The Source of Your Confidence!

Pop Culture promotes the idea that we are to have self-confidence. Self-confidence is a good quality to have but eventually we all let ourselves down at some point. People who only have self-confidence are doomed to hit rock bottom because none of us are self-saviours. We are all in desperate need of someone external to us to save us from ourselves, hence why Jesus lived, died on the cross and rose from the dead.

I am growing in confidence. I feel it developing everyday. God spoke to my heart recently about building a stronghold of confidence in my heart. The more I spend time with Jesus and discover more of who He is, the more He helps me discover more of who I am in Him. There is nothing so freeing like knowing who you are in God and being comfortable to be the best version of you God has called you to be.

The first step to greater confidence is not an evaluation of your talents or abilities but a revelation of God. As you grow in your awareness and insight into who God is, He gives you a revelation of who you are. Without a sure conviction of who you are in Christ, you are destined to come unstuck.

Regardless of the circumstances around me, I belong to Christ and I am seated with him in heavenly places. My worth and value is not determined by my efforts but by His love and grace lavishly extended to me. I am redeemed from the poison of sin and forcefully taken from the hands of the enemy. I am blessed and have access to every spiritual blessing in heaven. I have been chosen before the foundation of the world. I have an eternal inheritance and I am sealed by the power of the promised Holy Spirit. I belong to God and He is my Abba father. (Ephesians 1:1-14)

My confidence comes from knowing God is my Father and He delights in me as His son. Many of us struggle with real feelings of insecurity, unworthiness and condemnation, despising ourselves and skeptical of anything to do with God. I know what that feels like cause I lived in that place for a long time. But I have been set free by Jesus and when you know the truth, the truth shall set you free.

Where does your confidence come from? Have you based it entirely on your self, your bank account, your job, your contacts, your image, your reputation, your talents and your experiences? Anything other than a revelation of God as your Father is destined to crumble. The things of this world are temporal and passing away. The kingdom of God is a kingdom that cannot be shaken and will last for eternity.

The Oracle!

Your Life is Your Message!

Too often we try to share a message rather than become the message! In a world of competing brands, you are the best brand you could ever get. The Scriptures suggest, ‘our lives are a letter written to the world.’ When people read your life, what do they read?

In the Holy Scriptures, the prophet’s entire lives became God’s message to his people. A prophet was an active extension of Yahweh. Hosea married a prostitute to proclaim a message to Israel about it being a ‘whore’ in their relationship with God. Isaiah walked around barefoot and naked to communicate what was going to happen to Israel if they continued to rebel against God. Prophets didn’t share something external to themselves, they became God’s message and shared their lives with the people and this gave them authority to speak what God wanted his people to hear. As you can imagine, a tough calling to carry at times.

We can share a lot of things with others but we have no authority to speak on something we haven’t first lived out ourselves. What message are you becoming? What authority do you walk in, to share out of? You and I must become the message before we deliver the message. When you and I become the message, the impact of it will be far greater in the lives of people around us.

Embrace what God is doing in your life right now. Don’t try to run ahead and force his hand according to your desire. The Lord is writing his story onto your heart each step of each day. Your spiritual authority is directly connected to your relationship with your Heavenly Father and his power at work in your life.

God Loves a Failure

Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 for context.

It’s official. God loves a failure! He didn’t want the beauty of his nature and the glory of the kingdom solely represented by the great, the good and the clever. He did not want a who’s who of humanity to portray his own magnificence.

God does not need to be seen in the right places with the right people. Jesus was criticized viciously for hanging out with the very people society detested. He chose to become despised and rejected.

God does not have an image problem. He chose people who had a history of failure. He chose people who had a history of not learning and who repeated their mistakes continuously. God chose people who are despised as being stupid by people who should know better. He accepted people who would require lots of training just to be normal, let alone successful.

He chose them because he wanted to love them in such a way that they would always be safe and whole, whether they were successful or not. He chose them so that his love for them could heal them of their foolishness. He has a wonderful capacity to enjoy us in our weakness.

He has a plan to make us successful through using failure for us and not against us. Failure does not demean the Father. His character and identity are so wonderfully secure that he is not afraid to know us, bless us and stand up for us.

Whether we are doing well or badly our identity is always in Jesus!

Overcoming Insecurity!

Insecurity! Everyone of us suffer from it at some point in our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. Unfortunately, it’s rooted in our fallen nature and begins to surface in childhood. Many adults still have an insecure child in them due to a significant emotional trauma in their past.

Insecurity is like a heavy ball and chain weighing you down and disrupting your relationships with others. Insecurity is a feeling of unease and vulnerability due to a perception of feeling threatened in some way. Insecurity is a lack of deep understanding and confidence in our personal value and a lack of security in our personal identity.

A classic example of insecurity is King Saul (1 Samuel 9:21). From the very beginning Saul suffered from deep insecurity and it undermined his relationships and calling.

Symptoms of insecurity include:

1. Withdrawal and isolation from others.
2. An overly controlling personality.
3. Constant aggressive behavior.
4. Constant avoidance of confrontation.
5. Over-compensatory behavior
6. Defensive mechanisms towards others.
7. Mask wearing.

The downward spiral of insecurity looks like:

– Comparison to others
– Compensation of behavior
– Competition of others
– Compulsive behavior
– Condemnation of oneself
– Control the outcome

As you look at how insecurity manifests itself, we conclude it’s simply unhealthy because it drives us toward doing all sorts of things that are unnatural to how God designed us or what he thinks about us. Insecurity limits our self-authenticity because we are constantly living according to what we think other people think of us.

What’s the remedy? Identify where your insecurity surfaced in your life. What was the identifiable triggers of it? Repent and ask God to help you become a more secure person. Renew your ideas about your identity in the Scriptures. Celebrate and become comfortable in your own skin, including your gifts and unique qualities. Affirm others but don’t compare yourself to them. Welcome compliments and affirm the people around you.

Insecurity is a fruit of our fallen nature but in Christ we can grow to learn a new pattern of thinking about ourselves and others that’s both helpful and God-glorifying (2 Cor 5:17).

Grace!

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The Goal of Ministry!

Over a decade ago I began the journey of full-time ministry, failing to realise that as a follower of Christ, I was already in full-time ministry. Every single Christian is called to Ministry (Eph 4:11-16), every single Christian is gifted for ministry (1 Cor 12:7) and every single Christian can find enjoyment in their ministry (Ecc 2:24). However, unless you understand the goal and purpose of your ministry, you will never fulfill the point of it.

Colossians 1:24-29 is a key passage that points us to the goal of our ministry. Some of the key themes found within it are:

  1. God uses suffering as a means to advance the goal of ministry (v24)
  2. God’s called you to be a steward of the ministry he’s entrusted to you (v25)
  3. The mystery is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in us, the hope of glory (v26-27)
Paul brings us to verse 28 which is the crescendo of the text and outlines to us the GOAL of Ministry:
“Him, we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone, with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
The GOAL of ministry is to present everyone mature in Christ. In between justification and glorification, there is this precious labor of love called sanctification. Some pastors and believers are only focused on the justification of the saints or even the glorification of the saints but Paul says, the goal of ministry is presenting everyone mature in Christ. This is discipleship 101.
The problem with some of our current approach to ministry is that we feel so overwhelmed by secularism, that we want to make Jesus look so cool, so badly and be liked by everyone that instead of aiming our ministry at presenting everyone mature in Christ, we get distracted by party tricks to get people in the door and once we get them in the door, we have no idea what we’re going to do with them.
If the goal of ministry is attracting a crowd only and getting a temporary bunch of decisions, then party tricks will work in the short-term but Jesus didn’t say GO and make converts, he said, GO and make disciples… this is the process of maturation in Christ and where there is no maturing in Christ, something is wrong in our approach to ministry.
Paul outlines to us how we are to go about the GOAL of presenting everyone mature in Christ: There are 3 key actions emphasized in this passage:
  1. Our ministry must be Christ-centered – It’s Jesus we proclaim because Jesus is the hero of the story from Genesis to Revelation.
  2. Our ministry must warn people of the consequences of sin – Romans 6:23 reminds us that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If our ministry removes the doctrine of sin then what need has anyone to be saved.
  3. Our ministry must teach people to grow in Christ – We must be an example in our teaching and lifestyle of the re-prioritizing of kingdom values instead of worldly values.
I encourage you to not serve up a diet of candy, pizza, coke and cheeseburgers to attract a listening. This won’t truly serve them but instead nourish people’s souls with what will produce the full measure and stature of Christ in their lives.
Grace! 

Core Values

Over recent years we have witnessed an increase of natural disasters all over the world. Tsunami’s, floods, and cyclones all have a destructive impact on the individuals and nations they affect. They also test the strength of the building structures they come up against. What determines the strength of a building is the foundation on which they are built.

The same is true for our spiritual lives. Challenging circumstances test the strength of the foundations are lives are built upon. Bad news from the doctor, financial pressure, relational strife and dreams not being realized all test the foundation we are building our lives upon.

What are you building your life upon?

In Jesus sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:24-27), he concludes his message by illustrating through a parable the difference between the person who built their house on the sand and the person who built their house on the rock. The house on the sand crashed when the storms of life came its way but the house on the rock stood firm when the storms came because it had been built on the right foundation.

Building your life on anything other than Jesus Christ is building on the wrong foundation (1 Cor 3:11). Storms are bound to come your way, so don’t think you are an exception to the rule but whether you stand or fall will be determined by the foundation you are building upon. The person who builds their life on the rock is the person who hears Jesus’ words and puts them into action. The person who hears but doesn’t apply what Jesus says is setting themselves up for a fall.

The core values we live by are the ideas that have become so important to us, they shape how we live our lives. Being a disciple of Jesus means that God’s ideas are the most important ideas in our lives that shape how we live our lives. A value is an idea that is so important to you, it shapes how you live. What ideas have become so important to you that it shapes how you think, talk and live? I think it’s important to check those ideas in light of what God and his word says about them.

Action

  1. Write down a list of the core ideas that are so important to you they influence how you live
  2. Examine your list in light of what God’s Word says about them.
  3. Make the necessary adjustments or corrections to your thinking by God’s Spirit.
Insight!

The Ultimate Question!

At some point everyone of us confronts the question, “Why do I exist?” “What is my purpose?” “How do I find and fulfill the central purpose of my life?”

We are all on a search for significance. We desire to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are here on earth. Deep in our hearts we all want to find and fulfill a purpose bigger than ourselves. Only such a grander purpose could inspire us to scale heights we could never reach on our own. Each persons purpose is personal and passionate.

Kierkegaard once said, “The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants me to do; the thing is to find the idea for which I can live and die.” (The Call, Oz Guiness)

My blog is all about helping people find and fulfill the call of God on their lives. Answering the call of our creator is the ‘Ultimate why’ for living, the highest source of purpose in human existence. Apart from answering such a call from creator God, life will surely end in disappointment. Nothing short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose.

Os Guiness wrote in his seminal work, ‘The Call’, “For all, whether believers or seekers, who are open to the call of the most influential person in history, Jesus Christ, this book is written for those who know that their source of purpose must rise above the highest of self-help humanist hopes and who long for their faith to have integrity and effectiveness in the face of all the challenges of the modern world.” ‘The Call’ is a great book and it will help you along your call journey.

2,000 years ago Jesus said, “Follow me”. This is why calling is the most comprehensive reorientation and motivation in human experience. To follow Jesus is to set you on a trajectory to encounter your call. Answering the call to follow Jesus is the way to find and fulfill the central purpose of your life.

Insight!