Like Jesus Or Like “They”

It’s amazingly sad to realize the devaluation the crowd puts on people who are different from them 😔

In Luke 18, the crowd devalued the blind man because he was poor and blind.

In Luke 19, the crowd devalued Zaccheus because he was rich and a tax collector for the Romans.

Both men—in the crowd’s jaded eyes—weren’t worth much to anyone.

But Jesus sees people so differently!

He was moved by compassion to heal the son of Timaeus of his blindness. He was moved by compassion to redirect the hostility of the crowd away from Zacchaeus and put it on Himself.

Jesus invited Himself to lunch at Zacchaeus’ house, and “when they saw it, they all began to grumble.” 

What will my response to be to the sick, the beggars, the rich, and the schemers when they want to come to Jesus? Will I (like Jesus) be moved by compassion to bring them close to Him? Or will l (like “they”) grumble about their unworthiness?

Will I be like Jesus or like “They”?

What Place Does Prayer Have?

What is the place of prayer in your life? What prominence does it have in our lives? It is a question that I address to all. It is as necessary that it should reach the man who is well versed in the Scripture, and who has a knowledge of its doctrine and its theology, as that it should reach anyone else. What part does prayer play in our lives and how essential is it to us? Do we realize that without it we faint? Our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life.

“It is more important than knowledge and understanding. Do not imagine that I am detracting from the importance of knowledge. I spend most of my life trying to show the importance of having a knowledge of truth and an understanding of it. That is vitally important. There is only one thing that is more important, and that is prayer. The ultimate test of my understanding of the Scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know about Him, but to know Him. The whole object of salvation is to bring me to a knowledge of God. I may talk learnedly about regeneration, but what is eternal life? It is that they might know Thee, the only true God in Jesus Christ whom God has sent.

If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere. It is meant to do that. The value of the knowledge is that it gives me such an understanding of the value of prayer, that I devote time to prayer and delight in prayer. If it does not produce these results in my life, there is something wrong and spurious about it, or else I am handling it in a wrong manner.” —Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (emphasis added)

Rediscovering Some Mighty Precious Values

“The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’t so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. …

“The great danger facing us today is not so much the atomic bomb that was created by physical science. Not so much that atomic bomb that you can put in an aeroplane and drop on the heads of hundreds and thousands of people—as dangerous as that is. But the real danger confronting civilization today is that atomic bomb which lies in the hearts and souls of men, capable of exploding into the vilest of hate and into the most damaging selfishness—that’s the atomic bomb that we’ve got to fear today. …

“My friends, all I’m trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we’ve got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we’ve left behind.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. (February 28, 1954)

The Rewards For Getting Along With Difficult People

How To Get Along With OthersHere’s a shocking statement—Difficult people are difficult to get along with. I know, I probably just blew your mind with that one, but sometimes it’s important to state the obvious.

Christians should be the best at getting along with others. First of all, because they have the Holy Spirit to help them, and, second, because the world is watching to see if having a relationship with Jesus really does make a difference.

We’ve already learned that in order to change our behavior toward difficult people, we can’t change our behavior (check out my post on that topic here). Instead, we need to change our thoughts first. One thought to change is about ourselves, and another thought to change is the fact that Jesus promised rewards for those who loved difficult people—

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:32-35)

One way to love others is by learning to “speak their language.” Most of us communicate with four different accents: Doer, People, Planner, Vision.

You can watch the video where I explain these styles in more detail, but you can learn their accent by listening for…

(1) How they handle stressful situations:

  • Doer—get hyper-focused
  • Planner—withdraw to plan
  • People—call a meeting
  • Vision—take time to daydream

(2) How they listen to others:

  • Doer—take short bullet points and then quick action
  • Planner—take detailed notes, and ask lots of detailed questions
  • People—make good eye contact, take very little notes, and then reiterate what was said
  • Vision—doodle, and express “ping pong ball” thoughts

(3) How they speak about folks with other “accents”:

  • Doer—this is taking too long; nothing ever gets done; they’re daydreamers
  • Planner—they jump the gun; they’re swayed by emotions; they’re unpredictable
  • People—why don’t they want to meet; they’re too aggressive; they’re too robotic
  • Vision—they don’t see the big picture; they’re too rigid; they’re too emotional

You CAN get along better with everyone. Romans 12:18 tells us that peaceful living with others depends on you and me. Let’s do this well so that Jesus is glorified!

Don’t Try To Change Your Bad Behavior

Thoughts to beahviorsAs I wrote previously, I believe Christians should be the best at getting along with others. First of all, Christians have been empowered by the Holy Spirit with the skills necessary to live at peace with everyone, IF we will only allow the Spirit to do the necessary work in us. And second, the way Christians treat others goes a long way toward either attracting or repelling others from a relationship with Jesus.

But here’s an important thing: If you don’t get along well with others now, don’t try to change your behavior!

Stephen Covey wrote, “To try to change outward behaviors does very little good in the long run if I fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow.”

You see, behavior is the fruit. If we want to change the fruit, we need to back up a few steps.

The Apostle Paul used the life of Jesus as an example for Christians on how we can get along with others. But notice this: most of what Paul discusses is the “inside stuff.”

The progression goes like this (see Philippians 2:1-13)—

Thoughts → Values → Attitudes → Behaviors

(1) Thoughts—These need to be humble thoughts about God’s love toward us (v. 1).

(2) Values—Paul tells us to be “one in spirit and purpose” with others (v. 2). The definition of the Greek words here mean valuing the well-being of everyone. Paul then explains how our humility can lead to these win-win relationships (vv. 3, 4).

(3) Attitudes—“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus” (v. 5). Jesus showed us what it was to have an attitude related toward obedience to God’s will.

(4) Behavior—If our thoughts, values and attitudes are rightly aligned to God, then our behavior will naturally be Christ-like as well. We see the example of Jesus in verses 6-8, and God’s reward for that behavior in verses 9-11. Then Paul calls on Christians to follow that pattern in our own lives (vv. 12, 13).

Most decent, reasonably-thinking human beings share the same values. Harry Truman said, “When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint—understand what he is trying to do—nine times out of ten he is trying to do right.”

The problem is this: When the other person behaves differently from me, my natural tendency is to assume he doesn’t value what I value. In other words, I’m judging his value system on the way I normally behave.

The break-down is in my attitude. That’s the area I need to address. That’s the attribute of Jesus that Paul told us to copy.

So if I want to get along better with others, I shouldn’t try to change my behavior, but my attitude. My prayer should be: “I want this same attitude to be in me which was also in Christ Jesus. He served God and others, so I too want to follow His example of obedience, and I want to demonstrate my appreciation for all that Jesus has done for me by working hard to better get along with others. Help me change my attitude!”

Check out this video of the full message…

I hope you can join us next Sunday as we continue learning how to get along with others. Please join us in person or on Periscope.

Thursdays With Oswald—The People God Can Do Nothing With

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The People God Can Do Nothing With

     We say, “It seems out of all proportion that God should choose me—I am of no value”; the reason He chooses us is that we are not of any value. It is folly to think that because a man has natural ability, he must make a good Christian. People with the best natural equipment may make the worst disciples because they will “boss” themselves. It is not a question of our equipment, but of our poverty; not what we bring with us, but what He puts in us; not our natural virtues, our strength of character, our knowledge, our experience; all of that is of no avail in this matter; the only thing that is of avail is that we are taken up into the big compelling of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-28). His comradeship is made out of men who know their poverty. God can do nothing with the men who think they will be of use to Him. 

From The Place Of Help

God cannot impart wisdom to a know-it-all, but He can impart it to someone hungry to learn.

God cannot use someone who believes the world revolves around them, but He can use someone who believes the world revolves around Him.

Which are you?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“It’s easy to label what we consider ‘good things’ in our lives as gifts from God and to welcome them with gratitude. But when difficult things happen, we don’t look at them as part of God’s good plan for us. Mary’s example [Luke 1:38] shows us we can also welcome those things we would not necessarily label ‘good,’ confident that God’s gifts sometimes come in perplexing and even painful packages. When we belong to God, we know He will use whatever He allows into our lives for good. Somehow, in God’s hands, these things also become gifts of His grace toward us.” —Nancy Guthrie

“Unless we intend completely to forfeit our holy seasons, and to allow them to be taken captive for the purposes of crass commercialism and narrow-minded narcissism, we need to make the best use of these times as God intends….” —T.M. Moore

“No one who is lost has lost one ounce of value to God. Even if you don’t have a relationship with Him, you have immense value to God. Lostness implies value. Whatever someone is willing to spend to recover something that’s lost shows how valuable that item is. In the most famous verse in the Bible, Jesus clearly explains our value: ‘God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).” —Rick Warren

If you have trouble knowing whether to use theirthere, or they’re, this may help.

“By giving to You what You do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, ‘You are my treasure, not these things.’” —John Piper on fasting

I was going through an Advent reading plan on YouVersion, and I came across this quote: “Each Christmas is practice for the moment of Christ’s second coming, when every knee will bend, either in worship or terror.”

In this video, Brett Kunkle explains from Scripture and from personal observation how we know humans are born into sin.

“Many Christians today…choose to listen only to soft, flesh-assuring preaching. Where there is no convicting word, there can be no godly sorrow over sin. Where there is no godly sorrow for sin, there can be no repentance. And where there is no repentance, there is only hardness of heart.” —David Wilkerson

“We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence, they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it [Romans 1:16].” —Horatius Bonar

Check out some absolutely stunning pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope!

%d bloggers like this: