Tag Archives: disciple

Do Not Conform – Brought to you by Apple


Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world…are the ones who do.   -Apple Ad Campaign

Originally written as an advertising campaign for Apple, I read this and heard a personal call to boldness. A call to be transformed in Christ. Isn’t Apple’s message in line with Romans 12:2? “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

How do we do this boldly? By being a round peg in a square hole. That’s about as clear as mud, right? Here is what I mean. You will, even today, be given at least one opportunity to take a stand for Christ, in Christ. Not necessarily in a bold evangelical, accept-God’s-gift-of-salvation kind of way (although He does provide those on occasion.) Instead, we can be bold in showing, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  This is choosing the high road when it would be so easy to just go with the flow and follow the crowd. This is choosing what is right over what is painless.  This is choosing acceptance over anger, forgiveness over bitterness.  This is choosing truth over lies, no matter what the consequences.  This often creates waves, draws attention, and always requires courage.

John Piper says, “The evidence of boldness is whether or not a person is making choices throughout the day that revolve around their desire to avoid conflict. If so, then that is a clear sign that cowardice is winning out over courage.”
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
Wherever you go, whatever you face the Lord is with you.  So go boldly and with confidence knowing you are not alone.  As the Apple ad said, if you are one of the “crazy” people who stand out from the crowd, be prepared because people will quote you, disagree with you, glorify or vilify you. Just don’t let them ignore you and never settle for status quo.  And always believe that you can change things, one bold act at a time.

Be Intentional

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:12 NIV)

Joyce Meyer writes “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wait for something to happen and those who make things happen. God has called you to do great things for His Kingdom, don’t shy away from it.

You need to be intentional. You need to live life ON purpose. Don’t just wait around to see what everyone else is going to do & then follow the crowd. Stir yourself up, make a decision, & get going!”

I ask you the same question as yesterday. What if God is waiting on you?

A Remarkable Challenge

20130812-080246.jpgStop and think about something this morning.  Here is what I am asking you to “Be Still” over this week. You leave your fingerprints everywhere.  This isn’t a matter of hygiene but instead a matter of the heart.  The people you work with, the stranger at the grocery store, your spouse, your children, your teammates, your friends, everyone of these groups of people are marked by your fingerprints.  How are you marking them?

Jesus in is the everyday dealings in our lives. I believe this is where He lives.  Yes, He is most certainly in the grand, big plans.  He is in the mega-churches and the revival conventions.  He resides in the Joyce Meyers, David Jeremiahs, and Billy Grahams of the world but no more so than he does in you or I.  Stop and think about that for just a moment.  If, you are a follower of Jesus, a disciple, He is as available to you as He is to each and every notable disciple that has come before you.  More than that, you have every bit as much opportunity (and dare I say responsibility) to reach out to those people that He places in your path on any given day.  There is a need for the “big-leagues” but never discount the “little league” games that you and I are involved in every single moment of every single day. These can be just as remarkable, sometimes even more so.  Think for just a minute, how many people can one person reach, even if they have the platform of television and radio?  (And that requires a the listener to be actively searching for something.)  Now, how many people can you and I, and every other follower of Jesus reach in a single day, where they are, bringing a message that person may not have even realize they needed.  I am not talking about preaching hellfire and brimstone, but reaching out instead in love, kindness, forgiveness.  These, the fruits of the Spirit from Galations 5:22, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness are things of this world that are quickly disappearing.  We are called to be different.  We are called for something more.  We have an opportunity, everyday, to plant these seeds and maybe, through God’s careful tending though everyday people like you and I, that seed will grow into something bigger.  If that isn’t remarkable, I don’t know what is.

Today, you will have at least one opportunity to be remarkable and it doesn’t require a huge gesture, it just requires eyes that have been opened by Jesus to see people the way he sees them.  Ears that are listening for the prompting of the still small voice of Jesus.  A heart that has experienced the love of Jesus  and in response is overflowing in gratitude.  Feet that are following in Jesus’ footsteps.  And hands, to leave the fingerprints of Jesus on someone else’s life.  No matter how small and insignificant that gesture may seem to us we are part of a much larger plan and all of the pieces have to be present for the puzzle to be complete.  Today, I am writing as much to myself as you.  Don’t get caught up in the grand gesture, the desire for greatness.  Be diligent in the small things, see and take every opportunity that God presents and you will gain an understanding of remarkable.

Lord and Savior, my Father and my Teacher, as I begin this week let me do so with a humble heart.  Please release me from the desire to save the world and instead fill me with the desire to reflect You to the world.  Help me to understand the true meaning of living a remarkable life, not in notoriety and fame, but in the quiet dealings of a life lived in your grace.  Help me to leave your fingerprints, not mine, on everyone I touch today.  When I forget please remind me.  I will be tempted by all sorts of things, to distract and to detract, from the message that I live.  In these moments Lord, help me to dwell in You to renew my spirit.  Lord, help me to live remarkably by your standards.

Please join me this week as we continue on our search for a remarkable life.

A Reflection

Paul writes, “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] (Philippians 2:5 AMP)

Your talk talks and your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks. This was on a picture in our house growing up and I always thought it was a cute little saying but now realize how deeply scarring it can be when we don’t take it to heart. When we profess with our mouthes our Christianity (our talk) but live in such a way as to denounce Christ (our walk) we reflect a version of Christianity to others that undermines the very reasons that Christ walked this earth. This is destructive behavior in a world that is hungry for something to believe in. These “Christians” are driving a wedge between the world and a loving, merciful God.

Mother Teresa shares this. When our sisters were in Ceylon, a minister of state once told me something very surprising. He said, “You know, Mother, I love Christ but I hate Christians.” So I asked him how that could be. He answered, “Because, Christians do not give us Christ; they do not live their Christian lives to the fullest.” Gandhi said something very similar. “If Christians were to live their Christian lives to the fullest, there would not be one Hindu left in India.”

The fullness of our heart comes out in our actions. This isn’t about being pious and condemning. This isnt about religion and rules. This is about opening our eyes to see as Jesus did and then opening our hearts in love. Jesus says, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:40 NLT)

Mother Theresa goes on to say “None of us has the right to condemn anyone. Even when we see people doing bad and we don’t know why they do it. Jesus invites us not to pass judgement. Maybe we are the ones who have helped make them what they are.”

My heart is convicted by this thought. I am challenged not be a stumbling block for others, to live in a consistently loving manner, especially when I don’t feel like it. That is when Christ’s love has the opportunity to shine through.

Jesus Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
~Casting Crowns, Jesus, Friend of Sinners

It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly? Not in a plane, or on an amusement park ride but fly like superman. I think that would be one of the most amazing experiences ever! The freedom, the exhilaration of soaring above the trees, the view from the air! But I have to confess I am terrified of heights. It isn’t so much being up high
that scares me it’s the idea of falling. So if I ever wanted to fly I would have to let go of that fear of falling. I can promise you I will probably never know the experience of skydiving because I don’t know that I would ever be able to get past the door of the plane, let alone the free fall at the beginning. Isn’t that what holds so many of us back, fear? A fear of falling, a fear of failing? What if you didn’t have to be afraid? What if you could let go? I will never be able to fly if my feet stayed planted on terra firma. If I want to know what it is to fly, I will have to let go, I will have to jump.

I am only truly beginning to understand what the cost of being a true disciple of Christ is. This is where you begin to move from one in a crowd of nameless faces to someone who stands out, stands up, and says “Hey wait, there has to be more than this!” It is where you begin to move from what can God do for me to what can I do for God.

I love how Joni Ericson Tada relays this idea…
“God extends His hand and offers you life abundant and joy unspeakable, for here and eternity. But do you ever wonder how much it could cost? The answer is short, simple, and painful. “It will cost you everything,” God replies.

To understand life abundant, joy unspeakable, you have to be ready and willing to lay everything, everything, down and walk away. You have to be ready to stand on the edge of a cliff and jump, with no Plan B. This is where it is so easy to get tripped up. I am a sucker for Plan B. Plan B represents safety but another way of saying that is that Plan B is your failure plan. It is where you say, okay God Plan A is yours, but just in case you let me fall, I have my back-up parachute packed. How easy does it then become to pull the emergency cord as soon as we jump. We never get to experience the freedom of flying because we react to the fear of falling. I love how Woody puts it in Toy Story when he is talking to Buzz Lightyear (for those who are familiar) “that’s not flying, that’s falling, with style.” I, for one, am tired of living this way. Tired of hedging my bets, tired of looking over my shoulder, tired of living afraid to fall even if it is with style.

Joni goes on to say, “Most of us trifle with the cost of Christianity. We slap our sins on the table and, for the price of Somebody Else’s blood, happily walk away with an asbestos-lined soul and a title deed to heaven. With “eternity” taken care of, we get back to living life as usual, offering the obligatory gestures to God on Sundays and holidays.”

Will that work? It’s definitely not Plan A. Jesus said, “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:38-39)

We are creatures of habit, creatures of comfort, and that too easily becomes the driver of our daily lives. I have begun to understand that I need to get over the idea that Christ died for me so that I could live comfortably, allowing Him into my life on Sunday during church or when I find myself in need. We need to understand that we cannot live however we want day to day, knowing that we have our insurance policy of salvation covering us when we die. We will never know life abundant and joy unspeakable if this is the route we choose.

God has a great plan for all of us and I am pretty sure it doesn’t involve the view from inside the plane, the comfort of the couch, or the safety of the sidelines.

Do you want to fly? I do! So, no more being afraid of failing, for greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. If God is for us who can be against us?

If you want to fly, first you have to jump! I think its time.