MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG
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You’re right, you can’t help yourself. Neither can I. Enter Jesus Christ . . .
THE CULTURE WE LIVE IN HAS US CONDITIONED FOR REPLAY. Miss a sitcom? No worries, you can catch it on the internet. If it’s a popular series, stream it on the rebound and you’re on your way. But life isn’t like that. There are some things in life that if you miss them they are gone. Forever. There is no replay. No second chance.
In Luke 10:12, Jesus makes this striking statement: “I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” (ESV). More bearable than Sodom? Are you kidding me? God annihilated the people of Sodom – and everything on the ground as well. He obliterated Sodom. (To learn why God destroyed Sodom, listen to the February 23, 2014 podcast, Miss This, Miss Everything). By the time God was done with Sodom, there was nothing left of it but a memory.
First, it’s important to note that Jesus considered the Old Testament account of Sodom to be literal (see Genesis 19). Jesus agrees that Sodom was a real place, with a real problem, and that it faced the real judgment of God. Some folks don’t think Jesus judged anyone, but those folks are not reading the Bible. This passage, as well as numerous other passages, make it clear that Jesus absolutely did judge people. In Luke 10:1-12, the whole passage is about God going out of His way to rescue people while all along He knew that some of those people would reject Him. The point of Luke 10:1-12 is that Jesus destroyed Sodom for their sexual perversity – yet there is a sin that will just as certainly seal the fate of anyone who commits it, every single time. That sin is rejecting Jesus as the Savior.
Yes, some people do not believe that the sin of Sodom was sexual perversion. But in order to reach this conclusion, one has to be completely selective in what the Bible specifically teaches on the subject. There is not much need for interpretation, because the biblical authors spell it out in black and white. You have to ignore entire sections of the Bible, repeatedly, and ignore the fact that multiple biblical authors continually interpreted the sin of Sodom to be sexual perversion, not merely a lack of kindness. When one reads Genesis 13:13, Genesis 19:1-26, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:18-36, 2 Peter 2:4-10 and Jude 6-8, it is the understatement of the century to suggest the sin of Sodom’s people was merely greed and a lack of kindness toward its visitors! If you really want to know what the Bible says on the topic, take some time to read the passages for yourself. They need no commentary from me – or anyone else, for that matter. They speak for themselves with a clarity that God ensured, having covered them from multiple angles, with multiple authors, over multiple generations.
It’s striking to note that Sodom is the example Jesus uses when discussing what God will do to those who reject Him. These are not the words of a weak leader, or of a man suffering from an identity crisis. They are not the words of a man trying to come to terms with His own life mission. They are the words of Jesus, who understood He was, and is, God’s Messiah for our problem of sin.
Is God a hater? Yes, he is. He hates sin. But does God hate people? Absolutely not. The cross is God’s definitive statement on the matter. If God hated people, He wouldn’t have pursued us and died for us on the cross. The justice of God, where He dealt with your sins and mine, was demonstrated on the cross of Christ. On His body. The mercy of God, where He decided, because of the cross, to not hold our sins against us, was displayed on the cross. In a very powerful way, we could say that the justice and mercy of God “kissed” at the cross. God’s hatred for sin, and his love for us, were demonstrated simultaneously through the death of Jesus on the cross.
Am I a hater? I am. I hate sin, beginning with my own. And you should, too, if you claim to follow Christ. The sin of Sodom was not that they simply were involved in sexual perversion. Their sin was that they approved of their perversion and refused to repent. It’s their lack of repentance that ultimately, eternally condemns a person. God doesn’t take one sin as more wicked than another – except the sin of refusing to repent. This is the sin He will not overlook. He never did and He never will. This was the ultimate sin of Sodom, the one that forced God’s hand and led to their destruction, the judgment of God. The same sin is what forces the hand of God today. A hardened heart toward God, a heart that will not repent, is the sin that condemns a person. There is no sin too big for God – except the sin of refusing to repent. Had Sodom repented, God would have relented. But they didn’t, and so Sodom is no more. God will deal with the perpetual liar, slanderer, gossip, thief, swindler, cheat, the same way. Refuse to accept God’s cure for lying, slandering, gossiping, stealing, cheating, and you too will go the way of Sodom.
The cure for a lifestyle of repentance is Jesus Christ. He’s not the cure for ensuring you’ll never sin again. But really getting serious about following Jesus, and asking Him to change your life will reduce your propensity to sin dramatically. Jesus is the cure to get life heading in the right direction – and this is what repentance of lifestyle is. It’s a new direction in a new way of living. Yes, you will stumble. But you will get back up, by the grace of God, and continue the journey in your new direction. This is what God offers us through faith in Jesus Christ. You’re right, you can’t help yourself. Enter Jesus Christ.
The same is true of you and me. We are not to make excuses for our sin. Doing so belittles the cross. It belittles Jesus’ mission. We need to take our sin seriously – because Jesus took it seriously. When you’ve repented of your sin, and when repentance becomes your lifestyle as a follower 0f Christ (it must), then you earn the fearful right to help others do the same. It’s not something to hold over the heads of others. It’s something we must approach with fear and trembling. We need to walk in a lifestyle of repentance from sin and a God-honoring approach to life. And then, we have an obligation and a clear calling from God (as did the 72 in Luke 10:1-12), to help others pursue the same.
A lack of repentance is hatred toward God. Think about it. Is it possible to love someone while ignoring what is most important to them? Again I say, think about this.
As Christ followers, we are to follow in His footsteps. We are to hate sin, beginning with our own. And, we are to love people – deeply. But loving people doesn’t mean we are to accept their sin. Did God accept the sin of Sodom? Of course not. Is it possible to separate sin from a person? Only when that sin is dealt with through saving faith in Jesus Christ. Only God can deal with the sin He hates while loving the person guilty of that sin. Only God can remove sin from a person – and this is what must happen if a relationship with God is to begin. Until sin is dealt with by Christ Himself, as a result of faith in Him and His payment for sin, it is impossible to separate the guilt of sin from the person who is guilty.
Miss Jesus and you miss the Big One. It makes little difference what else you may accomplish in life, but if you reject Jesus, you’ve missed everything that matters. What matters most in life is that you know your sins are forgiven, and that you have a real relationship with God. This is made possible through the death of Jesus Christ. As Sodom couldn’t escape the punishment of God, nobody who knows about Jesus, who hears the good news of God dealing with sin through the death of His son and rejects Him, can escape. If you really hate sin, and you really love God, then accepting Jesus is the obvious choice.
Listen to (and share) the companion podcast from Feb. 23, 2014, Miss This, Miss Everything, with the free Godfactor App (iTunes or Google App store).
SOME PEOPLE HAVE HOLY UNDERWEAR. LITERALLY.
“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.’ This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.‘*
– John 19:23,24
A TUNIC was the first century equivalent of underwear. It was the long, robe-like garment worn between the skin and the outer garment, providing protection, comfort and functionality. Some have postulated that Jesus was wealthy, and use John 19:23 as their evidence. You see, Jesus was not wearing the common man’s underwear. The soldiers, in the midst of dividing Jesus’ clothes among them, were caught by surprise when they got down to His underwear. As the verse says, “But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.” This kind of tunic was considered valuable because of the way it was made. It was the kind of garment not often worn by poor or middle-class individuals. Some have therefore concluded that Jesus’s choice of underwear revealed his wealthy status. They then make the leap to suggest that His followers have a right to claim, pursue and embrace the same kind of material wealth. The thinking goes like this: “Jesus was rich, and and I’m a child of the King. Therefore, I should be rich, too.”
This kind of “theology” espoused by people who embrace the “prosperity gospel”, is askew for numerous reasons too lengthy to explain here, but certainly worthy of mention. The above conclusion royally misses the point of John recording the moment of surprise. If you’re not careful, you too might miss the lesson that applies to us even now, in the twenty-first century. Using John 19:23 as evidence of Jesus’ material wealth royally misses the point of the passage – and the point of Jesus’ intentionality. It demonstrates an extremely sloppy and poor treatment of the biblical text, and reveals the human tendency to pervert and twist the truth for personal gain, even if done unintentionally. (Indeed, one need not be intentional to be incorrect). Human intellect, apart from divine enlightenment, constantly misses the higher intentions of God.
So what was John’s reason for writing about Jesus’ underwear? And, what in the world was Jesus doing wearing a rich man’s brand of underwear in the first place? The point is clearly described in the very next verse (John 19:24):
This was to fulfill the Scripture which says . . .
Jesus’ underwear was set apart for a divine purpose, not merely earthly comfort. It was literally worn to point people to God. Jesus’ underwear was, in the most literal sense of the word, holy.
Still, some might persist about the passage affirming Jesus’ wealth, and the right of every disciple to follow in his footsteps. They could point to the fact that Jesus had a treasurer handling his money (Judas, the back-stabber). John 12:6 says that Judas had “charge of the moneybag”. They suggest that Jesus’ having such a full-time keeper of the moneybag, further supports the premise that Jesus was wealthy. But this conclusion is ignorant of historical fact. It was entirely common, not unusual, for a prominent rabbi to have someone handle his financial affairs. In fact, given the traveling nature of Jesus’ ministry, it would have been understood that someone, even multiple people, would be underwriting the expenses of his ministry. (The same can be said of current ministers who serve God well. Their ministries and lives are often entirely supported through the financial resources of others).
The fact is that we don’t know whether Jesus was rich, poor or somewhere in the middle during his 30 plus years of life on earth. That He was supported financially, through mere mortals, is a no-brainer. Of course He was. He had to be to accomplish what He did. We know from Scripture that Jesus had access to all the world’s riches as the Creator of the world (John 1:2,3). And, we also know from Philippians 2:6,7 that he “made himself nothing”. In other words, Jesus gave up His majesty and everything that went with it – and entrusted His well-being into His Father’s hands. His Father, therefore, ensured that even mere mortals took care of His Son’s needs. If we are to conclude anything about Jesus and money that is a timeless take-away for His followers, it’s this: Jesus knew how to put money to use not for mere personal comfort, but for the glory of His Father. The godly person knows how to convert money into deliberate, strategic vessels that point people to God. To use God’s blessings for merely material matters is to stop short of our God-given calling and potential. Money has a higher purpose than personal comfort. The mature Christ-follower uses money – and all their resources – for something that far outlasts personal comfort and material well-being: the glory of God and advancement of His Kingdom.
So, how did Jesus get his seamless tunic? For all we know, someone could have given it to Him as a gift. How many of us have received gifts from people who are about us? All the more appreciated would a nice pair of underwear be for someone who had an itinerant ministry in the kind of hot and harsh terrain Jesus frequented. For all we know, it could have been Jesus’ only such pair of underwear, reserved for the special occasion of His crucifixion at the hands of ruthless Romans. It wouldn’t be the first time we see the Master Communicator using the perfect prop at the perfect time to deliver the perfect message. We don’t really know how Jesus got it – but we know Jesus was masterfully strategic in its use.
All this leads us the real reason why Jesus was found wearing the expensive undergarment on the occasion of His death.Jesus was a strategist, entirely devoted to the glory of His Father.Everything He did, everything He owned, right down to His underwear, pointed people to His Father, the Scriptures, and the fulfillment of His earthly mission as the literal Lamb of God who would give His life for the forgiveness of your sins and mine. Jesus knew that the seamless tunic would surprise and interest the Roman soldiers. So much so that they would not destroy its value by tearing it up and dividing it. Instead, they would cast lots for it – and in so doing, fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 22:18. The seamless tunic was God’s “bait”, used to lure the Roman soldiers to act in a way that would fulfill the Scriptures and again present Jesus as the Promised Messiah, God’s Anointed, the Christ.
If there is a take-away for the modern Christ-follower, it certainly isn’t about one’s personal right to material wealth. It certainly isn’t about one’s claim, as a child of the King, to personal prosperity. Jesus’ use of his tunic helps us understand that there is no such thing as a meaningless possession when it comes to advancing God’s Kingdom.
If, as Luke 6:40 says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher”, then the take-away is stunning – hidden at first from the eyes of us mortals who are too often bent on foolish, trivial pursuits. If everything about Jesus, right down to His underwear, was deliberately done to point people to His Father, and to point people to Himself as the Messiah, then shouldn’t we who claim to follow Him, do the same? Shouldn’t everything we own, and everything we do, have this single purpose as the driving force behind our life and resources?
POINTS TO PONDER:
1. Jesus’ use of underwear was a display of creative, strategic brilliance.If you are a Christ-follower, are you following your Master’s lead? Do you seek ways to strategically use every part of your life, and all your resources to fulfill God’s divine purpose, as Jesus did?
2. Is there any area of your life that you thought was of no use to God, that you didn’t realize could be used to point people to Jesus as Master, Savior, Messiah?
What does your underwear say about God? If you’re like me, there’s a good chance it could say a lot more. I’m doing all I can to adjust my life, accordingly. I hope you’ve been inspired toward the same.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments . . .
WHERE IS THE 21st CENTURY KNIGHT? THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISCOVERING (or rediscovering) your role as a knight in shining armor are so significant and so staggering that you will be unrecognizable once the revolution has begun. Your only need is to keep your revolution rolling . . .
Has chivalry died, or is it merely sleeping, having been distracted by the lesser things in life that often take us away from living lives of greatness?
All around us, civilization is crumbling. Politically, morally, financially. And where are we? Our homes are in disrepair, overrun by bad knights, ogres and dragons. The dams of life have been breached. Lines have been crossed, not blurred. And yet the overwhelming majority of us are carrying on as if life itself were an Xbox adventure. We are living life as if it were a game – a game that will, at any moment, soon be over – and then we will tend to more important matters. But there are no more important matters. This is LIFE.
The idea of being the factor of influence – the person who hears the damsel’s cry of distress and rides in to fight the dragon, take on the dark night, and restores the kingdom is long gone. In fact, nobody seems to do more than give a glancing thought at doing so. And when they do, they become easily distracted with the original cause – save the Kingdom and the subjects – thinking it’s about their own fame, security and kingdom instead. How easily we are distracted these days from noble, eternally significant things.
Narcissism is now confused with heroism.The differences, however, are striking, and vital to understand. Be careful, or you could go through life missing the knight-hood you could have otherwise embraced. The life of a narcissist will be forgotten, but a knight’s life is so epic, so significant and so monumental that it truly lives forever. Do you want to be forgotten or remembered? What’s your legacy? Right now, it’s being built by the choices you’re making. And the choices you make each day are either characterized as being centered upon yourself or others. In the final analysis, you are either a narcissist or a knight. Which are you?
There are huge differences between a narcissist and a knight, and here are just a few as food for thought:
1. A narcissist’s world revolves around himself. A knight’s world revolves around his King, the Kingdom and the subjects therein. A narcissist has made himself King, with his own kingdom. Everyone and everything is an obstacle to the narcissists objective – self rule, self praise, admiration by others and the perpetual pursuit of keeping the subjects focused on him. Narcissists are adept at bringing things back to themselves, unable and unwilling to let others focus on anything but the king and kingdom in which they rule and reign. A knight is interested in guarding and strengthening the rule of a King they were knighted to serve and defend. The subjects, not the knighthood, is important. A knight serves with all his strength to defend and encourage others to causes more noble than himself.
2. A narcissist’s goal is self protection; a knight’s goal is to protect the King, the Kingdom and the subjects. A night’s entire life is dedicated to others, not himself. A knight has no time for self-centered living. He is busy slaying the dragons that have paralyzed others with fear. Narcissists don’t save the day. They’re don’t think about others. They’re consumed with themselves. Narcissists save themselves because it’s self, not others, that matter most. A knight fights for and saves others, placing his own life at risk for the good of others – a cause and Kingdom more important than himself.
3. A narcissist’s goal is comfort, convenience and pleasure; a knight’s goal is the comfort, convenience and pleasure of the King, the Kingdom and the subjects. This week, the President of the United States visited a Costco and said these words about the company’s CEO,
“Craig is a wonderful guy, but he’s not in this for philanthropy. He’s a business man. He looking at the bottom line but he sees that if he’s doing right by Costco’s workers then they can buy that 80 inch TV, too.”*
The President made his comments (via teleprompter and a speech writer) with great gusto. He appeared passionate and serious, appealing to the narcissist in us all, as if the ultimate goal of a CEO were to acquire material things. This, so it was presented, is the goal for which peasants should also aspire.
How quickly we abandon the great things in life for the trivial. Things made of plastic. I’m pretty sure there is a higher pursuit in life than an 80″ television. Especially while the country is accelerating its decent into a moral free fall. Especially when our spouses need attention and our children need leaders. Take my word for it. At the end of your life, neither you nor anyone else will remember the 80″ television. You’ve been duped into thinking the lesser things in life are what life is all about. Stop it. Start thinking like a knight.
4. Narcissists wait for someone else to fight; knights don’t wait – they do the dirty work for the sake of the King, the Kingdom and the subjects. The narcissist has a weak stomach for conflict. He can’t face battles because he is too busy feeding himself. It’s obvious that our society is a kingdom of narcissists bent on pleasure and self-gratification. Nobody wants to fight anymore. We all want to play games, watch television, eat food, enjoy the latest fashions, and build bigger, more spectacular whatevers. We’re too busy pursuing things which, in 100 years, won’t matter. 100 years from now no one will be writing about the majority of things we let consume our lives today.
It should be clear to everyone that we’ve lost our way. But when a leader doesn’t realize this, and actually thinks the lost way is the right way – that pleasure is the greatest good of man, it’s time to run for the hills. But wait a minute. Narcissists run for the hills. Knights stand and fight. They ride in and save the day.Knights fight, recapture, re-establish and revive. Knights, not narcissists, are heroes.
5. Narcissists produce more narcissists for a kingdom that will eventually crumble from within; knights produce future kings, future princes and princesses for a Kingdom that will endure forever. The legacy of the narcissist is forgettable in light of eternity, but the legacy of a knight is the stuff of legends history.
Which are you, a narcissist or knight?Which would your spouse say you are? Your children? How about the people at your work place? Your church? Do you believe Rome is burning? What do you intend to do about it? Your response reveals the narcissist – or knight – within. We are all waiting for the knight to ride in and save the day, when all along we have the helmet, the sword, the armor. They’re for battle, not museums.
Grab your helmet. Put on your armor. Grip your sword. I wish I could say “stand your ground”. The problem is we’ve lost ground. It’s time to take ground back while we still have time. We have dragons to slay. Damsels to rescue. A Kingdom to advance. A King to serve.
Right now, you should be making history. Someday, your children may ask why you chose the lesser things in life over the greater. They will. Unless, of course, you are a narcissist. In that case, your children won’t even understand what you did. They will be too busy figuring out how they too can get that 80″ flat screen.
Beware the narcissist. Resurrect the knight.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Go even deeper. Listen to the January 26, 2014 podcast, FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER ASSUME with the free Godfactor App, available through iTunes (search for “Godfactor”) and the Google Store. You’ll find the podcast in the Flight Lounge. It’s message #42 in the series called A Doctor’s Narrative From the Gospel of Luke. You can also listen at GraceYork.com
“On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. . .” – Luke 9:37-39
If you are serious about soaring higher with God, there are FOUR THINGS you should never assume – and we learn what they are through the story of a young man who was harassed all his life. The story, and the lessons, are found in Luke 9:37-43 . . .
1: NEVER ASSUME A PHYSICAL PROBLEM IS JUST A PHYSICAL PROBLEM. In fact, the physical world sometimes merely reflects the underlying reality found in the spirit world. The young man seemed to have a condition that mimicked epilepsy or at least insanity influenced by the cycles of the moon. But his real problem was not physical at all. Behind his physical symptoms was a serious spiritual problem. This can be true not only in the area of illness, but also relationships, money or any other problem we face in life. Don’t assume the problem you are facing is merely physical. It could really be spiritual, with symptoms overflowing into your physical world.
2. NEVER ASSUME THAT IF YOU PURSUE GOD, AND FOLLOW HIM CLOSELY, YOU’RE IN FOR SMOOTH SAILING. A fallacy (heresy?) being spread in Christian circles is that if a person really follows God, all will go well for them. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your number one ambition is to live a comfortable life of convenience, you’re in for a let down in your walk with God. While God protects His followers, a real disciple of Jesus Christ is in for a life of adventurous opposition. If your ambition is to follow God, you will, by definition be opposed. Jesus was opposed by men and demons. If you follow Jesus, why would you think you’d be exempt from what the Master Himself faced habitually?
3. NEVER ASSUME YOU CAN DO GOD’S WORK WITHOUT FAITH. You don’t need faith in yourself. You need faith in God. Have you begun to serve God only to find yourself ironically operating without faith – or far less faith than you should have? And what do you do if you find yourself in the shoes of the young man’s son – with his head below water, drowning in a sea of pain and uncertainty? You do what he did – cry out to God. His prayer was “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). The biggest irony of all is a man or woman trying to do “God’s work” without faith. Forget it. It can’t be done. The same is true of a church or ministry. You must have faith if you intend to do God’s work, God’s way.
4. NEVER ASSUME YOU CAN DO GOD’S WORK WITHOUT PRAYER. How much prayer? Probably more than you realize. Any lasting, significant work of God, by God and for God (where people are partnering with Him) requires the people involved to be people of prayer. Not babbling prayer. Lip service means and does nothing. It must be prayer characterized by faith. It’s easy to begin working for God, and to start that work with dependence upon Him, in prayer. But with the passage of time and the business of life, we can begin to stray from Him. We don’t necessarily see the connection, but to stray in prayer is to stray from God. How do I know this to be true? From my own life. I’m the lead pastor of a large and growing church. I have a family. There is never a lack of things to be done, people to see, scraped elbows to bandage up or marital romance to rekindle. I fumble as a matter of expertise. And all I do is supposed to be for the glory of God, in His power? I’ll tell you what, I struggle with that! I really, really do. It’s hard to balance a life of faith living down here, outside of Eden – but it’s possible. And this is what God calls us to do. It’s who God calls us to be. It’s something we can shoot for while we rest in the knowledge that it’s a journey and a process. Who knows, maybe in reading this you’ll even offer up a prayer or two for me. God knows I could use it!
It’s never too late to fire up your faith and take your next steps with God. Don’t be discouraged. Today is a great day to take your next steps. Tomorrow is overrated, and yesterday is old news. You have this moment, and in this moment you can make the wise, right, eternally significant decision to move forward. This has practical implications right here, right now. In the physical and spiritual realms.
TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN to yesterday’s message, entitled “4 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER ASSUME” with the Godfactor App, on iTunes (search for “Godfactor”) or through GraceYork.com. It’s Message #42 in the series entitled A Doctor’s Narrative Through the Gospel of Luke. You may have even been there for the message, in person, but that doesn’t mean you really heard it. Considering what’s at stake in your life, it’s probably worth another listen or two, and worth sharing with a friend of yours who may need a boost in their walk with God.
“the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.; the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”*
Culture is a lot like the wind. It’s everywhere. But where does it come from? Our work places, homes, churches, schools and neighborhoods all have a particular culture. Culture is the characteristic reputation, feel and environment of a place, or group of people. Your home, for instance, can be characterized as loving or hostile, peaceful or hectic. Take a church, for instance. No matter the size, every church can be described by words that tell us something about its culture. Is it impersonal or warm? Does it feel small, even if it is large? Is it relaxed or formal? It’s all a matter of culture. How a home, church, business, neighborhood or organization develops its particular culture is a matter of the peoplewho make it up. Culture comes from the people.
So the question is simple, poignant and important: How are you influencing the culture around you? Whether you realize it or not, you have more influence in impacting the culture than you realize. When you understand that somebody has to influence culture, why not take the next step and accept responsibility for the culture around you? How about YOU being a person who positively influences the culture in your home, work place, neighborhood or church? It’s not just possible – it’s probable – IF you begin living with great intentionality as a positive influence in the lives of the people around you. Cultural change begins with personal intentionality. You have to accept responsibility to change the culture for the glory of God.
Consider a sling shot – or a catapult. Each has the ability to take something and throw it forward. Have you ever considered becoming a “cultural catapult” for God’s glory? What has God been teaching you that could be a positive influence in the life of even one person – if you only shared it? Now you’re catching my drift. You do have something positive to give to someone else – and it’s precisely that positive contribution that will be a catalyst for cultural change. Your home is waiting for it. Your business is dying for it. Your neighborhood needs it. Your church can’t go another day without it.
Q: When will your home become more loving?
A: When you become a more loving person.
Q: When will your church become more personable, more friendly?
A: When you become a more personable, friendly person.
Q: When will my work place become a more enjoyable place to make a living?
A: When you become a more enjoyable person to work with.
Is it possible to change every aspect of the culture you find yourself in? Absolutely not. But you just may find it’s absolutely possible – and even probable – to be a cultural catapult who has far more influence on the culture God’s placed you in that you have realized so far.
God put you where you are to display His glory, His presence, His character traits. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are great traits to pursue above all else in your life. They are great things to place on the launching pad of your life. They change everything – and this is what a cultural catapult does.
It’s never too late to become a cultural catapult. It’s never too late to take your role as a catapult for the glory and Kingdom of God seriously. Why not start . . . right now? If you ask God to help you, you will find He is more than willing – and entirely able – to use you in positive ways that will influence the lives of the people around you. And when that begins to happen, you will have made the transition into becoming a cultural catapult. The world is waiting for you to launch the glory of God into your environment.
Go for it. God is with you.
Listen to the January 19, 2014 podcast, F.A.T. – Here’s What You Can Do With That Platform in our Flight Lounge, with the Godfactor App, on iTunes, or on GraceYork.com
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.”
– Exodus 34:29
Everyone has a platform. Some know it – but don’t know what to do with it. They use it poorly, if at all. Others don’t realize their platform, and haven’t a clue how to use it. Very few realize their platform, embrace it, and use it well. Which describes you? How are you using your platform?
Moses was a mighty man of God. To this day, he is considered the quintessential Hebrew – a deliverer who had a tight walk with God, intelligence, humility and a heart for people. He met with God, and talked with Him, as a man meets and talks with another man. And, when his life was over, he was buried by God Himself, in an undisclosed location (no doubt to keep people from worshiping Him rather than his God). And what was the purpose of Moses’ entire life? To point people to God. He had a platform, and knew how to use it.
How ironic – and distasteful – it would have been if Moses tried to share the platform with God. That would have been a losing battle. And, we wouldn’t be reading about Moses the way we do today. The way Moses handled his platform is what makes him so commendable. It determined his hero status, and his eternal legacy.
If you have a relationship with God, you too have been given a platform. Like Moses’, your platform is to also point people to God, never yourself. Yes, people will not realize this the way you must. They will put you on a platform and begin to worship you, even if subtly, even if in miniscule ways. But your job is to help them, as Moses did, see the glory of God. You must see yourself as a reflector of God’s glory – and nothing more.
While every one of us has varying degrees of talent, education and opportunity (success is where opportunity meets preparation), and we cannot determine the height or reach of our platform, we can determine how we use our platform. In fact, the way we use our platform may determine whether or not we maintain it, lose it, or are given an even larger platform from which to “speak” with the totality of our lives.
How much talent do you have? How about education? In some ways, it really doesn’t matter. Stop dreaming about a larger platform, where people will recognize you. Start focusing on using the platform you have, right now, for the glory of God. Somewhere on this earth you’ll find people with less than what you’ve got – yet they’re doing more than you’re doing. They’ve embraced their platform, determined to use it humbly, wisely. The issue is really not a matter of how much you have of anything. It’s a matter of how much you’re doing with what you now have.
Dreaming of greener pastures is overrated. Planting a harvest in whatever soil you’ve been given is really the only thing you can do. But it’s also the most important thing you can do.
How are you using your platform? Not the one you dream of having – the one you actually have, right now? What’s keeping you from embracing it, and using it with exceptional leverage, for the glory of God? It’s not a matter of whether or not it’s the right thing to do. You know it is. It’s a matter of whether or not you do the right thing. And, whether or not you do the right thing is really what determines everything . . .