Archives For growth

Don’t make resolutions… make life changes!

Life-Change

I know, it may be a matter of just wording to some, but the idea is this:

Every year people make resolutions to “do better” in areas of life. They are well-intentioned and certainly heart-felt.

It may be:

  • losing weight
  • being better organized
  • reconnecting with friends or family
  • doing better financially

Those things are all great. In fact, I have made some of those same resolutions. But until I actually did something about any area of resolution, they were at best empty words.

We even do the same in our spiritual life. We will:

  • “Live more” for God
  • Spend more time reading the Bible and in prayer
  • Reach out more to people
  • You fill in the blank

Nothing happens by good intentions. It takes action. Action YOU decide to take.

J Oswald Sanders said,

“We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be.”

The truth is this: until you actually DO something to change, nothing will happen. You can wish for it all you want, but YOU have to make the decision to take a step: to wake up earlier to read and pray, to step out and serve other people, to be more generous with your time and money.

The question is not “can you?” – but “will you?”

Here are a few ideas and resources to start:

  • Find a church, start attending and get plugged in
  • Bible reading plans: http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans
  • Join a Bible Study group: (for all my peeps at Christ Community Church, go here: http://wp.me/P2x6el-49 )
  • Schedule time to go and serve together as a family (your church probably has a few things you could do!)

Whatever it is, make a life change! Decide to DO something and then take action on it! Change your life… starting today!

After hearing Jeff Manion’s session at the Global leadership Summit, I immediately went out to the book table and bought his book titled, “The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions.” His talk resonated with me as we are in our own “land between” as we wait on God’s leading and timing in our life.  Personally, this book was a great reminder of God’s working in my life, and how that tends to happen more in the tough times than the good times.

Jeff takes us through the story of Israel and their travel from Egypt to the “Promised Land.”  During this time, Israel had multiple opportunities to trust in God’s plan and leading, and yet they consistently made the choice to grumble, complain and turn from God.  Jeff describes the “Land Between” as a place of transformational growth or a place where faith goes to die.  As Israel continues to make destructive decisions and responses to God’s leading, God continues to try and draw them to Him through provision and discipline.  Neither work, and as we know, Israel enters in to the 40 years on wandering in the wilderness.

Jeff shares personal stories, as well as stories from people he has encountered in many years of ministry that illustrate how the Land Between has the ability to shape us in to what God plans for us to be.  These times of difficult transition are what God uses in the stories of His people throughout the Bible to be used in a great way.

This book was certainly a great encouragement to me, and I know it will be to all who read it.  We will all go through these times.  How we respond will depend on whether we have transformational growth, or the death of our faith.  I choose to grow!

Many times churches get this idea that being busy and starting more things is the same as being a success.  It is easy to think that the more ministries you start, the better the church must be doing.  But here is the deal, more things going on is NOT the goal.  The goal should be to see lives changed.  You could be a church of 50 or 500, and have 25 different ministries, but if it is not producing life change in people, you are not being effective or successful.  Here are a few more thoughts:

  • If the ministries you are doing now are not producing any life change in people, you need to get rid of it.
  • If starting a new ministry means another job for an already stressed out, overloaded staff member, you probably do not need it.
  • If your idea of growth is doing something else, and not spiritual maturity in people, you likely do not need to do anything else.
  • If you think that keeping your people busy is more important than letting them get out into the world to make a difference and have influence, you do not need another ministry.
  • If you have to get up and beg people to attend a ministry event every time you have it, you do not need it because it must not be producing life change in people, or they would come.
  • If you have to guilt people into doing something, you do not need to do it.  It obviously is not an effective means to life change for your people.
  • Just because the church down the street does it, does not mean you need to do it.
  • Just because you have always done it, does not mean you should still be doing it.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think less is more or more is more?

Speaking of the way we do church, Mark Batterson (in Wild Goose Chase) says:

“…I’m afraid we’ve turned church into a spectator sport.  Too many of us are content with letting a spiritual leader seek God for us.  Like the Israelites, we want Moses to climb the mountain for us.  After all, it is much easier to let someone else pray for us or study for us.  So the church unintentionally fosters a subtle form of spiritual codependency.”

This is why it is so important for the church to encourage and equip people to be in the Word for themselves.  It is also important for people to know that the church can provide opportunities for growth and equipping, but it is still up to the individual believer to take next steps in his relationship with God.  The church cannot make anyone do that, and the church is not responsible to do that.

What do you think?  Has the church made people spiritually codependent?