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Posted on Jan 21, 2013 in Culture, Deliberate Living, Lost Virtues, Pain and Suffering, Values

Dr. Martin Luther King on Faith, Hope and Boldness

Dr. Martin Luther King on Faith, Hope and Boldness

Broken-escalator-Faith-Is

There are two strong themes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about that are often overlooked for the more popular “I have a dream” related quotes we hear. However, wanted to share with you today, some quotes that relate to us in very real ways this day. The two themes are Faith/Hope  and Boldness

Faith and Hope

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

I took this picture at our airport when dropping someone off for a flight. You can see that the first first steps of the escalator would have been a bit challenging. But if you could get past them, it would be smooth escalating.

There are things we will do or attempt to do in this life that will require us to have faith. If you’re attempting anything big, especially anything that’s new and bigger than you – you’ll know that you need faith. You also know that you need hope. There has to be hope that things will get better. We may face many challenges along the way that disappoint us, but we still have to hope. 

Boldness

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

While the issue Dr. King was speaking of has in large part been eradicated in our culture, that does not mean that there aren’t issues we need to stand up for. There amy have been issues you have faced in your life that you wish you had taken a stand for. Maybe it’s too late, but maybe not. I don’t know what it is for you, but there is always something.

There is always something we feel or believe we should be saying or fighting for, but for whatever reason we suppress those feelings because it’s uncomfortable. [tweetherder]Our lives will not be defined by our compliance,they will be defined by the stands we take.[/tweetherder]

Perhaps you can gain a little inspiration from someone who had faith and hope and was willing to take a stand for his beliefs.

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Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Blog, Culture, Devotional Thoughts, Leadership, repost, Worship, Worship Ministry

Let Justice Roll On Like a River

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

In my last couple of posts I have been going through Amos 5 and drawing out questions that I think it raises for us and our churches today. The first post (Seek the Lord and Live) talked about how what God really wants us to strive for in our worship is Him. The second post (Why Do You Long For the Day of the Lord?), talked about us doing today what we won’t be able to do in eternity. (I also talked about this in a post a while back: What’s Missing from Our Worship?)

Today we come to the part of the passage that many of us are probably familiar with, or we have at least heard mention of. The people of Israel have become greedy with their desires and have stopped living as they should. The things they should be doing, they either don’t do them or they do them for the wrong reasons.

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

The people of Israel had their traditions. They knew what time of year it was based on the festivals to come. We do this to a certain extent from October through January. We know what time of year it is based on the holiday we have just celebrated and which one is next.

But, the intentions behind the celebrations have gone from remembering events and times when God Almighty had provided for them and become routine, rote, marginalized and perhaps even monetized.

Though this definitely serves as a reminder for the season we are about to enter in, Thanksgiving, Christmas and what not, it also serves as reminder of what our intention should be each and every day.

How quickly we forget. The Lord God Almighty has provided for us in ways we cannot measure. For the people of Israel He released them from captivity, provided protection and sustenance and eventually a land of their own. For us, He has given us a roof over our heads, food on our table, electricity for our electronic devices, free speech with which we can rejoice or complain without recompense…oh yeah, and he sent His Son to die a cruel death on a cross for our sins.

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.

Therefore, I propose that we begin a revolution.

Not the kind that you are thinking of. Not a revolution against political agendas and financially driven parties. Sure, those have their place. Rather, I propose that we rebel against the status quo of worship. I say we stop being concerned with what other churches are doing, what our friends’ church is doing. We should stop trying to do the things society and the world we live in tell us we should be doing. And instead, return to our first love, the Lord God Almighty.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the society we live in provides us with excellent resources to do what we do the best we can. I also think there is a lot we can learn from other churches and organizations about how we can do this thing called church in the best possible way.

[tweetherder]The problem is, comparison has become the game and conformity the the prize.[/tweetherder]

When what awaits us when we seek the Lord is life. What awaits us when we engage in worship as the pursuit of God and submission to His ways is freedom.

24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

May the ways of the Lord, be what drives us in our pursuit. Otherwise, our offerings are an unacceptable stench, noise that God has no regard for. Let our pursuit of Him open us up to His righteousness and may it flow in us from the spring of life.

Let us do the work of the Lord, believe in the one He sent for us (John 6:29). Instead let us feast on the Bread of Life and drink from the water that will never let us thirst again.

35 Then 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. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

 

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Posted on Jul 30, 2012 in Blog, Culture, Leadership, repost

You choose your attitude, don’t let it be chosen for you. How to choose your attitude in 3 simple steps.

I’ll be the first to admit, I let others choose for me.

It’s hard! We’re surrounded by opportunities for negativity every day. Every day! Even if you work in the best work environment, there is a real world out there that beckons for us to enter into it. And we have to enter in or risk being out of touch.

But the instant we do, we’re confronted with negativity.

People on facebook are negative. People on twitter are negative. The news is negative. TV shows are negative.

Why? Because it sells I guess. People are attracted to negativity like moths to a bug lite. The point is, get to close and it will kill you.

So how do you keep yourself from being negative? You have to choose, intentionally, to have a positive attitude.

It’s a daily, hourly and minute by minute choice. I’m sure there are statistics out there for exactly how often we are confronted with a negative idea, but I’m choosing right now to not go looking for it, because I don’t want to be drawn into the negativity.

Do you remember the technique for putting yourself out if you spontaneously com-bust? The same applies to your attitude.

Stop

When we find ourselves being negative, we must choose to stop. In that very moment, just quit it! There’s no need to carry on with the negativity, just stop  it. Right then, right there.Stop the conversation.

Drop

Drop it. Don’t feel like you have to win the argument at hand. Drop the issue, and leave it there.

Roll

Roll on to something else. Change the conversation to something positive or something totally unrelated. Go find something positive to read, find something funny to watch. Something that funny in a positive way, not negative. But Roll on.

We don’t need to be negative any more. We need more people to be positive and to view life, leadership and the world through the lens of positivity.

Will you join me?

What tips and tricks do you have that you can share with me to help me be a more positive person?

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Posted on Jul 23, 2012 in Culture, Leadership

Beware the Rut

I remember back in college, the “chaplain” for our university chorale gave a devotional to our choir about choosing your rut carefully, referring to a rumored road sign on Alaskan Roads. The idea he was getting trying to share, was that we needed to be committed to chorale for the long haul.

If you can’t guess, our director did not like him referring to chorale as a rut. Consequently, he followed the devotional with a 15 minute rant on how chorale is more like a mountain top experience than a rut.

Needless to say, this devotional lives on in the bad devotional hall of fame for that chorale.

[tweetherder]

The thing with ruts is, you don’t always know where they’re going to lead you.

[/tweetherder]

Sometimes they can lead you in a great direction.

Sometimes you know right away they’re taking you where you don’t want to go.

However, the most dangerous ruts are the ones that seem to be taking us in the right direction, but slowly over time turn us around and eventually take us backward.

This happens all the time in the church.

We come up with a new idea, that succeeds. So we do it again. Then again, and yes, again and again and…

What started out as a great idea, starts to take us backwards.

You might contest that doing the same thing over and over again isn’t necessarily going backwards, but aren’t we retracing our steps if nothing new is happening out of the same things we’re doing?

Haven’t you seen it? Someone 80 or 100 years ago decided we should have Sunday School. So, they did it. It was new and it worked. However, haven’t we all seen the results of just going to school and never going to work? We’ve seen churches full of professional students. The only difference between them and the professional students of the educational world is the lack of student loan debt.

We came up with a new idea because we wanted to reach more people for Christ. Don’t miss that. We wanted to do something new to reach more people for Christ. Our ruts don’t only affect us who are already called by His name. The lack of new could be the very thing that is lacking in reaching Gary and Mary. Perhaps there is that one new idea that connects perfectly with them, but we’re so stuck in the rut of what we did a generation ago that we don’t even think about what new ideas we might be missing.

So, my warning is this: Beware the rut.

Not just in your leadership, your church, family or business.

Beware the rut in your own life. The holding pattern you’ve been in will eventually circle around and take you backwards. The scary thing is you probably won’t even notice.

Looks for the ruts and change them.

 

 

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