We’re all busy. It’s almost a #HumbleBrag in our culture to actually BE busy. I mean, no one actually LIKES being so busy that they can’t keep up with what’s going on, but we carry our jam-packed calendars around like badges of honor.
That can be a HUGE problem with it comes to pursuing your dreams.
You see, dreams require time. Concentrated, high-octane time. Some of your “best” time. And your energy. And your focus.
At the Advance, we actually use juggling as an example to illustrate this. It never fails. Whenever we call someone onstage and let them start juggling, whenever they juggle beyond their capacity, they don’t just lose the last ball that was added… they drop them all.
You can make the correlation. Less is better. Less is actually “more.”
“More” just… well… it causes the entire thing to fall apart. It creates anxiety, it causes your skill level to actually...
The first step in living any dream is to decide what that dream is. Sounds obvious, right? I mean, how are you going to go ANYWHERE if you don’t first have a destination?
Cristy and I go on a date every week. Sometimes, we get into this debacle… perhaps you’ve been there:
“Where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t know. Where do you want to go?”
Reply = “Anything but that!”
Been there? Done that? (This works both ways- sometimes she makes the turned-down suggestion; others times I do it!)
It’s frustrating, isn’t it? It kinda stalls out the first part of the evening.
And, the truth is that this kind of thing can keep you stalled out in life, too.
Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). They lose heart. They grow faint and weary. They find themselves hopeless. They find themselves in despair.
In this episode...
One of my favorite events of the year is coming up… Advance arrives every 5-7 months, depending on the time of year, and is designed to empower men to move from where they are to where they’re destined to be. It’s not a retreat… it’s an Advance.
In this episode I’ll tell you a bit about what we do and how…
And introduce you to the concept of The Ladder, tell you the stories of how this thing (“accidentally”) came to be, and share with you how to go deeper and higher at the same time…
Ah… about The Ladder. Lots of talk about climbing ladders and making sure you go up the right one. This one’s short, though. On purpose. Because we REALLY believe this…
Join us on the journey…
Links mentioned in this talk-
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It’s easy to punt the promises of God to the future- to a time and space after we die. When do this, we turn the stories and the principles we see in Scripture into nothing more than allegories and tales about what COULD be rather than what SHOULD be in the moment. A lot of us live like this- effectively postponing the blessings of NOW, determining instead to hope for them after death.
In the Bible, though, people expected God’s blessings to come in the present- they anticipated that His promises were for NOW and not for later. The Children of Israel were delivered in their lifetime- not after they died. In the New Testament, even, Paul had to correct the Church at Corinth. They were so “this world” minded about the power and presence of God that they decided their future in Heaven wasn’t important (see 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
We’ve swung the pendulum the other way. You see, both are important.
Yes, we get to go to Heaven when we...
The Bible outlines a few contradictory things about us- things that we need to hold in tension.
First, everything that happened to Jesus has already happened to us. We were crucified with Him, we died with Him, and we were buried. We also arose with Him AND we’ve been seated with Him in Heaven.
That means that, right now, we’re “here” and “there” at the same time. This is our current experience.
Second, the Kingdom of God is a kingdom- not a democracy. It functions with rank, order, and spheres of authority. I know, authority is a misused and bloated term in our culture… but, under the lead of a benevolent king in which the first is last, the greatest serve the most, and honor and humility win the day, the Kingdom of God is the ideal…
We actually want to see it THIS Kingdom manifest.
However, we find ourselves in the middle of a conflict. A spiritual war of sorts.
But, rather than fighting FOR the...
There’s a rabbinical tradition that says Moses’ burning bush was always burning. Or, at least, that it had been burning for quite some time before Moses stumbled upon it.
Furthermore, tradition says that God was there and was READY to speak the entire time. It was only after Moses stopped and “came in close” that God reveals Himself to him…
(In the same way, it's believed that God is always looking... waiting... wanting to reveal Himself to us...)
The name of God that’s revealed here is interesting, too. The name, YHWH, is actually unpronounceable. It’s the sound of breathing- like a whisper. It a real sense, that name shows us that-
Here are the links mentioned...
I grew up hearing this phrase a lot in church world: “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”
The problem with that statement is two-fold:
First, sin doesn’t exist apart from sinners. That is, it takes a person actually DOING something in order for sin to occur.
Second, everything we do happens as an overflow of who we are. Whereas we tend to look at actions, those actions are simply symptoms of an internal reality.
Just like a tree and its fruit. It’s not the fruit that makes the tree; it’s the tree that makes the fruit, right?
That said, we know that people DO change. They’re transformed. That’s the basic message of the Gospel- the truth that God does something so radical in is that it transforms us from who we were into who we’re designed to be.
And, once we get hold of that message… that it’s not just our actions that change (i.e., Christianity isn’t a moral system whereby people get a list of...
As He approached the Cross, Jesus said a few important things- things completely relevant to how we often feel about how we relate to God. Whereas we tend to think God is out to “get us” or “judge us,” Jesus said-
“Now is the time of judgment. The ruler of this world will be cast out. And when I am lifted up, I will draw all ________ to myself” (see John 12:31f.).
What was Jesus drawing to Himself? Judgment.
And when was it happening? 2,000 years ago.
Understanding that Jesus said judgment is about to happen AND remembering that, on the Cross He declared “It is finished” empowers us to live in freedom. You don’t have to tip toe around, wondering if you might step out of line… you don’t have to worry that you’re so far gone that you’re out of the reach of God’s grace.
Judgment happened. And you weren’t the one being judged; you were the one being...
To understand redemption, we need to understand the first time the word is used in the Bible. You see, later authors actually build on what earlier writers teach us. In other words, to understand the redemption Jesus offers (i.e, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Acts 20:22, etc.), we must understand the concept of redemption those authors had in mind.
This takes us all the way back to Exodus. The first time we see the word “redeem” in the Bible is what God reveals to Moses that He is about to free His people from slavery (Exodus 6:6). The second time we see the word used is in Exodus 15:13, when Miriam (Moses’ sister) looks back at what has happened and exclaims through song, “God did it! He redeemed His people.”
Redemption means freedom. Freedom from bondage. And Jesus is clear that His freedom is all-encompassing (see John 8:36).
Now, the Israelites weren’t just forgiven, they were freed. In the same way, we’re not just forgiven, we’re...
Peter tells us that we’re redeemed by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19). Most of us that grew up in the church know that- and believe it. However, we often have a limited view of what Jesus came to do.
You see, most of us believe that Jesus achieved our redemption on the Cross. However, if we’re redeemed by the blood, it makes MORE sense that we would find redemption, somehow, in each place that Jesus bled….
In the Garden, when He sweat great drops of blood.
And when the soldiers beat Him, causing Him to bruise and bleed even more.
When they scourged His back.
When they placed a crown of thorns on His head.
When they nailed His hands to the Cross… and then nailed His feet.
And, even after He died, when they pierced His heart… and He bled water, mixed with blood.
In other words, Jesus didn’t just bleed at the Cross. He bled before it, on it, and even after He died. In each place, He bought more freedom, more...