You Gotta Cheat Somebody

Posted in Choice, Commitments, Margin, Relationships, Stress by PCraig on October 15, 2013

I’m taking our church board through a book this year entitled, “Leaders Who Last” by Dave Kraft.  In this month’s reading, we reflected on “The Leader’s Pacing”, in which Kraft discusses the incessant need that many of us develop to be overly busy.  We just keep cramming more and more things in there until we are about ready to break.  Some in fact do!  They have nervous breakdowns, stress disorders, panic attacks, and all sorts of negative results.

My question is what do we do with a culture that insinuates that “You can have it all” with a reality that you can’t?  The bottom line is discussed in another of my favorite books called “Choosing To Cheat” by Andy Stanley.  (The book has more recently been renamed “Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?”)  I love that premise of looking at our schedules as cheating somebody.

For those of us who are people pleasers, this is a tough thing to do, because we don’t want to cheat anyone.  We feel bad if people are disappointed in us.  We want everyone to like us and want them to be as happy as possible.  Sooner or later, however, you have to come around to the fact that you can’t please everyone.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”  It’s true.  So, the question becomes, “Who are you going to make happy or who are you going to cheat?”

Here’s our options:

  • We can cheat God (Avoid church, praying, building ourselves up in faith…)
  • We can cheat ourselves (Don’t exercise, eat fast & cheap, don’t further yourself)
  • We can cheat our spouse or family (Give them our leftover time, never our best)
  • We can cheat our jobs (Give them our leftover time instead of our best)
  • We can cheat others (Get with people when you can, but not to the expense of yourself, your family or God)

Which one of these describes you?  Who are you choosing to cheat?  Remember, you HAVE to pick one.  You can’t possibly be doing all these well at the same time.  I’ll probably write some more on this later, but what do you think?  Are you a people pleaser?  Does it pain you to know, you’ve gotta cheat somebody?

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Set Your Pace

Posted in Books, Personal Growth, Rest & Refreshing, Solitude, Stress by PCraig on October 10, 2013

I’m taking our Elders through the book Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft this year in our monthly meetings.  In today’s reflection, we focused on the leader’s pacing (not just walking back and forth in your living room).  Our attention was concerning the attitude of most people today on their lives: “I’m so busy.”

Jesus was the most influential person to ever walk this planet and yet I don’t think of Him as being in a hurry.  When I read about Jesus, it’s hard to picture Him as stressed out, in a fizz, and running in every direction like I am often times.

A while back, I had a pastor friend of mine say that he had been told by a Christian Psychologist, Dr. Richard Dobbins, to take time off every quarter of the year.  That pastoring a large church was an extremely intensive career and so he said you need to rest and replenish each quarter.  Since hearing that, I’ve really tried to plan quarterly breaks where I can be refreshed and rejuvenated.

God instituted the Sabbath for a reason.  Here’s the four practices that Kraft gives in his book that he tries to follow:

  1. Take a full day off each week and limit my work hours.
  2. Plan a full day alone for spiritual retreat on a monthly basis.
  3. Make sure I have some fun each week doing things that make me laugh.
  4. Limit the number of evenings I am not at home.

I heard someone say, “If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you may not be as bright as you think you are.”

If Jesus took His disciples away to rest and retreat, God created a Sabbath day, and health, spiritual, and mental experts agree that you need to control your pace, then who are you and I to argue?  Are you setting your pace?  Does your schedule honor God?

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The Divine Portion

Posted in Generosity, Giving, honor, Stewardship, Victorious Living by PCraig on October 3, 2013

When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, God clearly commanded them to enjoy all of the incredible creation He had provided – except for one tree!  The fruit of that tree represented the divine portion.

Later, the Israelites were headed into the land that God had promised them and once again God commanded them to let one city be His, out of ten they were going to conquer.  Once again we see the divine portion.

In Malachi 3, the prophet brings a word from the Lord to the people that they are to stop offering their leftovers to God and bring the whole tithe to God’s house first.  God said otherwise they are robbing Him of the divine portion.

Jesus said to “seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all these things will be added to us.  What things?  The context is food, clothing and housing.  Implying that if we will put God first in His divine portion, God will care for all these needs.

God doesn’t want or need anything from us, but He uses the divine portion to test what is in our hearts, not so He can see what’s there, but so we can.  He already knows what is in our hearts, but sometimes we are deceived about our true devotion.  The divine portion is a way to test what’s truly in our hearts.

Because God is so generous, He always offers incredible positives that will come to our lives if we’ll honor the divine portion: housing, food, clothing, security from our enemies, stability, and victory just to name a few.

Don’t be like Adam and Eve and eat the divine portion.  Don’t rob God and wonder why you’re not blessed.  Instead bring the divine portion to God and I believe you’ll experience the blessed life in ways you can’t imagine.  I know it’s worked for me over many years and many others as well.

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