choices

Overcoming The Slow Death of Negativity

I did it again. Something we all let happen to us. I let negativity rob me of joy. It never fails to amaze me. How I can allow something like the darkness of negativity affect me in such a way, which allows death to enter into my soul. No matter how big or how small the negativity is.

If allowed to overrun us, negativity can kill—albeit slowly.

And I think thats what really happens. When we allow negativity to enter into our hearts, we in fact are allowing death to creep it's way into our hearts and wrap its cold and lifeless fingers around our souls. We inch closer to what God never wanted for us to experience—a life dominated with worry, fear, anxiety, drought, emptiness and without hope.

Death Was Never Intended For Us

Death is something God never intended. God wants us to live an abundant life—one that is full of faith, love, compassion, peace, hope, and rest. One that chooses life instead of death.

When I allow criticism to make me question if I'm good enough or make me feel unliked, or someone else's success determine my value as a person or equating I'm a failure—I am allowing death to steal from me the abundant life that is mine in Jesus.

If you want to overcome the darkness of negativity in your life, then let joy overwhelm it.

Overcoming The Slow Death of Negativity

When we allow joy to infiltrate our hearts, we are choosing to follow the way of Jesus. One that builds up instead of tearing down. We are choosing compassion over indifference, healing instead of wounding, love over animosity, and sacrifice over survival.

Everyday we are confronted with the choice of practicing an abundant life or practicing one that is gripped by scarcity and death. It's not a matter of positive thinking as if you can think good thoughts and it will go away. This is shallow, and unrealistic mumbo jumbo—meaningless. It lends no dignity to the human experience.

No. To live and practice an abundant life requires action and faith. Action that puts hands to work and feet to the pavement—it requires you to truly forgive, handout mercy, and love unconditionally. It's a trust that believes no matter what happens and not matter how much it hurts, you will make it through—you can and will overcome the slow death of negativity. There is always hope.

I know what will happen once I publish this blog post. Negativity's darkness will creep its way into my heart and try to steal from me the life God wants me to experience and manifest—an abundant life full of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

And so it is. Who will I allow to reign in my heart? Who will dictate the outcome of my day?

Lessons about church from 'pasgetti' sauce

[ted id=20]  

*I know I spelled the word spaghetti wrong in the title. And I do it again further along in this blog post (This is so all you Grammar Nazis can continue reading).

I am not completely sure where I'm going with this, but here it is anyways—maybe this is written so you can add your two cents worth.

In Malcolm Gladwell's 2044 TED Talk on "Choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce," he talks about the power of choice and the importance of understanding universals and variables when making choices. He talks about the cooking/food industry search for cooking universals—one way to treat all of our food desires and taste for food. What they discovered was there wasn't really any universal food desires or tastes.

As I watched Gladwell's TED Talk, I kept thinking about what my buddy Mike Packer has told me,

"It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people."

In a way Gladwell's TED Talk sort of spoke to this point. The researcher in his story proved while it seems on the outside everyone wants or desires the same thing, in reality many don't. So food manufactures, in their effort to be on top of the food industry, needed to broaden their choices they offer to consumers.

photo

Now I know watch your thinking! Is Joe advocating for consumeristic churches—ones that offer everything under the sun or what i like to call Buffet Churches. The answer to this is NO, NO no and no (See I stopped my yelling)... I think a consumeristic bent on Christianity has been the devil's tool to weaken the church. Enough on that, I've blogged about this several times.

I've been there and done that. I am sure it works for some people, but I've been hard-pressed to see costly discipleship. From my experience, people who have latched onto what Bonhoeffer calls "Costly Grace" and are living out a costly discipleship, don't take advantage of the Buffet menu.

I am simple making an observation. Much like what my buddy Mike has shared with me, there is a need for churches of different flavors, worship styles, of different sizes, and etc... It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Much like pasgetti sauce... There is not one right way to be the church.

News flash for you! Not everyone in your city will go to your church. And not everyone will like the way your church does church. So let's stop telling each other how each of our churches should be functioning. Allow the Holy Spirit to shape you, your people, and your church.

God has big plans for you and your church. Stop trying to be like everyone else. Quit being a schizophrenic church.

No more competition. No more Jealousy. Just BE the church the Holy Spirit has called you, shaped you, and allowed you to be.

Do me a favor and read the words of the image to below to yourself three times out loud.

 

Image found via loswhit

 

Yeah. Jealousy is a lie.

 

Let the conversation begin...