press on

You’re Not What You Do

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8,9 Well, the holidays have passed, and many of you will have returned to your regular routine by today. You may return to your office to find an inbox full of messages from folks who require your assistance. There may even be a desire to become overwhelmed and frustrated at the start of the year. If you’re feeling this way, please remember one thing: you are not what you do. Even if you’re still on vacation and haven’t yet returned to the grind, I encourage you to think about this crucial concept. Many people who grew up in religious households are shocked to learn that they are not what they do. In fact, I was asked to

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Worrier to Warrior

“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’” – Judges 6:12 I implore you to transform from a worrier to a warrior! “I don’t want to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death,” Tony Campolo famously declared. I don’t believe God wants this for any of His precious children. I once heard the story of Eli, a young boy. Eli was terrified of anything sharp or pokey as a child, including scissors, needles, splinters, bee stings, and other similar objects. His parents shielded him from sharp objects because they wanted to help him. They stopped going to movies because of the scary scenes, they let his hair grow out because he was frightened of scissors, and they avoided looking at flowers since bees live in flowers. Eli eventually became fearful of leaving the house or doing anything because

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New Year, New Lessons

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.“ – 2 Peter 1:3 Happy New Year! This particular time, with all the optimism, possibilities, and potential we are faced with at the start of another year, excites me every year. As we progress forward in the wonderful things God has called us to, I like to think of it as an opportunity to reset, shake off the old, and establish new goals for ourselves. Each year will undoubtedly bring new problems and tribulations, but I encourage you to approach each day with optimism and anticipation, and to commit to be a person of action rather than fear. Now, because today is a vacation and many of you are likely to be doing something relaxing, such as watching sports or watching a movie,

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Get Back Up

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 When I finished seminary, the average time a graduate spent in pursuit of ministry was just five years. Even after countless hours of formal education and the sacrifice of months spent studying and training, the unforeseen yet inevitable challenges of doing the Lord’s work in a fallen world are too much for many. And unfortunately, this isn’t just true in ministry. Most people stay at a job for an average of four years before moving on in search of something better. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it speaks to the truth that consistency in any endeavor is hard, because it comes at a cost. In whatever we undertake, there’s a “honeymoon” period when things are new and exciting, and the

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Righteousness is Greater Than Regret

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13,14 Yesterday, we looked at how Paul considered all of his worldly accomplishments garbage compared to the gift of having Jesus as His Savior. Knowing that, I’m almost certain that his impassioned letter to the church at Philippi was, in part, a response to a past that he wasn’t proud of. Though his previous transgressions were repugnant to him, his encouragement to fellow believers was to forget what was behind, strain toward what was ahead, and press on. You see, while it sounds crude, Paul understood that the only way to escape the stench of trash was to move farther away from it, and this remains true in our lives today. No matter

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