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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why Not Me? How God Chooses His Leaders

Paul was a powerful advocate for Christ. In his letters, he helped the early Christians Jew and Gentile understand their relationship to Christ. His writings still help us to understand that as sin multiplies, so does grace.

So, how does one get called out of a murderous rampage into one the most effective evangelists the world has ever seen? It's called opportunity and preparation meeting a "calling". God created Paul for what he was going to ask him to do.

But why Paul? If you are like me, sometimes how God calls others out of their sinful lifestyle to be His missionaries, ministers and lay leaders while leaving you behind. You are sure that you could be used as well as anyone else and feel God may be ignoring your willingness to serve.

In Paul's case, he was perfect for God's use, he just didn't understand. Paul was a Jewish leader, lawyer, Roman, and Jew among many things. He knew God's law, Roman law, and was very well educated. He just didn't know Jesus.

As soon as Jesus revealed Himself, Paul believed. The same zeal he used to lock up Christians, he now used to free sinners. Paul knew Jesus and he realized grace.

What did God make you for? How is he using you? If you don't know, make it a point to study his word, pray and ask Him how you can serve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sample of Commitment-Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Papua, New Guinea, looked serene from 12,000 feet above sea level. Even from thirty miles away, John could make out the rain forests beyond the strand of the southern shore. Light wisps of steam hung over the island, revealing the high humidity common to this area of the world. The changing waters of the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria graduated beautifully from light green at the tip of Cape York Peninsula, Australia, to a beautiful azure and back to light green in the billowing waves on the shores of New Guinea.

So this is home. John pressed his forehead against the cool cabin window. The island in view was roughly the size of Greenland with the tall Puncak Jaya, rising 5,030 meters above the ground. Neighboring peaks perched above the haze like pyramids.

Instinctively, he reached for his flight bag as he had done five times throughout the flight. He unzipped it and sighed with relief at the two familiar slim books. Approvingly, he nodded as he flipped through page after page of his first flight log, recalling his hundreds of hours of experience behind the controls of planes and helicopters. He tucked it back into his bag then pulled out the second book. The pages he flipped through were blank reminders of experiences yet to come. Just a thousand more hours, that should do it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

2 Steps to a More Effective (Christlike) Work Ethic

I heard a good Labor Day message this past weekend. 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13 described ways to make my work effective and I reflected on ways to apply it to my life. I also realized that I could be lacking in my work ethic if I did not use the principals raised in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Now, this message could apply to our Christian walk as well as how we perform our daily jobs or interact in our communities. Using the two principals can help you make your work more effective as well.
  1. Inventory the reasons you work. There are two reasons to work:  earn an income and to provide meaning. Earning income helps you meet the needs of yourself and your family.  Creating meaning includes providing for others and honoring God. Consider that whatever you do, as a Christian, you should be doing it to please God. These two realities should provide motivation and desire to do your best and provide resources for your employer, a means for your families and give honor to God. Taking a look at those who count on you to provide for them, write them down and reflect on it.
  2.  Establish the right attitude. Working isn’t just punching the clock and meeting the bare minimum. That would conflict with part of the first principal of creating meaning. Demand excellence of yourself and give your best effort. If you are a supervisor, provide this motivation to your employees.

People who have good work ethics learn to manage time, limit distractions and provide great products and services. They don’t waste time in vain arguments about politics, religion or other distractions. They focus on good relationships and contributing to the organizations vision. This ethic can be applied to all aspects of community and profession. Doing otherwise may indicate that you take advantage of your work and coworkers. You get pay (not earn) that you do not deserve. Strive to earn your keep, make your way, do an honest day’s work or whatever proverb you might be familiar with. Directly apply the concept of working for your pay and food and dedicate your volunteering, profession, hobbies or other activities to doing the right thing. Your reward is your pay, meaning and having the right attitude.