Who Are You Imitating?

Posted in Character, Christian Lifestyle, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on March 20, 2014

One of my favorite entertainers is an impersonator of celebrities.  It’s always amazing to me how many of them have mastered the facial expressions, voice inflections and even appearance of the other person.

The other day, I was reading Ephesians 5, where Paul encourages us to be “imitators of God.”  It got me thinking about what it takes to be an imitator or impersonator.  Here’s how I felt God applied it to me:

  • Impersonators aren’t the real thing, only imitators.  We aren’t God, just imitating Him.
  • They try to talk like the person they are imitating.  What would God say to that person?
  • They pick up the mannerisms of the star. We should pick up the traits of the true Star (God).  What would He act like in this situation.
  • They make themselves look as much like the celeb as possible.  When others look at you, do they see Jesus?

Just like I love seeing impersonators of cultural icons, I love even more seeing imitators of the Great I AM.  Let’s be imitators of God.

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Why Famous People Mess Up

Posted in Character, Decisions, Integrity, Mistakes by PCraig on March 20, 2014

Have you every heard the announcement of someone famous messing up and thinking, “How do you do that?  How do you have that much money, fame or whatever you want and mess up like that?”

The problem is that fame and fortune don’t provide character; they only reveal it.  If you have trouble staying out of trouble when you’re poor, getting ahold of more money will only add to the problem.  This is the explanation for why famous people wind up on the news for dumb choices and poor decisions.

A lot of people think that poverty is a great test of character, but the stronger test is that of prosperity.  That’s why Daniel is such an incredible story in the Old Testament.  He had fame and fortune and yet when they snuck around and thoroughly investigated his life they could find no corruption (Daniel 6:4).  The only thing they discovered was he really loved God.

I feel bad for those who get caught up in bad decisions that negatively affect themselves and those around them, but I’m not shocked by it.

Let’s be people who, like Daniel, are trustworthy, free of corruption and negligence; because our character is anchored in our commitment to God, not our money.

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The Line Forms There

Posted in Generosity, Impact, Missions, Serving, Thankfulness, witnessing by PCraig on March 13, 2014

It is better to serve than be served.  That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true.  Last Sunday, I began my message by asking the question:  “How long will the line be in heaven to get to you (by people) to say thanks for serving and giving to the Lord”?  The goal was to think about the power of our influence on earth that will be fully realized in heaven.

When you give to a missionary here, you have no idea who all might be reached through their ministry.  However, when we get to heaven and are enlightened, people will want to show their gratitude for sending the missionary.  That means a line may form to get to you and me filled with Africans, Asians, South Americans, Europeans, Islanders and all manner of people to say thank you.

The longer I live the more aware I am of the hollowness of outward stuff.  And, the more convinced I am of caring, and not being cared for, having the greatest value.  As we get into heaven, I think we will wish we had changed more diapers, served more meals, carried more bags, held more doors, lightened more burdens, and given more away.

The line to get to you on earth is not nearly as significant as the line that will form in heaven.

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Motivated By Gratitude

Posted in Attitude, Giving, Happiness, Marriage, Serving, Thankfulness by PCraig on March 6, 2014

Gratitude is a great source of motivation.  Recently, when Shaunti Feldhahn was with us, she talked about how this works with marriages.  She said that her research revealed that highly happy couples keep score.  No, not of the things their partner didn’t do.  Instead, they keep track of the good things their partner did in an effort to show gratitude and appreciation later.

In other words, the happy couples said things like, “Hey, I’ve been noticing how you’ve been knocking yourself out for the family lately and doing more than normal because of sick kids in the house, so I want you to take this Saturday and go get a massage, go shopping with friends and I’ll watch the kids.”  She said the couples felt a feeling of indebtedness to each other when one was doing a lot.  (Try it out on your spouse and let me know how it goes over)

If gratitude toward our spouses causes us to serve one another all the more, then what should we do when we look at what God has done for us?  Through Christ we have been forgiven, restored, renewed, released, accepted, and have eternal reservations with Him in heaven.  What more could you ask for?

I mean Jesus died on the cross because of your sin and mine and forever paid our debt so we can be free.  What does that feeling of indebtedness do to you?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough hours in a day to serve Him, nor can I give too much money in support of kingdom work to repay Him.

Truly grateful people keep score and look for ways to pay it back.  It can help a marriage and it is the only reasonable response to a Savior who gave all for us.  Does the way you serve and give show gratitude?

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