Archive for May, 2010

The Freedom Paradox

Freedom has been defined as “exemption: immunity from an obligation or duty.”  But real freedom, the kind that is truly liberating, always involves submission, not exemption.

Monday, Memorial Day, we’ll honor men and women who died in military service for our country.  They willingly submitted themselves to the authority of a higher power for the purpose of securing freedom, and so it is with our spiritual lives.

In fact, Paul uses an interesting word picture to describe this freedom paradox.  However it is we decide to live, we obligate ourselves to that particular way of life.  If we ever expect to experience true freedom in Jesus Christ, we have to submit ourselves to the authority of his Word and follow the commands and principles outlined in Scripture.

In order to experience true freedom, we have to embrace submission, not exemption.

T. J.

Categories: Growth

The Significance of a Mentee

You’ve probably heard of how important it is for you to have a mentor, someone you can look up to for wisdom and advice, preferably someone who has already done what you aspire to do. I would absolutely agree, and I am truly thankful for the handful of people I consider my mentors.

But don’t underestimate the importance of having a mentee. A mentee is simply someone who has a mentor, and since you should have a mentee, that would make you a mentor.

There comes a time in your personal growth process where you have to become a mentor and pour into others all of the wisdom and advice that you have received. Not only will it benefit your mentee, but it will double as valuable leadership development for you.

If you don’t have a mentor, I suggest you find one. If you don’t have a mentee, I suggest you find one. Both relationships will serve to help you reach your full leadership potential.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

Hitting the Wall

May 24, 2010 1 comment

At some point in our lives, we all slam head first into a wall that stops us dead in our tracks.  It’s the point at which we realize there’s got to be something more to this life than living and dying, something much bigger than our own personal story.

Two options exist when this epiphany occurs:

  1. We can put our blinders back on, push through the tension, and remain focused on the starring role we’ve become accustomed to playing in our own little story, or
  2. We can analyze that reoccurring question, “What is my true purpose in life?” and recognize the significance of playing a supporting role in a much bigger story, the story of God.

Option number one offers temporary satisfaction, and with each self-centered pursuit, the satisfaction level gradually decreases, until it disappears altogether.

Option number two offers lasting fulfillment that can only be experienced by submitting to, and investing in, a story that will outlive our own.

T. J.

Categories: Growth

Not “If” but “When”

In the gospel of Matthew, when Jesus refers to fasting, he says, “…when you fast…” It’s interesting to me that he says, “when” and not “if.”

Until a year and a half ago, I had never gone without food for an extended period of time.  I enjoy eating way too much to do that.  But when I first sensed God calling me to plant a church, I wanted to seek his plan for me more intensely, so I began the spiritual discipline of fasting.

When fasting is done with the proper motives, it can help us go to a different level in our relationship with God.  In fact, Jesus said that prayer and fasting are required if we want to experience the faith necessary to accomplish certain things for him.

If you feel like you’ve hit a wall spiritually, and you desire a breakthrough, commit to fasting.  Ask God to show you what type of fast to undergo and for how long, and then watch what he does as you rely on him.

T. J.

For more information on spiritual fasting, check out the links below:

Categories: Growth

Your Choices Choose for You

You have the freedom to make choices, but you cannot choose the consequences of your choices.  Your choices choose for you.

It’s referred to as the principle of sowing and reaping, and it works both positively and negatively.  Every choice you make has a consequence that is determined by the type of choice you make.  It sounds complicated, but it’s really quite simple.

Make good choices, and you will benefit from those choices in the long run.  Make poor choices, and they will eventually catch up with you.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

Ask God to Cross-Examine You

One way to make sure your motives are pure is to ask God to put you on trial and cross-examine you.

In law, cross-examining a witness involves a line of questioning by the witness’ opponent, resulting in a hostile interrogation meant to do harm to the testimony of the witness.  But with God, the purpose, and results, for cross-examination are the exact opposite.

When we ask God to put us on trial and cross-examine us, he will test our motives and our hearts against his, for the purpose of keeping us from harm, so that we can testify of his grace and mercy in our lives.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership

It’s God’s Responsibility

My wife, Wendy, shared a quote with me awhile back that goes like this, “God can handle the consequences of our obedience.”  I like it, but I think we can go a step further.

Not only can God handle the consequences of our obedience, but God is willing to take responsibility for the consequences of our obedience.  When God gives us a clear command in his Word, he is responsible for what happens when we obey it.

Some people struggle with sharing the gospel because they feel like a failure if the person they’re talking to doesn’t become a follower Jesus.  Whether or not a person enters into a relationship with God isn’t up to us, but we are commanded to tell people how they can experience new life in Jesus Christ!

Maybe you know God wants you to take a step of faith, but you’re afraid the end result might not be favorable for you.  Let him take responsibility for your obedience.  If what you’re doing lines up with a command, or a principle, found in Scripture, he has promised to protect you and provide for your needs.

Just simply obey, and let God be God.

T. J.

Categories: Growth, Leadership