The Christmas story is a strange one, and for Mary, it really didn’t make sense at all. Which is exactly what can give you hope when your story doesn’t make sense.
Surprisingly, selfishness isn’t always a product of narcissism or pure ego. Often it’s the product of insecurity. The me-monster inside of you won’t die because you’re so worried you don’t measure up, that you’re not enough, and as a result, you really don’t like yourself. Which is why you can’t stop thinking about yourself. And it’s damaging your relationships, your parenting and even your performance at work.
We all dream of being rich enough to give money away, but what if that day never comes? After all, right now you have bills to pay, mouths to feed and debts to pay off. What if generous living had nothing to do with how much you make, but with what you do with what you make?
He’s supposed to complete you, and she’s everything you’ve been looking for. The power in a relationship comes from what you get from someone, right? Maybe that’s exactly why you can’t find the satisfaction you’re looking for.
There’s a monster inside most of us—a me-monster, and it’s rarely satisfied. It always wants a little more, makes demands of others, wants to take, not give and thinks about what it can get out of anything. The monster screams ‘feed me’, so you do, but it’s never satisfied. What do you do with it?
At some point in our attempts to get the most out of life, we lose control of our lives. We try to force one more thing in to our already busy lives and we reach a breaking point. Too much pressure causes an emotional breakdown. Too much debt causes a financial breakdown. Or maybe you're on the verge of a breakdown in your relationships.
What do you do when your worklife is so full you don't have time for the people who matter most?
We're all busy. Our schedules are packed with career, family, friends, church, and other responsibilities. Sometimes our days are so full that we don't enjoy anything because we're trying to do everything. Our relationship with God and with others benefits when we create breathing room in our schedules. But where do we start?
We live in a culture that continually tells us to pursue a higher standard of living in order to improve our quality of life. But "standard of living" and "quality of life" aren't the same thing. One has to do with the stuff we accumulate. The other is about the peace we experience regardless of our circumstances.
What if your pursuit of a standard of living is undermining your quality of life?
Our lives are busy and fast-paced. The lack of margin increases our stress and shortens our tempers. It can distract us from the most important things in our lives . . . and our relationships suffer. It can even affect our relationship with God because there's a connection between our willingness to create margin and our faith.
Life is better with breathing room.
Sometimes your running is over, but if you’re really honest, you’re still mad. We meet Jonah at the end of the story, and he’s angry. Angry at God, angry at life. You can run away from God, but as we’ll see, for some strange reason, God doesn’t run away from runaways.
So what does God do with runaways? Especially stubborn ones who have adopted a lifestyle that completely dishonours him? He loves them. So many people who run from God think God is mad at them. God may be angry at the running, but he loves runners.
You can try to escape God, but your escapism actually provides no escape. We meet Jonah as Jonah meets a sovereign God who traps him. Trying to escape God is futile, but we try anyway, don’t we?
At some level, all of us are running from something. Your past. The future. Your job. Your family. God. There are 1000 reasons to want to escape. Any idea what you’re running from? And why?
Once upon a time, Jesus stood against the injustice of the Roman empire and the hypocrisy of religious leaders. He changed the course of human history. What will our Once upon a time… story be?
What if our faith was characterized by fearlessness, humility, confidence in Jesus, and love of others? Imagine how that would change the world around us.
We see daily news reports about violence and terrorism. The world can feel like a dangerous place. Surrounded by uncertainty, it's difficult not to be afraid. But Jesus offers us another option.
Our culture celebrates autonomy. Not needing to go to any more meetings. Not needing to answer the phone. Having enough money and enough health that you can do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it. But what if your fulfillment is not found in isolation, but actually playing a part in something greater than yourself? What if there were a multitude of people waiting, hoping that you would play your part?
70% of people admit to being disengaged at work. That includes people who got their dream job, only to discover it was hardly a dream. Why is work so frustrating? And how can you spend your time and energy in ways that are far more fulfilling? God has something fairly radical to say about work that could completely change your attitude and your satisfaction.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should really be doing with your life. Other times the trajectory of your life can be clear but it doesn’t have the meaning you hoped for. What were you put on this earth to do? What if discovering more of who God made you to be, can help you discover more of His purposes for you?
So you probably think the angst you feel in life some days will get better if you were more gifted, or you had money or fame. Most people find just the opposite—the more you have, the less fulfilled you feel. Why is that? Why is it that some of the most gifted people are the most miserable. And where does your dis-satisfaction come from?
When you have a mess to address, first options aren’t usually the best options. First options often make messes messier. In this message, Andy explores an approach that can take the -er out of your messy situations.
Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But that’s easier said than done. What are the limits of our responsibility to others? The answer may surprise you.
A common misperception is that the Christian life is all about avoiding messes and staying out of trouble. But following Jesus isn’t about avoiding something; it’s about becoming something.
I know a mess when I see one because I am a mess. When we acknowledge our messes, we're a baby step away from acknowledging God. Your mess has the potential to bring God near you.
Whether we’re religious or not, we’ve all been in, are in, or are only one decision away from a mess. But there’s a powerful connection between your messes and your relationship with God.