9 10 2018

Live with God Confidence 2018.10.10I was shut in this past weekend because I literally felt in my body like a truck not only ran me over, but it backed up again to finish the job. I had pain where I never thought pain existed. As a Pastor, I too live for the weekends but not in the same way that most of our culture anticipates Friday through Sunday. I want it to come so I can do what I believe God created me to do and that is share His word as effectively as possible to as many as possible. I long to give away every ounce my heart and soul has to offer to bless the Lighthouse Church Family that I have learned to love so much. It is never a good thing when this Preacher can’t preach. It is like I am stuck with all this pent-up energy that is not released and I almost feel the pressure building like I am going to explode. This is why writing my weekly contribution is so very cathartic for me. Today it serves as the next best thing to speaking it with my lips, I am instead writing it with my pen but it still holds as much passion as I can possibly pack within a few sentences.

I like listening to several Preachers to keep me sharp and at my best. The ones I tune in to regularly include Tony Evans, Tim Keller, John Ortberg, John Piper and Steven Furtick. A Shepherd can’t properly nurture others if he doesn’t allow his soul to be nourished on a regular basis. This past Sunday it was the always entertaining and refreshingly truthful Steven Furtick I tuned into. His message was entitled, “Taking Back Your Mind in the Age of Anxiety.” His text was Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 3 and verses 1-3 which read: “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.” The one statement that just connected with my heart was when Steven Furtick said, “We are raising a Generation that doesn’t have to train for their trophies and display too much false confidence that is based upon no competence!” Wow! Those words set my brain racing to my heart to process properly this loaded sentence.

We all want to be confident but it matters greatly what foundation you build your resume upon. Cockiness is misguided confidence that has no substance to back up its claims. Bullying is nothing more than ignorance masked in intimidation. And just because an individual comes across as strong and mighty doesn’t mean that it is nothing more than a façade that hides raging insecurity. The Apostle Paul tells us plainly that it is not how much confidence we have but in what source we choose to put it that counts the most. He gave testimony that he placed, “zero confidence in his own flesh.” It is not our works that make us who we are but God’s work within us that should define us the most. When we start making lists about our own accomplishments rather than looking to the Lord and what He has done within us, we will always come up short. Trying to shine bright on our efforts alone spring from self-driven motives and produce short term results. Leaning heavily upon God’s presence within us transforms us into humbly selfless yet fiercely devoted Disciples!  

Over the years, I have come to realize that the wisest people are not those who claim to know it all but they that are willing to ask many questions. I say that one of the biggest knocks on the Church today is that they talk a good game but, on the field, showcase too much sloppy play. We aren’t willing to learn and grow in our position as we adjust the load on the road. We pretend and, in the end, we come up empty because we haven’t trained well to show ourselves competent. Belief is confirmed by behavior. We can talk all we want, but what happens when we are put on the proverbial spot?

If we don’t teach kids how to properly play baseball but we assure them of a trophy no matter what, we have cheapened the integrity of the game. Christians want to act like we are already living in Heaven, but that is not the case. Faith is necessary to run the race here on Earth and if you don’t invest in a proper pair of running shoes coached by a Leader who knows the course inside and out, all you do is run aimlessly and needlessly. Yet when it is Banquet Time, you still want accolades when you persevered not at all. Steven Furtick said it like this, “When your circumstance is not reflecting your confession, your phony faith collapses beneath the weight of your unmet expectations. Jesus went through Hell to get us to Heaven. What makes us think that our map won’t show us some of the same scenery that our Blessed Lord survived and paved our way through?

Consistency in walking with Jesus leads to the confidence that comes with real life experience that leads to a godly character being forged within us as we go. Confidence is not our birthright without living within the daily fight. The day of celebration will come when the season is over but life is more like a locker room than a ballroom. Jesus is our Savior and our Sustainer. Jesus is our Coach and our Course. Jesus is our Perfecter and our Power. If we are to have any kind of confidence at all, it should be in the One who won the victory on Calvary. If we are to boast and brag, let our cheers be lifting peoples’ eyes beyond ourselves and onto Jesus. Our confidence lasts only in Christ alone and if you are attempting to share the spotlight, then it is time to get out of the photo so that the picture is loud and clear.



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