A Manifesto of Habits

notepad-1192373-1279x1680I came across this Habits Manifesto in a book I was reading, and really thought not only was it simple but profound.

The truth is sometimes the most profound things are the simplest.

And here Gretchen Rubin outlines her habits and manifesto for how to live a life of impact, meaning, and with the right priorities.

Take a moment and really read through each of these points, and think to yourself,what would you add? What would you take away? And more importantly, how should you act in light of this?

What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.

Make it easy to do right and hard to do wrong.

Focus on actions, not outcomes.

By giving something up, we may gain.

Things often get harder before they get easier.

When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.

We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.

It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.

When we can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.

We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.

We manage what we monitor.

Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.

Here is just one shift I’d make. The first says this, “What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while”. Or I’d just put it this way, “Being consistent is better than being occasionally exceptional”.
What do you think?

Why We Need Words and Actions

11136617_10206457512023468_6356891879295745781_nSo as we were driving to church one day, just Hudson and me, I said to him. “Hudson, Daddy loves you”. And Hudson had this funny little response, “He said Daaadddy (in that long drawn out way) you always say that!” And I said, “I know that buddy, I just don’t ever want you to forget that or doubt that.”

And he said, “Don’t worry Daddy, I know you love me because you wrestle with me, read with me, play Lego with me, we sit together and watch TV, you ride my bike with me, and play with me. I know you love me because we do all that together all the time”.

And that just made my day.

But I wanted to share it for a specific reason, what Hudson’s response reminded me of.  And it’s this: Actions confirm words.

And here’s what that means for me. It is important to say I love you, but it is so much more important to say it and show it.

For Hudson, he doesn’t doubt that he is loved, because he hears it and sees it. The consistency of Krista and I saying it and trying to show it as best we can, gives him security and confidence that he is loved.

And this is my larger point in writing this today. Are there people that you need to show love to today? Are there actions that you need to take to confirm what’s in your heart?

Hudson’s response actually made me think about those closest to me. Would Krista be able to rhyme off a list like that right away? What about Asher, or my neighbors, or my mom or whomever?

My point is: are there people that we love, that we need to confirm it with our actions? Because love isn’t love unless it’s acting, moving, and being put into practice. So today put love into practice and confirm at least for someone, that they are loved.

OrthoKardia the Missing Link: Or Why Christians Don’t Look Like Christ

cross_jesus_wood_216556On Sunday we looked at this statement from the EMCC’s “Seven-Fold Way of Following Jesus”. And it says, “I am learning to be like Jesus in terms of my attitudes, behaviors, and character”. And this is really key because the world doesn’t need more information about Jesus, it needs more people living like Jesus. But here is the snag in our modern Western world; we think that the key to people living more like Jesus is learning more about Jesus. But knowledge does not translate directly into action. There is a missing step. And we know this (Just think about whether you flossed, exercised, or walked to work today. We all know this is a good thing to do, we just don’t do it).

So we looked at three terms on Sunday. Orthdoxy – which means right beliefs (or knowledge). Orthopraxy – which menas right actions. And lastly, the missing link between the two – Orthokardia – which means right-heartedness.

The point is that right actions flow out of a right heart not just the right knowledge. And this is something that Jesus actually teaches in Mark 7; that evil things flow out of an evil heart. And good things flow out of a transformed heart. This is why the heart is such a key image in the Bible. This is why all the Old Testament promises in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27 talk about God giving us a new heart, so that we can live differently.

The point is that if we want to live like Jesus, we need a heart like Jesus. A heart transformed to have the desires he does, to have the inclinations, and longing that he does. And this is exactly what we get when we decide to follow Jesus. We get a new heart, or as Paul puts, we are a new creation. We are made new and different so that we can live in a new and different way. When we decide to follow Jesus, our old selfish heart is gone, so that we might follow Jesus in a new way.

And that’s what we looked at on Sunday, because, before we will ever live differently, we need to know that we are different. And we are different if we have decided to follow Jesus. So we can actually learn to live like Jesus in terms of our attitudes, behaviours, and character.

And we landed and focused on one simple next step to learn to live more like Jesus. It sounds silly and trite but it isn’t. The next step is simple: pray to Jesus. Pray to Jesus asking him to help you live more like him. Pray to Jesus asking him to reveal areas to live more like him. Pray to Jesus asking him to empower us to live more like him.

The point is that when we pray, we focus our hearts, minds, and souls on Jesus Christ. And when our hearts are focused on Jesus, then they can direct us to live like Jesus. We cannot learn to be like Jesus on our own, we need his help and the Holy Spirit. So praying isn’t a simplistic answer, it is the answer. Without prayer we won’t be able to learn to live like Jesus. But with prayer we can not only learn to know how to act, but also be empowered to act through Jesus.

So we ended with one simple challenge. To pray this week to learn to live more like Jesus in terms of our attitudes, behaviors, and character. And to ask Jesus to reveal one attitude, one behavior, and one character piece to start to work on, practice, and learn.

And my honest belief is that as we ask Jesus to lead us to live more like him, he will answer that prayer. And as he answers that prayer and we live more like him, we just might end up answering some of the prayers of the people around us. And that is a pretty cool thought.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: I am learning to be like Jesus in attitudes, behaviors, and character

Teaching Points:

  • “I am learning to be like Jesus in attitudes, behaviors, and character”
  • Our impact on society has a direct correlation with the level of Christlikeness in our lives
  • It is much easier to learn lots about Jesus, than to live like Jesus.
  • Christians are educated beyond our level of obedience
  • The world doesn’t need more information about Jesus, it needs people living like Jesus.
  • Merely believing the right things does not ensure Christlike behavior…We want to master the information; [the apostles] longed to master the life. Bob Roberts
  • Orthodoxy: Right Belief
  • Orthopraxy: Right Actions
  • Orthokardia: Right-heartedness
  • Simply believing the right things about Jesus does not mean you will live or act like Jesus.
  • The “heart is deceitful above all things”. (Jer 17:9).
  • Before we will ever live differently, we need to know that we are different.
  • That if we focused on telling people more who they are, we wouldn’t have to tell them so much what to do
  • Pray to Jesus for help
  • Rarely does transformation happen without revelation

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

Had you ever thought about “right actions” flowing out of a “right heart” before? What did you think of it? Was the idea that you are a new creation new? Freeing? Hopeful? How does that change how you see yourself? How might asking Jesus for help to live like him – help you? What attitude is Jesus asking you to focus on? Behaviors? Character? Who can help you to grow in them?

Discussion Question for Families:

Talk to your kids today about accepting Jesus, and how it means we become new. Ask them what they think Jesus was like in terms of his attitudes, behaviors, and character. Get them to pick on thing that was Jesus-like and to make it your goal as a family to practice it this week (being kind, generous, loving etc). Talk about it at meals and make it a focus and learn to be like Jesus together.

Challenge for the Week: Be like Jesus in terms of your attitude, behaviors, and character.

Christians Who Act Like Jesus…What a Novel Thought

jesus_definition_picture_170529This Sunday we are looking at a really important part of following Jesus – learning to be like him in terms of our attitudes, behaviours, and character. And this matters so much for Christians. Because in today’s day and age, people don’t generally have a problem with Jesus, they have a problem with Christians. Because as Christians sometimes our attitudes, actions, and character can seem so unchristlike.

So on Sunday we will unpack why this happens. We will be looking at the false idea that “right beliefs” lead to “right actions” – because they don’t. There is a missing link between right beliefs and right actions and we will talk about how that one link changes everything.

Because here is the truth. Our impact on society has a direct correlation with the level of Christlikeness in our lives. But it is so much easier to know lots about Jesus, than to live like Jesus. But come Sunday we are going to see how to actually live like Jesus.

But before we get there if you want to be serious about following Jesus, why not pray this simple but radical prayer. Pray this, “Jesus, are there attitudes, behaviors, or character things you want to change in my life”. Because rarely does transformation happen without revelation. Pray for Jesus to reveal to you where he wants to lead you. It can be a dangerous prayer because of what Jesus might reveal, but it also just could be one of the most transformative and changing prayers you coud pray.

So pray, and more importantly act on what Jesus reveals. And then on Sunday we are going to look at the missing link between beliefs and actions.