Stewardship Daily | Overcoming the World

Overcoming the World. "And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." -1 John 4:3-4 ESV

“And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
-1 John 4:3-4 ESV

Scripture never suggests that anyone can defeat the Evil One on their own. He is indeed greater than any mere mortal. But the will of God in the life of the believer is much greater than the power of the Evil One. It is by the power of God, and God alone, that we overcome.

Satan commands unfathomable dark power. He bends rulers and armies to his will. He stirs up confusion, misery, and death wherever he goes. His mission is to usurp God off of His throne and destroy anything in which God delights. And yet, Satan is not all-knowing or all-powerful.

Overcoming the World Takes a Greater Will

By ourselves, we cannot defeat Satan. He is able to overcome any human will. Even the Christian’s.

Perish the thought?

Scripture is chocked full of warnings for believers who would step out of God’s will. Yes, believers.

This thought is stinging, but true. We are all easily tempted and led astray. Our apprehensions of truth apart from the fortifications of Scripture and submission to the Holy Spirit do not long last against the temptations and schemes of the Evil One.

Overcoming the world only happens one way: abiding in the will of God. Satan is certainly strong, but the will of God is greater than the will of Satan. As John teaches us, overcoming the world is a natural outflow of the Spirit who is in us. When our thoughts, actions, and attitudes move in concert with the will of the Holy Spirit, then we have the victory.

 

Christmas Bells by H.W. Longfellow | Hope

Longfellow's Christmas Bells "Then rang the bells..."

Christmas Bells

I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
[Read more…]

A New Normal

Paris. Beirut. Until now, I have chosen to remain absent from this conversation. What can I add? Almost every response I can think of rings hollow. So, I keep praying. I keep trying to say the right thing. The measured response. The response of love, not hate. All the while I have to acknowledge to myself that this present chaos is what I’ve come to expect as normal.

I grew up under the specter of terrorist attacks. When I was a child, the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time. Then there was Oklahoma City. Then West Paducah. Then Columbine. Then Jonesboro. Then the USS Cole. 9/11. Anthrax. London. Madrid. Paris. Beirut. Just to name a few.u-turn

A New Normal

Reflecting on this attack has made me realize – again – just how much of my life I’ve spent wondering when the next attack or copycat would pop up, or worse, if I was going to get caught up in the middle of it. And the irritating part of it isn’t so much that I’m afraid, but that I’ve accepted this. I’ve come to expect bickering politicians, asinine foreign policies, fractured public responses, and a lack of any real action as normal.

And between you and me, I’ve realized just how tired and angry that I am that this is normal.

But giving all of this a name, that’s good. I can work with that. Change it. Respond to it. Reject it. This is many things, but I’m done calling it “normal.”

 

 

Updates for October

Long time, no see. So, we’ve been busy. Who isn’t, though? So far, it’s been a great fall. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Mrs. Jones and I have started working with Mercy Clinic Fort Worth to provide communications services. You should go check it out (after you’re done reading this post, of course).
  • Miss E was the cutest Halloween strawberry:
    halloween strawberry
  • The MBA is coming along nicely. It’s just the academic challenge I’ve been itching for. Each class is a window into a world of insights that I honestly didn’t know anything about or just refused to see. Such as:
    • In Economics (the market kind, not the Marxist kind), did you know that competition isn’t between sellers and buyers, but amongst sellers or buyers. I didn’t. Probably through a combination of bad information and English professors, I had just come to a meandering conclusion that to sell anyone anything meant accepting a certain level of being ripped-off, as if the whole world were populated by unethical used car salesmen (what can I say? I went to a state college with a strong populist bent). I was wrong. Capitalism may be about competing for market surplus, but it can’t survive if everyone is cheating each other.
      People who cheat won’t survive in the long run… which sounds an awful lot like Proverbs 10:2: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”
    • The four functions of management are: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling (monitoring). Note this does not say: “ordering people around.” I’ve got a whole other post coming up about this.
      Bill Lumbergh

      Bill Lumbergh… the classic middle management caricature.

      So, yeah… not coming in on Sunday.

    • Any group of humans who manage to stick together long enough to accomplish something have a system of rules – some explicit, some implicit – which govern behavior. It’s the implicit rules, or culture, that usually trip up newcomers. I’m not sure why I’ve refused to acknowledge this reality — I’ve always seen it, but refused to accept it. I’m not sure why I expected ministry to be different — people are people, even the saints.
    • Good strategy comes from the top. Good feedback comes from the bottom (and the top). When this cycle is disrupted, there will be problems. Guaranteed. How is this cycle disrupted? A combination of bad internal communication and misunderstood culture (see the point above). When I think about the dysfunctional organizations I’ve been a part of, this stands out big in my mind.
    • Black Friday isn’t a bargain. Most people know this. It’s not about the bargains; Americans like the thrill of the hunt and competing with one another (see my first point above).
    • A good attitude is vital to your survival. When I say good, I mean healthy not unrealistically optimistic. Some days are going to be fantastic and others will be rotten. A good attitude is a mindset of responding in a correct and mature fashion.  There is nowhere you or I can go that will ultimately reward us for having a bad attitude. The struggle is real, but struggle we must.
    • Showing up (aka. doing what you say you will do when you said you will do it) is definitely more important than being the smartest person in the room. Again, the struggle is real. If you struggle too, do what I do — tell yourself a new story: “I am a person who shows up.” Then do it. When you struggle, don’t change your narrative — admit your limitations, and just keep swimming.

Business school has been great for me. Modern management shares many commonalities with stewardship. Every class I learn something and think to myself: “Wow. I can’t believe I want to serve the Church, and I didn’t know that!” This is definitely Phase II of equipping myself so that I can equip others.

Until next week (yes, showing up is part of my narrative now)!

Oh, and don’t forget! Check it out: mercy-clinic.org

Bowtie Selfies and 5 Lessons on Consistency

I know this sounds silly, but I did it anyways. I was challenged to post a daily picture of a bowtie selfie until I ran out.. just to see how many I had. So, I thought, what the heck? Why not. Normally, I am not a selfie person — I wasn’t expecting to learn anything from a bunch of bowtie selfie pics, but I have this habit of noticing trends, and wouldn’t you know it, I learned something.

The Challenge: A Bowtie Selfie A Day

bowtie selfie 1 bowtie selfie 2 bowtie selfie 3 bowtie selfie 4 bowtie selfie 5 bowtie selfie 6 bowtie selfie 7 bowtie selfie 8

First of all, I didn’t use every bowtie I own. I picked the eight best over two weeks (we have casual Friday at work).

The Lessons

  1. When you commit to something, people expect you to show up. Promises have tiny grace periods. People expect you to do what you say.
  2. Consistency is nourished on accountability. If I was even five minutes late posting my picture, I started getting messages.
  3. Consistency leads to recognition. The act of showing up every day at the same time with a new photo caused a modest increase in people interacting with me on social media.
  4. Consistent is better than perfect. That being said, if we wait for “flawless,” we’ll never be reliable. Doing something well doesn’t have to be the same as creating a masterpiece. Note: none of those photos come close to perfect.
  5. Consistency will translate into faithfulness. The choices and actions that we repeat over and over are the foundation of our character.

Conclusion

Good old fashioned playfulness can lead to surprising insights. Have you learned anything lately through play?