How To Know Your Future – Todd Stocker.com

future.001I’ve always been a future thinker.  Some would say too much so.  Now, I don’t dwell on the past and I enjoying living the experiences of the present.   The future, however, fascinates me.  It is ‘coming up’ which in and of itself tempts me with mysteries yet to be experienced.  

Some have said you cannot know the future.  To an extent, I believe them.  Specifics of events and unexpected twists and turns wave into our lives without a glimpse of warning.  But I reject the notion that ‘you can’t know your future’ because if I believe that statement 100%, I become a flimsy puppet being pulled by the strings of whatever comes.  I am doomed to live a life with no hope, no expectation and no motivation.  

No thanks!

I submit to you that you can know your future.  Jesus even told us how. 

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.John 16:13 NLT.

I read that again for the first time this morning and my heart jumped.  The main joy of God’s Holy Spirit is to bring you into a saving relationship with Jesus, but another of his joys is to guide you in all aspects of life — including the future.  He speaks in the quiet of the morning to give you next steps, to help you find answers and to give you peace.  If you’re not a spiritual person, the sense that you should be doing ’this or that’ and those ‘gut feelings’ are God’s Holy Spirit helping you along (just so you know:) ).  

That’s why I’ve been working in a church for 17 years.  That’s why I’ve been blogging for 6 years.  That’s why I recently started the Take Back Your Life Podcast: To help people realize there is always hope and that you have the choice to make your life better in the future, all guided by His Spirit.  

So to know your future, be wise by looking at your past and present successes and failures.  Invest a few minutes in prayer before the last drop of your first morning coffee.  Seek wise advice from God-following folks and you too can know your future.  

“The best way to predict your future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

Peace!

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Why I’m Sick Of The Church Bashing And You Should Be Too – Todd Stocker.com

I heard another rant recently.  This one on the lack of relevance that the church has in today’s society.  The ‘rager’ relentlessly blabbed on about the large percentage of young people leaving the church and the impending ‘death of Christianity’ in the United States.  

I get it.  Church attendance has been declining over the decades and fewer churches seem to care. 

I get it.  Church leaders are afraid to push lazy congregations to do more, be more and impact more because it might take change. 

I get it, but I’m sick of it and I’ll tell you why. 

First, a bit of understanding.  For those of you who don’t know, the church is both organism and organization.  The organism-church is the alive, active movement of the people of God living in Jesus on the breath of the Holy Spirit. God describes the organism-church as the ‘bride of Christ’ and likens it to a body.  Seen and unseen, it is the Christ-followers that seek piety, purpose, and impact in our families, communities and world.  

The organization-church is the organism-church, gathered in clusters — big and small — around the globe.  These are the institutions.  These are the church buildings.  These are the budgets, programs and ministries that operate as a business hopefully with the intention of supporting and furthering the work of God in the world through the organism-church.

Organism and Organization.  Woven together in a beautifully messy dance that stumbles across the stage of a fallen world.   

No, we’re not perfect.  (Duh – palm slap my forehead).  We are human and humans are fallen.  We get lazy.  We get comfortable.  We are selfish and sometimes rude.  But we are the church and — whether you know this or not — most of us in leadership are trying to move the needle.  We see the stats.  We watching the dwindle.  We encourage our staff and the organized church toward mission.  Some don’t.  Many do.  

For me, I love the ambiguity of the thing called the local church.  I love how, even in our frailty, the Holy Spirit changes lives.   

When a women comes to me after the service in tears because our organism-church gathered as the organization-church has been praying for her family and she has started to see change, that’s when I love the church.  When people who have been marginalized by society can find a place of welcome, friendship and purpose, that’s when I love the church.  When a student realizes that when they die, they know without a doubt that they’ll be in heaven, not because of their efforts or by simply being a good person, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus, that’s when I love the church.  In all her brokenness

Ranter, we hear you, but lighten up.  Yes, we have a lot of work to do — work that is getter heavier with every passing generation.  But your battle isn’t against flesh and blood.  Your flamed cries of negativity deflates instead of inspires.  Spend your energy storming the gates of heaven with us, asking for a revival.  Put your relationship with the Spirit ahead of your ratings with the readers.  

Some day, we will celebrate together the fact that God never let his church — in all of her imperfection — be wiped off the face of the planet.  

Peace!

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(Special Announcement!  I’m pleased to announce that a brand new podcast will be starting next week on my site called, “Take Back Your Life.”  For a summary, click here

Good Men Are Sometimes Afraid

“Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:19, 20 NLT)

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Good men are sometimes afraid.  Think about Joseph.  A hard-working man whose integrity was well known.  He falls in love with a young girl and pledges to marry her.  In that culture, the pledge was binding.  Suddenly, the love of his life shares the news of an unplanned pregnancy.  Joseph knew that scorn and ridicule would await him if he went through with his plan to marry Mary.  But the Spirit told him not to be afraid because even though on the outside, things look bleak, on the inside often the Holy Spirit is at work.

This reminds me to trust that the Holy Spirit of God is at work behind the scenes, even though it can be scary.   Move forward. Don’t stop.  See what God can do.

Lord, as I look at aspects of my life, fear paralyzes me.  Help me to be a good man an give me the confidence to move forward with fear.

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(This post was written using the S.O.A.P. method.  It is the method I use for my morning quiet time.  Want to know what it is?  Click Here).

Peace!

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What A Dumb Thing To Ask!

Inheritance“Good Teacher – what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Mark 10:17

What a dumb thing to ask!  “Doing” and “Inheriting” don’t fit together!  Think about it.  If you inherit something, is there anything you have to do to inherit it?  When I die, isn’t it up to me to assign my possessions to my kids?  Can you manipulate the system to be born into the family into which you are born?

That’s silly!

When this man came to Jesus and asked this question, I can imagine Jesus rolling his eyes.  You don’t DO ANYTHING to inherit eternal life.  It is offered to you as a free gift of God!  It is laid out in front of you like a red carpet of Grace onto which you step by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is an inheritance that you inherit, not earn.

So if you’re a believer, live with the inheritance in mind.  You are a child of the king!  You are an heir into the throne room of God!  You are saved by the Grace of Christ!

Do nothing – Inherit everything!

Go and live like that and stop being so silly!

Peace!

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