30 Year Challenge
When you post a 10 year challenge pic you're hoping you haven't aged that much over the last decade. I'll be 36 this year so I wanted to see how much things have changed since age 6. Let's just say Nathan wasn't at the top of social totem pole in 1992.
Thanks to a public school health exam in first grade, we learned I was nearly blind in my right eye. When you're born with that kind of deficiency, you don't really know what you're missing. We all apparently thought the subtle squinting I did with my right eye was just due to smiling a lot. Like Buddy the Elf, smiling is and was my favorite.
The nearsightedness was all I ever knew. It felt normal because I didn't know anything better was needed or even existed. When I was given glasses for the first time, my vision became better, more clear, and eventually would almost completely heal by age 12.
Having a prescription lens is not only healing, but it gives you a better perspective. It brings things once fuzzy into focus. As we are entering a new year with new goals, habits, and routines, I'd like to suggest a spiritual prescription lens for us to evaluate the way we think, speak, and act.
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
Philippians 1:27 NLT
The words "above all" means the following sentences are the going to be the decision making grid we use for all of life's issues.
We have to live our lives in such a way that Good News still looks like Good News.
Your faith is meant to be the prescription lens in which you view and think about what's happening around you. However, we often reverse this.
When we use our frustrations as the lens on our faith, we ask God the wrong question: "Why is this happening to me?" Receiving the answer to this question would alleviate us of the need to trust Jesus.
If faith is the lens on our frustrations, we ask a far better question: "God, how am I supposed to grow in light of these challenges in my life right now?" Then people will see the Good News at work in your life, despite the difficulties.
When we use our finances as the lens on our faith, we will never become generous. Jesus said it's better to give than receive. But if we're waiting until we feel like we've got enough money to bless someone, then it's not an act of faith.
Generosity requires trusting God to bless you as seek to bless others. Being a giver is one of the best ways to tangibly demonstrate the Good News.
Even something as important as family can't come before faith. When family is the lens on faith, extra curricular activities become the main thing. It's great to for your family to vacation, be involved in little league, and to enjoy life. But we must demonstrate to our children that the Good News of Jesus is better than the good news of Disney World or the next tournament.
Ouch... that was heavy handed.
Here's what it looks like for faith to be the lens on our family: Ask yourself, "How is the Good News of Jesus evident in the fun things we do as a family?"
Christ Followers should be known for joy, peace, and purpose in the highs and lows of life. These are all traits of someone who is living like the Good News of Jesus is still Good News.
Click here to catch a sermon excerpt on this material.