Helmets, Seat Belts, Armor

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV

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A strong defense wins championships.

This statement has been repeated constantly by sport teams over the years. Yet how does that apply to everyday life?

This past week, I had a bicycle accident. The bike tires hit what this northern transfer calls “rubber ice.” For those outside the state of Florida, rubber ice is a byproduct of rubber mats placed on sidewalk corners. Their purpose is to prevent people from slipping on the pavement. However, the problem occurs after a rain shower when the rubber mat becomes wet. When bicycling, one must approach these mats directly head-on or risk having the tires spin out of control.

The later is what happened when I quickly turned onto the sidewalk at an angle. The tires didn’t hold and the bike went into a slide. When everything stopped, I was a pretzel caught under the bike with my cheek rubbing the cement ground. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet which took most of the blow to the head. I was fortunate to walk away with only minor scrapes and bruises.

I recall in those early years once driving my auto on the service drive of a freeway when another car ran a stop sign and broadsided me. The impact knocked my car off the road toward the freeway which laid approximately 30 feet below. The impact knocked me from the driver side to an upside down position on the passenger side. When the car came to a stop, my head was on the passenger floor mat and my feet upright hitting the ceiling. My right hand though hung onto the steering wheel keeping the car from toppling off the service ramp into the traffic below.

Again, I was fortunate to walk away with bruises and minor cuts. This was before the law of the land required seat-belt usage. Anyway, after that ordeal wearing a seat belt became my standard before it was even a legal requirement.

Today, wisdom recognizes the safety importance of wearing helmets when cycling and seat belts when driving cars. One never knows when outside circumstances could cause a damaging accident with crippling human results.

The apostle Paul outlines in the book of Ephesians the defensive measures that a Christ-follower wears to prevent catastrophe against the devil’s ploy. He described it as the whole armor of God. It includes Truth, Righteousness, The Gospel, Faith, Salvation, Word of God, and Prayer.

If you want to have a strong defense, than it is recommended that one learns, understands, and integrates each of these tools into your life. The world’s circumstances will test you through unexpected battles. To survive and endure to the end requires putting on the defensive gear before an unplanned accident occurs. With the proper equipment, one has a better chance of walking away with only minor bruises and small cuts.

Those who aren’t wearing any protective gear though will experience the full impact of an accident’s fury. Whether bicycling, driving, or moving through life’s jungle, one needs to be prepared for the unexpected. The armor of God helps you to manage the risk of the unexpected.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Preach What?

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“But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12 ESV

 

The other day a pastor on TV emphasized that He preaches the Bible. Another preacher on the other station states that he preaches Jesus Christ. It raised the question. Which is the message of the Kingdom? The Bible or Jesus Christ?

Whenever one elevates the Bible or equates the written word with the personal Word, my historical journey is recalled and danger flags are now waved. It begs the question, how do you interpret the Bible? What is the basis of your preaching? Is the main thing the Bible or who the Bible points to?

When a person preaches Jesus Christ as Savior, Messiah, and Lord, the focus in on the main thing – Jesus. The Bible introduces the reader to Jesus. The Incarnate Jesus reveals God to us. As we read and study the life, work, and heart of Jesus, we learn more about God. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we learn to follow in his steps. As we study the Bible through a Jesus-centered Triune God worldview, we have a more solid basis of interpreting scripture.

Our focus is to build a stronger relationship with the eternal God. The Bible is simply a means to this end.

Our partnership and participation is with Jesus; not the Bible. He is redeeming humanity; not the Bible. Our job is to abide and follow Him. To listen to His word as He communicates to us. The Bible serves as a means for God to communicate to us through His Spirit. As we read and study the inspired word, we are open to hear his voice. As we learn to hear his voice through scripture, we are more attuned to recognize Him during the activities of the day. It is His Spirit that inspires us, encourages us, and opens us up to serve those around us.

Again, the Bible is the means, not the message. The message is Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His Domain. Secondary, but including in that message is how we participate with Him through the sanctification phase.

Jesus is the reason we have the Bible. Therefore, if the preaching is not centered around Jesus Christ, be careful. If the message doesn’t explain how Jesus is the foundation of your growth, service, and faith, be on guard. If the emphasis is on what you need to do and not what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do, be suspect. Remember, Jesus came with good news; not more burdens, yokes, and hurdles for you to climb.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Feelings

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11 ESV

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I don’t feel like it!

How often have we expressed the same?

What did we do with that feeling?

Did we follow through as a victim of our feelings?

Or did we balance the feelings with God’s Character?

Did we weigh the feelings with His Word?

What is the truth when you compare your feelings with His Word?

Yes, there are times when our feelings will be correct. Other times your feelings will blind you to the truth.

Be a wise person. Stop, pull back, and evaluate the situation. Don’t let your feelings lead you unless you already know they are built upon the foundation of God’s love, grace, and truth.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

 

Why Read The Bible?

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

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When you want to learn about someone, what do you do? Don’t we search the Internet and see what we can find out. Don’t we ask people who may personally know the person? Maybe we may eventually schedule a visit and spend time with the person.

So why read the Bible? Here are some practical, everyday what-if questions that point to the Bible.

* What if you had the means to develop a more intimate relationship with the Living God finding out more about Him? His heart? His mind? His character?

* What if you could better understand the interrelationship between His work on earth and heaven?

* What if you could learn ways to unleash His authority to impact your world today?

* What if you could explore and truly integrate the impact of heavenly Virtue into your micro world?

* What if you could discover how to fully merge the spiritual treasurers of heaven into the physical realities of everyday life?

* What if you could stop making the same mistakes others have made? Isn’t it smarter to learn from the successes and failures of others?

* What if you had an avenue that allowed you to listen for the Holy Spirit to interpret God’s Will as it personally applies to you?

* What if you had a source that contains a storehouse of life-giving, energized knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for every season of life?

* What if you had your own personal guide written specifically for you to acquire practical knowledge of the best finance, marriage, family, and business practices proven over millenniums of time?

* What if you had a source that reveals how God interrelates with humanity and how you could better interrelate with Him?

* What if you could more easily identify the Truth and its implications within reality?

* What if you had a written script to help you better understand your purpose in life?

The Bible expresses the love, grace, and authority of Jesus Christ. If you want to serve the King of King, don’t you think if would help you to better understand what His plans, purpose, methods, and means are for you and for the sake of others? What if you spent a few more minutes each day discovering more about the Triune God? What difference do you think it would make in your world? It may not be a radical idea, but its implementation certainly is.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Build Strengths, Compliment Weaknesses

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

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Sometimes when performance doesn’t measure up to expectations, people have the tendency to focus on fixing their weaknesses rather than buildup one’s strengths.  Good coaches though help you to operate around your strengths and compliment your weaknesses.

We see this in sports. Take football as an example. We see how this year’s Cleveland Brown’s offensive coordinator has built a system around their quarterback’s strength.  The quarterback, Brian Hoyer’s strength is the mid-to-long ball arena. Therefore, the Cleveland team plays a horizontal game where Brian is constantly throwing down field rather than short routes. The short game is his weakness. The long game is his strength. Since implementing this strategy, Mr. Hoyer leads all quarterbacks in performance ratings for long throws down field. As a result, the Cleveland Brown’s are in serious contention for a playoff spot when no one gave them a chance in the beginning of the year.

The same is true in business. Almost every single successful business is built around the entrepreneur’s strengths. When the business owner starts to deviate away from their core strengths is typically when the business starts to falter. The process is usually slow because the owner is trying to save money by doing it herself.  The problem is it takes him twice as long to complete the job than someone else whose strength is a perfect match. We see this when a business is built on the sales skills of an owner. When he also tries to keep the company books he is travelling outside his area of expertise. Yes he may save a few dollars in the short term, but in the long term he is losing opportunities to sell which is how the company became successful in the first place.

This is also true in leadership. Abraham Lincoln is a good example of someone who understood this principle. When he was elected President. he surrounded himself with the best people knowledgeable in their field of specialty.  His cabinet consisted of “political enemies” and “self-seeking” businessmen.  He knew his strength was his gift of discernment and communications. Therefore, he exercised his primary strengths and complimented his weaknesses through the people around him. Most novice leaders surround themselves with like-minded people. President Lincoln was not a novice. He accepted the confrontations and egos knowing it provided him with the best support to effectively lead the country.

As disciples, we likewise need to learn to build our lives on our primary strengths. That means the foundation of Jesus Christ is firmly planted in our life. That we know His Word and follow His Spirit enthusiastically. We accept the natural gifts that God has bestowed upon us and find ways to express them for God’s glory and the sake of others. We realize our shortcomings and surround ourselves with people and boundaries that compliment us in our journey through life. As we lean on our primary Strength, the Triune God, we learn to integrate and grow God’s Kingdom through our work, family, and other pursuits.

Life in Christ is most enjoyable when our God-given strengths work together with others for advancing His plans. We experience what being fully human was originally intended when God created humankind. When God’s Spirit merges with our souls, God’s new creation becomes a reality in our world today: Build Strengths, Compliment Weaknesses. A proven principle that works!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Lean On Him (LOH)

“Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.” Psalm 71:6 ESV

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When you find out you are no longer the smartest, strongest, fastest, or whatever you are good at, maybe it is time to start: LOH.

When you realize you can’t do it alone, others have failed you, and you don’t know where to turn too, LOH.

When you finally admit you are broken and need help, LOH.

When your dreams are shattered, your hope disappears, or you feel forsaken, LOH.

When you come to the end of yourself, and can’t go any further, LOH.

Or maybe instead of waiting until you reach that moment of truth, you get ahead start today. You may be pleasantly surprised of the outcome when you first learn to Lean On Him.

Our Triune God wants you to have a life like His. Though we are limited by physical boundaries, He has wired us as a mini reflection of Himself. He wants you to learn and grow into His complete image. It all begins when you learn to lean on Him. How radical is that?

We are rooting for you!

 

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

Be Radical

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

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What does it mean to be radical?

The dictionary.com provides several definitions.

  1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: “a radical difference.”
  2. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: “a radical change in the policy of a company.” a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.
  3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: “radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.” a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.
  4. forming a basis or foundation.
  5. existing inherently in a thing or person: “radical defects of character.”
  6. Mathematics/Chemistry. pertaining to or forming a root. denoting or pertaining to the radical sign. The set of elements of a ring, some power of which is contained in a given ideal. A quantity expressed as a root of another quantity.
  7. Grammar. of or pertaining to a root.

 

Like many words in the English language, it depends on the context of the subject matter. When I use the word radical, it typically means to focus on the root of the matter; the original intent, the foundational basis, the uncompromising position of basic beliefs that are fundamental to life and purpose as found in Jesus Christ.

To be radical in Christ is to adhere to the core teachings and purpose behind the Incarnate God. It is to be true to His Word, Purpose, and Intent. It is to be in an intimate, close relationship with Lord Jesus. It is to focus on life through the central eyes of Christ via the Holy Spirit’s influence. It is to eliminate all the additional pomp, rituals, and speculations and focus on the basic core meaning and purpose of Jesus Christ’s life as He lived and lives. It is to live life the way the Triune God created life to be. It is practical and livable, not religious and superstitious. It is to exercise the beliefs, values, and core principles of God’s original intent from the foundation of the world. It is to walk in agreement with God as He constructs His new creation. It is to walk in His redemptive plan of salvation as He restores creation to His original design.

To be radical in Christ is this and so much more. Each day we look through the window of faith and behold a world that all mankind wants but can’t bring it about until Jesus Christ returns. He will establish order and rule the Kingdom Way. For now, we are being prepared to lead and serve His way. This is my radical.

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.