Archive for: December, 2013

Wisdom from a Nameless Fraternity Member

Dec 30 2013 Published by under Family, Life

By Kimberly S. McAfee

296e452As an MBA student, I frequently have to go to campus on weekends to meet group members and discuss projects.  One particular weekend, I just happened to be on campus during the time most fraternities and sororities meet.  I did not drive to this particular meeting, and was waiting outside for my ride.  While I was waiting, I saw several young men and ladies walk to their designated meeting areas, but one group of young men congregated around the entrance of the Business building I just left.

I noticed one member of this group was quite upset, and venting to his fraternity brothers.  He spoke loudly and cursed frequently.  The campus was also very quiet then, so even though I moved to a different area to escape the foul language, I could still hear the commotion quite well.

From what I could gather, they were set to have a special ceremony, and a nameless member informed the upset gentleman that he would not be in attendance; he would instead be out of town with his close friends to attend an Auburn University football game.  Attendance at these games was a tradition amongst him and his close friends.  The gentleman felt this was very insulting and insisted that the fraternity function “was something bigger than himself.”  His distaste grew significantly as he retold the final blow to his fraternity brothers, “then he said “but those are my boys.””

While we each have responsibilities, and I no way condone abandoning important tasks/functions, I appreciated the nameless fraternity member’s decision: he chose to pour into his special, true friendships over a fraternity event.  He also acted maturely in that he informed his fraternity brother beforehand.  How many times do we choose work, meetings, etc. over time with our loved ones?  We each have a limited time on this earth, and though we may appreciate that intellectually, we frequently don’t live in a way that honors the time and loved ones God has so richly blessed us with.  What do we really gain when we make a habit of staying at work late, working on the weekends, and attending a myriad of networking functions?  Most often, it is weariness, anxiety and stress.

This situation brought to mind the meeting of Mary, Martha and Jesus in Luke 10:38-42.  Martha was busy and toiled, with a laser-like focus on her tasks at hand.  Mary however noticed the importance of the time with Jesus, and stayed at his feet to receive his teachings.  While the situation with the fraternity members is different in that teaching was not involved, I see a similar dynamic at play here: the venting fraternity member focusing on what “should” be done, the task at hand, and the nameless fraternity member focusing on relationships and the special time to spend with friends.

I myself have been guilty of paying more attention to tasks, work, all the “other” things that come along, versus spending quality time with family and friends.  Though education, work, and even ministry are important, it’s the time with our beloved family and friends that bring sweetness to life.  So next time you’re considering working late, think of the nameless fraternity member and his “boys,” your family and friends will enjoy that quality time with you.

Kimberly S. McAfee is currently an MBA student at Columbus State University and Accounting Manager at the Teen Challenge Southeast Regional Headquarters, both located in Columbus, GA. She can be reached via her blog at http://www.theblessedandsimplelife.blogspot.com.

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Are You Happy?

Dec 16 2013 Published by under Life, Ministry

By Gary Seals

Image3In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Of course, even the Declaration of Independence cannot guarantee life or liberty any more than it can guarantee happiness, especially since it refers only to its pursuit.

Scripturally speaking, though, this historic statement is simply not true. Even though we are all equal in the sight of our Creator (Acts 10:34-35), we have no rights or guarantees concerning life, liberty, or happiness. Unlike millions who live in oppressive societies around the world, these are things that we here in America simply take for granted, and we even loudly demand our right to them. But thanks to the sacrifice of Christ, we truly are guaranteed eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), liberty from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-4), and happiness which comes from an inward joy that is “unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8-9), but only if we accept Him as Savior and Lord. Unfortunately, too many are only interested in knowing Him as the former but not the latter.

So what is happiness, anyway? A simple dictionary definition is “feeling pleasure or contentment”. Joy, on the other hand, is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires”. Is there a difference between the two, and if so, which is more important? Consider this:  happy or happiness occurs only 30 times in the NIV Bible, while joy or joyful occurs a whopping 230 times!

Someone defined Biblical joy as “a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.” I like that! A settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope! This is the joy that Jesus possessed when He faced the Cross (Hebrews 12:2). This is the joy that brought contentment to the life of the Apostle Paul, no matter what the conditions were that surrounded him (Philippians 4:11-14). And this is the true joy that is the fruit of the Spirit, second only to love (Galatians 5: 22-23).

It is this genuine joy that brings true happiness, not the other way around. If we expect people, money, or possessions to make us happy, we are going to be disappointed. There is only one source of true happiness — the joy that comes from knowing Christ and putting His Kingdom first. And if we do that, He has promised that all the rest will be added — if not in this life, then certainly in the next.

So stop claiming your rights based on a document that seems to lose its significance in this country more and more each day. Look instead to the only document that matters, the Bible, God’s love letter to you, and find true life, liberty, and happiness in Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith!

 

Gary Seals serves as the Hardware Support Technician in the IT department at Global University.

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Focus Choices

Dec 09 2013 Published by under Life, Ministry

By Rev. Doug Clay

Clay_Douglas_Casual_100In this tech world of tweeting, texting, VOXing, and skyping, it’s hard to stay focused. Yet, without focus, especially spiritual focus, many people never really live.

Eph. 5:15-17, NLT

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

In life, we have focus choices. Think about it, we can focus on ourselves; we can focus on our circumstances; we can even focus on other people; or we can focus on God. It has been my experience that when I stay focused on God, He puts life in proper perspective.

Isaiah 44:2, CEV

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. Israel, don’t be terrified! You are my chosen servant, my very favorite.

Since focus is our choice, keep in mind that

1.     We are the focus of God’s love

Before God ever thought about creating the universe or animals, we were on His mind.

Eph. 1:4, MSG

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.

2.      Our daily activity matters to God

Isaiah 49:4a, NLT

I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.

Life really can get unbearable and seem useless when we forget that God not only created us, but created us for a purpose!

Psalm 139:16, LB

You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!

3.      We are never alone

Sure, there are times in life that we feel lonely, but God says you are never alone.

Hebrews 13:5b, NLT

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

4.      We will always have doors of opportunity

Acts 10:35, MSG

God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.

We owe it to ourselves, our family, and God, not to waste our lives, but to . . .

Deut. 10:12, NCV

. . . Respect the Lord your God, and do what he has told you to do. Love him. Serve the Lord your God with your whole being.

 

Rev. Doug Clay serves as the General Treasurer for the Assemblies of God. To learn more about the Assemblies of God, visit www.ag.org.

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Keys to Greatness

Dec 02 2013 Published by under Leadership, Life, Ministry

By Rev. Michael Goldsmith

photo 1My favorite verse in the Bible is Isaiah 46:6 which states, “….hire a goldsmith.”  Never mind the fact that I take it completely out of context.  And my favorite chapter in the Bible is Nehemiah 3 which is that long list of difficult to pronounce names of the individuals engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem.  Why do I love this chapter so much? The “goldsmiths” are mentioned numerous times. Again, out of context, but my people showed up for work.  Using each of the letters of the word ‘great’, I’d like to suggest five principles critical for achieving greatness, extracted from the book of Nehemiah.

1. Go passionately.  Nehemiah returned to his homeland to find it in total disarray.  After a time of personal evaluation, Nehemiah rose to challenge the people to join forces and resources in restoring their homeland to a standard of excellence.  With great passion, Nehemiah sold the people on the unifying idea of rebuilding the broken down walls.  In Neh. 1, the people were extremely discouraged. After Nehemiah’s passionate appeal however, the people rose to respond, “Let us arise and build.” (Neh. 2:18).  Having great passion will get you out of the starting block.

2.  Recover quickly.  The second principle of greatness is learning to recover from setbacks.  In Neh. 4, there is substantial resistance.  Enemies repeatedly threatened.  Ten times their enemies heaped fear, criticism and discouragement on them.  Nehemiah recovered quickly.  He came up with a game plan for protecting the workers and kept the people focused on productivity.  Setbacks have a way of taking the ‘wind out of our sails.’  When you encounter an obstacle, what are you going to do?  Quit?  Forget it?  Mark it off as one more over zealous idea?  Or recover?  Get back on your feet, brush yourself off, learn from it and go forward.  It’s not how many times adversity comes, it’s how many times you recover.

3.  Excel greatly.  Nehemiah 3 contains a list of people who were involved in the building project.  In the midst of these difficult to pronounce names you find in verse 20 this phrase, “…Baruch, the son of Zabbai, zealously repaired another section.”  In the midst of the building project at least one person was zealously approaching their work.  Excellence in American productivity seems to be suffering.  One thing to remember about everything you do – It’s a reflection of you. It’s your name.  It’s your reputation.  It’s your work.  It’s your fingerprint.  Excellence is about pride in your approach to life.  Baruch knew his particular section of the wall would always be a reflection of him.  People would either say, “That’s the lousy section that Baruch built.” or “Look at that incredible section that Baruch built!”  Baruch would always have the satisfaction of knowing that he gave it his best.

4.  Act persistently. In Neh. 4:6 we read, “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”  About halfway through any project is the point where you most feel like giving up.  You’ve probably used over half your resources, there is still half a project to go, and your initial enthusiasm may be waning.  If you don’t think the half way point is critical, walk through your house and examine all of the half done projects. Persistence and follow through are critical to greatness.

5.  Triumph valiantly. Neh. 6:15-16 closes with, “So the wall was completed… in 52 days.  And it came about when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of God.”  Job complete.  Celebration time! You haven’t performed well until you’re done.  I particularly enjoy that last sentence where the enemies lose their confidence in the face of a completed project.  Finished work speaks for itself.

Greatness is not a matter of arriving at a certain level but of becoming a certain person.  Greatness takes effort and discipline.  Nothing more or less than old-fashioned, roll up your sleeves, put your nose to the grindstone, stay at it until it’s done, discipline.

Rev. Michael Goldsmith serves as the lead pastor at Timber Ridge Church in Catoosa, OK in addition to serving as Global University’s Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country. Michael can be reached at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu.

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