Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Step Outside the Box

Some people will only love you as long as you fit in their box. Don't be afraid to disappoint them. -Lecrae

I have experienced this quote in my own life with different people or groups over the years. As long as I fit neatly or they think I fit neatly into their box then everything is okay and we can have a relationship, but as soon as I get outside of the box, which often happens, then I have suddenly disappointed them. For years these type of people would confuse me and I would feel down like it was my fault that our relationship changed, but one day I finally realized it is not me, it is them.

I remember sharing a situation similar to this with the global church planting pastor at our sending church and I told him I assumed it was just my personality that rubbed some people the wrong way, which caused some conflict with others when living overseas. He and his wife both turned to me and said, "Matt, do not believe that lie. You are not the problem, the way these people are treating you and your family is the problem." Hearing the truth from someone else caused a light bulb to go off in my head when I suddenly realized that what they were saying was true.

If you have known me for any amount of time then you know that I do not easily fit into most boxes that people want to put you inside, whether that be a denominational box, an organizational box, a group or club, etc. Yes, I am a part of many of those things and in some ways they do make up part of what I do, but I do not let one or any of them define who I am. I have come to a comfortable enough place in my own life to recognize that I have freedom in the Spirit and that I do not neatly fit a box, system, or program because I can only be me in Christ.

A couple of years ago my wife and I had to make a very important decision that would affect the next few years of our lives. We delayed for quite some time as more and more pressure was put on to make a decision, which resulted in more delay because of my fear of disappointing them. We knew the decision had been made well before the actual time to voice it, but when we sensed the Lord moving us a different direction from what we knew this individual would want to hear we were afraid to disappoint them.

There is probably a situation in your life right now that you are about to step outside of the box, but you are delaying for fear of disappointment. I agree with Lecrae on this one,don't be afraid to disappoint as long as you know that stepping outside of the box is the right thing to do. There are always going to be haters and talkers wherever you go, but you need to realize that God has called you to do too many other things than to fear disappointing people that get in your way. Go ahead, get out of the box, disappoint, and move on!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Are You Listening to the Voice of God?

Recently I heard a sermon on the Lord's calling of Samuel, who at the time was probably around the age of twelve. The preacher pointed out many things from the life of Samuel and the old priest Eli. His main point that I took away was that often times we get in such a routine where we are reading are Bible, we are praying,  and we are busy in ministry; but we are failing to listen to the voice of God. And by failing to listen to the voice of God we many times are doing things our way and wondering why things are not going the way we expected them to go.

In conclusion the pastor pointed out five things that should challenge us all in regards to listening to God:

1. Your past does not determine your future.

2. Your circumstances do not determine your actions.

3. You choose your focus.

4. You are made to hear God's voice.

5. Be careful not to become a priest (Eli) who cannot see not only physically but also spiritually.