Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some Thoughts On Worry

I am ashamed of myself for finally getting to this today when the sermon was preached on Sunday.  At least I'm getting to it now.  The Sermon was really titled How To Solve Worries About Money.

But I don't really want to focus on Money, although that is a big issue.  But the text comes from Luke 12:22-34.  Go ahead and read that.  There's a lot in this, more then meets the eye on a quick little read through.

Jesus is really trying to bring up this idea:  In order to solve worries about 'money' (Or all things, really), we must TRUST in the God who cares for us and seek His Kingdom above our own needs.  Which is pretty much a statement of the first point:

I.  To Solve Our Worries, We Must Trust In The God Who Cares For Us.

I shall try not to repeat a sentence like that again.  Anyway, especially right NOW; it is SO easy to be anxious and get really worried and frustrated in life.  Our country's government for sure isn't making it any easier.  Neither are the world's core values.  Right now, that's what I'm especially worried about:  I'm sixteen, growing out of highschool and into college where it's going to be difficult to pay for.  Luckily, I think I may have found something that solves that problem, but it's still going to take work for it...but just a few weeks ago, I really didn't.  College isn't cheap.  So you have to get a job and work tirelessly to pay for it.

To make things even more difficult, it's a HARD job to GET a job.  I know a few people right now that are a couple years older then me that are trying to find jobs and can't.  They've gone EVERYWHERE, practically.  When you look at the issues of this country's economy and cultural principles, it's really easy to turn to pessimism.  I know I easily do.  But what does that REALLY say about us when we're getting worried over things?  We're not trusting in our God to help us get what we need...and He even takes care of the 'ravens' (ravens literally, crows, carrion birds, you get the scene).  Are you of more value then birds, Christian?  I would think don't worry, God has it all in control.

But you have to listen to what Jesus is saying:  He's not saying sit back and relax and don't take any concern at all.  We MUST work.  Paul says it well in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat."

So we do need to work and be concerned about things.  But worry and concerned are two very different things.  Another point that Jesus makes is that we shouldn't worry because...think about it...does worrying do anything?  No, it doesn't.  In worrying, you just sit and whine.  (Mostly, at least).  Solomon says it this way in Proverbs 14:23: "All hard work brings profit, but mere talk only brings poverty".  You COULD technically entitle 'worry' as mere talk.

Worry really tries to pull our faith in God away from us.  It takes the fact that God is in control away and tries to say that we are in control.  But what 'worry' fails to recognize is that we are not in complete control...which is simply not the case.  The point is:  By worrying, you'll never change anything.  Worrying can never change the status quo.  But, this can:  Trust in God that He has it taken care of, and in realizing that fact you'll take action.

I find it also interesting that Jesus compares us with the 'flowers of the field' in verse 27.  That's a point of clothing, obviously.  I'm wondering if there are any more possible ways to interpret that and the next couple verses.  Any thoughts?

Truly, all we need is our basic needs.  And God knows that we have basic needs.  If we trust Him with a hard work ethic, He will give us those needs.  He will.  Sometimes there just needs to be a little waiting...maybe a long wait.  But the point is that He has it all in control, and everything happens for a reason.

At the heart of worry is a doubt in who God is.  Worry mimics the world...and the world worries because it believes it's in control, and truly knows not what to do to make a change in things to get situations better.  That's why everything ultimately fails when there's no acknowledgement of God.  It's what happened to the Roman Empire, what happened to the British Empire, and every other empire in the history of the world that fell.  Sad as it is, that's where America is headed.  Truly, the only way for America to start growing again is a national recognition of man's sinful nature, as we had when we were just a beginning nation.

II.  To Solve Our Worries, We Must Seek God's Kingdom Above Our Own Needs.

1.  There is a command here:  Seek God's kingdom.  It's mainly done in prayer, but as well as charity in different areas to further His Kingdom.  That's all we must seek:  God's Kingdom proclaimed and manifested around the entire globe.

2.  Assurance:  The Father will provide for all our needs if we earnestly seek His Kingdom.

3.  Application:  Give generously and we will have lasting treasure in Heaven.  Really, that's what it's all about here.  The two main things in life are either Materials...which decays and dies over time, or God's Kingdom, which never falls apart, despite what the World thinks.  Where we put our treasures into, that's where our hearts follow.  If we put treasure into materials and Earthly 'gains', we will fade.  If we place our treasure in Heaven, God's Kingdom...there our heart will be also, and we will live.

Now you have to know what I'm saying here:  I'm not saying that you can't 'enjoy' 'comforts' nowadays.  The point is that you need to be earnestly seeking God's Kingdom.  When you seek His Kingdom on a daily and hourly, and momently basis...worry will fade for you.  Oh how I long to have that feeling.  Jesus bids us to focus not on this life, but the next.  Shall we try to focus more on the Next life in Eternity?  I agree with Jesus, but we're all going to need His help to do so.  Mind asking Him to join with us and help us grow?  Indeed.  Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life...What Is Defined As Having A 'Life'?

Have you ever been told by someone, "You have no life"?  Or, have you ever told yourself that YOU don't have a life?

I've told myself that a lot before.  School was pretty much my 'life'...I know, how inconvenient, right?  But then I got involved in an 'Air Cadet' thing I guess you could call it, I got promoted in a group to second command and have lots of 'responsibilities'.  So now I'd say I have a 'life' because I'm involved in different things with more people then just myself and my imaginary friends...(Oops, sorry guys xD  I forgot you wanted to remain secret...)...ANYWAY, but really I'm starting to think I'm so busy that I actually DON'T have a life.  Odd, huh?  But then if you take it the other way, I may be quitting a couple things and getting a job.  Money in my pocket and bank account WOULD definitely be nice...then I could start paying for things and actually 'have' a life.  Of course if I get a job, and being the hard worker that I am, I might not actually have a 'life'.

Interesting in contrast, isn't it?  I guess you could say, that in order to have a 'life', you must lose it.  Whoa...that sounds Biblical, doesn't it?  John 11: 25-26 says: Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life.  Whoever Believes in ME, though he die, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?"

I really love the paradox in that:  Though he die, yet he shall live.  We must die to ourselves, and live in Christ to live.  It's a very interesting thing to think about indeed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Leadership...What Is True Leadership?

That's a good question. What on earth IS 'True Leadership'? Well, I'm going to try to answer that question in a series of thoughts and facts. I will bring in what I have learned from life, Scripture, and what a few of my friends have to say about that.

But why did I have a thought on 'Leadership' in the first place? Well, I'll try to answer that question as well. I may have iterated before on the fact that I'm in a swordfighting organization (WOTS [Way Of The Sword], which is Kendo basically). Anyway, WOTS stretches all over FL and grabs into the southern lands of Georgia in clans having different areas. I am in one of the better clans. But it truly depends what you mean by 'better'. Are we the best fighters? Eh...probably far from it. But the thing is, we've had great leadership, we've always fought on the basics and the actual techniques. We have respect for each other, others, and the thing we do. The other clans? They simply don't. At all. And it reminded me of the 'leadership' exhibited at the event today.

If a 'leader' needs to swear and curse at his 'subordinates' to get them to do stuff...uh...doesn't that say something? Anyway, back to the point, the former 'leaders' of my clan have stepped down. In their places they elected me and my friend Cary as the new 'leaders'. Unfortunately Cary is the actual 'leader'...but that's fine by me. Why? Because he is a true leader, and I'm really interested in seeing where he goes in life. Gah, I need to stop babbling on in nonsense, and get back to the point.

What does the Scripture say about 'Leadership'?

First off, Hosea 11:4 has this to say: "I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them." Another translation says (human) kindness. Basically, common human decency: What you want done for you, do for others. A leader takes this command in the Bible to heart. He eases the yoke on his 'subordinates'. He doesn't let them become 'sit-back-and-do-nothing' people though...he does everything in his power to help them get what they're supposed to done. Sound familiar? Yeah, it oughta. Jesus did just that when He took Flesh upon Himself, lived perfectly and died the most painful way for us. So hey, what do ya know? Yup, Jesus, (like being such a good model for us to be like in many different ways) is the model for Leadership. And that doesn't come as a surprise, does it?

Nelson Mandella had this to say about Leadership: "It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.".

At a second's glance, the first thing Mandella said seems a little false. But he's not saying to lead from behind people during war. What he's really getting at is to put others before your own desires. A leader looks at what his people need (not what they want), but what they need, (such as rights to things and such) and then does everything in his power to advance that.

Collin Powel, one of our most beloved war Generals, had this to say: "Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."

I really love what this guy is saying here. Leadership deals with solving problems. If your people can't come to you with pleas and problems...there's something wrong. Either they don't trust your sense of judgment and wisdom to solve the problem, or they don't care, then you have a failure of Leadership. Being a leader means you care about your people, and have wisdom as about to go solving the issues.

Bringing my friend Cary back into the picture, he has a few things to say on the matter, and they're right on.

"You have to lead by example." He goes on to say, "You must be the example of what you want to see in them. If you're not displaying what you want, then how will they know what to do?"

An excellent question, if you ask me. He also had another great thing to say, but I can't remember what that is now.

So now, what are some of MY thoughts on the topic of Leadership?

Well, I'd definitely have to say some of the stuff that some of the guys up there^ have said. But I wanna add a few things. To be a leader, you must be humble and listen to those who maybe don't understand your reasoning in solving a problem. If a leader is truly in the wrong, he must have a low enough ego to realize he's wrong and correct it. A leader must be gentle and caring with his people, as God is with us. He needs to be able to clearly lay out what his aims and goals are, and then get them done in an efficient way. There's soooo much more I could say on this, but I am exhausted and hurting. But I want to know: What are some of your thoughts on who a Leader is? I'd really love to know if I'm missing something.