Proverbs 1:19

There is a certain pleasure to knowing you've earned something. That you worked to get it. There is a value to work besides just what it produces. An intangible benefit if you will. The problem is that so often I focus on what work earns me. I'm always spending my future earnings in my mind planning out how great having thus and so will be. But if the point is the product and not the process then I've missed what is truly important. To earn. To work. To know the true value of something. And not just enjoy things for being things, but rather enjoy the purpose of things, that they can enrich our lives. That they can help us. That they are tools to help our lives be easier or more enjoyable. But they aren't the point of our lives. Whenever that gets out of place, when we value the things in life over life itself, then we start to lust for more. We desire more things just so that we can have more. That lust can give way to ill-gotten gain. To stealing. To ethically dubious decisions. To cheating. To self-promotion at the expense of others. God, please help me to simply enjoy life and always be thankful for what I have.


Matthew 16:16-20

I know that Jesus is the Christ. I can proudly state that line in verse 16 with Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. But there are problems in the next few verses for me. First, I act like verse 20 is still in effect for me. As if the great commission doesn't exist, I walk around and I don't tell anyone about the Christ. As I'm going I don't preach his name or teach others to obey everything that He's commanded. For whatever reason. I also think verse 18 is incredible to think about. Jesus establishes His church and authorizes it to grow under Peter's leadership and that "the gates of Hades will not overpower it". I doubt Hades is too worried about it. About the way I function in church. God's church. That He has put me in leadership in. I try to make it my church. To do it my way. To focus on what I want. My preferences. Peter was in leadership, but it was Jesus' church. God forgive me for thinking I can do it better. Help me to lead Your church the way You would desire.


Philippians 4:9

I think one of the scariest things for me would be if someone started patterning their life after mine. Not after who I say I am or how I say I should act, but after how I actually live it out. I can put on a good front, and can act great most of the time. But there are those moments. The ones of which I'm not proud. The ones that I don't talk about. Or even like to think about. Those are the ones that I hope nobody notices. When I'm impatient. Or selfish. Or covetous. I think praying Philippians 4:9 is one of the biggest prayers that I could pray. That I would be able to proudly and unashamedly say that people can pattern their life after how I've lived mine. That's only going to happen when God lives through me. God let it be so.


Philippians 3:6-7, 15-16

The church I work at has been going through a lot of changes recently. It's tough for a lot of people. We've made the building more secure, which means that people can't get into the building whenever they want. We've become more staff led, which means that people feel as though they have lost some control they had over "their" church. We've unified our worship styles, which means that one of the worship styles (traditional) is going away. Some people have had issues with this. They don't understand it. They're going after their preferences. Our job is to lovingly show them that they need to passionately pursue Christ and nothing else. Nothing else matters.
That's easy for me to write right now because I like all of the changes. But there will come a time when I don't. When my preferences are being catered to. And that will be when I see if I really love worshipping God, or if I just love worshipping my way. If I really love serving God or if I just love serving my way. I pray that I will just continue following the Truth that I already have and that everything else (the functionality of it) won't matter.


Philippians 2:14-16

The biggest detriment to the modern church's effectiveness is complaining and arguing within us. It derails us. It makes us focus on things that don't matter. There are people who have devoted all of their lives to the study of Calvinism at the expense of loving others. There are people who have devoted all of their lives to the study of eschatology at the expense of loving others. There are people who have devoted all of their lives to apologetics at the expense of loving others. All of these things are a subplot to the glorious story that God is writing through us. We are part of the redemption story of man, and yet we complain and argue about the most petty things. I complain about the music. I complain about the font used in our message series. All of that is worthless and reduces my "shine". How can we shine like stars in the universe if we are constantly trying to put out the light of other people. If I'm constantly just trying to outshine the guy next to me. Or snuff out his light. Imagine what we could do if we started working together. If we focused on loving others. If we stopped complaining and arguing and coordinated our efforts to shine the light of God to the world.


Philippians 1:27

Live in a way that brings honor to the Good News of Christ. I've always struggled to see that Christ was fighting for me. That Christ sacrificed his life for ME. God in the flesh came down to earth and suffered FOR ME. I think the more that I can come to grips with the reality of that statement then the more I can live my life to bring honor to Him. It's not me earning his love, because that already happened. It's not me earning righteousness, because that is impossible. It's me living my life to bring honor to the Good News of Christ. Christ fought for me. He wanted to restore our relationship so badly He gave his life for me. My job is to earn it. To be so blown away by the lengths to which God went to reach me that I will do whatever it takes to earn it. To live my life in a way that brings honor to the Good News of Christ. I pray that I never lose that desire to do something great for God. Not for my glory, but for the glory of God.