Undesirables of Jesus

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 7:34 (ESV)

 Undesirable people 1

 

How many of us would condemn a person who spent their time partying with the low-life of humanity? (There is no low-life in God’s eyes; but from mankind’s perspective, there is).

You would of course need to define low-life. In Jesus’ time, if you were not living the high-life, then you must have been considered the other.  The high-life would be the people who had all the material aspects that life makes available. They would be seen high on the social ladder. They would be formally educated and successful in what they did. They would be recognized throughout the community. They may even be highly respected in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the low-life would be the undesirables of their day. In Jesus’ time, that would include women, children, and the elderly. It would include slaves, the physically challenged, and the religiously inept. One doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a low-life; life happens. The result generally is a life without great purpose, meaning, or self-sustenance.  One has to rely on stealing, prostituting oneself, or obtaining help from others just for the basic necessities of life.

Yet Jesus not only conversed with the undesirables of his time, He loved them. He enjoyed spending time with them and was accused of being a “glutton and drunkard.” His circle of friends and acquaintances included tax collectors, prostitutes, adulteress’, criminals, and the working class. His greatest supporters were women who provided for Him from their means. In Jesus’ day, most women had no rights, couldn’t own property, and were treated as collateral on the household books. Yet Jesus loved spending time with them.

He didn’t spend time with them for a few moments as a political campaign video. He ate with them, drank with them, and conversed with them as a friend and teacher.  He healed them. He fed them. He cared for them. He shared stories, laughter, and tears for them. He demonstrated the love of God, the service of God, and the heart of God with everyone He met. He treated others with respect and dignity. Wherever and whenever He could, he changed their world for the better.

How about you and me? Who are the undesirables in your world? What can you do today to impact the life of another that you wouldn’t normally associated with in your daily walk?  What if the next time you drove to work or went out for lunch, you took a closer look at the people you came into contact with. Maybe you can ask God right then and there how you can participate with Him in the life of another. Just be ready for another adventure.

We are always 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

radical 1

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.

 

Measureless Goals

“…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” Romans 3:22

sin management 1

In business, we are trained to measure all important outcomes. In fact, the old adage is if it is not being measured, then it isn’t being managed. By measuring performance, we gather the necessary feedback to determine what changes or adjustments are necessary to improve the outcome. Yet aren’t there objectives that are more difficult to measure than others?

Take for example one of life’s undesirable outcomes: sin. The Bible defines sin in several different ways. John writes that sin is lawlessness (I Jn. 3:4). James writes that “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”( James 4:17). Paul in addition writes that whatever is not done in faith is sin (Romans 14:23). How does one measure the outcome of faith? Yes we can probably keep a journal log listing all behavior during the day and then record next to each on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is best) how faithful were we in that action. But would you give yourself a passing grade if you only scored a 2 out of 5? Would anything less than a 5 be labeled a sin?

How many of us want more faith? Yet didn’t Jesus say that if we had only “a very little amount of faith” we could accomplish great things (Luke 17:5-7)?

Don’t we typically measure sin by the outcome? If a person’s behavior doesn’t measure up to what “is Biblical” then we categorize it as sin. Yet Jesus came along and said that sin is even deeper than that; that sin is a matter of attitude and emotional heart. That we don’t have to follow through with behavioral response, but just the inner thought of doing or not doing something can be classified as sin.

Am I being hard on managing sin? Or are we just looking at the wrong side of the picture? Maybe instead of focusing on measuring sin which can become quite depressing, we need to focus on the opposite side. Maybe we need to focus on righteousness. Not our righteousness, but the Incarnate God’s righteousness. Maybe if we allowed more of His righteousness to abide in our life, we wouldn’t even have to write about sin.

For isn’t sin simply the absence of God’s perfect love? Isn’t sin simply the absence of trust in our Triune God? Isn’t lawlessness the absence of failing to mutually yield to the King of Kings in our lives? Isn’t God’s grace the answer to sin? Isn’t His divine love, faithfulness, and influence immeasurable? Instead of trying to manage the sins in our world, maybe we need to simply abide in the one who is measureless and secure in His love, faith, and obedience. Maybe there are some goals that don’t need to be measured, but simply covered with God’s grace. What do you think?

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.

Jesus is Our Reference Point

jesus answer 3

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

Most people quote the above scripture to emphasize that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I like to quote this scripture to let people know that it is through Christ that we have a relationship with the living Creator of the universe. When we have Jesus as our reference point, life begins to make sense. When we focus on developing a relationship with the Triune God, salvation is the byproduct. When people focus on salvation before the relationship, then it becomes a contractual arrangement. That is how many people may first accept Christ, yet is it the way He mentored?

In today’s world, relationships are being torn apart. Whether we speak about marriage, friendships, business partnerships, or treaties between countries, the emphasis is on satisfying the self before others. The reference point becomes the self. This of course leads to a world without godly influence. Without a godly influence, the reference point becomes a moving target. This is what has happened in our so called secular world.

The secularization of the western world has developed a culture without a reference point for making wise decisions. The spread of relative morals has likewise produced a culture without a reference point for logical decision making. By throwing the Triune God away from the public arena, youth and adults begin to question the value of God through the reality of the world around them. Life becomes meaningless. They question what good is it to have a relationship with a living God.

When people don’t have a reference point to refer too, anything goes. History demonstrates over and over again what becomes of a people who forget God. When Jesus said He is the way, life, and truth, He quickly summarized what He brings to the table for humanity. To follow Him, one gains the real treasures of life and builds on the foundation of reality. When He becomes your reference point, your life becomes more purposeful and meaningful. When He becomes your reference point, your ideas, values, and decisions have a measuring stick to associate potential outcomes against. When He becomes your reference point, you have a mentor, hero, and teacher to show you how to succeed in relationships, business, and personal agendas.

When Jesus is your reference point, you read the Bible hungry and thirsty to learn everything you can about Him, His plans, and His method of operations. You want to fully understand His Kingdom, His Church, and His Work. Over time you learn to appreciate everything He has done, is doing, and will be doing. You realize it takes time to build a relationship to know Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him. You realize how blessed you are to have Him as your reference point. Whether or not heaven arrives, all you know is that heaven is now when you are fully engaged with life in Christ. So ask yourself, which way will you choose to live: superficially or radically in Christ?

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.

Real Freedom

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Today is the fourth of July. A day that Americans celebrate their independence from Great Britain. A day this country became free from colonial rule. Now instead of taxation without representation, we have taxation with representation. Now instead of Boston tea parties, we have political tea parties. Instead of a nation where people died for their freedom, we have a nation where people die because of their freedom. Yet real freedom is more than law, rule, or independence. Real freedom is a matter of the Spirit.

When people are slaves of an ungodly spirit, it may look like freedom at the start, but leads to a spirit of addiction, greed, and narcissism. Likewise when the spirit lives in fear of poverty, unemployment, war, crime, or political unrest, can one truly be free? When housing is stolen through slack governmental regulations, is that real freedom? When basic healthy food is limited by top prices for only the financial able, is that real freedom?

Where can one find real freedom?

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian faith-community addressed a similar situation. He wrote about the veil that blinds people’s eyes from experiencing real freedom. What opens that veil? Paul speaks plainly when he states that the veil is only lifted through Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ is the central core of life. He connects heaven with earth. He reveals what life is all about. He is the reason for life. He is the answer from addiction, self-harm phobias, and distrustful relationships. He is the author of freedom, lives freely, and shares His freedom.

His Spirit travels along with the Father’s Spirit via the Holy Spirit. This is the Triune God. Real freedom is found living within the Triune God circle. When we died to the self by surrendering to the King; we were spiritually re-born in Christ (Jn. 3:3-8). A new life began. A new creation started (2 Corinthians 5:17). A life that merges our personality and soul with the Spirit of the living God. A marriage between heaven and earth (Rev.21:1-5). The adoption into the family of God (Eph. 1:5). Included in this relationship is the joy of freedom.

Yes, real freedom is found only in Jesus Christ; not in a religion, crusade, nor great cause. So if you haven’t experienced real freedom yet, maybe it is time to do business with the Lord. Ask him, seek him, and knock on the door that he presents. He will lead you to experience the freedom that comes through an intimate relationship with Himself. He has been doing it for almost 2,000 years with a long list of testimonials. So unless you truly don’t want to be free, why not today? It is a great day to celebrate freedom.

OUR PRAYER

prayer 5

Our real Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for everything you have shown us. Thank you for creating a new person from our brokenness. Help us to truly experience your freedom. Whatever we are currently enslaved with, help us break the chains. Shower upon us your grace. Help us to celebrate your freedom that lives in us. In everything we do, let us share your freedom with others. We glorify your name, your freedom, your Kingdom. For now and forever. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Faith-Building Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

 

Oops: Too Far?

Notice how some of us love to take things to the far edge? When driving the car, we speed along approximately 9.9 miles above the speed limit because we know that is the limit police radars are set. (Unless we drive through Ohio, in which case we set our speed control at .1 above the speed limit.) Or, since we know 3 beers is our limit before we begin to get tipsy, we stop ourselves at 2 3/4 bottles. We watch movies with violence because we know it is all make believe, yet we twitch in pain when the scenes are so graphic that our stomach turns somersaults. Yet do we ever ask ourselves how much violence is ok for the heart to absorb before it becomes numb?

My mother had a very low tolerance for risk in her children’s lives. She didn’t want us to get burn with our hand on the stove, so she would tell us not to get close to the stove. But how far is to close? four feet? two feet? six inches? The closer we came to the stove and nothing happened, the closer we came the next time until that one day when we realized it wasn’t how close, but how close without touching it. However, one day when I realized mother’s instructions weren’t true, that one could get close to the stove without any harm, I began to question her instructions of not touching it. If she lied about being harmed by getting to close to it, maybe she is also lying about touching it. So there was only one way to find out: I touched it. Truth behold, nothing happened. Was everything my mother told me a lie? So everyday thereafter I started each day with the habit of touching the stove. I was invincible. No stove could hurt me. Then one day, I skipped through the kitchen and reached out to touch the top of the stove. However, this time what I didn’t realize was the stove top was turned on. Of course, by this time I didn’t just touch the top of the stove with a finger or two; I would slap my entire hand on the circular outlines. I will spare everyone the emergency details, but it is safe to say I didn’t intentional ever do that again.

Yet isn’t that how we operate within our relationships, business transactions, and life’s decisions? We know life is a bell shape curve with the two extreme ends easily discerning what is good behavior and what is not good behavior. It is the middle 80% that is gray and subject to personal interpretation. It is in the gray areas that we push the limits or simply accept the results in gratitude as a gift from God.

Studying God’s Word though opens the door for us to obtain understanding and wisdom from His perspective. His perspective is an eternal one. We generally view life like a four-year old that must stand on his toes and reach over his head to touch the top of a stove. We don’t see what is up there, but must rely on someone we can trust. Most of the time we learn it is our misunderstanding through poor communications that leads us into trouble.

When the serpent tempted Eve by questioning God’s instructions (Gn.3:1-6), Eve could have taken the issue directly up to God. Instead of dealing with conflicting testimony by bring both parties together to find the truth, Eve made a decision apart from having the total picture. She took it upon herself, having only half the story, to divorce God. In management we call that a poor process of determining the best outcome. In counseling, we call that poor communications. In the Book of Proverbs (18:17) it states that one side seems right until the matter is heard from the other side.

Could Eve have been hanging out more with the serpent than with the Lord or Adam? How far is too far before one slides over the edge within a relationship? How close did she travel by the tree on her daily walks? How far do we push the limits before we go over the edge? Where is the edge? Are we absolutely sure or just guessing? What happens when we lose our balance near the edge? Do we have enough rope in place to pull us to safety? Tough questions that only you can determine the answer. We all have different levels of tolerance for risk in our life. My recommendation though is seek wise counsel from all sides before leaning too far near the edge. Also always remember, when Jesus is the center of our world, it is rare that we say oops: too far. For He keeps us balanced between the edges. That is why the relationship is more important than the rules. Rules will fail us; but He did not, does not, and will not.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Our Heavenly Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for your Word. For sharing yourself with us. For opening our eyes to see our spiritual poverty and your riches. Help us to keep you always the center of our lives. Help us to walk with you. Help us to become more like you each and every day. Lead us away from temptation and risks that cause harm to others. Lead us to glorify you always. You are what we want to become like. Deliver us from our stupidity, temporary brain damage decisions, and insane risks that we take with your truth. Help us to desist and you to increase in our life.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Faith-Building Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

The Greatest Blessing

During a recent breakfast conversation, the question arose; “what is the greatest blessing you can receive in this life?” The answered varied depending on each person’s journey through life. Some answered “a large family,” another “financial independence,” yet another stated “totally in love with one awesome person.” Each person’s answer typically reflected their complex value system. For most of us though, the answer was the “one thing that would truly make us happy for the moment.” Yet would it?

The answer that grabbed my attention though was one that has taken years for this disciple to realize. In one of our recent small group meetings, one of the men (grandpa many times over) made the statement that he never realized until recently what life could be like living in a personal relationship with the living God. He grew up in a rule-oriented culture and didn’t experience the grace-based, life-giving life style until several years ago. Now looking back, he is amazed at the quality of life that fills his insides and expresses itself from the inside-out. For him life is not about the physical toys or accomplishments anymore (that is how he measured his life in the early days). Today it is about a personal relationship with the living King of Kings.

Yes the greatest blessing one can receive in this life is a personal relationship with the living Triune God. Yes, the same God who created the heavens and earth; implemented a plan for human redemption; and has big plans for humanity in a new age. A relationship built not on a contract but a commitment. Theologians like to name it a covenant. But a covenant is simply a committed promise between a faithful God and a double-minded mankind. God always fulfills His side of the promise no matter how many times we fail on our side. But more than his promises, the joy of knowing Him and Him knowing us is greater than any promise. Knowing Him is better than heaven, eternal life, or salvation itself. When one begins to enjoy hanging out with the living, Triune God for no other reason than the joy of the relationship, than one truly experiences the greatest blessing that this life has to offer. Anything else doesn’t even compare.

OUR PRAYER

business11

Holy True God, thank you for being true. Thank you for being real. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for designing our life to experience you more and more each day. Help us to become more intimate with you. No matter the circumstances, help us enjoy life the way you have created it to be. Help us to focus more of you and less of us each day. Whenever the circumstances may stink, help us truly to be grateful for life. You are always good. Let your goodness rub-off on us. Wherever we go, whatever we do, however we think, let it bring you glory. Let your blessings bless others. Help us to truly enjoy all of you forever and ever. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Faith-Building Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.