God Can Do a Lot With Your Little

“It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” – Mark 4:31,32 If you give God a little bit, He can do a lot. If you give God an apple seed, He can give you an apple tree. We think we have to grow it into a seedling before we plant it, but God says to just plant it. Most people think they need to prepare, think, and read, and all those things are important, but we often forget to just get started. Taking action is all you need to do. Step out, and do something with what God has given you! I love the wisdom imparted to a young man by Warren Buffett, who is considered one of

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The Fullest Life Ever Imaginable

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13:23 What would you say is a good return on investment when investing money? Since the 2008 housing crisis, banks have offered nearly zero percent interest rates on savings accounts. So for the past 15 years, the return on investment has been very low if you’ve had cash to invest. Now that interest rates are creeping up, some people are opening savings accounts. Right now, there are savings accounts that offer 4 percent these days. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot more than zero percent! Again I ask, what is a good return on investment? There are many who would say 20, 30, or 40 percent. What if I told

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The Mystery of Time

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 There’s something mysterious about the passage of time. As eternal beings in a linear world, it seems we live with a constant awareness that moments are moving by us, and we feel a need to understand where they are leading. Let’s face it — we all want to know the future, because we hope it will help us make sense of the uncertainties we face every day. Even as Christians, though the Bible tells us how it all pans out, we want to know more. This is probably why, for thousands of years, there have been prophecies, theories, and speculations about the end of the world. In fact, long before the year AD 1000, someone had written

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Habits Build a Holy Life

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 I think many of us believe that some big event or triumph has to occur in our lives before we consider ourselves successful. We may think we have to be promoted to manager, start a booming business, write a book, or have a family before we’ve truly “arrived.” However, maintaining this view cheats us out of the victories that happen every day. More than one big moment, success is the sum of small efforts that are repeated time and again until they make us strong on the inside. In fact, we are only as effective as our habits, and that makes time our most precious commodity. Like I’ve said before, “Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you your future.” This is because, although each of us has

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Live Wisely

“Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.” – Daniel 5:5,6 Yesterday, we talked about the phrase “his days are numbered,” and we discussed how, though it’s often used to infer that someone risks cutting their own life short, it’s a source of comfort to know that God alone holds the fullness of our future. Interestingly, like many other famous cliches, this one originates on the pages of Scripture. When the super-powerful and uber-wealthy Babylonian King Belshazzar, who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, held a lavish and revelrous feast, he instructed his servants to bring out the silver goblets that were stolen from the temple in Israel. As

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Replication vs. Self-Gratification

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19 Yesterday, we looked at the manner in which Jesus invested in making disciples rather than in building an empire. We saw that by befriending and mentoring a group of people, His influence was replicated in ways that wouldn’t have been possible had He focused solely on His own glory. Interestingly, I believe one of the greatest case studies for these principles in modern-day Christianity is a man named Chuck Smith. Most of us have heard of him, but he was the founder of Calvary Chapel, which started here in Orange County and now has influence all over the world. Surprisingly, when I hear his name, I recognize it, but I’m not bombarded by images of his “larger than life” personality nor do

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Give Up Credit, Even if It’s Due

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23 Harry Truman once said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” And though this statement wasn’t made specifically in the context of ministry, it pretty much encapsulates how Jesus led. Rather than managing His reputation, our Lord spent all of His time pouring into others. In fact, the bulk of His energy was invested in a motley crew of twelve disciples who came from all walks of life and were as diverse as they could be. Though there were large crowds of people who followed Him, He didn’t seem to care about having their adoration. On the contrary, He preferred sitting down with His closest friends and working through the issues of faith with them. He welcomed their honest inquiries, and

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Do You Plan for Succession?

“When a land transgresses, it gains a succession of leaders, but with an understanding and knowledgeable man, its stability endures.” – Proverbs 28:2 (ISV) Today, I want to look at the second of three questions we’re wise to ask ourselves if we want to lead with the heart of Jesus, and that is — are we planning for our succession? From the very beginning of His ministry, our Lord was training others to take His place. He told His disciples that they would do greater things than He did because He was going to His Father. In other words, since He knew He was leaving the earth, He invited them to step up and accomplish even more — to build on the foundation that He laid. Likewise, as we seek to lead in our modern world, we’re wise to consider how we’re equipping those who come behind us. If we’re a

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Invest in the Key Things

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 As we embrace a new year, it’s important to focus on building a meaningful life and to remember how the Lord crafts and shapes us into who and what we’re supposed to be. With that in mind, today, I want to talk about choosing to invest in what really matters. This is an especially good reminder after the holidays, which often center around obtaining a multitude of material things. While it’s nice to get gifts at Christmas, stuff will not ultimately fulfill us. Jesus fulfills us. If we need evidence of this, we can learn from the stories of famous athletes, writers, and musicians who — at some point in their careers — had all the money, glory, and awards in the world but would tell us

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