Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's Ok To Be Wrong

One of the reasons we may not engage others with the Gospel or biblical wisdom is a fear of being wrong about some detail. That fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in front of a group can completely shut a Christian down from sharing their faith. There is however, an antidote to this fear.

What is the truth here?

Wrap your mind around this idea... "It's ok to be wrong!"

As we go about our day, as Christians we should be ready to tell others what the Lord has done for us.  There is nothing to fear, especially if you prepare yourself. If you're not ready, you can be!

Focus on Coming to the Truth

If we get wrapped up in a philosophical question and we realize that we have wandered off on some tangent that is more, "uniformed opinion," than truth, do this... acknowledge it! Now, that's not hard is it?

Step one is to acknowledge to ourselves that we are wrong.

Step two, we want to have a mindset of always seeking the truth. If we know our goal and are committed to that goal of getting the truth, we are in a humble state. That's a great place to be. It's a peaceful place to be!

Don't worry anymore about winning arguments or debates. Let seeking the truth be so important that you don't need to "be right" to win. We win when we win people, not arguments.

Step three, skillfully move the other person to think.

In most encounters we are dealing with someone who does not know how to process information. We can help their thinking process by developing the skills taught on our ITCZ 101 page, In The Field, section. These techniques are very effective and designed to win people, not necessarily a debate. Although, they can do that too. :-)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Are You Lost in Obedience?

Everything we are looking for in our relationship with the Lord is found on the other side of a renewed mind. A renewed mind ushers us to walk in obedience. The result is an amazing relationship with the Lord.

Everything we want in a relationship with the Lord is on the other side of a renewed mind.

Bearing fruit, understanding the scriptures or walking in the Spirit, these things come only after we have been renewed in the mind and take action.

A renewed mind is a mind that thinks like Jesus thinks. It draws us to obedience. This is where we bear fruit and grow in a close and intimate relationship with the Lord. There isn't another way to grow.

Can we enter an extreme phase of obedience? Possibly. How is your thinking? Do you understand you are going to live forever? If that's so, then how does that change how you think?

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23 NLT

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How Do We Establish Our Thoughts?

Paul taught us that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. We see that the process of our sanctification occurs in the mind and specific to not only "what" we think, but "how" we think. So how do we establish our thoughts?

A mad dash to the 'beginning' of our life!

In the book of Proverbs we have a wonderful command from the Lord teaching us a great way to do this.

If we commit our works to the Lord, then our thoughts will be established. - Proverbs 16:3 NLT

We want our thoughts and our thought process to be like the Lords. There is a way of thinking that is very different from the thinking we learned in this world. This a pretty straight forward action step to get us there. The idea is to commit our work to the Lord and the result is thinking like Jesus thinks.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Activate Thinking FTW

We can become more effective delivering the Gospel and teaching the scriptures if we use compelling strategies. Although we can win arguments and be correct about the truth of the scriptures, that alone is generally not effective.

So let's discuss an important strategy. Activate thinking for the win.

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

If we want to be In The Cool Zone and effective, we will not be focused on looking for agreement when we present the scriptures. We want to focus on activating the thinking process in others. If we can do that, then those we are trying to reach can begin to evaluate the merits of a scripture or salvation in Christ.

The reason for this is, the mind is where transformation occurs. So if we can get someone to think then we essentially are helping them to truly listen.

Then he said, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." - Mark 4:9 NLT

The mechanism for growing in the Lord is being transformed by the renewing of our mind. We need to begin to think like Jesus thinks. If we can activate thinking, we have an opportunity to believe. If we can help others do the same we will see that we can become quite effective.

Jesus Asked Questions To Change The Mind

Any time Jesus engaged people, whether they were trying to trap him or sincerely asking a thoughtful question, He would almost always answer their question with a question. Why would he do that?

It's because they were asking the wrong questions due to bad thinking. His counter questions were to activate thinking. Jesus was leading them to salvation. He took the initiative because their worldly thinking process wasn't capable of getting them there. They needed a new way of thinking. A higher way of thinking.

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding.
Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble.
Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. - 1 Timothy 6:3-5 NLT

We want to give those who are not in Christ the best opportunity to hear the Gospel. So let's do everything we can to get past their worldly thinking by asking questions that move them past the bad thought process to thinking like Jesus thinks. We can do the same with believers when teaching biblical principles.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
For, "Who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?" But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT

So let's take every opportunity to be ready to activate thinking in ourselves and in others.

Activate thinking for the win!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Love Is Where Your Life Is

Remember when you first heard the definition of love in the scriptures? A great way to understand love is understanding this; there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus said it Himself!

"Let's find ways to lay down our life, in life."

When we think of laying down our life we have a tendency to think in terms of jumping on a grenade or some similiar great sacrifice ending in our death. We sacrifice our life so that others may live. That truly is love.

A single act of selflessness, demonstrates love and engenders a deep sense of gratitude and new found purpose in those who were preserved... i.e. loved.

Our Lord and Saviour did exactly that. He was on a mission to give His life so that all could be saved. Again, true love, and we are motivate through gratitude that could not be gained any other way.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. - 2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT 

It's beautiful. It's humbling. It's life changing when you get your mind wrapped around the love it took to do what Jesus did. Will we be called on to give our life for another? Maybe, yet there is something more...

Life From Life 

Let's also look at love from another angle to see all it has to offer. If we show love by a single heroic act of giving our life, could we say that, "we demonstrated love by laying down our life, in death?" Sure!

If that is a fair assessment, then could there be a side of love where, "we lay down our life, in life?" You bet!

... and this is where we are equipped to love every moment. So how do we do it?

Our Lord has defined the greatest among is the one that makes themself the lowest. The one who serves is the greater. The one who spends his life, gives life. Why? One reason is because they love greater by taking action!

Thinking fondly about someone really does nothing for them. You may feel good but if you want to love, find an opportunity to take action.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwing Ice Is Irrelevant

Continued from, Take Away Their Argument.

Things seemed to be off to a mundane start. The restaurant was set to open in an hour and there was much to do. Tables needed to be set. Glasses needed a polish. Everyone was busy scurrying about taking care of their assignments and teaming up to complete mutual tasks. Well... almost everyone.

Mike was a good waiter. He was a smart kid and well liked by his guests. Once the night started he was attentive to his tables and a decent team player. However, the routine tasks of setting up the dining room did not play to his strengths.

Take away their argument... again.

The Plot Unfolds

While setting up it was not uncommon for ole Mike to disappear to the room service kitchen to chat with the young ladies. Sometimes it was a jaunt out to the resorts main pool, which the restaurant overlooked, to dream about the ladies there.

Before taking his leave, Mike would ensure his section was set but then would quickly disappear avoiding the tasks that required the entire team. Well after a few weeks of this, Tommy, a fellow server, had seen enough.

One evening when Mike was making his way back from frolicking, and conveniently after setup was complete, Tommy took matters into his own hands. In a moment of exasperation, Tommy reached into the ice well and threw a handful of ice at Mike.

Fortunately, I witnessed the exchange and was able to stop a physical altercation. I immediately called them into the office to sort out frustrations and saw this as an opportunity to correct Mike's lazy habits.

Here was the playing field as I saw it:
- There was one person disrupting the team (Mike).
- One frustrated about a bad teammate, responding inappropriately (Tommy).
- Myself, with the authority to take disciplinary action.
- The restaurant manager, who was the final authority.

The Strategy

When I called the guys into the office to straighten things out, I had one main objective. That was to take my best shot at getting Mike on track during setup. Tommy, on the other hand, was actually an outstanding person and throwing the ice at Mike was out of character. I really wasn't worried about his behavior moving forward. In fact, I was glad he did it, as it gave me a reason to address Mike's issues.

I wanted to be effective and I knew that to do that I was going to have to "take away" the irrelevant arguments that I anticipated would come from Mike. Here's how it transpired:

Take Away Argument 1 - "Recruit appropriate authority."

The first step was to bring as much authority to bear, so I grabbed the General Manager and asked him to sit in the office for the conversation. I also asked him not to say anything unless he was addressed by Mike or Tommy directly. I had a strategy and didn't want him to feel he had to step in and disrupt the direction I was going take.

Mike and Tommy took a seat in front of the GM's desk, the GM sat on a stool to the side and I sat behind the GM's desk. It was a position of authority and that was important to keep everyone focused on what I was saying.