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.

Conflict Resolution

Fort Wayne Daisies player, Marie Wegman, of th...

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

Continuing on with my LifeGroup that I’m doing for ministry training, here are some resources on conflict resolution.

Fix your eyes

Hebrews 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

How many times do we focus on ourselves? I am so stinking selfish! As I was reading this morning I realized that I let Satan creep into my life and my mind. Then I let myself take over my thoughts. Ya, I said myself. We give Satan too much credit sometimes. I catch myself saying that I need to have more faith, I need to have more joy, I need to be used by God more. But then I read this verse where it is not faith, not joy, not even being used by God that saves us. It is only the blood of Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who gives us joy, who uses us when He pleases.

I need to stop hoping and start praying. Only Christ can give us hope when we look to Him. When we look only at Jesus and focus on what He did for us then we will not fear nor allow ourselves to get inside our heads. What are you doing to constantly look at Christ?

How God uses leaders in the church

I was so BUMMED that I didn’t get to go to Catalyst West this year (or ever!). However, I did follow it on Twitter and kind of felt like I was there. One of the things that most caught my eye was that Mark Driscoll had his notes on the Resurgence website even before he spoke (even though he kept telling everyone that he wasn’t sure what the message would be about). My favorite thing about Driscoll is the amount of Scripture he uses to truly be the basis of his topic.

These notes in particular caught my eye as I am dealing with some crap in my life and need some direction from God asap! Maybe they will help you as well:

The basis of the message was “11 Things God Does for Church Leaders.

Driscoll talks about how many ministry leaders:

  1. Burn up – physically
  2. Blow up – sinfully
  3. Give up – practically

I believe that this happens because so many things tell us to rely on ourselves instead of the one who put us there. As I was watching 30 Rock last night, I realized that I constantly tell myself that I shouldn’t be here because I didn’t earn being a BCM director (the episode of 30 Rock was all about “affirmative action” to make sure they hired all the racial discriminations to satisfy the critics! hilarious!). I still struggle with being humble…that’s a whole different post. The contrary is that God places people for His ministry…not ours. Check out the 11 things:

1. Jesus is the Senior Pastor of the church.

1 Peter 5:4 – “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

2. The Holy Spirit chooses leaders for the church.

Acts 20:28 – “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

3. God gifts leaders of the church.

Ephesians 4:11–12 – “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

4. God empowers leaders for the church.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

5. God encourages leaders in the church.

2 Corinthians 4:1 – “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.”

6. The Holy Spirit speaks to leaders about the church.

Acts 13:2–3 – “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

7. God gives wisdom to leaders over the church.

2 Timothy 2:7 – “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

8. Jesus joins leaders as they discipline in the church.

Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

9. God answers leaders’ prayers for the church.

James 5:14–15 – “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

10. The Holy Spirit falls on Bible preaching in the church.

Acts 10:44 – “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.”

11. The Holy Spirit says no to leaders of the church.

Acts 16:6 – “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.”

Some good stuff here…what do you think? Which ones do you resonate with/feel empowered by? Which ones do you struggle with?

For me I really struggle with 4, 5, 9 and 11 because I just am so analytical that I need to “see” things. I am so glad that he used number 8 in context! Finally!

I really try to hold on to 1, 3 and 7 instead of working in my own futility!

I am stinkin selfish

I am selfish.
Yup, I want everything to be about me.
If things don’t go my way I get angry.
If you can’t read my thoughts then you are not trying hard enough.
Don’t expect me to show any compassion to you because all I care about is me.

I want you to wait on me.
My time is more important than yours.
Why should I listen to you?
I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it.

When you boil it down every sin comes back to selfishness. Ephesians 4:21-32

  • Lying – makes me look innocent/good
  • Anger – because I don’t like what you did to me
  • Theft – I must have it
  • Slander – makes me look better than you

Instead we should put ourselves after loving God and then loving others:

  • Be truthful – builds up the body (v. 25)
  • Be kind and forgiving – gets rid of our desires and focuses on others (v. 26-27)
  • Be generous – helps us forget that we want something (v. 28)
  • Be encouraging (stupid) – makes others look better than you (v. 29)