Jesus is Clarity

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Jesus Is Clarity

Have you ever been at work and weren’t exactly clear on what you should be doing or why it even mattered?

Jesus, from the beginning, makes His call to His disciples crystal clear and there may not be a verse that captures it better than Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17.

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

In one infinitely packed statement Jesus provides the purpose, the process and the product of our calling.

“Follow Me” – This is the purpose: to fix our eyes on Jesus and to walk as He walked (Hebrews 12:2, 1 John 2:6). And, like Peter who walked on the water toward Jesus, it should be apparent from the start that it is impossible to take one step unless we have supernatural help. And, not if, but when we fail in our walk and cry out to Jesus, He will save us (Matthew 14:25-33).

“And I will make you” – This is the process: as we step out in faith to follow Jesus, He does a work in us that makes us fit for the work. No experience required (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Faith in Christ is not a do it yourself project.

The world attempts to make Christianity like every other religion or system of thought and reduce it merely to a philosophy for living but Jesus won’t allow it. He says firmly, “Without Me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5. Authentic faith in Christ demands the ongoing involvement of a real, living God.

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. We follow after Him and depend on His supernatural power to make us what we need to be, to give us what we need to have to do what He called us to do and to keep us until the end (John 10:28-30, Jude 1:24-25).

“Fishers of men” – This is the product. God wants the people (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:3-4). Jesus gives us life in Him so that we may draw others to Him so He can give them life in Him. Christ in God, Us in Christ, They in Us, being made One together by the Holy Spirit all to the glory of God is the point of everything (John 10:10, John 17:20-23).

The people are the point.

In my home: the people are the point.
At my job: the people are the point.
When I’m choosing where to live: the people are the point.
When I’m choosing what to buy: the people are the point.
When I encounter a stranger pumping gas: the people are the point.

God wants the people. And, when we follow Jesus, He will make us into people who can get them, so we can all be together in Him.

Jesus is clarity. Follow Him.

NOTE: Believe it or not, I’ve written hundreds of what I believe are glimpses that God has given me that I’ve never shared. This particular one was written last month.

But, to show you how God works, a friend and sister in Christ, Alethea Burton forwarded me a podcast to listen to yesterday that echoed certain themes that matched what I had written previously and have shared today. It was so forceful, it felt like the volume of those parts were amplified.

And then, I attend Man Church last night and almost the exact phrase, “I will make you fishers of men” are echoed again by two different independent people! After three times in the same day, I was like, “Ok, yes, Lord. I will do it now.”

So, I am sharing this “glimpse” this morning with absolute confidence that it’s not only a Word (logos) for someone but it’s a Word that will make a significant shift and turn the tide for someone right now (kairos). I don’t know who that is or what that will look like but I praise God for it. Glory to God!

#JesusIsClarity

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Whole Over Happy

A little boy of Asian decent playing catch with a yellow balloon, holding on to a red string to keep it from flying away

The pursuit of happiness is deceiving.

A major lesson that I’ve learned at the feet of Jesus was what I was really looking for wasn’t happiness but to be whole.

When I’m whole, I can better enjoy happiness.

And, I can also be well without it.

Happiness is a high. It’s an event that heightens an experience. Happiness is even more satisfying and long lasting if what I was already experiencing was joy.

We often chase happiness because we had nothing to begin with.

The thing about highs is you can never reproduce the first one.

Why?

As a result of having never experienced it, you couldn’t expect it. Serendipity, something pleasant and unexpected, is core to happiness. It hits different –something that affects you pleasantly in an unexpected way.

True happiness, therefore, cannot be sought, or else you would expect it. While you can create conditions that improve the chances of it happening, happiness can only be appreciated when it happens to happen. There’s a reason “happen” is part of the name.

Happiness, when rooted in good (what helps and not harms), is good and should be fully enjoyed but it cannot be grasped. Happiness can only be received.

But, joy is the perpetual, ever-lasting pleasure and satisfaction that comes from knowing something true, good and certain. (e.g. Happiness is a hug from your Mom. Joy is knowing your Mom wants to hug you.)

Jesus makes whole so that you have joy that satisfies and always abides even if you’re low and deepens your happiness when you’re high.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
-John 15:11

What the world has us chasing is totally different than what actually satisfies. Jesus said, “Come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)

Like the woman at the well, I can testify. While I sometimes find myself going back to the well out of habit, in reality, since coming to Jesus, I’ve never thirsted again.

#WholeOverHappy

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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A Common Problem With Christian “Witnessing”


Often the problem with our witness as Christians is that we don’t love the people we’re witnessing to.

My wife shared with me how as she and our son were leaving Walmart they were approached by two people saying, “What church do you attend?” And, after saying a bit more they handed her a flyer and invited them to their church.

She called me immediately after and said, “I guess they were well meaning, but why does it bother me so bad?”

I submit because there was no love.

Part of love is honor. And, honor is an acknowledgement of worth.

The spirit of this particular approach my wife experienced was, “You lack something that you need me to give to you.” It’s presumptuous, accusatory and dishonoring.

Now what would this encounter look like if it were someone I actually honored? What if it were Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos I were talking to?

Now if this were Warren Buffett of Jeff Bezos, my approach would be one of honor and accommodation. I’d go to them rather than expect them to come to me. I’d clear my calendar and would make room for them whenever they could grace me with their presence in hope of just being in their company and getting some small shred of insight into how I might attain the wealth that they have.

For believers Jesus is our treasure. Ephesians 4:8 says “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men”. He distributed this heavenly wealth as precious expressions of His person to the redeemed, giving to some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, some teachers… (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The point being that there’s a potential of some insight into the unsearchable riches of Christ available through every person you meet that you won’t get any other way! Oh, what tremendous value and worth that person represents!

It would transform our ministry if we approached people in excited anticipation of what glimpse of Christ we may glean through them.

But first, we have to address that our values are misplaced and repent. A lack of honor is a dead give-away that we perceive a person lacks worth.

Jesus said our treasure should not be on earth but that when we value what He value and honor those He loves with even a cup of cold water, we’ll have treasure in heaven. Jesus thought that person you are talking to at any given moment was worth the cross.

Engage accordingly.

Honor all people. (1 Peter 2:17)

And for the record, I’m also preaching to me.

The Ministry Of Work

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Ministry Of Work

NOTE: This is a stub. It’s a raw outpouring of what came to me in a moment. There were points that were deeply helpful to me and I felt compelled to share it at this time, so I’m posting it before it is finished and will fill it out as more about “The Ministry Of Work” comes to me.

Ugh, another work day.

I found myself in a place where I was completely disenchanted with my work. I didn’t have any motivation. I didn’t want to do anything. I simply didn’t have the energy.

I felt bad for feeling bad. Am I being lazy? Am I depressed? Am I burned out?

This feels familiar. I’ve been here before. Experience teaches me to execute James 1:5.

So, I share my struggle with a fellow believer. I seek wise counsel. I pray.

My petition is singular, “I’m completely unmotivated. I don’t want to do anything. I’m not sure if I’m being lazy or if I’m depressed. What am I supposed to do?”

Then, I rest, not just rest from my tasks but I rest in the Lord, waiting, listening for His guidance.

The answer comes to me in that quiet place.

“Not what [you should do], who.”

Whatever matter we’re seeking the will of God for, we can know with certainty that the Father wants us to be like Him, to have His heart.

Everything good is in Him and His perspective on everything is perfect, so who is our Father and what is His heart as it relates to to work?

God is a giver.

God gives abundantly.

God gives so there is more than enough for everyone.

God in His wisdom creates means and mechanisms for the provision of all living things.

The means are His creation –natural resources and the mechanisms are the systems He’s ordained for the extraction and conversion of natural resources into provision for the care of His creatures.

And, one such mechanism God has given us to care for His creation and provide His abundance is work.

Lack, insufficiency, hunger and poverty are all a result of man’s corruption, exploitation and mismanagement of God’s creation.

When we fail to work for the benefit of others we steal, we rob the world of God’s loving provision through us.

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” -Ephesians 4:28

Lies block love.

Show me suffering of a man’s soul and I’ll show you a lie.

In the light of the truth of who God is and who I should emulate, I can see the lies that I allowed to creep into my heart and cause my dis-ease:

1. Work is just about getting rather than giving. (Salaries, titles, status)

2. We get our fulfillment or value from our work.

3. If I can’t do what I want to do, I’m not doing anything.

Work is more than just a means of feeding ourselves, it is also a means for expressing Christ (the heart of the Father), it’s an opportunity to minister His character to others, it’s a means of communicating who He is.

I don’t typically enjoy physical labor but there’s a work I do with delight –washing my wife’s car. I do the work with diligence, excellence and attention to detail. I love conveying the truth of God that she’s cared for and it gives me pleasure to think of her constantly riding around in a tangible reminder.

We should also look for the ways others are seeking to convey His person through their work and be co-laborers with them, especially when we’re unclear about or do not yet have any of our own.

We should be driven to make ourselves useful and be productive as God is productive.

“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.'” -John 5:17

Sometimes, lethargy is due to causes less sinister than lies and disobedience, sometimes it’s due to being overwhelmed with complexity and decision fatigue, not quite knowing which thing to do or choosing which task would be the most profitable. But, what we know for sure is that some labor, any labor is more profitable than none. So choose something and get moving because it’s in the process of walking in faith that God provides for the next step.

Though I’ve hinted to it, I would be remiss in not emphasizing that a part of who the Father is and what His heart is as it relates to work is rest.

When we fail to properly rest, we fail to properly express who God is.

We should either be working or resting in preparation for work (which includes enjoying the fruit of our work). When we do it properly, we glorify God, we are revealed as sons of God and become vessels God uses to pour out His abundant and manifold grace in the world.

This newfound perspective of work not just as a task (what) but as a means to express God’s character (who), to be a giver as He is a giver and to be His vessel for His provision and care of His creation deeply encourages and revitalizes me. It places a high and challenging calling on all that we do.

Therefore,

“whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” -Colossians 3:23

Work.

Posted by Paul Luckett.

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Maintaining Focus

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Maintaining Focus

I am grieved by the brokenness of the world and the suffering it causes.
I am often tempted to try to “save” or change the world.
But, that is not my charge.

The world will remain broken and grow worse as long as there is evil in it, that is, any way of thinking besides God’s.

I have one focus: to attend to my Lord’s house,
to see to the provision for those who are in it,
to maintain it as a safe place
and to seek His beloved, declaring everywhere the good news of His salvation from sin whose infection has caused a broken and dying world.

And, as we who are being saved enter His house, we wash each other’s feet so not to bring the filth that is outside inside.

My goal therefore is not to save the world but to lift up Christ and see people saved out of it:

To invite everyone to the courtyard of the knowledge of Christ,
To minister them into the sanctuary of relationship with Christ,
To lead them into the Holy of Holies of the Love of Christ,
To serve the House of God as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

Practically, that means to make the Love of God known not only in word but also in deed and truth (alḗtheia -sincerity): in how I serve, how I work, how I relate to everything –in how I live (1 John 3:18).

May I be found so doing until my Lord returns,
when “all enemies have been put under His feet” and evil is defeated completely (I Corinthians 15:25).
Then, by His power, there will be no more destruction, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9

I have decided to make all that I do in service to this: my Lord’s house. As Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

If it doesn’t further this, I have no part in it. #kingdomfocus #focus

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Honoring Lavontraon “Trey” Smith

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Honoring Lavontraon Trey Smith #DueHonor

I don’t know what the deal was but I was in Popeyes in Starkville on a Tuesday and the line was wrapped around the door.

So, I couldn’t help but notice this young man named Trey who served each and every last guest with patience & a smile.

They were hopping and Trey rolled with it. This guy is a diamond under pressure.

Hat tip. I thought someone should know. #duehonor

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Goats Cannot Be Convinced

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Goats Cannot Be Convinced
Photo Courtesy: Guru Thodime on Flickr

After 20+ years of studying, teaching and preaching, I am almost embarrassed to admit what I’m just now learning:

Goats cannot be convinced.

Sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him. So, my sole focus should be to speak with His voice as I follow Him.

Not only should I speak His words but with the Spirit in which they were spoken. Love.

“He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break…”
Isaiah 42:2-4

In short, I’ve got to stop yelling at goats. It’s futile.

And, I also should not be surprised nor discouraged that there few sheep and many many more goats.

But, my desire should be (and is) to get connected with every sheep that I can.

References:
Isaiah 42:2-4
John 10:26-27
Matthew 7:13-14
Acts 26:28
1 Corinthians 11:1
Romans 8:7

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Honoring Elsie Short

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Honoring Elsie Short #DueHonor

It’s a Sunday and all the florist shops are closed. I needed a custom item the same day and visited Kroger’s floral section hoping I could find a suitable substitute.

I asked someone working in the section if they had any and she responded they could make one if ordered at least 24 hours in advance. A lady who normally works in that section, happened to be in the store doing her own grocery shopping and overheard our conversation.

She asked me what I was looking for and WHILE OFF THE CLOCK, put her own grocery shopping on hold, begin pulling flowers together and made it on the spot.

She handed me the item with a smile. I told her how deeply grateful I was for her kindness. And, as quickly as she appeared, she left.

Her name is Elsie Short.

She has no idea about the impact she made today (the item was not for me). But as for me, I wouldn’t care if Kroger were more expensive than every other grocery store. What Elsie Short did today was more than enough to make me a Kroger customer for life!

I thought someone should know.
#duehonor

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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We Must Always Fight

I believed this just a few days ago, but I grew up.

I felt that I shouldn’t have to fight for what belongs to me, like love from my wife for example. But the Spirit revealed that would be true were it not for the enemy.

Because of our enemy, Satan, who lives to divide, steal, kill and destroy, we must ALWAYS fight for EVERYTHING.

In fact, to have ANYTHING good, EVEN FREE things such as the Love of God, I MUST FIGHT to receive it and fight to keep it because Satan opposes me and raises all kinds of Hell to get between me and good.

That is why it is written, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” -Matthew 11:12

Have I then made grace works? Certainly not!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith is the key but even belief does not come without opposition.

“Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
Luke 8:12

In short, a reality of this life is that I MUST ALWAYS FIGHT.

That is one of the things that makes the promise of heaven so sweet. There will be no enemy and I will have to war no more.

But until then, I MUST FIGHT for all the good God offers.

And this is the fight, to stand in the light, to keep all that I am and bring all that I have into the light where darkness cannot dwell. Jesus is the Light. (John 8:12)

“Jesus answered, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.'”
John 6:28-29

Plot twist:

God allows Satan’s interference.

Why?

There are reasons unknown to me but I believe two are:

1. It makes me stronger and molds me to the image of His Son, Jesus.

2. We’re not as quick to hand over what we’ve fought for unlike what Adam did with a kingdom that was just given.

God uses the fight to perfect us to rule with Him.

Therefore, I will FIGHT with joy!

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John “J” Jefferson

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John "J" Jefferson
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John "J" Jefferson

In Week 20 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for John Jefferson aka “J”.

Ok. I’m breaking rules by taking pictures of people in the gym but this is for a good cause and I wanted you to see him in the context where I usually encounter him.

My wife sent me this little quip a couple of weeks ago about how we can either be thermometers or thermostats. We can either take on the temperature of the room (thermometer) or we can change the climate of the room (thermostat). “J” is definitely a thermostat.

Years ago, I’m in the gym and this dude walks up to me out of the blue with one of his fists extended and simply says, “You aight, bro?” We bump fists, exchange greetings and then get on with the next set. That simple exchange changed the entire atmosphere of the gym. He didn’t just do that with me, he does it with everybody. And now, all the guys greet each other. We’ve become more mindful of each other, more courteous about how we use stations and put up equipment. We spot each other and encourage each other. I have made real friends like Daniel Russell all because one guy was intentional and consistent about saying, “Hi” which encouraged me to follow suit.

But, there’s even more about “J” that I’m thankful for beyond this powerful act of leadership. J’s entire attitude is culture shifting. You’ll often find him in the gym early, at 5 AM, fully alive. He’s going all out, often looking like Bane using some apparatus of tortue (elevation training mask, vertical jump training belt, weight vest, etc.), all while singing or dancing or both! He exudes joy.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him a little and I know he’s faced some serious and difficult challenges in the last couple of years. But, it appears he takes the same approach to that as he does his workouts, even in the midst of adversity he seems determined to enjoy every minute of life and to take others with him.

He’s also a soldier, serving our country at the highest level (to put one’s life on the line). I see him leading in so many ways that I want to follow. He inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and to live with joy for the benefit of others.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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