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The Good Fight

I hope you are doing well today. On Sunday, our air conditioner went out. It has been 100 degrees so that wasn’t good. Someone can’t come until the following workday because you’re not going to pay an arm and a leg.  It just shows you how much we are dependant on airconditioning! It’s still not fixed but will be hopefully later today. Goes to show you how thankful we should be for the little things.  

I want to talk today about Fighting the Good Fight.  The Bible says we are to fight the good fight of faith.  What makes a fight, a good fight? I have never wanted to be in a fight. What makes a fight a good one? Apostle Paul was talking about faith- living out a life of faith. We’re to fight out the good fight of faith. This is meaning that life is a full combat sport. Not sure if any of you have competed in a sport such as wrestling or karate but when I was young, I was involved in it. Many of you know what it takes to be at the highest level.  Every day you have to make choices and decisions that determine whether you will be at your best. If you think about life, it is like a full contact sport because we’re always fighting something. Of course we are on the winning side. For example, you have to fight certain impulses everyday. Maybe an impulse like hating someone, being prejudice toward someone, looking down on someone because they don’t look like you or think like you.  This is the carnal nature that wants to get the best of us. I stated in my sermon over the weekend that you can choose to live on sunshine street or on dark shadow street. This made me think a lot about this. What I meant by this was that those that choose to live on dark shadow street, they never get any sunshine. As a result, nothing grows. My house is surrounded by grass except on one side where the sun does not shine. Because of this, the grass simply wont grow. If the sunlight doesn’t shine down on us daily, there are areas in our life that are muted and aren’t growing. We want to continue to grow. Growing isn’t automatic. It is something we have to be intentional about. We have to put in the time and effort to grow.

I was reading a book called Real Leadership by John Addison. He speaks about the Hawthorn Effect. Have you ever heard of this?  Back in the 1900’s the Hawthorn Works in Chicago commisioned a study to see if it could make its workers more productive.  The researchers divided the workers into two different groups. They told one group they were going to participate in a study about productivity. All the researchers did was turn up the lighting in the factory a slight bit. That’s all. The workers productivity increased. They concluded that higher productivity was caused, not by the brighter light but because they thought they were being studied rather than the other group. They felt they were special and what they were doing actually mattered. What I found through this Hawthorn Effect study is that it really doesn’t matter how much brighter the light may be in your work place but if you believe what you are doing matters and others are watching, that can cause your productivity to increase.

So, if we can turn the light up just a little bit in our lives – the light of God’s presence, His promises, and scripture, I am betting our spiritual productivity would go up.  I hope you are apart of a good church. I believe when we go to church and are around other Christians that’s when we are able to turn the light up just a little bit in peoples lives. I hope you are apart of a regular Bible study, listening to Christian music and worshiping God on a regular basis. When you do, the light is going up just a little bit brighter.

The amazing thing about the end of the Hawthorn Effect study in the 1900’s, once the workers realized they were no longer being studied for this “research” , their productivity went down to normal standards.

I hope that today, we have been able to turn the light up a little bit in your life and your productivity goes up just a little bit! Enjoy your airconditioning if you have it!  Have a great rest of the day!

 

God Bless!

Carl

 

 

 

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Success

I want to talk to you about success today. What is success? What’s your definition of success?  You know luck comes by chance, but it’s said that success comes by choices. So, when you and I make Godly choices, we make right choices and we make them consistently. I believe that is God’s formula for success.

Success is all about staying focused and determined towards on particular goal or outcome. When you think about God, He’s the definition of success. Just look at His creation and what He has made! He made all of this with us in mind. We were the crowning point in His creation.

I hope that you are moving towards success in your life. Remember, luck comes by chance but success comes by choices. I pray today you are making the best choices.

God Bless!

Carl

If you missed me on FB Live from Park City, UT check it out here.

Jobs, Careers, and Callings

Is there a difference between a Job, a career, and a Calling? What does the Bible have to say about that? When it comes to a Job, it’s something we have to have in order to pay our bills. A lot of times, people treat their jobs only as something like this – in order to pay their bills.  The Bible says – If you don’t work, you don’t eat (2 Thes. 3:10). So, unless you are independently wealthy and you don’t have to work, we all have to get up and go to work every day. We have to use the talents and skills God has given us to do our best and be our best. Be gainfully employed, right?! 

But, then there is what’s called a Career. This is different from a job. It is something you do in order to climb the ladder so you can get promoted and move up at your place of employment.  So, you may start at a basic job and then move into your career. 

Then there’s a Calling. A calling is entirely different than a job or a career. I hope you have found your calling. That you are entering into something you were made to do.  

We see that a job is something we do to pay the bills. In the Bible, for example, Paul was a tent maker. I want all of you to know who are at your job or in school and one day hope to graduate and get a job, that jobs are good. Even Jesus had a job. His Calling was to be the Savior of the world but what was his job? He was a carpenter until around the age of 30. All jobs, if they aren’t immoral, illegal or corrupt, have value. So be encouraged whatever your job may be. My first job was working at Pizza Hutt. Thank God for Pizza Hutt but thank God I’m no longer washing dishes and making pizzas any longer. But, When you perform your job you are to do it as if you are doing it for the Lord. (Col. 3:23)  Here’s what I want to encourage you with today; if you will treat your job as your calling, eventually your job will become your calling.  I know, that was pretty deep. You can’t just treat your current employment simply as a job. Cain had a job. He was a farmer and he didn’t like it very much. Able had a ministry. It was a calling. He did it not as a job but as a calling. I think there’s a clear distinction there. The Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross all had a job to do. In Luke 10, the priest and the Levite walked past the Samaritan who was left on the road bleeding and dying. They all had jobs they were going to and didn’t have time to help because they didn’t understand their calling. Their calling was fulfilling their purpose in life by helping and making a difference in the lives of others. Another person in the Bible who had a job was Judas. He was a treasurer. He held the money bag for the ministry of Jesus. He didn’t have a career or a calling. He could have but he didn’t. 

Maybe you are in your career right now or maybe your job is preparing you for your career. The Jews had a saying “Master a trade and God will provide.” So a career is something you have mastered. Careers are good but once again, you have to see it as a calling. You have to see it more than a job and more than a career. It’s a platform for you to fulfill your calling. 

What is our Calling?  Someone who is living out their calling truly believes they are working towards something far greater than themselves. They believe they are a part of a cause that’s bigger than themselves and they are fulfilling a purpose and making a difference in the world. I think of Joseph in the Old Testament. He had a calling. He didn’t just have a job working for Potiphar, he had a calling. I think of Ruth in the Old Testament. She didn’t just have a job working in the harvest field – she did this to provide for her and her mother-in-law, but she had a calling. Her calling was to be that woman of destiny. I also think of Lydia from Thyatira in the Book of Acts who was a merchant that traded purple fabrics. She was an entrepreneur. She had this job but felt it was a calling. She used it to help and serve others. 

So, wherever you are at in life; whether you have a job right now or you are just treating it like a job or maybe you have found your career or you’ve found the difference between a job, a career, and a calling, all of us can live out our calling. We can be everything God has called us to be no matter what your job is or if you’ve discovered your career. Do everything you do as it is unto the Lord and not unto men. Watch how God will continue to prosper and bless you! So go out there and roll up your sleeves. If you’re going to work, give it your best. Be enthusiastic. Serve the Lord with enthusiasm. If you’re in school right now that is your job for now. Make it your calling right now. 

Have an awesome rest of the day.  

God Bless, 

Carl 

Click HERE to view this on FB Live.

 

 

 

 

Taking Your Game To the Next Level

I was thinking this week about how we can take our game to the next level.  I watched an interview the other day with Jimmy Johnson where he was talking about his winning season with the Cowboys and it made me think that people who win in life, think differently. They do several things that help them step up their game. When it comes to you and your relationships at work or school; whatever goals you have set for your life right now ( improving your health or accomplish some things in your life) we tend to get comfortable. We kind of get in a rut. We get stuck. I was thinking about this before I went out to preach last Sunday – how many times do we find ourselves in this situation?  We need to get a new perspective or shift in our focus onto a new outlook. We need to step up our game.  I was trying to think of what it’s going to take. I believe there are 3 things if you are seriously considering this next step. I realize, it’s Summer and you would probably rather sleep in, you’re on vacation mode and not really thinking about future goals or your mind isn’t focused on achieving that at this time but if you want to step up your game, you need to do the following 3 things:

  1. Think like a winner.

People who step up their game think differently. They don’t think like a victim or a loser.    Instead,  they think like a winner. A couple of quotes I’ve come across in life, ” Never complain, never explain.”  A lot of people go through life and they are always complaining. They may complain about their job, their boss, their marriage, their health or weight, or their finances. But people that step up their game never complain and they never explain. So don’t be that person at work who is always complaining or trying to explain. Be that person that steps up their game, that goes that extra mile to get the job done. Rise and shine and be the best you can be. I believe that is the mindset of those who step up their game. The old saying is true – either step up or step down! 

You know, when Jimmy Johnson came on to coach the Cowboys there was this era of losing. He basically told them to either step up or step down. There were a lot of guys they ended up having to move out and there were new guys brought in who thought like winners and had to step up. They wanted to win.

I think sometimes people get conditioned to losing. Perhaps this very thing is happening in our country right now. We don’t know what it means to step up our game. We think the status quo is always the way it’s going to be and it doesn’t have to be that way. Do you know some people in your life who are successful – in their marriage, their finances, in their walk with Christ, or in their business? What sets them apart? They think differently. They have a bias towards winning and coming up with a solution. 

2. Be willing to work harder than your competitor.

If you are in business, then you understand it is competitive and you have to step up every day. Every day you have to provide a product or a service that shines and reaches the expectation of your customer base. So many people would rather coast and do just enough to get by. I think people that think differently work harder than their competitors. When Jimmy Johnson was asked what the secret was to his success, he replied that he just worked harder than everybody. You know, people who work harder show up before others and stay after others have left. Jimmy Johnson said that the first eight hours of a day that you work is pretty much on an even keel with everyone else, but if you show up early and leave late – going past that eight hours, you are working harder and are going to be that much farther ahead of your competitors. Being the best you can be means you are going to have to work hard. As they say in sports, you are going to have to “embrace the grind.” Life is about embracing the grind of the every day, getting up and getting it done, going through the routine and going through the motions and keeping your heart in it. 

You’ve learned this, haven’t you? If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way; if it’s not important, you’ll find an excuse. Far too many people are content to go through life finding excuses instead of finding a way. I heard this saying – “Things don’t just happen, things happen just.” What does that mean? It’s talking about intentionality. Things are made to happen. It’s not like God is going to come along and sprinkle magic dust on you and things just magically happen they way you want them to. You don’t do things on your own strength but with God’s help and with His strength. 

3. You can’t get discouraged when you fail.

Failure is a part of life. You can’t get discouraged when there’s a setback. I spoke with a member of our church who is a friend of mine and I have a lot of respect for this individual. They ran for public office and didn’t win. They thought to themselves, I’m not going to embrace discouragement.  They gave their best but it didn’t come out in their favor. So now what? Yeah, he was disappointed but life is about setbacks and it’s how you respond to it. You know a setback can really be a setup for a comeback. You can get discouraged, no one wins all the time, you’re not going to get every promotion, every raise, or every opportunity that comes your way but be ready for the next one that comes your way. There will always be a next time. Press on. Please don’t show disrespect. Beware of false prophets. 

I hope you continue to step up your game and not get discouraged, that you work harder than the next person, and that you begin to think like a winner. 

I hope you have a great week! If you missed this message of FB Live, you can catch it here.

God Bless!

Carl

When is it OK to Hate?

When is it ok to hate? When is hate good? The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There’s a time and a season for everything under heaven” and then in verse 8 it says “There is a time to love and a time to hate”. So when is it ok to hate?  I mean, some of us hate broccoli. Some of us hate liver. Some of us hate being in traffic. I know that I hate being in the middle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight. I just hate that middle seat!

The Bible does say that there are some things we should hate. You really can’t love unless there are some things that you hate. Get this, the Bible says we should hate sin, evil, bribes, idolatry, murder, arrogant and perverted speech, and sexual immorality. In other words, we should hate sin.  In Proverbs chapter 6, the bible states there are six things that the Lord hates. No, actually seven things are an abomination to Him. He hates haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,  a false witness that pours out lies, he also hates the person that sows discord in a family. There’s some other things that God hates as well – divorce (Malachi 2:16). The reason he hates divorce is because He knows how detrimental it is and how harmful it is to society and the children. It causes a lot of collateral damage. God hates how it hurts the individual. 

Hatred in the Bible is not an emotion. It’s not like when God says these things that He’s having these feelings of animosity. For the interpretation, you must separate the human emotional feeling of hatred. In the world of psychology, we’re instructed to hate because if we can’t hate then we are classified as a sociopath. A sociopath will do evil things and feel no remorse for what they’ve done. So, if we don’t hate evil we will learn to actually enjoy witnessing evil. 

One of the things we should hate is terrorism. Right? We should hate the fact that an evil person entered a night club in Orlando and killed 49 fellow Americans! We should hate terrorism! We should hate people that promote and perform acts of horrendous evil. Here’s what we need to be careful of; we need to make sure we do not become desensitized. We live in a society that we become desensitized to evil and acts of evil to where we begin to tolerate, accept, rationalize and explain it. 

Now, there are some things we should NEVER hate. You should never hate yourself. You should never hate God. Period. We should never hate our neighbor as it says in Leviticus 17:19 where Jesus says we are to love our neighbor. So we can hate the sin that someone may commit but we don’t hate that person. We need to be aware and not celebrate the things God hates. Funny thing is, though, in our society today, most forms of entertainment celebrate the very things God hates. If we aren’t careful and we celebrate what the world celebrates, we can become desensitized. At the end of the day, if we are going to be a follower of Christ, we should love the things God loves and we should hate the things God hates. Also, you really can’t love if at the same time you don’t hate the things that would destroy love. 

Here’s what I know, there are things that God hates – the evil, the sin, the wickedness that’s in our world; but because of Jesus, we know that God loves the world. He loves for people to gain the knowledge of the truth of who He is and who Christ is. When the love of God is shed in our hearts, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can actually begin to love. We can begin to love God, to love others and begin to love ourselves and we will always hate the things that will destroy the things we love.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time to love and time to hate. I hope we have some loathsome feelings toward evil and the evil being perpetrated in our society.  I want you to know that I love you and I hope you have an awesome rest of your day! Take care!

 

God Bless!

Carl

If you didn’t catch this message on FB Live, you can view it here!