Carl Lentz at Passion 2015

Powerful words from Carl Lentz (Hillsong NYC). Got caught all up in this 43 minutes. OCCUPY ALL STREETS!

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#14 Don’t Look for Deep Fulfillment in Shallow Things

What do you get for the man who has everything? Judging by Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, you give him a sense of purpose or meaning.

“I said to myself, “Have fun and enjoy yourself!” But this didn’t make sense. Laughing and having fun is crazy. What good does it do? I wanted to fin out what was best for us during the short time we have on the earth. So I decided to make myself happy with wine and find out what it means to be foolish, without really being foolish myself.

I did some great things. I built houses and planted vineyards. I had flower gardens and orchards full of fruit trees. And I had pools where I could get water for the trees. I owned slaves, and their sons and daughters became my slaves. I had more sheep and goats than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem. Foreign rulers brought me silver, gold, and precious treasures. Men and women sang for me, and I had many wives who gave me great pleasure.

I was the most famous person who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and I was very wise. I got whatever I wanted and did whatever made me happy. But most of all, I enjoyed my work. Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.”

“On the surface, Solomon was recalling a life well lived, perhaps the most enviable existence of them all. Beneath the celebration, though, lay despair and hopelessness, and one of Solomon’s hardest-earned lessons: all the pleasures, possessions, and accomplishments in the world cannot bring fulfillment. Solomon experimented with nearly everything, and he found meaning in none of it.

In truth, deep fulfillment cannot be found in shallow pleasrues. Fulfillment springs from things that matter, things that have an impact not just on yourself but on others as well. Fulfillment is found in the following things:

Healthy relationships: It comes from investing yourself in others and allowing them to do the same for you.

A well-earned good reputation: It comes from being quietly recognized as one who lives a life of integrity and loving concern for others.

Spiritual peace: It comes from having an obstacle-free relationship with God.”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life

#13 Keep Your Books Balanced

“Debt reduction is a timely topic, and has been for at least 2,000 years, judging from apostle Paul’s words in Romans 13:7-8: “Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor. Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands.

 You’ll notice that Paul took the discussion out of the realm of the fiscal almost immediately. This isn’t just about financial bookkeeping. It’s about living with integrity. This is about enjoying healthy relationships and maintaining balance in our lives. 

 Paul pointed out that our debts may include respect and honor. That means if there are people in our lives who deserve (or prefer) to be treated with an extra measure of courtesy or deference, because of their age, position, or background, we should oblige. Likewise, if we know people who warrant special recognition for things they’ve accomplished, we should offer that as well. Fulfilling such obligations not only benefits others but is also good for us. It moves us closer to being debt free. 

 Here are a few other ideas that might fall under Paul’s heading of debt reduction:

-If you owe a phone call, you should make it. If you’ve lost touch with a friend, it’s time to reestablish the connection.

-If you owe an explanation, you should offer it. If someone somewhere is wondering why you did something, it’s time to explain yourself.

-If you owe an apology, you should make it. If you’ve wronged someone, it’s time to seek forgiveness and make things right.

-If you owe gratitude, you should give it. It’s time you let the people who’ve made a difference in your life know how thankful you are.

-If you owe your time and attention, you should offer it. If you claim that someone or something is a priority, it’s time to show it.

-If you owe a confrontation, you should offer them. If you’ve let a problem situation go, it’s time to address it.

-If you owe discipline, you should give it. If you’ve skirted your duties as a parent or manager, it’s time to make amends.

The more unpaid debts you’re able to settle, the more balance you’ll restore to your life.”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life

#12 Choose Hope

“By The time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus was dead. His body had been in the tomb for four days. Mary and Martha were understandably beside themselves with grief.

“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’… Jesus then said, ‘I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even die if they die'” (John 11:21,25)

Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but Mary and Martha didn’t. Their grief was real. Their emotions were raw. Jesus wasn’t upset by their reaction, he’d cry out too, but he wanted to help them through their pain to get to something better: hope.

That journey from devastation to hope can be plotted by boiling Jesus’ words down to these three words. Believe in me.

Don’t give grief and pain the final word. Believe in me.

Don’t let your world come crashing down around you. Believe in me.

Don’t give up. Believe in me.

All it takes is one tragedy, one unexpected loss, to drive home the point that we are practically powerless to control or prevent the things that happen to us. The one area we can control, however, is how we will respond. We can choose devastation and surrender, or we can choose hope and perseverance.

To choose hope and perseverance is not to brush aside our grief. It is to address our pain head-on and to work through our feelings (with the assistance of a professional counselor, if necessary). To choose hope is to believe that happiness and joy are attainable again, despite what our grief tells us.

To choose hope is to take Jesus at his word when he says, ‘Believe in me. I am more powerful than your pain. I will carry you through. I will heal you heart.'”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life

#11 Don’t Be A Stranger To God

“How do we initiate a closer relationship with God? Here are a few tips to get started.

Find a place where you can focus on God

The ideal location would be someplace quiet and private, perhaps even a little isolated, where God’s handiwork is on display. Local parks, hiking trails, and walking paths would be great places to start. Wherever you choose, make sure you free yourself from interruptions while you’re there. Turn off your communication devices.

Learn as much as you can about God from people who knew him well

Everything God wants us to know about him can be found in the Bible. Read it to
-Get a sense of the things God has done;
-find out how God has interacted with different people;
-discover clues as to what God likes and dislikes, anything that might help develop your own relationship with God.

Keep your conversations fresh and interesting

Pray often and creatively. Don’t settle for standard prayers or words you think you’re supposed to say. Talk to God like you would a friend, the greatest friend ever.

“The christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.” -Oswald Chamber, My Utmost for His Highest

We have access to God every day. So why not take advantage of it? The Bible makes it clear that God is always available to anyone who seeks him. So why don’t we seek God more? Why do we too often remain strangers?”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life

#10 – Enjoy God’s Presence

“God gives us salvation through his Son, Jesus. That’s the central theme of Christianity.

With the gift of salvation, however, comes something equally valuable. The apostle John describes it this way: “God has given us his Spirit. This is how we know we are one with him, just as he is one with us” (1 John 4:13)

How do we know we belong to God? We have his Spirit inside us. We have access to his strength when we’re tempted. We have access to his guidance when we’re lost. We have access to his wisdom when we’re confused. We have a direct line to him when we need to talk. If we think it, he hears it; when we ask questions, he answers us.

How often do we thank God for such an incredible gift? How often do we take advantage of the opportunities the Holy Spirit offers?”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life

#9 Keep Hope Alive

“In Romans 5, the apostle Paul addressed first-century Christians who were being persecuted because of their faith. Paul urged the struggling believers to embrace their suffering.

ROMANS 5:1-5
By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, we have peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God’s gift of undeserved grace on which we now take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. But that’s not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with love.

In Romans 5:4, he revealed the endgame: “Endurance builds character, which gives us hope.” Enduring suffering ultimately leads to hope. In this case, though, hope isn’t wishful thinking; it’s confidence in God.

Think of it as a spiritual variation of “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” When we endure a painful experience and come out the other side, we get a better understanding of what God is capable of. Thus, when the next crisis arises, we have a stronger confidence and deeper sense of hope in him.”

-The Bible: 50 Ways It Can Change Your Life