I am driving.  I have also noticed at night and in the morning that if I try to read, it is blurry and it takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust before I see clearly.  

Today we read Mark 8, I will focus on verses 22-26 from the New Living Translation.

When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him.  Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village.  Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”  The man looked around.  “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly.  They look like trees walking around.”  Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened.  His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.  Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back to your village on your way home.”

When we think of Jesus performing miracles, we usually think it happened all at once.  But, in this miracle, it happened in two stages.  Modern medicine has provided us with many studies and advancements.  We now know that when previously blind people have their physical sight restored, it takes time then for them to learn to process the images that their eyes can now see.  Though their eyes can see, their brains cannot handle the visual input they are now seeing.  Now we can read the above passage again and see that the man Jesus healed may have had similar conditions.

Earlier in this chapter in verses 11-21 we see Jesus also addresses spiritual blindness.  The disciples were worried about not having enough food to feed the crowd, even though they were with Jesus.  They had just experienced Jesus feeding thousands of people by multiplying a few loaves of bread and fish.  Yet here they were again among a crowd and worried about not having enough food.  Jesus says, 

“Why are you arguing about having no bread?  Don’t you know or understand even yet?  Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have ears—can’t you hear?’  Don’t you remember anything at all?  When I fed the 5000 with five loaves of bread…Don’t you understand yet?”  he asked them.  Mark 8:17-21

Through this miracle, Jesus was showing them that it isn’t enough just to see.  We must also understand that he is with us and that he is Lord over all things.  

Have you ever read scripture and it really didn’t pertain to you or make an impact, but then later heard or read the same scripture and it blew you away?  Sometimes, it takes time before we have clarity.

We are much like the disciples in questioning Jesus’ ability to provide for us.  Clarity does not always come in an instant.  We have spiritual blindness in our own lives that causes us to worry or to forget that we are never far from Jesus’ presence.  The disciples had trouble believing and Jesus was with them!  Jesus is with us, He makes everything clear to us in His time.  We only need to trust and believe.

Give us faith to see Jesus more clearly.

Jesus the Shepherd

Today’s reading is John 10.

In this passage, the Parable of the Good Shepherd, John’s interpretation of Jesus’s preaching in Jerusalem powerfully points straight towards a simple truth, one that echoes the base of our Christian beliefs. This parable is not the first time in the Bible Jesus spoke about us as lost sheep – like the Lost Sheep parable in Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7. But where Jesus speaks there about the joy in reaching new believers, he speaks towards all believers and his role in protecting them all.

Jesus describes how the shepherd looks after this sheep: tending the gate and leading them to and from the gate, The sheep in turn recognize only the sound of their shepherd’s voice and follow him out. He also describes the other people who may try to lead the sheep astray: the thief and the robber who climb in at night, the hired helper who runs away and abandons the flock at the first sign of trouble, and the wolf who attacks the flock and scatters it. In contrast, Jesus says that He is the good shepherd, who “lays down his life for the sheep.”

In verses 14 & 15, Jesus says this: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father– and I lay down my life for the sheep.” In saying this, Jesus summarizes the role He knows He will resolve for us and those after us for the rest of this world’s time: shepherd, protector, sacrifice. It’s an unfortunate truth that the world is full of those who would do harm: those who come in and destroy for the sake of ruination, those who come in and take away for their own gain, and of course Satan and his servants, who come to devour us and scatter us apart and drive us away from each other and from God. Even those who guard us with the best intentions and good in their heart, like the hired helper, ultimately reach a point where the burden of guiding others towards God and protecting is impossible or too dangerous to bear, and fail in that regards.

But only God’s appointed Son, who himself recognizes and preaches joyfully about his duty as protector of God’s flock, will never abandon us. He tells us how He alone is the shepherd who opens the gate and cares for us; that only He can open the door to eternal salvation and happiness, and that we can trust Him and run to Him always as He leads us. As the sound of those who would do us harm and drive us apart towards death surrounds and overwhelms, He will always call out and protect us, going so far as to lay down His own life to sacrificially ensure our everlasting safety. He demonstrates here, as He has already and will continue to do so, His understanding of His fate: to lay down His life in as a sacrifice for His flock. But the love and devotion with which He describes a shepherd feels towards their flock shows how He knows us and loves us, as He knows the Father and the Father knows Him. Only such a perfect and selfless shepherd as Christ Jesus could lay down His life in this way.

Let us give thanks today that the Lord our God would provide such a wonderful shepherd to provide safety for his flock, that Jesus will never abandon us when pain and death rears itself. Let us always run towards His voice and yearn to know Him more in the same way He knows us.

  • Ross B.

Missing The Mark

Today’s reading is Matthew 18.

We will keep our focus specifically on Matthew 18:7-9. In these powerful verses, Jesus tells us that is better if we remove certain body parts that cause us to sin than to keep them and continue to sin. This is a powerful and direct message that tells us how terrible sin is in God’s eyes and how important He feels refraining from it is. He begins in Matthew 18:17 by saying….“woe to the one whom the temptation to comes.” Although He did not sin, we have a Savior that understands because like us, He too was tempted. Jesus realizes how hard it is to not sin. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

We must first examine ourselves closely to acknowledge our sin. I read a quote today that said, “Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.” I know I’m guilty of justifying sins by telling myself it’s not that bad and everyone is doing it. However, our standard for determining what is a sin should be comparing to no one except Jesus and what the Bible says about that sin. The question isn’t what does the world think about it, but what does God think about it?

The Bible tells us that our sin is erased when believe in Jesus’ forgiveness through the cross and ask Him to do so. However, it also tells us to repent of sin. Merriam-Webster defines repent as “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.” God knows that we will trip up and not only make mistakes but will make the same mistakes over. But, we can not continue to commit the same sin knowingly and willingly because of His forgiveness. Our intention in our heart when we have a relationship with Jesus should be to not sin and to do all we can to refrain from it. Christian musical artist Toby Mac posted a quote on his social media this week which said, “an apology without change is manipulation.” We may be able to manipulate others, but we can’t manipulate God. He knows our hearts and actions.

Whether removing body parts is a metaphor or literal (I’m hoping it’s a metaphor!), Jesus is underscoring that it so difficult to not sin that we must take some extreme measures to protect ourselves. In my nearly 15 years in a sales-based career, I’ve learned from my personal coaches and those that I coach, as well as reading about successful business people and athletes, that even when we have a goal that’s really important to us and our family, we can’t just say we are going to do something and expect to do it. Even the highest performers set up their environment and calendars in a way to help them do that which they know they should and truly want to do. One quick, simple example is that if you want to get up earlier to work out to get in shape or because you know doing so effects how you feel and your performance that day, but you can’t keep from rolling over and hitting the snooze button, you can set your alarm across the room or even buy an alarm clock that moves to a different part of the room in the night so you have to get up and search for it. It’s no surprise that Jesus, the greatest teacher and coach of all time, is telling us here to set up or environment to not sin. In Matthew 26:41 when He asks His disciples to keep watch in the garden but yet finds them sleeping He states, “The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” My father shared with me once that the late, infamous Rev. Billy Graham once said that he would never put himself in a position to have an extra-marital affair because he would never be alone in any personal or professional situattion with any woman other than his wife. The word sin in the Bible comes from the translation of Greek word hamartia which means to miss the mark. You would be hard pressed to find too many people who lived a more Christ-like life who could likely withstand more temptation than Rev. Billy Graham. Yet, he knew he must set up his environment to not be tempted because even he could subject making a mistake and missing the mark.

Another observation is that the top performers in the business world and in athletics typically pay someone to be a personal coach for them and are also typically are a part of another group of peers who help them with ideas and hold them accountable to staying on track for what they want to accomplish. Even the best need support and accountability partners. Are we doing this as it relates to living a Christ-following life and refraining from sin? I recently read in another devotional where a leader of a high school boys small group was asking them about pornography. Nearly every single one of them admitted to their problem with it. The leader made them aware of a monitoring subscription they could put on their phone and computers that would alert an accountability partner, which he offered to be for them, when they went to certain types of websites. Nearly all agreed and within the first few days he got an alert for one of the boys, and he was able to talk with him and help him. Kudos to this group of young men for acknowledging their sin and seeking help and accountability!

Let us ask ourselves the following…

  1. What sin do I need to acknowledge?
  2. Am I truly sorry and turning away from that sin or instead justifying it?
  3. What can I do to set up my environment to not be tempted and refrain from my sin?
  4. Who can I ask to be a trusted accountability partner?

Ask for God’s wisdom in answering these questions and then not only for forgiveness, but to help you truly repent and turn away from those sins.

Consider the following prayer…

Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I’m sorry that I justify my sin by the world’s standards and not yours. Please forgive me and not only change my heart but give me the wisdom to figure out how to truly repent and turn away from my sin. Thank you for loving me when I’m unlovable and for forgiveness through giving your life on the cross for me which you did not have to do. I love you. Amen

Food for the Heart

 

Mark 7

Are you a “Foodie”? Do you love to try new flavor combinations, food trends and foods from other cultures? Do you love to go to restaurants that have “tasting menus” where the chef makes what he can with the ingredients he gets fresh and you get small plates of lots of different dishes? No matter how adventurous or not you are with food, we all know that food is a basic need in life and the human body can’t survive long term without it. God is such a beautiful teacher in using something as common and known to ALL people throughout time as food to teach us about His principles and His economy. Let’s look at Mark 7 together and see how God is speaking to us this morning.

Again the Pharisees are following Jesus around trying to trip him up and get him out of their lives for good so they can go back to “running” religion for the people. While they are hanging around they notice that some of Jesus disciples didn’t follow the ancient tradition of ceremonial washing of hands before eating. Lets be clear, this tradition had nothing to do with dirty hands. It was all about thinking that this ceremony cleansed them from any contact they might have had with anyone or anything that was considered unclean. It was important to them to appear pure. While “hand washing ceremonies” don’t feel very relevant to our lives today, I wonder if we don’t struggle with the desire to appear pure at certain times and in front of certain people in our lives. The note in my Bible for this passage points out that sometimes Christians worry (sort of like the Pharisees in this passage) that contact with unbelievers,  “worldly” places where sinners hang out, books, or speakers who’s ideas don’t conform to theirs might contaminate or pollute their faith. While I see that the Bible is clear about not soaking our lives with contrary (to the Bible) teachings and not choosing unbelievers to be our closest confidants and counselors, Jesus example over and over was to go out into the world and make contact with the people who needed Him most. He went to the people who were hurting, the ones sick with socially unlovely diseases, the ones selling themselves to make a living, the ones stealing from others for their own gain, (Matthew, one of his disciples) people who were culturally different from His earthly birth…how many times have we seen in the Bible His message that His gift is for EVERYONE? Jesus didn’t intend for us to purity ourselves (which we can’t anyway) and withdraw from others who are not likeminded. He wants us to reach out. He wants us to have real relationships with others so they have the opportunity to see Him in us. So who am I going to, reaching out to, meeting with, building relationship with so they can see and feel the love of Jesus?

Jesus conversation continues with the Pharisees and His disciples. He keeps teaching them what is important to God and what traditions the Pharisees have twisted from the law to serve themselves. By verse 14, Jesus calls the crowd to come and hear from Him so they won’t be confused by the Pharisees twists around clean and unclean foods. He tells them that it’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. Even the disciples were unsure how to proceed on this issue because after they got away from the crowd and into the safety and quiet of a home, they asked Jesus if he would explain what He meant. So He said to them, “ Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through your body. It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” The confusion was over which set of “laws” they were to be following. Jewish law had a list of clean and unclean foods that were to be strictly followed to be obedient to God, plus we learn in this chapter that the Pharisees were changing the “rules” to suit their own needs and preferences. They were getting bogged down in food rules when Jesus was trying to teach them about their hearts. It is easier for us to see Jesus point here because we have the advantage of seeing and knowing the rest of the Bible. We know how it ends!  God cares about the condition of our hearts more than anything. Instead of talking about food for our bodies, He wanted those He was talking to and those of us reading these verses to realize that we “feed” our hearts every day by what we spend our time on. So what am I filling my mind and heart with? Am I thinking about what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable or am I floating through life letting my world and my surroundings soak into my heart? There is a difference between going into the world with the purpose of taking Jesus to those who don’t know Him and letting your heart be changed by the world around you because you are not paying attention to what is soaking into your mind. Jesus knows that where our hearts are, our money, time and energy end up too. He is asking us to pay attention to what we allow into our minds. I want today to spend my thought time and energy on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable.

 

 

Do you have everything you need?

In John 6, Jesus feeds more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, walks on water across the sea during a storm in the middle of the night, and then declares to a crowd of people that in order to live they must eat His flesh and drink His blood.

To be honest, some of the events in this chapter seem a little scary. Not just because Jesus talks about eating flesh and blood, but because the concept of eating flesh and blood is difficult to comprehend. Many in the crowd felt the same, “from this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him” (John 6:66).

Walking on water and making bread join a long list of miracles along with raising people from the dead and opening blind eyes.

Jesus’ miracles and His controversial “eat my flesh” statement all convey the same message: Jesus is the point. In this life and the next, we can never be satisfied apart from Jesus. And on the opposite end of that spectrum, if we have nothing but Jesus, we have everything.

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35).

Reunited

Luke 15

If you have been around the church for any period of time, it’s likely that you have heard the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and, of course, the lost son.  These are powerful stories that allow us to experience God.  That’s right, Jesus reveals God’s character, generosity and love through them.

First, we see that God is relentless in his quest for relationship with us.  Consider for a moment that you are that lost sheep, or coin or wandering son.  God will stop at nothing to regain our trust, attention and love.  While we may attempt to pause our relationship with God, or even hide from him, rest assured that it is not possible.  The parable of the lost coin explains it clearly.  The old woman will not stop until she finds it.  Neither, will God stop seeking you.

Second, God is not seeking us for vengeance.  He wants to give us love.  Note the word “rejoice” in the parables.  If God is going to rejoice with us, he must be giving us first a full measure of grace.  As I recount my own failings, I find myself questioning how forgiveness is even possible.  Why would a sovereign, all-powerful God want to rejoice and celebrate with me?  The simple answer is revealed again in these stories.  It is his love for each of us.

There is no greater evidence of God’s love than his own son.  It is his death on a cross that assures our salvation.  No, that is not a story or a parable.  It is real life.  He died, was buried and rose again so that we can live, reunited with Him.  Now is the time to rejoice with him and with each other.

Awestruck

Can you see the wonder across her face? The complete joy and splendor… about pancakes with sprinkles and candles? The flame flickering and twinkling in her eyes. Mesmerized by the beauty. Anticipating the deliciousness. Can you hear the squealing with delight? Absolutely awestruck.

Do you receive the kingdom of God like a child? Luke 18 commands this – and it’s left me pondering what exactly that would look like. What would it feel like if we approached our Creator and eternity, like a child?

Curiosity

        • Hey Mommy, how do birds fly?
        • Who teaches them to flap their wings?
        • Where do their parents take them?
        • Why do they fly south for the winter?
        • How do they know it’s warmer in the south?
        • What’s instinct mean?
        • But how do you just know?
        • Do you have any instincts, Mommy?

If you’ve spent any time with young children, you’ve probably found yourself in one of these never-ending question cycles of why, what, how, when, where, or who. A hunger for knowledge and understanding is part of childhood and maturing. It’s not just the hunger, but also the confidence to seek the answers. When I hear the term “child-like faith”, I don’t take it to mean blindly believing what you’ve been told, without asking questions.. I think it’s more of a willing and humble heart to explore who God is.

What questions do we have about God or salvation that we need to get to the bottom of? Are we ashamed to admit we don’t understand something? Are we so busy with our to-do lists that we haven’t allowed time for curiosity?

Reliance

From sun up to sun down children rely on their parents for so much. This chapter actually uses the word infants – and wow, babies require even more than children, to keep them alive. Feeding, bathing, clothing, diapers, transportation, safety, medical attention, etc. They cry to communicate and eventually we figure out what they are asking for. They learn that we will comfort them, feed them, help them, when they’re in distress.

God has never let me down, has never left me to figure it out alone. He has always comforted me, directed me, and loved me, through every distress. Yet each time I can see a storm coming, I begin to worry. And isn’t worrying a sign that I’m not trusting and willing to rely solely on the Lord? Complete surrender to God is so beautiful, and this level of trust comes from experiencing patterns of His faithfulness.

This weekend, let’s ask God to show us which qualities of children we need to embrace and emulate as we grow in our faith. I know I can approach the throne of God with an awestruck heart, more curiosity, or greater reliance and trust. What child-like qualities do you need more of in your life?

Opportunity

Do you have experience assessing people whether interviewing prior to hiring and/or assessing the performance of existing talent? Chances are most of us have been the interviewee or the interviewer at some point.

Over the last two weeks I’ve spent the majority of my time assessing individual candidates as well as consulting service providers and it has been energizing and fascinating. I love meeting interesting people and love it when a candidate really takes hold of a question and surprises me with their answer. One candidate was asked to write what his “dream job” would be, and his response literally had me in tears with both laughter and amazement!

The theme of these conversations has not been “are you good enough” because in general all of these people have fantastic credentials and experience. In these interviews I’m generally doing two things:

  1. Assessing the human. Their heart, passion, attitude, and self-awareness. Are they honest? Will they be good for the team? Will they persevere in challenging situations? Will they demonstrate the core values of their employer?
  2. Selling the opportunity. I often use the phrase “keys to the kingdom” as a metaphor regarding what I believe the candidates can receive if they accept the position. The candidate can benefit, grow, and achieve her or his dreams as part of this incredible journey. Truly the opportunities are endless, and if they had any clue as to what it could mean they would jump for joy and leave their current position immediately. I am excited and I mean it from the bottom of my heart!

Unfortunately even highly qualified and extremely motivated people miss out on unimaginable opportunities. They don’t understand the vision or they are just not interested enough to try to understand.

And so it is with the opportunity God wants to give to us.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

In Luke Chapter 12, Jesus seeks to convince and convict us that what we might see or think here is not what is being offered by him eternally. Our perception is too often focused on the things of this Earth; power, money, things, experiences. Or we get caught up in fearing the bad things; illness, pain, loss.

33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:33-34)

Don’t let another day go by and miss the opportunity. As my dear friend and fellow Bible Journal author (Rick Jebb) said to me recently: “Some people might find it ok to live this life without God, but being without God in the next life is not going to go so well.

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)

Father God, I repent for seeking the things of this world, for putting me first. For constantly being distracted from the eternal opportunity you are offering. Forgive me in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.