Uphill Or Downhill?

…And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice (Philippians 1:18).

Paul is in prison, yet he tells his friends that he is choosing to rejoice. Wow! 

Not only that, but this same imprisoned man also reminds his friends to…

  • … let their joy in Jesus overflow 
  • … conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ
  • … continue to have a servant’s attitude like Jesus
  • … don’t give in to complaining or arguing 
  • … look out for the interests of other people 
  • … rejoice in the Lord
  • … don’t rest on their laurels
  • … forget the past and press on toward the future 

John Maxwell has noted that most people have uphill dreams but downhill habits. That is definitely not a winning combination! 

Paul is making his friends aware of the possible downhill habits that may hold them back from their uphill dreams, and using himself as an example. This first step—awareness—is vital if we are going to break free of the things that are pulling us away from our God-given dreams. 

Solomon wrote, “The path of life leads UPWARD for the prudent to keep them from GOING DOWN to the realm of the dead” (Proverbs 15:24). 

Being prudent is saying, “I’m always on the lookout for what’s best.” 

None of us can go UP by ignoring our downhill habits, or even trying to coast through life. The only way to achieve our uphill dreams is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our downhill habits so that we can make a plan to turn those around. 

Check out these characteristics that Paul shares—

Downhill Habit              Uphill Habit
Complaining                    Rejoicing (4:4)
Selfishness                      Gentleness (4:5)
Worrying                         Praying (4:6a)
Grumbling                       Giving thanks (4:6b)
Fixing it myself                Giving it to God (4:6c)
Idle thoughts                   Thinking about my thinking (4:8)
Making my own way         Getting a mentor / partner (4:9)
Being discontent              Being content (4:11-12)
Trying to be self-made     Striving to be Christ-reliant (4:13)

A good prayer for all of us who have uphill dreams that we want to achieve—Holy Spirit, reveal to me my downhill habits. I acknowledge that I need Your help to see and break these habits. Then help me to replace them with Christ-honoring uphill habits that will allow me to achieve the purpose God has for my life.

9 Quotes From “Chase The Lion”

chase-the-lionI loved Chase The Lion by Mark Batterson! Before even reading the first chapter, I was already captured by the Lion Chaser’s Manifesto, and the book only got better from there. Please check out my review of this amazing book, and then check out the first batch of quotes below.

“At the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the God-ordained opportunities we left on the table, the God-given passions we didn’t pursue, and the God-sized dreams we didn’t go after because we let fear dictate our decisions.”

“It’s not just our sin that we need to repent of. It’s our small dreams. The size of your dream may be the most accurate measure of the size of your God. Is He bigger than your biggest problem, your worst failure, your greatest mistake? Is He able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine? A God-sized dream will always be beyond your ability, beyond your resources. Unless God does it, it cannot be done! But that’s how God gets the glory. If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small. It also falls short of God’s glory by not giving Him an opportunity to show up and show off His power.”

“We don’t die when our hearts stop beating. We die when our hearts stop skipping a beat in pursuit of our dreams. We die when our hearts stop breaking for the things that break the heart of God.”

“Impossible odds set the stage for God’s greatest miracles! And apparently God loves long shots. Isn’t that why He removed 9,700 soldiers from Gideon’s army? Isn’t that why He let the fiery furnace be heated seven times hotter? Isn’t that why He didn’t show up until Lazarus was four days dead? … We tend to avoid situation where the odds are against us, but when we do, we rob God of the opportunity to do something supernatural.”

“Get into God’s Word, and God’s dream will get into you.”

“When we fail to take action, we forfeit the future. Make no mistake: just as inaction is an action, indecision is a decision.”

“One misstep can end a dream journey. That doesn’t mean you operate in a spirit of fear. It does mean you operate in a spirit of focus!”

“In my humble opinion, no one is a natural. Sure, some people are more naturally gifted than others. But unless that giftedness is coupled with a complementary work ethic, it’ll only result in wasted potential.”

“I don’t believe our greatest shortcoming is not feeling bad enough about what we’ve done wrong. I think our greatest shortcoming is not feeling good enough about what God has done right. When we undercelebrate, we fall short of the glory of God!”

In the very near future I will be sharing more quotes from this book. To make sure you see them, put your email address in the box to the right and click “Sign me up.” I’ll make sure you’re the first to know when new content is posted.

Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where daily I share quotes from Mark Batterson and other inspirational authors.

The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

Just started reading Chase The Lion by Mark Batterson. Already hooked at this opening page!

Lion Chaser's ManifestoQuit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Face your fears. Fight for your dreams.
Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go!
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
Don’t try to be who you’re not.
Be yourself. Laugh at yourself.
Dare to dream God-sized dreams. Dare to be different.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.
Chase the lion.

Book Reviews From 2015

Links & Quotes

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“Such is the Christ with Whom we have to do, full of grace and truth. Let us draw near; let us keep near; let us allow Him to pour out His love on us; let us bring others to Him to be partakers of the same overflowing love.” —Horatius Bonar

“O soul, if you trust Christ, the blood is on your brow today; before the eye of God there is no condemnation. Why, then, do you need to fear? You are safe, for the blood secures every soul that once is sheltered thereby. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, but if you believe not, trust where you may, you shall be damned.” —Charles Spurgeon

“I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.” —Walt Disney

“You have a body. But it is not yours. ‘You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body’ [1 Corinthians 6:20]. You are always in a temple. Always worship [1 Corinthians 10:31].” —John Piper

Speaking of our bodies, more young men are having heart attacks. Check this out to protect your health.

Have you ever thought about God being reasonable? T.M. Moore has an insightful post on this—God Who Reasons.

Brett Kunkle shares a great apologetic piece on an early and reliable account of Christ’s resurrection.

Taking a Sabbath rest is a reward, not a restriction.

[VIDEO] God wrote a book—

13 Other Quotes From “JumpStart Your Leadership”

JumpStart Your LeadershipOne of the things I appreciate about John Maxwell’s work is how many other authors and deep thinkers he reads. Dr. Maxwell then sifts through all those works and brings the best of the best to his books. Here are some of the other quotes John shared in his book JumpStart Your Leadership.

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” —William Jennings Bryan

“No man is a leader until his appointment is ratified in the mines and the hearts of his men.” —Infantryman’s Journal (1954)

“The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.” —Dwight Eisenhower

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” —Ken Kesey

“Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” —Socrates

“The most essential quality for leadership is not perfection but credibility. People must be able to trust you.” —Rick Warren

“Looking back, my life seems like one big obstacle race, with me being the chief obstacle.” —Jack Paar 

“Effective leaders reward dissent, as well as encourage it. They understand that whatever momentary discomfort they experience as a result of being told from time to time that they are wrong is more than offset by the fact that ‘reflective back talk’ increases a leaders ability to make good decisions.” —Warren Bennis

“You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful idea in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” —Walt Disney

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” —Rosalynn Carter

“The outstanding leaders of every age are those who set up their own quotas and constantly exceed them.” —Thomas Watson

“Do what you do so well that those who see you do what you do are going to come back to see you do it again and tell others that they should see you do what you do.” —Walt Disney

“The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.” —Knute Rockne

You can read quotes from John Maxwell in this book by clicking here.

You can read my review of JumpStart Your Leadership by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“Christ calls us to take risks for kingdom purposes. Almost every message of American consumerism says the opposite: Maximize comfort and security—now, not in heaven. Christ does not join that chorus. To every timid saint, wavering on the edge of some dangerous gospel venture, He says, ‘Fear not, you can only be killed’ (Luke 12:4).” —John Piper

“Impotent dreaming will not do. The religious urge that is not followed by a corresponding act of the will in the direction of that urge is a waste of emotion.” —A.W. Tozer

“We dare not eat our seed. It’s our turn to give ourselves in mission. It’s our turn to take the baton and continue the tradition that began 100 years ago and with God’s help participate in the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen.” —Bill Leach

“Here’s what I know: If you don’t do it, it can’t come back to haunt you. That doesn’t just go for taking nude pictures of yourself. It also goes for speaking angry words, buying something you can’t afford, flirting with a married coworker, gossiping about a friend, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or letting a relationship go too far.” —Mark Atteberry

[VIDEO] The hilarious Ken Davis says, “Husbands: Do Not Answer This Question!”

Pastor Dave Barringer tells us to stop trying to be the perfect spouse!

I love this: Special Kneads Bakery creates jobs just for special needs adults.

Great reminders: 14 quotes from Mother Teresa on changing the world.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the US government promoted sexual purity & abstinence.

Good news: the Obama administration is dropping their appeals against some businesses after the Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby’s case.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become.” —Dallas Willard

“God-given dreams have to do with unselfishness and the serving and blessing of others. Dreams that are initiated out of our own imaginations tend to be primarily focused on ourselves and what we can ‘get.’” —Jeff Hlavin

“Pray against pride, dear friends, wherever you may be. Pride will grow on a dunghill, as well as in the king’s garden. Pray against pride and vainglory, and God give you grace to keep it under!” —C.H. Spurgeon

[VIDEO] John Maxwell reminds us that you don’t have to be a cosmetologist to make someone else beautiful.

Mark Atteberry addresses an article about why millennials are leaving churches, and he does a great job refuting the main points.

Great encouragement from David Wilkerson for anyone praying for a wayward child or spouse.

Planned Parenthood’s stance: if it’s consensual, then violent sex is okay. Again I ask, “Why are my tax dollars funding this garbage?!” Check out this transcript from Live Action’s latest undercover investigation

PLANNED PARENTHOOD: OK. Um, role-play absolutely is normal. Um, it’s—I would say anything within the sexual world is normal as long as it’s consensual 

15-YEAR-OLD: OK. 

PLANNED PARENTHOOD: —between the two people. So if you feel like—like, if he threw out role-play and you were like, “That sounds really weird,” or “I feel really uncomfortable with that,” and he still, like, pressured you, then that is not normal. 

15-YEAR-OLD: OK.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD: But if you were like, “Yeah, I’m open to it, whatever,” and you try it and it felt weird, so you said that, and he was like, “Yeah, that—whatever, that’s fine, let’s not do that again,” that’s also normal.

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

“Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness.” —Westminster Confession

“Whenever fear comes in and makes us falter, we are in danger of falling into sin. Conceit is to be dreaded, but so is cowardice. … Fear to fear. Be afraid to be afraid. Your worst enemy is within your own bosom. Get to your knees and cry for help, and then rise up saying, ‘I will trust, and not be afraid.’” —Charles Spurgeon

[INFOGRAPHIC] Every Dream In The Bible

[VIDEO] What Babies Learn Before They’re Born

“Within the circles of evangelical Christianity itself there has arisen in the last few years dangerous and dismaying trends away from true Bible Christianity. A spirit has been introduced which is surely not the Spirit of Christ, methods employed which are wholly carnal, objectives adopted which have not one line of Scripture to support them, a level of conduct accepted which is practically identical with that of the world—and yet scarcely one voice has been raised in opposition.” —A.W. Tozer

[VIDEO] Very funny video from Ken Davis & Chonda Pierce about clueless husbands!

11 Quotes From “Visioneering”

VisioneeringIf you’ve got a big dream to pursue, Visioneering by Andy Stanley could be a big help. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are 11 quotes from this book which especially caught my eye.

“As Christians, we do not have a right to take our talents, abilities, experiences, opportunities, and education and run off in any direction we please. We lost that right at Calvary. …At the same time, we have no right to live visionless lives either. If God—think about it—if God has a vision for what you are to do with your allotment of years, you had better get in on it. What a tragedy to miss it. Missing out on God’s plan for our lives must be the greatest tragedy this side of eternity.” 

“What could be and should be can’t be until God is ready for it to be.”

“Three important things are taking place while we wait:

  1. The vision matures in us.
  2. We mature in preparation for the vision. 
  3. God is at work behind the scenes preparing the way.”

“Prayer is critical to vision development. Here’s why: We see what we are looking for; we often miss what we don’t expect to see. …Prayer keeps us looking. Prayer keeps the burden fresh. It keeps our eyes and hearts in an expectant mode. Prayer doesn’t force God’s hand. But it keeps us on the lookout for His intervention. Prayer sensitizes us to subtle changes in the landscape of our circumstances.”

“God is using your circumstances to prepare you to accomplish His vision for your life. Your present circumstances are part of the vision. You are not wasting your time. You are not spinning your wheels. You are not wandering in the wilderness. If you are ‘seeking first’ His kingdom where you are, then where you are is where He has positioned you. And He has positioned you there with a purpose in mind.” 

“An agonizingly important principle: what always precedes how. You will know what God has put in your heart to do before you know how He intends to bring it about. …How is never a problem for God. It is usually a big problem for us. But how is God’s specialty.”

“I think it is safe to assume that most Christians are not attempting anything that requires God’s intervention. They are not looking for God to do anything special. They are not aware that they need Him to do anything special. They are trusting that He will step in once they breathe their last breath. But other than that, they live as if they have everything under control. If you want to know how you score on this issue, listen to your prayers and prayer requests. What do you pray for? What are the things you find yourself praying for night after night? Those are your passions. Those are the things that matter most to you. Pretty scary, huh? A little embarrassing? Somewhat self-centered? What was your response the last time someone asked you for a prayer request? Did you have to think for a moment? Was your response kind of … well … less than inspiring? Or did your eyes light up as you thought about that thing, that person, that ministry you were trusting God for? Other than Heaven, and possibly your health, what are you consciously depending on God to do?” 

“This world is filled with people who stopped one question short of finding an avenue that would allow them to pursue their vision. Don’t let the discouragement of a few slammed doors cause you to walk away from the vision God has birthed in your heart. Investigate. Look around. Think outside the lines. Few destinations have only one point of access. The same is true of your vision. If your initial approach is blocked, look for alternatives. Don’t give up too quickly. You may be one question away from discovering the key that will unlock the door that stands between you and God’s vision for your life. God will use this period of investigation to confirm, sharpen, and, sometimes, redirect your vision.”

“When a man or woman is willing to give up something valuable for a God-ordained vision, God looks upon it as worship.” 

“Our natural response to criticism is to defend ourselves. This is especially true when our vision is under attack. We are tempted to begin a dialogue with our critics or with those who are parroting their criticism. Consequently, we waste energy and thought trying to answer questions for people who are often not really interested in answers. Without realizing it, our focus begins to shift. Instead of being vision centered, we slowly become critic centered.”

“You have a destiny to fulfill. God has placed before you opportunities and responsibilities that are brimming with divine significance. He has given you gifts, talents, and relationships that are waiting to be exploited on behalf of His kingdom.”

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