All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Living Out the Mission of The Gospels

If you are a Christ follower, you have been made a new creation because of Christ now alive in you. On the cross, Jesus became our sin so God could defeat it’s power in our lives through the resurrection. Now, you have been adopted into God’s family. You are joint heirs to the kingdom of heaven. You are purchased, forgiven, chosen, loved, saved, identified as His, seen as without fault (see Ephesians 1:3-14). We are loved by Him, sought by Him, never without Him! This is who you are! This should pump you up! If you are part of the Southern Hills family, you have probably heard, read, memorized, and bought the t-shirt for our mission statement: Making Disciples who Make Disciples. It’s our mantra, our call to arms, our understanding of what Christ called us to do. In all we do, we should be thinking about how we can fulfill the mission we have been called to complete. Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on …

Trust Me, It’s Better to Obey Now

Ok, God, what do you want me to write about for this blog? No… I’m not writing about that. What else you got? When I was fighting God on writing this blog, He reminded me what happened the last time I disobeyed Him. So here we go… The Holy Spirit had been prompting me to have a conversation with a friend, let’s call them Logan. I rationalized it wasn’t my place and I was being overly critical. The thought nagged me, but I continually pushed it away. Eventually I did something I thought Logan would never know about. Turns out they were well aware of it and my actions hurt their feelings. Is God calling you to have a difficult conversation? Take it from me, you don’t want want to ignore the Holy Spirit. Here are 3 things God showed me through this experience and I hope it encourages you to act in obedience. It is your place. Romans 12:5 says, “so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and …

Where is God in the Mess?

Do you ever feel like everything around you is falling apart? Like everywhere you turn there is a mess? I live with 4 kids so this is pretty much my everyday life. Not only are my house and van a physical mess, but one scroll through my social media newsfeed or a few minutes of the evening news confirm the world around me is in a mess too… a moral and ethical mess very similar to the one the prophet Micah dealt with. Micah was responding to a social and cultural climate that had chosen to place its affections on objects that provided wealth, versus having true affection for the Lord. This created a devastating decline of social justice and morality–the people of God were living in a manner out of alignment with their status as the covenant people of God. – Nicki Koziarz, Prone to Wander Wow, sounds familiar doesn’t it? Whenever I read or hear a particular current event, I’m tempted to think “Where is God in this mess?” But as I read …

Jesus Will Return. Will You be Saying, “Hosanna?”

Have you ever wondered why Christians celebrate Palm Sunday? Here is the scene: In Matthew 21, we read about Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He comes in riding on a donkey, as prophesied by Zechariah. He is greeted by  crowds celebrating Him. Some of the people put their cloaks in the street and others put out palm branches—both were signs of welcoming the humble King. The crowd is shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” (Hosanna means “Save, we pray.”) Less than a week later, the crowds chose to release the prisoner Barabbas and demanded Jesus be crucified (Matthew 27:15-23). For a number of reasons (ultimately, God’s own purpose), Jesus was not living up to Israel’s expectations. Not only was He not appearing to be a strong military leader, He was even making claims to be God. “Blasphemy!” they cried—and killed Him. They wanted a King to deliver them from Gentile rule—the same way King David had defeated the Philistines. Sadly, many people seem to think the same way today: “If God won’t give me …

Do What is Right, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!

-written by Jean Daniel Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.” As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars. Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade. During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she …

Are You Standing in a Flood, Mopping Floors?

I doubt this is true, but it sure struck a note with me when I read it. The story goes that years ago a certain mental institution devised a test to determine if a patient was ready to be discharged from its care. The patient under consideration was put into a room with a mop and bucket, and was instructed to mop up the floor. If he turned off the faucet filling an overflowing sink before he started mopping, he was considered sane enough to return to the mainstream of life. Over the last 50 years of ministry I’ve helped a lot of people mop up messes. Those who turned off the faucet first usually got their “rooms” cleaned up and livable again. But what’s really hard is not turning off the faucet (I’ve done that a thousand times). What’s hard is keeping the faucet turned off. I’m a lot like the Israelites of old. They would forsake the Lord; the Lord would discipline them by raising up foreign oppressors; the people would end up …

How Resolved Are You?

-written by Matt Clotfelter The dictionary defines the word resolution as “​a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Some of the synonyms of the word resolution include aim, resolve, single-mindedness, will power, and decision. In other words, when resolved, we have decided our course, and we are doing what it takes to achieve that end. Resolution is also defined as “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.” This word is what we think of in legal action. People go to mitigation to achieve resolution to a dispute. As I think of resolutions, I think of one of the most famous resolutions, which became something so much different. The Richard Henry Lee Resolution became something that changed our world. It was his resolution, submitted to the Second Continental Congress, which led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. It was the line drawn in the sand to declare the “colonies” as an independent nation called the United States. Throughout history, God has had a plan of resolution. As modern …

Are You Leading For The Good of Others?

My second daughter, Vivian, is in Pre-K this year. As a member of the class, they share different roles. Each person will get to be a door holder, line leader, photographer, etc. She gets so excited when it is her turn to have one of the leadership roles for her class. I think her favorite is photographer. Life is full of leadership roles, even at a young age. What leadership roles do you have? Whether it is when you get a rebound and are the one dribbling the ball, deciding if it will be a fast break or a slow walk up, or you are a boss at work, parent at home, husband to a wife, a door holder, a dog walker or whatever other kind of role you play as a leader, we all play the lead at some point. When we live out those opportunities, we can either lead unselfishly, for the sake of those we are leading, or we can lead for our own gain. In Micah 3:1-7, the prophet is calling …

You Have Much. Are You Owning It?

Leadership is a stewardship. Its temporary. And your accountable. – Andy Stanley As I read through Micah 3 and digested the harsh language directed towards those who held mantles of leadership in ancient Israel, I arrived at one concept: Ownership. In this particular case, Micah is announcing time has expired, and it is time to be held accountable. But this concept can be found throughout scripture. There is a story Jesus tells, found in Matthew 25:14-30, of a wealthy man who goes away and leaves differing amounts of money to three different servants, to manage it on his behalf. The master eventually returns and each servant is called to give an account of what he had done with what he was given. In the end, it wasn’t about the original amount given to them; it was about the their effort, or lack thereof. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48 The truth is we’ve all …

Sure You Can, But Should You?

The phrase, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” can be applied to so many areas of life. Just because I can eat ice cream for breakfast, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can stay up all night watching Netflix, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can buy that shiny new thing, doesn’t mean I should. We might have the right to do something, but that doesn’t make it right. If you have attended a Southern Hills service, you have probably heard someone mention Galatians 2:20: My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. As a Christ follower, we are called to crucify ourselves and our desires for the sake of the Gospel. We ought to give up our rights and demonstrate it’s no longer about us and what makes us happy, but it’s about honoring God with …