At the beginning of this year I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to the important areas of my life. I made the decision to be disciplined when it comes to my health, my life with Jesus, my wife, my leadership and my writing. (at least this writing) I had come to the realization that over the last couple of years that I had allowed stress, laziness, and other people’s priorities to take over how I was living life. It is amazing how easy this can happen, especially when you have not decided to be disciplined with your life.
So when it comes to the area of my life with Jesus I have decided to make journaling, prayer, and reading disciplined. The goal that I have set is to make sure that I do this at least 5 times a week. My health and my ability to grow in my relationship with Jesus have been connected for me when it comes to being disciplined. Once I have completed my workout in the morning I immediately get out my journal and my bible with a cup of coffee (we call it Christian Crack) then take a seat at the dinner table at my house. Sometime it is alone, but most of the time it is with people walking around me. So I will either put in my ear buds or just gently remind people at what I am trying to do. Maybe for you having your time with Jesus needs to be ultimate quiet I get that, but the more that you can show and share what you are doing is a good thing. (set the pace for the family)
What I then do is write about the previous day and how I was able to see God at work in me and around me. After that I write out my prayers. I know that for some people that this would be really strange, but for me it keeps me focused (I also like to go back and read them to see how God is at work). I make it at least two pages in my journal, why I don’t know I just liked it. Then I take the next page and write out things that jump out at me while I am reading the bible. Many of those things I read that day I then write out so that I can read them over and over through out the day. This is the way that I do it, it is a way not the way. Maybe for you reading off your phone is good for you. Maybe for you journalling online is good for you. Maybe for you praying away for minutes maybe hours is good for you. No matter what way you do it you need to make the decision to be disciplined.
What are the ways that you can make your life with Jesus lived out? What are the ways that you are making this time with Jesus a discipline?
Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with a group of amazing people that are working towards not going back to where they had come from. You see each of the individuals that were sitting in the room had all in the recent days, weeks, and months had been released from prison. These were men, women, young, old, and of ever different ethnic origin. As I sat there among them and heard the organizations leader speak to them about next steps and what they needed to do to stay out of prison and experience a changed life I was deeply moved. It was when I heard many of them share about the voices in their lives that they needed to stop listening too if they were going to stay out of prison that I became emotional. I heard them talk about their own voices, they talked about family voices, and they even talked about voices from being in prison. But each one had a voice that they needed to leave behind so that they could move forward in a life that was to be changed and headed towards healing.
I was then reading the book of the Acts and reading the story of the healing of the beggar at Solomon’s Colonnade in chapter 3 and 4. The story of the beggar took my mind back to the room of people that I was with this weekend. Here is why, the story of the man who spent most of his life lying in front of the colonnade must have heard the voices of the people walking by call him all sorts of names like beggar, cripple, worthless, and many others. But then came two men that would turn things upside down by asking him if he would want to be healed? The hurting and disabled men responded by saying yes. Then the lame beggar that could not walk began to run, dance, and leap because of the healing power of the name of Jesus Christ. His life was changed in a moment.
But what about those voices, what about the names that were still possibly ringing in his head? They were all replaced with one name, Jesus. You see that man had his life changed by Jesus, the names that he be called most of his life were replaced with Jesus, the voices that had called him lame and beggar were replaced with the name Jesus. Even the religious leaders that were trying to stop the name of Jesus couldn’t stop that;
14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. Acts 4:14 (NLT)
Because of what Jesus had done in the life of this man there was really nothing they could say. That is why I was so moved this weekend. I know that for those that were sitting in that room there is a voice that will and can change the lives of those people there, and it is Jesus. So on that day I was able to stand in front of those people and tell them about Jesus and that there is a family of people that love them and care for them even if they don’t know them yet and it is Jesus bride, the church. I pray that the voice of the people that are following Jesus called His church will be so loud that those that are coming out of prison can’t only here the voice of Jesus.
What are the voices in your life that are challenging you from hearing Jesus? How are you being the voice of Jesus to the people around you that are struggling?
What if I told you that every day should be a little terrifying. What if I told you that if you aren’t walking through your life of faith a little nervous then you aren’t living at all. The problem with both of those statements is that they make us UNCOMFORTABLE. Something that most people in the western community of faith don’t like to hear. I mean we want to be comfortable in our chairs, we want to be comfortable with our coffee, we want to be comfortable in our groups, we just plain want to be comfortable.
Well when my family and I felt that God was leading us to start a church in Colorado we all came up with our own word, “Terricited”. Because every day we were terrified and we were excited at the same time. We were terrified that we were to move back to Colorado a place where I grew up and not as a follower of Jesus. (Dealing with your Past) But excited to be able to share with those same people about how my life has been drastically changed because of Jesus. We were terrified that we didn’t have a place to live and we were struggling to find a place. But we were excited about getting a place that would be a home base for raising our kids as the graduated from high school. We were terrified because I had never been the lead pastor of a church, but I was excited because I had never been the lead pastor of a church. In the New Testament you can read:
Mark 10:32a (NLT) 32 They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.
The people that were walking with Jesus the son of God in flesh, were in awe of what was going on were also overwhelmed with fear. What does that mean? They were “terricited”! So let me ask you this, where in your life are you terricited? Where are you experiencing the awe of Jesus and the overwhelming fear where you need to see him show up? Where are you terricited? Because honestly I think that more and more of us need to be less comfortable and more terricited. Let’s take some time this week to start getting a little TERRICITED.
This week my brother Casey sent me an amazing article about Ryan Leaf and his life experiences. What was so amazing about the article is that it was Ryan Leaf writing a letter to his younger self. If you want to read it just click here you won’t be disappointed. But it made me think about what if I were to write a letter to my younger self and what would be the things that I would want to share. Here are just a few of the highlights that I would share with my younger self:
- Don’t let what people say about you or to you determine what you see in yourself.
- Just because they are people that go to church doesn’t mean that they represent Jesus.
- Know that when you experience heart break that it is leading you to the woman that you will spend the rest of your life with.
- Just because there is a job that you want doesn’t necessarily mean that is that job that you need. God’s vision for you is bigger then your vision for you.
- Enjoy the process and don’t always look for the next step.
- Remember that your accomplishments are not in what you do but who you do them with in life. There are three kids in your life that will change you and grow you more then you will ever know.
This is just a little of what I think that I would write to a younger Scott Bloyer. What are some things that you would write down and tell your younger self if you could? Looking back is always a good thing, just remember to not stay there. (Share one of your bullet points here.)
Ever have one of those weeks when you are just not sure about where you are going or what you are doing? Am I the only one who has ever felt this way? Well a week ago I just felt overwhelmed and unsure of what I needed to do next. So I got up and worked out, finished reading a book on leadership, and then I went for a ride. I didn’t know where I was going I just pointed the bike east and rode.
I was riding east on E. Qunicy Rd and I went until I ran out of pavement. Then I took a right and just went south not knowing where I was going to end up. It was a perfect day, there was a cool breeze the sun wasn’t to hot and I was able to just soak in the rolling view. For me this was an amazing time where I was truly seeking God and having a great conversation with him as I rode along. I was really seeking to know and hear what God wanted for me at this time in my life. What I didn’t know was that I was on the Kiowa Bennett Road and I was about to be smack dab in the middle of Kiowa population 723 as of the last census. Now I am not proud to say this but as a Colorado Native I didn’t have a clue about Kiowa. When I entered into the town there was not a city sign in site, so literally I had no clue where I was.
So I pulled into the first gas station I could find. My legs were a little stiff from the being on the bike for awhile and I needed to take care of some business and it was exactly what you think. So I struggled into the Sinclair Gas station to find out where I was and to go to the bathroom. As I entered I was greeted by Nasime the man that was running the station. I asked him where was I? “To which he responded well sir you are here.” I said, “I know that but what town is this?” To which he responded, “You are in Kiowa and Jesus will always help you.” I said, “Great thanks!” as I stepped into the bathroom. But my mind was still processing what he had said to me. So when I was done I stepped out and asked him what he had just said to me. With a big smile, Nasime said again; “Jesus will help you all you have to remember is to trust Jesus.”
Now I was so taken back to what he had said that I thanked him handed him my card and walked out the front door with my mouth wide open. I had been praying that God would let me know what I needed to do and from the mouth of Nasime it came. TRUST JESUS! Don’t do anything, don’t go anywhere, don’t try to figure it out, just TRUST JESUS.
Maybe this week you need to hear this, TRUST JESUS. I don’t know what you are going through I don’t know what you are struggling with, I don’t know what burden you are carrying. But I want to encourage you to TRUST JESUS.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.
What do you need to trust him with today?
When you get done with being in a church experience or service do you ask yourself the question, “What did I get out of this?” Hope you think about something.
It is my hope that I can help you change your perspective about answering that question. To be honest we should be really asking the question but the idea should be more about “How is Jesus speaking to me and what am I going to do in response to what He is telling me?”
So I want to challenge you with some things that can prepare you to answer that question above:
- Choose to really get into the singing. That’s right really sing out! Don’t worry about what anyone is thinking about your singing if you are seeking to honor God with you singing it shouldn’t matter. You don’t care about it when you are at a concert do you? Well don’t care when you are in service either.
- Come ready to hear and share stories that you have experienced when it comes to be being a part of a church family. This is a chance for encouragement and for life change as you become a healthier follower of Jesus.
- Be hungry to grow in your relationship with Jesus. Because being hungry is your choice as to what you experience! So pray for the person that is speaking, ask God to use them to speak into your life, to those that are sitting around you, and that lives would be changed by the gospel.
- Come prepared to be involved. Make sure you have a bible (paper or digital) get your program ready and make sure you write out notes. The notes will help you through out the week when it comes to working out what Jesus is doing in you and through you. Who knows the Holy Spirit might really use it to nudge in you a specific direction.
- Come expecting to respond to what God is doing that day both during the experience and later as you walk through what you have learned. Be ready to take it back out into life.
- Come knowing that this is not where you are going to have a strong sense of community. Remember that comes through being in a more relational driven group. (Smaller)
- Come knowing that the experience is the beginning of the week and that the experience is not the end of be all to your spiritual health. Take the experience and use it to grow more personally. Spiritual growth happens in many other ways then just on Sunday.
What are some ways that you get ready for a service or experience when you are a part of a church community? Help us see other options that are out there.
One of the things that I have come to realize is that when it comes to being a generous person its not about what we do it is about who we are. For me I was raised in home where being generous to people around you was just who you were. It wasn’t something you had to think about, or guess about, you just did it. So when I got married I just started doing what I thought was the natural thing to do. Well my wife had grown up differently then me and it was a point of great conversation for us. (That’s called an argument.) So we both had to come to a mutual understanding of what we were going to do when it came to being generous. Which honestly was a really good thing for both of us to come to as a couple. I would really say it was a great chance for me to grow as a husband, father, and as person that works in the faith community. (church)
You see because of that difference between my wife and I it enabled me to see how and why people struggle when it comes to being generous in and with their faith community. For us at Elevation we talk a lot about being generous in fact we want to be known for our “Insane Generosity” to the community around us. But for a community of faith (church) to be generous that means the people of the church need to be generous with what they give to that church. If you are a part of a faith community then you will have heard this is about offerings and about tithing. (We are not going to argue Old Testament vs New Testament giving.) So we want people to see that for us to be generous as a church community then the people need to be a part of that through their generosity through their tithes and offerings.
But most people honestly struggle here because of the different ways that they were raised. Some were raised that all you had was yours and that you take care of your own. Some were raised without anything so you had to keep whatever you had to be able to make it. Others were raised where you were just generous enough to make sure you looked good. While as others were raised with the idea that helping someone in need is just what you did that you were generous.
So it is my hope that I can encourage people to live out a generous life. Whether it is by caring for your neighbor. (Hopefully you know who they are.) By providing some food for another student at your school. (Had one of my kids do this.) Or through the tithes and offerings you share with your community of faith. (My wife does this for us now.) Because as you begin to do this you will be amazed that the words of the New Testament begin to be lived out your life in an amazing way.
Acts 20:35b “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
How are you living out a life of insane generosity in your life? How are you being generous with your faith community so that they can be generous with the community around it?