Turning The World Upside Down

“This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Acts 17:3-7 ESV

turning the world 3

Have you ever noticed that to become truly successful in today’s world, there are many times you have to go opposite of the norm? One eventually learns that success measured by worldly standards enslaves one to passions that are self-defeating. Real, long-lasting success however, produces freedom, flourishing, and virtuous growth for the self and others. For many people without a Triune God worldview, the Christ-centered life is simply the opposite of how they have been educated through the world’s systems. Therefore, when the world looks at Kingdom living, they focus on what they are going to personally lose rather than what they and others will gain.

The world’s educational, governmental, judicial, commercial, and scientific institutions are generally built upon humanistic principles. To espouse that Jesus is King of all these entities would be ludicrous in the eyes of many of its leaders. Yet, the early church didn’t mince words. They stated profusely that Jesus is King. Not just King of heaven, or the Jews, but King of all the heavens and earth! A bold statement then and still a bold statement today.

When one acknowledges that Jesus is King, one’s world begins to turn upside down. However, overtime one realizes that what is truly upside down is today’s world. That the Messiah came to restore humanity onto a path that eventually will birth universally upon the whole earth at the consummation of all things. Today his children are gaining experiences and knowledge of what it means to live the abundant life in Christ. We capture a glimpse of the vision and a small taste of Kingdom living now.

Yes in the eyes of others who may not truly realize their homeland, priest, and king is Jesus, the Christ-follower is someone who is strange. Yet in the eyes of God, who gives Christ-followers His Spirit to transform us, His domain to encircle us, and His faithfulness to encourage us, we are His living examples. We demonstrate and witness to others what it means to live under Kingdom freedom, Kingdom economics, and Kingdom growth.

So if you think we are turning the world upside down, think again. Could it be we are just following Christ as He turns the world right-side up?

 

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

lean 1

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.

Growth Involves Discomfort

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”  2 Corinthians 1:3

growing pains

 

Ever notice how much effort we spend as a society seeking comfort in all that we do?  We purchase comfortable clothes, drive comfortable cars, eat comfort food, sleep on comfortable beds, associate with friends who are comfortable, parade through the day following our comfortable routine, sit on our comfortable lazy chair, and eat comfortable ice cream.

If anything happens to disrupt our comfortable lifestyle, we become upset and possibly even traumatized. Yet when we strive to maintain comfort, doesn’t life have a way to interrupt our status quo? You think maybe life is designed to force us into situations that require us to expand our comfort zone?  Whether we intentionally choose our discomfort, or “meteors from outer space” force us to change our routine, isn’t it when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone and exert energy toward a favorable outcome that we actual grow from it?

When we (the physically challenged) start and complete an exercise routine that builds muscles, shapes our body, and improves our food intake which may be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes a routine, isn’t it very satisfying?  When we start a new job outside our natural gifting, it becomes challenging to do the simple routine at first; however over time, we eventually master it and grow from it. It may have been uncomfortable at first, but afterward we have grown by integrating the new into the old. Have you noticed that anything worth pursuing starts off at the uncomfortable level?

Paul wrote that entrance into the Kingdom of God is going to introduce tribulation into one’s life. To move from comfort to discomfort is the necessary prerequisite for entrance into God’s Kingdom. To grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ is naturally discomforting. Get use to it! Quit your complaining. Get on your knees and cry out to God. It is the way faith in God is built; it is the way we grow in the faith; it is the way of God to help us grow.

So when you find yourself discomforted, thank God. Roll up your sleeves, strengthen your praying arms, and cry out to God. It is the most successful way; it has been done since the dawn of life; and you are privileged too participate with the Holy Spirit in one of the God’s greatest projects at this time: the redemption of creation.  Besides, how else are we going to learn that He is our Comfort?

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.

 

Rest in Christ

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 ESV

rest 2

Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant reformation movement, was a monk in the Catholic Church struggling to find God before his eyes were open to understand grace through faith in Christ. Like many of his contemporaries, he would pray, fast, and subdue his body seeking answers and direction from God. Yet each practice, discipline, and works that forced him toward God only led him to become more despondent. Then God in His almighty mercy and grace revealed to him the truth. When that moment occurred, Martin Luther discovered real peace for his soul like the Scriptures promises for those who find rest in Christ.

In Christ time, the religious leaders practiced 613 rules in their interpretation of Scripture for everyday living. These rules became the order of importance and the way each person would measure their righteousness before God and man. Many of these rules became a duty and burden for the people. Instead of experiencing the freedom that God intended the people to have, the people felt pressured to perform or be ostracized from their community. Jesus frowned upon this and gave the people an alternative way to live life. Thereby Jesus, per the above quote from Matthew’s gospel, lifts the burden from the people’s shoulder’s and gives them the rest that God originally intended mankind to have before Adam’s rebellion.

Instead of focusing on DOING a long list of things, Jesus stressed having a relationship with him. The rest comes from following Christ; in BEING in a relationship with Him. When we truly realize what Jesus has done for us, that He is our Substitute, He is our Savior, and He is our King, then and only then, will we begin to experience the joy of His Spirit living in us and the freedom He shares with all His subjects.

Jesus does not put burdens on people; people put burdens on each other. Jesus provides uplifting, refreshing joy. His ways allows people to fulfill their design in Him. He wants people to experience the same joy He does. When we connect with Him, follow Him, serve Him, and rejoice with Him, then we experience the abiding relationship of being one with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. And where God is, there is abundant rest. Isn’t that what we mean to be radical 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.

 

Jesus Wows Me Again

wow

 

It seems most of the time when I study the scriptures into the life of Jesus, another Instagram moment hits me.  Ever notice whenever Jesus meets someone who exercises faith in God, He affirms the moment with words of praise and encouragement?

Take for instance:
The Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30;
The centurion in Luke 7:1-10;
The prostitute in Luke 7:44-50;
The hemorrhaging woman in Luke 8:40-48.

In each of these moments He recognized the person’s faith in Him; not a blind faith in something out in the universe. He not only recognizes it, but uses it as a teaching moment. Like a sales meeting acknowledging someone’s achievement for the week, He praises the act and the person’s belief and trust in Him. Whatever the situation, He would recognize God’s influential impact at the moment and express it for the sake of others.

How about us? Do we acknowledge the theophanies (God’s manifestation in our journey) with people we meet and associate with each day? Marketplace Bible Institute & Resource Center has just started a comment page for people to share what God is doing in their workplace. Why not take a moment and share your experience with others? You may enter the blog from here. What better way to share your faith with others? Just another way to be radical in Christ for God’s glory and the sake of others.

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.

 

The Flourishing God

Have you ever met a person that exudes confidence with humility, love with justice, and strength of character with a compassionate attitude for others? I personally haven’t yet met such a human in my walk through life. But, as we read the Bible, commune with God, and witness His work in our life and in others, we become more amazed at someone such as this. The story of Jesus is such a person. What the writers of the gospels reveal about Him leaves us with an awe of wonder. He not only amazes us, but also gave us a glimpse of who the Father is like. When we look through the frosted lens of our glasses, we then truly realize why He is God and we are not.

Another attribute that astounds us of God is His life-giving nature. Wherever God goes, whatever He touches, it flourishes. There is a character in the “Lord of The Rings” series (book version, never made it into the movie) that the author portrayed him as a person who made everything around him to flourish. The Newsboys sang a song several years ago (that made it as my ring tone for the iPhone) entitled “Wherever We Go” whose words showcase how life blooms wherever they went: the grass grows greener, the stock market goes up, the sun shines, and the birds sing joyfully. The imagination only limits what the God-Life must be like.

Our narrow view of God limits us in our understanding of a life that flourishes. Typically in the western world we associate flourishing with personal material gain. Though it is a part, it is a small part. For God, flourishing involves so much more. It is an outer expression of His internal divine nature. It is the standard of who He IS. When he asks humanity to live up to His ways, it is because that is how he lives. It involves healthy, mutual submissive relationships; it emphasizes community along with the individual. Its basis is real love that sacrifices for the sake of others. It emphasis is not what is in it for me but how can I participate with God as He continues His work of completing His plan for humanity.

God wants us to flourish. However, he doesn’t want us to perish along the way. For most of us, we are like a rebellious teenager that wants to learn how to drive a car, but still lacks the maturity, responsibility, and accountability for his actions. As parents we want them to enjoy more, but providing gifts to early in one’s growth may quickly turn deadly for that person and others. Therefore, it is best to wait until the proper time. God is no different with us. His nature is to bless and share His world with others. Yet many of us are just not yet ready to handle a life that flourishes. But through time, discipline, and obedience we prove to Him that we are ready. Yet when we are ready, we have most likely matured at a level that it isn’t important for us any longer. We are thankful that God in His wisdom knows what is best for us at the right time.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our great Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for hearing our prayers. Thank you for allowing us to know you. As we walk with you, open our eyes, heart, and mind to participate you as you bless others. As you bless us, in small ways and large ways, help us to likewise to bless others. Let you river of life continue to pass through us and into the people we meet. Let everything we do, say, and think bring glory to you and your kingdom. Let whatever we touch, magnify you. Let whatever we become involved with prosper for your name sake. Let this life flourish for your glory. 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 Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

The Enjoyable God

The more our Triune God reveals Himself to us, the more we bow down in awesome amazement. The theme running through my mind for the past several years is simply how much life exuberates from His Being. Growing up in an Eastern European family (my parents immigrated from what is now Poland & Ukraine after WWII), life during and after the war was no picnic for either of them. Though they survived, the scars of battles, death, and prison camps carried with them for most of their lives. Of course, as parents it eventually rubbed off on the children even though they tried their best to shelter us from their pain. Most of the time is was duty, responsibility, and work that was the number one topic of discussion. It was a rare sight in our household to see laughter and joy fully expressed.

So when God invited us to join Him on His redemptive mission, we enthusiastically accepted without truly knowing the cost or sacrifice required. All we knew was what we were doing wasn’t working. In life’s journey, we began to grow in Christ’s grace and knowledge. We began to unlearn old in-grain beliefs and replace them with God’s truth. We discovered a new Spirit within us that was never there before. It was our introduction and now assurance of God’s work within every believer through the Holy Spirit. As we explored and discovered more about Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the more we witnessed a change in attitude, behavior, and confidence not in self but in the Triune God.

What happened over time was basically a miracle of transformation. This person changed from an introverted, quiet, reserved personality to an opened, expressive character that can’t seem to stop expressing the love, joy, and faith of life in Christ. The inner life that God’s Spirit influences has become like an unstoppable river that flows without limitations. The more that comes out and is shared with others, the more remains on the inside. It is like a bottomless churn that continues to flow without any physical laws that explains its methodology.

Why am I so excited about this? Simply because the more we hang out and walk with God, the more His attitude, beliefs, character, and divine nature is pressed upon us. The one character trait that I marvel more about God than others because of the struggles in my life, is simply the way God enjoys life. From creation where He said everything He made was “very good,” to the resurrection of Christ where the angels rejoiced over the victory of death, sin, and Satan, God enjoys what He does. Jesus himself enjoyed eating and drinking as he was accused for partying with the socially undesirables of his day. How much joy does He express when one of His children returns home from their wandering ways? Jesus portrays in the parable of the Prodigal Son a Father than came running to meet his “lost” son and threw a party in celebration of the event.

When we wonder through life and see “God Events” in the routine, mundane circumstances that we are confronted with each day, we are reminded of God who created everything as a gift for us to enjoy. He speaks about Joy in His word; the fruit of God’s Spirit includes Joy; and Joy is one of the attributes of who God Is. Most of us take joy for granted; not I any longer.

OUR PRAYER

prayer 5

Joyous Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for living in us. Open up our hearts and minds to see the wonders of your life. Help us to fully express your joy through us. Though circumstances may stink at times, help us continue to keep our eyes and hopes focused on you. Do not let us down. Instead, glorify your name through your servant. Let your joy impact those around us. Let your joy lead others to you. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your joy 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 Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.