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Post  Roh on Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:27 am

Since these chapters are long, I think I'm going to start doing what I've been doing more, which is grouping the contents I read into themes and relevant messages I come up put together. From today's readings, I want to talk about two things. First, I'll be talking about Bringing yourself down and lifting up others, and second, I'll mention balancing your earthly goals and your heavenly goals (very practical!)

Bringing Yourself Down and Lifting Up Others

Do you remember when I mentioned the one big factor that is going to give us more chemistry and bring our team even closer together? That one factor is sacrifice. If we are constantly in the mindset of living to serve others before ourselves first, and every single one of our praise team members do that for each other, nothing will break us down. Sure, it is practical to live for yourself sometimes and to do things that allows you to gain personal goods and growth. But even in that, ultimately, don't do it for yourself but for someone who sacrificed for yourself as well -- Jesus Christ. He laid down his life so that you may have eternal life. All he wants us you to do is to reciprocate. When he predicted his death, he said:

"If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost of destroyed?"

When I first read that phrase "taking up my own cross" a few years ago, I was really confused and decided to look it up. I was glad I looked it up because it was one of the best principles I had ever heard of. What did Jesus do on the day of his death? He carried the cross around until he was finally nailed to the cross. Him taking up that cross was his action of humbleness and sacrifice. None of that was done for himself, but for us. So what does it mean to take up our own crosses daily? It means to live a sacrificial life where you do everything in light of others but yourself. And don't take this literally. If you haven't had a chance to read my devos from yesterdays, but I talked about learning and internalizing. Take what you learn from these things and apply them directly into your lives so you can make the right sacrifices. When I share these things, I don't mean go out and spend the $10 for lunch on your friend who forgot money and starve yourself. It doesn't mean give up all of your study time to be with friends that'll appreciate you. You shouldn't have to lower the standards of your own being to serve Jesus Christ. You just need to make the right choices and compromise your lifestyle in the right way to live a life of sacrifice and balance things out well.

Remember one thing. Since the concept of "everything" and "everyone" includes you (and not the other way around), you are nothing without everything and everyone around you. So show them respect and learn to live a life that puts others before yourselves. Let's start by doing that in the praise team! Jesus also talked about the greatest in the Kingdom of God. "Whoever is the least among you is the greatest." Strive to be the least and serve others, because in the eyes of God, the one that puts others before themselves is the greatest, as it directly reflects a characteristic of Jesus Christ.

Balancing Your Earthly Goals vs. Your Heavenly Goals

All of us have ambitions (I hope). Growing up, we've all pictured ourselves being in a certain workplace, a certain part of the world, driving a specific car, being with a wonderful spouse, having cute kids, etc. etc. How much of that has come true? Looking back ten years, are you in the same place that you thought you'd be in ten years?

I'll relate this section to the previous one, and I'm going to be mentioning Luke 9 as a whole, so there will be no direct quotations, so I hope you have read all parts of this chapter in great detail.

I'll share a bit of my personal story. Growing up, I can't count how many times I went to work with my dad and I was inspired and filled with awe in all those times that I got to see what my dad did for a living. It was so inspiring to see someone enjoying what they get to do every single day and none of what he did was for himself. Every day, he healed the sick. And all that he did was for those sick people and also for the family that depended on him for resources so that we may get education our daily bread. He was always thinking about the future and remembering that the present was going to be over before we knew it and he taught me to always look ahead and make decisions wisely based on that principle. He taught me to not live for short-term happiness but to plan my life in such a way that it'll satisfy me by satisfying others. So in recent years and months I've come to change how I plan my life to be in decades to come. Jesus talked about the cost of following him. And this is a difficult concept to grasp. We are often stubborn and have double standards. We want to follow God but at the back of our minds, we also have that bit that wants to be rich and powerful and better than others in a humanly manner. It's only natural. But the one thing I'm scared about is that even if I am a big guy in the church doing a lot of work and I am a millionaire at the same time, I don't want to look back at my life on my death bed and regret that I only went the average distance for God when I could've gone for thousands of more miles. My point is that we need to focus less on earthly concepts of success and integrate our lives to fit God's concept of success. Sure, a part of that needs the world's concept as well. You need money to build a church, and maybe you're called to be someone that God uses to integrate your wealth to be his wealth as well. I hope you guys take this post the right way that my intention resides in.

I have one principle that I shape my praise team around, and that is role playing. I believe that every single member, whether they play the same instrument or all love music, have specific roles in which they need to fulfill. I'm sure you can feel the absence of each member when they miss practice or service, no matter how little their musical role seems to be at times. In the same way, I think that every single one of you has a role to fulfill for God's kingdom. Your job right now is to discover that and when you're at the prime stage of your life that gets you excited to plan your life and what not, you need to put God first! And think of what God would want you to do in 30 years from now with the talents that you've been given.

______________________________________________________

As Sam preached on this topic today, remember to always pray. God can't just help you or tell you your goal in life if you don't talk to him. It's impossible. Remember this: When you pray to God and ask him to show you your role in his Kingdom, his purpose for you doesn't change. Only his action does. He will act on your prayer to help you as much as possible because he needs your help and he wants you to be a part of his Kingdom-building process. He just wants to hear it from you.

Relating back to Hannah's devos from a few days back, remember that God knows all, but he cannot take any action unless you tell him about it and ask him. That is what prayer is for. He wants to know that you're on the same page as him and you want it just as badly as he does. PRAY PRAY PRAY!


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