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Live For Today, Not Yesterday

Live For Today, Not Yesterday

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:59-60

For the Christmas holiday, my wife and I visited family back in Virginia. We stopped by the cemetery to visit the grave of a family member who had passed last year. When we got there, we had a little trouble locating her grave and the Holy Spirit asked me, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Wow! This family member passed away with their Kingdom citizenship intact and is having a good ole time in the Kingdom of Heaven with the King. We shall see her again and we’ll all return to the new Earth someday, so why were we looking for her when she wasn’t here anymore? We were looking for her here on Earth while she is there in Heaven. For that moment, we were pursuing what was in the past and had lost focus on the present. Understand me properly; reflecting on the memories and lives of loved ones is a good thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

I began to think what it must be like to be the individual who oversees the cemetery. Day in and day out, this person is responsible for watching over the remains of people who have moved on from this life, some as recent as a few days ago and others decades ago. Keeping up the appearance of the graves, trimming the lawn, etc. All these activities were so that people could come and visit the remains of people who were no longer with them.

In this moment, the Holy Spirit was showing me what I want to share with you in this post. Let the dead situations of yesterday remain in yesterday. You go live for today!

In Luke 9:59-60, Jesus told a man to follow Him, but this man gave the excuse of having to bury his father first. Jesus replies, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” There are a couple reasons why this man wanted to bury His father first. He was likely the first-born son and it was his responsibility to bury his father, and he likely wanted to receive his promised inheritance that was to come now that his father was dead. Regardless of the motivation, one thing is clear: Jesus knew that this man’s purpose was more important than even burying his own father!

Ouch! But, how can the dead bury the dead? I believe Jesus is referring to the spiritually dead who would rather stay stuck in the past with the dead, rather than move forward and live. Dead men don’t speak. Dead women don’t proclaim good news, only living ones do. Dead folk don’t inherit the life and responsibility of being Kingdom citizens on Earth. Jesus saw who this man was to become and sternly encouraged Him to let the past be the past. Perhaps if he went to bury his father, he wouldn’t return to follow Jesus. Perhaps family and friends would pressure him to stay. Whatever the possible outcome, Jesus knew that today was the day for this man to truly live.

Too often, we spend entirely too much time and energy trying to be where God was and not where He is. Whether it is relationships that were meant to be temporary, jobs that were supposed to be seasonal, or past situations we had no control over in the first place, we spend unnecessary time and energy trying to make something dead come alive again. We rob our present and our future by investing in the past. We tend, dress, keep, and make our homes among the dead. We revisit our mistakes, shortcomings, and failures. We blow balloons for pity parties and wallow in the grief of yesterday. We long for the good old days and what ifs. We become keepers of cemeteries in our lives.

I encourage you to come out of the cemetery. Leave the dead situations of the past there. Leave your mistakes and failures in the grave, but take the lessons with you. Let what is dead, remain dead. Go live for today! Live in the Kingdom of God. Your best days are ahead of you, not behind you. Your purpose is fulfilled in the future, not in the past. Everything God desires to do through you, requires that you live!

The new year is right around the corner, but you don’t have to wait until then to live for today. Live for today, now!

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Professor Q

Make Room

Make Room

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to do what you love and make a living doing it? I know I have! Truth be told, I think about it everyday. What can I do to allow myself to do what I’m called to do for the rest of my life? I think Scripture gives us a clue as to how it can be done.

Proverbs 18:16 declares, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.” (ESV) What does this mean? How does this happen? Let’s journey through Scripture. Joseph’s gift of dream interpretation brought him before Pharaoh and into his official court of advisors. Daniel’s gift of wisdom brought him into the advisory court of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. A shepherd boy by the name of David had a gift of leadership and he became King over Israel. Of course, Jesus being the ultimate gift Himself, had him in audience with Pilate shortly before his crucifixion and pricked the Roman officials heart AND now sits at the right hand of the Father.

What was the key though? Was it training? No. Was it skill? No. Was it a natural giftedness? No. Each one of these individuals had one thing in common that their success is attributed to: they made room for God. See for the believer, we understand it is God who gave the gift, God who blesses the gift, and God who allows the gift to bless us. Plain and simple: When you make room for God, He will allow your gift to make room for you.

Daniel fasted, Joseph was obedient, David had a heart for God, and Jesus, well…He did everything right, most notably taking time to pray to God and seek His will. When Daniel made room for God, he was promoted and his people were blessed while in exile. When Jospeh made room, he saved future generations of Hebrews. When David made room, the nation of Israel prospered. When Jesus made room for the Father, the Father made room for us!

Now here is the question that is staring you in the face: Are you making room for God? We might be tempted to rationalize the two hours during the week we give as plenty of “room,” but God desires and deserves more than that, right? Of course He does!

Imagine what would happen if you made more room for God. What would your life look like? What would you be doing? Would you be doing what you are doing now? Who would be blessed by the room made for you because you made room for God?

Your purpose is bigger than you think and is inextricably tied to the room you make for God. It is in the room where you find clarity. It is in the room where you find vison. It is in the room where you discover purpose. It is in the room where your passion is fueled. It is in the room, where it all begins!

Your task…go MAKE room, so room can be MADE!

Prof. Q

Vacancy Needing To Be Filled…

Vacancy Needing To Be Filled…

This past Sunday in worship, I was called upon to pray and I felt the urgency to pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to fill the lives and hearts of those in the congregation.  The prayer started with thanksgiving and then quickly escalated to a passionate plea for preparation for the Holy Spirit and a desperate cry for Him to come. “God remove anything from within us that is not like you. Then fill us with your Holy Spirit continually,” were the words that leapt from my heart to my tongue and into the microphone. When the prayer had concluded, I found my eyes wet with tears, my breathing heavy, and feeling inflamed with a longing for more of the Spirit of God.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8, ESV

More than anything else that this world needs is Spirit-filled followers of Christ Jesus. With so many issues facing our communities, 1000s of churches closing their doors each year, and even so many despondent Christians who feel stuck in limbo when it comes to a true relationship with God, now is as good a time as any for an invitation of the Holy Spirit into our lives! There is a vacancy that needs to be filled.

The Holy Spirit is the power and the life that inflames us with passion, strength, and courage. He is the one who stirs up the gift of God within us. He is the force that couples our gift with passion to live on purpose. It is He who teaches us, leads us, and guides us on how we can live purposeful lives that glorify God, build us up, and serves others. He is WHO we need to be all that God is created to be!

Going into uncharted territory, Church on Purpose is in desperate need for a continual filling with God’s Spirit. We need Him for guidance. We need Him for direction. We need Him for peace. We need Him for boldness. We need Him for faith. We need Him for strength. We need Him for wisdom. Pray we are continually filled with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to those in Omaha. They need us to be!

My prayer for you is that you would be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, knowing and experiencing the power, truth and love that comes through fellowship with Him.

Grace and Peace,

Prof. Q

A Select Few…

A Select Few…

Matthew 22:14 ESV

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Upon his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the religous leaders sought to corner him and Jesus, in is classic style, spoke to them in parables. At the heels of a parable he gives to describe the Kingdom of Heaven, he says these words, “many are called, but few are chosen.” This was not only an indictment against the Pharisees, but also a proclamation of who shall enter the Kingdom. Who are the chosen? Without bogging you down with theological arguments about predestination, free will, etc., the chosen can simply be understood to be those who are the children of God by faith in Christ and marked by the Holy Spirit.

As the days press on, many have offered feedback about the journey we have embarked upon. Some encouraging and supportive, some curious and indifferent, and others doubtful. All in all, we have learned to be resolved and content regardless of people’s opinions because ultimately they don’t matter anyway. (the opinions, not the people)

When you choose to be one of the few and live your purpose, you will always get feedback from the majority. Some will encourage you, some will be indifferent, and others will be doubtful. When the feedback comes, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). When you get cornered, listen to the voice that matters, the one that is sure, the one that directs and affirms. Thank those that support you, inspire the indifferent, and ignore the doubters. Run with the select few and become all that God has called you to be! After all, life is much sweeter when it’s lived on purpose…

Grace and Peace,

Prof. Q

Spying the Land…

Spying the Land…

“Follow the Holy Spirit…” That is the refrain that has been ringing in our hearts for the past few weeks. With all of the plans, conversations, rides around the city of Omaha, and connections that we have made, the place we end back up is “follow the Holy Spirit.”

Here is what we’ve come to realize, embrace, and commit to make a hallmark of Church on Purpose; we must remain open to, seek, and yield to the Spirit’s direction in everything we do. That includes the planned and the unplanned, the expected and the unexpected.

As we rode around the city, “spying the land” we attentively looked for signs, confirmation, and direction. And time after time He proved Himself faithful to lead us and guide to the right people and places. The experience has been amazing, reassuring, and filling.

Plase join us in praying for our obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Selah.

~Professor Q

Omaha ALIVE!

CoP Alive

WE FINALLY MADE IT!!!

After months of planning, last minute hiccups and readjustments, and leaving at 2 am, we finally made it to Omaha after 16 hours on the road!

After getting settled in we ended up watching the movie Boys Town. It’s an older black and white that tells the story of Father Edward Flanagan‘s amazing vision to build a town for boys in need. The movie does a remarkable job of communicating the heart at the core of Father Flanagan’s ministry and how impactful one person can be when they chase the vision in their heart. The movie, which I highly recommend you watch here, shows the growth of the Boys Town vision from 5 boys to over 500. And since we are here in Omaha, it only made sense to take a trip out Dodge to see what Boys Town has become today. That would have to wait until tomorrow though. hahaha

A good night’s rest prepared us for a full day of experiencing Omaha. It started with worship, which was followed by a trip to my favorite place in Omaha Big Mama’s Kitchen. I had the chance to experience Big Mama’s food when I was here back in August and sense then I haven’t shut up about it to the others. But even more meaningful than that was having the opportunity to meet, sit with, and listen to Big Mama. Here wisdom and willingness to share played a MAJOR role in my journey to the realization of Church On Purpose. The restaurant was super busy, like it is every Sunday after church, but she still made it out to give hugs and meet the crew. I really excited for them and the opportunity we have to go back and sit with her on Tuesday.

Following worship and dinner, there was nothing left to do but hop in the truck and ride out! Anthony drove us around Northwest, West, South, and Midtown Omaha allowing everyone to see that there really is more to Nebraska  that just cows and corn! (at least in Omaha) There were a lot of questions asked, some unanswered, but you could smell the smoke from the wheels turning in everyone’s head. They were beginning to put people, places, buildings, colors, and life to their dreams and visions. The limitations were removed and they were beginning to dream even bigger.

What am I talking about “they”?!

I WAS BEGINNING TO DREAM BIGGER!

We made it back to Anthony’s apartment and closed the day watching the Central Park Five. If you haven’t seen it, you should make it a priority! We shared a meaningful dialogue following the movie and Quentin, Anthony and I wrapped the day with a review of the day’s events and discussion about impact.

There’s so much that happened in that 24 hours that I KNOW this doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. It’s one of those days that you just have to experience. It’s a trip you just have to experience, and I’m thankful that Jene’, Quentin, and Priscilla have the opportunity to see Omaha for themselves.

There have been a lot of people with a lot of questions, most of which don’t get directed to me. There have been a handful of vocal supporters and a number of vocal detractors, most of whom don’t say it to me. But coming here in August, and now being back here again, I AM MORE CONFIDENT IN WHAT GOD IS CALLING ME TO DO AND WHERE HE IS CALLING ME TO DO IT THAN I HAVE BEEN AT ANY POINT IN MY LIFE.

So I ask, what is God calling you to? And where is He calling you to?

You have purpose. Go live LIFE on purpose!

~Coach J