Shelves, Selves, and a 2020 Vision

I have a wall-to-wall bookshelf in my study, or more accurately, pieces of one.

For six months I’ve waited, stalled, and “meant to get to” finishing that shelf, and last week I finally started the finishing process…and stopped again.

Maybe I keep stopping because life is just so busy sometimes, but maybe it’s because of something else. Maybe my issue is that it’s so much easier for me to live in the future dream of having the shelf than it is to do the work of actually building the shelf.

How about you? Is there something in your life like that, a project, a dream or an idea that you’ve taken steps to pursue but haven’t followed through with?

If there is, then maybe you need to hear this like I did: “You can’t get to the future without going through today.”

That’s what my wife told me when I complained about feeling stuck, and she’s absolutely right. The truth is that my dreams will never happen without me taking steps towards them today, and neither will yours.

You know what that also means, though? It means even if we only take one tiny, timid step today, that’s a win that we can and should feel good about, and I don’t know about you, but that sounds like good news to me!

So, let’s make a change.

Let’s take a step.

Let’s make this year a year of finishing, of completing, of being done with old things not just so we can put them behind us, but so we can welcome the new things ahead of us with clear minds and open arms and keep moving forward to become the best version of who we were made to be.

You can do it.

I can do it.

Let’s do it together.

–PG
Helping people like you take their next step forward so we can build a better world together.

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p.s. I’m calling 2020 the Year of Vision (I know, original, right?) because if you want to know how you’re doing, you have to know where you’re going. If you have a clear vision of where you’re headed and how to get there, congratulations, you’re one of the fortunate few!

On the other hand, if you’re like most of us and could use a little help achieving clarity, I’d love to help you get there. Drop me a line, and I’ll tell you about some ways I can help you and/or your team or company think, see, and communicate clearly so you can take your next step forward in 2020.

Vision, Distraction, and Expectations

Scripture Notes Header

“So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and cannot come down.  Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’”  (Nehemiah 6:3)

Fulfilling a vision means being able to say no to the distractions of less important things.  It requires boldness and determination, and a willingness to hold the line even (and especially) in the face of criticism.

When it seems like everyone is pressing and everything is urgent, just remember this.  Don’t let the expectations of others derail the destiny God has for your life.

–Pastor Phillip

When you focus on Jesus, He steadies your heart

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 75

WHEN YOU FOCUS ON JESUS, HE STEADIES YOUR HEART

When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars.  (Psalm 75:3)

Our world is full of instability.  From economies in turmoil to civil unrest, discord in the workplace and division at home, sometimes it can feel like the whole thing is getting ready to tumble down.

Yet, there is hope for the believer.  There is a promise for all who are in Christ, that even though everything around you may be shaking and unstable, you can have a steadfast peace in the midst of it all.

When your world feels insecure, remember and apply this powerful, hope-building truth.  When you focus on Jesus, He steadies your heart.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your steadfast resolve

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Acts 21

JESUS IS YOUR STEADFAST RESOLVE

When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?  For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”  (Acts 21:12-14)

Paul knew trouble awaited him in Jerusalem.  He was under no illusion that he would have an easy time ahead, but he resolved to press on because he knew Jesus was worth it.

Paul’s friends had only his best interest in mind.  They were only seeing their grief and concern for their friend.  It’s not that they were wrong for that; they were simply missing the bigger picture.  They had their eyes on the short-term reality of personal pain, but Paul had his eyes on a higher priority.  They were trying to persuade Paul away from his purpose, but he wasn’t having it.

Paul knew that in the scope of eternity, suffering matters nothing compared to the Savior.  Hardship is irrelevant compared to the joy of knowing Jesus!  Paul knew this and believed it and stayed faithful to his mission because of one simple truth.

When you keep your eyes on Jesus, nothing can shake your resolve.

Maybe you have hardships or struggles right now because of your walk with God.  Maybe there are people opposing you externally, or worries besetting you internally.

Maybe you feel like giving up.

No matter what you face today, remember this.  Jesus loves you, He’s with you, and He’s for you if you’re in Christ!  Even when you feel like letting go, He is never letting go of you.

Dwell on these promises instead of your problems today, and you’ll be strengthened to stay the course, hold the line, and keep moving forward in His plan for your life.  As you do these things, you’ll discover the hope found in this truth: Jesus is your steadfast resolve.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus is your voice of life

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 10

JESUS IS YOUR VOICE OF LIFE

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

There is no “silver lining” to sin.  Yes, God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, but that is completely based on grace and not at all on any redeeming value of the sin itself.

But your enemy likes to tell you otherwise.

“It’s not that bad,” says the thief, but he is only luring you in for the kill.  “Nobody has to know,” says the thief, and that’s exactly where he wants you: in the dark of secrecy where no one will hear you scream.  The thief wants only one thing for you: destruction.

Then there is the Shepherd.

“It’s so much better than this,” says the Shepherd, longing for you to come out of the alleyway into the sun.  “You don’t have to live like that,” says the Shepherd, holding out your ticket to greater joy and peace.  The Shepherd wants only one thing for you, too: abundant, glorious life.

Whose voice will you trust and follow today?

As you make decisions about the way you live your life, may you refuse to give in to the shouts of the thief, and choose instead to listen to the whispers of the Shepherd.  As you do, you’ll find hope in the results of this truth: Jesus is your voice of life.

-Pastor Phillip


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God is your never-failing source

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 6

GOD IS YOUR NEVER-FAILING SOURCE

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light…” (Matthew 6:22)

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this…” (Matthew 6:8b-9a)

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, there is a single, powerful thread that runs through Jesus’ teachings on giving (vv 1-4), praying (vv 5-9), fasting (vv16-18), possessions (19-21), and anxiousness about physical needs (vv25-32). The main idea is simply this:

God knows what you need, and true peace is found by letting Him be your source, not the world around you.

Are you looking for honor and validation? Seek it from your Father above, not the people around you.

Are you seeking a sense of security? Find it in the treasures of heaven, not the trinkets of earth.

Are you searching for inner peace? You will discover it when you learn to trust God for your needs, instead of carrying the burden on your own.

You see, when your heart is focused on Jesus, the people and things and needs and cares around you won’t seem so important. When your life is centered in Christ, God will take care of the details you’ve entrusted to Him.

So, may you fix your gaze today on the One who loves you most, because when you do, you’ll discover great hope in this truth: God is your never-failing source.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

Your world will be in order when God is on the throne

Scripture Notes on Psalm 132

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. (Psalm 132:8-9)

So often it’s easy for our lives to get chaotic. Work or school, family or finances, personal goals or other priorities can quickly drift out of sync if we’re not careful.

Yet, how often we seek to bring ourselves peace and order through strategies, rather than through our Savior! This should not be so.

When God is in His rightful place at the center of your life, everything else must fall in line. It doesn’t mean circumstances will always suit your preferences, but as you focus on Jesus and follow where He leads, you will certainly have peace.

No matter how crazy your life is right now, turn to Jesus and be encouraged by this truth.

Your world will be in order when God is on the throne.

-Pastor Phillip

When you focus on Jesus, He steadies your heart

Scripture Notes on Psalm 75

When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. (Psalms 75:3)

Our world is full of instability. From economies in turmoil to civil unrest, discord in the workplace and division at home, sometimes it can feel like the whole thing is getting ready to tumble down.

Yet, there is hope for the believer. There is a promise for all who are in Christ, that even though everything around you may be shaking and unstable, you can have a steadfast peace in the midst of it all.

When your world feels insecure, remember and apply this powerful truth. When you focus on Jesus, He steadies your heart.

-Pastor Phillip

You Can Have Unity Even When You Don’t Get Along (pt2)

Even in the Bible, nobody gets along all the time.

 

However, disagreement doesn’t have to disrupt our unity and love for one another.

In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul shares a simple truth that leads to an effective stragety for working through conflict while keeping the peace.

It’s all in your head.

Seriously, how you think about the situation determines how you act in the middle of it.  More importantly, what you believe about the other person determines how you behave towards them.

Paul shares this instruction with a church that had some serious disagreement going on, and along with the prescription comes a promise.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you.”  -Philippians 4:8-9 (emphasis added)

Prayerfully practice the art of separating the issue from the individual.

Find the good in them and make that the focus of your heart instead of all the reasons why they’re wrong.

Don’t be afraid to tackle the subject on which you disagree, but if you see the person through the lens of love, you can preserve your unity and the conflict will lead to life.

NOTE: You can read part 1 of this post here.

Unite My Heart

 Ever feel like your heart is spread too thin?

“Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” -Psalm 86:11

What a multitude of directions my heart pursues!  How easy it is to become so fragmented in my passions that nothing is really a “passion” at all anymore, just another item on my list of interests.

The psalmist David knows this, too.  He knows how easy it is to have our hearts divided like the spoils of war, parceled out and spread over all the land.

That’s why he prays.

He wants his heart united, the fragments brought together under the banner of the fear, awe and reverence of God.  No more trivial pursuits; he wants his heart to be set on what matters.

May it be so with us as well.