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Romans 8:24b-26a:
“But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

You Didn’t Build That Business – Guest Post – Daniel Diaddigo

“Unfinished Business…with God” – Daniel Diaddigo

     I just got Daniel Diaddigo’s email newsletter and I think you should, too. If you’re too lazy to click here, I’ve posted his latest – spot-on, might I add – edition below as a guest post, with permission. He’s planning to do some great things with the newsletter, so here’s your second chance to “click here” and subscribe.
     Daniel is also the author of a very important book called “Unfinished Business with God”. He’s on point with that piece, too. Click here to take a closer look at this poignant book, or to order or share it with someone who takes your opinion seriously that has unfinished business with God.

-AP

“Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord. (Psalm 105:6)”

Daniel Diaddigo is a husband, father, author,
and thought leader in marketplace ministry.

     “If you’ve got a business… you didn’t build that, someone else made that happen.”

     These words, arranged and dispersed by President Barak Obama and broadcast ad nauseam by talk radio, have become the epicenter of late for a national discussion around the role people play in achieving success.

     Pundits on the political right, with whom I would normally agree, have seized upon the President’s comments as proof positive of his collectivist soul.

     They would argue that the American Dream resides not upon dependence upon government but dependence upon self, that rugged individualism made this country great, and that achievement is the net result of a person’s hard work and ingenuity.

     And they would be wrong.

     Don’t hit delete yet. Hear me out. I’m writing from the vantage of an entrepreneur. 
If you count the Jolly Rancher racket I ran in middle school, I have owned, managed and/or created about a dozen companies over the past thirty years.

     I know what it is to navigate regulations, litigation, and innovation. Leadership development, employee benefits and incentives, marketing campaigns, personnel issues, price points and competition occupy my daily discourse. I am familiar with eighteen-hour days and “vacations” stalked by market volatility.

     Simply put, I understand experientially what people mean when they say they “built this business”. I, too, would like to believe that I am responsible for my own success.  

     But I am not. Someone else made that happen.

     If we could hear past the static of American discourse and think biblically for a moment, I believe we would agree that we are not owners and we are not creators.

     We are stewards.

     Our gifts and talents, relationships, upbringing and proximity to opportunity are ordained by God. It is true that we reap what we sow and there does exist a causal relationship between our achievement and our diligence. But even the spark that drives us to achieve does not self-ignite. No, someone else made that happen as well.

     That someone is God.

     We are shepherds of that which the Lord entrusts to us. To the extent we follow Him, we lead well. To the degree we trust Him, we manage well. And where we depend on Him, we decision well.

     But when we yield to the belief that that business is our own – we substitute ourselves for God as the center of all things.

     I’m not making a political statement here. Our friends on the left are equally wrong, for they would insert government in that same space.

     Here is truth: anything that occupies the center of our hope that is not Jesus is a distraction and a lie.

     We who believe we are the reason for our business should remember He Who provides the breath with which we boast.

What Would You Do with Three Free Sins?

While I disagree with Steve Brown’s use of “sinner”, (theNew Testament constantly refers to those in Christ as “saints”. Not because we don’t sin, rather because we

The Gay Thing – Is it Really that Simple?

In a recent article at Christianity today, Michael Horton places some perspective around some remarks recently made by Alan Chambers. Chambers is president of Exodus International, an organization ministering to “ex-gays”. As a man who dabbled in the homosexual (bisexual) lifestyle for close to two decades until I submitted to Christ as both my Savior and Lord, I was compelled to read up on the “controversy” as well as the reply.

The most important word I see God using throughout the entire catalog of scripture is the word “repent”. It’s from a Greek word “metanoia”. It essentially translates as “new mind” or “change of thought”. When I met Christ as He appears in scripture, the things He said caused me to change my mind about how I lived. First, that I am incapable of meeting God’s standards on my own – if I spent the rest of eternity doing good, I could never make up for the sins I’ve committed against a God who is both Holy and eternal. That was a game-changer. Further, when I realized that Christ raises the bar on sin – “You have heard it said… but I tell you… even think like this and you’re guilty of sin…” I had to make a decision – “Can I honestly serve two masters? Can I serve both porn and Christ? Can I truly serve Christ while still disobeying his call to sexual purity, whether bi or heterosexual?”

To repent is to turn away and run to Jesus. If I’m facing my sin and trying to face Jesus, I’m not really running, am I? So, I ran to Jesus. Only by His grace am I saved and does He continue to keep me from my “natural” propensities to habitually sin. Do I still cuss? Do I still burst out in anger? Do I still lie? Yep. Still imperfect. But, not as often, not as willfully, and not without remorse and continued repentance. I don’t go to those things to find life anymore.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/julyweb-only/lets-not-cut-christ-to-pieces.html?paging=off

“our choices… reinforce or counter the specific sins toward which we are especially disposed.”
Michael Horton

“In a world that refuses to be healed, we must face the fact that we
are not the heroes of our stories. it teaches us to rely on something
bigger than ourselves and teaches the source of true compassion.” Jeff Goins Wrecked

Jesus: Life Help DIY?

Jesus as a Do-it-Yourself Kit?
Some people liken the work we do to “faith-based life coaching”. My counter to that statement is often – “life-based faith coaching”. We’re not here to help people with their life, rather help them stretch their faith to a point where they experience the true source of life, named Jesus Christ. One thing we’re not is teachers of theology. But, theology matters.
Dr. Albert Mohler:
We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with the Law. Moralism makes sense to sinners, for it is but an expansion of what we have been taught from our earliest days. But moralism is not the Gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the Gospel of Christ. As Paul reminded the Galatians, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” [Gal. 4:4-5]
…The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an ever-convenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.

All This Can Be Yours – Monday Morning Momentum

(My apologies for some formatting strangeness this week – Blogger’s editor is acting funny and I have to get on the road. -AP)

“I haven’t been in the Word that much this week…”
     Probably the number one thing that comes up in spiritual conversations with the many men God has put in my life is quiet time guilt. Every year, Cristine and I hear men and women make commitments to “be more consistent in my quiet time”. Sound familiar?
What if we’re setting our hearts on the wrong goal?
Alicia Keys penned these lyrics and hit the top of the chart.

Some people want it all
But I don’t want nothing at all
If it ain’t you baby
If I ain’t got you baby
Some people want diamond rings
Some just want everything
But everything means nothing
If I ain’t got you…

The apostle Paul penned these words and this morning hits many of us in the heart.

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]    That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. (Phil 3.10-11 AMP)”

     Neither of these two writers had a desire to read something in mind when they made these inscriptions. Neither of these writings talk about a yearning for a mechanical daily activity, either. Rather, both had a deep desire to be with someone, to know someone deeply and intimately, they had a magnified longing in their hearts for that person. For Alicia, it was a romantic desire for “you, baby”. But, for Paul, it was a holy desire for the Lord.

Be Encouraged
     If quiet time is about a mechanical habit, I might as well wish you “good luck” (some of you got the joke). For so many reasons you will find in scripture, God proves that He wants us to know Him and that it’s even possible to do so. One of the most important pieces of “good news” outside the resurrection of Christ is this  one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to reveal to us the depths of who God is. (1 Cor. 2.9-12) God doesn’t want you or I to have a “quiet time”, a mechanical and dry reading exercise – He wants us to know Him.
Pray
     What if we changed our goal, altered our prayers, set our sights on a loftier mark? Though you already know this inherently, this week I hope you’re encouraged by the fact that knowing God is possible and practically commanded by God. Further, I hope you gain momentum in your pursuit of Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was commissioned to help you in this process. I hope your prayer this week is “God, by the Spirit, magnify my desire to know you and teach me the depths of who You are.”

in Christ,

AP

A Prayer for the Child Who’s Turned Away

“Sometimes I’m angry at God”
“Could God possibly love me after all I’ve done?”
“I’m too fat.”
“I lied… again.”
“It’s hopeless – why even try? I give up.”

     Sometimes, I forget what it was like to be a teenager. Thankfully, Cristine and I are in discipleship with men and women who have/had teenagers and our oldest daughter is a full-blown 14 year old. Without going into too much detail, she’s going through some of the normal and not-so-normal struggles of being a teenager. None of the above statements are above because they do or don’t apply to her situation, they’re just indicative of thoughts many of us have struggled with at one time or another. Have you ever felt like that? Was it during that time of “lost”ness that can so often be synonymous with the teenage years?

In life there are at least four boxes that our choices fit into. They are as follows:

  1. Easy to do/feels good and is good for me
  2. Easy to do/feels good but is bad for me
  3. Hard to do/doesn’t feel good and is bad for me
  4. Hard to do/ doesn’t feel good but is good for me

I was drawn to box 2 and never long-term committed to box 4. When I chose to do 2’s or turned away from 4’s, I always wound up feeling guilty, empty, frustrated, or confused. Often, I would keep doing 2’s hoping if I did them enough, they’d suddenly become good for me. Sometimes, I’d “stick it out” with 4’s hoping they’d eventually start feeling better or getting easier just because I knew on some level they were good for me. Can you relate?

The “Prodigal Son” is a story about a kid who turned away from box 4 and wanted everything to be a 1. Easy and good. In fact, he probably believed, like most of us as teens, “if it feels good, it must be good“. That’ll get anyone stuck in a rut of doing 2s and avoiding 4s. What the Prodigal didn’t realize though, was what was at the bottom of the boxes. Look, if you dig far enough into any box, you’ll get to the bottom, won’t you? The bottom of the box tells the truth about what the box really is. So, when the money ran out, the Prodigal found the same things I found at the bottom of the boxes:

Box 1: Fruit and benefit
Box 2: Guilt, shame, depression, hopelessness, waste, diabetes, excess, addiction, etc.
Box 3: Bitterness, disappointment, temporary gain followed by guilt, shame or pain, etc. (see Box 2)
Box 4: Discipline, growth, fruit, wisdom.

One of the most awesome truths I’ve ever discovered in scripture is in this parable. In every parable Jesus told, there was a man-figure and a God-figure.

You Are More
http://youtu.be/IwtcwQwgdsA

I’m Offended!

Last the weekend, Cristine had a great conversation with Brianna, our oldest daughter about some deep matters that have been troubling her lately. Brianna was talking with a group of her peers outside of a church setting – in fact, it was an expressly “secular”, group counseling session. There was an implied rule in the conversation that “religion” was a touchy subject and to tread lightly in that territory so as to not “offend” anyone. Ironically, through, each of the participants were asked to share what was most important in their life. As the responses came out, from “friends” to “family” to “music”, Brie noticed herself getting more and more uncomfortable with the “tread lightly” restriction. “I felt like I was going to explode.” When it was her turn, she said “my relationship with God”.

Uh-oh…

Porn Again, Christians

Men’s porn teaches him to hold women to an unsustainable standard. Women’s porn does the same to men.

With the imaginary standard set so high, is it any wonder why divorce and affairs are so rampant? No one is living up to their expectations!