Just like your physical heart has four chambers Andy Stanley wants you to see that your immaterial heart has four enemies. Your immaterial heart is the core of your identity. It directs your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, your consciousness and your will. Your heart is the essence of you that can work for evil or for good.
Relationship problems. Financial problems. Health problems: they all come from your heart. And if your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else – your family, friends, finances, career – everything. How do you keep your heart on track?
When the wisest man in the history of the world, King Solomon, summing up all he had learned for his son to know; he said…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We all experience conflict in our relationships. We all behave in self serving ways that are intended for others but the motivations can often be “self”. Managers and employees, husbands and wives, children and parents all of us experience reactions between each other that result in conflict and disappointment. Desiring to respond as a caring and thoughtful husband, father, and friend I often disappoint me and others. How can this change?
I imagine you’ve found yourself in situations where you weren’t sure how to respond either. This is a tension we all face. We all experience situations where our reactions are incongruent with our intentions. There simply aren’t enough rules and guidelines to avoid every conflict.
But, could any author of the more than 66 different books in the Bible, boil it all down to one overarching principle that would make it easier to respond? Breaking something down to the bare essentials makes it easier for us to remember a core idea. Could the Bible have anything to say that would be inspiring, motivating, or helpful in responding to situations in life?
We talk a lot about growth in our culture. Personal growth, economic growth, population growth and more! In the church these days we use language that is sometime confusing – after all, what does it mean to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I just returned from a Build-Up Conference and it seems to me, we need to shed some light on this phrase.
God provides illumination in the words of Jesus in the story of the Roman centurion who demonstrated such great faith it was preserved as a model in the Bible.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
If you are growing in any area of your life you are learning. The question is; who are you learning from? To learn anything important, I look for someone to model my life on. I look for someone who has been a success in a particular arena of life, so I can stand on their shoulders and go further faster.
Truth is we all want to make good decisions and identify with success. Having a mentor helps. The problem is how do you find a mentor?
Formal mentoring relationships are often found in the workplace, school or sports. Then there are informal ones; people who have mentored me but have no clue who I am. Through the books they’ve written, through the talks they’ve given, and through the lives they’ve led I have been changed.
Meet the greatest mentor who ever lived; the apostle Paul. He mentored a younger man named Timothy. He has some amazing, God inspired insights about what others can see in you that you can’t see in yourself.
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15
Politicians, entrepreneurs, parents and pastors – everyone you are leading is looking for you to take responsibility. When you lead others it’s your tribe that keeps you accountable. What about when you are leading your own life? How are you taking responsibility for your own personal and spiritual development? It was one of those very disruptive, pivotal, thought provoking, experiences of my life, when I considered my responsibility for my own spiritual growth. It made me think about responsibilities in a whole new way.
Responsibilities. We all have them. However, we may not all take them as seriously as we should. Wouldn’t it be great if we all took responsibility for the things we are responsible for? Our finances, health and relationships.
Everyone loves the underdog. People who begin with limited opportunity and overcome great odds. These people often could complain ‘Life’s not fair’. But, instead they choose not to make excuses, but to leverage what they have for the benefit of others.
We’ve all said ‘Life’s not fair!’ We all say it when we feel we’re comparing ourselves to people with more opportunity. But some of us learn to do the best we can with what we have. How do we learn to understand life’s apparent inequality and begin to start taking responsibility for our own life?
What does it look like on the surface to be rich? Ever upgrade a perfectly good computer, cell phone, car, or want a larger home? If you answered yes to any of these, then you might be rich and not know it or feel it. We often have a mistaken understanding of wealth. The richer we become the more our priorities separate from our needs. Our needs become relative to our wealth. The more we have the more we spend.
Are you somewhat uncomfortable making the statement that; you are rich? Maybe you don’t feel rich. That’s the other guy with more!
Go to www.globalrichlist.com and enter your salary to see where you rank. Then scroll down to gain perspective. How does it make you feel knowing that not only are you rich, but that you are one of the richest people in the history of the world?
Rich is having extra. Even enough to go to a movie! But you can be rich and not be aware of it. And that’s a problem. There’s a gap between being rich and being good at being rich. If we don’t figure this out we will go through life thinking money is all for us. Where do you turn to for insight and perspective?
Paul who had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus, acted as a mentor to a young guy named Timothy. He provides illumination.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
1 Timothy 6:17
Regrets, we all have them. Can you think of someone you wish you hadn’t met? An emotion you wish you’d have controlled? A job you would rather not have taken? A piece of cake, you should have left on the buffet table? Really, regrets are all around us. Some with bigger consequences than others.
Just so you don’t feel alone in any of your regrets, here are some statistics.
Personal fitness: 36% are obese, 33% overweight
Personal finance: 76% are living paycheck to paycheck
Personal relationships: 50% of all marriages end in divorce
The trouble is we only know how big some decisions are in the rearview mirror. In the moment we lack experience, focus, or discernment to really understand the consequences of our decisions. This lack of understanding leads to regrets.
Are you getting what’s commonly known as “donor fatigue”? If one more person sends you a link to one more campaign – you’re going to lose it!?! Really though, it’s often the frequency of hearing about problems and needs that fatigues us. Statistics say Canadians give only 0.65% of our income to charity. Worse, only 25% give any support to charity. What’s the real problem then? I believe it’s donor fear not fatigue.
There’s a tension between generosity and fear. Materialism often masquerades as cautiousness. We struggle with selfishness and how much to accumulate. We think, what if we give too much? What if we don’t have enough for retirement? What if…
There is a lot written about gaining balance in your life. Everyone has their story and I’m happy to share mine.
In the early years of starting our home building business, 60 hour weeks were the norm! When we hired staff 10 years later, long workweeks were STILL the norm. There was never enough time to get everything done at work. Work was cheating my family time. It was nearly impossible to achieve the elusive work life balance.
Picture the work life balance like a scale…one side wins and the other side loses. We need to learn to “cheat” at work and stop cheating at home. We often cheat our family by spending too much time at work, or on fitness, or a hobby. Cut back on being so “busy” and be balanced!
Do you believe ‘all roads lead to heaven’? How about ‘good people go to heaven’?
A recent poll suggests that on a worldwide basis, 80% of people believe in a god. They say it doesn’t matter which god you worship, as long as you believe in a god. Most people are afraid of death and believe that everybody spends forever somewhere. Many of them believe that where you spend eternity is based on our good deeds on earth. This of course raises the question of – how good is good enough?
Have you found yourself wondering the same thing? Good people go to heaven, right? At first, this seems logical. However, many people, even Christians haven’t thought it through. They aren’t sure! Some Christians I know, when asked if they are assured of their salvation (going to heaven) say things like “I sure hope so”, or “I don’t really know.” Many people wonder “what is salvation”? Or they wonder about assurance of their salvation.