Wednesday, May 10, 2006

May 10, 2006

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 1 Thes 1:4-6

What another tremendous weekend in the life of PCC. As we gathered in two locations this weekend, God was gracious to bless our community with His presence! What a special All Church Retreat we experienced. I am already working on my Yorkshire accent in preparation for next year’s retreat.

Church, we are not just called to share the Gospel, we are called to live it. This is expressed most accurately through the prism of Holy Spirit-inspired convictions. The Apostle Paul, when recounting how he reached out to the people of Thessalonica, told them that it was not just a spoken message, but a spoken message in the context of a supernatural life! I cannot understate the value you bring to the marketplace when you place, at the top of your priorities, being a person of character.

Your character matters and this week, we will be focusing on the role of character and convictions when it comes to Life @ Work.

What are convictions? Convictions are the expression of God’s view on a particular area or issue that one wholeheartedly embraces and acts upon with determination. Constructing convictions starts with discovering what God has to say about an issue that one is wrestling with. The good news is that God has not left us in the dark to discover His heart…he has not abandoned us (John 14:18), but has left us with His Spirit and His Word.

There is NO substitute for a daily commitment to the study of and submission to the word of God when it comes to growing your character. There is a difference between growing old in Christ and growing up in Christ. Years do not automatically translate into maturity when it comes to walking with the Lord. Hence, I submit to you the following equation for a life that leverages time to develop convictions, or a life of character:

Right Thinking + Time + Pressure + Faithfulness = Character

Right thinking is a mind that filters life through an eternal, Biblical framework. Time is the arena God provides for us to grow our character. Pressure is the fertilizer of character (there is no such thing as passive convictions, they will always be put to the test!); pressure is what God will allow for us to have our character strengthened and developed. Faithfulness over time seals the character and provides us with a life that stands as a testimony to our peers. Our faithfulness (or lack thereof) is our legacy that we leave for the next generation; it is what people will have on their minds when they sit at your memorial service.

Are you growing in character? Is Christlike character lovingly and humbly (and quietly!) on display when you go to work? What would have to change if you took the above passage to heart and to work and could only share the Gospel with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction?

Monday, May 08, 2006

May 3, 2006

And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Mt 25:40 (NLT)

Going the second mile isn’t as difficult as you think! Jesus himself lived and taught the second-mile principle—that is, living a life that exceeds expectations. If someone asks for something, give more than they ask for. If someone asks for you to journey with them somewhere for a while, go further than they asked you to. (You will find Jesus’ full teaching on this in Mt 5:38-42.)

This second-mile teaching is motivated by eternal incentive. Jesus stated that we are not just serving people, but in a mysterious way, when we serve, we are serving Him. You are never more like Christ than when you are serving. Who is God calling you to go the second mile with today? Who is hurting? Who is lonely? Who needs encouragement? Who needs prayer? Who needs a secretly given financial donation to help make ends meet? Why not do what Jesus would do and go the second mile?

Last weekend Anne and I were having dinner with our friends Steve and Lori Stenstrom. They head up a ministry based out of Stanford called Kingdom First Ministries, and they have engaged in second-mile projects doing renovations in impoverished communities in Jesus’ name. They have found that hundreds of students, many of whom would never go to their weekly meeting, are coming out to serve side-by-side with followers of Jesus in these service projects.

This month, they are engaging in their most ambitious project to date, doing extensive renovations on Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto all during the weekend of May 19-21. Chavez is the primary public school in East Palo Alto providing education for grades 4-8.

The community is joining them, and this is truly becoming a Kingdom endeavor. One women’s Bible study from our church is adopting a classroom to decorate! But they still have some big needs. Here are a few: A video editor to compile the footage of the event, people with artistic skills for the Murals they hope to paint on campus, painting contractors and people to paint, landscaping needs, computers (the school will be wireless-ready through this project, and we would love to provide laptops for these kids to promote learning). Any leads for an Asphalt/Blacktop resurfacing company?

Would you pray for this project? You can read more by visiting their web site at Please do visit the site because in the Fall, we hope to, as a church, completely own a project of this nature.

Whether it is joining in on this project, or some other second-mile act, enjoy the freedom of serving people in Jesus’ Name!