Meet Me Where I Am

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My wife and I, along with our three kids, shared lunch with some friends the other day. They also have three little kids (all boys), but theirs are several years younger. Their oldest will be four this year. During lunch, he asked his dad a question about something he wanted to eat. The question, to me, was completely indiscernible…but to his dad, it made perfect sense. In that moment, I remembered how great it is that God gives parents the ability to basically understand a totally different language…the language of their children. That allows the kids to develop and grow…and the parents to survive. You can only respond to crying for so long!

With my kids now being eleven, nine and seven years old, articulation and enunciation are to be expected. We share beautiful conversations all the time! I used to have the ability to speak that second language. But, just like my 8th grade German, if you don’t use it you loose it. I don’t have to speak the language of my kids’ infancy because they’ve grown.

In 1 Corinthians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote something that really struck me this morning. He said, “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:1-2a‬ ‭NLT‬‬) What an awesome spiritual father he was! Paul basically said, I spoke your language. I met you where you were at! I have to confess, that when I spend all or most of my time around Christians who are “grown up” in their faith, I loose the ability to speak the language of someone who is still an infant in Christ.

We are all infants in Christ at one point. And we need people who are willing to meet us where we are at. And not just willing to meet us where we are at, but be skilled at speaking our language as little ones in Jesus. That is not to say that we should not grow up. Paul did challenge the Corinthians that they needed to mature in their faith. Spiritual growth is essential. But, spiritual infancy is a part of the journey for every disciple of Christ.

Today, I am praying that God will help me meet people where they are at, regardless of their level of maturity. I want to be someone who leads many people to follow Jesus. I want to be able to help them grow as others helped me. Join me in that prayer…pray for me and pray for yourself too. Let’s impact as many lives for Christ as we possibly can.

Good Success

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I am driven to success. It’s how I’m wired. I look for signs of success and pursue them. I look for deficiencies and inefficiencies and strategize ways that I can improve them and make them more successful. Personally and in my leadership as a pastor, I pray for and push for success.

Maybe you’re like me, maybe you’re not. Either way, we both live in a world that rewards success. Those who succeed are paid more, followed more on Twitter and invited to more parties. As Jerry Seinfeld put it, win the gold medal, we know your name forever. Win the silver medal, we don’t even know who you are.” Can you name, without Googling it, the team who lost the last five Super Bowls?

Here’s the rub – how do we define “success?” I bet, if I asked ten different people on the street to define success, I would get ten different answers. They all may be nuanced with the idea of winning and being on top or being first, but they won’t be the same. How do you define success? Are you measuring yourself based on that definition? Who told you what success was?

In Joshua 1:7 God challenges Israel’s leader this way, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.” Did you catch that? God said that: by being strong (in the Lord); by being courageous (facing fear in God’s power); by being carefully obedient to Scripture; and by not turning from God’s ways to follow the paths of culture that Joshua would have “good” success. Good success is another way of saying, “to act wisely.”

So, there we have a Biblical way of looking at success: Success is acting wisely. Note that success is not acting wisely so that we can be successful. A life lived according to the wisdom of God IS success. When we live this way, the weight of the world falls from our shoulders. No longer do we have to measure up to standards foisted upon us by others. We can live a life of wisdom knowing we ARE successful and enjoy the fruit and rewards of wisdom.

May God bless you with a greater hunger for His Word than ever before. May God grant you the courage to face each day with courage. May you find freedom from the chains of false expectations. May you have GOOD success!