Posts Tagged ‘rights’

“My” vs. Service

Monday, September 28th, 2015

A personal discomfort leads to today’s word-of-the-week…

MY

MondayI’ve become sensitive to, and uncomfortable with, the ways I use the word “my.”

My rights. My freedom. My ministry. My team. My turf.

As a follower of Jesus, none of those are mine. Yet I often claim them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways as some sort of badge of honor.

Demanding my rights. Defending my freedom. Growing my ministry. Protecting my turf.

Seriously?

All the words about “service” and “holding in open hands” lose their meaning when I think in terms of ownership. Talking about it, while I cling tightly, makes me feel like those religious leaders in Jesus’ day. Blind guides. Whitewashed tombs.

It’s not my book, my story or blog or bike ride or whatever. I want to be aware, not in a false humility way but in a real way that lets others know I don’t believe I own this stuff. At some point our words betray what’s in our hearts.

Please don’t interpret this as judgement of anyone else–too many logs in my own eyes to worry about others’ specks. This is one guy sharing his weakness, hoping you might benefit.

Your thoughts?

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

“Rights” vs. “Right”

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

megaphone 2Pope Francis recently encouraged us to exercise our fundamental human right to free speech in ways that don’t intentionally offend other faiths.

For Americans, this suggestion challenges our closely-held belief that personal rights, enumerated in the Constitution (not the Bible), trump everything. People fought and died to defend those rights, and we’ll not surrender them to anyone under any circumstances.

Certainly we have the right to make even offensive statements, and I’d never want government to restrict those rights.

Francis, however, appeals to a higher authority.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

Simply possessing the right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
Jesus had every right to walk away from the cross and leave me to face the consequences of my sin. I’m grateful for His choice to forgo His rights in favor of love, sacrifice, and grace.

Perhaps He meant for us to follow His model.

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 You See A Bully In Action

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Last week I asked a tough question.

How we can oppose injustice while demonstrating unconditional grace and forgiveness? I even posed a specific situation and asked what you would do if you observed this event:

Suppose a guy in a wheelchair visited a public spot that, by its nature, was minimally accessible. And imagine that the guy and his companions were subjected to continual rude, insensitive comments from other patrons or staff members who objected to the perceived inconvenience caused by the presence of a wheelchair.

Here’s My Take

As the guy in the wheelchair, I’d roll away if possible. That’s not an endorsement of bullying behavior, it’s a personal choice to say I’m okay with who I am and I don’t want to risk escalating the situation.

As an observer, I’d intervene. Every time (I hope).

I might go to the person in the wheelchair (and his companions) and reassure them that the bullies are wrong. I might help them diffuse or get away from the situation.

I might locate a supervisor and seek help in dealing with the bullies.

I might talk directly to the bullies and ask them to stop their behavior. Ideally I’d have a discussion, bring them together with the person in the wheelchair, and facilitate understanding.

I might, as a last resort, call law enforcement.

I’d choose based on the apparent level of potential conflict and the perceived opportunity for discussion and reconciliation.

I would do my best not to be divisive or to shame anyone—including the bullies.

This is a difficult situation, but “difficult” isn’t an excuse for inaction. I hope I wouldn’t turn away from someone being bullied. I hope you wouldn’t, either.

A child who’s been bullied or abused becomes easy prey for a sex trafficker. Nobody else cares, so when a pimp says nice things and offers protection, she believes his lies.

An adult who’s been bullied or abused loses self-esteem. Why not give in to the perceived comfort of alcohol, drugs, pornography, or other addictive behaviors when no one believes in you?

We’re called to respond—always—with love and grace. But we’re also called to stand up for the oppressed.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

“Love and grace” must never be an excuse for failing to confront injustice courageously with wisdom and discernment.

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

What Would You Do?

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

What_Would_You_Do_logoQUESTION: How much grace?

ANSWER: Grace is boundless and unmerited.

QUESTION: Who do you forgive?

ANSWER: Everyone.

Yeah, I know it’s not that simple—except, it really is. Not easy, for sure, but those are the principles to which we’re called.

So now I have a real-world question for you to ponder.

How do we act out those principles in the face of injustice?

Injustice doesn’t have to be human trafficking or murder. Let’s boil it down to something we all encounter. How do we act out grace and forgiveness when we encounter someone being bullied?

When I was a kid, the standard advice was Punch a bully in the nose. Now we hear Stand Your Ground.

What Would You Do?

The following situation isn’t truly hypothetical. It’s a sanitized compilation of some actual situations I’ve faced.

Suppose a guy in a wheelchair visited a public spot that, by its nature, was minimally accessible. And imagine that the guy and his companions were subjected to continual rude, insensitive comments from other patrons or staff members who objected to the perceived inconvenience caused by the presence of a wheelchair.

As a companion, What Would You Do?

As an observer, What Would You Do?

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 Is The Right Time?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

John 7:8: “You go to the Feast. I [Jesus] am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.”

I don’t like to wait. Can you relate to that? When I set my heart on a goal, I want it to happen as soon as possible. What about you?

Recently I heard about a conference for speakers that had an early bird price of $197 with a 20% discount for members. The price would go up each month and would reach a total of $777 at the door. When I first heard about the conference, I wanted to register right away.

Every time I went to the website to register, I sensed God tell me to wait. Perhaps the right time had not yet come. I waited and waited. The last day of the $197 price came. Again I went to the website to register. Again I sensed God was telling me to wait.

Later that day, I received an email from a friend. She told me about an opportunity that was made for me. I sensed God’s peace and approval. God showed me why he wanted me to wait for the right time. His plan was better.

Do you have your heart set on something you want? Do you sense God telling you to wait?

Dear God, you know my goals and dreams. Amen.

Application: What will you do this week to wait for the right time?

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!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 Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer.
If you would like to have her speak for your organization or church, please contact her through
her website: http://YvonneOrtega.com

What If You Did It Anyway?

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Ever wonder what might happen if you didn’t wait for someone with authority to tell you it’s okay?

Seems like a lot of folks say, “I’d like to do something like that, but _____ won’t approve it.” Fill in the blank with my church, my boss, my family, whatever.

It’s a convenient excuse for failure, if you accept it. Or you can go ahead and do it, if you really believe it’s what God’s called you to do. You’ll likely stir things up a bit, cause some commotion, make the bureaucrats uncomfortable.

If you’ve thought it through, folks usually won’t stop you. In fact, I think there are a bunch of folks waiting to follow the guy who’s crazy enough to make a move.

I think following Jesus is sort of like that. We’ve turned it into this make-believe, predictable, buttoned-up, neatly organized suburban neighborhood where everybody’s supposed to color inside the lines.

Except the One we claim to follow pretty much broke all the rules. He didn’t see much need to ask permission from the religious leaders before doing His Father’s work.

Jesus made a bit of a mess in the neat world the religious rulers created for themselves.

What do you think things would look like if we followed His example?

CIR Members can share their thoughts regarding this blog here
Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article ! 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

Can Our Rights Be Wrong?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

bill of rights“I have the right to ______.”

You fill in the blank—the possibilities are nearly endless. We’re all about defending and demanding our rights.

A few days ago I read an article about human trafficking in which the author cited compelling data linking prostitution, pornography, and the meteoric increase in internet trafficking of minors. In a comment, one guy angrily defended his constitutional right to view pornography, affirmed by THE SUPREME COURT! (his caps.) He went on to express his anger at “self-righteous Christians” trying to take away his right to do whatever he wanted in his private life.

Personally, I’ve no interest in limiting anyone’s rights. Passing a law might make us feel better, but it’s actually an extremely ineffective way to change “moral” behavior. Want examples?

  • Prostitution is illegal in every state. Does anyone believe those laws stop paid sexual activity or its horrible side effects
  • Slavery and human trafficking are illegal in every country. Nearly 30 million people live in modern-day slavery, and human trafficking is the second largest worldwide organized crime activity (behind drugs).
  • Illegal street drugs proliferate in every community despite massive law enforcement campaigns and billions of dollars wasted on a virtual revolving door of incarceration involving a huge portion of our population.

Jesus refused to deploy power or fear to control behavior. Paul frequently deferred his rights as a Roman citizen, accepting illegal beatings and imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. He wasn’t interested in his rights, but in God’s notion of what’s right.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christand be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)

Just wondering how different things would look if every follower of Jesus surrendered our “right” to judge those who disagree. What if we gave up our right to fight back, to shout for our political beliefs, to edit the truth to fit our version of reality?

What if knowing Jesus mattered more than getting our way? What if loving our enemies was really more important than winning? Would things look any different?

Do you think we could change the world if justice—setting things right, from God’s perspective—was more important to us than our rights?

Jesus gave His life for that principle.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

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 2008-2013 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

Whose Plan are You Following?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

,I think sometimes we forget that only the Potter knows how to fashion us to suit His purposes. We think we know our purposes here on this earth, and what we need to fulfill them. But the Lord says in Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you” (emphasis on the “I”) (Jer 29:11).

Or maybe we get some great ideas and plans, run off to implement them, and then ask God to bless them. But Corinthians says that the thoughts of the wise are futile (1 Cor 3:20).

Or perhaps God has revealed some of His plans for us, and we think we know how to bring them to fruition. But He says in Isaiah His ways are higher than our ways (Isa 55:9).

I think that we rarely know what God is up to. Only He knows the intimate details of the plans, the step by step journey that He has planned for us. Only He knows the upcoming battles we will face. Only He knows the current state of our heart, and His desired state of our heart. Only He knows what equipping will be required.

He loves us so much, He is so fiercely protective of us, He will not send us into battle unprepared. The battle is the Lord’s, and His plan is victory. Our equipping is critical if we want to partner with Him in victory.

Does it frustrate you, or bring you comfort, that God is the only omniscient One who knows how to shape us to fit the plan?

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!

~ * ~

Celeste Li, M. D. is the author of
Triumph Over Suffering: A Spiritual Guide To Conquering Adversity
She is active member of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens Florida.
Celeste teaches a course in Triumph Over Suffering and serves in Christ Fellowship’s Ministry for the Suffering.

“Follow me.” — “Okay, where are we going?”

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

“Follow me.”

That’s the invitation. And it’s natural to ask, “Okay, where are we going?”

I think I’ve decided it’s the wrong question.

When Jesus called His disciples, He didn’t talk about where they’d go or what they’d do. He simply invited them to travel with Him.

I think it’s not about destination or activity or what we accomplish. I think it might be more about making sure we travel with Jesus and get to know Him.

I tend to get in trouble when I decide a particular result is “God’s plan.” Once I make that determination, I have to make it happen, no matter what, because it’s God’s plan. And obviously Jesus is going to help me–why wouldn’t He? It’s what God wants.

You see the problem, right? Suddenly it’s not clear who’s following whom. Maybe I’m expecting Jesus to serve me, support my agenda, and carry my stuff because I’m doing God’s work!

Perhaps a better way is deciding to travel with Jesus and listen a lot, no matter what. I’ll do what I’m good at and use my gifts to serve others, but I’ll trust Him for the results.

It comes down to one of my favorite questions: Do I really believe what I believe?

Do I really trust God? Is knowing Jesus really my highest priority? Am I truly willing to surrender the illusion of control? Do I seek His kingdom, or do I seek my rights, my political agenda, my version of God’s will?

This might be a good week to accept Jesus’ invitation to travel together and get to know Him.

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 2008-2013 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

Who’s In The Looking Glass?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

How would you live a life that “magnifies the Lord?”

Our small group looked this week at the passage known as “The Magnificat,” or Mary’s song of praise. In Luke 1:46 (ESV) she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

One of the discussion questions asked how you’d go about living a life that “magnifies the Lord?” One guy offered a pretty good visual.

He talked about a magnifying glass, and how if you turn it one way it focuses on you but if you turn it around the focus shifts away. We thought that was good but then realized you can’t really focus on God, or at least it’s really hard, because you can’t see Him. But you can turn the magnifying glass on other people. We reached this conclusion.

We make life about Jesus when we shift the focus to others and their needs rather than ourselves.

The study took us to this passage in Philippians:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:2-4)

I’ve read those words many times. I’m fairly sure I understand their meaning. But, you see, there’s a problem.

I’m entitled. I’m an American. I have rights. The Constitution says so. Advertising says so. The legal system says so. My hard work and the stuff I’ve accumulated say so.

And along comes Jesus saying I have no rights at all, that none of it belongs to me and it’s all a gift. Is He really claiming I’m supposed to value His principles above those set forth in the Declaration Of Independence, inalienable rights with which I was endowed by my creator?

I think He’s saying exactly that. I think He saying I’m entitled to nothing, that He cares about what’s right, not my rights. I think He’s saying I’m supposed to care about people, not flags and documents and winning.

The problem is, I like my moderately entitled life. I like the relative safety and comfort with which I’m blessed. I’m grateful, and I don’t pretend to deserve any of it, but I also don’t want to lose it. I don’t mind looking first to the interests of others, as long as I get to park my car in the garage every night.

So I nibble away at the edges, a corner here and there, perhaps a bit less selfish than before, trying to turn the magnifying glass a little more toward others. But “not looking to my own interests”?

Hardly.

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 2008-2013 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