Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thriving Is Living Beyond Mediocrity

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

- Henry David Thoreau

Everything I've touched this weekend has passionately called me as a Christian to wake up to the seriousness of the hour in America. Once awake, embrace who I am in Christ and His Kingdom, and move into action as His ambassador to be a helper in solutions to issues we face, "His kingdom come here on earth.."
Yesterday I traveled with our prison ministry to a large high security women's prison for a worship service. Oh, the gratitude and hunger of those women!!! The exoffender pastor repeated over and over "You are here for what you've done; but that is not who you are." He shared how he came to know Jesus in prison. He carried his Bible with him visibly on the yard and was ridiculed as a "Jesus freak" daily. He was calling to these inmates to make choices while incarcerated that glorified Jesus. He told them he was convinced the wonderful life God has opened for him is connected to this conscious decision to do all for God while he was on the inside of that prison.

I don't know about you, but I can use that sermon. I have held out my all for God with qualifiers like: whenever this money comes in; when he acts right I will do my part; on and on. "If Only's" mess me up. No, right now with whatever mess is around me: All for You, Jesus.

I love the Scripture where Jesus proclaims He will spew out lukewarm. I may have been headstrong racing in the wrong direction, but seldomly have I been called lukewarm or mediocre. But sometimes I've been overwhelmed and I was stalled and stymied from action I knew in my heart needed to be done. I have that sense this weekend with everything I've read or heard. God is calling me and other Christians to put action to backup our words: Be His feet, hands, and mouth to a world that desparately aches for Him.

I write here on this blog with my all to encourage myself with some "issues" to thrive because of who I am in Christ. I do hope anyone who stops by to read this is encouraged to thrive. During worship service today, our senior pastor poured out his heart on the conditions of many Americans. He called us to be relevant to their pain and lack of spiritual understanding. He challenged us to lovingly reach out and believe for salvation for specific people. As I've shared before I'm a member of one of the largest churches in America. We do much to address issues in our city, but he's calling us to do more individually and corporately.
This whole weekend has been a call to action of who I am in Christ, vibrantly impacting my world. To top it off I have discovered a book , Accept No Mediocre Life: Living Beyond Labels, Libels, and Limitations (Publisher: FaithWords (February 23 2006) by Dr. David Foster, founder and senior pastor of Bellevue Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is known as a true street-smart communicator who uses humor and simple illustrations to help seekers find God.

He hit right on where our pastor was preaching "Hopeless is not an option because of two facts only you can face. You are today what your choices have made you. Not your mama, not your daddy, not your brother. You did not choose your labels, but only you can choose to remove the old lenses and look at your life from God's perspective. You are not responsible for all the "stuff " done to you. You shouldn't feel ashamed of what some halfhearted, small-minded person in your past said or did. But only you control what happens to what happened to you. The second bit of good news is, you can be better the moment you decide to be."

"The first declaration to make is, "I am loved right now as I am, and that is enough." That's freedom. God knows everything about you and loves you anyway. He will never love you more than He does right now, and He will never love you any less. That's grace."

"Learning how to live in God's love, I think, is spending the rest of your life just saying, "God, how can I be the best at being me?" Instead of trying to be someone else, be the best you can be, but be that! Be yourself! Stop being ashamed of being who you are. Embracing your uniqueness starts with exchanging the lens of labels for the lens of love.

Foster urges readers to shed the labels others so often place on us, especially the most dangerous label of all: mediocre. All labels are libels, and this one is the most insidious. When we believe the opinions of others about us, we can't fail to measure up to their meager expectations. But there are ways to break free, to go through life dancing, twirling, testing our limits, embracing the best God has in store for us.

As an old proverb has it, "He who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; he who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it."

Foster calls out: "I will embrace my uniqueness." "I will conquer my fears." " I will serve a noble cause." I will treat time as life." He reminds us that perfect conditions, perfect timing and perfect skills for achieving excellence will never come.

Foster along with everyone I heard this weekend calls us seize today and vow to begin a life-changing, life-affirming journey to reach the awesome possibilities ahead. He proclaims, "We will not be denied, because we refuse to live within the limits of man-made labels and libels. We will not accept a mediocre life and we will not disappear quietly into the middle. We gladly accept the proverb 'Those who hear not the music, think the dancer's mad.' We hear the music, it's in our heart and soul, and we must dance."

Dream, believe, respond to the Love and Hope in Jesus Christ. His Word, the Bible, is your bread of, take it in, dare to feed your spirit and see how wonderfully you indeed are made. See the wonder of thriving life our Heavenly Father has always meant for us to live!

1 comment:

Dorothy Champagne said...

'Those who hear not the music, think the dancer's mad.' We hear the music, it's in our heart and soul, and we must dance." = very powerful words!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.