Are You Afraid to Think Big?

I have been afraid to think big. I see this as a common ailment of the mediocre. We fear sacrifice. We fear the cost. We fear discomfort. We fear failure.

I am reading The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. Chapter 9 claims that the idea that "big is bad" is a lie.

This book is not from a biblical perspective, but (as usual) anyone who hits on something true hits on God's truth. The main idea is that our mindset (the bigness of our thoughts) determines our actions, which determine our outcome.

Everyone has the same amount of time, and hard work is simply hard work. As a result, what you do in the time you work determines what you achieve. And since what you do is determined by what you think, how big you think becomes the launching pad for how high you achieve.
— Gary Keller, The One Thing, 88.

Our limits are the ones we place on ourselves. Aside from the reality of my physical and mental limitations, this principle works in the natural word. But it is even more potent in light of God's promises!

God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all time,
you may abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:8

The connector to this mindset is faith. Do I believe that I really have access to the abundant grace of God that empowers me in all things at all times to succeed in what he wants me to do? If we believe this, we will BOLDLY OBEY ALL that God has said. And then there will be AMAZING results.

Don’t fear big. Fear mediocrity. Fear waste. Fear the lack of living to your fullest. . . . Don’t fear failure. . . . We fail our way to success. When we fail, we stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow.
— Gary Keller, The One Thing, 92-94

Five Ingredients for a Dynamic Time with God

Bible study and prayer. Most every believer knows they should do it, but . . .

Why is it so hard to stick to it? Why does it seem so dry and unproductive? What am I missing?

I would like to suggest to you five important ingredients for a powerful, intimate, life changing time with God.

  1. Faith - Do you believe this simple promise: "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8a). Or how about this one: "When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you" (Jer 29:13-14). When you meet God, are expecting him to show up? Faith is what pleases God; He responds to faith (Heb 11:6).
  2. Heart - The purpose of Bible study and prayer is not to check off our religious boxes. That is why I call it "time with God." I am spending time with someone who loves me. God is not interested in people who "draw near with their mouth . . . while their hearts are far from me" (Isa 29:13-14; see also Psalm 51:16-17).
  3. Submission - Many attempt to be a "Christian" without surrendering their lives to Christ. Many try to relate to God on their own terms, with their own agenda. If you are trying to relate to God, but you are still holding on to sin and refusing to give him every part of your life, then you cannot come to him. ALL of you for ALL of him. Those are his terms (James 4:6-10).
  4. Choice - A bumper sticker says, "If it feels good, do it." A concise summary of our cultural thinking. We are chained to our feelings. When something is hard and we "don't feel like it," then we don't do it. If we don't "feel" God's presence or "feel" like we had a good prayer time, we get discouraged. Faith is not a feeling, it is a choice. Choose to believe God exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6). Act on that faith; don't worry about your feelings.
  5. Steadfastness - How easily we are derailed! How quickly we are discouraged and give up. How often we settle for mediocrity. If I fail a thousand times in my attempt to meet God faithfully, I will not give up. I will never give up! (Heb 12:1-2)

Here is a teaching on spending time with God that includes a discussion of these five points.

Do You Believe in Invisible Things? [Podcast #21]

I asked college students in my Politics and Religion class at Appalachian State University, "What is faith?" They invariably answered, "Believing something that cannot be proven." They bought into the world's understanding of "blind faith." Do we have reasons to believe in things we cannot see? Or is it just irrational?

This podcast is part of a teaching on Hebrews 11 and offers a life-changing definition of faith. What does it mean to "live by faith and not by sight?" (2 Cor 5:7). Below you can view the prezi I used. Be sure and go into full screen mode to get the best view.

Quick to Believe

When the women reported that the angels had told them that Jesus was risen, “these words seemed tot hem an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (v. 11). “But Peter rose and ran to the tomb . . . and he went home marveling at what had happened” (v. 12). Peter believed; you can tell by how he responded. When walking on road to Emmaus with the two men, Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that he prophets have spoken” (v. 25). And he said to the disciples later, “Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (v. 38).

Father, grant me a believing heart. Let me not be slow of heart to believe and have doubts arise in my heart. But instead, when I hear the Word of the Lord, let me immediately get up and run to the truth and see and live it for myself.

"We don't believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true." - Dallas Willard

Getting Off Meth

Someone recently told a friend of mine a story of how God changed his life. He was addicted to meth. Several years into using it every day, he gave his life to Christ. But he continued to struggled with it for years. One night, while wrestling with God about it, he realized that had really just been playing around with the issue. He had never truly surrendered it to God. He believed with all his heart that God could free him. He said that in three minutes, with that simple choice of faith, he was free from something that some struggle with for months to be free from. What struck me deeply as I heard the story is that we all have issues of the flesh, lesser issues of addiction. Those things with which we struggle with for years and about which we pray for help from God. I have come to believe that those issues are not habits with which to wrestle with, they are habits to kill by surrender and faith. So I observed my own to identify where to begin. What weaknesses of my flesh do I flop around with, thinking I am fighting some kind of battle? When in fact, I am simply failing to surrender that area of my life to God in faith that he can empower me to live in obedience?