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Posts tagged ‘Living Up to Your Faith’

Are You for Real? – Outclassed?

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead … you are like babies.Hebrews 5:12-13.

Bonus Reading: Colossians 1:9b-10

I knew that I’d just married an incredibly principled, moral young woman. But after bringing Dawn to Fort Benning, I was seeing it on a daily basis.

This connected with what had happened with Kurt Smith, a close friend in our Ranger reconnaissance regiment. In the spring he’d gone home on leave—and returned radically changed. He’d turned his life over to Jesus Christ, and it clearly showed. Right away his language changed for the better, his music choices cleaned up, and his general attitude brightened. He began telling others in the detachment about Christ and what a difference he’d brought to his life. It was unmistakable.

I had to admit that although I’d been a declared Christian for nearly a decade, my daily life didn’t reflect it. I looked at the way Kurt acted and felt guilty. Then I went home at night to Dawn and sensed more of the same.

The two of them, without lecturing in any way, were shining a spotlight on my inconsistencies. I was definitely rough around the edges, behaving pretty much the way most young enlisted men in the army behave. I’d lie in bed at night and think, God, I’m not matching up to these two at all.[continued 1/29]

—Jeff Streucker in The Road to Unafraid

My Response: Here’s how my growth trajectory since becoming a disciple could graph:

Adapted from The Road to Unafraid (W Publishing, 2006).

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Performance Appraisal

Living Uo to Your FaithWho Said It… Lane McGullion

Lane McGullion manages projects for a power generating company in Georgia, and is a leader in his church’s men’s ministry. Its claim to fame is constructing an 80 percent scale model of the Tabernacle—that’s 12′ tall, 24′ wide, and 36′ long—with furnishings.

Lane’s wife, Sonya, serves as the children’s church coordinator. They have two girls and a boy. Lane likes to sing and is a die-hard Auburn University football fan.

What He Said… Performance Appraisal

Remember your first review at a new company? Have I lived up to the references’ glowing description of my abilities? you wondered. Or should I bring an empty box to pack my belongings?

As a Christ follower, you may never be called into a conference room, but you face a different kind of workplace appraisal. During a conversation about current events, politics, or what you did this weekend, your biblical worldview will surface (hopefully you’re not trying to hide it). Your words will challenge and possibly offend.

That’s when the performance appraisal begins. Your coworkers will begin watching with the zeal of a private detective to see if you measure up to the bar you’ve set so high. You’ll have the opportunity to share the words of life, but if you also tell off-color jokes, will anyone take you seriously?

You maintain that Christ gave himself up for others, but if you fail to lend a hand to a coworker who’s falling behind, your words will fall on deaf (and lost) ears. So make sure your deeds back up your words.

Adapted from Practical Justice (InterVarsity, 2006) by permission.

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Pocket Book Probe

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there.”  –  1 Chronicles 29:17

Bonus Reading: Genesis 4:1-12

The phone rang. The owner of a large apartment complex had been referred to me by a mutual acquaintance. She’d had a pricing evaluation done on her property and wanted a second opinion before selling. Commercial real estate is viciously competitive. You only get paid when you close a deal. A “team mentality” isn’t taught. If I priced her property aggressively, she’d probably use me as her agent.

But another agent in my office, the woman disclosed, had done the first pricing analysis. For several months I’d been sharing Christ with him because he was in debt and looking for answers the world wasn’t providing. I could undermine his weeks of excellent effort by telling the caller that he was less experienced, and that I could get a higher price for the property. Or I could do what Jesus would want. I told the woman the agent was capable, and that his pricing conclusions were sound. She went with him.

Just this week, the building transaction closed, and he was able to pay off all his debts. “Nobody else in this office would have done that for me,” he confided. “You really live out your faith.” He invited me to lunch—another opportunity to share my Christian hope.

—Danny Kapic in Devotional Ventures

My Response: If Danny had snatched the listing for himself, what might have transpired?

Thought to Apply: Our task is to live our personal communion with Christ with such intensity as to make it contagious.—Paul Tournier (Swiss psychologist)

Adapted from Devotional Ventures (Regal, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – …and Consequences

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: May you always be filled with … those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  –  Philippians 1:11.

Bonus Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-8

[continued from yesterday]   Linda and Jerry weren’t perfect, we discovered. But then again, they never claimed to be.

Primarily what we saw was a gentle spirit of acceptance toward us, a lot more humility than pride, a willingness to admit when they were wrong, an anxiousness to reconcile when there was conflict, a readiness to acknowledge the rough edges of their character and a sincere effort to smooth them out, a refusal to playact by pretending that the Christian life is always happy, an admission that they struggled with their faith from time to time, but most of all, undergirding everything, we saw an honest desire to become a little more like Jesus, bit by bit, as time went by.

In short, they were real. Leslie and I became citizens of God’s people largely through their example.

Now I don’t want to make you paranoid, but if you’re a Christ follower, you are being watched. Your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are scanning your life with their hypocrisy radar, because they want to know whether you’re authentic. And what they observe will either stymie or propel them in their spiritual journey.

—Lee Strobel in God’s Outrageous Claims

My Response: Will others detect in me someone who approaches life with integrity?

Thought to Apply: How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing … it is irresistible.—C.S. Lewis (British academic & author)

Adapted from God’s Outrageous Claims (Zondervan, 1997, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

Are You for Real? – Truth…

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: “Yes, the way to identify a tree or person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.”  –  Matthew 7:20.

Bonus Reading: Matthew 7:15-21

Years ago Linda and Jerry lived in the same condominium building as Leslie and I, and so we got to know each other well. Our daughter, Alison, became best friends with their daughter, Sara.

But what Linda and Jerry didn’t realize was how much we were scrutinizing their lifestyle. They were up-front about the fact that they were Christians, and we were curious to see whether they were real. Do you know what I mean by that?

We wanted to see whether we could detect a holier-than-thou attitude toward those who didn’t subscribe to their theology. We wanted to see how they’d handle conflict in their marriage. We wanted to see whether they’d put on a Christian happy face and pretend they never got angry, worried, or frustrated.

We wanted to see whether they’d be truth-tellers and whether they’d ask for forgiveness when they made a mistake. We wanted to see whether they’d hold a grudge if we did something to hurt them. We wanted to see if they were honest about the little things in life. We wanted to hear the comments they would make about people who weren’t around.

We watched over a long period of time, and guess what we found? [continued tomorrow]

—Lee Strobel in God’s Outrageous Claims

My Response: How do I distinguish the contrived from the genuine in another person?

Thought to Apply: Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.—Dwight L. Moody (evangelist)

Adapted from God’s Outrageous Claims (Zondervan, 1997, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Barracks Shock Waves

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13.

Bonus Reading: Phil. 2:12-15

I decided to clean up my act. I began disciplining myself to speak without the splatter of four-letter words epidemic in army talk. I could get my point across without them.

I stopped drinking. Alcohol was part of my family growing up, and everything we seven in my detachment did together—going to the movies, playing volleyball—included a couple of beers. I can still hang out and have a good time, I told myself, I’ll just have a Coke instead. But the six quickly asked, “Hey, what’s wrong with you, Streucker?”

I also excused myself from certain movies I would have seen before. Then I started cleaning out my music collection. I’d been raised on classic rock, and bought a lot of heavy metal too. But the lyrics started to bother me. I got a big garbage bag, loaded it up with hundreds of cassettes and CDs, and dropped them on our unit’s front desk. “Here you go,” I said, “They’re yours, free for the taking.”

“Streucker must have joined some cult!” they said. I’d already heard how they ridiculed Kurt Smith behind his back. When I told him about it, Kurt calmly said, “So? I’m not concerned about what they think.” That became my stance as well.

—Jeff Streucker in The Road to Unafraid

My Response: Where have I let what my peers might think inhibit clear-cut discipleship?

Thought to Apply: Once you get a taste of where you want to go, motivation takes care of itself.—Chuck Daly (basketball coach)

Adapted from The Road to Unafraid (W Publishing, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

Are You for Real? – Outclassed?

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead … you are like babies.Hebrews 5:12-13.

Bonus Reading: Colossians 1:9b-10

I knew that I’d just married an incredibly principled, moral young woman. But after bringing Dawn to Fort Benning, I was seeing it on a daily basis.

This connected with what had happened with Kurt Smith, a close friend in our Ranger reconnaissance regiment. In the spring he’d gone home on leave—and returned radically changed. He’d turned his life over to Jesus Christ, and it clearly showed. Right away his language changed for the better, his music choices cleaned up, and his general attitude brightened. He began telling others in the detachment about Christ and what a difference he’d brought to his life. It was unmistakable.

I had to admit that although I’d been a declared Christian for nearly a decade, my daily life didn’t reflect it. I looked at the way Kurt acted and felt guilty. Then I went home at night to Dawn and sensed more of the same.

The two of them, without lecturing in any way, were shining a spotlight on my inconsistencies. I was definitely rough around the edges, behaving pretty much the way most young enlisted men in the army behave. I’d lie in bed at night and think, God, I’m not matching up to these two at all.[continued 1/29]

—Jeff Streucker in The Road to Unafraid

My Response: Here’s how my growth trajectory since becoming a disciple could graph:

Adapted from The Road to Unafraid (W Publishing, 2006).

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Performance Appraisal

Living Uo to Your FaithWho Said It… Lane McGullion

Lane McGullion manages projects for a power generating company in Georgia, and is a leader in his church’s men’s ministry. Its claim to fame is constructing an 80 percent scale model of the Tabernacle—that’s 12′ tall, 24′ wide, and 36′ long—with furnishings.

Lane’s wife, Sonya, serves as the children’s church coordinator. They have two girls and a boy. Lane likes to sing and is a die-hard Auburn University football fan.

What He Said… Performance Appraisal

Remember your first review at a new company? Have I lived up to the references’ glowing description of my abilities? you wondered. Or should I bring an empty box to pack my belongings?

As a Christ follower, you may never be called into a conference room, but you face a different kind of workplace appraisal. During a conversation about current events, politics, or what you did this weekend, your biblical worldview will surface (hopefully you’re not trying to hide it). Your words will challenge and possibly offend.

That’s when the performance appraisal begins. Your coworkers will begin watching with the zeal of a private detective to see if you measure up to the bar you’ve set so high. You’ll have the opportunity to share the words of life, but if you also tell off-color jokes, will anyone take you seriously?

You maintain that Christ gave himself up for others, but if you fail to lend a hand to a coworker who’s falling behind, your words will fall on deaf (and lost) ears. So make sure your deeds back up your words.

Adapted from Practical Justice (InterVarsity, 2006) by permission.

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Pocket Book Probe

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there.”  –  1 Chronicles 29:17

Bonus Reading: Genesis 4:1-12

The phone rang. The owner of a large apartment complex had been referred to me by a mutual acquaintance. She’d had a pricing evaluation done on her property and wanted a second opinion before selling. Commercial real estate is viciously competitive. You only get paid when you close a deal. A “team mentality” isn’t taught. If I priced her property aggressively, she’d probably use me as her agent.

But another agent in my office, the woman disclosed, had done the first pricing analysis. For several months I’d been sharing Christ with him because he was in debt and looking for answers the world wasn’t providing. I could undermine his weeks of excellent effort by telling the caller that he was less experienced, and that I could get a higher price for the property. Or I could do what Jesus would want. I told the woman the agent was capable, and that his pricing conclusions were sound. She went with him.

Just this week, the building transaction closed, and he was able to pay off all his debts. “Nobody else in this office would have done that for me,” he confided. “You really live out your faith.” He invited me to lunch—another opportunity to share my Christian hope.

—Danny Kapic in Devotional Ventures

My Response: If Danny had snatched the listing for himself, what might have transpired?

Thought to Apply: Our task is to live our personal communion with Christ with such intensity as to make it contagious.—Paul Tournier (Swiss psychologist)

Adapted from Devotional Ventures (Regal, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – …and Consequences

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: May you always be filled with … those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  –  Philippians 1:11.

Bonus Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-8

[continued from yesterday]   Linda and Jerry weren’t perfect, we discovered. But then again, they never claimed to be.

Primarily what we saw was a gentle spirit of acceptance toward us, a lot more humility than pride, a willingness to admit when they were wrong, an anxiousness to reconcile when there was conflict, a readiness to acknowledge the rough edges of their character and a sincere effort to smooth them out, a refusal to playact by pretending that the Christian life is always happy, an admission that they struggled with their faith from time to time, but most of all, undergirding everything, we saw an honest desire to become a little more like Jesus, bit by bit, as time went by.

In short, they were real. Leslie and I became citizens of God’s people largely through their example.

Now I don’t want to make you paranoid, but if you’re a Christ follower, you are being watched. Your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are scanning your life with their hypocrisy radar, because they want to know whether you’re authentic. And what they observe will either stymie or propel them in their spiritual journey.

—Lee Strobel in God’s Outrageous Claims

My Response: Will others detect in me someone who approaches life with integrity?

Thought to Apply: How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing … it is irresistible.—C.S. Lewis (British academic & author)

Adapted from God’s Outrageous Claims (Zondervan, 1997, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

Are You for Real? – Truth…

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: “Yes, the way to identify a tree or person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.”  –  Matthew 7:20.

Bonus Reading: Matthew 7:15-21

Years ago Linda and Jerry lived in the same condominium building as Leslie and I, and so we got to know each other well. Our daughter, Alison, became best friends with their daughter, Sara.

But what Linda and Jerry didn’t realize was how much we were scrutinizing their lifestyle. They were up-front about the fact that they were Christians, and we were curious to see whether they were real. Do you know what I mean by that?

We wanted to see whether we could detect a holier-than-thou attitude toward those who didn’t subscribe to their theology. We wanted to see how they’d handle conflict in their marriage. We wanted to see whether they’d put on a Christian happy face and pretend they never got angry, worried, or frustrated.

We wanted to see whether they’d be truth-tellers and whether they’d ask for forgiveness when they made a mistake. We wanted to see whether they’d hold a grudge if we did something to hurt them. We wanted to see if they were honest about the little things in life. We wanted to hear the comments they would make about people who weren’t around.

We watched over a long period of time, and guess what we found? [continued tomorrow]

—Lee Strobel in God’s Outrageous Claims

My Response: How do I distinguish the contrived from the genuine in another person?

Thought to Apply: Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.—Dwight L. Moody (evangelist)

Adapted from God’s Outrageous Claims (Zondervan, 1997, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

 

Are You for Real? – Barracks Shock Waves

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13.

Bonus Reading: Phil. 2:12-15

I decided to clean up my act. I began disciplining myself to speak without the splatter of four-letter words epidemic in army talk. I could get my point across without them.

I stopped drinking. Alcohol was part of my family growing up, and everything we seven in my detachment did together—going to the movies, playing volleyball—included a couple of beers. I can still hang out and have a good time, I told myself, I’ll just have a Coke instead. But the six quickly asked, “Hey, what’s wrong with you, Streucker?”

I also excused myself from certain movies I would have seen before. Then I started cleaning out my music collection. I’d been raised on classic rock, and bought a lot of heavy metal too. But the lyrics started to bother me. I got a big garbage bag, loaded it up with hundreds of cassettes and CDs, and dropped them on our unit’s front desk. “Here you go,” I said, “They’re yours, free for the taking.”

“Streucker must have joined some cult!” they said. I’d already heard how they ridiculed Kurt Smith behind his back. When I told him about it, Kurt calmly said, “So? I’m not concerned about what they think.” That became my stance as well.

—Jeff Streucker in The Road to Unafraid

My Response: Where have I let what my peers might think inhibit clear-cut discipleship?

Thought to Apply: Once you get a taste of where you want to go, motivation takes care of itself.—Chuck Daly (basketball coach)

Adapted from The Road to Unafraid (W Publishing, 2006)

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.

 

Are You for Real? – Outclassed?

Living Uo to Your FaithKey Bible Verse: You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead … you are like babies.Hebrews 5:12-13.

Bonus Reading: Colossians 1:9b-10

I knew that I’d just married an incredibly principled, moral young woman. But after bringing Dawn to Fort Benning, I was seeing it on a daily basis.

This connected with what had happened with Kurt Smith, a close friend in our Ranger reconnaissance regiment. In the spring he’d gone home on leave—and returned radically changed. He’d turned his life over to Jesus Christ, and it clearly showed. Right away his language changed for the better, his music choices cleaned up, and his general attitude brightened. He began telling others in the detachment about Christ and what a difference he’d brought to his life. It was unmistakable.

I had to admit that although I’d been a declared Christian for nearly a decade, my daily life didn’t reflect it. I looked at the way Kurt acted and felt guilty. Then I went home at night to Dawn and sensed more of the same.

The two of them, without lecturing in any way, were shining a spotlight on my inconsistencies. I was definitely rough around the edges, behaving pretty much the way most young enlisted men in the army behave. I’d lie in bed at night and think, God, I’m not matching up to these two at all.[continued 1/29]

—Jeff Streucker in The Road to Unafraid

My Response: Here’s how my growth trajectory since becoming a disciple could graph:

Adapted from The Road to Unafraid (W Publishing, 2006).

Prayer for the Week: May you receive glory and praise, Father, because the faith I claim and the life I live square up.