There was no way they could be moved by one individual, so the plea was made to family and friends for help.
I thought about this “getting help from friends” request because I’ve run into several people lately that have been going through some very difficult, heavy times and when I’ve talked further with them about their experiences, they’ve commented back to me that they are not really close to anyone. In the midst of being emotionally overwhelmed, they are having to make sense of a very difficult situation on their own. I feel for them. Not surprising to me is that each of the people I’ve talked to have been men. Quite typically, as guys, we just have this “isolate ourselves from others” mentality. It’s really not a good thing
Guys, that kind of mindset might work in the short-term, actually for years. However, eventually, there will come a time of crisis where the load is just too heavy to handle on our own. I’m mentioning this now in hopes that if you are reading this post and have no one else in your life that you can be utterly transparent with, I want to strongly encourage you to take a step of faith and try to connect with some other person, of the same gender and have someone to walk through life with you.
Over this past year, I’ve mentioned to you often in posts that I’ve created an app that is meant to not only help you identify your own personal goals, but also in this app, there is a very cool feature. It’s a dashboard that allows you to text or e-mail a friend in a snapshot kind of way how you are doing in all the areas of your responsibilities.
I have used this Dashboard so often with others and found it to be incredibly helpful. And when I see a “red” area in a friend’s text, we deal with it. That’s what friends do for each other, right!
If you have been doing life alone, or you understand that a close friend of yours has been doing the “isolate” thing, let me encourage you to try this app. Do it with a friend.
For less than a Starbucks special coffee, I truly believe you will not regret the cost of using this resource to help you and a friend share in the heavy lifting of life.
To check out the app:
You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I
Recently, I wrote a post encouraging people to read one of my favorite books, “Gospel Treason” by Brad Bigney.
In that book, there is a very thought-provoking passage in there from Elyse Fitzpatrick describing how going to church for many people is like a European vacation that she went on:
“A number of years ago, my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to vacation in Europe. In about three an a half weeks we visited thirteen different nations. When we’d enter a country, we’d get our passports stamped, exchange currencies, learn a few key phrases, and then off we’d go to visit the natives. We’d walk through outdoor markets , peruse museums, sample the cuisine. We’d exchange a few niceties with the locals, sit on the steps of cathedrals, watch the life of the town go by, take a picture or two, and purchase a little something to remind us of our time there, and then we were off. We had a wonderful vacation. Our hearts weren’t changed in any significant ways by our little visits, but then they weren’t meant to be. We were tourists. It seems to me that what I’ve just described is very close to many people’s understanding of the congregational life of the local church. On any given Sunday or better yet, Saturday night, many tourists can be found in church. They pop in for forty-five minutes or an hour, sing a chorus or two, exchange niceties with the locals: “Hi! How are you?” “Fine!” “How are you ?” “Fine! Nice Fellowshipping. With you!” They sample some of the local cuisine, they might purchase a book or CD to remind them of their visit, and then they race to their cars to get to their favorite restaurant before the rush or home before the game. For many people, church is simply a place to go to once a week . It’s about being a tourist, and our land is filled with tourist-friendly churches. Pop in, pop out, do your religious thing, catch ya later!”
I’d like to ask you to be honest. Does that in any way describe you?
I’m not saying that going to church makes you a Christian, any more than your going to a football game makes you a football player.
But one thing your church attendance does is reveal something about your attitude and beliefs about the importance (and understanding) of your relationship with God (and your own spiritual health).
If you are not a regular church attendee, please be careful:
Proverbs 18:1 says a that “a man who isolates himself seeks his own desire”
Hebrews 10:25 says “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but come together and look for ways to stir one another. Up to love and good deeds.”
Let me encourage you this week to get to church and while there, ask yourself whether you are a tourist, or a local (one of the native peoples) ?
After asking yourself that question, try two more: would God be pleased with my answer to that last question.
Lastly, in what specific ways, can I get more involved at my local church?
Its hard to believe, another Summer is nearly over. Time just seems to move along so quickly.
Picture this story:
A middle-aged man, driving in his luxury car, pulls around the corner of the street where he lives. He looks at the houses of his neighbors and thinks to himself that at some time he should probably get to know them. Actually, he thinks to himself that in some ways it’s surprising that after 20 years in this neighborhood, he would have by now.
Down the driveway he goes admiring his beautiful landscaping and thinks to himself that he has hired a quality service to handle this tedious work. As he gets out of his car and make the long walk to his really large house, which he never seems to tire of gawking at, he finds himself huffing and puffing a bit more than usual. He also notices his chest puffing out as he congratulates himself pridefully, for all the efforts he has put in: the long hours worked and the many, many business trips he has taken.
As he walks in the house, the one thing that seems the most noticeable is the silence. His wife and two children are nowhere to be seen. “Quietness”, he thinks, “is in some ways nice, but in other ways, it’s so depressing”.
So, what is the point to this story? Its this perspective about success.
After reading through this story would you say this man is successful? Some would, actually many would. Why would we say that? It’s because he drives a luxurious house, owns a large house, and uses a landscaping service.
Outwardly, this man has some very nice things. Let me be the first to say that there is nothing wrong with owning and enjoying nice things. God has given us those things to enjoy.
My point is to question this man’s perspective on their importance and what he was willing to sacrifice to get them. It’s that perspective of success that I so desperately want to keep wrestling with for myself and I would encourage you to battle along with me.
Why? Too often, we can see someone on tv that has all the wealthy merit badges of life: the nice cars, the trophy wife, the big house, etc. and something can stir in my heart: jealousy and envy. I know I have those feelings. Too quickly, I find myself trying to justify why I’m still okay with my pauper existence compared to this wealthy person I’ve just been watching and hearing about.
The issue of jealousy and envy is my own problem no one else’s. I’m needing to deal with that on a regular basis. But the focus of this post is not really about my challenges with envy, or pride, or a critique on enjoying and striving for nice things.
It’s about striving for success in one area. Whether it’s an over-emphasis on being successful at work, or at your church, or with your family, or with your personal health, my plea with you this morning is to be careful about over-emphasizing one area of your life so much that without realizing it, you inadvertently are neglecting other areas of your life.
Life is difficult. It’s really hard. You don’t need to be reminded of that, but you may need to be reminded that there are seven areas of responsibility in your life. How are you doing in each of them? When is the last time you took the time to evaluate how you’re doing?
I would like to encourage you this weekend to take just a few minutes and review these seven areas of responsibility in your life and ask two questions: “How am I doing in each specific area?” and “In what ways can I do just a little bit better?”
Oh, one last thing—you might be wondering why do this personal inventory? The simple reason is that your life impacts others in every one of these seven areas. Do you know that?
Like a person who is a sleepwalker, taking actual steps, but not even recognizing where they are going, some times, I can be living my life (and maybe you do too) where I’m doing life in certain, dazed kind of way, not even recognizing those areas of responsibility that I am tuned out of, totally neglecting….and that will cause regrets, painful ones. I want to help you avoid those.
As a way to further help you strive for excellence in all areas of your life so that you live a life without regrets, I’d like to encourage you to consider the content of this post, but also to consider downloading the Foundations Life Management app in I-Tunes, (Android calls it Foundations Life Coach) that has the red, yellow, green dashboard like above. For the price of a cup of coffee (and more significant and lasting positive consequences) from it, I believe you will be pleased that you took this minimal risk:
You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I
Are you desperate for some guidance to help you find hope in your present difficult circumstances?
Are you open to receiving encouragement and support from others?
If so, I would like to invite you to join us this Fall for a life-changing 13 week ministry called HOPE GROUP.
We’ll meet Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., starting September 13th, at Harvest Bible Chapel on Randall Road in Elgin.
Let me encourage you to take a step of faith to finding hope. THINGS CAN CHANGE!
For more information, about Harvest Bible Chapel’s Hope Group ministry at their Elgin campus, please check out the link!
http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/event/summerhopegroupselgin/ (as an fyi, our Fall registration link is not up quite yet, but will be shortly—bookmark this link).
Harvest Bible Chapel- Love without condition …Forgive without limit >>>>>>>This is what we do!
Check out this picture—do you see a STOP sign?
Well, let me come back to that in just a minute. This post is meant for “born again” Christians. You know who you are.
It is meant for those people who one day recognized that they were distant from God and that God, in His graciousness and mercy made a way for us to be reconciled with Him through Jesus Christ as He gave His life as a substitute for us. Approximately 2000 years ago, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved because of our selfishness, and rebelliousness towards God and in the Great Exchange offered us forgiveness and peace with God, as our relationship with Him was restored. I hope you never get tired of hearing this gospel message.
Backing up just a minute as a way of explanation —before a person is saved, a person finds them self alienated from God. They are led by their own selfish desires. In addition to their bondage to their fleshly instincts, an unsaved person comes under the slavery to the evil influences of the Devil and his demonic cohorts, as well as slavery to this world system that seeks independence from Almighty God. Habits of sinful behaviors and selfish motives and attitudes become ingrained. Without doubt, the word “darkness” characterizes so well the life, and future potential of an unsaved person.
But, one day, as a believer in Jesus Christ can testify to, God brings in light. Through no doing of our own, a saved person recognizes that they are alienated from God due to their sinful, selfish, and rebellious ways and they repent. They change their ways and in humility they seek out a relationship with God.
With the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God now living in the person, an awareness of the power and wisdom of the Living Word (the Bible), and the support and training of the church community, a new believer grows in their understanding of the faith.
One of the key principles of our faith that every believer needs to understand is that the mandatory bondage to sinful habits of your former life are gone. The Bible says, “we are new creations in Christ”.
The Bible says in Romans 6:6 (nasb) that “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away (or another version says, “rendered powerless) with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
In other words, as the New Testament speaks of so often, “it is for freedom that Christ has set you free”.
HANG IN THERE WITH ME —THIS IS GOOD STUFF!
Let’s go back now to the picture of the STOP sign. For probably 30 years, I have been driving down this street and I’ve come to a STOP sign. Its been right outside a big hospital. But the hospital has been taken down with the exception of just a few doctors’ offices and the city recently decided to remove the STOP sign.
What I found interesting is that over the past week or so, I have stopped numerous times at that intersection, but the truth is there is no STOP sign there. In other words, although I am free to just keep on driving, a habit has been formed in my mind and every time I go that intersection, these habits of the mind tell my will how to behave.
Can you follow the spiritual application that this STOP sign illustration is to our spiritual walks?
When I get tempted to take a second look at a pretty woman (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
When I get tempted to get angry at a person who I feel didn’t respect me for some reason, (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
When I get tempted to covet the nice things that a friend might have that I can’t afford, (an old, frequent habit), I don’t have to because I now free in Christ. The power of that old habit has been broken. I am a new creation in Christ.
Just writing these words is exciting for me and I hope they are for you, as well. If you are a Christian, the new you is not the old you.
God’s best for you is that you not only believe that, but that you act like it.
Why stop along the road of life when you are free to just keep on driving?