Monthly Archives: April 2017

Thrive, Not Survive

Thrive, Not Survive

Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” So how are you thriving in life? How do you know when you’re there – thriving – instead of just surviving?

Scott Schimmel explored the meaning of thriving in the launch of the sermon series called THRIVE on Sunday. The word “thrive” means to grow vigorously, to prosper, to progress toward or reach a goal. If we are rooted in Christ, we thrive. Proverbs 16:3 tells us “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Thriving means using our God-given gifts to help and lift up others in the world. It means being present in the moment to see what God is putting before you. It means acknowledging the flow in life instead of trying to control it.

There are small ways to thrive. Look up from your to-do list and smile at a stranger. Share a laugh over something silly. Seek out passionate people. Read Scripture with them.

In order to thrive as disciples of Christ, we first have to know what we’ve got. In order to recognize your strengths and talents, think about what gives you the most satisfaction and joy in life. Then ask your friends, family, and colleagues what they see as your unique talents. These steps should help you on your discipleship journey.

And remember, have faith that you’re never traveling alone. Jesus is always there beside you.

Gateway to the Heart

Gateway to the Heart

In his Easter sermon, Pastor Steve talked about how God’s greatest miracle is entering a human heart. He urged us all to have an open heart to allow Jesus in. But the reality is most of us have a gate around our hearts. Maybe a chain-link fence and a few padlocks. We often feel like we need to protect our hearts from the “dangers” of the outside world. Heartbreak, sadness, disappointment, unfulfillment. The list goes on. So, what would it take to unlock your heart?

Fear is what locks up our hearts. We usually react to fear in three ways:  Fight (angry dukes up), flight (run away and hope it doesn’t chase you), and freeze (that’s where the paralysis comes in).

The Greek word for fear is deilia, which means cowardice or timidity. The word is never used in a positive light in the Bible.

But we can use our fear to move us closer to Christ if we unlock the gate. We can do this through prayer, asking Christ to change our fear to hope, to simply allow Him in to do His work in us. It’s as simple as that.

But we have to let him in first. Instead of feeling in denial, paralyzed or angry, acknowledge your fear and ask God to help. Hand Jesus the key, and the gateway to your heart will be opened.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 41:10-13

The Savior in San Diego

The Savior in San Diego

Are you ready to welcome Jesus into your city? Imagine Jesus coming into San Diego during Holy Week — exotic palm fronds waving in the ocean breeze, blue sky and sun shining down on cresting waves to welcome Him. How would you greet our Savior? What would you say?

We learn in Matthew 21 that people cut branches from trees and spread them on the road as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. We learn in Luke 19 that Jesus wept over coming into the city, overcome with passion while knowing Jerusalem was a tinderbox caught up in so much conflict.

Every city has similar strengths and weaknesses. For “America’s Finest,” we have Balboa Park and the Zoo. We’re proud of our amazing beaches and great sunsets. But as in any fine city, people sometimes feel disconnected and lonely no matter what surrounds them. So what would Jesus want to know about San Diego?

He’d want to know what we’re doing to help those less fortunate than us — how we’re reflecting the lessons learned by His disciples about loving and serving one another on Maundy Thursday … how we’re pondering His death on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins on Good Friday … how we celebrate His victory over sin and death on Easter.

Let’s walk alongside Jesus during this Holy Week and pray that San Diegans will recognize Him as Savior and receive Him as King. Use the power of your faith quietly, like the gentle tides rolling in, to transform the hearts and minds of those around you during this holiest of weeks.

Embrace Your Inner Child

Embrace Your Inner Child

Dr. Seuss, the inimitable children’s author, once wrote, “Adults are just outdated children.” As adults, we have to conduct ourselves accordingly. But when you really think about it, all the ways you were as a child are still within you. Think back, look for them, and there they are — waiting for a small sliver of opportunity to rise up once again. But how often do we call upon them in our daily lives with Christ?

Pastor Steve’s sermon on Sunday talked about the value of children. From Matthew 18, he quoted Jesus as telling his disciples, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Children are trusting, spontaneous, quickly forgiving, truthful, curious. These are all wonderful qualities to embrace. Yet as adults, many of us choose to bury them in a pile of self-importance and a sense of control, assuming they just won’t hold up in the real world. But is that really true to what Jesus taught? Let’s look at a few:

Trusting. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all trust Jesus to lead us in our lives, instead of mapping out our own course?

Spontaneous. How about if we took a minute to brighten someone’s day or communicated with a child?

Quickly forgiving. How many of us hold grudges against others for actions that happened long ago?

Truthful. How often are we truthful not only with others, but more importantly, with ourselves?

Curious. Aren’t you curious what God has in store for you? What if it’s better than anything you can imagine?

Embrace your inner child. Go deeper to see how you can love and serve Jesus today.