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Leading With The Need: How We Get More From Church

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Leading With The Need: How We Get More From Church

Why can church seem plastic and empty?

Because I come to the King’s treasury laden with debt but I pretend like I’m rich.

I only leave empty because my pride prevents me from taking advantage of the King’s debt forgiveness program.

In order to do that I have to openly declare bankruptcy.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
— Matthew 5:3

In James 5:16, the author writes,

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Notice that confession of our sin PRECEDES healing —the establishment of healthy function.

Very often I get nothing from church because I pretend that I have it all together.

A pastor and mentor of mine, Pearson Liddell, advised me regarding ministry, “get real as quickly as possible, otherwise you’re wasting people’s time”.

When we don’t confess our sin, we leave money (healing) on the table.

So, for me, moving forward, every church service, fellowship, Bible study will begin with this question, “Where is the sin in my life?”

And what is sin?

Missing the mark.

It’s being outside the circle of love, outside the Kingdom of God. (sin state)

The result is always that we don’t love properly. (sin action)

Leading with the confession of our sin requires humility, looking into the mirror of the perfect law of liberty, turning the sword of the Word (which is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart -Hebrews 4:12) on myself (rather than against others as we so often like to do) and praying, “Lord, show me where I’m apart from You. Show me the areas where Satan sits on the throne in my life. Show me where I’m failing to love properly.”

There will always be something to confess, always an area where we can be healed, always a place where God can make us more glorious.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
— 1 John 1:8

There’s no sense in being sick, coming to the hospital and pretending that I’m OK.

I come to Christ through fellowship because I’m in need.

We should lead with our need.

I’ll start:

One of the greatest hindrances to my loving properly and to God’s glory being expressed in my life is that my regard for many things in this world have not yet descended to the level of trash.

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
— Philippians 3:8

I am preoccupied with my appearance and have burdened myself with debt and unnecessary things to bolster it which keeps me from fellowship and hinders me from following Jesus completely and fearlessly.

Please pray for me.

Maintaining Focus On The Mission: A Task Evaluation Workflow

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Maintaining Focus On The Mission: A Task Evaluation Workflow

My plate has been overflowing as of late and I find myself tremendously stressed and my internal dialogue dominated by, “I have to do “.

But after a moment of prayer and bringing the thought captive to Christ, it occurred to me that the phrase “I have to do…” sounds like a great way to identify an idol.

Why do I feel like “I have to do” these things?

In many ways fear is the reason. I’m afraid that if I don’t do these things I’ll lose some security: income, a client, a job, approval, or that I won’t be loved. This fear enslaves me and drives me to do things that are neither profitable or healthy.

Also, there are times in my life when I felt “stuck” and it is usually due to me not sticking to a course of action that progresses my mission. Instead, I allow myself to be distracted and allow my time and resources to be diverted to someone else’s mission.

So, I’m starting to push back and examine the assertion that I have to do anything besides what God has commissioned me to do.

Jesus was constantly approached with the desires and priorities of others, but Jesus was singular in His focus,

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
— John 6:38

As my example, I want to be like Jesus and be successful in my mission. To do that I must first be focused on His will and secondly be centered in the security that God provides:

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
— 2 Corinthians 9:8

I believe that when I work on behalf of God, and unburden myself from debt and unnecessary things, that God will provide everything I need.

Operating from this confidence, I hope to be more intentional about what I do and more courageous about rejecting activities that do not further my mission.

There are dozens of new potential tasks that I am confronted with everyday. So, I’ve developed the following decision tree to help evaluate which of the following responses are most appropriate: Delete, Delegate, Delay, Date (schedule), Do.

And as far as advancing the mission goes, there’s a sixth “D” or category of activity: Discipline. There are some activities that I should be doing routinely (such as prayer, Bible study, communication with my wife or going to the gym) that perhaps more than anything else, contributes to progress.
#thriveday

Philosophy Is Not Faith

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Philosophy Is Not Faith

Beloved, be careful with all the -ologies and -isms. It is easy to confuse human wisdom and philosophy for faith.

With philosophy, we can stay in our heads.

But, unlike philosophy, faith requires an other person because our faith is in a Person.

So, the principal thing is a real, dynamic relationship which is characterized by an ongoing encounter with, producing a growing understanding of, an other Person.

All the -ologies and -isms may have some utility in technically describing what happens as a result of the encounter but cannot be used for technically achieving the encounter or what happens as a result of it: knowing God and being known by Him, salvation, sanctification, intimacy, or love.

All of these things, an authentic encounter and its effects, are outworkings, responses to the Person you’re relating to —all which are out of your control. It’s grace, that flows like water that you flow with, not works like points you plot.

Jesus came so that you can know God, not so you can have ideas about Him.

“Hear Him.”

Scripture is closed, but God is still speaking. The Word, through the facilitation of the Holy Spirit, trains our ear to know His voice and to hear Him.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
— Romans 10:17

We can really know God and have a real, living, growing relationship with Him.

It starts with humility and the Word.

Seek Him.

Not philosophy, but the person of Christ.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
— Hebrews 11:6

Past Choices, Present Consequences, and What They Teach Me About Proper Priorities

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Past Choices, Present Consequences, and What They Teach Me About Proper Priorities

As I stare down our children graduating and leaving our home, I look back over the past 18 – 20 years and it puts things in perspective.

A lot of urgent things happened in that time.

There were pressing issues at work that demanded my attention: emergencies, new projects, pending deadlines, bills due.

They felt big and important at the time.

But, they weren’t.

As I look at outcomes 20 years removed from their causes, it is clarifying about what is truly important. Very seldom was it the things that I thought were important.

I got a lot of it wrong.

And as I ponder these outcomes, good and bad, the things that did not seem urgent 20 years ago, were the most important: playing with my kids, kissing my wife good night, and spending Friday nights with other believers in marriage ministry.

Sowing into people are the labors that make for a harvest.

The work that seemed all important tends to only produce beautiful dead things, things with no nutritional value, with no ability to make for a healthy soul.

Wise are the words in Ecclesiastes 12:1,

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
‘I have no pleasure in them'”

Because,

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
— Proverbs 16:25

I see in retrospect the importance of trusting and obeying God, not only when we cannot see our way but especially when we think we can, and to follow Him despite the path that seems good to us.

The decisions we make now, will be the ones we eat from in the latter days.

Looking back, I do not ever regret a single time that I followed Him and I wish I had followed Him more.

He truly does lead to green places (Psalm 23:1-6).

He truly is Lord of every harvest that I’m enjoying right now.

Peace

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Peace

Peace is not the absence of difficulty.

Peace is stability in the midst of it.

We can have peace because of the soundness of our vessel and confidence in the Captain.

Jesus is the ark.
Jesus is the Captain.

Everyone in Him has eternal life. We will never sink.
He will not lose one soul for everyone who trusts Him to guide them through this life.

From the moment we’re saved out of the waters of the shadow of death, separation from God, and accept His salvation, we enter His ship, we enter Life.

Where are we going in His ship? More abundant Life —deeper intimacy with God (John 17:3).

We’re going from Life to Life.

Nevertheless, the storms continue to rage.

But, since the day I met Him, I have never again been at risk of dying. I have inextinguishable life now, no matter how hard things get, because I am no longer separated from God.

My soul is anchored.

So, even while life can be difficult.

I have peace.

Aquila and Priscilla: Models For God Honoring Marriages

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Aquila and Priscilla: Models For God Honoring Marriages

Finish this sentence: “Aquila and…”

Many disciples can finish that phrase without a second’s thought.

“Aquila and Priscilla”, though scarcely mentioned in Scripture, are models for God-honoring marriages.

Namely, in this way: when you think of one, you think of the other because as they are depicted in the scripture, they are always together and act as one.

How is their marriage God honoring? Because, through their marriage, they live out the “great mystery” of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Others should not see or think of us primarily as an individual.

We are betrothed to Christ.

When people see us, they should see Christ.

When people think of us, they should immediately think of Christ, because we’re always together and act as One.

That is what our marriages and lives should reflect.
#perfectourlove

My Growing Confidence In Love

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - My Growing Confidence In Love

No one could ever convince me that Love does not exist.

Or, that it is just language for a mutually agreed upon construct,

or merely an electro-chemical reaction in our brains.

Because I’ve known Love to exist apart from these things,

transcendent,

powerful,

sovereign,

alive

—an agent that causes, not an effect.

Love is law that’s obvious to everyone when it is not obeyed.

God is Love.

In fact, that’s what brought me to belief: love undeserved,

love that existed

despite the fact that I had not acknowledged or participated in any semblance of a construct of mutual value or regard,

love that was experienced

despite the electro-chemical reactions in my brain: feelings of sadness and depression.

It was not my imagination.

It was not an emotion.

It was an encounter.

It is a Person I reliably meet every time I’m loved or every time I seek to express love.

And it matches Jesus to the letter as He is described in Scripture and even as I learn more about Him.

It’s a person that is not whatever we want it to be but a person with an identity just as distinct as a fingerprint.

It’s an ID everyone is wired to make. Everyone can tell what is more or less love, which is what makes John 13:35 true:

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:35

“All will know” not by just anything we call love, but by something very specific as indicated in the immediately preceding verse:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
— John 13:34

We can’t make Love whatever we want it to be.

“All will know” by love that Jesus is,

love that Jesus demonstrates,

love that Jesus commands.

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
— 2 John 1:6

Love is law.

“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
— Romans 13:10

Love is a Person to be obeyed.

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
— 1 John 2:5

God is love.

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
— 1 John 4:8

Want to know God?

Love

by obeying Jesus and express Love personified.

#perfectourlove

52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #6 – An Incredible Gift

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #16 – An Incredible Gift
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #16 – An Incredible Gift
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #16 – An Incredible Gift

In week 16 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks to God for an incredible gift.

If I mention the black, opening crawl of “Star Wars” you can see the logo and almost instantly hear the theme music, can’t you?

Iconic, right?

What if I told you I personally knew someone who played first chair in a section of the orchestra responsible for that original score?!

But, what if I told you that they conducted the score for that orchestra?

Or, what if I told you they wrote the score for that 100+ piece symphony orchestra?!

That would be amazing, right?

Well, my brother, Nehemiah Luckett, composed, orchestrated and directed music for “Ruby”, a production that I am confident will find it’s way to Broadway.

My mother and I drove 26 hours round trip to see it.

It was worth every second.

The story, the writing, the acting, the choreography, the music, and the vocals were stellar.

I hesitate to say pitch-perfect for fear of sounding like I’m overstating the case because he’s my brother, but it was just that good.

No. It was better than good.

It was excellent.

As it unfolded, I forgot I was watching a play and it challenged me in ways that good art tends to do.

As I attempted to comprehend all the moving pieces, to think that my brother wrote melodies and words that so beautifully conveyed such hard truths, music not for one instrument but an entire band, vocals not for just one singer but dozens, and helped to orchestrate a production that constantly teetered on making me want to avert my eyes and never being able to look away,

I was left in awe

because my brother is a maestro,

but more so, because he invited me to see his incredible gift and so graciously chose to share it with me.

I’m grateful.

I love you Nehemiah Luckett and I’m very proud of you, always have been.

#52WoG

If you’re interested in learning more about Nehemiah’s wonderful work or supporting it, you can do that here: https://bit.ly/nehemiah-patreon

Convinced But Not Converted: The Type Of Ministry That Results In Faith That Is Doomed To Fail

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Convinced But Not Converted: The Type Of Ministry That Results In Faith That Is Doomed To Fail

I remember one day my mentor and pastor, Dr. Gregory Jones was confronted with a young man looking to argue how God and religion were fantasy.

Pastor Jones answered him not one word.

I was perplexed by this. I was like isn’t this an opportunity to “convert” him? I wanted the smoke. I wanted to flex our apologetics muscle and intellectually spar with him.

I was so naive and misguided.

Even though I was preaching and studying under Pastor Jones at the time, even I wasn’t yet converted.

Because had I been, I would have known that faith comes from a life-altering moment of hearing God and believing Him. Period.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
— Romans 10:17

An elder brother once told me, “some lessons are taught and some others can only be caught.”

After having been converted, and having preached, and having argued for twenty plus years now

I better understand that if you can be convinced, you can be unconvinced.

The reason so many young people leave our churches, go to college and lose their religion is not because of education as so many claim, but is often because their faith was cultural or they were convinced but not converted.

No one comes to God by intellectual ascent or cultural association.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
— John 1:12-13

There is only one Way: God expresses Himself, we hear Him, we believe Him and then we are saved from separation from Him.

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”
— 1 Timothy 2:5

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
— John 14:6

So then, my concentration, is having His heart, using His voice and speaking His Word.

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
— John 10:26-27

Since having “caught” this, I’ve never tried to convince anyone again.

I just aim to preach and live Christ.

I am now blown away by what I didn’t see before like how Jesus drops this bomb in Luke 16:19-31.

Here, Jesus casually reveals earth-shattering truths that are key to unlocking saving faith and ministry

1. everything that is necessary to birth faith and bridge the great gulf of separation between us and God is in the Word

2. if after having shared the full counsel of God that is expressed and made clear in Jesus Christ, someone does not believe, they would have never believed and their is nothing: no argument, no miracle, no sign, not even if “one rise from the dead” that would convince them.

“But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
— Luke 16:31

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son,

whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”
— Hebrews 1:1-3

Just focus on living and preaching Christ who reconciles us to God.

That is the one and only ministry.

Thank you Pastor Jones. I love you and I miss you.

Not Until I Grow Up

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Not Until I Grow Up

Not Until I Grow Up

Frankly, Christians shouldn’t be saying anything (or doing anything) until we’ve first learned how to love, because

“Let all that you do be done with love.”
— 1 Corinthians 16:14

Because “love” is how the children of God talk.

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
— Ephesians 4:15

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
— Ephesians 4:29

Until we learn how to love each other within the family of God, we should not be doing or saying anything because that means Christ is not yet formed in us.

What is your position on “x”?
What is your position on “y”?

We should just shut up. We should not do anything besides imitating the pattern of Christ until we learn to walk as He walked.

Love should be our preoccupation.

Jesus came to make the Father known so that we can be with Him for the purpose of the greater glory of God.

His goal should be ours and He said,

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:35

We fulfill our ministry, we make God known, not by our position on the issues but

HOW. WE. LOVE. ONE. ANOTHER.

How did it get more complicated than that? Who bewitched you?

Repent! And return to the simplicity of Christ.

Love.

Love is the beginning and end of maturity.

#perfectourlove