What Kind of Motivation Is Better—External or Internal?

I usually don’t respond well to external motivation. Anytime I sense someone trying to get me to do something, I resist. I know, not much of a team player. However, if they tap into something that wells up inside me, then look out!

In the world of physics, when external pressure is greater than internal pressure, what happens? The object implodes. But when internal pressure is greater than external pressure, kinetic energy explodes. I know a little geeky for this blog.

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Will You Look the Other Way?

Yesterday, February 27, 2014, a one day focus on a call to end human trafficking took place on social media. Human trafficking and slavery is not an easy subject to talk about. Many are ignorant to its pervasive existence. Others simply look the other way.

 

My wife and I joined thousands of others by drawing a red X on our hands as a way to shine a light on this problem. You can search hashtag “enditmovement” on Twitter to see national celebrities, athletes and politicians participating.

Now one day later—Will everyone move on to the next social justice issue or will we take some real, practical steps to end this during our lifetime.

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Why Some People Almost Never Have a Bad Day

Who has not had a bad day? I admit, I have bad days, mostly by my own doing. We all know people who almost always have a bad day. But why do some people almost never have a bad day?

My tagline states that I blog about Missional Lifestyle. Missional Lifestyle – living a life sent.

So what does missional lifestyle have to do with not having a bad day?

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A Review of Enough—A Book by Will Davis Jr

Will Davis Jr is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship in Austin, Texas, and the author of several books, including the Pray Big series.

I first met Will in 1986 when he hired me as a part-time youth pastor at the church he was leading. We both were young, in our mid-twenties. Will was a very good communicator then, and he still is today, both as a speaker and as a writer.

Will has written a book, Enough—Finding More by Living with Less. It is a book encouraging us to recognize that we already have enough. We do not need to continue accumulating stuff. With current and biblical life examples, Will makes a valid case for living with less.

Like the authors of books such as, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns or Radical by David Platt, Will’s paradigm is shaken when he begins to meet others who live much poorer lives than we do.

Will begins with a premise that there is an enough revolution brewing in our culture. He invites us to join this revolution and discover what it means to “move toward enough.”

He quotes a prayer from an obscure biblical character named Agur:

…give me neither poverty or riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. (Proverbs 30:8-9)

Will lists 10 reasons why to live with enough:

  1. You’ll have more time.
  2. You’ll have more peace.
  3. You’ll help your relationships.
  4. You’ll be more content.
  5. You’ll have less or no debt.
  6. You’ll be prepared for tough financial times.
  7. You’ll be better equipped to respond to need.
  8. Your life will be simpler.
  9. You’ll have better intimacy with God.
  10. You’ll have more joy.

Will also describes a mindset that he calls a “right here, right now mindset.” It is a mindset that we have a enough for ourselves, in fact, everything we have is not really ours. It is available for however God wants to use it anytime, anywhere. That is what I call living with open hands.

As I wrote in my last blog, How to See God Move in Everything We DoWill defines people with a right here, right now mindset as people “who look for opportunities in the details of their daily lives to align themselves with God’s kingdom work.”

Will does a good job of not causing guilt over having wealth or possessions, but he does intentionally get us to think about why we have more than we need.

I appreciate how Will challenges us to not just live with less, but to understand why we have been given more than we need and what to do with our excess.

At the end of each chapter Will provides a few thoughts to help reflect on what was just read. This is helpful because some of the material begs for a time of internal reflection.

Will ends the book with this statement:

You can strive or you can depend. You can achieve or you can receive. You can hoard or you can share. You can hang onto what you have, settle for the best you can do, and bless no one in the process. Or you can release what you have, bless countless others, and receive more than you could ever imagine.

What will you do?

If you wish to learn how to live a life with the right here, right now mindset and join the enough revolution, then I strongly recommend this book.

How do you think this book can help you live with a right here, right now mindset? You can leave a reply below.

I Had a God-Ordained Pedicure — How to See God Move in Everything We Do

Yes, I am almost embarrassed to admit it. I fully expect to receive some harassment. My wife and I recently had a double date with some good friends. The first stop was a nail salon to get pedicures.

 

Yep that is me, 4th from the right. I will spare you all the details of what it was like to get my first ever pedicure! It is the conversation that transpired as I was wincing and wiggling in my chair that I want to talk about.

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What Happened When Heaven and Earth Collided?

I always find this story fascinating, an incredible display of power — resurrection power.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”  Matthew 27:50-53

 

The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. This veil separated the holy from the most holy place or holy of holies. The most holy place was where heave and earth met. Only the high priest could enter in once a year to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus Christ became the High Priest, and this most holy place is now open to any who will enter through Him.

The earth shook and the rocks split open. The foundation of God’s creation shaken and split open. A violent reaction by creation to the crucifixion of earth’s Creator.

The tombs were opened. Most likely the graves were opened when the earth shook and rocks split open. Then after Jesus Christ arose from His grave, these saints were also resurrected. How surprised do you think their friends and families were when they appeared to them?

What happened when Heaven and Earth collided?

A new relationship between God and man was formed. No longer did man have to seek access to Heaven through a human in one place on a certain day of the year. Now any person can access Heaven anywhere, anytime through His Son Jesus Christ who is now our High Priest.

Creation shuddered at the evil of mankind. How blind we are to the majesty of God and His Son. We often respond as if we have all the knowledge and understanding. We shake our fists at God, insulting him, despising him, and sending him away. Even creation sometimes knows Him better than we do.

Resurrection power. No greater power than the power over death. Not only did Jesus have resurrection power for Himself, He also gives us victory over death.

On this Good Friday, may we respond as the centurion that stood at the foot of the cross responded:

“Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, Truly this was the Son of God.”

Question for You: What will you proclaim before God this Easter weekend?

7 Ways to Live by the Golden Rule

Did you know that the Golden Rule comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ? Even a lot of Christians might not know that. But it does.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

 

by Kenneth A Camp

by Kenneth A Camp

This principle is common to almost all cultures and societies. Before Jesus made this statement, it usually was in a passive form — “Don’t do anything to someone else that you don’t want them to do to you.” Notice how Jesus changes it into an active statement.

Instead of trying not to do something, He tells us to proactively treat people in the same way you want them to treat you. Sounds easy enough right?

How do you want others to treat you? With respect? Understanding? Kindness? Compassion? Patience? I am sure the list is long. It is for me!

But is it easy to treat others with respect, understanding, kindness, compassion, patience, etc.? If I am honest about the way I treat others, I am more than a little embarrassed. Just this past Sunday afternoon I was impatient on the phone with an insurance claims adjuster. And I am the worst with my wife, whom I love more than anyone else on earth.

So how do we live by the Golden Rule? Here are some of my thoughts on how:

  1. Consider How You View Yourself. Sounds simple. Are you worthy of respect, understanding, kindness, etc.? I say that you are. Sadly, many people do not think of themselves as worthy of this kind of treatment. Makes it kind of hard to treat others in this way when we don’t expect it in return.
  2. Try Walking in Their Shoes. That poor claims adjuster was new to his job. I am sure that he was trying to do a good, thorough job. I know that you have met difficult people before. Try finding out what is going on under the surface. Almost always there is a story that explains the action.
  3. Live in Community. What better way to give us ample opportunities to proactively practice the Golden Rule than living in community? By living in community, I mean developing close relationships with people not necessarily part of your biological family as if they were part of your family. It is hardest to treat those closest to us by this principle. Once we get past all the pleasantries, we begin to see the rough edges that we all have.
  4. Forgive. If others have offended us, it is hard to treat them by the Golden Rule unless we forgive them. Wait. I should forgive them if I want them to forgive me!
  5. Keep it to Yourself. Check your motivation for living by the Golden Rule. Is it so others will recognize you as a generous, kind person? Live by the Golden Rule because it is the best way to live and for no other reason.
  6. Let Each Day Take Care of Itself. Don’t keep record of every time that you treat others like you want them to treat you. In other words, don’t worry about what you will get out of it. If you live by this principle, God promises that you will receive what is due.
  7. Ask God to Help You. Instead of striving to live by the Golden Rule by your own ability, allow God’s Spirit to do this in you. Jesus Christ embodies every good and pure attribute and motive. If you are a Christian, then rest in Him. If you are not a Christian, do you know that God promises the gift of His Holy Spirit to live in you and to guide you? He gives us the fruit of His Spirit, which is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Think how our communities would look different if we all applied this ageless principle. Look at the fruit of the Spirit again in point number 7. There is no law against any of these.

Question for you: What other ways can you think of that we can live by the Golden Rule?

8 Reasons Every Christian Should Consider Blogging

I met with a group of staff and leaders at lunch today from The Church at Canyon Creek. To their credit, they were asking the question how the church can leverage social media to amplify their message. People of all ages use social media today to, well, be social. Communities form around one form of social media or another to share stories, gossip, latest fad, how to do something, and life.

Blogging takes on a little more ownership of what you share. Where once blogging mainly was a way to keep an online journal to share with friends and family, it now is a way to use your voice to impact, influence, and develop a group of followers.

If you are a non-Christian and you are still reading, please continue to read. I want you to engage with those who are true Christ followers. See how they live life, handle challenges, and relate to the world around them. Follow their blogs and interact with them. Ask them the tough questions.

An interesting thing about social media is that the way you live life, who you really are, is on display for public consumption. Many people forget this fact. This can pose a challenge for a Christian.

Yep. Before I entered the social media world, I evaluated this. I talk about it some in my post “Why I am Just Now Entering the Social Media World.” Bottom line for me is that I am not proud of all the ways I live or have lived my life. My life has not always lined up with what I believe. I am one of those hypocrites that non-believers or those who formerly believed use for not believing in Jesus Christ.

However, my desire to share about someone who is greater than me overshadows my shame or my desire to hide. I decided that the story of how Jesus redeemed my life, which is part of His story, is a good enough story to tell. What better way is there today to tell the most compelling story of all-time than a blog and a social platform? This brings me to why I think every Christian should consider blogging.

  1. You have a story to tell. Everybody has a story to tell. You may think that no one will want to hear your story, but I beg to differ. Why do you think social media, blogging, even reality TV is so popular? People do want to know who other people are, what they do, and what they have to say.
  2. It is not about you. But, if you still struggle with thinking that you do not have a story, remember it is about what Christ has done in your life. That is the compelling story.
  3. You need to be intentional about telling the story. Blogging is more intentional than typical social media. I know it is fun to post pictures from your great vacation on Facebook and tweet about where you are going to lunch, but you have much more to share.
  4. Your story is unique. No one else in the world has the same story of how God redeemed your life. Nor does anyone else have your style. Our world is moving away from getting the news, story, or sermon from the few qualified professionals. It is now a world of the ordinary person sharing their unique experience. You are uniquely qualified to tell your story of redemption.
  5. People need to know you. Yes, this can be frightening. The world needs to know us, both good and bad. This is what discipleship is about. As you invite non-believers into your crazy world, they will see how Jesus Christ is the answer. To everything.
  6. You can engage people at a heartfelt level. Blogging provides a site for people to interact with you. If you are willing, you can engage people about subjects that they may otherwise never discuss in person. Something about typing on a keypad or mobile device breaks down the barriers.
  7. You can influence how people think. You may not like that word, influence. However, everyone influences someone, and we are all influenced by someone. If you are a Christ follower, then you should want to influence and shape what others think about Jesus Christ.
  8. Blogging gives you a worldwide platform. My desire to reach the nations is influencing this point. Jesus commands us to go to the nations. The digital world we live in creates opportunities like never to do this. The story of how Jesus Christ redeemed you transcends culture. Blogging transcends time zones and most borders. If you are intentional about blogging about your life, your story, you will begin to reach people all over the world.

I know that I have not convinced everyone that they need to blog, but for those who I did convince, here are a couple of links to guys I follow that explain how to set up a blog in less than 30 minutes: Jeff Goins Michael Hyatt I look forward to hearing your unique story and your unique voice! Question for you: Can you think of other reasons a Christian should blog or maybe not blog?

Follow the Stories of 4 Families Whose Children Are Stuck

I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago. But, the subject needs more attention. I watched a viewing of the documentary, “Stuck”, at the Verge13 conference. Jason Kovacs, who is the Director of Ministry Development for ABBA fund, showed the film to a room of about 20 people. More about the film in a minute.

The worldwide orphan crises is growing larger due to war, AIDS, governmental policies, natural disasters, and poverty. Conservative estimates show that there are over 10 million orphans worldwide that have lost both parents. (Unicef data).

This estimate does not include children living on the streets. Also, it does not include children who have lost only one parent, yet the child lives in institutional care such as an orphanage. Roll these numbers in and the total balloons to over 150 million orphaned and at risk children. That is half of the population of the United States.

On the other end of the spectrum are families that want to adopt foreign-born children. However, adoptions into the U.S. have dropped by over 60% since 2004 due in large part to a broken system filled with delays, bureaucracy, discrimination and staggering costs.

It can cost a family tens of thousands of dollars while trying to adopt a foreign child. In some cases, the adoption is still not granted. On average, it takes over 2 years to complete the process. This time is during the most formidable years of a young child.

Multiple studies show that a child needs to live in a nurturing, stable environment to develop properly. The most nurturing, stable environment is a family.

I understand that the statistics and the enormity of the orphan crisis might cause your brain to freeze because you simply do not know how to help. Let me help thaw your senses.

Begin with watching the Stuck documentary.

Stuck documents the journey of 4 families that are trying to get their child adopted and out of an orphanage. I use the word, “their” because the child was matched to the family. The family sees that child as their own. But, the system, both in the US and abroad, creates many delays creating more cost and heartache. The child remains stuck even though a family is desperately working to bring them into their family.

Please watch this trailer. Then read more about what you can do to advocate for international adoption.

How can you be an advocate?

  1. Watch the film when it visits your city or area. Promote the showing to your community. The Stuck Tour.
  2. Download a digital copy and show the film in your home, church or community.
  3. Sign a petition that will be presented to the U.S. President and Congress on May 16th. The last showing of the Stuck film in Washington, DC.
  4. Like the Stuck Facebook Fan Page to receive information and updates.
  5. Visit www.BothEndsBurning.org to find more ways to help.

Will you take the time to educate yourself about this crisis? Please be a part of solving this crisis. Find out what you can do.