What does it mean to live a Christ-transformed life?
What does it mean to live a Christ-transformed life?
“According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” (Ezr 2:69)
The seemingly eternal question: how much should I give? If we have moved on from, “Should I give?” to the next stage, the question remains. We are called to give “according to our ability.” Each one of us has been blessed in different ways and with different measure. We are to give according to our resources, yet we all have a part to play.
It is not the amount or even the proportion, but we are all able and willing to be a part of God’s work and a reflection of His heart. Look at what God has already blessed you with.
Decide in your thankful heart what to give, and give cheerfully according to your ability.
Quick Prayer: Thank You that You ask me to give according to what You have already given me. Amen.
best regards and God bless,
When was the last time you loved an enemy?
How did you do it?
This article originally appeared here on the Missio Alliance blog.
I’ve asked this question for some time but I think it comes to the surface even more at the beginning of a new year when we are reminded from pulpits everywhere that we are a new creation in Christ and also by our broader world that this is a perfect time to set some New Year’s resolutions so that we can improve and be better people this year.
We enthusiastically respond by nodding to the truth that in Christ we are a new creation and we agree that it is good to set some goals for the New Year, so we faithfully set out to practice these truths. But inevitably we sooner or later hit a wall when we experience that our ideals quite often fail to measure up to reality. Everyone has experienced this dissonance no matter how long we have been followers of Jesus.
A godly and mature Christian friend when we were talking about this recently, said that he holds close to his heart values like generosity, care for the poor and compassion however as he walked past a homeless person once, he thought and felt the exact opposite of those values regarding that person. I can say that I’ve experienced a similar thing! I would guess that we all struggle daily as we sit in the uncomfortable gap between what ought to be and what in reality is. There’s no need to beat ourselves up about this gap but perhaps we need to think about what does in fact bring about deep transformation in our lives so that our behaviour more matches our status as new creations in Christ…~ By: Karina Kreminski
Click here to read the rest of the story on the Missio Alliance blog.
In what area(s) do you need to be more like Jesus Christ?
I am seeking your advice on how to restitute wrongful relationships. Many years ago I dated a number of married men. Sometime later, on a friend’s advice, I sought out the wife of one of them, confessed and apologized to her. But the husband (my ex-partner) called me in a great fury afterwards to scold me about the immaturity of what I did. That has made me very reluctant to do such for the other cases. But those other cases have been bothering me because I want to get right with God. How do I restitute the other cases?
Can you be a peacemaker and correct someone in love at the same time?
Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships… each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Unfortunately, our “good” objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.
We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.
Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.
We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.
This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the “Christian message” he was trying to teach wasn’t Christianity at all…
“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .
And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”
So what is your objective?
Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.
I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say “I’ve got this”). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It’s the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.
Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones.
Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids’ behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but don’t include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.
Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.
*I have added a follow-up post that offer some suggestions of How to Guide Your Kid to a Faith That Lasts. I hope it’s helpful!
*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.
How can we be a neighbor to someone with whom we disagree on some major issue?
Here are some current Paid and Volunteer Positions now available. Use our Contact Us page to let us know if you are interested.
Please note: This is a full description of the eventual job. I don’t intend for anyone to start out doing all these things. I imagine starting with just a few hours each week, tackling just a few of these things. Once skills are demonstrated and tasks mastered, more aspects of the job can be taken over.
The Executive Assistant is in charge of assisting the President with day to day activities, assisting in leveraging his/her time.
Assists the president with calendar management, weekly organization and planning (helping him/her be focused and productive on the right things, and help him/her stay on track),
Coordinates schedules among team members for meetings
Sends out timely reminders for team meetings
Coordinates and communicates with volunteers and staff
Assists with research and analysis projects
Maintains cloud/google docs
Maintain volunteer and staff contact information in a database
Manages recruitment of volunteer and staff candidates (HR)
Oversees communication with donors/potential donors.
Assists the Board of Directors by maintaining meeting minutes making them available for future reference.
Criteria or Required Skills:
Computer savvy (above average skills)
Fast/accurate typing along with excellent spelling and grammar
High attention to detail
Competent in Word/Excel
Competent with Google mail, calendar, and Google cloud/drive docs, sheets, etc.
Pay: $12.50-15.00/hour (Based on Experience)
Oversees all disciple-making aspects of the ministry
Oversees and provides accountability for the strategic goal of creating disciples of Jesus Christ
Chairs the discipleship council (steering committee)
Leads the discipleship team in the areas of online (internet-based) and church-based discipleship.
Activities also include:
Consolidating discipleship best-practices and resources in a manual
Making the best-practices manual accessible to all participants
Reviews and revises the discipleship program curriculum yearly; giving people the structure and content guidance they need.
Participates in regular meetings (at least monthly) with the leadership team and direct reports to ensure disciple-making goals are being met.
Criteria or Required Skills:
Strong background in disciple-making and mentoring relationships
Strong theological understanding
Great communication and interpersonal skills
We recently re-stated our ministry’s vision after several months of praying, thinking, and discussing. It’s BIG and BOLD and captures the essence of what we’ve been working towards from the very beginning.
My goal here is to help you understand the vision so that it’s crystal clear in your mind.
Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others.
Note I didn’t say all people. We are about helping Christians (and those seeking Him). We’re trying to help those that want to be helped….those that acknowledge they need help. And through our message we are trying to convict folks that they need help. We aren’t trying to go out and evangelize and get new/more people into the kingdom. We believe that will happen naturally as the result of our work, but it’s not our focus. Helping those that are already here is already a God-sized challenge. And so we are confident that God will bring people that He calls into His church. For our part, He has given us the burden of helping them once they walk through that door.
This qualifies the words that follow about loving God and loving others. Authentically means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. Going through the motions is not authentic.
the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength
We all struggle with authenticity now and then. We want to do so much for so many people that we quickly become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or we give a little money to a good cause because it’s a whole lot easier than the alternatives. We often have great intentions, such as having a daily quiet time with our Lord, but then our busy lives cause us to lose focus and retreat from our plans.
Our vision is based on Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This means we can’t pay lip service to loving God or partially loving God. He doesn’t want our divided attention. It begs the question “What does it mean to love God?” This means to truly (authentically) worship Him, praise Him, seek to know Him, seek to follow His ways, and ultimately to obey Him. We are to align our ways to His ways. We are to change our thinking to His thinking. We are to change our hearts to His heart. We are to live in His strength, not our own strength.
This is an area that I admittedly struggle. I think we all do. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and say “look at me” as a perfect example. I’m far from it. Like the apostle Paul, I’m merely human. The question in my mind is whether as a Christian I am struggling towards that ideal, acknowledging the grace that Christ gives even in my failing attempts, or is struggling towards that ideal not even on my radar.In this sense, our vision is an ideal worth seeking after. Are you seeking after it or not? You might know OF Christ or ABOUT Christ…but do you KNOW him and LOVE him enough to OBEY him?
humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us
“and Loving Others”
Jesus said that loving others was the 2nd greatest commandment. The Good Samaritan parable applies here as well. Loving others certainly includes praying for others, but it mustn’t stop there. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter, to love them in practical ways. I’m reminded of the teaching from James 2:16, ”If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” We are to feed the hungry, clothe the clothe-less, and care for orphans and widows. We are to care for our families, our neighbors, as well as love those we consider to be our enemies. We are to humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us.
This too is not easy. It’s so much easier to think about and serve ourselves. That’s what comes naturally. But God never suggested that we should act naturally. Instead, God wants you and I to get out of our own skin long enough to see the world through His eyes and to authentically love others.
So, our vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others. It’s an ideal worth pursuing and a calling we take seriously. Won’t you join us?
What does it mean to have a “heart for the lost”?
Do you have such a heart?
“So that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deu 14:29)
Those of us who have been provided for have an obligation to meet the needs of others. In this case it is those who work fulltime for the church, foreigners, and those who have had misfortune in the loss of fathers and husbands, who were the providers of the time.
There are two groups that are a priority for God: those without finances and those who serve in church. We would do well to neglect neither.
There is a consequence attached to the actions we take. If we obey and provide for the poor and church workers, God Himself will bless us in all the work of our hands—that is, in our work at work.
Quick Prayer: Bless me as I give to Your house and the poor. Lord, according to Your Word may it be done to me. Amen.
Best regards and God bless.
How would you describe the difference between “grace” and “forgiveness”?
How would you describe the current “face” of Christianity?