Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Armor of God | The Word of God

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The Armor of God | Take the Sword

We previously looked at The Helmet of Salvation, so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the The Sword of the Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit

The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God... - Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

The sword of the Spirit has an effect. The effect is a superior perspective.

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

This piece of armor actually has many powerful effects that you can quickly discover. Again, for our purposes we'll just focus on what may be the most impactful... a new perspective.

In the Old Testament we see that God's thoughts and ways are higher, than our thoughts and ways. This is because until we are born again and have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, and informing us, there's no way to see another way to look at our existence.

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 55:9 NLT

Perspective... It's a Big Deal! 

We have an example in the scriptures where we see unbelievers who are stuck with only one worldly perspective. Satan and his world system have human minds on lock down. So much so, that Paul tells us that they are held captive to do whatever Satan wants.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Armor of God | Hope

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

Our confident hope of salvation.

We previously looked at The Shield of Faith, so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the The Helmet of Salvation.

The Helmet of Salvation

Take the helmet of salvation... - Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

The Helmet of Salvation has an effect. The effect is, a joyful and confident expectation of the Lord.

But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. - 1 Thessalonians 5:8 NLT

The word confidence in the New Living Translation is actually a very familiar word we otherwise know as hope. The helmet is the hope of our salvation. It is an expectation that is joyful. It is an expectation that is confident. Our salvation, hope, joy, confidence and expectation are all tied together. When these concepts are valued, nurtured and inseparable from our thoughts, they become the helmet that is impenetrable.

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. - 1 Thessalonians 5:8 NASB

Expectation, joy, confidence and hope are synonyms in many ways. They work together to fortify a Christlike mindset. Joy, confidence and a vibrant expectation of the Lord are how we know we have our helmet on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Armor of God | Faith

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The effect of faith is destroying the works of Satan, the world and the flesh.

We previously looked at The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the Shield of Faith.

The Shield of Faith

Above all, taking the shield of faith... - Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

The Shield of Faith has an effect. The effect is, destroying the works of Satan, the world and the flesh.

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. - Ephesians 6:16 NKJV
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. - 1 John 5:4 NLT
Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. ... For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, - Ephesians 2:3, 8 NKJV 

This piece of armor gives a clear description of what it does right away. To get an even more clear understanding of the Shield of Faith, let look at how faith works.

There are many ways to come at faith and there are some obstacles to understanding faith. We'll begin with a quick definition to help frame our thinking and overcome the first obstacle... a critical misunderstanding. Let's start with a solid, easy to understand definition.

Faith is the trust we have in someone 
based on what we know about their character.

God's Character

With this definition we naturally will want to look at God's character and attributes to determine if He is worthy of our trust. So what do we know about His Character?
He hears me.
He has made wonderful promises.
He keeps His promises.
He wants to keep His promises.
He is able to keep His promises.
He does not Lie
He does not change.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Armor of God | Preparation

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The effect of preparation is readiness bound in peacefulness.

We previously looked at The Breastplate of Righteousness, so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace.

Shoes | Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace...Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

Preparation has an effect. The effect is, readiness bound in peacefulness.

This piece of armor has a lot going on. Although we have a few added details to follow, keep it simple. How is your readiness? How is your peacefulness? If we have these things we know we have our feet shod properly.

Let's now look at Feet, Preparation and Peace individually and look into a few aspects of each attribute.

Feet, Preparation, Peace

The word, feet, has a couple connotations that will help shed light on how this piece of armor is understood in the scriptures. One way it can be demonstrated is in the example of being at the feet of someone such as a teacher. Mary was at Jesus's feet and He said that she chose well. It is a place of teaching, listening, learning and engaged thoughtfulness.

The word, Prepare, refers both to the act of preparing and one who is prepared and/or readied. We get the sense here that preparation is ongoing and yet we do eventually attain a state of being ready and still continuing in our development.

Peace is reflected here in two ways. The first is revealed in ESV translation that reads, "as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." That speaks to the demeanor of one who has their feet shod i.e. readiness through peace. The second way speaks to our standing with God, revealed in the following scripture...

Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. - Romans 5:1 NLT

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Armor of God | Righteousness

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The Breastplate of Righteousness puts us in the throne room of God.

We previously looked at The Belt of Truth so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the Breastplate of Righteousness! 

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Having put on the breastplate of righteousness...Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

Righteousness has an effect. The effect is, it puts us in the throne room of God.

When we are burdened with sin we separate ourselves from God. Conversely, when we are right with God, a whole new world opens up for us and he sees and hears us! More precisely, He is looking for us and listening for us.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. - 1 Peter 3:12 ESV
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous. - Proverbs 15:29 NLT 

Righteousness opens the door for faith and faith is important in our thinking here, so let's review our definition of faith. Faith is the trust we have in someone base on what we know about their character.

There certainly is much more to say about faith but this definition is a great place to start. It's difficult to have faith if we do not know God's character. Here's what we know:

He loves us without exception. 
He has given us many wonderful promises.
He intends to keep His promises.
He does not/cannot lie.
He delights in keeping His promises.
He is able to keep His promises.
He does not change.
He is listening for us. 

When we know these things about our Father there is no thought that our requests are too small or trite. He is not indifferent. He is focused on your every breath. Open your mouth and make your requests. Thank Him. Praise Him. Chit-chat with Him. Your breastplate has made all of this possible.

The person who does not have on the Breastplate of Righteousness thinks their request as too meager for God. "He has better things to do." This person thinks God has bigger plans that do not include them. The world has crafted this kind of thinking and we have adopted it. Yet, we know that it is absurdly wrong!

His plans are actually focused on you and your participation. Here is God's will for those who have on the Breastplate of Righteousness...

Come to Me with shameless persistence!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Armor of God | Truth

There are plenty of studies on the armor of God that do a great job on describing what the armor is. Yet, it's still challenging to get a good grasp of what the armor actually is and how to put the armor on. So, let's come at this in a little bit different way.

The Armor of God speaks to our thought process. We put on that armor with our thinking.

Since the armor of God is such an important part of our walk, let's shift our thinking and look at it from a a different perspective. Instead of starting with the what and how of the armor, let's look at the effect of the armor and maybe the what and how will make more sense.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV. Each piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's look at the effect of each piece over the next few weeks. Today we are tackling the Belt of Truth!

The Belt of Truth


Having girded your waist with truth...Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

Truth has an effect. The effect is liberty. It makes us free!

We now know one effect of truth.

Probably easier than you were thinking but let's walk through it. When we examine our freedom in Christ there awakens a whole new way of living and thinking that brings refreshing.

However, if we don't know the truth or how to get the truth, we will find ourselves ineffective as a follower of Christ and not walking in that liberty. Truth always works but we have to put it on, or as the scripture instruct, "having our waist girded with truth."

Now, how do we do that?

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." - John 8:31-32 NASB

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Happiness vs. Joy

There may be a few ways to look at happiness vs. joy and maybe this will add value to their distinctions. Happiness is generally determined by what is happening to us or even an accumulation of good or bad events or circumstances. Joy is completely different. It is determined by what we choose.

It is a fruit of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit, in a Christian, is always producing this fruit.

When you ask someone if they are happy, the happy person says something like, "I feel good, things are going well, there haven't been any emergencies, my relationships are going well." The unhappy person says, "I haven't felt good, things are not going great, I've had a few emergencies and relationships have been tough." These are all external influences.

Joy, for the Christian, is internal. It is a fruit of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit, in a Christian, is always producing this fruit. It's our job to get in on it. The barrier for doing this, comes from thinking we are the source of joy and we have to go outside of ourselves to get it.

The Old Man or The New Man

The scriptures describe two natures within the born again Christian. They have a few different names and traits that will probably be familiar.


The Old Man | The New Man
The Old Nature | A New Nature
The Flesh | The Spirit
The World | The Mind of Christ
Slave to Sin | Slave to Christ
Death | Life and Peace
Mind Set On Fleshly Desires | Mind Set On What The Spirit Desires
Old Things Have Passed Away | All Things Have Become New


All things have become new. The place where we find the biggest impact of "all things being new" is in our thinking. Thinking is the mechanism of our transformation in Christ. It's a whole new world of how one thinks. When it comes to walking in the fruit of the Spirit, it's a choice to walk in that fruit.

The confusion comes from thinking that says, you either feel great and have the joy of the Lord or you feel terrible and do not have the joy of the Lord. That is completely untrue. We actually have both at the same time.

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. 2 Corinthians 6:10 NLT

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Chuck Missler, Servant Of Christ

Dr. Chuck Missler went to be with the Lord on May 1st, 2018.

It is difficult to put into words what he has meant to me as my heart has been heavy. He has taught the Word of God for decades and I am just one of so many that he has touched in that time.


I am grateful to have known Chuck through his teachings. It was my Uncle Pat and Aunt Sheryl, who lent me the first Chuck Missler, Briefing Pack, which kicked off the most intense, insightful and thorough Biblical studies that I have ever come across.

The Briefing Pack was called, The Coming Temple, Update. I remember it looking a little different than what you see here. The cover was pink and just had the words, The Coming Temple, Update, on the front. The pack shown here, I believe is a newer version.

The Coming Temple Update by Chuck Missler | My First Briefing Pack
My first Briefing Pack

If I remember correctly, the cover looked more like the following Briefing Pack, which I understand was Chuck's first Briefing Pack. He called it, a "Two Pack." I found this tidbit in the Compass International's weekly email, which featured a wonderful tribute to Chuck. Thank you, Compass International!


There He Was!

I met Chuck Missler one time and I remember it vividly.

My wife Lisa and I we're visiting family in Newport, Washington, and took a morning to visit  Koinonia House in Post Falls, Idaho, where Chuck was headquartered. We drove over and I was pretty excited. I was thinking there was no chance I would see Chuck but wanted to see where all those Briefing Packs were coming from.

We walked into the front office of Koinonia House, aka K-House, and met the friendly receptionist and started to peruse the selection. I was on high alert as I was thinking, how in the world could I get a chance to shake Chuck's hand?!?

Lisa and I were like kids in a candy store. I knew from Chuck's newsletter, Personal Update, that he had dozens of Briefing Packs and commentaries, but this was crazy. I was in the showroom people! If I had, had a wheelbarrow, I would have carted off the entire lot.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone walk in the front door and begin to make his way up a set a stairs that I had not noticed. It was Chuck! I honestly didn't know what to do. I wanted to be sure to treat him like a brother, not a rock star, and my window was closing fast.

I had the sense that Chuck was adept at getting through the front door and up those steps quickly, as anyone in the small bookstore would want a little time to speak with him... and I'm sure that "little time" would turn into a lot of time, and I get that. However, he had the posture that he would take whatever time I wanted to engage with him.

I simply said, "Chuck?"

He stopped at the first step, stepped back and turned, "yes?"

I squeezed out, "How are you, sir?"

"I'm doing great, how are you?" he responded.

"I'm doing very well, thank you. Have a good day."

"Ok, you too."

I wanted the rest of the day with him but this was appropriate and the honor was all mine.

Later that week, I went to one of Chuck's live meetings. I was soooo excited to see Chuck speak in person, so this was a real treat. I arrive early and got my seat and strapped in for the ride of my life. Well, it turns out that Chuck had a guest that night, so instead of Chuck, I got Avi Lipkin.

My heart dropped to the floor as, I was thinking, "I've come all this way to get a guest speaker!?! For crying out loud!" Hahaha! Well it turns out I was in for the ride I was expecting but it was the great Avi Lipkin at the wheel.

That setting turned out to be, a new Briefing Pack, not in circulation, which for all intents and purposes was Avi's prediction of "planes falling out of the sky and buildings blowing up," that was given a mere 2 months before 911.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Biblical Archaeology

There are many ways to confirm the authenticity of the scriptures and confirm the recorded accuracy of what makes up the 66 books of the Bible and the reality of the God of the Bible. Although, our best method for confirming the truth of the bible just may be what the psalmist suggested in 1Psalm 34:8 (NLT) and simply, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”

Biblical Archaeology has laid out what seems to be an endless case for the authenticity of the Bible.

Yet, there are other fantastic ways to begin to see and confirm the authenticity of the Bible. Anything from showing the accuracy of the many ancient prophecies, to confirming the existence of individuals mentioned, the eyewitness accounts, detailed accounts of places, events, and even the timing of events, are all great places to start. 

The study of Biblical Archaeology is one of these disciplines that can be persuasive logically and coherently in showing someone of the opposing view, why Christianity is a Worldview that makes a lot of sense, and in fact, doesn’t make sense to reject. Used the right way we can make our case for biblical authenticity and more importantly deliver the Gospel at every opportunity.

Biblical Archaeology has laid out what seems to be an endless case for the authenticity of the Bible. Let’s begin by endeavoring to define archaeology, the Historical Method, and cite what will simply amount to a small fraction of the many archaeological proofs that establish the scriptures as authentic and an accurately preserved document. 

Then we will describe and demonstrate how to deliver the Gospel so we can not only persuade but also win others to Christ.

Defining Terms

A great way to start is to define terms. What is archaeology? 

According to Wikipedia, 2archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, and cultural landscapes. 

So, it’s the study of “old stuff” to reveal a culture and when it existed.

What is Biblical Archaeology? 

Again, from Wikipedia, 3Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible, be they from the Old Testament (Tanakh) or from the New Testament, as well as the history and cosmogony of the Judeo-Christian religions.

The next question is, how do we deal consistently with the evidence we find, so we have a standard for interpreting our results?

It’s fun to jump into the myriad examples of archaeological Biblical proofs but it is important to start with the methodology, known as the “historical method,” so we can begin to understand the significance of findings and take a thoughtful approach in demonstrating archaeology as a powerful means of verifying that the scriptures reveal real people, real events and they are referenced in the appropriate time in history. 

This is so we can attribute the correct value of any one finding. That is to say, that how we deal with our information is as important as the information itself. A consistent methodology gives us a baseline for making good judgements.

The Historical Method

So, what is the historical method? 

According to Wikipedia the, 4“Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence, including the evidence of archaeology, to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past.” 

The highlight here is, “the techniques and guidelines.”  These guidelines, if accurate for attributing value to the evidence of non-biblically related findings, are certainly applicable to findings that are biblically related. 

A thorough analysis of the Historical Method would be more than what could be accomplished here. We as laymen, and the vast majority of people we will engage in this kind of discussion, most likely do not have the time to digest all that comes along with the historical methodology but it is reasonable to expect that all findings should be treated with the same guidelines, and dare I say, respect. 

With that let’s look at just a few examples of biblical archaeology after a quick intermission.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Facets of Discipleship

How many of us know scriptures? It's a lot. Yet, we find that many Christians feel lost or ineffective in their walk with their Lord and Savior.

Discipleship is the mechanism for guiding new and self proclaimed, ineffective Christians, to a clear and productive walk. So, if you're going "all in" to seek the Lord, you'll find that in a discipleship relationship, you won't just walk. You'll run!

Teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Discipleship is more than just taking a class or hanging out with a knowledgeable brother or sister in the Lord. Discipleship takes the form of an intimate relationship between two brothers or two sisters in the Lord.

In a discipleship relationship you will experience a close relationship with someone who will help you understand who God is and His plan for this universe. They will guide you in understanding who we are in Christ, how to walk with the Lord and inform our ministry.

In this discipleship relationship, the "discipler," uses several skills, their experience and the wisdom that the Lord has developed within them. These all get expressed through mentoring, teaching and coaching.

Mentoring

A mentor is a wise and trusted advisor. In business, it is the practice of assigning a junior member of staff to the care of a more experienced person as a tutor and a coach. We see in the scriptures where Jesus and Paul express their mentoring role.

And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." - Mark 1:17 NASB
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. - Philippians 3:17 NLT

Teaching

Good, insightful teaching of the scriptures can sometimes be hard to come by. A disciplers work is not to give good advice, either as a dad, a husband, a friend, or a close coworker. A discipler is focused on introducing the disciple to their God and Savior.

The disciple and the Lord will work through the problem solving, overcoming and purpose in the disciples life. The discipler merely teaches the disciple to walk in that relationship. Once the disciple is rich in their walk with the Lord the discipler has one last role... get out of the way and go find another disciple! :-)

A discipler will strategically teach, correct, restore, answer questions, and guide in accordance to the scriptures.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB

Coaching


A coach is an expert listener who uses direct communication and asks questions. Not just any questions. A coach asks the questions that a disciple can't or won't ask about their walk with the Lord. The "can't," might be a type of question that the disciple doesn't know to ask. The "won't" is the type of question that a disciple is afraid to ask.

There are many good examples of coaching in the scriptures and as you can imagine, Jesus was highly effective in this skill.

Then he asked them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" - Mark 4:40 NLT - Powerful Questioning for Self Awareness
... he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" ... Then he asked them, "But who do you say I am?" - Mark 8:27, 29 NLT - Powerful Questioning for Distinction and Clarity
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? - Mark 8:36 NLT  - Powerful Questioning for Perspective
Jesus answered them with a question: "What did Moses say in the law about divorce?" - Mark 10:3 NLT  - Powerful Questioning to Drawout Information
But Jesus responded, "He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts." - Mark 10:5 NLT  - Direct Communication to Add Insight

Coaching guides in understanding, that leads to meaningful and consistent action. It's nurtures deep thinking to reinforce the mindset of a disciple for sustained fortitude in their walk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Enhanced Perspective

Have you ever wondered why there are so many great Christian men and women that read the same scriptures and come to so many different and seemingly contradictory conclusions? Well, me too! There's actually a good way to understand this phenomenon, and understanding it can really help us in our discipling.


Perspective and fluid circumstances, are things that can be difficult to get our mind wrapped around. If only we were like the Lord and had unlimited knowledge. Yet, we will find that we don't need all knowledge if we have a great thinking strategy.

One reason we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our mind is because when we come to the Lord we think like the world. The challenge to transition our thinking is analogous to the question, "does a fish know he is in water?"

How can we take on God's thinking process when we are not even sure where the boundaries of our worldly thinking lie?

Jesus thought in ways that were foreign to everyone on the planet. He used parables, teachings and penetrating questioning to either enhance and/or disrupt worldly thinking and instill the mind of Christ. His perspective was extraordinary and had to be "discipled" or should I say, taught, mentored, coached and demonstrated.

Knowledge Impacts Perspective

Let's use a metaphor to illustrate "perspective," and why it is not our enemy and can be embraced. Understanding the concept of "perspective," will have the effect of bringing us closer to our brothers and sisters in the Lord and thereby bring us closer to our Father.

If I hand you a photo of a backpack laying on a table and ask you to describe everything you know about it, you can only give me so much information.

If I walk you around the table that the backpack is sitting on, you can give me even more information. In fact, there may be something that you would describe differently, now that you have more information. Yet, we still don't have all the information that we could have.

Next, I'll have you handle the bag. As you lift the backpack from the table you feel the weight. You can feel the material it's made of. You can tell if the bag is wet or dry. You can now, examine the harness, the pockets, the secret pockets, the loops, etc.

You can test the capacity by adding things to it and you can play with the adjustments on the harness. You can describe the contents and tell me if the water bottle has hot or cold liquid in it. Maybe you thought it was empty before you held it? Maybe you didn't even see the bottle in the picture?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Discipleship is the Next Step

There are three basic ingredients that go into our walk with the Lord. Prayer, reading the scriptures and connecting with other Christians. As much as we are grateful to the Lord for our new life, we still find that we struggle to do even these seemingly simple things. Why is that?

If you find someone who will take the time to walk in a discipleship relationship, don't let them get away.

It's because we do not understand the process of growing in the Lord. We need to be discipled. It is a vital part of coming to know the Lord and designed to bring us together that we can be of one mind, as the scriptures instruct us to do.

Without discipleship, we see growing in our walk much differently than the Lord does. In fact, the ways of the Lord are difficult to understand until we grow into them.

As a new creation in Christ we grow through having our mind renewed. There is a way that God sees that we cannot. God has a thought process that our old nature, which is the only way we knew, cannot understand.

We need to adopt a new way of thinking or we simply will not know God or who He is. We cannot become like Him, until we think like Him.

"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 
So this begs the question, if I don't know God's ways, then how in the world can I grow?

A Mystery Revealed

Yep! It's a mystery. Fortunately, the mystery has been revealed to those who are in Christ. The answer is discipleship!

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God--his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. - 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NLT

The ability to grow in Christ was formerly not possible. This is because we did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us until Jesus sent Him to us. God in us, the hope of glory is the mystery revealed. He is the mechanism by which one learns, grows and teaches in Christ
But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. - 1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Path of Repentance

We continue to drill down through the Three Phases of Salvation, into Sanctification, and finally, with a focus on repentance.

Repentance & Renewing Your Mind

There will certainly be more to be said about all of the aspects of falling into sin and returning to obedience but here is a quick outline to use as a guide when we do fall. The path of repentance is the process of recovering from our sin and is the mechanism of renewing our mind.

The Path of Repentance

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Falling Into Sin

So, let's say we fall into sin. Jesus takes up our case and presents it to our Father. 

The Path to Repentance - Sin

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Conviction

The Holy Spirit then immediately brings conviction.

The Path to Repentance - Conviction

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Godly Sorrow

This conviction brings sorrow. If we have a worldly sorrow we remain in our sin and ineffective. If we have a Godly sorrow it will bring us to repentance... every time! 

Sorrow can be as quick as, "Wow! I know that is not who I am in Christ and I want to be like Jesus!" It can also be as deep as the sinner who falls to his knees crying out to God, "I am a sinner and so far from you!" You will most likely find a deeper sorrow for a deeper sin. It all comes down to how much you hate a particular sin.

An important thing to note here, is that sorrow is not repentance. Sorrow is it's own work. Repentance is it's own work as well. They go together but are not the same thing.

The Path to Repentance - Sorrow

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sanctification: We Get To Participate

We continue our look at the Three Phases of Salvation, focusing in on Sanctification.

When we are sanctified we are going through a process of becoming Christ-like. This is where we respond to an ongoing work of the Lord. The response on our part is obedience in faith.

Sanctification - An opportunity to grow, stumble, recover and then continue to grow.

It's important to note, that all phases of salvation, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification, are done in faith and the growth is from the Lord.

In sanctification we grow in Christ through obedience done in faith. 

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit [Rob: Justification] and soul [Rob: Sanctification] and body [Rob: Glorification] be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB

Becoming Christ-like 

What we see in this stage is an opportunity to grow, stumble, recover and then continue to grow. In our relationship with the Lord, even though we are separated from the power of sin, it is common that we do fall into sin. When we do, this sin does not have the effect of taking us "out of Christ."

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins--and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. - 1 John 2:1-2 NLT

Our Justification never changes.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand. - John 10:27-29 NLT

When we do sin after we are born again, we become ineffective. We stop bearing fruit. We halt our growth in the Lord and begin to walk out of the blessings the Lord is providing. We lose our peace or our joy. We may hide from our Christian brothers and sisters because we feel guilty.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5 NLT

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prayer and Fasting

It is sometimes debated that fasting is not part of the New Testament and not a necessary or effective part of walking with the Lord in our modern day. This is an easy fix.

So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. - Ezra 8:23 NLT

Jesus said:
"And when you fast..." - Matthew 6:16 NLT
"But when you fast..." - Matthew 6:17 NLT
"Then they will fast." - Matthew 9:15 NLT

The command to fast, and certainly the expectation to fast, from Jesus was pretty clear. Fasting is a function, much like faith, that works the same way in the New Testament time as it did in the Old Testament.

And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. ... So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. - Romans 4:12, 16 NLT

Why Should I Fast? 

Trying to get our mind wrapped around what happens when we pray and fast is where we may get confused. When you are moved by the Spirit to pray and fast you can be sure that the Lord is wanting to do a special work in your life or in the life of someone around you.

A good way to understand fasting is to look at the effect of fasting. We have many very moving, incredibly uncommon and dare I say, supernatural examples that came from unexplainable works of the Holy Spirit. Did I use enough adjectives there to get my point across? Prayer and fasting is powerful.

Maybe it will remind you of the scripture in the book of Ephesians, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."


The Command

The command to fast is very important. Biblical faith can only be exercised through a response to a command. One insightful definition for faith is, the trust I have in someone based on what I know about their character. Therefore, if we understand God's character then we can trust that His commands are just and lead to life. Now we can mix faith with the command and walk in faith. 

"And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. - Matthew 6:16 NLT 
But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. - Matthew 6:17 NLT 
Jesus replied, "Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. - Matthew 9:15 NLT

Examples

Through the New Testament examples of fasting we can see the power of prayer and fasting. The Christians were sure to pray and fast for important works of establishing leaders and preparing for their calling. In the first example below, we see that the Holy Spirit is responsive to this work.

One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them." - Acts 13:2 NLT 
Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. - Acts 14:23 NLT

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Three Phases of Salvation

When we believed and confessed that Jesus is Lord we were saved. That is to say, we were made perfect in the eyes of God. Looking closer, we see that we repented, believed and confessed what was in our heart. Jesus is Lord! We are now a new creation in Christ. Now, what?

For by grace you have been saved through faith.

Once we are born again and become a new creation, it doesn't take too long to realize that, although we are right in God's eyes because of the work Jesus did on the cross, we were still susceptible to sinning. It can be confusing, if not difficult, to grow in the Lord if we do not under what is happening in our salvation.

The Three Phases of Salvation

Since salvation is realized in three phases we want to understand each phase and understand God's part and our part. The good news it God does it all. However, there is a corresponding effect on the believer as He molds and shapes us.

Justification
The larger scope of salvation involves three distinct stages in a Christian's walk. We are saved, which is known as the justification phase of salvation. In this phase of justification Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin. He died once for all. The corresponding effect is whosoever will respond, by believing in their heart and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, will be saved.

Justification is a fixed standing. The scriptures tell us that the maintenance of our "saved" status is performed by the Lord. The end result is, once you are saved, you cannot lose that position.

Sanctification
Phase two is known as sanctification. In this phase the Lord is renewing the mind of the believer. The corresponding effect is a the new believer responding to the commands the Lord has given. The new believer is strengthened by the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience.

The new creation we have become is now on a life long journey, growing in the Lord, building fortitude to do great works, and becoming Christ-like in an intimate relationship with the Father. In all of this, the Lord is glorified.

Sanctification Can Be Mistaken as Justification
Sometimes Christians get the idea that when they sin or if they commit a big enough sin that they lose their salvation and require, being saved again. Well much like you are born into this world, we can't do that over. We're here, that's it.

Human being is your status and you only get one birth. Same thing in the spirit. Once a new creation in Christ, always a new creation in Christ.

Sin has a terrible effect on our being and it can seem like we've lost our salvation but that is untouchable. When we sin as a born again believer we are affecting our sanctification. So, what we see is our status as saved remains, but our intimacy with the Lord is hurt and we become ineffective in our walk.

Glorification
Finally, when we receive our new bodies, this is called glorification.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Politically Correct Church

We have a good idea as to what being politically correct is. In our culture it has a stranglehold on our ability to come together and share a purpose. The practical result of a PC culture leads to extreme deficiencies in effectiveness, communication and thought.

Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

We passively learn to live with PC norms. A little here and a little there. Then, just like the proverbial frog in the warming pot, we are neutralized. As Christians we are not immune to this effect. In fact, not only are we bombarded by the PC culture that surrounds us in public, we find that within the church we have another PC culture that we tolerate. It has the same impact on effectiveness, communication and thought.

We witness this as we look across the body of Christ and see many, wonderfully saved by grace Christians who know scripture but are ineffective in their ministry. They have been in Christ for years yet do not have direction, vision or understand the ministry that the Lord has given them.

Building Fortitude

This is why In The Cool Zone exists. We are here to lay a biblical foundation where clarifying foundational concepts and processes helps us put the scriptures, that are rich in our hearts, into context where we can communicate, make decisions and understand the processes that the Lord has given us.

These things lead to understanding God's plan, understanding who we are in Christ, and has the effect of casting vision on our walk with the Lord. We're here to build fortitude in the believer and the result is effectiveness. The scriptures use the phrase, "bear fruit."

Train yourself to be godly. "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
... Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. - 1 Timothy 4:7-8, 15-16 NLT

A Fruitful Foundation

So, how do we identify political correctness in the church today? The answer is to look at effectiveness.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. - Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Strengthened in Our Mind

Have you ever wondered why when Jesus spoke to the disciples and others, they seemed so confused? Jesus was from another world and He thought differently than we Earthlings do. Therefore, we see our Lord responding to questions with questions. He was doing this because they were asking the wrong questions.

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!

Jesus used his questions to change their perspective. He was taking the first steps in changing they way they think. We see Paul furthering the work of this new way of thinking when he wrote to the Church at Rome, "for I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established" Romans 1:11 NKJV

So, where exactly did Paul want to establish those he was writing to? In the mind! The word "established" refers to a work of strengthening the mind. It means to be made stable, strengthened, to render constant, confirm, one's mind.

It's not just important what we know, but our perspective as a new creation in Christ. It's "how" we think. It's a new way of thinking based on a new reality.
.

Above All Else

Paul is referring to using a spiritual gift to establish and confirm their way of thinking. He was complimenting their faith and wanted to spend time with them to lock in that work and even grow from it himself. He desired to use his spiritual gift as a tool for galvanizing their thinking. Great thinking leads to great faith!

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. ... that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. - Romans 1:8, 12 NKJV

There is no greater work you will do in Christ than strengthening your thinking process. It is the very thing that we see in the Book of Proverbs as the most important duty we have. We must guard our heart above all else.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. - Proverbs 4:23 NLT

The word heart, is specifically referring to our mind. To our thinking. We can know hundreds of scriptures. Many atheists do. The demons do. Yet, as important as it is to know the scriptures, how we think about them is what changes lives. It's what brings us closer to our Father.

A Higher Way of Thinking

This is why Jesus, Paul and the disciples worked so hard to reveal not just what God thinks, but how He thinks. There is a higher way of thinking that opens up a world that cannot be perceived by those who are not in Christ.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Where Do I Get The Most Value?

We want to give great value to the work we put in for the Lord. Yesterday's accomplishments can truly be significant and honorable but sometimes those wonderful achievements hold us in the past.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

How do our good works hold us in the past? Good works hold us captive in the past when we give what we have done in the past, more value than what we can do today.

Have you ever had someone come to you who was seeking biblical wisdom about a challenge before them and when you began to teach them, they kept referencing things they accomplished several years before?


  • Yea, I went to bible college.
  • Well, I have read through the entire bible... 5 times!
  • You know, I used to pray for 3 hours a day.
  • I served at the church for 10 years.
  • I've thoroughly studied that topic for many years. I know.


None of these wonderful accomplishments have as much value as what can be accomplished today. They may have come to you for help today but they can't hear you because yesterday's accomplishments hold more value than what they can do today.

Their approach is, "these past accomplishments of faith are enough to handle this next challenge!" Yet, we know it doesn't work like that.

We find ourselves in doubt when we hold an expectation that old works will carry us "in faith" today.

Let's Compare Resumes

Paul had the most amazing resume any of us could hope for, in service to the Lord, but those things amounted to garbage to him in comparison to what he could do today.

We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! - Philippians 3:3-4 NLT

Paul shows us the mindset that we need to approach each day's challenges. Our past victories are good things but they are not designed to sustain us. Today is the day we need a fresh dose of faith. So, Paul helps us with that focus.
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. - Philippians 3:13-14 NLT 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Are You a Christian Entrepreneur?

As Christians we can have trouble developing the mindset to do the things we know the Lord called for us to do. Spending time on our prayer list, reading the Word and connecting with other Christians on a consistent basis is almost a mystery to solve. Well, what if we thought of ourselves as Christian entrepreneurs?

The Makings of a Christian Entrepreneur

We generally think of an entrepreneur as being a businessman. The truth is, an entrepreneur is "also" a businessman. They may perform many tasks but more importantly, they are someone who is passionate about an idea. This passion is carried out through a variety of activities.

The Dictionary.com definition tells us that an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

The Many Hats of an Entrepreneur 

An entrepreneur wears many hats. Let's use the actions presented at the beginning of this article as an example. When we pray, read the Bible and connect with other Christians, we will be exhibiting several skills or "wearing many hats."

As we begin prayer and reading time, we are taking on a new mindset. We plan our time. We prepare a prayer list. That list requires a little scholarly research as we discover scriptures to inform our current condition and discover God's design for a desired future condition.

That sounds like taking inventory of our lives. It also sounds like forecasting.

We also see in the scriptures, we should be growing every day. We should have before us a vision, a mission and a purpose to move forward. All of these are entrepreneurial practices!

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. - Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Miracles We Don't See

Miracles are generally attributed to an event where someone is in a bad situation that seems impossible to get out of. A person gets thrown from a car in a horrific accident where the driver seat is crushed. Somehow that person sails out the window 50 yards and sustains minimal to no injuries. Miracle!

A miracle is found in father's care. Subtle. Moving. Profound.

It does happen and these really are supernatural events. I'm sure we could all reflect on when one of these unexplainable events has occurred in our lives where we witnessed something that seemingly, should not occur. Yet, somehow it does.

Many see these providential moments as acts of God. They are so moving, due to the supernatural aspect of the event that we tell the story for the rest of our lives as an inspiration to ourselves and others. We ask, "maybe God is working on my behalf. Maybe there is a purpose to life?"

We as Christians take great joy in celebrating this power and mercy of our Lord and we should. Yet, let's look at a kind of miracle that God does right in front of us but we never really seem to notice. It is a more common occurrence than we may think.

A Miracle: Subtle, Moving, Profound

Have you ever seen a father pick up his child just before the child walked into the street? The father didn't even notice the oncoming car that would have certainly hit the child. We are left wondering, was there a miracle simply in the normal care that the father has for his child? Maybe. So, how would we know?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Apologize Quickly

It's inevitable that when we are in a conversation we are going to say something that is wrong. It can be a misspeak, a missed truth, a missed fact, a misunderstanding. We could simply just be wrong. So, then what's next?


As Christians, we are not responsible for knowing everything. We are responsible to continue to learn about our Lord and to be curious about God and His ways. So, there's no reason to be embarrassed. Just apologize quickly and move on!

Confess your sins to each other... - James 5:16 NLT

That's it! When you or someone you're engaged with in conversation points out something wrong, and it's clear that it's wrong, apologize and move on to the truth.

Wasting time waiting to see if what you said will eventually "work itself out" can cause you to drift away from the truth. It will certainly get you off topic and can render you ineffective in the conversation.

There a good reasons for apologizing quickly and moving on:

  • You don't get stuck arguing a false premise.
  • It keeps the conversation open and moving forward.
  • It keeps your focus on the truth.
  • It keeps your focus on winning souls.


Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:31-32 NLT

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Summarize for Clarity

Ok, you find yourself in another philosophical discussion with someone and you are sharing details of your belief system and they are sharing about theirs. It can quickly become difficult to track on all the rabbit trails that can occur as well as the vocabulary challenges.

Test everything that is said, hold on to what is good.

Sometimes we are using common words that mean something different to others. An expert communicator is acutely aware that this happens in nearly every philosophical discussion. The idea is to minimize misunderstandings and clarify thoughts.

It works both ways, too. Have you ever been in an argument with someone and realized that you were actually making the same case? It's funny but things like that can be preempted by summarizing as you go. 

Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NLT

Summarizing has its greatest effect when you start early in the conversation. We don't want to assume what someone means when engaged in a thoughtful conversation. The details are important. The vocabulary is important. Summarizing facilitates the success of the conversation.

Recapitulate

Recapitulate is a fantastic word that captures the idea of this skill. It means, to restate the main points of (an argument, speech, etc); summarize. Thank you, www.dictionary.com!

Summarizing early and often in conversation:

  • Slows the conversation down for better thinking.
  • Helps to keep everyone on topic.
  • Infuses peace, affirming the other person is being heard.
  • Leads to follow up questions.
  • Clarifies where the conversation lands.
  • Builds relationships.


All of this has the effect of clarifying ideas, overcoming vocabulary barriers, infusing peace into the conversation and probably the most important of all, keeping the conversation on topic.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. - Acts 17:11 NLT

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Say What Needs To Be Said

Many times when we are having a difficult discussion with someone we are being sensitive to not only what to say, but what not to say. We get the feeling that if we "bottom line it" or say something that is generally against common assumptions, we're going to exacerbate an already uncomfortable interaction.

Speak the truth in love.

It could be something politically incorrect or it may go against a misunderstanding in science or challenge a preconceived idea. It could be about a bad behavior or maybe the boss making a bad decision that hurts you or someone else. We've all had these uncomfortable conversations where we need to speak up and say something that may anger someone.

We want to be respectful and think about how we will deal with the situation. We want to follow the scriptures that tell us to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove but this may mean something else, as well. We may find that the best way to address the subject is to simply say the things that need to be said.

Again, this can be difficult when there is the potential to create friction in the conversation. It's especially difficult if there are anticipated repercussions. Will I be fired? Will I lose a friend or family member? Will it cost me something that I really don't want to lose?

Count the Cost

There is a process of preparing ourselves for these kind of interactions. The world is a dangerous place and watching even a short segment of todays news will quickly inform us that Christian ideas are hated and aggressively confronted. As Americans, the real life of a Christian is just now beginning to be realized.

Therefore, we must begin preparing ourselves for the tough conversations and become an expert communicator. The first step is to count the cost of our words. We need to take our communication of the Gospel and speaking the truth very seriously.

This is why In The Cool Zone exists... to build fortitude in believers of Christ. We are not ready for the the things that are coming but we can be. We need to be!

"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? - Luke 14:28 NLT