Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

What Is Your Gift?

Friday, July 1st, 2016

“I don’t have anything to offer,” Beth told the group of women at a social gathering in my home.

I couldn’t believe what she said. She was an excellent cook and baker. She could turn ground chicken into a gourmet meal. I said nothing but waited to see what the other women would say.

“I don’t either,” Jennifer said. “I never went to college.”

She blushed and looked at the floor as she said that.

As if a college degree determined what one could offer. Jesus and his apostles changed the world without one.

Holly chimed in and said, “I’m too young. No one will listen to me.”

Look at what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Angie said, “At least you’re young and can look forward to making a contribution to society.” She paused, scanned the group, and said, “I’m too old. It’s too late for me.”

At age 66, Kay Coles James serves on the NASA Advisory Council and is the founder and president of the Gloucester Institute, a leadership-training center for young African Americans. At age 72, Joyce Meyer speaks, writes, and travels. In her early 80s, Kay Arthur does too.

Can you identify with Beth, Jennifer, Holly, or Angie? Have you said something similar? Perhaps you’ve given a different excuse. I call it an excuse because of what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:7: “Each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”

Add to the list 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

If those two verses aren’t enough, look at Romans 11:29: “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Get going. Use the gift you have.

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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Copyright by Yvonne Ortega, LPC, LSATP, CCDVC
All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

Are Assumptions Being Made?

Monday, June 27th, 2016

ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions people make about you, your story, and your experiences disclose a great deal.

They disclose a great deal about the person making the assumptions, and you may wish to pay attention to what that person is telling you about himself.

But those assumptions disclose nothing about you.

We spend far too much time and energy trying to meet or refute assumptions made by others. Wasted time, wasted energy.

Your identity, my identity, they’re based on what God sees through Jesus. A person worthy of love, worthy of a second chance.

A person worthy of Jesus and His sacrifice.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That’s the assumption God made about you, and me.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to stop listening to the assumptions made by others and start listening to those made by God.

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Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Jesus isn’t a weapon

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Today’s word-of-the-week:   WEAPON

Jesus isn’t a weapon.

He didn’t show up to give you and me the trump card in an argument. He didn’t give His life so I could make someone feel guilty for what I perceive as a lack of generosity. He didn’t offer His stories, or His life, as weapons to be deployed in a cultural war of words.

In case you haven’t noticed, the tactic of hitting people over the head with Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because only the Holy Spirit change a heart.

Violence, physical or emotional, in the name of peace is irrational.

I can be as sarcastic as anyone, and I’ll admit to having a bit of fun with some of the late-night comedy and the Facebook memes. I want to say it’s just a joke, but perhaps I’m really trying to look a bit superior. Maybe I’m only assigning myself to a slightly better class of sinner than those people.

I seem to recall something about getting the 2×4 out of my own eye before I correct another’s vision.

Jesus doesn’t want another culture war of words. He doesn’t want any war at all. Remember that “Prince of Peace” thing?

So I ask His forgiveness, and yours as well, if I’ve used Him as a weapon.

It’s Monday. Might be a good day to get on with the work in front of us.

Trusting in God – No Matter What

Friday, May 13th, 2016

“I delight to do Your will, O my God!” Psalm 40:8

Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life–by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err–and too loving to be unkind.

There is no higher aspect of faith, than that which brings the heart to patiently submit unto whatever God sends us, to meekly acquiesce unto His sovereign will, to say, “Shall I not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?” Faith when it reaches the pinnacle of attainment declares, “though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him!”

When we receive all that enters our lives as from God’s hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings–whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake–we shall be enabled to say, “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant place!” But that is the language of faith, not of sight or sense.

“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine!” Luke 22:42

“It is a genuine evidence of true godliness when, although plunged into the deepest afflictions, we yet humbly submit ourselves to God. It is the height of piety to be submissive to the sovereign will of God.” John Calvin

“It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, “this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it;” but “this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God.” Matthew Henry

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” Jeremy Burroughs

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Rejoicing… after being flogged

Friday, April 15th, 2016

REJOICING

The apostles were called in front of the Sanhedrin and ordered to stop proclaiming the gospel.

To reinforce the point, the men were flogged before they were released. Of course the apostles defied the rulers and continued to preach, but I’m stuck on this little verse.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. (Acts 5:41)

Rejoicing…after being flogged. I’m not sure I could do that. Could you?

It’s awfully easy to pray for persecuted Christians from the safety of American religious freedom. And it’s awfully easy, in the safety of American religious freedom, to label any perceived slight as persecution.

But how many of us would sign up to be flogged…and then rejoice?

Following Jesus isn’t always the safe, easy deal we make it out to be. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be flogged because of my faith. But this incident has me wondering. I hope I’d be courageous if I had to stand for my beliefs.

I’m not sure I’d rejoice.

Maybe it’s a good week to pray for those who face religious persecution…and to be grateful.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Are You Real Or A Poser?

Monday, April 11th, 2016

POSEREver hear the term “poser”?

Occasionally you’ll see someone with a $10,000 bike, outfitted head-to-toe in the latest gear, with almost no wear-and tear on their equipment and little desire to climb even the smallest hill. They look the part, but apparently the fancy getup is all for show. They want to fit in, look the part, without doing the work and making the sacrifice.

In Acts 5 members of the early church community generously sold possessions and donated the proceeds to those in need, not out of obligation but a spirit of love and concern. That’s important–this donating wasn’t required.

Ananias and Sapphira sold a field and made a donation. All good, except they lied. They kept part of the proceeds but told everyone, including God, they’d donated the entire amount. As punishment, they died.

It’s a tough story, but let’s not lose the lesson.

Don’t Be A Poser

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t have to donate anything. They didn’t even have to sell their field. But they wanted to impress, to appear more generous than they were.

God doesn’t want us to be posers. Jesus came to relieve us of the burden of trying to be someone we can’t be anyway. He told us we’re free.

God’s likely not going to strike us down for posing, but we pay in other ways. Hiding behind made-up identities, creating masks that allow us to fake it and pretend we’re someone we’re not, all that is a lot of work that keeps people away.

It goes both ways. If we really want others to be vulnerable and authentic, we need to stop judging, condemning, and categorizing. Every time we draw a line and decide that sin is unacceptable we encourage someone to become a poser.

That’s not biblical, and it’s not what God wants.

The notion of a poser-free community is a bit scary for most of us. It takes courage to truly encounter people where they are, free of expectations.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
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Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Comfort Isn’t a Solution

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

A thought-provoking quote brings us today’s word-of-the-week…

COMFORT

“Comfort isn’t a solution.”

Take a minute and think about that statement. It’s a truth that turns a lot of our instincts on their heads.

We all know not to simply put a band-aid on even a small infected wound. First you clean and perhaps apply disinfectant, even if it stings. Covering it might be more comfortable now, but you risk bigger problems later.

Comfort doesn’t solve the problem.

Confronting nearly any problem is a lot like that small wound. Confronting it almost always involves some discomfort. Ignoring, soothing, and avoiding simply prolong the issue and usually risk greater deferred pain.

This doesn’t mean we can’t show compassion. It’s possible to acknowledge and deal with pain with empathy and love. But “it’s going-to-be-okay” responses to difficult challenges don’t help anyone.

As I pondered this quote I thought about Jesus. He had the power to comfort the people He loved so deeply, but He didn’t. He asked them to confront the very difficult and painful circumstances of their lives with courage and integrity. He knew they would struggle, but He also knew where the path would lead. And He knew they wouldn’t be alone.

Slapping a band-aid on humanity’s problems wasn’t God’s plan. He sent Jesus to clean and disinfect our wounds, except He took on all the pain.

I’m learning to back away from my endless search for comfort. It’s not about seeking pain, it’s about not avoiding its lessons when it inevitably appears.

How can you show compassion without using comfort to avoid the issues you’ll face?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
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Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

Why Are We Standing Around?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

cloudsSometimes an event in the bible just makes me laugh.

In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus gives His friends some final instructions before He leaves in a remarkable manner.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)

I’m thinking, “Well, it’s not every day we see someone float into the clouds. What if He falls? Is something else going to happen?”

And here are these two white-robed guys telling me Stop staring into the sky. Show’s over. Time to get going.

That’s really a pretty good summary of the message, isn’t it?

Jesus will be back when God decides it’s time. Until then, we shouldn’t be staring at the sky, because He left us stuff to do.

Time to get going.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

When We Try To Be God

Friday, March 18th, 2016

graceYou and I would never try to take God’s place, right?

Except I’ve noticed I do it a lot, and I suspect I’m not alone. It’s not on purpose–I don’t have a throne in my back yard or anything like that.

It happened most recently when a friend got in some trouble and I wanted very much to fix him, heal him, and save him from his own bad choices. After wrestling with myself for a few days I realized I was stepping into a role for which I wasn’t designed.

Jesus asked us to love each other, and ourselves. He never said anything about saving or fixing.

That’s His job.

I’m realizing that love, without the saving or fixing part, makes it easier to hold myself, my loved ones, my relationships–in open hands. Love says I care sacrificially, but I trust God for the outcome.

A guy asked me in class last week how I learned to trust so much. I laughed, because mostly I’ve only learned to write and talk easily about trusting. I struggle to release the illusion of control that comes with playing God.

I’m trying to pry open those hands, and I hope you’ll join me. We can change the world, the people in it, and ourselves, if we stop trying to fix it or save it.

We can change the world with our love.

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog HERE
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Not a member of CIR yet? Join us Today!Dixon
Copyright by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

How Can I Finish on Time?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

At 4:27 am, I bounced out of bed. For some of you that might be normal, but I’m not a morning person. I had to be at a meeting almost an hour from home by 7:00 am.

The night before I had my clothes ready and everything at the door that needed to go with me. I had even washed and cut the fruits and vegetables for my morning drink.

At the meeting, I couldn’t believe how wide-awake, cheerful, and humorous the members of that club were. All the early birds must flock there.

After the meeting, I had to drive to the car dealer for a regular maintenance check for my car and the state safety inspection. While I waited, I completed a Bible lesson and worked on other projects.

From there, I picked up my mail, came home, ate lunch, and did paperwork. As I did, my mind was spinning with thoughts of the take-home final exam with a deadline of September 26, an upcoming radio interview, and a speaking engagement to name a few.

Would I finish on time? Could I finish on time? Fear and worry crept in. I called a friend to ask her a question and told her about my feelings about the take-home exam and my other deadlines.

She said, “Yvonne, you can do this. You’re anointed.”

As soon as she said that, God’s peace flowed through me, and I remembered a Bible verse in which God told me not to be fearful and promised to help me. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? Why had I needlessly fretted?

When you think of all you need to do, do you become fearful or dismayed?

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Dear God, I have so much to do today. Please help me. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to allow God to strengthen and help you?