From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
On Sunday, July 25th, I finished preaching the series, Taking a Kingdom Risk. In this series we learned that Kingdom Risk Taking is a necessary component of true discipleship and is a Kingdom protocol (code of conduct) for following Jesus Christ. Jesus calls us to risk, to obey and step out in faith for His glory and to the fullest potential for the kingdom of God realized. Every great risk in Jesus’ Name begins with confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. That He who calls us to “step out in faith” means to trust the One who supplies us with whatever we need to fulfill plans and purposes in and through us.
Kingdom Risk Taking has 6 Characteristics that helps us recognize and understand what is required in in this endeavor. The first five characteristics I have preached about and they are described on the podcast at our website (wordofvictory.org). Here is a synopsis of the last and sixth characteristic:
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Identity.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Calculated.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Faith, Not Fear.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Invites Uncertainty.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Requires Persistence.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Ensures Growth.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…
Godly risk taking is different than the risk tied to immediate gratification, which is plentiful in our culture.
- Immediate gratification is often self-serving and short sighted.
- Kingdom Risk Taking is God-driven with long range
The latter can take you some place different, some place better!
Obeying God and stepping out of our comfort zone to trust Him and to walk by faith not only has positive repercussions for us and others around us today, but also for generations to come in the future (see Gen. 26:24).
Because it requires discipline, tempering the uncertainty (characteristic #4) and persistence (characteristic #5)…however, Godly Risk Taking is less common among many Christians.
At Victory Church, holidays are a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to reflect on God’s infinite love, which He pours into our lives. Christmas is a great time for people to receive Jesus Christ in their hearts and lives. But we also need to remember how easy it is for people to remain lost even while we’re talking about the birth of Christ.
Here are three principles we should all remember as we enter the Christmas season that will help people experience God’s love…
Keep it simple
Jesus was born into some pretty sparse circumstances. The son of two poor Galileans, he lived a life of humility and simplicity that became a key element of his ministry here on Earth. We try to reflect these same Christ-like attitudes at Victory, and that’s why all the activities we focus on at Christmas tend to be small and personal.
We want people talking to each other, helping each other, and growing together. We want our members and visitors to experience the kind of connection that is reflected in a “family” that loves each other. No matter how large Victory becomes, we never want someone to feel lost in the crowd.
Simple isn’t just beautiful – it’s powerful. I want you to keep this in mind as you make your holiday plans. You don’t have to cram your days full of activities, and you don’t have to make everything big and complicated. Consider what the Bible says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Prov. 19:21 NIV) Keep your holidays simple, so you are free to serve those in need and celebrate with those you love.
We give love to people at Christmas when we show up in their lives, serving and celebrating in the name of Jesus (1 John 4:7-9). Our love is not to be limited to “just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” (1 John 3:18 TEV)
One way we tell our families and friends that we love them is by giving them our focused attention. Attention says, “I value you enough to give you my most precious asset – my time.” When you give someone your time, you’re giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time.
Isn’t it ironic that at Christmas we will spend our money lavishly, yet spend our time like misers? We keep our schedules so full and hectic that we often have difficulty showing up – with focused attention – in the lives of those we love.
Yet Jesus showed his love by being there. He gave people time and focused attention when they needed his help, when they needed his comfort, when they needed his protection, when they needed an answer to a perplexing problem, and when they just needed time with him. One of our aims at Christmas should be showing up in the lives of those we love.
Give with delight
God uses giving as an antidote for materialism (Deut. 14:23b), and He loves it when we give with a delighted heart (2 Cor. 9:7). Jesus said there’s more happiness in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35), but here’s an important point to remember at Christmas: Giving is a matter of willingness, not wealth. It’s attitude, not amount. God doesn’t want your possessions; He wants your heart (Matt. 6:21).
We’ve replaced true, heartfelt, delightful giving with a hollow materialism that keeps us all overspending during the holidays. Instead, we should give from our hearts. In fact, as a pastor, I’d like to see you expand your definition of giving beyond the financial. Imagine how much you could bless others if you simply shared your time and talents.
You don’t even have to give something away to share it delightfully with others. For instance, you may have a garage full of tools that, as a gift, you make available to your neighbor or an empty vacation spot that you allow other members of your family to use.
When you don’t share, you’re keeping others from experiencing the full blessings of God, and you’re being a poor steward of all God has given you.
There’s another reason we need to learn generosity in giving: It builds our faith as we look to be generous with the world. Everything we have is a “good and perfect gift” from our Heavenly Father (James 1:17 NIV), who lavishes on us “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ” (Eph. 1:3b NLT).
The essence of Christmas is that we simply and humbly give of ourselves, just as God gave generously and sacrificially to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. With this Good News as our center, we can generously show up in the lives of others with our time, talents, money, possessions, and friendship.
Merry Christmas… Pastor Mike and Janet
Published on Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 2:37 PM CDT