Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as we make use of. One person gets a week's value out of a year while another person gets a full year's value out of a week."
Charles Richards

We, as a local church, have just come off of one of our most anticipated events of the year: Pastor Luis Martinez' visit from Guatemala. Luis is the pastor we worked with in 2009, and the one we're preparing to work with again in 2011 (contact me if you're interested in building homes, clothing children & sharing the Gospel with us!). His ministry is called, IMPACTO, because they are committed to impacting the lives of both the people in his country and in ours through interaction on behalf of God's purposes.

I couldn't help but link his ministry to the above thought, though I confess, I don't even remember where I first saw it. Mr. Richards strikes on one of the key truths of life: our impact is largely determined by us. In other words, what we get out of life is more often than not determined by how we approach it.

Who hasn't known someone who was a master of idleness? Someone who could take more time doing less work than anyone you've ever known (hopefully this isn't you). One of the challenges I've always given to my kids was originally left with me by my Dad: Give an honest days work for an honest day's pay and you'll never be unemployed for long, if at all.

At the core of this counsel is the observation that a huge number of people are looking not to do the above, but to do as little as possible while making as much as they can. They have yet to discover the almost magical truth of Mr. Richards...and the Bible (see Luke 16:10-12). These are the ones who get a week's value out of a year.

By God's grace, this dare not be us as Christians! May we be among those who can "do twice the work in half the time" - not because we're a "whirling dervish" - but because we embrace each day as an opportunity for impact and refrain from pursuing a degree in idleness.

So, how many days are left in your year? The decision and the power are yours, granted to you by Almighty God. What you do with what is given to you will make all the difference in the world...and in the world to come. Let's make an impact today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Good" Or "Godly"?

"The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly."
Oswald Chambers

I confess that this thought from Oswald Chambers brought me up a little short - as it should - and has caused me to do a great deal of "pondering" over the last few days...maybe it will do the same for you?

There is an enormous emphasis in our culture today on "good-doing," manifested in countless ways by many highly visible people. But for the Christian, while admirable, this is not enough. We dare not be only good humans exhibiting good human characteristics.

Think about it: many people can give good things to others, but only the Christian, by definition, can give Christ, and thus the things that go with Him. So what is the difference between "good characterisitcs" and "divine" ones?

Scripture makes it clear that, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control" (Galatians 5:22-23). These don't come by being a "good human" but from having the Holy Spirit's transforming power working in us.

For my own thinking, I did a little "re-phrasing" of this list, and have come to believe that the non-negotiable "divine" characteristics for the Christian are:
  • Unconditional Love
  • Irrepressible Joy
  • Irrational Peace
  • Unlimited Grace & Forgiveness
  • Unrelenting Compassion
  • Sacrificial Generosity
  • Consistent Self-Control

That does not mean that we have these mastered, but that they are "divine" characteristics that should be growing in both quantity and quality in our lives. No amount of being a "good human" will accomplish these - only God's Spirit in us can.

Now, the moment of truth: Am I known only as a "good human" or as "God-like" in the characteristics of my life? God forbid that after my life is lived, all that anyone will be able to say is, "Kirk was a good person." No, I cannot settle for anything less than to be like Christ Himself, full of divine characteristics that no one can explain away and that draw others to Him! How about you?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A "Not So Secret" Secret

I am privileged to receive thought-provoking emails from some truly great thinkers, preachers and friends! One that grabbed my attention recently stated the following:

"The only advantage the rich have over the poor
is that they already know money can’t buy happiness."

Think about it (I have): While falling into a boatload of money sounds really fun, and we can think of another boatload of things we'd like to do with it, it is a road filled with perils & challenges all its own.

I frequently hear people say, "I know that money won't buy me happiness, but I'd sure like to try!" And as attractive as the scenario sounds, down deep, I think we're all aware that more money is not our #1 need.

The interesting thing about money and it's amazing allure, is that you almost need to have had it to understand that it's not what you need. Thus, the vast majority of us still wrestle with our desire for it, sure that it would help us at least a little.

But talk to anyone who has it (or did at one time) and you'll discover this "not so secret" secret: they were no happier with it than without it. Matter of fact, there's a whole heap of trouble & trial that comes with having more.

Look at what the Bible says regarding this (my paraphrases):
  • Psalm 49:12 - you still die, and have a lot more pressure pushing you there!
  • Proverbs 11:28 - if you trust in riches, you will fall!
  • Proverbs 13:8 - more people are out to get you!
  • Proverbs 23:5 - riches are so easily lost!
  • Matthew 19:23 - it is much harder to trust in God!
  • Luke 8:14 - riches will preoccupy your life!
  • Luke 12:48 - you have much greater responsibility!
  • 1 Timothy 6:9 - there are unimaginable temptations, traps & snares!
  • 1 Timothy 6:10 - wanting more jeapordizes your faith and your life!

What we do need is more of Him...Jesus Christ...for He has promised that, unlike riches, "I will never leave you or forsake you" Hebrews 13:5. Trust in Him will never disappoint us, and we will find that are lives are content...not always longing for more.

Granted, He may choose to bless you financially - nothing wrong with that - but if you count on that, you may easily lose both the blessing and miss the Blessor! I invite you to join me in placing your trust in Christ - no matter what! And I pray that you won't keep that a secret!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For Or With?

I was challenged recently by something I read in Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. Without recounting the whole thing, the question posed to me by the Lord as I read "Ozzies" reflection was this (is this - I haven't resolved this yet): Am I looking for Jesus or with Jesus?

Like a lot of people, when I first became a Christian I remember looking for Jesus all the time: at concerts, camps, and conventions; in books, movies and the newspaper; at school, on vacation and at home. I enjoyed finding Him in all of these places at one time or another, and frequently shared those findings with any who would listen.

Now, it's not that we should ever stop looking for Him, but what I feel God speaking to my heart is that if this is all I do, then our relationship hasn't matured nearly enough - it's still largely the same as it was the day I asked Christ into my life.

Increasingly, I believe that one sure sign of maturing in our faith is when we do less looking for Him and more looking with Him. What's the difference? For involves looking all around for evidence of Him ; With means seeing things as Jesus sees them - people, situations, conditions - and hopefully, responding to them more and more as He would and does.

It's fun looking for Him - it's Christ-like to look with Him. I challenge you today, as He is challenging me, to look increasingly with Him at the world around you. When we choose to do so, we'll never be the same, for we will find our hearts moved by the things that move His. And we'll find His ability to use us mutliplied almost exponentially as we become more available to Him, and ultimately, more like Him!