The Gospel

My Biggest First Quarter Takeaway – There’s Only One Decision.

With the first quarter now behind us, it’s always fun to reflect on goals for the year and truly see where progress has [or has not] occurred!

So this past week, as I ended Q1 2013 in the midst of travel to Cleveland for meetings with Direct Response Marketing Godfather Dan Kennedy, I decided to pull out my weekly journal and reflect on the quarter that was, while regrouping for the days, weeks and months ahead of me.

Why do I set goals and write in my journal each week? Because I don’t know how many days God has even decided that I have left on this earth. Thus, I am committed to making each one count, as a steward of the time and resources He has so undeservedly blessed me with.

For any of you who might be waking up living in the dual role of an entrepreneurial business leader and the head of your household, you are no doubt fighting a daily divide between intensely growing your business, and being the best father-husband combo that you can be.

Yes, I said divide. Because, at least for me, it’s a daily give-and-take for me to stay dedicated to what it takes to grow business while being the most loving father and husband possible. My family needs me and so does my business.

That being said, after meeting or exceeding the majority of my business goals in 2012, I realized I had fallen short in several of those father, husband and son of God areas where I so desperately wanted to grow.

So when I sat down a little more than three months ago, to set my 2013 goals, I made sure that I started with those spiritual and family realms where I had fallen short, and worked on business goals last. Spending time in deep thought, meditation and prayer on that last week of 2012, I really decided to make a commitment to being diligent with my focus on Christ in everything I was setting out to do this year.

From simple things like only reading Gospel-based books during Q1 2013 [versus the usual 2+ business books I read each month], to exchanging weekend hours usually spent watching sports or reading business content, for more hours with my family; I dedicated the first quarter to making a series of intricate changes in my habits, with hopes that it’d make some bigger changes in my overall person.

Ironically, it was a business book that had me focusing on my habits more, as Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, wrote a great book [The Compound Effect] about the philosophy of changing daily habits to create changes in your overall being. One which I was able to apply first-hand during this challenge of discipline that I had commissioned myself to take on wholeheartedly.

And I’m happy to say that the first quarter was quite an improvement in the head-of-household department. But where the “rubber really met the road,” was in my walk with Christ.

While I did decide to continue reading my 11 different business newsletters and magazines that I subscribe to receive each month, I also decided to stay true to my commitment to my Gospel-Based book reading goals. This content, charged together with dedicated scripture meditation in the entire book of Judges, along with Romans 8 and Hebrews 12, lead to some serious freedom in my continuously blessed journey.

I am planning on doing a video blog post later this month, reviewing the six different books I read in Q1 2013 and even sharing some of the goals I’ve set for this year. However, right now, I would like to focus on an intense truth that I have began to focus on more than ever before, during this Q1 journey.

It’s the fact that we must face the truth that there is only one decision for us to make as humans, in regard to our faith [or lack there of] in Christ.

You either believe The Gospel Truth, or you don’t. Period.

While just about every human acknowledges that Jesus was a man who roamed the earth, the decision occurs with a multiple choice answer regarding his time here on earth.

(a) Jesus was a liar and/or a crazy man, and did not actually rise from death three days after being crucified.

OR

(b) Jesus did rise from death after shedding His blood to save us from the sin we are otherwise unable to conquer.

My choice is (b). What’s yours?

I maintain that Christ came to save us by living the life that no one else could live, only to die the death we all deserve to die, not only rising from and defeating death, but also providing us with forgiveness for the sin that we are all so deeply infected with as human beings.

The world we live in today, is not all that different from the idol-worshipping times described in Old Testament books like Judges, where pluralistic beliefs in multiple gods providing multiple paths of salvation, were the norm.

However, if there is only one decision of (a) or (b), then pluralism should be replaced with an actual choice. Something many people simply do not want to hear or actually face.

In His amazing work, The Reason For God, Tim Keller shares a tale of a rabbi, a muslim man, and himself, all visiting a scholarly university in New York, where they did a panel on religion for a large group of students. The only thing that Keller said he and his panel agreed upon was the fact that only one of them could be correct in their assumptions; there is only one decision.

We agreed that “If Christians are right about Jesus being God, then Muslims and Jews fail in a serious way to love God as God really is, but if Muslims and Jews are right that Jesus is not God but rather a teacher or prophet, then Christians fail in a serious way to love God as God really is,” says Keller.

This began a large debate amongst the post-modern, pluralistic audience who felt that this consensus between the three men was an outrage, due to the fact that only one of their doctrines was THE path to salvation. The problem with this is the fact that by ignoring these three doctrines represented by this panel, people are actually creating a doctrine of their own, that they are basing their entire life upon, both the human one here on earth AND the eternal one that will live on forever.

As my pastor [David Platt] has said repeatedly; “if you disagree with me and think that Christ did not die and raise from the grave to save us, you are to pity me for basing my whole life on a lie.”

However, on the other side of the fence, is the notion that with my faith is so strongly embedded in my belief that Christ did indeed come to save us, and that this is the only way to eternal paradise, it would be one of the most hateful things I could do, to keep this faith to myself.

How can I be so selfish to keep a secret to myself? I can’t.

I can’t be a disciple, if I am not a disciple-maker. Can I? David and his colleague Francis Chan (San Francisco) break this down in the following video.

Although I grew up in The Church with The Bible in my hand throughout my childhood, I did not become a Christian until 2009, when I finally turned from myself and my sin, to follow Christ unconditionally with love. But I don’t know that I’ve ever embraced the simplicity that lies in this simple decision that everyone will make, one way or another. And if I haven’t embraced this decision until a few years ago, imagine how many others around me, are walking around today ignoring it as well!

And so, if my decision is clearly that Jesus came here to save us, by shedding His blood and dying on the cross only to raise from death three days later, then I better saddle-up and start being more intentional on sharing it with the vast network of friends, family and colleagues that He has put in my life.

Dedicated to holding myself to it,

Jim

You can hold me to it, too – Just click on my name above to email me!

Advertisements
Standard

7 thoughts on “My Biggest First Quarter Takeaway – There’s Only One Decision.

  1. Jim,
    First of all, I see you as an admirable, honorable, and just a great all around person that I am thankful to have known and hope will have the opportunity to continue to get to know in the future. I can see that you live Jesus’s message as it shows greatly! With that being said, I hope that you will read the following with a critical yet open minded eye knowing that I have researched the Bible for years, published one book (www.DawkinsTruth.com), and I am simply sharing with you some of what I’ve found as a friend and brother.

    A) Is the most important choice to believe that Jesus rose from the dead thus saving us from the sin we are otherwise unable to conquer?

    OR

    B) Is the most important choice to believe and more importantly make the choice to live Jesus’s message (Love) so that you are saved from living a life of unhappiness, misery, emotional agony (what Hell or “Living in the Flesh” represents) RIGHT NOW?

    My choice is B.

    I, personally, do believe that Jesus did rise from the dead, but my point is to show that the most important decision Jesus would want anyone to make is not believe that he rose from the dead, first and foremost, but to live his message. Jesus wasn’t about accolades as Jesus was a teacher, first and foremost. My mom is a teacher, and she is great at what she does. My mom has never wanted accolades for what she has done for a student as my mom finds satisfaction in seeing her students succeed in life, and she finds great joy when former students come back and thank her for whatever lesson she taught them that allowed them to find greater success in life. My mom doesn’t expect nor want students going around telling other people how great she is. My mom simply wants to affect her students in a positive way. Hence, what is most important to my mom as a teacher is her message or lesson. Now, I find my mom to be a very loving person, but I understand Jesus to be the most loving person.

    So, first and foremost, would Jesus want people to tell him and others how great he is for dying on the cross or would Jesus simply want people to live his message (Love) as by living his message allows for people to achieve joy, happiness, love (Spiritual Life) right now?

    Here are some Scriptures backing up my claims:

    Jesus wanted people to believe in his teachings (which is to LOVE) and not simply the name, “Jesus!”

    John 14: 23 23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
    John 8: 31 31Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings, then you are really my disciples.

    John 15: (10, 12, 14, 17) 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 17This is my command: Love each other.

    Luke 6: 40 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher (equal as his teacher)

    Jesus came to show people how to live life of RIGHT NOW!

    John 10: 10 KJV 10I have come so that they may have LIFE (spiritual life), LIFE (happiness, joy) more abundantly.

    You have Spiritual Death (Emotional Agony, Misery- what “Hell” represents) OR Spiritual Life (Happiness, Joy- what “Heaven” represents) RIGHT NOW!

    1 John 3: 14 14We know that we have passed from death (“spiritual death”) to life (“spiritual life”), because we LOVE our brothers. Anyone WHO DOES NOT LOVE REMAINS in death (“spiritual death” or “emotional agony/sorrow”).

    God is Love

    1 John 4: (7-8, 16) NIV 7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 16God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him

    John 13: 35 KJV 35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    1 John 3: 18 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

    Romans 13: (9-10) 9if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 10Love worked no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Matthew 5: 9 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God

    Galatians 5: (6, 14, 22-23)
    6The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 14For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD (LOVE), even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23Meekness, temperance (self-control): AGAINST such THERE IS NO LAW.

  2. Shay, thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts. While I am not going to respond with a comment as long as yours, I will simply say that my feelings on The Gospel and yours are clearly putting two different things at the focal point.

    You are taking scripture about Christ calling us to show His love for others in our actions, and making a point to say that this is our first and foremost mission on earth. I am saying that the realization that we are helpless without His blood and the grace that came with it, is more important than anything we could be meditating on each day.

    If you’d like, I can take this offline with you and share countless scriptures that tell us our works are meaningless without the faith in His blood and grace FIRST. However, I am not going to sit here and write you a comment that says I don’t agree with the fact that we are to do everything possible to edify His actions of love in all we do. It just isn’t the answer to our salvation, but an evidence of our faith in His blood.

    Anyways, if we end up agreeing to disagree, it’s okay. Because the dream of the evil one, is for us to argue over this, when we both clearly believe in the fact He came to save us.

    Maybe we can catch up next time I am in your neck of the woods? Still in Tuscaloosa? Click on my name above to email me directly.

  3. Jim, I simply left an introduction to let you know my intent for leaving a reply, a logical explanation from real life experience showing what a true teacher’s goal is (Jesus was a teacher or “Rabbi,” first and foremost), and I lastly left multiple Biblical instances supporting the truth I’ve found.

    I would like to point out to you that the “so-called experts/preachers” that you endorse in the videos on your blog and elsewhere always fell to mention any Biblical instances that actually support anything that they believe. I’m not here to argue or be negative, my man, but that’s just the truth. Don’t be naive and believe a preacher, my man. The truth is listed above and you’ll see & feel it, if you actually take the time to read and think about it. I would warn you against promoting false teachers AKA preachers who have been told what to believe in seminary school. Keep it simple, if a preacher doesn’t focus on Jesus’s message, first and foremost, then they are not someone who knows the truth!

    • Shay. Let’s chat sometime. Tim Keller and David Platt couldn’t be further from doctrine and/or seminary based teaching, and more based on the scriptures.

  4. At least in this video it seems David Platt is touching on the same issue that I have which is:

    PROBLEM= People think it’s about believing Jesus arose or believe saying a prayer “saves” you

    SOLUTION= It’s really about LIVING JESUS’S MESSAGE as when you LIVE JESUS’S message you’ll be “SAVED from living a life of unhappiness, misery, and emotional agony” RIGHT NOW

    However,David Platt doesn’t know this solution. With that being said, I do respect that he understands the problem. The first step to finding any solution is understanding the problem, first and foremost, and I believe that he cares and may eventually understand the solution that has been revealed to me. (Here’s the video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPhEEzjU8xQ)

    Tim Keller is much closer to the truth than David Platt. No surprise, he’s a lot older (Lol!). I believe Tim Keller believes a lot of the same way that I do yet he still has religious doctrine upon him (just not nearly as much as your typical preacher). Presbyterians, by the way, are the closest to the truth out of “mainstream Christians” (just in my opinion and from my many conversations). I respect Keller after hearing his video, and my only issue would be how he views the concept of “sin” as it isn’t correct, but if my first comment was long, then I’m not going to even start on what “sin” is because it would be very long, thorough, and deep! Lol!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s