The Dream that Destroys You

Usually, Monday is about closing out the documents and presentations connected to Sunday message at Kfirst. Like an old-school film room floor would be full of film clips that didn’t make it to the final edit of a movie, my notes are filled with statements and thoughts that never made it to the message.

And as I was going through that normal process, a statement caught my eye from my left-over thoughts.

Your dream will destroy you if your character can’t sustain it.

It really is a selah statement. Because, unfortunately, I’ve seen this first hand in ministry. I have watched it happen in people’s marriages. I’ve seen it pull apart families. Getting to a dream doesn’t matter if you can’t handle it. People have an idea of “what I need”, “where I need to get,” or “something I need to achieve” without thinking, “what character needs to grow IN me in order for me to steward (manage, handle) the dream that God has put in my heart.”

God isn’t honored by you achieving a dream as much as He’s honored by what is achieved in you. And that is called “character.”

This is what I hope was conveyed yesterday as we continued to look at the life of Joseph. Barely in his 20’s, he has immense influence and authority at his disposal in the home of the most powerful men of the region. And when faced with a compromising situation, his reply is stellar, “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” (Genesis 39:9)

I love that.

Two sentences say everything you need to know about this 20-year-old. The essence of Joseph wasn’t his position with man but his position of his heart with God. He was a man of character before the position (and as you’ll learn about him) it was his character that continued to shine despite the tough seasons he’d face.

Dreams can destroy you if they are the sole goal. Dreams will rip you apart if you think attaining them is the only “win” in life. But from personal experience, there are times that God gave me dreams to go after, not because of what I needed to achieve, but because He wanted to achieve something in me. And the “win” was what the Holy Spirit accomplished in me and what I “arrived” at.

Don’t allow the dream to destroy you; let it change you. If God has giving you a vision for your life, marriage, family, vocation, etc., before you sign up for a class or quit your present job, would you start with Psalm 139 and some moments in solemn prayer. “Search my heart o God. Check my heart oh God. And change what you want to change in order that Your character will be on display within me.

Love you all. Praying for you today.

BTW: If you want to develop your character, check out my friend David’s blog, harvesttimepartners.com because character creates opportunity.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

1 New Year; 3 Words – What will you be known for

1 new year; 3 words.

Last week, I read an article about someone who visited the grave site of Michelangelo. Being someone who loves not only history but places and people of significant historical values, my eyes couldn’t help but soak in her experience at such a hallowed place. 

Of all of the details of the site, she described 3 specific statues that stand there. These are not random relics used to accessorize a headstone. They are intentional in their creation and their placement. The three stand there to represent and proclaim the 3 words left from his extraordinary life.

The lady of painting.
The lady of sculpture.
The lady of architecture.

The lingering legacy of Michelangelo summed up in three words: Painting. Sculpture. Architecture

Begs the question: What 3 words will I (we) we known for?

This week marks, for most, the start of a new era and time. Even if you don’t have kids going into a school, the beginning of an academic year sets the pace for routines and schedules.

This week is a place to not only launch into a new grade but to begin to write a legacy of what this year will be known for. And this can happen by asking the question: When June hits, what 3 words would my neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and educators say of me this year? What will the 3-word legacy I leave behind?

It’s not just questions for children going to school but questions for us adults to ponder. And the answer lies in having a prophetic vision.

Proverbs 29:18 ESV, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

I love the way the ESV (English Standard Version) says that. By “prophetic,” it means it that which encouraging, edifying, and compelling. It’s looking past what the natural eyes can see and chooses to see that which God desires us to see in order to move us into His vision for our lives.   A “prophetic vision” is a God-given/inspired picture that launches us forward. And the words He speaks and the pictures He gives may seem like they don’t exist in the present but set your feet to a path to follow.

It makes me think of the story of Gideon. A man who thought very little of himself and his clan, was living in fear of others. It was in this mental and emotional state where an angel approached him and said the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” These 7 words didn’t necessarily describe who he was in the moment but what God wanted to draw out of him.

What 3 prophetic words can you speak over your kids this school year? What 3 words can you speak over your marriage? What 3 words can you speak over your life?

It may be a sentence of 3 words (“Love one another” “Embrace and forgive” “Engage in love”). It could be 3 separate words (“Grow, deepen, listen” “Watch, encourage, serve”). But quieting yourself before the Lord and listening to His voice this week can not only change the trajectory of the year but the tone of which each day is lived.

3 words.

What 3 words do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is He speaking over your kids? What 3 words are you speaking over your kids?

Discover them. Write them down. Say them over each other. Live them out.

1 new year; 3 words.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Live at the Right Level”

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we continued our series at Kfirst. Every June we look to pour into marriages and this year our series is called, “Senseless.” It was four years ago I read Genesis 2:15-17 and saw the 5 senses at work. 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (VISION; TOUCH). And the Lord God commanded the man, saying (HEAR), “You may surely eat(TASTE; SMELL) of every tree of the garden.

The senses were there to not just experience what God provided but to explore what God gifted humanity with. It gave a fascinating view of bringing health to the complexity of relationships, especially marriage.

This week, we look at the sense of “sight.” And when I think about sight, I think about physical and spiritual perception God gives us. 

Check out this week’s message:

Other thoughts from Sunday:

  • Stop living at a level you were saved from and live toward the life you were saved to.
  • Faith in Christ has not just changed the trajectory of your eternity but the patterns of your life.
  • When we take our eyes off God’s direction, we only see our difficulties.
  • Satan instigates (infects with a thought), fascinates (develops a story line), and then assassinates (destroys).
  • The habits you maintain in comfortable seasons will carry you through a difficult seasons.
  • “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song we used yesterday.

What does the future of your marriage look like? 3 Questions to Ask

I’m not married to the same woman I married back in 1998.

Let me clarify. I’m married to the same human, but she’s not the same person. Really, neither one of us are. Marriage wasn’t meant to be a change of a title (single to married) or a feat to accomplish. Marriage is raw material begging to be developed into something. Like a piece of clay that just landed upon the potter’s wheel, marriage screams for hands-on, intentional growth. And your wedding day is just the first in many rotations of that potter’s wheel that helps shape us.

Often, when I encounter couples with frustrations, usually it’s in an area where one (or both) are refusing to be shaped or to grow. Growth in a healthy marriage is not optional. It’s mandatory. Without it, we fall prey to marital insanity. As the old adage says, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” And I think it’s insane to think one or the both of you think you can keep going without growing and think the marriage can stay healthy.

I listen to podcasts all week. Most of the time, I listen to what other men and women are speaking into their congregations as it both challenges me and helps shape the craft that I love to do (preaching). Last week, it was a message of Levi Lusko (Fresh Life Church) who made a statement that sent my marriage blogging mind in a number of directions (not to mention my pastoral mind). He said,

“The future you is exaggerated version of the current you.”

How many of us are currently dealing with issues personally or maritally that are not new but have been developing from the past “you.”

  • Something happened, not because you’ve stopped communicating today, but the pattern of poor communication.
  • Resentment has grown over time, not because of an incident, but because you’ve not learned to navigate through bitterness.
  • You’re seen as selfish, not because of a one-time moment, but because you are only nice when you want something.

If I really want to grasp this, Dave and Anne today are the exaggerated version of 2017 Dave and Anne, or deeper the exaggerate version of 2013 Dave and Anne (just reviewing the past 5 years). So there’s less to blame in terms of the recent season and more the evaluation of what we allow and what we live.

When it comes to your marriage, if you want to understand the product of a marriage, check out the patterns they live by. Far too often, I have conversations with people who are seeing the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” not understanding that the issue didn’t just happen yesterday. On the most part, it’s a case of “cause and effect.” You are living the dividends of what you’ve been investing (or the lack thereof). I’ll say it this way: The “future” you will either thank you or wan to cuss at you by the decisions you engage in today.

Let me give you three questions for your marriage to ask:

What growth needs to happen?
What vision do you have for your marriage? How do you want to grow? What things would you like to see happen?  The both of you should have some input into where you both can grow together. It’s not about pointing the finger but being real with where you are now and where you want to be. For that future marriage you see, you need to understand that the current version of you needs to embrace growth and change. Which leads me to…

What do I (we) need to confess? 
What you did in one season of marriage may not be the most productive way of doing it in the next season. And confessing the area(s) that you need help in shows humility, brings accountability, and grows trust with your spouse. Pointing fingers raises up defenses; owning your shortcomings develops intimacy. I love what scripture says in the book of James. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Hiding and ignoring grows infection; confession and vulnerability to one another restores and strengthens.

What needs to happen now?
There’s no better time than the present to begin a step of change to create the direction of change you’re wanting to see. If you want to see more happen through your marriage later, you need to allow more to happen to your marriage right now. It’s not going to transform over night, but healthy marriage are not made in a 1 or 2 of moments a year but through consistent and intentional actions over time.

The beauty of marriage is the life-long journey it is meant to be. The frustrating side is the pressure of our culture on the rate of change. So often, we measure the ability to change on the rate for which we can see the change (perhaps, that needs to be next Monday’s blog).

Love you all. Praying for you as the two of you sit down to envision the future and make the changes to see that dream come to fruition.

Encourage effort.
Celebrate progress.
Feed hope.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: Check out my book. Click on the link below.

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: #MYCHURCH week 4 “Product Placement”

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

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January is about “newness.” Whether we are talking about a new start, new life, new opportunities, or just new vision, a new year naturally directs our focus forward into endless possibilities.

And its every January where we celebrate the newness of what God has in store for Kfirst  community as we kickoff our annual #MYCHURCH series. (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Yesterday, we looked ended our series with a message called, “Product Placement.” We, ourselves, have the amazing opportunity to be “product placement” in our communities of the Kingdom of God. People can, and should, see Christ in us, the hope of glory.

We spent our entire service in Colossians 1:21-29 as we answered 4 questions about Kfirst and gave simple answers:

  1. What are we doing? (v. 22-23, 28)
    • We proclaim Jesus. As much as there are a variety of ways to proclaim Christ, we believe the easiest way is to share your story.
  2. Why do we do it? (v. 28-29)
    • We love people. And our love is not based upon any conditions. God loves us with an unconditional love and we need to model that.
  3. How will we do it? (v. 23-24)
    • We (KFIRST) will work hard, rely on God, and stay humble in helping people become “steadfast and stable, not shifting” in their relationship with God. So we introduced two huge changes:
      • 1 – Discipleship Pillers
        • Prayer, Bible, Identity in Jesus, Stewardship
      • 2 – Kingdom Builders
        • We’re shifting the support for our missionaries to our general fund as we “tithe” off of it to missions. Then we’re starting a new offering fund called “Kingdom Builders” to help facilitate missional opportunities in our community.
  4. Who are we? (v. 21-23)
    • We are a church that is a part of The Church. And we walk as those reconciled, blameless, and above reproach so that others can see and experience the Kingdom of God.

This week, what can you do to display the Kingdom of God in the sphere of influence that God has placed you? Spend some time each morning asking the Holy Spirit to help you express that unconditional love to someone in your life.

Love you all. We’ll see you next Sunday as we kick off a new series, “Kingdom Builders.”

BTW: Here’s a song for your weekly playlist:

Our Kfirst Values: Everyone is Significant

Here at Kfirst, our mission is our passion:  We make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.

Simple doesn’t mean easy. With so much competing for our attention, it’s difficult to develop a life-giving relationship with Jesus and follow Him. Our mission is to make it simple, so that people who feel far from God will find life in following Jesus.

That’s our vision, but it’s our values that guides our perspective and actions of a church.  Our core values are deeply ingrained thought-patterns that motivate the way we behave. Think of an apple core: the seeds in that core are the apple tree’s core values; these seeds create the future. So over the next few weeks, I want to share the core values Kfirst has as they guide us towards our goal of making it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.

So first…
Everyone is significant2

It seems to be the core of who we are as a human being: Significance. We all strive to be something and do something that will give us that sense of significance; that idea of feeling unique, important, special. or needed. I mean, look at the most popular movies from the past decade. Superhero movies have dominated the landscape of cinema. They are stories of men and woman discovering how special they are and how much of a significant impact they can have upon their world. This may make a great movie storyline, but it highlights the deep longing that we all carry.  We all want to be significant and we want to do something of great significance.

Two thoughts:

First, we believe our significance doesn’t come from within us; it comes from Christ. So much money and resources is spent chasing avenues to feed our need to be special.  But know this: God’s love for us is so extravagantly he gave us his best; Jesus. And because he didn’t give his life for a few notable people, it shows that there is something significant about ALL of us. He came for all. He died for all. He rose for all. And that “all” includes you. You don’t have to try to “be” significant. You already are because Christ loves you.

Second, because we are so greatly loved, we endeavor to love people like God loves people.  We give generously. We serve endlessly. We love abundantly. And none of that is based upon what we receive back. For freely we have received; freely we give.

What does that look like for you?

If you have never realized that you are significant, look no further than the cross and resurrection.

If you never realized that you can do something significant, look no further than finding a place to serve in your neighborhood or church community. We believe everyone, regardless of age or background, has purpose and a place to serve and make a significant impact.

If you’re ready to do something significant, let me invite you to be a part of one of the most crucial areas to serve: “First Impressions.” It is the place to impact lives even before a song is sung or a sermon is presented. A simple smile, a kind greeting, and a joyful attitude can melt a heart and impact someone’s life in a powerful way.

If you’re interested in making a significant impact through “First Impressions” or any other area, please click HERE or the graphic below.

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I believe everyone is significant and I endeavor to love people like God loves people. At Kfirst, everyone has purpose and a place. And we want to help you find yours.

 

 

2 Minute Devo: What are you thinking Day 9

We’re focusing on what the Bible says about the “mind” and how that affects us.  Spend time on the devo and take a minute or two to ponder what the Word is challenging you to do.

Psalm 101:3

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.