Forget About What You Deserve

Have you ever felt you should be in a different place? I’m not talking country or even an emotional state. What I am speaking about is accomplishments.

You have dreams. You have skills. You were told you were going to be the best—a champ—and take the world by storm. Yet, here you are, what seems like miles away from where you thought you should be.

I wonder if you think we are all going to rise from obscurity because of the day and age we live in. It’s a world where Microsoft and Apple, companies started in garages, revolutionize the world. It’s an age of reality-show fame, where ordinary folks like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood can become big stars. It’s a world where Justin Beiber is discovered on Youtube, and a 6-year-old starts a media empire by reviewing toys.

This world has set us up to think that we all can be “more.”

Are they wrong? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. Sure, everyone deserves the opportunity to become great, whatever that means. Yes, you were created with purpose and intention. But no, there is nothing that promises you notoriety or fame. That’s what it means. We want someone to see us. For this, we need to define ourselves by who Christ says we are. For that topic, I’ll point you to my book.

The one thing you deserve, no matter who you are, is to work hard.

Not everyone is going to see your potential, and that’s okay. Everyone isn’t going to be your fan, which you better come to grips with pretty quickly.

Think of Albert Einstein for a moment. This man achieved great success in his field. He won the Noble prize for his law of photo electric effect and came up with arguably the most recognizable equation in theoretical physics, E=MC2. However, It is hindsight. Though he was a good student, he was the only one from his section of the graduating class not offered a job. He could have given up, but instead, he got a job with the Swiss patent office and continued to work hard.

Think of Moses. The man was raised to achieve greatness, yet it was squandered in a fit of righteous indignation. I wonder if while tending his Midianite flock if he was ever down on himself. I’m sure we wouldn’t look at a murdering shepherd and think, “Wow, there’s a revolutionary leader.”

Think also of Jesus’ disciple Peter? This is a man with chronic foot-in-mouth, who’s only moments of bravery was exercised when he was in a crowd, and who appeared to follow the crowd. We certainly wouldn’t have pegged him as the Christian revolutionary that he was.

More important than whether others see your potential or not is that you are the type of person who once that potential is seen, is worthy of the praise.

We need to become people of humility and love. We need to be ones who are quick to praise and slow to criticize. We need to be willing to see and lift up the potential of others and not be scared of being overshadowed.

Whether you achieve your goals, become successful, or miss the mark on it all, it is not the real prize. The real prize is the adventure you get to take while working hard and trying your best. It is the experiences you get to have along the way. It is about the people and the God you get to grow in a relationship with as you struggle and stretch alone this life.

You only have one. Don’t waste it in a sea of misery thinking you should be somewhere else than you are. Take a lesson from Einstein, work hard where you’re at. Take a lesson from Moses; be willing to go when you are called. Take a lesson from Peter and seize your opportunities when they are given.

Checkout the resources used in this blog

Advertisements

Hidden Faces – The Playlist

Those who know me know I love music. Those who have read my book have probably noted the same. Throughout Hidden Faces: Discovering our True Identity in Christ I reference and quote many songs to convey my point. There are also numerous others songs that speak the message of identity, as well as the other issues we tackle.

That is why I created a playlist. You can stream it on your device of choice!

To sample the songs check out the files below. https://music.apple.com/ca/playlist/hidden-faces-discovering-our-true-identity-in-christ/pl.u-XkD00ZrUaLam4 

For a list of the chapters with the songs for them check out below. I’ve also included some music videos of select songs.

Preface

Side – Travis

Intro

Captain – Hillsong UNITED

Ch 1 – The First Step

Lord, save me from myself – Jon Foreman

come home running – Chris Tomlin

give me Jesus – Bethel Music & Matt Stitton

Ch 2 – Echoes of The Past

On the Road to beautiful – Charlie Hall

Ch 3 – Glory Days

13 – Allan Rayman

Hey There Delilah – The Plain White T’s

The Reason – Urban Rescue

Ch 4 – So Jealous 

Jealous – Nick Jonas

Ch 5 – Bitter Isn’t Better

Frail – Jars of Clay

As long as you love me – Back Street Boys

Ch 6 – No Need to Race

in the air – Phil Collins

Strength and Beauty – Citizens

Ch 7 –  The Call Becomes God

The calling – The Benjamin Gate

Ch 8 – Regret

Stand in your love – Bethel Music & Josh Baldwin

Broken – Lifehouse

Ch 9 – Anger Times

The Orphan – Newsboys

Lord, I need you – Matt Maher

Ch 10 – Spirit & Truth

look up child – Lauren Daigle

hookers & robbers – Charlie Hall

Elohim – Hillsong Worship

Conclusion

so will I – Hillsong UNITED

Have it all – Bethel Music & Brian Johnson

My life is in your hands – God’s Property

I wish there was a command Z for life

Have you ever wished you could just hit command Z (or ctrl Z for those other “people”) for life?

Let’s say you have half a dozen you could use in your lifetime. Maybe you wouldn’t have dated someone. Maybe gone, eaten, drank, or wore something. It could be you want to hit command Z on the leftovers you ate last night.

More than likely there is some pretty serious stuff you wish to hit command Z on. Even in my not so much traumatic life, I have stuff.

I wish I hadn’t said that.

I wish I hadn’t indulged.

I wish I hadn’t made that decision.

Yet, in the words of The Tragically Hip, “No dress rehearsals, This is your life.” We have to live with our choices, others have to live with our choices, and we have to live with others’ choices.

Even when typing this, it is so freeing to be able to hit command Z and be able to go back and type something different. Life, however, doesn’t offer us such luxuries.

We must live with the pain, choices, and consequences, it is that certain, but what do we do with it is not. This is the crux of it.

What do you do with the things you wish you could hit command Z on? This is the question we must ask ourselves.

Avoid?
Face?
Own?
Distract?
Fight?
Justify?

So many options.

I believe there is a “best option.” When we own it, that is what changes our life. Yes, there may be consequences, but what’s the other option?

Russel Brand writes,

“By maintaining a personal museum of resentments, we imprison ourselves within it.” Whether that resentment is directed toward others or ourselves, it’s not a way to live.

I believe the best and only real option that brings relief is to own it.

But what then? For me owning it means admitting that I am fallible but that those fallibilities do not define me.

What defines me is Christ.
Not my past.
Not my choices.
Not the consequences.

When I can admit that I am weak and make mistakes, it allows God to come and heal. As the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Co 12:9–10)

There is a strength in vulnerability. You’re not hiding–you’re not worried about your secret being found out–you’re not trying to contain the confession that could relieve your soul.

When I can admit my wrongs openly, it makes room for Christ. Christ can’t be king if we have propped ourselves up in the position. Christ can’t lead us through if we have clenched the reigns.

In my weaknesses, He is strong. What a great comfort, for I am more than weak. As much it would be great to be able to hit command Z from time to time, I would hate to deprive myself of the strength Christ has given me. I would hate to sacrifice the lessons that I’ve learned. To surrender the character that has been developed by the mud and mire of life.

Sure, command Z would be helpful, but at what cost? No, thank you.

I’ll take Christ any day.

What’s one thing you wish you could hit command Z on?

Check out the resources used in this post

Our Problem Isn’t Our Problem

It all started back in 1994. It was the summer between grade 4 and 5. I had moved out of my love for baseball (back to back world series champions, the Toronto Blue Jays were my love) due to the MLB strike, cancelling the world series that year, and had moved on to a new love, the NBA. I was in with the Orlando Magic.

Shaq and Penny. What a duo.

But in summer of ’94, an announcement came that divided my heart. Toronto and Vancouver were awarded franchises. Basketball had come back to Canada. Suddenly my loyalty shifted.

This is why I needed to find a way! A way to what? To watch the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks. I saw on someone’s Facebook feed that there were links to sites where I could watch. I found a link, and I enjoyed the bliss of watching the Raps head to the NBA finals for the very first time!!!!!!

However, the next day, I had a problem. I was trying to back up my files to my external hard drive and but it wouldn’t connect. No matter which port I plugged the USB into, nothing. I tried all the tricks google would spit at me, and nothing still.

Immediately I rushed to the apple store. I was scared to death that there was a serious problem with my laptop. Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, I imagined a virus attaching every file on my computer and me only being able to salvage the most pertinent ones. Luckily for me, I just looked like a dope.

Why?

Well, because as soon as the expert tried, the hard drive in question kicked in, booted up, and connected. The tech opened my chrome browser and began to google something when, pop pop pop pop! Popups were everywhere.

I went into the Apple store, thinking I had one problem, and as it turned out, I had another.

Being a pastor means encountering a lot of people. People begin to come to church or explore faith, thinking that they have one particular problem in their life. It might be their marriage, their kids, their job, or their health. They come looking for the answer to their perceived problem.

It reminds me of a story Walter Isaacson tells in his book about Steve Jobs. The predecessor of Steve Jobs’ second run at running Apple was Gil Amelio. While describing what he believed his role at Apple was, he said,

“‘You know, Gina, Apple is like a ship,’ Amelio answered. ‘That ship is loaded with treasure, but there’s a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction. ‘Smith looked perplexed and asked, ‘Yeah, but what about the hole?'”

Walter Isaacson

Amelio perceived that his job was one thing. However, it was clear that he was completely blind to the actual problem. THERE’S A HOLE IN THE BOAT!

It is easy to perceive what the problems in our life are. We want the issue that we think is the issue fixed and we pray to God to fix it. God, on the other hand, is more concerned with the root of the issue rather than treating the symptom.

It is like going to a mechanic because when you put your foot on the break it makes a grinding noise, but telling them they aren’t allowed to change your breaks and rotors.

It is hard to self diagnose. The marriage, the sadness, the lack of fulfilment are all symptoms. Just as I needed an outside voice to speak into my problems, so we all need an outside voice to look and see the actual problem. We think we have a hard drive problem when we are infected with Malware.

Usually, something from our past that has given us filters that we hear through and lenses we see through. Past circumstances have influenced why we have made the decisions we have made.

You might be able to say that if the Raptors never came to Toronto in ’95, then I would have never got Malware in ’19.

In my new book, Hidden Faces: Discovering Our True Identity in Christ, I speak of how we have diagnosed the problem and put different masks, (or faces) trying to fix the problem. In actuality, we have believed the lie from the garden of Eden, that we are not who God has said we are. God has declared that you are his child and that He has sent His son to make you whole.

For that to happen, we have to be willing to see the hole in the boat and admit that we need God to fix it. We must admit that our problem isn’t our problem.

Check out the resources used in this post

Drive-thru Faith

We love instant. Netflix and Prime help us get our shows instantly. Spotify and Apple music help us get whatever music we want when we want. Drive-thru restaurants, instant coffee, ready-made meals, miracle grow on our vegetables.

They say that in the early ’00s the average person waited for 8’s on a link to open before clicking again or moving on. Experts say it is now closer to 3. 3 seconds!

We are obsessed instant. Heck, who can blame us, instant is amazing. Why wait when you don’t have to?

The problem is we have allowed instant gratification to infiltrate other parts of our life where it has no business being.

Instant love. Instant celebrity. Instant sex.

We have also allowed this idea to penetrate our concept of faith. Whether it be the rate in which “discipleship” happens or the growth of our churches or even how rapidly we elevate up the sanctification ladder, there is an emphasis and desire for fast results and instant growth.

When I look at Scripture, however, this is not the picture I see. What I see is all about the refinement of time. Think about the disciples, three years of following Jesus in every imaginable way before they were finally released to do it together.

Even more so, some of the most prominent figures in the Older Testament needed years of being crafted and refined by God.

Joseph was seventeen when he had the dream of his brothers bowing down to him. If he would have seen this dream fulfilled within a short amount of time, I believe it wouldn’t be the happy ending of redemption and reconciliation Genesis tells us about. Joseph dealt, time and time again, with incredible adversity. Each time God used the pain and struggle to mold Joseph into the type of man who could fulfill the destiny God had planned for his life.

Or how about David. While his older brothers were off at war, David fostered his skills with a sling and lyre while watching over stinky bleating sheep. Yes, David was still a very young man when he began to achieve success in Saul’s army, but he didn’t ascend to be king. David endured great persecution, again refining his character. God used the abuse from Saul to shape David’s character, just as with Joseph, into the type of man who not only was royalty but lived like royalty (a little hint about my next book).

Finally, think about Moses, the most famous of the three. Forty years as an adopted Prince in Egypt. Forty years as a fugitive shepherd in Midian. Forty years wandering through the wilderness with a group of frustrating nomades. God first began to mold Moses as he shepherded sheep and then added a nation to the process. Both took a substantial amount of time before they were the type of people ready to inherit the destiny God had called them.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that God never works rapidly. The Apostle Paul was a rapid case. There have also been many throughout history who are redeemed, changed and are immediately called upon to do great things. That is their story, though, and it is not the norm.

Embrace the wait, savour the lessons of time, cherish all the lessons learned, and reject a drive-thru faith.