Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Pivot into Progress” #PivotPoint

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

We wrapped up our series at Kfirst. “Pivot Point” has been our study of the life of Jacob. Even though he didn’t have the “model life”, God always had something beautiful in store for him. Our goal yesterday was to help people understand: “The church isn’t a gathering of perfection but place of progress.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

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Far too many misunderstand progress. And perhaps the biggest issue in it is we mistake progress for “product.” We fail to see how much someone has developed because we’re distracted by where we think they should be. But progress is what we should be noticing AND celebrating. When it comes to our walk with Christ, progress is realized when we see the image of Christ being revealed in and through us.

From the narrative of Genesis 32 and 35, we discovered simple ways to pivot into progressing in our walks with Christ:

  1. Position yourself for progress – Genesis 32:23-24
    • Jacob got alone with God. When we get alone with Him, and give Him all of us, we can be in position to get all of Him.
  2. Understand: Progress is not passive. – Genesis 32:23-26
    • Jacob had to wrestle more than a man, he had to deal with who he’s been the past 90 years. Progress will push you out of your comfort zone; it will challenge you beyond where you are at.
  3. Progress will require patience. – Genesis 35:10-15
    •  About ten years have passed. Instead of disciplining Jacob for not taking up his new name, God reminds him that his name is Israel. Too many people abandon the direction of progress because they don’t see the scope (or degree) of progress. God didn’t give up on Jacob; he just reminded Jacob of his calling.
  4. Progress will cost you. – Genesis 35: 19-21
    • We want to see God move but don’t want to pay a price for what we want Him to do. Can I challenge you with something: Don’t pray for what you are unwilling won’t pay for. If God is challenging you to do something, it will demand some cost/change on your behalf. Be open to what God wants to do and watch His blessings follow.

Why is this last message of our series so “pivotal”? Because of this:

Your two next steps this week: 

  1. Make what God says about you bigger than what happened to you.
  2. Take a next step; See your life as a vessel of progression and not a finished product

Also, if you need a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we kick off a new series!

BTW, here’s a song this week for your devotions playlist:

Rearview Mirrors: 3 Simple Steps to Keep Your Marriage Looking Forward

“…But one thing I do:forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Being a dad of a 16-year-old, I have a lot talks about using the car. In fact, I’m trying to get Cammi used to my car instead of Anne’s. It’s a bit longer and a little more of a challenge to deal with. And if she’ll get used to it, it’ll prepare her to be a better driver. 

But after she backed over my mailbox, I’ve come to realize we’ve still got some work to do. She was trying to focus on her rearview mirror and got confused. Even though she was backing up, if she’d just look in front of her, she’d see how straight (or lack-thereof) the car was. 

In a car, a windshield is ginormous in comparison to the rearview mirror. The mirror is there to assist you and not be the focal point. What’s the focal point? It’s this huge piece of safety glass in front of us called a windshield. Our eyes are to be looking forward only to access the mirror for moments of clarity.

The past is a like a rearview mirror: Give it a glance and keep going forward. Too much focus on it has catastrophic results. Unfortunately, too many couples (even singles) struggle with this. You’ve got a “windshield” to experience the present and move forward into the future. But because of some challenging seasons you’ve went through, you continue focus upon the past.  It’s then you get caught up staring and don’t realize that living in the past sacrifices the present and mortgages the future. 

How do you keep looking forward? It’s in the simplicity of what I’ve been encouraging our congregation to do every week through our marriage series, Mosaic Marriage.

1 – Encourage Effort. Encouraging effort keeps your eyes looking forward. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, should out encourage you when it comes to your spouse. For some reason, we only encourage “successes” and not effort. And what ends up happening is, because “success” is based upon individual’s interpretation, encouragement is used very sparingly between couples. From the small moments to the large steps forward, don’t wait for results to be encouraging, cheer on the attempts move forward.  I’d rather have someone who’s failing in their efforts than failing to make ANY effort. Keep looking and moving forward by encouraging your spouse.  

2 – Celebrate Progress. Celebration is largely underestimated. Couples tend to only celibate weightier progress or large steps of progress. But can I present a thought to you? Progress, big or small, is still PROGRESS. When I was doing Weight Watchers 10 years ago, I learned that whether I lost 7 lbs. or 1 oz., it was all progress. And ANY progress is to be celebrated. Progress helps develop momentum.  It’s that momentum that helps develop the strength to move forward. Want some marriage momentum? Big  or small, celebrate progress.

3 – Feed Hope. This is how you keep your eyes looking forward. Hope fixes your focus. Like it or not, if you are not feeding “hope,” you’re feeding something else. Take your pick, despair, anger, resentment, cynicism, etc. all are bottom feeders that will find sustenance off of hopelessness.  My simple, and practical approach: Cut off what is stifling the flames.  Push past the feelings of hopelessness and foster an atmosphere of hope. Purpose in your heart that hope is just as valuable to your marriage as breathing is to your body. And the more you feed hope, the more life you breathe into the lungs of your marriage. 

Today, give the past a glance and only a glance. It’s there to assist you and not be our focus. 

Encourage Effort.
Celebrate Progress.
Feed Hope.

And remember…

The power of the past is the permission you give it to influence the present!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…