About the Chief Outkicker

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Dayton, Ohio, United States
I've accused my friends, Jeff and Jonathan, of reaping more out of life's harvest than they deserve. I joke about this with them, but in reality, I am actually the one who has been blessed way beyond what I deserve. I have a wonderful wife who loves the Lord and who loves me. I have three great kids. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is my great provider. I have done nothing to deserve the good and wonderful gifts I have been given in this life. I am the one who is "outkicking my coverage" daily. Life is good. I am a teacher (18 years and counting), a husband, and a proud father. Most of all, I am a Christ follower. My desire is to follow Him so closely I am covered in the dirt of his sandals. Follow along as I work on allowing the Spirit of God to help me navigate this blessed life He has given to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Livin' the Dream

"...a dream... in which each man and each woman should be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are."
- James Truslow Adams, from The Epic of America, 1931
Is there anything wrong with shooting for the stars? Hard work, high goals for what we want to achieve, a beautiful house in the burbs, 2.5 kids, a dog, 2 cars, providing a better life for our kids than our parents did for us...
These are all great things. In fact, hard work and providing for your family are both values that are strongly commended in scripture. These pursuits, however can become a huge problem for believers.
In his book, Radical, Dr. David Platt tells how this pursuit of the American Dream can become very dangerous for believers and churches. He states:
"The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. The American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves, and we are drawn to such thinking."
This assumption is dangerous because at its core, it is the direct opposite of what the Word of God says. The American Dream calls us to MAKE MUCH OF OURSELVES, but, the Gospel calls us to die to ourselves, believe in God, and trust in HIS power. It tells us we can't really accomplish anything of value apart from the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit of God. Look at what Jesus says in John 15:15:
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
The goal of the Gospel is to MAKE MUCH OF GOD, not ourselves.
Actually, the apostle Paul exalted his INABILITIES so that glory would be given to God:
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 -"To keep me from being conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect (complete) in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
GOD INTENTIONALLY PUTS HIS PEOPLE IN PLACES WHERE THEY COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH THEIR DESPERATE NEED FOR HIM. He is the same God that healed the sick, made the lame walk, restored sight to the blind, cast demons out of the tormented, fed the 5,000, and raised the dead. He did this and continues to do this for only one reason....
Here are the vital questions:
Why do believers in today's American church miss out on the power that God gave 2,000 years ago and promised to give us even today?
The truth is that this condition exists because we as individuals and as church bodies have chosen to make much of ourselves. We have bought into the lie that our talents and hard work will be the deciding factors that ultimately make us successful. All the while we are missing out big-time on the blessings of the Spirit of God because we don't even think to ask for Him. We have convinced ourselves that if we can harness our resources, and organize our strategies, every sphere of our lives will accomplish what we set our minds to. WHAT'S MISSING FROM THIS EQUATION? What is missing is RELIANCE ON THE POWER OF GOD. Reliance on the Holy Spirit has become, at best, an add-on or an and afterthought for American believers and also church leaders.
"He (God) stands ready to allocate His power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him." -Platt

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