4 Questions About My Heart

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress [Psalm 17:3] 

On reading this verse 4 questions quickly come to my mind…

What would God find?

Would I be happy with what He found?

Why do I keep allowing things in my heart that just don’t help me?

What can I do to change that?

Don’t get me wrong, my heart is not full of bitterness or anger but it may not in the state that it should be. I love God. I am determined to seek His kingdom first. Yet other stuff doesn’t just creep into my heart, on occasion I leave my heart unguarded and let that stuff walk right in. 

Perhaps the best way to describe how my heart may look if God were to ‘test it’ is ‘confused’. Healthy, but not always at full strength. 

I’m just trying to be honest. Some days my heart is full of God, other days, less so. I know that God still loves me yet I can be disappointed with how my heart expresses that. 

It’s not simply enough to just point to being human. The flesh does scream for stuff but it doesn’t mean I should give it the satisfaction of being fulfilled. 

What can I do? Call upon God. Seek Him first. Ask for forgiveness. Be led by the spirit. Have an ear for what God is saying to me and have the courage to follow through. Purpose that I will not transgress. Recognise that it’s only with Gods help that I will ever have the victory in this area of my life and have a heart ‘filled with the fullness of God’. 

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Quit IT

I have written this post out a few times to ensure that I make it read well. Yet I don’t think there is any other way to say this other than in what may seem a fairly blunt manner.

Quit!

It’s time to quit.

Winners quit the right things. So to move on and get past something maybe it’s time to quit so you can start winning again.

So, let’s quit IT. Whatever IT may be.

I’ve got lazy, again. So I’m going to quit IT.  My levels of procrastinating have risen once again and are stopping me from fulfilling the dream of getting a book written so I am committing (again) to 2 things I love to do ~ read and write. 15 minutes of each every day for the next 100 days.

I wonder, what do you need to quit? What’s possibly in the way of what you believe God has for your future?

Quit complaining. Sometimes, if we are honest, this complaining has gone beyond healthy criticism. It’s just become finger pointing. Perhaps it’s even got personal.

Quit being a spectator who just loves to be critical. Much like the football supporters who never plays, yet loves to shout out opinions from the stands on the best way to play the game. Instead, get involved and become a participant in what God is doing.

Quit waiting for the perfect time before you will step out in faith. Things will never be ‘perfect’. God makes something out of our willingness and our obedience and that doesn’t rely on perfection but on Him.

Quit with the Christian pride and not allowing God to deal with some stuff because you think there’s no need as you’ve been a Christian for so long.

Quit missing out on all that God has for you.

Quit allowing an offence to get in the way of your relationship with God and with His family.

Quit not being in Church. It’s time to come home and reconnect with you family.

Quit saying you don’t have enough time. I love this article by Jon Acuff about saying you are too busy.

Quit those habits, quit the attitude, quit the apathy, quit the blaming, quit forgetting, quit quitting and complete that project.

Whatever IT is that keeps getting in the way make a good decision today and quit IT. Hunt IT down, deal with IT and then get on with living that life which you desires so much to live.

What is IT for you? 

Flip

I was nudged with this thought in regard to my walk with God but it could relate to anything that is considered important ~ God, marriage, family, work, your business, a dream, the future.

Don’t be flip. Don’t be so casual about it as to be seen as though you don’t really care. Don’t take it so lightly or exert no effort towards it and expect whatever it is to be healthy, remain healthy and be full of life and fruitful.

Don’t be flip. Like, whatever. Otherwise you’ll end up there one day and wonder how that happened. Don’t become lazy toward something that you say is important but instead, focus.

Flip the attitude around.

Flip the effort upwards.

Flip the behaviour to its right side.

Flip the laziness to one side.

Flip it. Turn things over. Start afresh. Repent. Get back on track. Begin again. Pick things up from where they were. Do something positive about whatever ‘it’ is.

Let’s take an honest look and flip things around if needed. Don’t settle, get comfy or make do. Let’s get stuck in to things we say are important and see what happens.

Eagerness or Excuses

In scripture we find a verse that tells us ‘if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land‘. [Isaiah 1:19] 

Unfortunately the culture of today is often more unwilling and disobedient. We want to work less for more pay. We want to pay less tax but gain more benefits. We want to receive without contributing. We want a great future without all the effort.

John Maxwell tells the story about a young man asking a millionaire about his secret to success. ‘How did you make your millions?‘ is the question from the eager young man. ‘Hard work’ is the reply. After a moment the young man asks another question, ‘Is there an easier way?’

We want it and we want it now, yet I’ve learned that God doesn’t really work like that. We may have an eagerness for the things of God yet we seem unwilling to exert any effort on our own behalf. We expect God or someone else to do all the work.

We are willing but not obedient. Which means we don’t get to enjoy the good place we really want to be in. We are eager for the future plans and purposes of God but have a long list of excuses as to why it just can’t happen. And that makes me sad.

I am guilty of this myself, more times than I care to remember. Laziness. Procrastination. Ignorance. Pathetic excuses like ‘I’ve got no time’, yet I find time for some stuff that must make God laugh (otherwise He might cry).

Eagerness + excuses usual equals unfulfilled dreams, plans and purposes.

Willingness + no obedience equals not ending up in the good land that God has for me.

An unwillingness to pray means God cannot answer. One thing I know the best way to have prayer unanswered is to not actually pray. An unwillingness to act means the project, the dream, the idea will never happen. To many say ‘God said’ but then never follow through with any movement of their own.

God doesn’t need to change, we do, I do. The question is whether I am willing to. Can I, with Gods help and the Holy Spirit within me, overcome the daft reasons and obstacles so I live out His best for my life? The answer of course is a wholehearted yes, but only if the willingness is followed by some action, if the eagerness is not followed by excuses.

I would love to know what you think…

Challenge Up

How about during the next 30 days we challenge up? It’s the only way to challenge yourself.

In whatever, look to challenge yourself for the more not the less. For the better. For the improvement. For the growth. Challenge up normally involves some stretch.

Getting fit. Eating well. Fixing what’s broken. Investing in yourself. Finishing the project. Starting your business. Creating something new. Writing the book. Fulfilling the dream. Reaching people. Building church. Knowing Jesus. Insert own ‘idea’ here.

Challenge up. I don’t know what that looks like for you. Maybe it’s about creating some space and making room, putting something down to pick the right thing up.

Challenge up. Perhaps it’s about taking 15 minutes a day and focusing in on that particular thing you really believe is your one thing.

How about it? Where would you challenge up in life? What’s to lose?

I Can Make a Difference

Following yesterday’s post I’ve been reflecting on my own ability to make a difference. Can I really make a difference in other people’s lives?

The answer of course is yes. The question I then ask myself is ‘why do I want to?’ The selfish answer is because I want people to think well of me. The better answer is because my heart for God compels me too and I should live life like that.

I need to be a better encourager. To be someone who looks for the best in people.

To always be about serving others. Seeing the opportunities to help those around me without any motive other than I can.

Be someone who genuinely cares for people. The adage ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ is true. You can’t fake genuine care. As a Pastor and leader I can’t just be ‘do as I say’, I have to love the people God has placed in our care.

Stop avoiding ‘some’ people or ‘those’ people. Everyone belongs to God, whether they know that yet or not, so I have grace that extends towards everyone.

Open up my life and go with it. Not the best at this. After a long day it’s easier to just pull up the drawbridge and close myself off. That won’t help my desire to help others.

Just embrace the inconvenience of it all. Great difference makers get on the journey and just enjoy the adventure of it all. If I can’t be inconvenienced then I’m not really going to make much of a difference.

Stop waiting for that ‘God said’ moment. I’m going to say it but the God card gets waved about far too easily as a reason for doing something and as a reason against doing something. God has already spoken, maybe I should concentrate my efforts on those words instead of needing some kind of dream, revelation or angelic visitation.

Hope that’s not too honest. I wonder what gets in the way of you making a difference? As for me, I’m not there yet. My difference making ability is always in need of improvement and thankfully, with the Holy Spirit and a willingness to be transformed, I can. So, here’s to making a difference and leaving the right kind of legacy.

Lean In, Back Off but Don’t Do Nothing

Back in 2009 I posted with the same title, you can read it here. It was very much about getting things done, what to focus on and what to avoid.

The phrase has recently come back to mind but now more than ever in relation to people, circumstances and how we walk through them as Christians.

Too often we lean in to things that will not help and back off from the things that will and by default, end up doing nothing. 

Lean in. To God. To His word. To His family. Lean in by faith to all that you know is true. Don’t back off from these things for ‘time’ to sort things out. 

Back off. From unbelief. From listening to the wrong voices. From becoming isolated. From sorting it yourself. 

Don’t do nothing. Be busy about the right things. Don’t let go of your faith but hold on to it. Personally I am an advocate for serving your way out of some troubles. 

It’s easier to act your way into feelings rather than feel your way into action.

Too often our default is to do nothing and then become angry that nothing has changed. 

When we are waiting for a change, responding to a word, feeling flat or out of sorts let’s be people who lean in to God, back off from wrong thinking and definitely don’t do nothing. 

What do you think?

Focus & Energy

What has your focus at the moment?

We have been spending some time recently looking at what should have our focus at Xcel Church as we move towards the Xcel 2020 vision. Quickly before people starting commenting – loving God and loving people are central to what we do, always.

As a leadership team, praying and thinking strategically about what gets our focus is important. It’s what leaders do. I have asked this question of some leaders recently too. What do you want your ministry to focus on for the next 12 months? What we choose to focus on will determine what gets our energy. We will unpack this more as we head towards vision month.

Here’s the thought – as important as it is to know what the focus should be for Xcel Church, I need to know what the focus should be more my own life, my family, my home.

We can give time and attention to many things but are they those which we would like to be defined by, the kind that are building a legacy for future generations. Whether you are a Christian or not, this question is an important one.

If we don’t focus on the right things then the energy we expend is wasted.

What has your focus at the moment? Give your energy to those things. They don’t have to be overtly ‘spiritual’ but are worked from the knowledge of who you are in Christ Jesus and His power at work, in us and through us.

These are what will have my focus and my energy on a personal level….

The health and well-being of my family: a strong and intimate marriage, seeing my daughters flourish

Building the kingdom of God: serving in God’s House, using & developing my gifts & talents properly, reaching people for Jesus

Seek after God: in all areas of my life, spending time with Him, reading His word, in prayer and doing my utmost to have a walk worthy of all God has done for me

The removal of personal debt: increasing our ability to live generously

How about you? Where is your focus and your energy going?