“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
My family went to Disney this past summer and as usual the crowds were enormous and it was incredibly hot. In that environment, it seems as if everyone is working so hard to be ahead of others. We do not like to wait and we especially do not like it if we feel someone has jumped ahead of us wrongfully. If we are not careful a “me first” mindset can overtake us at times. We live in such a fast paced world that this mindset often wins the day.
Not only are we in a hurry but there is a great desire within human nature to want to impress others and be recognized. A big danger is that we can even begin to think we are better than others.
The type of thinking described above runs so contrary to the mindset God desires for each of us to possess. God desires that we instead pursue living our lives with the “mind of Christ.” What is the mind of Christ? Philippians 2:5-8 describes the mind of Christ.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The mind of Christ was about giving His life for us so that we might have not only eternal life but an abundant life here on earth. This passage tells us that He “humbled Himself.” In Philippians 2:3-4 above, Paul admonished us to do the same. Paul is instructing us to be humble and to think of others before ourselves.
The world desperately needs to see Christians with this kind of mindset. For way too long, the church has been known for what it is against and I think it is time for us to become known more for what we are for. I am convinced we should show the world that we are for loving and helping others. We must begin to look out and care for others before we think of ourselves. Talk about a radical lifestyle and mindset!
I leave you with a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that asks us all a very important question about our mindset: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’” May God move on our hearts daily to love, care, and meet the needs of others!
“We will not hide these truths from our children we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. For He issued His laws to Jacob; He gave His instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” Psalm 78:4-7
As my wife and I raised our children, we regularly sought God for how to do the difficult job of a parent and more importantly determining our goals. What would really be the best things we could do for our kids as they were growing up? As a parent, we are faced with so many choices that impact the raising of our children and their future. I believe that all of us face the pressure as parents to do the right thing for our children.
Psalm 78:4-7 is a great passage for helping us to find the goals we, as followers of Christ, need to have for raising our children. This passage reminds us of the main goals that God has in mind for this process. First, God is instructing us to intentionally teach the truths of God to our children. Our goal should be to teach them of “His power and His mighty wonders.” The goal is to teach and live out our faith in such a way that it becomes a legacy of faith that will be passed to future generations of our family.
The ultimate goal is found in the phrase: “So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles and obeying His commands.” God’s goals are not the goals that this world would have for our kids to find peace, joy, and truly what is best for them in this life.
I ran across something that Dr. Glen Schultz wrote a few years back that provides a great perspective on choosing what is best for our children. His wisdom in choosing not what is good for our children but what is best goes as follows:
- Seek not what is important, but what is essential.
- Seek not glamour, but godliness.
- Seek not a place that gives your children opportunities to socialize; seek first that which gives your children opportunities for servant hood.
- Seek not to increase their fun; seek to increase their faith.
- Seek not tools to make them rich: seek first to give them tools to make them righteous.
- Seek not what makes your kids happy; seek first what makes your kids holy.
- Seek first the Kingdom of heaven and His righteousness, and then sit back and claim God's promise that every single thing your children needs to fulfill God's perfect plan for their lives will be given unto them.
God gave my wife and I the wisdom years ago to chase His goals for our children. God has continually blessed this decision in our lives over the years and returned to us so much more in who our children are in Christ than we could have ever imagined. I pray that the wisdom from Psalm 78 and Dr. Schultz will be a blessing to you as you parent your children and make the difficult choices that you make on behalf of your children each day.
MCA Father/Daughter Breakfast 2017
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
We have been witness in 2016 to some very difficult times in our country. There are so many people who are hurting and heartbroken. There is also a lot of division in our country between people. How should the people of God respond? What should be the ministry of the church during these difficult times?
I have heard it said that sometimes our differences are irreconcilable. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 reminds us that God is bigger than any difference that may exist. This passage reminds us that God bridged the greatest irreconcilable difference that ever existed when He sent Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. Our sins had separated us from God and created what seemed to be an irreconcilable difference. 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God in His love and mercy overcame that difference and reconciled us to Jesus.
Now that we have been reconciled to Jesus, this passage tells us that we now have been given the “ministry of reconciliation.” What does that type of ministry really look like? I believe that God is calling us to love others as we have never loved before. I believe He wants us to love others as He loved people. How does God love? Let me provide three characteristics of God’s love. First, I believe He loved us sacrificially. John 3:16 tells:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God’s love is a sacrificial love; He gave His only son. Not only is God’s love sacrificial but also it is an unconditional love. John 3:16 also uses the word “whosoever” to indicate it is a love available to all. The last characteristic I want to give you is that God’s love is a forgiving love. Colossians 3:13 reminds us:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
I pray that we as the church would begin to be ministers of reconciliation and bridge differences with people with the love of God. After all, that is what God did for us. Our world needs to see Christians who love others sacrificially and unconditionally and who forgive others. God has called us as believers to a ministry of reconciliation and it is time for the church to truly be the church. If we could live this way, we would help the hurting, we would bring people together, and in turn lead many to faith in Christ.
I leave you with a quote from a great preacher of times past that speaks to how we should live:
“Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can.”
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29
I walked through our school office last year and observed two prospective students texting while sitting in our lobby and when I stopped to introduce myself I also humorously asked one who they were texting. To my surprise, he pointed to the student on the other side of the lobby. With all the technology that we have today, I am not sure that communication has really improved.
George Bernard Shaw once quipped: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” I think that statement still holds true today in many cases. However, miscommunication may be an even bigger problem than the lack of communication that exists. I see this so often when I observe all that goes on in social media posts.
It grieves my heart to see so many of the unhealthy posts that appear on social media. It is bothersome to see people post negative comments or thoughts about someone else or to agree with someone who is doing that. I heard someone say once that “you are what you post.” I am afraid that could become what our testimony looks like to those around us if we do not take a different approach.
As Christians, I am convinced that God does hold us to a higher standard. Ephesians 4:29 is clear in telling us what kind of communication should come out from us. If we follow the truth of this verse, we can begin to communicate in a way that we can be assured that we will be heard.
First, we need to make sure that we do not allow anything unwholesome or harmful to come out of our mouth or in anything we post. I understand that we all get upset about certain situations and we want to be heard. However, this verse does not give us that option. It says “no corrupt communication” and does not give an exception when we feel we have been wronged in some way. If we will speak the truth in love, we can begin to be heard.
Next, we are to use words that will edify others. What does it mean to edify? In the Christian context, it means to strengthen someone or be strengthened in relationship to God, the Christian walk, and holiness. We cannot say or post negative things about someone else and expect to edify at the same time. If we want to be heard, we must look to edify others.
Finally, we want to minister grace to the people who will hear what we have to say. How is grace defined? "Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God”. Ephesians 4:29 is calling us to minister that same kind of unmerited favor to others when they speak. How do we do that? We do that by showing respect and honor to others in how we speak or post. We also do that by going directly to that person and not to others to talk about whatever the issue is. If we want to be heard, we must minister grace to others.
I want to be the kind of Christian who follows the truth of Ephesians 4:29. As the Head of this great school, I pray that I will always communicate this way with you. As well, I pray that you will always do the same for us. In doing so, I believe that God will be glorified and our relationships will grow stronger.