Bad ideas do not work, no matter who supports them.
You can get your family behind you. Your friends can voice their approval. Even your Pastor can vocalize his support. If the idea is terrible, it will not work.
Good ideas work even with little to no support.
People can tell you that you are crazy. Critics and commenters can declare how this will never work. But if the idea is good, it will work.
This is true in business, politics, and even the Church.
Perhaps we should spend more time making better ideas and less time making pleas for support.
What would you do if you were sent to be a missionary in a foreign country? Maybe you would try to learn the language they speak first. Perhaps you would want to know the local customs. You could find out all the special days, traditions, and behaviors of the locals. I think you would spend time getting acclimated to the new place where you were seeking to share the message of Jesus.
The truth is, God has placed you in a mission field: The community where you live, where you work, the stores you frequent, and the family where you were born. You have been called to share the good news of Jesus in each of those situations.
What if you became like a missionary in a foreign land? You could learn all about them so that you could share Jesus in a way they understand and accept.
Paul said to the Church in Corinth, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – NIV 2011)
Paul saw himself as a missionary to the people he encountered, do you?
Of all the things you teach the next generation, be sure to show them how relationships work. This can be your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbor children, or Church children; they all need instruction in relationships.
The first and most significant one is with their heavenly father. Every child needs to be grounded in the truth of God’s love, along with his overflowing mercy and grace. They need to learn to pray, read their Bible, and selflessly serve him so they are equipped to spend a lifetime in a relationship with him
But they also need instruction on how to get along with other people. Most parents are concerned with teaching their children about sports. They are also worried about scholastic advancement. And unfortunately, most give little thought to how their children relate to others.
Let me ask you, have you ever struggled as an adult because you did not know how to relate well to others? Have you spent countless hours in conflict with your spouse or your family? Have you ever vented and fumed about a coworker or neighbor because you could not get along with them? How often have you unknowingly hurt people with something you said or did? Maybe you have spent hours wrapped in loneliness because you didn’t know how to fit in with others.
Living in right relationship with others is a skill. As an adult, no one will care if you can do math or if you know how to throw a ball. They will not care about your athletic achievements or your scholastic aptitude. However, everyone will care about how you relate to others.
As followers of Jesus, we need to be sure the next generation is developing their hearts along with their bodies and minds.
The phrase dates back to the fifteen hundreds and was originally “odd ends.” This was the label used with the material to make garments. When someone reached the end of a roll, there was a piece left that was not large enough to do much with it. This was called an odd end.
By the late sixteen hundreds, the phrase had expanded to become odds and ends with the same use, except now it had developed to include any leftover item. Then in the eighteen hundreds, it became a cliché much as we know it today. It remains a part of speech and is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as “various things of different types, usually small and not important, or of little value.”
The one common thread across all modern definitions is that when something is labeled as “odds and ends.” They are an item of insignificance and have no value. They are unimportant scraps with little to no use.
Today’s reminder is that with God, there are no people who are odds and ends. None.
As the story goes, during a visit by Empress Catherine II to Crimea in 1787, Russian minister Grigory Potemkin supposedly constructed fake settlements to conceal the dilapidated conditions of the towns. After the 1783 Russian annexation of Crimea from the Ottoman Empire and the formation of a New Russia, Potemkin became governor of the region. Crimea had been devastated by the war, and Potemkin’s primary task was to rebuild by bringing in Russian settlers. In 1787, as a new war was about to break out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, Catherine II, with her court and several ambassadors, made an unprecedented six-month trip to New Russia. Supposedly, Potemkin set up “mobile villages” on the river banks. As soon as the barge carrying the Empress and ambassadors arrived, Potemkin’s men, dressed as peasants, would populate the village. Once the barge left, the village was disassembled, then rebuilt downstream overnight.
Historians debate whether the story is true or fiction. One biographer says that Potemkin decorated the existing villages to make them look nicer than they were. Others say that Potemkin and Catherine were lovers, so it would have been impossible for him to pull off such deceit. Finally, some say he made fake villages, but later years’ stories were greatly exaggerated.
Whatever the case, as early as 1902, the phrase Potemkin Village came to be known as someone who built something fake to fool others. And the description remains today as Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term: “an impressive facade or show designed to hide an undesirable fact or condition.”
My question is simple; “What is your Potemkin Village?” What part of your life is fake? Where do you put on a show for other people to hide the truth? You don’t have to be an 18th-century Russian to have a village built to fool other people.
Sometimes I say to myself, “I will never fall into that sin.”
Then I find myself standing on the edge of ungodliness, asking myself how I got here.
In our lives, there are moments when we are strong and when we are weak. Our enemy, the Devil, knows when we are weak and tries to attack us at those times. Jesus had not eaten in 40 days when Satan came to him and challenged him by saying, “Turn these stones to bread.” Again, it was at the beginning of his ministry, before any resistance and pain, when he offered a shortcut by saying, “Worship me, and I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth.”
There are moments for each of us when we are weak and vulnerable. At those times, we must rely entirely on God and his word.
Whatever you feel today, know that the Devil will try to use that against you. We, as believers, must live with our eyes wide open because evil is always lurking. He is waiting for you to show your weakness so he might pounce and try to devour you.
The things that destroy most people are the things they swore they would never do.
Better said; I made a mess of yesterday. I was disobedient to God’s word. My choices were immature and childish. I did things that embarrass me today. My actions bring me guilt and shame.
This morning I woke up and put all that behind me. I confessed my sin to God in prayer. I made things right in my life to the best of my ability. I am starting fresh this morning and making every effort for today to be a great day.
In the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah starts thinking about all the mistakes of his life, and then he writes, “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 – NIV 2011)
God’s compassion is new every morning. Our faithful God has given us another day to become more like him instead of destroying us. Praise be to God.
Yesterday was a mess, but we are forgiven through Jesus the Messiah.
Today I will let go of my yesterdays and start working again toward a brighter tomorrow because of the mercy and love of God.
Every year I ask myself if I should continue blogging for another year.
It doesn’t take that much time. First, I use Evernote to keep an initial idea. That gets expanded and hand-written into a notebook. Then I plan out my future posts before I finally sit down to write. Next, I write several posts quickly and roughly. They will all get run through Grammarly to fix most of my issues. Finally, they go into a file for a day or two until I proofread them and make the last edits. They are then pasted to WordPress with the future date set, where they sit until they are published. It all takes a couple of hours a week, and I usually work two or three weeks ahead.
Altogether I have posted over 2,500 times in the past ten years. I average roughly 3,000 visitors annually, and 6,000 posts are viewed individually. Several people go to the home page and read a week or two at a time and are counted as only one view. My numbers are not large, but they are consistent.
None of that information answers why I still do it and decided to do it another year.
First, I love to write. It is therapeutic to sit down and get my ideas into a document. While sharing my thoughts, I am also learning to communicate better with every passing year.
Second, a few times a year, someone will walk up to me and tell me how much one post meant to them. It impacted their views, helped their faith, or encouraged them on their walk with Jesus. Still, a few more times, people will message me or drop me an email explaining how something I wrote touched them. These words and notes encourage me to keep at it. If what I do helps one person in their faith, inspires one other leader, or helps a Christ follower to stay on their path with Jesus, it is worth every second.
So thank you to everyone that reads my posts. Thanks to everyone who shares them on social media. And thanks be to God, who uses my words for his glory.
As a pastor, I am classified as a parachute drop leader.
That phrase I learned when I started a new Church almost 25 years ago. Some Church planters have a mother Church to support them, others have a launch team, and some return to a place where they have a history, like a hometown. Other pastors, like me, feel like they are dropped out of an airplane into a foreign land. We don’t know the people, the customs, or the local language.
Almost nine years ago, I dropped into a community in Missouri. Before that, I landed in Alaska, Iowa, and Indiana. With each stop, I walked into a town not knowing anything about the people or their past, and they knew very little about me.
This procedure does have an upside. I can come in and make changes that are not taken personally. I do not know who started this ministry or habit, and I am not trying to offend anyone. I can bring fresh eyes to a Church, and a perspective insiders might have lost long ago.
Obviously, it has a downside too. I am not a local; instead, I am an outsider. As a result, people struggle to trust me and have to work to develop a relationship with me.
It is complicated to connect to people who have recently met you. The only thing that makes it possible is that we all want to please God. As followers of Jesus, we are all on the same page regarding faith. We may see things differently, but we have far more in common because of Jesus than differences. Therefore, people of faith should never feel like strangers, no matter where they are dropped.
Most people are not looking for insight or advice.
They simply want someone to support them when they feel alone. Your explanations and information might be helpful, but it is often forgotten. Your presence is what matters most.
None of us want to feel alone. We want to know that no matter what happens, we have someone in our corner.