Who are you working for?

Today’s post really smacked me in the face. I’ve read this verse before but not in a way that made me realize how much I look for approval in other people. So many times we want other people to tell us things like: “You are doing a great job!” “Thank you!” “Great message” “I really need your help” “Here is a gift card for helping out” “You are awesome” “Can you teach me this…” and the list goes on. We all want people to encourage/uplift us and to honestly puff up our heads. We love to feel loved don’t we? Listen to what Jesus says about this:

Luke 17:7-10

7 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”

When I read this verse I felt a punch to my throat and God telling me, “Who are you working for?” I don’t know about you but I look constantly for that approval, those words of affirmation, something that tells me that I am doing this whole ministry thing right. But Jesus says, “stop working for people, work for only me and don’t expect anything, I’ve already given you eternal life, freedom from guilt/stress, peace, forgiveness of sins!”

This is not easy for me to swallow as my whole life I’ve dealt with this:

My love language is words of affirmation:

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

This past summer I took the Strengths Quest and my top strengths were:

Do you know what my highest one was (and I mean outweighed the rest by a ton!)? Ya, significance which says this:

You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the truest sense of the word you want to be recognized. You want to be heard. You want to stand out. You want to be known. In particular, you want to be known and appreciated for the unique strengths you bring. You feel a need to be admired as credible, professional, and successful. Likewise, you want to associate with others who are credible, professional, and successful. And if they aren’t, you will push them to achieve until they are. Or you will move on. An independent spirit, you want your work to be a way of life rather than a job, and in that work you want to be given free rein, the leeway to do things your way. Your yearnings feel intense to you, and you honor those yearnings. And so your life is filled with goals, achievements, or qualifications that you crave. Whatever your focus—and each person is distinct—your Significance theme will keep pulling you upward, away from the mediocre toward the exceptional. It is the theme that keeps you reaching.

I have a long way to go. But, what I’m learning is that I can use affirmation and encouragement from others to fuel me towards Christ’s work for my life…not my own worth.

Who are you working for? Yourself? Others? Where are you seeking approval? (p.s. WordPress automatically puts a “Like this” button at the bottom of my posts, ha!)

p.s. Are you a communicator/speaker in the ministry world? Check out this article from Perry Noble about this topic when it comes to speaking.

God’s power is in you!

The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you. – Romans 8:11

I keep coming across followers of Christ who are depressed, sad and feel like they can’t get anything done. HELLO! You have the same power that rose Christ from the dead MCFLY! Get over it, ask God to remove that lie that you are stuck with an addiction, an ailment or something that just holds you back. I have narcolepsy! I could easily mope around and say God can’t use me, I can’t get over this. Yes He can! God gives us the power to accomplish His work and when we are exhausted is when He comes in (that happens a lot for me cause I’m constantly tired and want to sleep ha!).

It is absolutley incredible to know that we have the same Spirit that was in Genesis hovering over the waters, that spoke to the prophets and is at work in us today. What is holding you back? Probably your selfish self right? Get over it, move past it, God lives in you and can smash it.

Are you overwhelmed by Him?

Psalm 72:19
Praise his glorious name forever!
Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen!

Something I realized this morning as I was spending time in the Word was that this is a big prayer! Think about it. The whole earth be filled with God’s glory. Not just my heart, not just the hearts of those around me, not just USF’s heart. But, the whole earth. When you think about Jesus Christ on that cross, blood flowing from his hands and feet, and how He blotted out our sins, do you get overwhelmed?

My devo said this:

You are not a man unless you start from your knees and cry, ‘Let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen.’ Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy which has been extended to you may bless the whole world.

My wife and I had the privilege of praying with someone to receive Christ this week in our living room, on our knees. That overwhelms me, that God can change someone so much that their fiancée notices a transformation before the wedding. Now God is truly going to be in their marriage.

When was the last time you were overcome with His grace and mercy? If so, why are you keeping it to yourself?

The time of harvest is here, but are you ready?

Dear God

I’ve been following this blog called Dear God for about a year now. I read it when I need a reality check. I read it when I’ve been sitting in my office too long and think, why am I doing this God? Too many times I get sucked into the Christian bubble and don’t realize the hurt that is going on out there. Read this quote from the post titled: I Can’t Believe That I’m Still A Virgin.

Dear God,I can’t believe that I’m still a virgin. I am 20 years old and I am confident about myself. I have success in school, work, popular in friends, have good sense of style, and beauty. Seems like everything is perfect, but it is not.

There is this big hole inside my heart. I have been single for 4 years and I don’t even know why. I tried to find love or at least crush but everytime I fail. I am starting to feel that I am a coward because I am not being open enough. I wished I had let go of my virginity long time a go so at least I can play around now. I am a party girl and it’s just a big contrary of what other people think and what I really am. I have tried to lose it with my fling but he stopped halfway, saying that he’s not gonna do it if I don’t feel comfortable, which i know I wasn’t. I didn’t tell him about my virginity and then he found out that I’m a virgin. He told my friend that he wants me to lose it to someone that would treat me right and he is not that person. My friends told me to lose it to someone I love and love me back, or at least like. But it’s just so hard to find him. I have been with lots of jerks and I’m always not interested with the good guys.

I used to be a Catholic and I left because of modernity. I had new perception that religion is mostly made by human. I used to believe in abstinence. Now I just want to lose because I don’t care anymore. I feel so sick of it already. I want to do it because of me, not because of the guy. I know I’m selfish but I am just afraid to get hurt. I have experienced it before and it killed me once. I have been through hell. I just don’t want that to happen again.

But now I’m starting to feel that I don’t know how to love. I feel that I can do all the things without man, I can. But deep down, I am miserably lonely and i know i need an intense relationship, a companion. But I suck at these things. I’m starting to feel sick of my perfectionist and independence. I am suffocated everyday. Sometimes I wish I have been born a man, not a woman. So that I can easily lose my virginity without regret.God, please help me to find my way back into my identity and love. Kat – Singapore

My heart breaks for Kat. Be ready to cry, yell and ask “why God?” as you read. I do every single time. 

On this post read the comments. Many people want to explain their hurting. Too many times we are quick to judge and speak when James says we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)

What are you doing to listen…to hurting people? Have you made it a point to find people who need you to listen? Any ideas on how to do this? I’m still trying to figure it out myself but I’ve found that Soularium has helped.

Crying out

Have you ever just break down and cry out to God? I’m sure everyone has…

This past Monday I couldn’t sleep. All night I was tossing and turning. Finally around 6:30am I got up and went to the living room. I sat there just wondering am I really doing what God wants me to do? Then I just started bawling in my hands, my face buried. I said “God, am I a good husband? a good father? a good worker for you?” I asked Him to show me to confirm that I am supposed to be married to Annie, supposed to be the father of Collin, Griffin and Eden, supposed to be a BCM director and a follower of Christ. Then, I just sat there and cried. I wanted encouragement, I really wanted encouragement. But, I prayed without believing.

I went throughout the week kind of downcast, feeling like my relationship with Annie was crappy, like I was being a bad father, I wasn’t even caring about spending time with God. I came into work this morning expecting to sit down and just yell at God. However, that didn’t happen. I walked in and two students were sitting there wanting me to go to lunch with them, to which i politely said “PERKINS, ya right, no way!” In a very subtle manner (insert sarcastic tone here). Then, something happened which I would’ve never expected. Michelle says to me, “Thanks for that message last night Rahul.” I turned around and said why? (ha~!) She said “I was asked to chaperon on a elementary girls retreat for a church and wasn’t going to do it because it was going to be a waste of time. But your message about spending life with people caused me to change my heart and now I am going and I’m excited!”

Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a pretty crappy thrown together message. But, God uses truth even when we think He doesn’t. I sat down to pray and it hit me, how stupid I am. Earlier this week Annie and I got to talk out a little part of our relationship, to which we are yearning for the next time we see each other! (first, my relationship with my wife) Then, all of a sudden I’ve just been wanting to hang out with my kids more and more, playing with them, wrestling, acting like Optimus Prime (Autobots Go!). Step 2, then today seeing over 11 visitors and God actually speaking through me to change students lives!

God is amazing. He uses us when we are most vulnerable…