Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Uncommon Commitment

Are you ready for a moment of truth? I thought you might be so here’s one for you.

There are people who have big dreams and people who do big things. I know which one we all want to be but the real question is which one are you? I have observed three kinds of people in this world, those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what just happened. The people who make up that second category are in that category for one very important reason. They all possess UNCOMMON COMMITMENT.

You see, uncommon commitment produces uncommon results. They seem to have acquired an incredible passion for completing their mission and that passion propels them through all sorts of obstacles.

Let me break this uncommon commitment down in three simple ways. People who do big things possess these characteristics:

1.-COMPELLING PURPOSE- They have developed a deep attraction to their destination. They are compelled by the cause. In the Bible there is this picture of a young freckled face boy who went to go bring supplies to his brothers who are on the frontlines of a military engagement. They are being challenged by a literal monster of a man named Goliath. As he rants and raves insults against Israel and the God they serve. The picture is of this young man running up and down the lines of reluctant and fearful soldiers screaming to the top of his lungs, “IS THERE NOT A CAUSE!?” David was driven by something bigger than his own safety and security. He knew and understood that some things in life are worth the risk and that while staying in camp was safe for him it certainly wasn’t safe for the cause. My question is do you have a cause that compels you? Is there something that makes you get out of the boat and take a risk? The paradox is this, whenever you find something worth dying for you have found something worth living for.

2.-CLEAR PERSPECTIVE- People who make things happen don’t let fear cloud their view of the future. They just know anything worth doing will be latent with obstacles and obstructions and difficulty so when it comes they are never shocked or surprised. They have learned to take it all in stride and simply keep pressing. Perception is everything, if you think you can’t… your right. But if you think you can… you are right again. The key is keeping a clear perspective.

3.-COURAGEOUS PERSISTENCE- Never give up. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit. I love the message version of Galatians 6:9 it says, “Don’t ever get fatigued in doing what is good, when the time is right we will harvest a full crop if we never give up or quit.” B.C. Forbes once commented on the way people looked on and admired others who do great things as though somehow they are simply more favored than other people. I think he summed it up well when he said, “ Big shots are just little shots who simply kept shooting.”

Until next week, dig deep and keep shooting.

All for Christ,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Vote

In just twenty-one days America will have elected a new leader to embrace our dreams and accept the challenge of our struggling times. It is indeed an incredibly pivotal moment. In spite of what is wrong in the systems and structure of our nation there is no doubt that in all of the world she is still the greatest. The democratic process is a testament to this truth and while the floundering economy seems to have all of our attention and the headlines of nearly every paper, we must be careful not to be distracted and sidetracked but remain focused on ALL of the issues that our new leader will be responsible for. The responsibilities are incredibly vast and complex and while one aspect of our nation is at the forefront it won’t be forever and then it will be something else. The only reason I bring it up is because I have had multiple conversations with people who expressed that the sole motivating factor for their vote was the economy. While it’s importance is obvious, there is a lot more to be considered when making a decision as important as selecting our next President. Many a man has fallen in love with a dimple and then married the whole girl. Now in no way am I trying to influence your vote one way or the other but what I do hope to do is simply give you three ways to approach the upcoming election…..

1.- PRAY FOR WISDOM- If there was ever a moment to be led by his spirit, this is it. Wisdom is simply the ability to see a situation from God’s divine perspective. He understands clearly things we sometimes struggle to comprehend and the Bible says that if we ask him for wisdom He will gladly give it to us. Many people don’t really see the act of casting a vote as a spiritual move but when you stop to really think through the consequences of what a Presidential election means it is an incredibly spiritual moment. So whatever you do pray first.

2.- PREPARE YOUR MIND- Please listen closely, a person’s judgment is no better than their information. We must arm ourselves with information about the character, voting records and values of every candidate. The internet is a free flowing, nonstop highway of info that is full of valuable insight into the past performance and present positions of those running for office. Find out the facts and know why you believe the way you do. Make up your own mind based on the stats that you have seen for yourself not just what others speculate about each one.

3.-PERFORM YOUR DUTY- Go to the polls and do it. I had a conversation with the supervisor of elections in Lake City about 3 weeks ago who just happens to be my neighbor and was absolutely blown away by the statistics of those who actually go to the polls and vote or should I say don’t vote. Sons, daughters, mothers and fathers have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect and insure that you and I could get up on November 4 and have a voice in who and how we are governed. Don’t ever think voting is merely an accessory to your citizenship like alloy wheels on a car, it is our duty, indeed our obligation. Some think their vote won’t matter, if that’s you consider this, in 1776 one vote gave America the English language instead of German, in 1845 one vote brought the state of Texas into our union, and in 1876 one vote gave Rutherford D.Hayes the Presidency of the United States and it could just happen again……with one vote…..maybe YOUR VOTE. I thank God I was born in America and I am thankful and honored by the opportunity to cast a voice for me and my children on November 4.

I sincerely pray you will join me.

All for Christ, J.Mark

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not Perfect

Let me share a true story with you about a man and his family and see what you think. He is a wealthy and highly influential individual who loses his emotional stability and in the process, his integrity. He ends up having an affair with another man’s wife who is away on important business and this encounter leads to an unfortunate and unwanted pregnancy. His stepson rapes his half sister and because of his inaction and indifference to address the situation, the real brother of the raped girl ends up murdering the stepson in an act of vengeance for his sister. The father, in order to cover up his own adulterous affair tries a host of tactics to divert the truth from being known but when all plans fail and all other options have been exhausted, he feels left with no other choice but to have him murdered. The murder is carried out and when the illegitimate child is born it also dies just days later.

I know that’s some heavy stuff and almost to horrific and twisted to believe, but it happened. A family and a man like this would be a prime candidate for a 20/20 exclusive or at least the Springer show but instead of being the headline of a national newspaper or the subject of a primetime investigative show, you find him in a different place, A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE. THE BIBLE. This true story is an excerpt from the life of a man named David, King David. I know normally when we hear stories about David they involve names like Goliath or the Philistines and they often involve lions and bears and great feats of courage and heroism. But ladies and gentleman, that’s only part of his story.

The reason I felt led to share all of this with you is to illustrate one of the most powerful and noteworthy points the Bible goes out of its way to make, THAT GOD DOESN’T USE PERFECT PEOPLE. He just uses people. People with problems and hang ups and flaws, people with issues and histories and people with scars. Let me share a few reasons God doesn’t use perfect people…..

1. THERE ARE NONE TO CHOOSE FROM- From the Dali-Lama to the Pope to whoever your favorite preacher may be, I promise you they fight their own battles and deal with their own demons. We are all broken but he is putting us back together again. I am reminded of a story about a Pastor who was preaching and in the middle of his sermon asked the rhetorical question “has anyone ever met a perfect man?” The Pastor was shocked when a small somewhat elderly man sheepishly stood up in the back. “Sir”, he said, “you mean you have met a perfect man?” “No sir, I never met him but I do know of one.” “Well who was he?” the preacher asked. “He was my wife’s first husband, apparently he was a perfect man!”

2. GOD GETS ALL THE CREDIT- The Bible says that God doesn’t choose many that are mighty or strong but instead chooses the weak and the overlooked to do his work. Don’t miss the key word, CHOOSES. Why wouldn’t God choose the best of the best after all isn’t that how we select our teams? God is not impressed by talent or skill or great ability, He has always looked for the broken, the castaway and the bruised and here’s why, God has the ability to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through their lives so that He alone can receive the honor. God has never selected superstars he simply searches for servants and no matter the limitations they may possess his grace is sufficient.

3. IT IS AN INSPIRATION TO OTHER BROKEN PEOPLE- I’m so glad when God recorded the lives of men and women in the Bible He didn’t just paint a picture of the pretty parts but what He shows is the true image, warts and all. It gives me hope that no matter what my struggles God is still working in and through my life. One of the greatest lies the enemy has ever told humanity is that they were too flawed and broken for God to use. The truth is the more broken you are the more God can and will use your life but you don’t have to take my word for it, JUST ASK KING DAVID.

See you next week.

All for Christ, J.Mark