How To Experience REAL LIFE

1 02 2017

A few days ago I shared a sarcastic post about “How To Make Yourself Miserable”. This post was designed to get a person to think about what actually leads to our personal feelings of misery and unhappiness, and to challenge us to get rid of those things. If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, you can do so here.

The truth is, we all fall victim to things that fight against our sense of joy and peace, but if we continue to give them space in our lives, then misery is the end result. For just a minute, I want to throw out a few ideas that can help us end the misery and replace it with LIFE… REAL LIFE.

1. Real Life Will Never Be Found In Yourself. – Jesus said “…I have come that you might have life, and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) but he also said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:27) Do you know what that means? It means that to find your life, you have to lose it. To experience life, you have to let go of your efforts to live life your way. As long as you spend your time and energy trying to make your life what you want it to be, you will constantly find it slipping away. You have to lose you to find you.

2. You Have To Fight For Truth. – Everyday you will hear a myriad of voices that seek to influence your thoughts and actions, but only one voice will lead you to life… and that’s the voice of Truth. Jesus said that when you let Truth influence you, “the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). It is only when you make the tough determination to allow Truth to have the microphone and to speak over you, that you’ll find that the the winds of Life will begin to blow in your soul.

3. Learn From Mistakes But Don’t Get Caught By Them. – Everyone is going to miss the mark from time to time, but if you allow those mistakes to consume you, you’ll never experience the Real Life that God desires you to have. Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow, yet looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62).

Think of it this way, when you’re driving down the highway, you probably have had moments where you didn’t keep it perfectly between the lines. However, when this happened, I’m guessing you didn’t turn around and look behind you and then wallow in your driving failure. Rather, you probably corrected your course, got things back on track, and kept moving forward. This is exactly what Jesus is reminding us of… when mistakes happen, learn from them, correct them, and keep moving forward. Failure is only a failure if you stop pressing foward. Mistakes are simply part of growing as a person.

4. Don’t Give In To Feelings. – Your feelings can be powerful, but feelings don’t make great leaders. If you follow them, you will find constantly be blown back and forth by the fluxuating winds of circumstances and expectations. God gave you emotions to help you understand what is happening in your soul, not to define Truth for your life. If you feel it, find out why you’re feeling it, process it with the Truth and move forward. Don’t let the strength of your feelings keep you from stepping into God’s very best for your life.





How To Make Yourself Miserable

10 01 2017

If you are tired of enjoying life, having peace, and being happy, then this blog is for you. In the next few minutes, I’m going to give you the secrets to getting out of the sunshine, and under that perpetual rain cloud. You too, can find true misery in life if you follow these five simple steps!

1. Start Comparing Yourself To Others – Nothing will get you feeling like a “Loser” faster than comparing yourself to others. Dwelling on what everyone else has and does will help you feel as if your life stinks. One of the easiest ways to do this is to spend way more time on Social Media. Through things like Facebook and Instagram, you can see people’s posts celebrating thier perfect home, perfect marriage, and perfect children so that you can realize just how “not perfect” your life is. Who cares if those posts are completely disconnected from the actual reality of that persons life? The more you think and believe that they have a perfect life and you don’t, the more unhappy and miserable you will feel.

2. Stop Being Thankful For Little Things – Grattitude is the enemy of the miserable soul, and so in order to spiral into self-pity and dispair you will need to resist being thankful at all costs. You have got to reject the reality that 99% of the world’s population would give anything to live your life, with it’s abundance and ease. No matter how many blessings exist around you, you have to close your eyes to them or you’ll never find the misery you so desire.

3. Make Everything About Yourself – If you can master the art of making “You” the center of everything, then you can push away virtually every healthy relationship that only tempt you to smile, laugh, relax, and enjoy life. At every opportunity, talk about yourself, your struggles, your misery, and dwell on the thought that everything should be about you and your own personal happiness. Don’t let yourself get distracted by other people’s problems or you might begin to think that their struggles matter as much as yours. Stay selfish. It’s all about you.

4. Don’t Let Anything Be Good Enough – Some might call this being an “Idealist”, others might call it “Perfectionism”, but it really is about not being content with anything. Your marriage is not good enough, your house is not clean enough, your coffee isn’t hot enough, your kids are not good enough, and most importantly, you are not good enough. This helps you embrace the reality that you are a victim, and that everyone should pity you, just like you pity yourself.

5. Give In To Fear – Finally, if you can let your fear run the show, you are well on your way to such a miserable existance that it really will be “the worst”. The fear of not getting everything you want can lead you to try to control even the most uncontrolable things, and the more you try to control, the more anxiety you will feel because you’ll soon discover that you can’t control everything. The great thing about this, is that it cements the thinking that everything is all about you, and when things don’t turn out the way you want, you’ll feel like a failure. It’s a win/win for the tortured soul.

So be discouraged. Be self oriented. Don’t be thankful. Believe the worst. You can do it. Misery is just a few key steps away.





I Want Easy

15 06 2016

Remember the Ab Contour?  You know… the magical device that would electrically stimulate your abs into “Six Pack” condition?  Yep.  I bought one.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I know I’m not alone.  From the many, many knock-off devices that came afterward, I’m guessing that it became absa big-time money maker.  Because of me, someone, somewhere is sitting on luxurious beach in the Caribbean, sipping pina-coladas, and enjoying the sun, all the while thinking… “I actually got people to spend money on that thing.”

How did I get suckered in?  It was the promise of “easy” that got me.   All I would have to do is strap this thing around my abs, and lay back, watch TV, and have this ‘SuperBelt’ do all the work.  It was such an attractive offer, I simply couldn’t refuse…

And it didn’t work.  (As anyone who has seen my abs can attest).

Truth is, we are constantly being bombarded by things that are promising “Bigger, Better, Easier”… and not everything is actually what it claims.  Rarely ever does easier equate to better.

As Parents, there are about a thousand products out there that claim to make parenting a snap… a piece of cake… easy.  Books, videos, aids, blogs…  millions are being made on the promise of easy parenting… and it’s a trap.  A total lie.  Parenting isn’t easy… and if it is… you’re probably doing it wrong.

Don’t get sucked in by some frilly blog, by some stay at home mom, who claims to have figured it all out.  Despite her professional profile picture and the cute, smiling pictures of her kids, she probably isn’t giving you the whole truth.  She probably isn’t telling you about the times she loses control, screams in anger, gives in to whining, threatens to give up, hides from her kids in the bathroom, cries in her closet, has two days of dishes in the sink, and vents all over her friends at the coffeeshop while her kids run laps around the coffeeshop (I’m watching this happen as I write…ugh).  She might get lots of clicks from that post “3 Steps to Happy Kids”, but she is probably preying on desperate parents, wanting an easy answer to their parenting problems.

Look.  If you are a parent, I hate to break it to you.  Parenting is not easy.  It’s not going to be easy and it shouldn’t be easy.  Parenting requires sacrifice, selflessness, discipline, patience, and about 1,000 other things… all of which are hard.  Really hard.

Parenting should constantly thrust you into the arms of God, pressing you to cry out for His help in it all.  In fact, I personally believe this is why God invites us to be parents ourselves.  It’s on this journey that we discover the truth about ourselves, catch a glimpse into the heart of God, and get to experience what real love looks like.  It might be hard, but that’s the very reason it is so rewarding!  Press into it!

 

CHURCH NOTE:   If you’re a part of our Church

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Series Starts July 3!

(Harvest Springs), we are going to be launching an entire series about the traps that parents often get caught up by on our journey.  This series, “The Parent Trap” will start Sunday, July 3rd and run through the month of July.  My prayer is that this series will give you some healthy perspective, some valuable encouragement, and some Biblical guidance to navigate the many traps that are out there are on the Parenting Path.  You won’t want to miss it!

 

 

 





Well Done!

17 05 2015

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Matthew 25:23

We have come to the end of the 10 Marks of a Disciple series of devotionals, and our hope has been that each one has inspired you to be a more fully devoted follower of Jesus.  This is not the end of the journey of discipleship, but rather, it is just beginning… the beginning of a life long pursuit of a deeper and more vibrant life with Christ.

And when we come to the end of our lives, we pray that this series has, in some way, helped prepare the way for you to step before God with boldness, knowing that you have done what He has asked…

  • that you have made Christ your master and example to follow…
  • that you have cultivated a vibrant and life-giving relationship with God…
  • that you have developed a faith-filled prayer life of communion and communication with God…
  • that you are supporting and being supported in Christ-centered community…
  • that you are building relationships with those who are lost, so that they may be found…
  • that you are growing a heart that radiates generosity…
  • that you are dedicating yourself to the posture and the attitude of a servant in the body and in the community…
  • that you are allowing yourself to think and engage globally…
  • that you are constantly pressing to grow and mature in your faith and knowledge of God…
  • and that you endeavor, with your life, to Disciple others, to help others live out these 10 marks as Disciples of Jesus.

May it be true of all of us!





Do You Love Me

16 05 2015

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.”  John 21:15

Jesus’s life was spent pouring into the disciples, not so that the twelve would just become followers of Christ themselves, but so that ultimately they would continue to expand the Kingdom of God and make other disciples.

After Jesus’ death, the disciples quickly found themselves back on the lake trying to catch fish rather than out doing the work and ministry the Jesus had taught them and called them to do. Not honoring their master’s request and ultimately no longer expressing the genuine love for Christ and He desired fo them and that He desires of us.

It was not enough for Jesus to have Peter say he loved Him … Jesus wanted Peter to do and continue on what Jesus’ mission was. Just and Jesus had loved Peter by spiritually feeding him, now He wanted Peter to go and do the same in the lives of others.  Just like Jesus said to Peter, I believe He is also saying to every one of us :  Do you love me? … then feed my sheep!

by Paul Hansen





Sharing the Gospel

15 05 2015

“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.”  Acts 3:6

Can you imagine how you would feel if you had not eaten for days, yet your friend, who had enough food for 100 people wouldn’t share any with you?  Would you be able to say that your friend cared about you?  Would you think that your friend was really your friend?

In the passage above, Peter and John didn’t have money, yet they were still willing to share their lives with this man who was in great need.  They didn’t hoard it, or hold it back in fear of being rejected.  They shared freely from the Spiritual Wealth that God had heaped upon their lives.  They knew that what they had been given was of precious worth to this needy man, and they willingly chose to share it freely.

Yet, many believers are hesitant to share the Truth of the Gospel, and their own lives as well, with those who desperately need to have someone invest in them.  The world isn’t just needy for the Gospel,  it is starving for the investment of Godly Lives of men and women who care.  The world needs men and women who have the Truth, are living in the Truth, and then who are willing to share their lives, just as Peter and John.  We don’t need to have everything, but we do need to share what has been freely shared with us!





More Just Like You

14 05 2015

“Be Fruitful and Multiply…”  Genesis 1:28

When God finished with Adam and Eve, He look at them with the same pride that a new father looks at his newborn child.  He said, “Be Fruitful and multiply.”  In other words, “I want more just like you.”

The Great Commission is also a call to be fruitful and multiply, yet it is put in different terms.  “Go, therefore, and make disciples”(Matthew 28:19) is another way of saying that God wants more people just like you.  He desires men and women who are dedicated to being in relationship with Christ, and helping others experience the same.  God has desired this from the beginning, and his desire is the same even now.

Are you intent on being a man or woman who is purposefully fulfilling God’s desire for more, just like you?