A personality trait that seems to run like a thread through the lives of many people I admire is the trait of being a "high capacity" person. I'm often impressed by people who seem skilled at juggling multiple things without becoming excessively bogged down or easily discouraged. Some of my favorite historical figures were high capacity leaders. Some of the people I allow to influence me presently are high capacity leaders. I'm trying to learn from them and implement some of their attitudes, approaches, and strategies.
But no matter how "high capacity" someone might be, we need to realize that we all have our limits. Even if we don't require a lot of sleep, we still require some sleep. Even if we know many things, we don't know everything (and let's be honest... some of the most irritating people on this earth are those who think they know everything.) The strongest, wisest, and most gifted people on this earth can only do so much.
That being the case, let's consider God's capacity for just a moment. He's not only "high capacity", He's "infinite capacity." He never sleeps or slumbers. He is perfect in all His abilities. There isn't a single thing that He doesn't know, and there is no one more powerful than Him. And unlike humans who can only be in one place at one time, He is everywhere at the same time. This is amazing, and just like the Psalmist said in Psalm 113, "Who is like the Lord our God?" The answer, very simply, is no one.
Not long ago, I had the privilege to hear a recording of a speaker who had a solid understanding of family dynamics. She was speaking about a family that had two children. One of the children had special needs that required a considerable amount of work and attention. The other child didn't have those same needs and unfortunately, he started to feel starved for attention, unloved, and forgotten while his parents provided care for his sister. Thankfully, this issue was brought to his parents' attention and they began taking steps to correct it in a healthy way.
Ironically, when it comes to the Trinity, those who believe in God can sometimes make a similar mistake to what this family was making. We learn about and focus on both God the Father and God the Son, but sometimes we can be guilty of forgetting about God the Holy Spirit all together. Some even go so far as to treat Him as if He isn't God or doesn't possess personhood and the intellect, emotions, and will that come with it.
But let's not make that mistake. As we look at what the Scriptures tell us, we can learn amazing things about who the Holy Spirit is, what He's doing for us, and how He's seeking to guide the direction our lives take. He makes a point to unite us as the family of God, so let's not make the error of forgetting Him or His union with the Father and the Son.
Very little advice is typically given to young people regarding how to manage their finances. As a result, many never learn how to handle their finances in a wise or biblical manner. In the short term, this can be wasteful instead of being worshipful. In the long term, it can also establish a pattern that results in needless difficulty and poverty.
I believe it's wise for a student to save 70%, spent up to 20%, and give 10% of what they earn. In this process, they learn the importance of saving for larger purchases like vehicles and college expenses. They also learn the importance of budgeting and setting limits on spending. And most important of all, they learn that money is a tool that should never be worshipped, but should be given generously as an act of worship to the Lord who gives us the ability to earn an income to begin with.
Have you ever wondered what kind of impact your life is having on others? At some point, we all probably give that question a thought. The truth is, we all have an impact on each other. Sometimes we're good influences, other times we aren't. Sometimes we impact others in ways we never fully realize, but every life can be impactful.
When we take a quick look over the course of history, we can observe the impact of some very influential people. There are people who made an impact in all areas, including, the military, the arts, the sciences, theology, architecture, and social culture. But there is no life we can point to that has had a greater impact on each of these areas and more, than Jesus Christ.
Becoming a father is one of the most transformative events of a man's life. You watch your life transform from being self-focused, to being focused primarily on the needs of other people. With every decision you make, you weigh the kind of impact it will have on your children. You protect. You provide. You mediate disputes. You offer counsel and correction daily. You try to prepare your children to gradually navigate life without your help. And you pray in desperation for the Lord's intervention in the lives of your children.
Many latent instincts get triggered in your mind when the Lord gives you children. The first time I purchased life insurance was once we had kids. If something unforeseen happened to me, I wanted to make sure they could be provided for even after my death. Every day from the moment your kids are born, you begin making both small and large sacrifices together with your wife for the long-term benefit of your children.
I have often said that becoming a father has given me new insight into God's loving and sacrificial heart toward His children. I understand His love a little better than I used to. I identify with His willingness to sacrifice for our benefit more clearly. I have even come to appreciate His willingness to discipline us for our own good in a new way.
Scripture reveals many things to us about God the Father, and today we're going to look at His role, His work, His relationship to us, and how we can reflect His heart as we interact with others.
I'm guessing that each of us probably have a list of people in this world that we would like to get to know. I'm sure that list includes plenty of people that we know about, but there's a big difference between knowing about someone and knowing them personally.
I had the opportunity the other day to look through hundreds of old family pictures. In the midst of the stacks of pictures, I came across a picture of my Great-Grandfather, Joseph Lewis. He was a coal miner in Wilkes-Barre, PA and he died tragically in a mine accident many decades before I was born, but when I was a child, my Nana, his daughter, used to tell me a lot about him. Through her, I learned that he was a kind man. I learned that when he would have to punish her brothers, he would often sit and cry with them afterward. She told me that he was adored by the neighborhood children because he would frequently join them in playing games in the street in the evenings.
Many people in this world claim to believe that God exists, but if you ask them to give you specifics about what He's like and what He does, you're likely to be given a lot of opinions, but very little biblical evidence to back those opinions up.
God desires a deep, personal connection with His creation. He isn't disinterested and uninvolved with what He has made. He doesn't ultimately desire to be disconnected or distant from humanity. For these reasons, He has intentionally made Himself known to us. Creation itself testifies to His existence, but in addition to that, He has intentionally and progressively made many specifics about Himself known to us over the course of history.
At present, does God seem distant and unknowable to you? Would you like to get to know Him better or more deeply? Likewise, God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Typically, we refer to these three Persons as the Trinity, but do we truly understand this concept?
One of the joys of being a follower of Christ is the privilege that He grants you to likewise be part of His family, the church. In Christ, all believers are united to Him as the head of the church, and to one another as the body. We were created by the Lord to operate in community, and we have the privilege to be a vital and beneficial part of one another's lives.
But living in community with your brothers and sisters in Christ isn't always an easy thing to do. Sometimes, our preferences or selfish tendencies can get in the way. Sometimes, as the result of an offense, it can be easy to pull away from others while you brood over what has you upset. Other times, it can be easy to lose sight of what's really important in this world, and as a result, we invest our time elsewhere instead of investing it in Christ's people or allowing them to make investments in us.
Thankfully, we have multiple examples from Scripture that show us a glimpse of the attitude Christ wants us to foster among one another. As we look at some of these examples, we can learn more about what it would mean for us to recapture the heart and mindset of the early church.
When you become a parent, a curious change takes place in your life. You begin thinking about yourself less, and a large percentage of your time and emotional energy is invested in the care and well-being of your kids. It's a healthy, but difficult process to endure because along the way, you also go from being their hero who can fix everything and can do no wrong, to being the target of a decent amount of complaints and critiques. Somewhere along the way, however, I'm told that your kids start liking you again, primarily when they start having kids.
I regularly tell my children that I'm praying for them. There isn't a single day of their lives that I haven't prayed for them, not because I'm being forced to, but because the Lord compels my heart to do so. The Lord has blessed my wife and me with two daughters and two sons, and we frequently pray about their spiritual growth, physical safety, and future marriages. Along the way, we do our best to impart biblical wisdom to them in the hopes that they will receive it and adopt it as their own.
When I look at Scripture, I see many examples of people who trusted in Christ and used their lives to serve and worship Him. Many of those examples are godly women that we would all do well to learn from. One such example is a woman who was part of the early church and partnered, along with her husband, with the Apostle Paul in his church planting ministry. Her name was Priscilla, and when I look at what Scripture tells us about her, I see the kind of woman that I would like my daughters to copy and my sons to marry.
Each week, I spend a good chunk of time working on the sermon that I'll preach on Sunday. When it's all said and done, my notes are about the length of a 10-page term paper, and I typically speak between 45-50 minutes. But last night, I had the privilege to preach a sermon that was one second in length.
I left the church later than normal last night. Right around 7:20pm, I started walking to my car when I noticed a woman and her three young grandchildren playing on our church playground. I said, "Hello," and then I asked her, "Do you or the kids need to use the bathrooms or anything before I go? I can wait to lock up if you need anything inside."