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So far Bradley Bolejack has created 16 blog entries.

Climate Change

How does your spiritual life affect those around you?  It may have more impact than you might think. When Jonah was tasked to go preach to Nineveh, Jonah was less than pleased.  Not only did he disagree with it, he flat out told God “No!” and ran the other direction. He hired a ship to sail to Tarshish.  Just when Jonah was on the open sea and he thought he was a free man, what happened?

Jonah 1:4,5 “Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.”

The Mariners were afraid for their lives!  They didn’t want to get caught up in this storm!  It was Jonah’s choice to run from God. It was Jonah’s choice to disobey.  It was Jonah’s choice to depend upon his own wisdom. It was Jonah’s choice to turn his back on the One who gives strength.  It was all Jonah’s choice. But the fact remains that his choices and his relationship with God affected other people around him.

No man is an island.  As much as we like to think that our choices exist in a vacuum, they do not.  Bottom line – your relationship with God affects those around you. A strong relationship with God can “…encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let me ask you a question:  Are you happy with the spiritual climate in your home?  Is it a raging storm like the one we see in Jonah chapter 1?  Is it a placid beachfront? Or is it somewhere in between? Every home has a different spiritual climate, but one fact remains across all homes – your home’s spiritual climate can change.  

Is your home in need of some climate change today?  Only you and God know that. I challenge you to assess your devotional and prayer life.  When the spirit comes in to change your life, it can’t help but impact your family, church and community.   

If your home is need of some climate change, run to God – don’t run from Him.   If your home’s climate is where it needs to be, stay with Him and never leave His side.

James 4:8  “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Test God in this. You and God together can shape the spiritual climate within your home and make your home a lighthouse in a storm-wrought world.  

 

Climate Change2018-06-25T13:30:23-04:00

Unqualified?

Have you ever wondered if you were unqualified to serve Christ?  What does it mean to be qualified to serve Christ’s Kingdom? Throughout the Bible, we find examples of people that we may define as unqualified furthering Christ’s Kingdom!

One such encounter was Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well as recorded in John 4.  A Jew, such as Jesus, would never have associated with a Samaritan.  Furthermore, Jesus, a Rabbi, would have never spoken to a woman. Indeed, it was an unusual encounter.  

As if these social barriers were not enough, she was also a sinner – a sinner whose sins were well known in the community.  Nonetheless, Jesus chose her to reveal that he was the Savior of the world.

This is not the only unlikely encounter that Jesus had with people.  He asked a crooked tax collector to open up his home to him. (Luke 19:5)  He also asked a sinner to baptize Him. (Matthew 3:13)

When Jesus asked people to give unto Him, he approached the outcasts, the hated and the unqualified.  It would seem as if you were on a mission to save the world, you would seek out the high and mighty. But Jesus sought out those that were positioned to receive and mirror His love.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done, or how qualified you are.  Give yourself to Jesus. He can and he will use you to further his Kingdom. It doesn’t matter what people think of you.  It doesn’t matter what you think of you. If Jesus wants to use you, he will find a way. He will probably use you in a way that you never expected.

Unqualified?2018-06-25T13:19:29-04:00

Forgiving to Serve

Let’s face it.  We’ve all hurt people in our lives, and we have all been hurt by other people.  Sometimes the way we hold onto guilt, or hold onto a grudge, tricks our minds into thinking the more we hold onto it, the greater chances that the hurt can be reversed.  In reality, the opposite happens. The longer we hold onto guilt or hold onto a grudge, it only poisons our mind, dilutes our happiness, and hinders our service to God.

Notice what David wrote in Psalm 130:3-4 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.  

Forgiveness can be a powerful way to reignite your service to God.  Forgiveness helps us to serve in two ways: 1. God’s forgiveness helps us move past the guilt into His grace.  2. Forgiving others helps us move past a grudge to help soften our hearts, open ourselves up toward people, and make us more effective at ministry.  

It is difficult to serve when you feel guilt and self-doubt weighing down on you.  This causes us to turn our attention to our own shortcomings instead of His strength.  Once we move past the guilt and into His grace, we can then draw upon His perfect strength to serve Him.

It is equally difficult to serve when you hold onto a grudge.  A grudge is similar to a block of ice. The only person who gets cold is the person holding it.  A grudge makes us more focused on our own pain rather than the Remedy. It is easy to demonize someone who has hurt us and tell ourselves that they are just a bad person.  Remember, someone else may have felt that way about you at one point or another. Forgiving others acknowledge that we are all fallen sinners in need of Christ’s grace. This makes us more empathetic to other people’s needs and circumstances and, in turn, more effective ministers.  

Let us all use the power of forgiveness to move past the guilt and grudge alike and enter into His perfect love where we can love God, love each other and serve the world.

Forgiving to Serve2018-06-25T12:54:18-04:00

The Master Strategist

Philip was in the height of his ministry career.  After he fled Jerusalem to escape persecution, he found himself in Samaria.  During his time there, he preached the gospel and won many souls for Christ. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (Acts 8:5-6).  

Then in the middle of this successful ministry, God asks a strange request.  

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. (Acts 8:26)

If I were Philip, I would have a lot of questions I would want to ask God.  “So you mean to tell me that in the middle of baptizing thousands of people, you want me to travel to the middle of nowhere?  And do what?” Philip didn’t ask those questions. His faith compelled him to obey and he began to walk the desert road.

Do you feel like you are on a desert road right now?  A road that you have no idea where it will lead? I can only imagine the thoughts that Philip had while walking that road.  “I wonder what God has in mind? I wonder what I will be doing? Will I discover purpose or peril?”

Philip didn’t ask any of those questions.  He knew that God is the master strategist. Even if you feel lost on the desert road, even when it feels like the events in your life have left you in checkmate, God has a strategy.  He has a purpose. But just as Philip, we have to keep walking that road and trusting God’s strategy.

As you read the rest of Acts 8, you will find that Philip left a city of thousands of people to go preach to one man.  But that one man was the treasurer of Ethiopia and his conversion would lead to the gospel spreading to the world. The story of Philip teaches us to trust God, the master strategist.    

The Master Strategist2018-06-25T12:46:44-04:00

Turn Your Eyes

The storm was raging and the disciples were afraid for their lives.  Surely the boat was going to break apart from the force of the wind and the waves.  Where was Jesus? Asleep!

The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  Mark 4:38-40.

Often times, we find our lives experiencing similar storms.  The wind and the waves assault our health, our marriage, our relationships, our finances.  We may feel as though the storm will destroy our ship. And at that moment is when we realize we need Jesus.

The disciples realized they needed Jesus.  They knew that Jesus was the solution to their situation.  So why did Jesus rebuke their faith? Jesus rebuked their faith because what the disciples thought they needed was a change in their situation.  But what Jesus knew they needed was a change in their heart.

A change in a situation is temporary.  When the next storm comes, you are no more prepared than when you endured the last storm.  But when your heart changes, you find strength in Jesus to weather the storm.

The Bible tells us that the storms will rage more fierce in the last days.  The evil one will step up his warfare. “Peace be still” is what Jesus wants to call out to our hearts.  If he calms the wind and waves, we will not grow. If he calms our hearts, we will become stronger in Him.  Where are your eyes turned? Are you focused on the wind and the waves? Or are you focused on Jesus? Where you turn your eyes is exactly what you will find.  

Turn Your Eyes2018-06-25T12:40:34-04:00

Panning for Gold

 

How do you see other people in your life?  Do you see them as good people trying to do their best?  Do you see people as frustrating?  Do you see them as people needing love or as unlovable?  What if we were able to see the people in our lives through God’s eyes?

I got to talk to my uncle this week about one of his new hobbies.  He likes to go to local streams and pan for gold. Sounds tedious to me, but he enjoys it.  The process is simple. You simply take a heap of mud and gravel off of the stream bed, swirl it around, slowly discarding the mud and gravel.  The key is training your eye to look past the mud and mire and search for shining, bright specks of gold.

It got me thinking.  What if we panned for gold in other people?  What if, instead of focusing on the mud and mire of other people, we actually trained ourselves to look for bright spots?

It’s so easy to focus on other people’s mistakes and character flaws, especially if they end up hurting us.  But we can actually retrain our minds to stop looking for mud, and start looking for gold!

It all starts with how you begin your morning.  “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16.  Start by praising God. Not just because he has done something good in your life, but praise him because he is the highest. Next, look for gold in yourself.  Focus on your successes and triumphs and on traits that you admire in yourself. Then, when you encounter people around you, make mental notes of the good things in those people.  Or if you want to make their day – tell them!

If you train your mind to find gold, you will find gold.  If you train your mind to mind mud, you will find mud. “…Seek and you will find…”  Matthew 7:7 Are you seeking gold or mud? Challenge yourself to look for the gold in others and in yourself and witness the amazing effect on your outlook on life.  

Panning for Gold2018-06-25T12:35:04-04:00