How to Change the World

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I want to make a challenge. It may seem negative at first, but hear me out…

I want to challenge us all to stop telling people to try to change the world.

We often tell others that they have the potential to change the world. I’ve been told this for a few years now, and the thought of actually taking a swing at transforming this place we call home is an overwhelming task that is quite intimidating to think about. It’s something we like to challenge others to do, but if asked how we would do it, I doubt many of us would be able to give a confident answer. This needs to change.

My challenge is actually the same as what you’ve heard—to inspire others to change the world, but I believe the way in which we do this needs to change.

So, how do we change the world?

I believe that if we teach people how to change their own lives, they will then better understand how to aid others in doing the same. With this new knowledge, they can then help to transform their families, their neighborhoods, and even entire communities! From that point, the possibilities are honestly endless, which includes changing the world!!!

A CEO of a Fortune 500 business most likely attributes his current position to his gradual climb to lemonade-stand-600x420the top. His climb may have begun at the age of 7, selling lemonade on the side of the road, and the business model he discovered with his lemonade stand could’ve been applicable to other business as well. This led him to better understand marketing, production, and sales, the three major components to most businesses today. BUT it all started with the lemonade stand.

If you can perfect a small model, you can perfect a large one. Or in other words, if you can change yourself, you can change the world.

I know the thought of changing the world can be overwhelming, so take the time to learn how to perfect that small model, and once it is complete, scale it. Make it bigger and bigger. Then take the steps, lessons, and skills you learned, and apply them to an even bigger scale, until eventually that scale is big enough to encompass the world.  plan

Just to put things into perspective…

The world is made up of nations, and nations of districts, and districts of cities, and cities of communities, and communities of neighborhoods, and neighborhoods of families, and families of individual people. Don’t view the world as anything more than it really is. This world…what it truly is, is people. By changing one person, you are changing the world!

So please, challenge people to change the world. But please, please don’t challenge them to change the world without first teaching them to change themselves.

You are a person. This world is made up of many persons. Change one person, you can change them all. Change yourself, you can change the world. Believe that.

“If you want to change the world, you must change your world first.” – Josh Robinson

The next time someone challenges you to change the world you should be able to say, “I already have.”Antique_Compass

 How to change yourself 

Christ is the head of the church. He will never change. His love is unshakable and He is perfect. The body (the church) does change. In fact, we should always be changing, because we are imperfect, and anything imperfect needs to change!

 So, when I talk about a business model and I use the word “perfect”, I mean it very loosely, as Jesus is the only perfect One. But my point still stands that once the model is “perfected” it can be implemented in any situation, just as Christ can be in any culture, society, family, neighborhood, and any individual’s life to change them for good.

So, ultimately, the only One we should be changing into the likeness of is someone who is perfect and unchanging, and that person is Jesus Christ. And the only One we should be trying to help others become more like is someone who never changes nor needs to change, and that person is Jesus Christ!

And let me also say this…

You cannot change yourself into looking like Christ. Only Christ can do that. All you can do is submit to Him and let Him take care of the rest.

One more thing…

 The video below shows us just how important it is that we commit ourselves to looking more like Christ and to help others do the same, and how we truly can change the world, one person at a time!

Every Single Piece

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Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10, 11 ESV)

So often, we pick and choose which pieces of armor to wear. When we do this, we set ourselves up for a quick defeat. The enemy can easily see the weaknesses in our armor, especially if entire items have gone missing! It is important to not just have faith as your shield, but to also have righteousness to back it up. Don’t just have the helmet of salvation, but also have the belt of truth. The sword of the Spirit is certainly important, but never neglect the shoes with the readiness of the gospel of peace.

By strengthening our individual armor, we strengthen our entire army. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and an army is only as strong as its weakest soldier. The success of the church is dependent on our attentiveness to strengthening our individual armor.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:12-17 ESV)

How do we do this though? How do we use this armor of God?

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:18 ESV)

I love how Paul explains that using our armor entails us praying at all times in the Spirit! Just think…if all of us literally prayed without ceasing, how much more intentional and effective would our lives be? How much greater of an impact would we make in our homes and in our neighborhoods if we remained in constant communion with the only One who truly understands all that’s going on–Jesus Christ?

What a way to use this armor, this sword. What a way to conquer the enemy! The last thing the devil wants you to do is pray, because he knows that this is how you defeat him. He knows that if you communicate with God, he doesn’t stand a chance! If he can keep us from praying, he can keep us from feeling victorious.

Every day is a battle. Win it. Pray.

“Bitter or Better”

This video is an audio file of my first prepared sermon, which I preached on the importance of forgiveness. It’s a little bit difficult to understand, as the video was recorded with an iPhone in an ‘echoey’ gymnasium.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope it brings you freedom!

Some key points I hit on are:

  1. What bitterness is
  2. How to know if you are bitter
  3. Why we should forgive
  4. How we forgive

Key Verses:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26, 27 ESV)
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14, 15 ESV)
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned;  forgive, and you will be forgiven; (Luke 6:37 ESV)
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 ESV)
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (Ephesians 4:26 ESV)
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31 ESV)
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14, 15 ESV)
And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22, 23 NIV)
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 ESV)
 
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21 ESV)
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25 ESV)
(Matthew 18:21-35) Parable of man being forgiven his debt 
 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:8-13 ESV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:13-15 ESV)
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:37, 38 ESV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:9, 10 ESV)
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3 ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:9, 10 ESV)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:18-21 ESV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV)
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (Hebrews 12:15 ESV)
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21, 22 ESV)
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21 ESV)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV)

More Than Fleeing

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There’s so much more to life than trying to not mess up.

Sometimes we think we are being like Christ by not giving into temptation. While this is definitely a large part of living like Christ, it is certainly not the entirety of a Christ-like lifestyle. Living like Christ requires a deeper sense of passionate dedication, sacrifice, surrender, and obedience in order to do what we have been called to do. And that thing we have been called to do is to live like Christ.

Jesus did not come to this earth only to be tempted by the Devil in the desert, but to also sacrifice His life for us on the cross, and to ultimately honor His Heavenly Father.

While we convince ourselves that we are being good Christ followers when we overcome temptation, we are yet missing a large bulk of the true meaning of following Jesus. Much more is required of us by God than just surrendering our desire for evil. He wants it all, every single desire and action.

So many Christians preach a message that says that the only thing necessary to be a “good Christian” is to flee from temptation. Jesus shows us over and over again that this is not true. Look at his life. It was radical! He didn’t just hide himself from the world and focus on not sinning, but instead got out there and loved on everybody.

Jesus lived with the “least of these”. He walked with them, talked with them, ate with them, slept next to them. He not only was perfect and was absent of any form of sin, but He was also full of righteous, holiness, and glory! In my opinion, purity is the lack of evil, or being clean, but righteousness is being filled with what is right (righteousness = right in us). Jesus was not only pure, but also righteous!

What if Christians began to see that faith in God is not only about pushing away from evil things, but also about grabbing hold of godly things!

Let’s get out there, cause a ruckus, maybe do what Jesus tells us to do…feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. Why is obeying Jesus so radical in this day and age? I believe it is because we have focused so much on what NOT TO DO, instead of what TO DO.  We have become so focused on our fear of sin that it has stifled us of truly walking with Jesus, when in all reality, if we would just focus on what we should be doing, our desires to do evil things will fall away.

If I am always focusing on what I shouldn’t be doing, how will I ever have time to do what I should be doing?

The only thing a fear of sin will do is cripple you. Sin is bad, yes, but never fear it. Why do we think we should fear sin? We have learned to fear anything bad and to mock what is good. Man, we are messed up.

I have noticed that as I begin to pursue God with all of my being, there tends to be little room left for any other pursuit. Let us begin to loosen the reigns that fear has on our lives by beginning to take a step of faith. Let us begin to focus on what TO DO, instead of always focusing on what NOT TO DO.

I am a beneficiary of the radical life, brutal murder, and glorious rising of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.