Hillary Clinton….true political persistence

Senator Clinton and I have very little agreement on any political view point, but I have to say, i’m getting a kick out of her persistence.  She is a fighter and whatever your political leanings you have to hand it to her, for just not giving up.  Its a great quality in a leader.  Someone who will push, and stand, and cast vision, and not lose heart no matter what.

I believe that if Obama was not the media darling that he is, and if the clintons didn’t have to reap what they have sown in the past, this election would be quite a different story to this point.  The tenacity that she has shown is truly what it takes to be a winner in the long run.  Just don’t ever give up.

Many have said, she is waisting money and time and creating conflict and division in the party by not giving up, but for whatever its worth, it has impressed me.  Enough to vote for her? No, probably not, but I would pick her over obama any day of the week.

Persistence, its a big deal.

 

David

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Why all the Rules?

Why all the Rules?

I wrote previously that I don’t know why people wouldn’t want to get God’s order in their lives. There are so many obvious benefits. I have a sneaking suspicion though; many people don’t like structure because they don’t like rules. I think at times we view any kind of structure or parameter as legalism. Legalism being the method that many churches have used in the past, and many religious belief systems have used and still use to get people to adhere to the rules of that specific organization.

These are two different things. When Paul told us we could be free, he wasn’t saying you don’t have to honor, respect and submit to authority anymore, as a matter of fact he said that we should not use our freedom as an opportunity to be rebellious.

There are many differences between legalism and God’s order. The first and most important is the approach. Legalism approaches externally. Rules are given out to force us to obey. God’s order approaches internally. God changes our hearts, and when our hearts change it flows out of us and produces external change. We can make rules to force people to do what we want, but in their heart they may hate it and be rebelling even if they obey. However, if God changes a person’s heart, to want to obey, then when they do it’s based on submission not on condemnation. Jesus himself said in a verse so rarely quoted, John 3:17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Another difference between legalism and God’s order is the attitude of structure. When God tells us we need to do something it is never arbitrary. He never has the attitude, although He could, “you do it, because I said, I’m God.” He wants our obedience because He truly knows what’s best for us. Legalism is crafted by man, and has a manipulative or controlling purpose. Its attitude is very much one that says, “Do it because I said so.” God’s attitude is always about helping His kids. He is continually leading us to understand we can trust Him and if we do things His way, our life will be so much better.

The last difference between legalism and God’s order is its aim. God has an aim or purpose for everything He wants, asks, or commands us to do. His purpose is always two fold as far as I can tell. One, He wants our lives to benefit His kingdom. The bible says “He would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” His purpose for His order in our lives first, is to bring Glory to His name and draw people to His kingdom. Secondly, he wants to benefit us as individuals. The word says in John 10:10 “the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come to give you life, and life more abundant. He wants to bless us, and that is exactly what His order does to our lives. It puts our priorities in perspective. It places parameters and guidelines in our lives that serve to develop and grow us up as followers of Christ. Legalism is about the outside, order is about the inside. Legalism is about manipulation and force, order is about empowerment and true freedom from chaos. Legalism is about arbitrary rules, and order is about purpose.

Let me give you a visual example of legalism versus order. What if I had a pear tree in my back yard and it was time for the tree to bare fruit. I can see myself walking out to that tree and thinking, “I’m going to get one of those juicy pears off the tree take it in, wash it off and eat it.” What if as I walk up to the tree, I notice, there’s nothing on it. No pears, not one. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if I said, “that’s embarrassing; my tree doesn’t have any fruit my neighbors are going to laugh?” Now isn’t that stupid? Why would my neighbors care? Do you know what would be even more ridiculous? If out of my embarrassment, I thought, “I can’t let my neighbors see a tree with no fruit.” Wouldn’t they think I was crazy if they looked out and saw me taping pears to my tree, just so the tree would look like it was doing what it was supposed to? That’s what legalism does, it places rules on the external and demands action so everything looks like it is fulfilling its purpose, but it’s really not. Order would say, cultivate the tree, water it, care for it, nurture it and it will produce fruit, then you don’t have to pretend to have fruit, you don’t have to put fruit on the tree, you just have to watch it grow and enjoy it. Galatians says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, goodness, temperance and faith. These things can’t be forced, they can’t be demanded, they can only be borne and they are only borne when things are done in order. So let’s stop “putting it on”, and start baring it out.

Today, don’t fear order, embrace it. Submitting to Gods order places us in the center of His will and plan for our lives. It empowers us to grow and lead others to grow. Let order saturate your heart and produce the fruit of the spirit on the branches of your life.

Take Your Place….

Being out of place is the most uncomfortable and disorienting feeling in the world. It steals our enthusiasm and frustrates our purpose. It can hurt us and others around us. On the other hand being in place is completely satisfying. There is peace when you are in the right place at the right time.

I think of it like a jigsaw puzzle. You have a beautiful picture on the outside of the box, which all the small pieces put together should make. We have, in the Bible, the picture of the purpose and life that God would have us to live. When we pray and seek God and put each one of those elements, seasons, gifts, talents and abilities together in the right place it culminates in the picture that is our God purposed life. The thing about the pieces to a puzzle is they have one place to fit. We can try to force a piece in but it will ruin that piece and the pieces around it, and ultimately the picture will not look like the front of the box.

Being out of place can bring loneliness, confusion, heartache, and apathy to the forefront in our lives. Moses is the biblical person I think of in this scenario. I think sometimes we put his life in a theatrical box and don’t really understand how he felt. The picture of Moses overall life is definitely the picture of a deliverer. The components of his life put together depict his purpose. His personality, his raising, his very name meant “to deliver” or to draw out.

He was raised in Pharaohs household, God’s way of training him for leadership, however because he was a Jew and Identified with his people, he felt out of place. His frustration and zeal combined to push him to act out that frustration. He struck a blow against tyranny and slavery, but was out of place and time for that blow to be struck. This forced him to run. He knew his actions were ill timed and as a result his life begin to spiral out of control. Was he to be Israel’s deliverer? Yes, but this was not the place or the time. God had not finished training him. Inexperience and immaturity will Cause us to act out of frustration even in the direction of our purpose it will put us out of place, as it did him.

Moses, then found himself on the back side of the desert. Even then we see him trying to be a deliverer. There were some young women trying to water their father’s flocks and were being bullied out of the way. Moses stepped in and stood up for them and brought them to the front of the line. He met his wife in that interaction and married, and took on the trade of his father in law. He became a shepherd.

It seems that Moses had resigned himself to his new life. The zeal to deliver seemed to be lost to him, and his people dead to him. We can deny our purpose, we can act like “our life is fine,” but in truth we are hurting and miserable. The way you see it in Moses is in the name of his child. In their culture your name many times held great meeting. Moses named his child just as his mother named him, except she named him in faith. She named him the future deliverer of his people. He named his child to declare his miserable state. He named him Gershom which means Expulsion, or a stranger there. He was practically screaming “I am out of place!” My life was not supposed to turn out like this. It’s not that he wasn’t happy with his wife, or his child, or even his life or occupation, what was missing was the God component, purpose.

It’s very interesting to me that he knew he was out of place, but when God called him, he made excuses, and asked God to get someone else. Sometimes even when we know we’re out of place and in our heart of hearts we’re miserable, missing that one God component, we still make excuses. I think we get comfortable. After all, my life’s not so bad; I have a great life, a good career, a great spouse, wonderful children, and good friends. No more excuses! It’s not about whether or not I have a great life or whether or not I enjoy my life, it is about whether or not I am fulfilling my purpose. We can’t get comfortable with life in the wrong place.

When Moses finally surrendered God gave him the courage to act on his purpose by delivering the Israelites out of the hand of Egypt. He broke the generations free from the shackles that held them. What significant thing is yet to happen as a result of your purpose or dream? It’s going to happen if we get in place. Moses wasn’t meant to be pharaoh’s son, nor was he to be just Jethro’s son in law the shepherd, He was meant to be Moses, the deliverer of the people of God. He found meaning when he found his right place. Find satisfaction, peace and the realization of God’s purpose in your life as you take your place.

David

Rewrite your personal History

“Rewriting Your Personal History”

I know it sounds impossible. As a matter of fact it is impossible. No one can change reality by rewriting history, right? The truth is we can’t but God can. We can’t go into our past and change it, we can’t act as if “those things” never happened, because they did, but we can change the direction of our history. What we do in our present determines our future and our future at some point will be our history.

God is capable of taking our lives and making them what he originally intended for them to be. No matter what we’ve done or experienced. He can change the direction of our lives.

Maybe the direction of your life is good, but there are areas in your life that you really want to see change. You want a second chance. The sad part about life is that a lot of times We don’t get a second chance. However that is what is so exciting about God. He is all about second chances. Having a relationship with Him gives us a second chance.

Do you remember the story in the Gospel of John chapter two and three where Nicodemus and Jesus are talking and Jesus tells him? “You must be born again.” Nicodemus asked, because he was thinking physically not spiritually, “can a man go back into his mothers womb and be born again?” Jesus response was man must be born physically and spiritually. When we come to know Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him, we are “born again”; we are given another chance, a chance to rewrite our personal history.

If you’re like me, every once in a while you think about your legacy. What will your children will take from your life as they go into their future? I want them to take principles of vision, hope, and discipline that will give them a promising future, a faith in God and His promises for them that will assure their success as a Christian and in life.

Can this really be true, though? Can we really get a second chance? I think of the apostle Paul. He wrote two thirds of the New Testament. He was one of the greatest New Testament figures, and many historians say was one of the three most intelligent men in history. He was an intellectual Jew, who belonged to the Sanhedrin and purposefully opposed Jesus as the Messiah. He stood by and watched Stephen be stoned to death, for professing Christ as the Messiah. He was fighting the Christian Cause with such passion he was having Christians thrown in Jail.

He was on one such journey, when Jesus revealed himself to Paul, and asked him what he was doing. After this encounter he committed His life to Christ, with such passion that even though he was persecuted, defamed, challenged, and ultimately executed for the cause of Christianity, he gave himself completely to it.

If you read Paul’s writings you read about a man who was full of Joy, who kept preaching even after being placed in prison. He wrote, he taught, he sang, he breathed this great gospel. God rewrote his personal history, and a man who would have been nothing more than a religious zealot opposing the Christian movement, was rewritten into a man that changed the world forever with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a relationship with Jesus, and he has rewritten my personal history, and yes there are constant revisions that need to be made, but my end will be better than my beginning I have no doubt. So let God Rewrite your personal history, and turn things around in your life.

What is your story?  Please share.

Thanks

David

Are you kidding me….Lotteries exploiting gas prices?

I heard something I thought was funny and bordered on stupid.  It was a radio commercial, it played like this.  There is a man in his car with his wife and every hill he is coasting, she says what in the world are you doing?  He says, “just think of the money I’m saving in gas.”  Then the announcer comes on and says don’t let gas prices drive you crazy, then goes on to encourage you to buy a lottery ticket to win free gas.  This truly shows the heart of the benefactors of gambling.  Calling a man crazy for coasting, Which is funny and extreme, but then saying the sanest thing to do is spend your many on a chance to win gas.  This plays on our crazy thinking that we are somehow going to win major economic change.

It only truly comes through Good stewardship, good money management, and leaving below your means.  I think the commercial is crazy.

What do you think?

David

Reality Check

Let’s face it. Most of us, well, all of us are subjective when it comes to evaluating ourselves. We can easily see and criticize the weaknesses in others, but not ourselves. We don’t usually say, “I need to change to make my marriage better.” It’s more like, “if my spouse would change our marriage would be better.” We don’t usually say “If I would manage my money better I wouldn’t have so much financial stress.” It’s more like, “if my boss would pay me more, I wouldn’t have the financial troubles I have.” A reality check is realizing that we need to take personal responsibility for our lives.

I think of King David, after he committed adultery and conspired to commit murder. He seared his conscience by doing what he wanted, not what God expected. He didn’t change until the prophet Nathan looked him in the eye and said, “You’re the man.” That is what you call a “reality check.” A truth that broadsides us back into reality.

A few years ago Pastor Kirk (my friend and mentor) did that for me. I had planted a church, with a group of friends whom I loved and still love very much, each of them are now doing some kind of ministry in church and several of them in full time ministry. No doubt, it was a great experience, but it just wasn’t working. In hind sight I can see I chose to plant a church for convenience, not that there’s anything convenient about it except, it was the only available opportunity that fit with what I thought I should do. Needless to say, and I won’t go into the whole story, we weren’t doing well.

When I was in the middle of this project, my wife, Janae kept saying to me, “you need to call Pastor Kirk.” To be honest the last person I wanted to speak with was Kirk Pankratz. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. I didn’t want to tell Pastor Kirk, “my church is not growing, I’m depressed, we’re broke, my wife is mad at me. So I just wouldn’t call him.

Out of the blue, Pastor Kirk calls me. He invites us to come up and hang out with his family. Hesitantly, (meaning I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough) I said yes. Now, the rest of this story is a divine reality check.

Kirk, asked me, “So, how’s it going?” I, the paragon of virtue that I am, begin to spill the truth. “Everything is great!” I said. I don’t even remember what else I said, but it was just more nonsense. Then, Pastor Kirk turned to Janae, as if I hadn’t said a word, he asked Janae, “how’s it really going?” She blurts out with no hesitation at all, “It’s horrible, and he is working himself to death. We are not growing, we are struggling financially, (code for Broke!) and he won’t stop!” all the while I am kicking her under the table.

There I am, in a heap, officially “reality checked.” I knew it was all true, and that my stubborn pride was hurting my destiny, my family, my team, and myself. Kirk and Nancy said something to me that was life changing. “…as long as you don’t give up on Gods plan for your life you’re not a failure.”

So here is a reality check for you. To change is not to admit you’re a failure but it is the true path to success. Don’t let pride and arrogance hold you back from your purpose in God. What ever needs to change, just admit your wrong, and change, and God will move quickly on your behalf. Consider yourself “Reality Checked.”

-David Gadberry