I Love My Work

We spend more time at work than we do at any other singular thing during our waking hours.  That means our work ought to bring a great deal of satisfaction and meaningfulness to our lives.  Consider that your workplace is your pulpit for sharing with others the abundant life that God has given you.

Years ago Johnny Paycheck made a song famous, “Take This Job and Shove It.”  Sadly enough that echoed the sentiments of a lot of folks who view their work that way.  They dread Mondays.  They look forward to Fridays.  A better song would be, “Take This Job and Love It.”

I believe a much needed revival in America centers around our work ethic.  Ten years ago James Robertson’s car broke down.  Detroit was undergoing financial difficulties and made cutbacks in its bus service.  James Robertson was a factory worker and his job was 11 ½ miles from his home.  He walked 21 miles round trip, five days a week, then put in a full day’s work!

He was 56-years-old.  His attendance at work was perfect!  Now that is a work ethic.  The Detroit Free Press told his story.  People started contributing money to help him buy a car.  His work ethic was rewarded by gifts of about $280,000.  Hard work does pay off.

In April 2015, some friends wanted to help Derrell Alexander celebrate his 100th birthday.  They had to wait until Sunday afternoon after church because on the actual day of his birthday he was still working at the car dealership where he has worked since 1949.  He works six days a week.  He refuses to take vacation time and he credits his 100 years of life to his work ethic and “the Man upstairs.”

Conversely some people don’t like to work.  Maybe you read about AK Verma, a senior engineer at the Central Public Works Department in India.  He went on leave from his government job in December 1990 and didn’t show up for work for 24 consecutive years.  The reason he didn’t show up was that his bosses continually denied his request for more time off.  The bureaucratic government did take 24 years of absenteeism before they issued the papers to fire him.

A Payless Shoe Store in Ferguson, Missouri was looted during the recent protests.  The report of stolen goods was very interesting.  Hundreds of pairs of shoes were stolen, but not a single pair of work boots was taken!

A renewed emphasis on work ethic is most important today because beginning in 2015, Millennials between the age of 18 and 34 now constitute more than a third of the American workforce.  They are the largest generational cohort working today.  There are 53.5 million Millennials, followed by 52.7 million Gen Xers, and 44.6 million Baby Boomers.  The future of productivity, work ethic, and meaningfulness in our job is now in the hands of our young people.

The most effective way to approach work is to see it as a platform for utilizing God’s resources.  The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, was asked by a reporter about his order of priorities.  He said, “I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s.”  That is a good statement, but then he added, “When I get to the office, I reverse the order.”

The ultimate success of our work is not how much we produce or how much money we make, but how well we handle the gifts and resources God has given us.  Real meaning in life comes when we see all of life as a means by which we express our commitment to God.

Need A Wake Up Call?

In the ministry in which I am now engaged, most everything I do is out of town so I stay in a lot of hotels.  Sometimes I have an early morning responsibility.  I always ask the hotel to give me a wakeup call.  I don’t always trust the hotel so I also set my alarm on my iPhone.  I figure two alarms will certainly wake me up.

My alarm clock has an option for snooze.  When a wakeup call comes, you can press the button and the alarm will stop and you can snooze for about 10 more minutes.  It then goes off again.  I personally think this is foolish to have a snooze option.  If you want to sleep for 10 more minutes why don’t you just set the alarm for 10 minutes later?  If you wake up at a certain time, why would you want to snooze?  A wakeup call is to get up.

Paul was writing to his friends in Rome and said it is “time to wake up.” (Romans 13:11)  There were a lot of things going on in the world and in their lives and he saw them drifting in an unhealthy way.  He gave them a wakeup call, and His wake up call doesn’t have a snooze option!

What does it take to wake us up?  Marie Lord is a 39-year-old English woman.  Recently about 1:30 a.m. she started sleepwalking and strolled a half-mile through town – straight into the Bristol Channel.  All of a sudden the taste of sea salt and the chill of crashing waves woke her up and she screamed for help.  A hotel worker rushed to her and covered her in blankets until she was transported to a hospital, in the early stages of hypothermia.  But the sea salt and the waves woke her up.

Are there some areas in our life where we need a wakeup call?  I have a friend who recently went to the doctor and had not been practicing good health habits.  He was a good bit overweight.  He was smoking and drinking too much.  The doctor ran a battery of tests and revealed to him the reality of how his poor health was escalating.  He told me, “John Ed, I got a wakeup call from my doctor.  I am going to make some changes.”  I have observed him and he is making those changes.  He is not on snooze – he is wide awake!

Sometimes we have habits that are leading us in the wrong direction.  We are like the frog in the pot of water.  If you put the frog in when the water is cool and slowly heat it, he doesn’t realize that the water is getting hot and will stay in there until the heat kills him.  If the water is hot and you put him in there, he will jump right out.  If he just becomes acclimated to the heat he can slowly die.  He needs a wakeup call!

Habits are like that water.  We can become mesmerized by some intriguing things that are happening.  Slowly and surely we drift into a habit that we know is not good for us.  We need a wakeup call.

Some people take their commitment to the church rather casually.  They become less attentive to attending, praying, giving, and serving.  Is time to wake up?  God has a plan and purpose for every life.  If we are drifting – time to wake up!  (Tweet this)

A successful business is always sounding a wakeup call about practices that are not consistent with the best that business has to offer.  It is easy to develop bad habits.  The same is true of athletic teams.  It is easy to become casual and sloppy in execution.  If something is not done, disaster and defeat lie down the road.  Wake up!

Wake up!  Don’t hit the snooze!

Are You Having A Good Day?

The older I get the more I am convinced that attitude in life is extremely important.  I think that an attitude toward a given situation is more important than the reality of the situation itself.  I have seen people in a bad situation with a great attitude and they discover a good dimension of life that is indescribable.  Likewise I have seen people in good situations with a bad attitude and they have a miserable life.

Attitude is how we look at things.  It is what we see and how we see them.  When we face something in life it can either be an obstacle or an opportunity.  It can be a burden or a blessing.  It can be a stumbling block or a stepping stone.  Our attitude makes a determination of what it ultimately is in our situation.

One of my favorite sports figures was Coach Tony Dungy.  One of the highlights of my retirement was when he wrote me a personal note.  I remember pulling so hard for him when he won the Super Bowl.

Tony Dungy’s son Jamie died.  He shares his attitude when he wrote, “Why do bad things happen?  I don’t know.  Why did Jamie die?  I don’t know.  But I do know that God has the answers, I know he loves me, and I know he has a plan – whether it makes sense to me or not.  Rather than asking why, I’m asking what.  What can I learn from this?  What can I do for God’s glory and to help others?”

That is an attitude of life that is based on the goodness of God and faith in His ultimate wisdom.  That is confidence.  That is trust.  That is life at the highest level.  The right attitude takes life to a new altitude.

We people here in America have so much for which to be thankful, yet we seem to complain so much.  The Pew Research Center did a survey of 48,643 people in 44 countries.  The results are amazing.  They found that people in poorer nations in Africa and South America were more likely to say they were having “a good day” than people in Europe, Asia, or even the U.S.  People who have the least seem to have the best attitude and enjoy “a good day.”

Oftentimes we say to people “have a good day.”  My Dad said that we should not say “have a good day,” but rather say “make it a good day.”  To simply want to have a good day indicates that we might just sit back and have little to do with how it turns out.  To tell people to make it a good day indicates we have to act positively if we are going to have a good day.

Your circumstances don’t determine where you go – they merely determine where you have to begin. (Tweet this)  If your circumstances are tough, just remember that kites always rise against the wind, not with the wind.

Paul wrote, “Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)  His circumstances of life were extremely difficult, but he preferred an attitude that lifted him to an altitude that was above those circumstances.

A man asked a friend how he was doing and he said, “Under the circumstances.”  The friend interrupted him and said, “Why are you living under the circumstances?”  Catherine Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army, faced extreme challenges.  She would often look at her circumstances and say, “The waters are rising, but so am I.  I am not going under, but over.”

Make it a good day!

Two Helpful Tongue Tamers

It has often been said, “Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Don’t believe that!  Words have the power to build up or to tear down.  Words can encourage or discourage.  They have power to hurt or to heal.  Words can bring joy or sorrow, laughter or tears.  Words should be carefully chosen.

But words are sometimes released before we are ready.  Do you ever put your foot in your mouth?  Do you ever say something and wish you could take it back?  Do you ever write an email or a text message and send it, and then think about it a few minutes and wish you hadn’t sent it?  Sometimes we even accidentally hit the send button before we are ready to send it.  That message can be embarrassing, inappropriate, and a source of frustration.  Once the word is out, you can’t bring it back.

A very smart anonymous poet was quoted by my friend Jay Wolf with these words:

Boys flying kites can haul in their white-winged birds                                                    But it is not that way when you are flying words.                                                     Careful with fire is good advice we know                                                                       But careful with your words, ten times doubly so.                                                             A thought unexpressed will fall back dead                                                                     But God Himself cannot kill a word, once it is said.

There is help with the problem!  Google has just announced that gmail will now let you undo the send process.  The world’s most popular email service will let you choose a setting, Undo Send, that holds an email up to 30 seconds, if you have made a mistake or change your mind.  This “holy grail of all email functions” is new this summer.  It can be activated in Settings under the general tab and select “Enable.”

For human conversation I propose Redo Speak that will deal with our tongues and will help keep us from saying words that don’t need to be said and saying words that should be said.  Here is how Redo Speak works. Before speaking, mentally engage Redo Speak and pray the following prayer, “Lord, please keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth.”  When you finish this prayer then simply follow God’s direction as to whether or not you ought to say what you intended to say.  Redo Speak takes less than 30 seconds.

This Redo Speak that I am suggesting is far superior to the Undo Send.  Redo Speak is not subject to any technological malfunction.  You don’t even have to be smart to have it available to you.  It will greatly improve all social relationships.  It can help tame your tongue and it will create an attitude in which we know that God has His arm around our shoulder and His hand over our mouth.  God’s help will last longer than 30 seconds.

James reminds us of the tremendous power of the tongue and its capacity to do good or evil. (James 3:1-8)  The Redo Speak will help tame the tongue.  It will help us heed James direction to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.”  (James 1:19)

The Undo Send setting will not work on just any device.  It has to be a smart device.  The Redo Speak is available to any person, but you do have to be smart enough to let God activate it.

Proactive or Reactive

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable about ten girls who were to be bridesmaids.  Their responsibility was to have oil in the lamps that would provide light for the wedding.

While they were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, they began to nod and fall asleep.  Suddenly the cry came out that the bridegroom had arrived and everyone was told to come out and meet him.  When the girls woke up and started to light their lamps, five of them realized that they didn’t have enough oil.

They came to the five girls who had plenty of oil and asked to borrow some.  They were told that there wasn’t enough for both of them, and those without oil needed to go to the store and buy oil.  When the bridegroom came, the five girls who were ready went into the wedding feast.  The door was closed.  When the other five got back from the store, they discovered that the door was closed and they could not get in.

Five girls were proactive and five girls were reactive.  Being proactive normally produces good results.  Being reactive oftentimes produces bad results.  This parable is an example of that.  Here are three fundamentals for a proactive attitude:

  1. Purpose – know why you are at a certain place at a certain time and have a certain responsibility.  The purpose provides motivation to be prepared.  Five of the girls knew that their purpose was to have their lamps burning.  That motivated them to have ample oil for their lamps.  The other five were not conscious of their purpose, and therefore found themselves left out.

Knowing why we are involved in a situation helps us to know better what to do.  Trying to do meaningless things without knowing the purpose will wear a person out.

2.     Planning – good planning helps promote a proactive stance.  Poor planning usually has us trying to react to the reality of the situation.

An obvious example would be the importance of having some form of health insurance.  If you proactively secure insurance before you need it, it will be available at a critical time and help you avoid unnecessary stress.  If you fail to plan for that need in life, you come to a point and have to start reacting, and sometimes reaction produces worst results than the illness.

3.    Persistence – being proactive helps to look at the larger picture and think in terms of the future.  Reactive behavior focuses on the unplanned moment and increases anxiety and worry and frustration.  Persistence is a quality that shows us that we don’t have to understand everything that is happening right now, but we have a plan to move forward for the future.  We don’t sit down and quit.  We keep moving forward.  A reactive outlook can create discouragement, disappointment, and can lead to defeat.

A proactive attitude is something that people have to choose to create and participate in.  The ten girls in the parable all had a choice.  Five of them chose wisely and five chose foolishly.  The outcome for the proactive five was the joy of a wedding feast.  The reaction of the ill prepared five meant that the door was shut and they were not allowed in.  They would not blame the bridegroom and the people organizing the wedding – they could only blame themselves because their prior choice led to their situation.

It’s a choice – proactive or reactive?

 

Band-aids Don’t Work!

A lot of people come to a church or a pastor and request counsel on how they can become better people.  There is dissatisfaction with the way they are living life, and they would like to do better.  They think that doing better is the business of God.

God is not in the business of making us better – He wants to make us new!  (Tweet this)  Becoming a little better doesn’t really change our lives.  To improve a little better here and there is not God’s intent for His people.  He came into the world so that we might have new life!

Jesus gave a couple of illustrations in Mark 2:21, 22.  He said if you have a piece of cloth and there is a hole in the cloth, you don’t take a new piece of cloth to put it on as a patch on the old piece of cloth.  If you do as soon as you wash it, the new piece of cloth will shrink and will pull away from the old garment.  You still have the hole.  Jesus said He didn’t come to put a patch on an old garment – He came to give us a whole new garment!

Jesus talked about pouring wine into wineskins.  A wineskin is made of leather.  As it grows old it loses its elasticity.  It begins to crack.  It is like a baseball glove.  If you don’t keep it oiled, it cracks.

If you put new wine into an old wineskin, it will burst wide open.  The reason is that the new wine has expanding gases and the old wineskin can’t contain the new gases.  Jesus emphasized that He didn’t come to repair old wineskins – He came to give us a new wineskin.

I read recently where the majority of American roads and bridges were built in the 1950’s, and many of the water systems go back to the early 1900’s.  Cites are experiencing problems with them as they begin to fall apart.

In July 2014, a 93-year-old water main burst beneath Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and sent up to 10 million gallons of drinking water into the streets and sewers.  Residents of Baltimore have about 1,000 bursting pipes every year.  More than a quarter of the city’s water supply in Houston is either lost or unaccounted for because of underground leaks.  Inadequate sewage systems let up to 850 billion gallons of untreated waste water flow into rivers and lakes.

Harvey Gobas, co-author of a report on California’s water system, reports that we are engaged in “the Band-Aid approach.”  He said, “You fix it, it lasts a few years, but you still don’t have a new pipe.”

The Band-aid approach won’t last long on our water systems, our roads and bridges, or life.  God is not in the business of constantly making repairs with the Band-Aid approach.  He came so that every person might experience new life!

Paul describes this in II Corinthians 5:19 when he says, “Whenever a person is a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away and all things have become new.”

Band-aids don’t work.  God doesn’t use band-aids – He births a totally new person!

Leadership

A couple of months ago President Obama nominated Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He is 59-years-old and will be only the second Marine to hold the highest U.S. military leadership post.

He will face a couple of huge challenges.  He will need to oversee the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2016 and conduct a successful air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Dunford has a lot of experience as he commanded the Marine regiment that led the 2003invasion of Iraq.

Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. leads by example.  Gen. George Patton said, “Do everything you ask of those you command.”  Dunford gained the respect of all of his fellow Marines because at 59, he still participates in the demanding physical fitness test as corps commandant.  His fellow Marines say, “He’s the epitome of a Marine leader.”

We lead and learn by example.  Mick Jagger’s ex-wife Jerry Hall told a London newspaper that their four children may have avoided the pitfalls of alcohol and drug abuse because of what they witnessed growing up.  Hall said, “They spent their life looking at Keith Richards passed out on the couch.  That could be it.”  Sometimes a bad example produces a good result.

Leadership is not telling people what to do, but doing it.  Jesus warned people about the Pharisees.  He said they know how to talk, but they don’t walk like they talk.  He said, “What they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds for they say things and do not do them.”  (Matthew 23:3)

Dr. Jim Vickrey, former President of Montevallo University, finished out his educational career teaching speech at Troy University.  In a class on communication he taught and learned a great leadership principle.  He had each student stand up and verbally communicate directions to get to their apartment or dorm room.  Each student stood up and attempted to give specific, clear, concise directions.

The last young man who stood up was silent for a moment and then looked around the class and said, “Come follow me and let me show you where I live.”  Those were the best directions.  The boy got an “A” in the class.

When Jesus called people to be His disciples He didn’t describe for them a lot of what they were going to be doing.  He didn’t discuss benefits or have those early fishermen meet with the HR department.  They weren’t people that most companies would have gone after.  But Jesus didn’t vet His team by what they had been – but by what He saw they could be!  Jesus simply said, “Follow me.”  He set the example.  He didn’t ask them to do anything that He was not already doing.

I like the motto of the Army that says, “Follow me.”  That is leadership.

Leadership is about leading – not talking.  Leadership is inviting people to follow where you are going.  Failing to lead by example can create a false chasm between the leader and people.  The result is that you don’t know if people are chasing you or following you! (Tweet this.)

Let’s lead!

The Yet Mindset

All of us face tough times and difficult situations in life.  We are walking down the hallway of life and turn a corner and all of a sudden we are stopped dead in our tracks by something we didn’t expect.  It can either cause us to turn around and run, or serve to help us face life with confidence.

God never puts us in situations that He doesn’t provide the things necessary to face those situations.  The witness of the Bible and history is that people of faith have confidently put their trust in God and discovered that apparent stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones. (Tweet this)

One good way to face this is what I would refer to as the “Yet Mindset.”  I was recently reading in the Book of Habakkuk because of a devotional by my friend Mark Sartain.  Not often do I read that book as devotional literature.  Habakkuk and the people of Israel were facing some really tough times.  They rounded a corner and faced a depressing situation.

Habakkuk declares, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and baron; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty!” (Habakkuk 3:17)  That is a tough situation.

But Habakkuk had a “Yet Mindset.”  He said, “Yet I will wait patiently.”  Notice that little three letter word “Yet.”  After cataloging the tough situation he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.”  The “Yet Mindset” prepares us to wait patiently and rejoice for the upcoming victory that God is going to provide.

The “Yet Mindset” begins in the mind.  It is connected to our thinking.  Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.”  The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5) It is how we think.

We can never change our actions until we change our minds.  We can never make progress in life until we make some changes.  George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

A “Yet Mindset” is about a mindset of confident waiting and rejoicing.  The “Yet Mindset” is not one that just helps us get by the best we can.  It is a victorious mindset.  It is not a mindset that is trying to stay close and play a good game, or even trying to tie the game – it is a mindset of how God wants to give us victory. David writes, “Trouble will last for only a second, but His favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping may stay all night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  “You have turned my crying into joyful dancing; you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”  (Psalm 30:11)

Look how Habakkuk closes out his book.  His last words were the result of his “Yet Mindset” when he says, “The Lord is my strength.  He will make my feet like the feet of a deer, and will make me walk in the high places.”  (Habakkuk 3:19)  Wow!  Feet like a deer and walking in high places.  The “Yet Mindset” declares, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”  (I John 4:4)  Paul had the “Yet Mindset” when he affirmed; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:3)

Let God help you get the “Yet Mindset.

Brit Beats American on July 4th

The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia is the largest 10K race in the world.  Thousands of people participate.  This year’s 46th running of the Peachtree Road Race produced an interesting conclusion. Two runners were out in front of the field towards the end of the race.  One was American Ben Payne.  The other was British competitor Scott Overall.

Ben Payne is in the Air Force and stationed in Colorado Springs.  He was the leader coming down the home stretch.  But Ben made a strategic error.  A few steps from the finish line he put up his index finger indicating that he was cruising to victory.  What he didn’t realize was that Overall was sprinting to the finish and quickly gaining on Payne.  He passed him right at the finish line.

Now the finish was so close that nobody knew who had won.  It took a couple of hours to determine that Overall had won by 9/100ths of a second.

The U.S. lost a 10K to the British on July 4th, 2015.  We had the victory won – but Ben celebrated a little early.  He failed to finish.  I am glad that 239 years ago America did not just start a race.  We enjoy our freedoms today because our forefathers finished the race!

I am glad the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t put together a document on which they could negotiate and potentially back out.  They signed a document that they knew would cost them dearly, but it would represent the very foundation on which this nation was built.  They faced extreme opposition within this country because no one thought that the states could gain independence.  But we had leaders who were willing to put their lives on the line and finish!

Our early forefathers put together our first flag.  It was the symbol of what this nation stood for.  It has been subsequently modified 26 times.  In 1958 President Eisenhower commissioned a contest to modify the flag to include the 50th state.  Interestingly, a 17-year-old high school student, Robert Heft, decided to participate and made it his class project.  His design of the American flag was accepted, which we display today.  Interestingly, he made a B- on the project.  Today we need to make an A+ on finishing the task for the principles on which this nation was built!

A lot of people have gone to battle under that flag.  Over a million Americans have died.  They were willing to finish the course!

I had an opportunity to go to Parris Island for a few days and view firsthand what our Marine recruits go through.  It is a huge challenge.  They take boys and girls and make men and women out of them.  But they have to finish the test before they move forward as Marines.

At Parris Island there is that huge statue of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945.  250 marines went up the ridge, and only 27 came back down – but they finished the task.  Many of them were just young boys.  They didn’t quit when the going got tough.  One was interviewed and asked how it happened and he said, “We were knocked off the ridge six times, but we came back seven times.”  They finished!

More important than a 10K road race is the race for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness today.  The Brit runner beat the American runner in Atlanta on July 4th, 2015.  The Americans beat the Brits on July 4th, 1776.  Will we finish victoriously?  Read II Timothy 4:7.

How will you finish?

Promise Keepers

Ben Moser graduated from high school last month.  He was an outstanding student.  He was very popular as he was the high school quarterback.  Ben made a promise when he was in the fourth grade to his friend Mary Lapkowicz.  He promised he would take her to his senior prom.  Now Mary has Down syndrome.  Moser had always looked after Mary.  He included her in games and social functions.

Mary had to transfer schools in the sixth grade.  The two fell out of touch and didn’t see or talk to each other for several years.  But last month Moser remembered his promise.  He was able to contact Mary and ask her to be his date for the senior prom.  Mary got a flower, a lot of balloons, and all her friends were there.  Some people were surprised at Ben’s selection for a date – but only those who didn’t know him well.

Ben could have had a date with any girl in school but he had made a promise to Mary – and he kept his promise.  When quizzed about it he simply said, “I promised her.  I kept my promise.  It was the right thing to do.  You should always do what’s right.  It is as simple as that.”

God is always faithful in His promises.  He never breaks a promise.  You can stand – put your whole weight – on His promises.  The Gospel hymn affirms “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.”

Samuel reminds us that the promises of the Lord are always true.  (II Samuel 22:31)  David echoes this reality of how God’s promises are true in Psalm 18:30.  The greatest promise God made was in the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.  Through Jesus God promised that we all might all have life and have it abundantly.  God’s promises are not just for this life, but for eternal life.  John says, “This is a promise which He himself made to us – eternal life.” (I John 2:25)  James makes it clear that God makes a promise that through Him we can “be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him.” (James 2:5)

God always keeps His promises – the real question is whether or not we keep the promises we make to Him. (Tweet this)  How many times have we been in a tough situation and made promises to God that if He would get us out of that situation, we would do certain things.  Do we keep those promises?

We make a promise when we are baptized and joined the church.  The promise is to confess our faith in Jesus Christ and to be faithful disciples.  In the United Methodist Church we make that explicit by promising to be a part of the church through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.  Those are promises.

Each of us who was ever married has made a promise to our spouse.  It was not a conditional promise, but an unconditional promise.  That promise specifies that we take our spouse “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.”  That is a huge promise!

One of the great ministries of my lifetime is Promise Keepers.  Thousands of men gathered to focus on keeping promises.  At Frazer we carried a caravan of buses to Indianapolis and to Atlanta to participate.

It is simple – keep your promise.  Be a Promise Keeper!