Quality Control

A simple search on the internet will reveal lists of specific character qualities that should be evident in the life of a Christian based on scripture.  Here are just a few of them:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiving, fairness, humility, courage, friendship, honesty, dependable, gratitude, content, generous, confident, encouraging, attentive, compassionate, diligent, obedient, hospitable, enduring.

What prevents us from living a life of as “Man of God” in which we display a strong measure of the qualities listed above?  I myself am a very selfish man.  My relationship with God is is very often primarily concerned with matters specific to myself, wife, and kids.  Honestly, it often seems as if I’m not very concerned with those outside of my closest circles when it comes to their need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is a hard conclusion for me to come to, it is a recent conviction of my heart.  I may have thought, acted, sang songs with lyrics indicating I sincerely did care…  My actions however prove that I do not. When is the last time I’ve help lead someone to the savior!  When is the last time you did?

Christ-like character is the ultimate goal of all Christian education. To settle for anything less is to miss the point of spiritual growth. We are to “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13-15)

Developing the character of Christ is life’s most important task because it is the only thing we’ll take with us into eternity. Jesus made it quite clear in his Sermon on the Mount that eternal rewards in Heaven will be based on the character we develop and demonstrate here on Earth.  Character is never built in a classroom. Character is built in the circumstances of life.  God builds character in our lives by allowing us to experience situations where we are tempted to do the exact opposite of the character quality. Character development always involves a choice. When we make the right choice, our character grows more like Christ.

If you want to know what Christ-like character looks like, a good place to start is the list of nine character qualities Paul enumerates in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  The fruit of the Spirit is a perfect picture of Christ. He embodied all nine qualities. If you’re going to develop Christ-like character, you, too, must have these qualities in your life.  Whenever we choose to respond to a situation in God’s way instead of following our natural inclination, we develop character.  It is because of this that God will allow all kinds of character-building circumstances into our lives such as:  conflict, disappointment, difficulty, temptation, times of dryness, and delays.

Men, may we not be self-centered… but Christ-centered.  May we make decision not based on what we desire or selfishly need, but rather on what those around us need.  Do you have a wife?  If so, be the godly man and leader she deserves.  Children?  Raise them in God’s statutes and wisdom.  Our wrong decisions have consequences, not only in our own lives but on the lives of those we love.  As men we will see the fruit of our own actions in the lives of our wife and children.  May the fruit be pure and sweet.  Blessed is best!!
Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Care 2 Share

Why is it so easy to lose focus of the things that matter most in life?  It may seem at times as if we were placed here on earth so that we can work.  We have this precious gift of life and what do we use it for?  I’ve spent the last several weeks in eager anticipation of whether I’ll get a new position at work.  Updating a resume, applying for the position, hoping to get an interview, preparing for the interview, preparing for a second interview, waiting to hear the results…. I would tell you “God is in control,” and can back it up with scriptures, however the battle in my mind to not dwell on this matter reveals to me that I may not believe this as much as I’d like to think.  All the time I’ve spent thinking on this matter and it was all focused on “me, me, me, me, me.”

We’re all familiar with Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Or, how about “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  There are so many things we all want from life… often times, way too many things.  It is easy to let the pursuit of these things distract us from what is truly most important in life.  God, family, work, this should be the order of our priorities.  And when at work and spending time with our families, God should still be the priority.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about 1st Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is within you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”  Are you prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within you?  Can they see that there is indeed a hope within you?  When is the last time that you’ve led someone to Christ, shared Christ, or mentioned Him in conversation?  As always, please understand I’m not accusing or judging.  These questions are posed to you because they have been asked and revealed to me about myself.

I was blessed for the last 9 months to spend my days working in my classroom with a devoted Muslim.  This challenged me and provided an opportunity to grow spiritually because I had to be prepared to make a defense for my Jesus everyday.  We actually became good friends; I’d say that we both would attest that there is a kind brotherly bond between us, although not as “Brothers in Christ” (yet).  There is something about discussing God with someone that just seems to cause relationships to move to a deeper level.  It is for this reason that I’d say we are truly here on this earth.

The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.  The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).  If we honestly believe that the greatest thing in life is God… if we tell ourselves that we want more of Him, sing of His glory and majesty, desire that our wives and children grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Him… Is it possible that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves by wanting this same thing for them in their lives?  Can we share the knowledge of the gift that we have freely received without being prepared to make a defense for Jesus?

I intend on exploring the topic of sharing Christ with men at another time.  For now I’d like to challenge you regarding your focus and priorities in life.  There are men all around you that need to experience the power of God in their lives.  I pray as I type these words that God will speak to you regarding this matter and provide opportunities for you to share the hope that is within you.  Let us not keep our gift to ourselves, nor may we disrespect it by allowing the things of this world to keep us from living the life that allows God to work in and through us.

Luke 11:33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”

Don’t hide your light, trim the wick and burn brightly.  Seek God first.  Be prepared to give a defense.  Blessed is best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

God Focused

“Deep restfulness, even amid outward activity, is one of the most beautiful marks and aids of the life of faith.  Cultivate that holy stillness that seeks to abide in God’s presence and does not yield too much to things around.”  -Andrew Murray

I once bet $4250 on a Monday Night Football game… It was December 4th, 1995.  Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, final score 27-7.  It was just year earlier that I was first exposed sports betting.  What started with a $25 dollar bet on a NBA game (which I won), became an immediate obsession in my life.  It did not matter that I was a poor college kid, the HUB at Penn State main campus provided easy access to credit cards.  Complete a basic application in less than 5 minutes, while receiving a free t-shirt or some kind of “bait” and in about 2 weeks there would be a credit card in your mailbox.  There was really no limit to these offers, by the time I graduated from college I’d estimate I had about 12 credit cards.

College was not good to me.  Maybe my parents knew what they were talking about when they advised me not to join a fraternity.  Somehow I managed to talk them into it, and that one decision opened my life up to many bad things and habits.  Twenty-one years old and seemingly invincible and all-knowing.  Wish I’d had known that it was the Lions that would have won that football game.  Now over $7000 dollars in credit card debt with no job…  you’d think that would be reason enough to quit.  But if $7000… why not 8, 9, 10, 12?

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1st Peter 5:8)

Satan has many ways to destroy a man.  There are seemingly countless vices and temptations he can use to separate our minds from thoughts and reflections of God.  Some are very obvious, others are not.  They all have one thing in common, they take our minds off of God.  Paul says in Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

“But be transformed by the renewal of your mind… “  Andrew Murray, in the quote at the top of this page gives great insight into this when he speaks of abiding in God’s presence at such a level that we pay little attention to all the other things around us.  Think about this for just a moment, “God… the creator of all… (look outside for a moment) wants to transform you and your life… His plan for accomplishing this is by having a deep, personal relationship with you.”  And we actually bother thinking of other things?

Men, each of us has something in our lives (often many things) that prevent us from being completely transformed.  What is it?  Is it worth it? (IT IS NOT WORTH IT AND IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IT IS)  A man with a heart fully devoted to God is the most powerful weapon on earth.  May we strive to be this kind of man.  It is not easy, but God made it possible.  Our purpose in life is to love God and to love others.  Why do we always seem to want to love ourselves first?

**Regarding the gambling addiction:  God healed me of that matter, forgave me, restored me.  God has done this for many things in my life.  It is what he does… if we only ask and receive.

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Love One Another

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

“It is just nice to know that someone cares.”  Someone expressed those very words to me not very long ago.  They are facing many challenges in their young life and things have not been going well for them thus far in life.  The scripture above has been on my heart a lot lately, I wonder how many people in my circle of life are aware that I’m a disciple of Jesus based on my love for others.  It seems as if much of my time is spent dealing with life in regards to my family, career, and personal interests.

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  Too often my personal focus tends to only be on the first half of this commandment, trying to love God with all that I am.  I’m not claiming by any means to have mastered this… it is just that I fail to love enough on those around me.

We have many levels of relational circles in our lives.  Closest to us are are immediate family members, moving outward we have friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, etc.  Every person we ever meet can use a bit more Jesus in their life… a bit more Love.  What are we doing to help them receive that which they need?  You’ll notice that the commandment in Matthew 22 comes in two distinct parts,  we must first love God and then love others.  At least for me, it is impossible to truly love others if I am not deeply focused on God.  It is when I am able to completely trust in Him that I can begin to focus more on the needs of others.

What kind of practical actions can we incorporate into our lives that will show the world that we are indeed a disciple? Here are just a few general ideas: be welcoming, forbear one another, forgive, confess wrong, serve, encourage, and comfort.  Incorporating these kinds of qualities into our everyday lives will allow others to see the difference and hope that lives within us.  Remember, everyone can use a little more Jesus in their life!  Reflect onto others what He has done for you.  Our days on earth are miniscule in relation to eternity.  The gift of life and our purpose has little to do with what most of us probably spend most of our time focusing on.  May I challenge you today as I challenge myself…  Love God more so that you may love others more.  Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal