KLOVE Features January 2018

Google’s Culture of Collaboration

A friend worked at Google and described how the company fostered a unique culture of collaboration. They believe the highest paid person in the room does not have all the answers. This creates an unguarded atmosphere, where managers are less concerned about protecting their position, and are encouraged to hire and cultivate exceptional performers. They realize being surrounded by people who were less gifted and capable, because of the fear of being replaced, would merely drag the team down. This mindset allows employees to identify their potential. What a great principle! Who in your life can you encourage to excel, without being threatened by their achievement. My twin daughters have often said to me, “Dad, your ceiling is our floor!” You know what: I really love looking up at their floor.

Accepting Limitations in Others

Accepting the limitation of others requires seeing them with the eyes of God. We are all limited in some way, and have people in our lives who are likewise restricted in some way. If I was walking with someone who couldn’t walk as fast as I do, I’d change my stride to make them feel valued and included. It is what God does with us every moment. The Bible says, “…we who are strong ought to bear with the weaknesses of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1) Who does God want you to come alongside and slow down for? Would you give them the same value God offers you? I’ve thought on many occasions while ministering to the sick or elderly, I’m not just sowing seeds of love for them, but for myself and those I love. The seeds we sow are the ones we’ll reap.

I Get Stuck So Easily

I’ve found the Christian life works perfectly for those of us who are easily stuck, people like…me. I am soooo susceptible to dead ends: in my mind, my will, my heart. But, I’m not alone. Paul the Apostle wrote about his great struggle to be the person he wanted to be, “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 17:18b-19, NLT) He then writes, “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 17:25a, NLT) Only Jesus could cover the monstrous things I’ve done, could love and accept me when I don’t love and accept myself. I don’t have to measure up to some impossible standard. He measured up for me, and all I have to do is believe and receive His incredible love for me.

Our Lowest Moment

My goal in life is to be completely “unshaken” by life’s challenges. It’s one of the human qualities I most love about Jesus. In John, Chapter 8, religious leaders wanted to kill Him. You could call that an unsettling moment. But, He just walked passed them. He wasn’t shaken or disturbed by this near-death confrontation. He kept walking and soon healed a blind man. In my own life, I don’t want to be rattled by what just happened, because I’ll miss what’s about to happen. Don’t be surprised if the point in which you’re closest to fulfilling your destiny is simultaneously the lowest point in your life. Jesus became sin for us on the Cross. His lowest moment! But He said, “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! (John 12:27, NLT)

The Earthquake Sandwich

Have you been saying, “God, why is this happening to me?” A better question would be, “God, what are you trying to show me?” He’s always trying to show us something of eternal value. As “emotional” earthquakes are preceded by great inspirations, they are followed by great “spiritual” revelations as well. I call it the “Earthquake Sandwich”. All “revelations” or “inspirations from God” are tested with shakings. Responding well to great shakings brings further revelation and inspiration. Revelations are what keep our relationship with God, fresh…current. They are either initiated by God’s Word or His Spirit, and must be consistent with the Bible. So, after you are stirred, get ready to be shaken. Live fully awake, and ready for your next adventure with Jesus. Here it comes!

Karma vs. Christianity

Do you believe you are experiencing great difficulties primarily because you’ve done something wrong? It’s really an unbiblical thought. That’s what Job’s friends thought. He must have done bad things to be suffering the way he did, but that’s not what God thought. This line of thinking is actually closer to “Hinduism” and “Buddhism”, not “Christianity”. In the Buddhist and Hindu religions, “Karma” is considered “the force produced by a person’s actions in one life that influences what happens to them in future lives.” The Bible demolishes the false concept of reincarnation when it says, “. . . it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment . . .” (Hebrews 9:27, ESV) Jesus didn’t come to Earth to judge or condemn us, He came to rescue us from the consequences of our own poor decisions.

When People Don’t Believe You

If someone doesn’t believe Jesus really transformed your life, don’t let it bother you. You’re the one He rescued, and no one can take that away from you. I was the one who, on the night I received Jesus, was delivered from demonic oppression because I worshipped Hindu gods. I was the one who, when I prayed to Jesus on that night, began to be choked by the Hindu necklace I wore. I was the one who then prayed my first prayer as a new Christian, and had my hand rip the necklace off my neck, so I could breathe. Some didn’t believe Jesus healed people in His day, and some won’t believe you and I either. But, don’t let it faze you. They’re really too late. It already happened to me, and it already happened to you.

Your Day of Rescue

Could anything be sadder than missing your only chance of being rescued? If God visited your life, would you refuse to receive His help. That’s exactly what happened to the Pharisees. They were outraged Jesus healed a blind man, and chided Him, “Are you saying we’re blind?” It takes real humility to accept that you are spiritually blind without Jesus. Only those who humble themselves can receive God’s gifts: forgiveness, everlasting life, and intimacy with our Creator. How foolish to shut our eyes to the light of the world, when there’s no other light coming! Then Jesus said, perhaps the most convicting sentence in the Bible. “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty. But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” (John 9:41) Today is your day of rescue, your day of God visiting you…if you want it to be.

The Final Car Ride

A cab driver picked up a woman in her 80’s at 2:30 in the morning. She was leaving home for the last time. He recounted, “As I walked her to the cab, she kept thanking me for my kindness.” I said. “I try to treat my passengers the way I’d want my mother treated.” Giving me a destination, she asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” I answered. “It’s not the shortest way.” She said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.” Looking in the rear-view mirror, her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left. The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly shut off the meter. For hours, we drove through the city, stopping at places significant to her. I didn’t charge her, and don’t think I’ve done anything more important in my life. People may not remember what you did or said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel!

Eternity

The problems of Earth can’t compare to the promises of Heaven. Would you believe that in eternity the Bible says, we who are genuine followers of Jesus, are going to be a visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of the grace and kindness of God. (Philippians 2:7, The Passion) We are destined to be trophies of God’s mercy; a pageant of His everlasting love, and a spectacle of His boundless blessings and timeless truth. Stretch your imagination, let it run wild with anticipation, and you will barely scratch the surface of the glorious things God has prepared for those who love Him. Don’t be fooled by the counterfeits of Earth, they are empty substitutes for the riches of Christ and the eternal rewards Jesus purchased for those who believe in Him. Receive His resurrection life and you will life forever.

Going Against the Flow

Are we willing to press through a crowd in order to touch Jesus? It will be the tipping point for God using us. One day, when Jesus was on His way to pray for someone, a desperate woman went against the flow in order to touch Him. She’d suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, losing all her money to doctors, only to get worse. (Mark 5:24) Coming behind Jesus she touched His robe. Immediately the bleeding stopped. She had been completely healed, all because she was willing to push through a mob. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:34, NLT) We, too, must press through mobs of fear, discouragement, apathy and peer pressure. What crowd do you need to press through in order to touch Jesus and be healed?

Sobbing in Her Arms

I once ministered in the city where my mother lived. It blessed me immensely when she came to the service. She was the one who loved me well growing up, even though I spent years in boarding schools because my father was in politics. She was the one who prayed for my soul when I was an atheist and desperately lost in deception and drugs. I received Jesus on Mother’s Day because of her prayers. Sitting near the back and suffering from dementia, I asked her to stand as I began to share about her influence in my life. I broke down. Someone yelled, “Give her a hug!” I continued to try and speak, only to break down again. The same person yelled with greater emphasis, “Give her a hug!” This time, I walked down the aisle to meet her. Sobbing in her arms, she whispered, “That’s OK sweetheart.” It would be the last time I saw my mother in her right mind.