Drifting Away

When you hear the word drift what images or thoughts come to mind?  Do you imagine lying on an inner tube, relaxing as the current takes you downstream?  Drifting is wonderful if it is a hot day and you are on a small body of water where the shore is in reach.  But on a vast body of water?  It may start out relaxing and enjoyable but when you open your eyes and the shoreline is difficult to see, now that’s another story.

Drift……to be carried slowly by a current of air or water; a continuous slow movement from one place to another.

Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst is an intriguing book about the slow changes occurring in an organization that lead it away from its stated purpose and identity.  They call this mission drift.  However, it isn’t just organizations that can suffer mission drift if they aren’t careful.  You and I can as well.

In what areas are you drifting right now?  Sometimes it is hard to identify because drifting is subtle and slow.  Over time, if left unchecked,  it has the power to lead us off course and into some dangerous territory. There are a number of ways  we are prone to drift from our purpose or mission.  Probably the best way to identify those areas is by asking and honestly answering:

Does what I think, say, and do line up with who Love says I am?   

This question is not meant to bring condemnation.  It is intended to keep us alert and  focused on the things that we each are designed and created to do. For when we live in our purpose lives are healed, reconciled and edified. When we live in our purpose life is peaceful in the chaos, hopeful in the depravity, and joyful in the pain.  When we live in our purpose our Creator God is the focus and He is glorified mightily.  And this is really what life is ultimately all about.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

How much longer? No really, how much longer?

Have you ever been on an airplane with someone who forgot a nicotine patch?  It isn’t pretty.  One woman I had the pleasure of traveling with literally asked “How much longer?” every 20 minutes during the 7 hour flight!  Twenty minutes was all the time she could handle before needing reassurance once again that we were indeed getting closer to our destination.  How about you? Are you wondering how much longer? Do you need some reassurance today?

You are stronger than you think.  You are smarter than you think.  You are capable of more than you think.  The burden may be incredible at the moment.  What’s in front of you may seem insurmountable.  One obstacle may have been hurdled just to face another and another.  You may have a thousand questions.  You may be just plain tired.

There may be a multitude of voices telling you to quit, that what you are doing is useless.  No one would blame you for quitting or going another way. This path is difficult and sometimes it feels like you are walking through quick sand.

Remember.   You hear the faint whisper in you spirit.  Remember the purpose for what you are doing.  Remember the need is it fulfilling.  Remember who or what is on the other side of your effort.

You can endure and persevere.  You can because of the One who endured and persevered before you.  For the joy set before Him, you, He endured the cross and disregarded its shame.  He arose from the dead and as He ascended to heaven said, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Remember.  You are strong, smart, capable and able to keep going because Jesus, the ascended one, is with you.  Remember!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

Fear

Fear.  It is a strange emotion isn’t it?  When my son was a high schooler, he and my now daughter-in-love and some friends went to a Halloween haunted forest.  They all agreed that it was scary but what was so interesting was how each reacted to being frightened.  One stood paralyzed and screamed for a long minute, while one stood his ground trying to be logical and a bit intimidating himself.  Another put up her fists ready to fight and another turned and started running in the opposite direction.  All experienced the exact same event but each reacted entirely different!

It has been said that fear really means, False Evidence Appearing Real.  Not sure if that is completely accurate. Heights, public speaking and bugs might fit into this category, but some evidence  is real and serious.  Cancer, bankruptcy, abandonment, abuse, terrorism are just a few that come to mind.  The scope of what we are frightened by is as unique as each person.  However, whether the fear is real or imagined the purpose is the same; to intimidate and keep us from advancing.

So what about you?  What are you afraid of?  How do you react when you are frightened?  What do you typically do?  Could fear be playing a major role in keeping you stuck and unable to advance in your God ordained life?

It would be nice if there was a one solution fits all process for dispelling fear.  The truth is that we are all different and process things our own ways.  Some need a hand held, others need space.  However, in the end what gets us all to the point of pressing through the fear and advancing is the belief that what is ahead is more valuable and true than the fear itself.  It’s called faith and it is worth the cost!

Press on dear one!  Press on!!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

S-U-C-C-E-S-S…how do you define success?

I love watching the Olympics.  All the competition and drama, who doesn’t enjoy that just a little?  What I have always found fascinating is the different reactions the athletes have when they finish.  Some win a bronze medal and jump around ecstatic and filled with joy.  Others win bronze and hang their heads in utter disappointed. Same color medal.  Different reactions.  Why such extremes?  It has to do in part with how each defines success.

How do you define success?  The universal definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Logic follows that without an aim or purpose success is not possible. Motivational speaker and author Earl Nightingale has said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Having a clear picture of what success looks like in a given area enables us to set appropriate goals that will  propel us toward that end.  We may not consciously think in such straight forward terms all the time, but if we have achieved a sense of success, subconsciously this is what we have been doing.  In our minds we have a worthy ideal for something and our actions lead us in that direction. When we arrive at that ideal we feel successful.

Knowing, articulating and sharing a common purpose on foundational issues brings unity and effectiveness to our businesses, churches, governments and families.  Without it there can be tension, frustration and confusion.  But, how could this translate personally?

Maybe one benefit is that in the little things we would have more grace for others.  Maybe I won’t be so quick to judge and devalue another’s response to shared experiences.  If I win bronze and am over joyed I won’t be so quick to judge or look down on the one who is disappointed with the bronze, and vise versa.

If asked the question, “Do you want to be successful in life?,” most people are hopeful and answer, “Of course!”  However, if asked the question, “How do you define success?,” most people struggle to answer.

 “But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

So, how do you define success?  May we be among those who are both hopeful, purposeful and articulate!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

Rum pum pum pum

Everyone needs a good gut laugh now and then. You know, the kind that melts stress, gives the old abs a workout and adds some depth of character to the face.  I got just what I needed when the non-profit organization I Like Giving sponsored an event featuring comedian Michael Jr.

This guy is funny.  Very funny.  What made him so memorable to me, however, was the way he intertwined Truth throughout his comedy routine.  He shared how God challenged his approach to comedy and the subsequent mind shift that transpired.  Where as before he would  seek to get laughs, now he simply presents his gift and gives the audience the opportunity to laugh.  He isn’t seeking to get something.  He is seeking to give something.  This approach has opened doors to ushering laughter into places where laughter is hard to come by; prisons, homeless shelters and child group homes.  Boy does this challenge and speak to my heart!

How do you and I use our gifts? Are we looking to get or to give?  If I am looking to get there is incredible pressure on me to perform.  I can easily try to control, make things happen and force the outcome. Ouch!!   But in giving there is none of this pressure.  I am responsible for just my part.  Now that’s freeing!  What is it that I am trying to get anyway?  Approval, recognition, rewards in Heaven?  I might very well receive these things. They may be byproducts of my obedience, but where is my focus?  On me.  If I seek to give instead, the focus and honor shift to the One who gave me the gift to use in the first place. He is glorified.

Present my gift and give.  Reminds me of the little drummer boy.  That little boy presented and laid his finest gift before the King. Then the boy picked it up and played his best for Him.  Rum pum pum pum.  And HE smiled.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

Becoming a Child Again

This is my friend Aurora Jean, child of God.  She is one year old.  We have been having conversations similar to the one posted below for about 6 months now. She is gifted with the ability to express and communicate and can’t help but use these gifts in any way possible. Prior to expressing herself verbally she would lock eyes with me and then converse with me using her eyes, facial expressions and wiggly fingers and toes.  When she talks with me I see His image. I see redemption. Aurora Jean, child of God.

 

 “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

Certainly most would agree that this verse refers to a child’s utter dependency on parents or care-givers for life and survival. So too in the Kingdom. We are utterly dependent on the Triune God for life.  But what if Jesus also means that we should use our giftedness like that of a child; naturally, unashamed and uninhibited? That’s the way young kids live. That’s the way Aurora is. She can’t help being herself. She hasn’t learned not to be yet.

Maybe you feel like your giftedness is insignificant, especially when you compare your gifts with others. That is a lie! Truth is that you were created in God’s image. You are His image bearer. What is insignificant about that?  God isn’t asking you to use something you don’t have. Use what you do have. He is really good at taking the ‘insignificant’ and making it significant. He changed water into wine, a handful of fish and loaves into a feast for 5000 and 12 disciples into a band of believers more numerous than the sands of the sea.  Will He not also take the gift you use and multiply it for His glory?

Some of you may feel that your gifts are damaged. Others may have buried their gifts long ago and don’t know what or where they are. To this I hear the Creator say,  “Let’s blow a fresh wind onto those ashes and create a beautiful fire again.  Let’s do some exploring and digging to uncover that treasure within!” He delights in restoration!

Becoming a child again. Utter dependence and trust in the Father for life and from that love relationship the security and freedom to be oneself.  That’s child like faith. That can usher in some Glory. That can change the world.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece

 

Unhindered

You are a masterpiece. You are no accident, no mistake. You are not unwanted and unnoticed. You are the Creator’s most outstanding of creations. You are one of a kind. You were chosen before the foundation of the world was created. Your inmost being was fearfully and wonderfully knit together. You arrived at exactly the proper time in history. You are a treasure of great worth, a pearl of tremendous value. Never before and never will there be another as unique and magnificent as you. You are a Masterpiece!

Masterpiece. What a beautiful word. What would life look like if you and I truly believed and embraced this? How would our world be different if we were not only to be the Masterpiece but live the Masterpiece?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His MASTERPIECE, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!” Eph. 2:8-10

It is very clear that salvation, life, is found in no other place than Jesus Christ and faith in His death, burial and resurrection. Salvation is from grace alone. God didn’t and doesn’t wait until we have it all together and doing all the right things to extend His love and life to us. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What’s the purpose of good works then? It’s here that we often get confused and misunderstand their role in our lives. Good works do not give or ‘keep’ us in salvation. Never has. Never will. When we think they do we can get mighty self-righteous or become pretty discouraged and hopeless.

Good works are how we display God’s glory. A masterpiece reflects and displays valuable and priceless characteristics. It is the artist’s most outstanding and brilliant work. We are God’s living masterpiece. When we move and operate in the gifts and talents He has given us we can’t help but display Him. We actually become a sweet aroma of God to those around us. We become salt and light. We become a city on a hill that can’t be hidden. We draw others to Him and we cover this earth with His’s glory!

I have heard it said that our ultimate purpose in life is to know God and make Him known. Put simply, faith in Jesus Christ is how we know God and good works is how we make Him known. However, how we each make Him known, how we live the Masterpiece, is as different and unique as each person. To live the Masterpiece is to respond to God fully as the person He created and redeemed me to be. This is what Bob Hamp of Freedom Ministries calls true freedom.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews12:1

We each have a race to run. The specifics of the race are unique but the outcome is to be the same; Glory to God.

Unhindered is a place where you and I will be stirred up, inspired and encouraged to discover and run the Divine race marked out for us. Our world is filed with people craving and looking for purpose! It’s time to rise up and be the persons we were created to be!

UNHINDERED…live the masterpiece!