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Uncommon Means Pt. 2

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The Uncommon Means of a Life Well-Lived
Part 2

In Part 1, we briefly mentioned what life in the Upside-Down Kingdom looked like.

In Part 2, lets learn about authority, serving, and the general character and demeanor of a Christian.

What does Authority Look Like when It’s Upside-Down?

Have you noticed how so many people are focused on ‘getting ahead’ in life? Some people will do almost anything for a short-term change in positioning.

Networking is seen more as knowing the right people than creating value in an effort to create lasting relationships.

Debt is taken on so that they can look the part more than they act the part.

What other shortcuts have you noticed?

Authority in our world takes on a lot of different shapes:

  • For many, it is just looking the part and tricking others.
  • For a lot of people, it is about exerting as much power and coercion as possible to achieve their goals and aspirations.
  • Others just want celebrity, fame, and to be admired.
  • Commanding attention can be everything.

When we looked at prayer in the Upside-Down Kingdom, in Part 1, we learned that it is a weapon. Typically, weapons are tools we use to exact our own aims. In the Upside-Down Kingdom, prayer becomes an exercise of dependence as we allow God to be the one who brings about change.

Similarly, authority is drastically changed.

Authority becomes Servitude

Authority, in the world around us, is top-dogs taking their helm and exercising control & power.

Authority in God’s Kingdom gets to be quite a bit different from that.

Authority ceases to be something we aspire to but rather becomes the thing we joyfully submit to. That submitting is what we are called to as Christians and what a powerful thing it becomes.

Trusting God over Myself

How many times do we insist on doing things our way? I would venture to say a lot.

I have had plenty of ideas in time past that I thought would make my life great and wonderful. Plans that would take me to great heights and achievement. What I forgot along the way was knowledge of the Upside-Down Kingdom.

My plans don’t matter so much. And when I look back at all those plans I made up for myself, they weren’t so great.

The best things that have happened in my life have been things that have made no sense but were definitely God’s calling.

My moving to a state I knew nothing about to become an associate pastor, a job I had never done before, was far outside my ability to dream.

Dating my now wife required an uncomfortable long-distance relationship and a lot of trust in God’s plan at first.

These things, among others, have turned out to be the best things in my life…yet were experiences that were ordained by God.

The moments where I trust myself minimally and God entirely are the moments that make me most alive. But what do most of these moments involve?

A giving up of authority and picking up a mindset of serving.

Serving God and Serving Others

When I opt to trust God, this leads to me serving Him.

Which, honestly, takes you to some really great places in life. Those places typically involve serving the world. The perspective of a sold-out Christian changes from wanting to have authority into wanting to serve everyone we come in contact with.

This desire for serving people is to enable others to become spiritually alive through seeing and experiencing the love of Christ through you. Most people will never care about what you have to say until they know that you care about them. But serving is more than just building bridges to open up dialogue for evangelism.

It is living life with them.

Speaking about the big truths of the Bible with them.

It’s staying on the phone with them when it cuts into personal time.

Serving others becomes an uncommon means of grace in their life.

It also means that the talents and resources of your life are used to grow other people’s faith more than your status in society. It’s easy to use what you’ve been given in life as a way for you to gain popularity and attention. But, what is more useful is using those things to serve others.

Uncommon Means to a Life Well-Lived

We’re discussing the things that are easily glossed over. It’s the things that go against the “common knowledge” about how to live a successful life.

What have you learned so far? How can you better serve people (and God)? What are your thoughts?

 

Written by Chris Morris

Uncommon Means PT. 1

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The Uncommon Means of a Life Well-Lived
Part 1

How We Get Things Done vs. How God Gets Things Done

There seems to be many patterns of thought or thinking that we hold on to that we don’t even know exist until someone calls them to our attention.

Have you ever heard the idea of God’s Kingdom being the
Upside-Down Kingdom?

In, what we would normally think of a kingdom, we have rulers and their governed territories. From these rulers, we then obviously get rules about how life should look and work. People then follow these rules because not only do they exist, but so do the ever-present consequences of not following them.

Typical rules could cover any part of life; from normative to political. They speak of how people should treat the important and where you are in the hierarchy of importance as compared to other people in the kingdom.

These rulers often lay-out, in clear terms, what it means to be successful in their kingdom and what sorts of results are important to them. We understand this. It’s an age-old operation of humanity that lives on today in every facet of every culture.

The Upside-Down Kingdom flies in the face of many of these long-held presuppositions of how the world works and what we should do to achieve desired results.

What is Valued in Society?

Lots of determination and quick thinking.

Constant self-exertion and entrepreneurship.

Self-reliance and strong-arming our way into making things happen.

Exploring new territory.

Acquiring as much as possible; be it wealth, possession, relationships, promotion, fame, acceptance, etc.

While those sorts of things are useful in life, there are things that are more important and more useful for achieving spiritual breakthrough.

Seeing Things Upside-Down

Prayer is that sort of thing. On the surface, it may seem like you are just sitting in a quiet place talking to yourself. From a secular perspective, it could best be seen as meditation and mindfulness– you connecting with the deeper parts of yourself. But this is not what prayer for the Christian is about.

Christian prayer is about connection and trust.

What has been revealed to us through the Bible is that God is a loving Father who is open and available to us. We don’t have to schedule an appointment to meet with Him, or worse yet, assume that He is uninterested with us. We get to genuinely speak our hearts and know that God is hearing us. This is for our benefit!

We have a very personal Father who is actively engaged in hearing us and teaching us through prayer, especially when coupled with active Bible Reading.

We are able to have a real relationship with Him!

Trust is what happens when we assume that God is right about things. It is doing the things that don’t make sense to us because we defer our judgment to someone who has more knowledge and insight into the matters of life.

Prayer is a giant trust exercise.

Prayer as an Uncommon Weapon

The fact that prayer is often spoken of as a weapon is really interesting. Usually, weapons are the things we place in our hands that enable us to exact a very specific and undeniable end result.

Have you heard that prayer is a tool? This is an interesting way to phrase the use of prayer because usually when we talk about tools and their usefulness, we talk about what we can accomplish with them. We grab the hammer, we set a nail, and then we pound the nail into place. This is actually the exact opposite of what we mean when we talk about prayer!

Prayer is dependence on God within our desire to see specific outcomes and results in our life. Let it be known, when you and I pray, we aren’t guaranteeing a specific outcome in life. We aren’t pointing to a particular situation and expecting things to work out like we would have them be.

Why is this?

Prayer simply means talking.

Talking with God.

When we talk with God, we assume that He knows more than us. We assume He has the power and resource to do immeasurable things. We assume He has a vast understanding of the situation before us.

The reason why prayer is a weapon is because God most definitely is working in the background and foreground of our situations. The problem with the conventional way of thinking of prayer as a tool for the Christian is that we don’t control God.

We don’t force His hand.

We ask. We plead.

And then we rest.

We rest in knowing that He has it figured out.

He is working.

Often times, we are the ones that are called to change! What a thought: we pray to change a situation and one of the biggest things that can be accomplished is that we, ourselves, are changed!

What happens after we say, “Amen,” is up to God. We should pray with great faith but also with great dependence because we don’t know how He will answer our prayers.

We may have asked Him for the very thing He wanted to do. Other times, He has other plans than us. It is up to us to be full of faith. Faith doesn’t merely mean that what we pray for, comes to pass. Faith, at the root, means that we trust and believe in a Mighty God.

Uncommon Means Series

It’s our hope that you will live a life that is fully dependent on God to do big things in life. Prayer is one thing that has ignited passion, spanning lifetimes, for all sorts of long-lasting Kingdom work.

If you or someone you know is going on a trip with In Motion Ministries this year, we really hope that you can spend some deep, precious time with Father. Your dependence on God is what prepares you for listening to the big, challenging things He has for you.

Later on, in this series of blog posts, we will be discussing other aspects of the Upside-Down Kingdom like: Bible Reading, Giving vs. Receiving, Helping Others Grow, and possibly others.

Tell us what you’d like to learn about or what you thought was really powerful in today’s blog.

 

Written by Chris Morris

Love’s Flow

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Sharing the love of God is one thing but receiving God’s love is another. I had spent many years of my life trying to love – God, family, friends, etc.
To be honest with you, I found it to be a real struggle.
Why? Why did it feel so hard to love?
Was it because I really didn’t love myself? Love your neighbor as yourself, right?
Or maybe it was because I never received God’s love for me first? Hmm, that had not crossed my mind then.
But that was it!

It was a struggle because I was trying to give away something I didn’t or thought I didn’t have. I was trying to love in my own strength – to no avail. To me that was like trying to pour water out of an empty bottle.

See, even loving me was difficult because I had yet to receive God’s love. How was I supposed to know how to love others, if I didn’t allow the Father to love on me first? His love could only be expressed through me as I received love from Him.

I also realized that God was not going to force His love on me. I had to want Him to love me. I had to open my heart or really remove the wall of religion and hurt that I held around my heart for so long, and invite His love in. God is a gentleman and not an intruder, so He wasn’t going to force His love into my heart.

As much as God so desires to lavish us with His love, He cannot violate our will. He is love and His love for us is a gift, but just like a gift, we can either receive it or reject it.

My encounter with God’s love happened almost 11 years ago. Mind you, I have been a believer in Jesus Christ for a little over 23 years. But I really began experiencing His love for me in a tangible way within the last 11 years.

What hindered me from experiencing His love sooner, was how I viewed and what I believed about God at that time. There were moments when I didn’t think God loved me or that I even deserved His love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Well, I never had a lot of faith to come for God’s love because it wasn’t taught or shared as much then as it is now. So, I was left to think that God did not love me for whatever reason, or maybe He did. I even read my Bible and prayed at times with that same mindset.

Thanks be to God; His love has totally set me free from the lies of thinking and feeling unloved. Now I see why it was hard for me to give away love. Now I see why the enemy fought my relationship with God so fiercely. It was because he did not want me to awaken to the truth of the Father’s love for me in my heart. But in order for me to release that love to others, I needed to receive His love first.

Sounded selfish didn’t it? But it wasn’t! I was bound through religious thinking and could not see the love God had poured into my heart. It was already there, but I could not see it. I was not free, and was of no help to anyone else.

I began to humble myself more and more and allow the Spirit of God through His Word, to persuade my heart of the Father’s love for me. I am becoming more established in His love. Chains over my thought life and areas of my soul are being broken because of embracing God’s love.

What’s also beautiful about the love of the Father is that the more He shows me how much He loves me, the more He shows me how much He loves others.

How God sees me is how He sees others.

It’s not difficult to love me or other people now. Why? Because I’m not giving away or freely sharing the love of God with others in order to get them to love me back. That’s not love, that’s manipulation. God is my Source of love, not people. People are recipients of His love through me. Some know how to receive it and some don’t. But we are never without God’s love. His love is a steady flow to us and through us and it never runs out. He loves us just that much, and it’s not based on our performance. He is just that good!

Now, am I saying that loving people is not a challenge at times? Of course not! There are challenges here and there when we encounter people in our lives. It’s all a part of living in this fallen world where no one is perfect, but when you truly encounter God’s heart for them, you will find that He deeply loves everyone.

No one is left out.

No one!

And as valuable and as precious as people are, we don’t have to place more value on what they think about us than what God thinks of us.

If walking in God’s love comes as a struggle for you, maybe you are having a hard time receiving God’s love for you. Maybe not! Sincerely pray about it and ask the Father to show you your heart, and He will. Begin to embrace His love for you, bringing healing and restoration to your heart where it’s needed. Then over time, watch how you’ll be able to love God, you and others effortlessly.
Until next time beloved, blessings!