The Chicken or the Egg

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 HCSB
This verse kind of reminds me of the old “which came first, the chicken or the egg.”
In my own opinion, it doesn’t make much matter how God did what He did, the point is He did it…
But here, in Phillippians, we read of how He is working IN US, to both DESIRE and to WORK OUT His good purpose…
So we live there, in the constant and ever complex reality of what we WANT from God vs. our ability to WORK OUT how to get there. Can you relate?  It’s a challenge for sure to be honest with ourselves when it comes to the DESIRE portion hey?
For Example –
Desires:
  • Ability to evangelize well to others
  • Need to be a great husband & dad
  • Longing for effective role in my community & church
  • Need for excellent financial stewardship & generosity
Work Out:
  • Read God’s Word daily and pray for boldness with truth based knowlegde
  • Commit to knowing schedules, loving words, and acts of service that will benefit the family before myself
  • Sign up & Participate in groups and service roles to be placed closer to the fire of ministires
  • Put aside personal wants and items or things that will rob my ability to bless others and provide for real needs…

Using a small outline like this can show us some ways to compare the DESIRE sides of our faith in comparison to the WORK OUT side.

Plug your own items in here and as you read them back aloud to yourself ask these questions:

Do MY DESIRES equate to God’s Glory in real ways?

Do MY DESIRES move me to serving others or do they gravitate towards my own benefit?

 

It’s really apparent to me that the WORK OUT portion of my list is MUCH harder to follow up on than the actual desires… Perhaps that is why the Lord says HE will enable us to do BOTH ….   Giving us HIS DESIRES and pushing us to work them out for HIS GOOD PURPOSE.

So which came first ? the desire or the work out?

Wherever you find your answer this morning, keep in mind, the end goal is the eternal joy and life or living with our HOLY GOD. He will bring you to that goal but you have to put in the work out.

 

His Story

Revelation 12:11 [Full Chapter]

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
For years I have struggled with telling my story to others. This sharing of my life and what has taken place is no longer difficult, but I can clearly remember the years of hesitation, shame, and embarrassment that accompanied the share every time it happened.
Last Wednesday, I met a new friend, Mike. Mike and I both has kids attending youth group on Wednesday and we also both serve during the event in our own specific ways. A mutual friend had suggested we meet each other as they thought our stories were similar. After 10 or 15 minutes of speaking with Mike, it was just as our friend explained, so many similar struggles and wins it seemed surreal.
As I listened to Mike share his story with me, the story turned to his reveal of an incredibly terrifying event that took place. I’m going to allow you to her from Mike on his own instead of sharing the events he shared with me but this REAL TRUTH was clear after listening to him.
As he looked me in the eyes and shared the events that left him questioning God and Christ and everything else in this world, and then went on past that to the JOY of Christ in his life despite the pain that has transpired… it was truly flooring me. I was goose bumped, silent, and humbled by the entire share.
My point?   None of it was about him… none of my story is about me…. none of yours is about you…..  it’s Christ… it’s His Story.  I have shared so many times about the pain and the struggles and the pity me of “it was so hard” things that had taken place in my life and last Wednesday as I heard Mike’s story I saw that my stuff was chump change in comparison to his…   For things I carried such weight and importance on for YEARS fell off so quickly at the thought of what COULD HAVE HAPPENED listening to Mike.
As we close we both came to the same reasoning… .none of it mattered any more so long as God gets HIS MESSAGE to others through our mouths. Absolutely NOTHING of the events of our pains and/or struggles/sins has God getting the glory if we don’t see this…
Anything less than the work of the King is just a poor little pity party; young boys throwing sand… Adults spitting toxicity out of their mouths to others….
I am still sorting through all of this with Mike but one thing is clear… there is VERY LITTLE TIME to show GOD OFF to this world. None of us know the day, or hour, or minute that we will take our last breathe but we sure know how to waste them.
There’s no more time for you to think of your story any more… it’s time to let your story be HIS STORY and get on with the mission. Saving lives …    the only mission …
Love you brothers…
Brenden

Walking in the YES

For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

Deuteronomy 30:16 HCSB
Man, first accept my apologies for the missing post last Friday. I enjoyed a day off of work and the break grew into a break from everything, including the Barnabas Man Post.
That break for me was much needed. As a family, we enjoyed a quick “water park weekend” and I soaked it up. As the weekend went by, my wife and I seemed to center our conversations on what is coming ahead for us as a couple and as a family. This conversation continued as we watched other families with their toddlers and young children race to keep them safe around the water and around strangers. There was a brief moment on Saturday when we met a young boy, no older than 3, that was lost from his family. I took his hand and brought him to the guest services, and after a good 30 minutes, my wife and I were relieved to see his father find him.
Surprising to us both, the father was not as happy as we had expected. In fact, he was quite angry at his young boy, for “getting lost” in the first place. It was everything I could do to refrain from interjecting and Heather helped me to stay clear of the topic with this fortunate father that found his son. The guy was generally ticked off and let his son know exactly how he felt. The boy broke down further into more tears than he had even when he was alone, unknowing of where his family was. We were heartbroken and quickly remembered back to the times in our own family when brokenness and strife was an everyday thing, and our emotions sometimes took over showing less than perfect grace.
This brought us to the talk of walking in the yes. Aren’t glad God doesn’t react this way when we are found by Him? Aren’t you thankful that despite our last ways and brokenness that God DOES NOT PUNISH us when we are saved? HE ONLY WANTS US KNOW HIS LOVE IS CONSTANT and His Heart for us is thankful and LOVING.
I can say I know how this father at the waterpark felt, and I, myself, have also reacted poorly with my children MANY TIMES. I’ve reacted in a way that let MY EMOTIONS overrule the reality of the child’s safety. Would we feel differently if the boy was never found? Of course! but so hard to see that amidst the stress of the problem isn’t it?
Today, our marriage is quite different than what it was 10 years ago. Even my life as a whole different as well…. ONE MAJOR CHANGE… We are walking in the YES. It’s a YES to God, a YES to Christ, and a YES to the unknown adventures that lie before us. It’s a YES to the Holy Spirit and a YES to the mission of spreading GRACE and PEACE and LOVE to others. Walking in the YES means that you ACCEPT the realities around you but REFUSE to bow to your own negativity and doubt. Walking in the YES means you must SAY NO to much of the OLD YOU and say YES to the NEW you in Christ. Much like God did for the Israelite’s prior to the promise land, God wants you to experience the CHANGE IN THE PROCESS, not just after the blessings. Often for this process, you NEED TO SAY YES to His plan before even knowing the entire map or direction. Often the decision to YES, unleashes the confidence and joy of HIS WAY in your life.
Do you hesitate? Do you over process? Do you fear?
God has no chaos or confusion in His plans for you friend. He also will not SCOLD you when you return to Him. We must walk in the YES promises of the LORD to thrive in our faith. Can you say YES today?

Words matter

The words of a wise man’s mouth uwin him favor,3

but vthe lips of a fool consume him.

13  The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,

and the end of his talk is evil madness.

14  wA fool multiplies words,

though no man knows what is to be,

and who can tell him xwhat will be after him?

15  The toil of a fool wearies him,

for he does not know ythe way to the city.

16  zWoe to you, O land, when your king is a child,

and your princes feast in the morning!

17  Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,

and your princes feast at the proper time,

for strength, and not for adrunkenness!

18  Through sloth the roof sinks in,

and through indolence the house leaks.

19  Bread is made for laughter,

and bwine gladdens life,

and cmoney answers everything.

20  Even in your thoughts, ddo not curse the king,

nor in your ebedroom curse the rich,

for a bird of the air will carry your voice,

or some winged creature tell the matter.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-20

 

I know we can all use a little practice when it comes to the words we speak.

Speaking to myself today, the statements by Solomon are wise counsel for us. For every time we open our mouth we are choosing to bless or break. The power of words has such an impact often we allow them to fly out of our mouths without thinking and seldom remember back to think through how they may have been received. Even something as simple as the Barnabas Man blog was itself created for this very purpose. What if every relationship a man had was from someone that was blessing them with words of encouragement, constructive criticism, building up of his soul and consistent accountability?  Would those not be words we would like to hear?

Perhaps we look at our posts on social media or our responses at home to a wife or child? If the tape recorder was catching everything that came out of our mouth would the Lord we serve be honored? Simple as it may sound to break it down like this but friends, simple it is not. Understanding and heartfelt effort to think through our speech BEFORE it reaches our lips will serve us well.

Again, I am speaking to myself here. This past weekend i failed at representing a man that loves others as Christ loves the church. Thankfully I have today to be forgiven. I have a spouse that takes effort to reach out to me to repair and replace the words I choose with words of grace and patience.

hear this last part of Solomon’s Statement:

Even in your thoughts, ddo not curse the king,

nor in your ebedroom curse the rich,

for a bird of the air will carry your voice,

or some winged creature tell the matter.

We have to start as far back as the mind before the words are turned from our thoughts! and yet even be careful still to avoid gossip as the wind may carry  our words away.

Lord, get before us today in thought. Get in front of our words and our tone and arrest the negative and selfish within us Father. We long to speak to others as you speak to us, love, patience, grace, kindness, forgiveness. Lord, the more we practice this we know the more you can do in our lives. Be our voice God that we may reflect you. Amen

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