I Can Go On

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com I Can Go


He didn’t want to.
 
The Christ, the God-Man, the highest form of existence did not want to do what was before Him to do.
 
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” -Matthew 26:39
 
Yet, His love for the Father and for you and I prevailed. By it, He steeled Himself in the face of unparalleled and incomprehensible suffering and chose to trust and obey the Father, to fulfill His ministry and finish His redemptive work.
 
I am tired. I am frustrated. I am discouraged and this remembrance is an encouragement to me.
 
Surely, with there being even more grace towards us now than there was before (John 4:12), I can endure these comparatively light and momentary afflictions: I can endure fatigue, feelings of failure, discouragement, difficult and devious people. Not seeing the end from the beginning, I can trust the Father, I can hope, I can love, I can work His fields, I can keep my hands to the plow of His redemptive work no matter how small or fruitless my efforts may seem.

I can go on.

Jesus is my example, my model and my guide. He is the person I want to become –to attain to His resurrection, to be like Him: righteous, just, loving, faithful –altogether fit to rule. He is my prize.So, even though I don’t want to right now, I press.

Unity Is Not Conformity

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Unity Is Not Conformity

Something that is not lost on me is how different the disciples were.

Letters attributed to Matthew, Peter and John are starkly different (yet harmonious) perspectives of the same Jesus.

A dear brother, Tim Boden, once said of the body, “It’s as if we’re all peering through a keyhole and in our sharing what we see, we get a fuller picture of Jesus.”

What sets my heart aflame is that Jesus chose these different men intentionally, purposefully and strategically! (John 15:16, 1 Corinthians 12:18)

That’s how Jesus chose you!

Oh, what a revival we’re missing because we fail to see that unity is not conformity. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) But moreover, because we do not trust the Holy Spirit.

Oh, that we would repent and believe the Spirit that Christ gives us so the Church would be revived!

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #15 – A Mentor’s Admonition

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For A Mentor's Admonition

In Week 15 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a mentor’s admonishment.

Our long time friends, pastors and mentors Pearson and Gloria Liddell were moving thousands of miles away.

As we were seeing them off, I asked Pearson, “What do I need to work on?” “Where do you see I need to grow?” Pearson being Pearson studied the question for a moment before giving his thoughtful, heart-felt response. His reply to me in a word was, “Compassion.”

My wife remarked how she loved the response because Pearson expanded the scope and rather than make it about me personally, he gave me something for ministry.

I took his words to heart and have studied them ever since.

I could write a book from my takeaways, but the condensed summary is this:

If I don’t love you, I’m disqualified from ministering to you.

But, I do love you or at the very least I want to because Someone I love dearly loves you even more.

Pearsons admonition challenged me to always seek to have the love Christ has for everyone I encounter. It is timeless yet a timely reminder for me in this season.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #12 – Martin Coleman

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Thankful For Martin Coleman (Twitter)

In Week 12 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Martin Coleman.

One Sunday after service, Marty Coleman walks up, “Hey Brother Paul. I understand you have a business that does computer work. There is someone I think you should meet.”

He then waves over a young man who seems tired and despondent. His approach toward us from across the room was slow and labored. He’s disheveled. His hair is matted to his head with gel. His clothes are wrinkled like he had just rolled out of bed with them on. His glasses are so hazed, perhaps from the gel in his hair, that I can barely see his eyes.

Though his approach seemed reluctant, when we started talking, he opened up easily enough. He’s a gamer. He knows his way around technology by having built custom and very sophisticated gaming computers. Brother Marty’s hope was that I would be able to give this young man a job.

This is not long after the Great Recession. One of my largest clients, representing twenty-five percent of my business’s income, was a casualty of the economic downturn. I lost them to closure and many of my remaining clients cut their retainers in half. I feel personally responsible for the people that I hire. Each time I extend employment, my heart and philosophy is to provide that person a home either until they are ready to move on or, preferably, until we’ve helped them to advance in their career. I try not to hire anyone unless I feel there’s a good chance that I can provide that.

But, with the cuts, I couldn’t sustain the staff I had and was scrambling to find safe places for each of my employees to land. By the grace of God, opportunities -even better than they had with me opened up for every one of them. I was so thankful and relieved. Anyone that employs people knows that it is no small undertaking; taxes, withholding, reporting -just maintaining the revenue to make payroll is a tremendous burden. After having miracuously averted the near disaster of having to lay staff off, leaving people who are dear to me without means to provide for their families, I was perfectly content to go it alone for a while. I did not have any appetite for hiring anyone else and going through that again.

But, God.

My default position on the proposition of hiring anyone was flatly “no”. But, there was this nagging notion that this wasn’t just about hiring someone. I had a sense that this may be from God. But, I resisted it. It wasn’t anything I wanted to do. Business wasn’t great. I didn’t even know if I could really financially afford another a person but that nagging notion would not relent. I shared it with my wife who said, “If you believe this is something God is leading you to do baby, you need to be open and to trust Him.”

So, I begin to move in the direction I believed God may be leading. I start making calls. I learn that the young man is in recovery from a drug and alcohol addiction, has not long gotten out of prison and is staying with another brother from our fellowship. But, I find myself with a compassion I cannot explain and am moved to keep going. I call the brother that the young man is staying with as a character reference. He candidly and honestly reports, “He’s unreliable, he’s sleeps all day, he’s still drinking and he’s been lying about it.”

The Holy Spirit was like, “I’ll take him.”

I hired the young man that day and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

God provided and we worked together for years. We did more than work beside each other every day, we shared life. We laughed together -a lot. We studied the Bible together. We battled our demons together. We prayed together. We shared our dreams together. What was dear to him became dear to me and the other way around. To this day I can still feel his intense love for his family, especially his son. From that day it became my heart, to the extent that they will allow me, to treat his family as my own. He did the same for me.

Anyone that knows Melissa and I can attest that we are very particular about who keeps our children. They are a treasure to us. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we’d be reluctant to entrust even the Secret Service with our kids. As a result, we didn’t get out much. Observing that, this young man insisted that Melissa and I have a night to ourselves and volunteered to keep our boys. Having watched this young man grow over the years, we humbly accepted without hesitation or concern.

By the grace of God, the young man that had an addiction was transformed into one of the most diligent, devoted and trustworthy people I’ve ever known. He was among those that I can count on one hand that Melissa and I considered leaving our estate to and making responsible for the care of our children should we both die unexpectedly. He is a true and dearly beloved brother.

He would often gush about the difference I made in his life, not realizing the heavenly shift that God used him to make in mine. I have been continually praying to God to teach me to love the way He loves. God answered my prayer and taught me to love by sending me someone to love .

Moreover, he showed me other believers who did not just love in word but also in deed. They truly behaved as people of one heart and one soul, who had all things in common (Acts 2:44, 4:32). They opened their homes, they opened their hearts and treated this young man’s burdens as if they were their own. Their labor yielded a harvest of new life not only in him, but also in me, revealing to me the authentic Church in power and glory. Thank you Brother Marty for this life changing introduction. I’m eternally grateful. #52WoG

It’s All Good

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated with a person or a situation, only to find that it was the very means God was using to meet my need or to do a work in someone’s life.

It reminds me that we have a loving Father who is always doing a good work (John 5:17) and there is nothing that happens in my life that He can’t use for good when I trust Him with it (Romans 8:28).

By faith I have this confidence, that some way, some how, it’s all good when I live for Him (2 Timothy 1:12).

Standing on this truth is how we can do 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, [and] in everything give thanks.”

The verse follows, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

My attitude should reflect that.

I repent. #perfectourlove

Serving Effectively Through Rejection

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Working Effectively Through Rejection

The area is devastated. You’re distributing life saving supplies as a volunteer of a charitable organization. During your deployment, you encounter people who don’t want help.
 
To be offended or to get angry with those who reject the help would suggest you’ve forgotten whose supplies they are and why you’re there in the first place.
 
The more appropriate and effective reaction would be to bear in mind that the resources are not ours and the work is not about us, it’s about saving lives.
 
Consider Jesus’ response when a village rejects Him and His disciples, being offended asked, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” The scripture says, “But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village.” Luke 9:53-56
 
All of our service must flow from Love. We are serving because we were sent out of care for those we serve. If people’s well-being were our ultimate concern as it is for the One who sent us, we’d interact with people in such as way that even if they did reject our ministry, they’d be clear about where they can find help should they ever want it.
 
To be clear, help is not our little group or a church building, help is in Christ alone. We can work through opposition and rejection with patience and lovingkindness by remembering who’s work it is in the first place and sharing His heart.

What Is The Point?

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com What is the point?

As a believer, my purpose, as I currently see it, is to promote Oneness in God through Christ, with everything bound securely together by His unfailing Love -a bond stronger than any other in the universe. (Romans 8:38-39)

To this end, I, by the grace of God, labor first to be found squarely in Christ (Philippians 3:8-9) and then, with His Love, draw everything in my sphere to where He is (John 12:32), that, this being committed to collectively by the entire body spanning every generation, all of creation might be redeemed and reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

To be clear, this is God’s work and what we do He does through us (Philippians 2:13). And even what we see about the goal, He showed us. So, it is 100% His grace, not our works, that any man should boast.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21


			

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #3 – Hard Truths Spoken In Love

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #3 – Hard Truths Spoken In Love #52WoG

In Week 3 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for hard truths spoken in love.

I have been blessed to have great mentors and as you typically do with mentors, you ask how you could improve.

One night I was chauffeuring Dr. Gregory Jones home from a revival (as ministers under his instruction would usually do) and asked him, “Where do you see me struggling? Where do I need to grow?”

Pastor Jones answered flatly and without hesitation, “You struggle with pride.”

I took his words to heart, repented and set out to understand pride and make war with it ever since. It’s a lifelong struggle because you never completely defeat a demon like pride in this life, you only learn to become better at fighting it. Demons depart from you for a season but are always lurking, looking for an opportunity to return (Luke 4:13, Matthew 12:43-45, Luke 11:24-26). #spiritualwarfare

As I’ve searched, prayed and laid my life bare before the Lord (Hebrews 4:12) I’ve learned that because I struggle with insecurity, I have a tendency to build makeshift structures: false pedestals to exalt myself and protect me from the pain of feeling small, that allow me to pretend which is hypocrisy and to make myself more or less than I am which is pride.

In my youth these pedestals were possessions, promiscuity and popularity. Now, it is the appearance of righteousness, accomplishments, having everything together and having it all figured out.

But these false pedestals always fail me and when they splinter, not only do I end up pierced through with many sorrows, my witness is undermined, my Master’s name is dishonored and the faith of some looking on can be weakened.

Now, I’m scared of heights as hell. (Catch that on your way home.)

Or, should I say that, by God’s grace I am wiser to the enemy’s tactics and the conditions that can lead to a heart lifted in pride. I struggle every day and thanks be to God for the struggle because it reminds me of my desperate need for God and that His abundant grace is sufficient for me, that I may humble myself under his hand and trust Him to build me up (1 Peter 5:6).

I have come to this knowledge because I had a mentor and a father in the faith who loved me with a Love that held me accountable and did not withhold the truths that were hard for me to hear and that were necessary for my growth and sanctification (Ephesians 4:11-16). I’m grateful. #52WoG

I Don’t Get Anything Out Of Church

Brainflurry.com - I Don't Get Anything Out Of Church - Grow up from Getting To Giving

“I see no reason to go. I don’t get anything out of it.”

Have you ever heard or said that about church? I sure have.

First, the whole “go to church” thing is deeply problematic. You are the church.

Secondly, to be clear, I’m not referring to the industrial church. I hate the industrial church. It’s objective is to make money to pay people. The objective of the living church is to be the bride of Christ. I’m referring to the latter.

Lastly, “I don’t get anything out of it” is baby talk. It is tragic to “go to church” for years and never grow beyond looking for absolution and seeking the peace that comes from the assurances of salvation. At some point in our spiritual development, these things should be firmly established and we should grow from getting to giving.

Among the reasons “we don’t get anything out of it” is typically there’s just one preacher that’s doing most of the giving. That shouldn’t be, everybody should be giving. “We should no longer be children… but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head –Christ –from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which EVERY part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” -Ephesians 4:14-16

We must move on from milk, looking just for what we can get: how I can be blessed, how I can encouraged, how I can be comforted, how I can have peace.

Our Lord did not say blessed are the peace-takers but “blessed are the peacemakers”. Matthew 5:9

So, we must grow to a stage of maturity where we are equipped to give. We must graduate from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12) and this is the meat, “as He is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:17

Christ who is our example said this, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45, Matthew 20:28

Giving is the mark of our maturity, that we bear fruit and the fruit that we should bear is love (Galatians 5:22).

Our Lord commands, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

So, I pray that our minds would be renewed concerning our approach to church, that we would move from thinking in terms of what we get or don’t, but instead what we can give and that being love. #perfectourlove