Matthew 6:19–23

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to store up treasures for themselves on earth, but to store up treasures in heaven, “where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.”

St. Augustine once said that since every creature is made ex nihilo, it carries with it the heritage of nonbeing. There is a kind of penumbra or shadow of nothingness that haunts every finite thing.

This is a rather high philosophical way of stating what all of us know in our bones: no matter how good, beautiful, true, or exciting a thing or state of affairs is here below, it is destined to pass into nonbeing. Think of a gorgeous firework that bursts open like a giant flower and then, in the twinkling of an eye, is gone forever. Everything is haunted by nonbeing; everything, finally, is that firework.

But this is not meant to depress us; it is meant to redirect our attention precisely to the treasures of heaven, to the eternity of God. Once we see everything in light of God, we can learn to love the things of this world without clinging to them and without expecting too much of them. Think of how much disappointment and heartache could be avoided if we only learned this truth!


Read more...

Cynical or Successful?

Right now, you are becoming either cynical or successful. One thing will determine which you will become. Over my decades as a leader, I’ve seen influencers whose hearts have grown cold or were set on fire. When I noticed what made the difference in these leaders, I made a commitment to follow the example of those whose hearts were on fire. Here’s how to do it…

We’ve all been around cynical people and influencers. They are no fun. They are a downer at parties and in conversations. But what makes them like this? As an influencer yourself, you will need to understand what makes people become this way.

And here is how they became cynical…THEY DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEIR HURT.

You will become hurt in ministry leadership and in life in general. Many times this hurt will catch you off guard. Someone will say or do something or NOT say or do something that will hurt you. I’ve found that many times in my own life, the people who have hurt me had no idea or intention to do so. And let me be clear, I’ve done my share of hurting others too.

But, I have also had many experiences of people intentionally trying to hurt me. Make no mistake, there are some mean people out there. There are some people out there who don’t like me and talk bad about me. People may consider me their enemy, but the feeling is not mutual. I remain steadfast in my position: I have no enemies.

I could tell you some of my own horror stories. I’ve been cheated, stolen from, lied to and about, betrayed, and on and on. And if you’ve been leading for any amount of time, you have your own horror stories too. Some are worse than others. My point is we all will become hurt in life and leadership.

Do you know what the #1 reason is people leave ministry leadership in my experience? They get hurt, and they don’t know how to handle it. They allow it to derail them from leading and influencing. This is tragic because I’ve seen great leaders fall away from being an influencer because they didn’t know how to respond to hurt.

If you DO NOT handle hurt the right way you will…

…quit

…become critical

…become cynical

…feel sorry for yourself

…allow your heart to grow cold

If you DO handle hurt the right way you will…

…go on

…become tougher

…become tenacious

…show grace and mercy

…allow your heart to grow stronger

In my next post, I’ll share the 3 ways you can handle hurt.

Keeping leading!

Jeff Eckart, CEO
Never The Same


Read more...

Guest Post: Amonte King

I REALLY just have to say to the CHURCH: this is anyone who claims to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, received him as savior and has been baptized.
 
>We should not celebrate a chosen lifestyle of sin. We also should not condemn those who live lifestyles of sin because we all were there before Jesus. I’m not saying that we don’t acknowledge struggle, rather I’m saying we don’t celebrate the choice of giving in to that struggle.
 
>The moment you’re saved, you no longer get to just do whatever you want to do. Not because of rules or religion, but because of relationship to God and because of protection from yourself. Because we are the children of God called and chosen by him, because we represent Christ, we don’t celebrate sin.
 
>The world celebrates sin and I must say, they can do that. How do they know any better? My cry is for those of us who know better to never waiver from the truth of God’s word. Sometimes it’s hard to be the light, but we must.
 
This isn’t my opinion, it’s the word of God.
 
1 John 2:15-17
•••
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Read more...

Praying for Bahrain

“I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have so that no one may seize your crown.”
– Revelation 3:11
 
This small island nation, which includes a mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway and is frequently referred to as the “Saudi Playground” because Saudis can leave their oppressive homeland and enjoy more freedom in Bahrain. While maintaining a distinctly Muslim identity, Bahrain has experienced significant religious, political and economic division.  This unrest, coupled with the faithful witness of Arab and immigrant Christian workers, has led to a season of openness in some response to the gospel among those indigenous to Bahrain.
 
What it means to follow Christ in Bahrain: Christian converts from Islam often lose their jobs, families and positions in society however, some still gathered to worship in secret.
 
Access to Bibles: Bahraini’s have access to scriptures through the Internet, bookstores and churches.

Read more...