I often get stuck thinking about what I cannot do. I think everyone has those moments and I get there more often than I would like to admit. I was reading and praying this morning and I had a few minutes of asking God to intercede for me and I got stuck listing why I was not able to do the work(s) He has called me to do. After a few minutes of listing all the weaknesses, faults, bad circumstances, and impossibilities, I was confronted with this question, “So What, Josh?”
If you have walked with Jesus for any period of time, you realize how the Holy Sprit answers our questions with questions. It was a line drawn in the sand, if I believe God asked me to do something should I do it, despite the impossibilities? The Christianese answer is, “Yes, your obedience has your next blessing!” While it is true, we often misinterpret blessing.
I was about 3 years into ministry and I was a youth pastor at a location in California. With the advice of wise Christian leaders and answers to prayer, I felt God told me to resign and go. I had so many questions and too few answers to make an educated decision. I kept hearing how my jump of faith would find me caught in the arms of Jesus with great blessing at the end. So, I jumped! I resigned my ministry position, moved in to my parents house with my wife and our one daughter, and began to look for work, ministry, opportunity, just about anything.
Three months later and with offers like being paid for ministry with fresh fish in Alaska, I could not get a real job to save my life. I felt helpless, hopeless and despair began to hit me. Why? Well, I had a notion that Jesus catching me, blessing me and seeing me through meant money in the bank account, fulfillment in my career or popularity and opportunity. Can those things happen and will they? You bet, but Jesus catching us in our faith jumps means more than the material. It was at my lowest point where I could not see much light ahead, that I write this in my journal.
“God, why is it that you see to my destruction and humiliation? I know I deserve nothing, but I am desperate and have nowhere else to turn!”
Like a lament psalm I got real before the Almighty God, and I then wrote this down a paragraph later:
“Josh, Your blessing, fortune and progress is solely based on the calling I have for you. You are so busy seeing what you cannot do or accomplish that you are missing the table I have set before you.”
This was 2002, and the crux of the story is that my mom was dying of cancer and I thought she was coming out of it. I finally settled down stopped searching endlessly and spent time with my mom, I repaired relationship with her and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was in the valley of despair, and fearing all evil, until I woke up that day and I was introduced to the table set before my enemies (Psalm23). My marriage was rocky, credit was broken, my finances demolished, my gifting/calling was hibernating, and my closest friends silent. Oh, but that table! Once I recognized who set it up, who put it all together, I focused on the mission at hand, my mom, my marriage and my family.
Soon after that I was back in ministry and repairing the temporal things, but having a restored and shame free perspective to being in the waiting room. Perhaps you are in the waiting room, you are looking for the blessing and missing the table set before you. All you hear is, “You Can’t Do That!” and I pray that you can answer, “I sure can’t, but He can!”
These are my sermon notes from a message I spoke at THRIVE Young Adults at CLC. Use it if you want to.
What is the key to purity?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30
Our heart is one of the most important organs in our body, and so is our biblical heart. We often talk about heart, soul, and mind, but what are these things.
The Mind =Conscience
If the information in your brain is bad, it is influencing your mind (deteriorating your conscience), which is affecting the condition of your spirit.
The heart is the very seat of our emotions. Last week we talked about our mind or conscience, today we will talk about the Heart or BRAIN.
2 Samuel 11:1-27
HOW DO I CREATE AN IMPURE HEART?
- Envy Someone Else’s Life, Role, or Character
Some of the strongest emotions we can exhibit are jealousy, envy, rage and hate. These emotions are the root of many of the major crimes we have in society.
Anger, envy, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours.
What is envy? Envy occurs when we lack a desired attribute or possession enjoyed by another.
What is the difference between jealousy and envy? Jealousy happens when something we already possess (usually a special relationship) is threatened by a third person.
The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5), this means he does not want to lose us and show himself clear in that. However, the ten commandments tell us of envy, not jealousy.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17
David envied Uriah because of his wife, and so envy crept in and caused David to make plans
- Make Plans Using Your Emotions
Because our heart is the seat of our emotions, we should never make decisions solely based on how we feel.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
The human brain is like a computer that writes code all day, every day. The more we run programs based on our emotions, the more the brain learns to react based on emotions.
David was overcome with lust and desire that he made poor plans at that moment. David could have avoided this by:
- Keeping with the big plans: be king, do what kings do and not be on the roof at night looking at naked women.
- Remembering the blessings and favor he had because he walked with God
- Substituting his desire for flesh with an act of the spirit.
How do we avoid making plans with our emotions? I just told you and especially #3. If we were to make it a habit to overcome our flesh by simply delaying an act of the foolishness by first doing an act that requires us to engage our spirit with God. (e.g.,. Worship, prayer, reciting passages)
This is our hope! This is the message we can bring to the lost and broken! It does not have to be this way. David did what most people do today:
Committing Adultery: 90% general population
Up to 65% of husbands and 55% of wives will commit adultery.
Journal of Psychology and Christianity
So this is why it is so important to practice self-control and spiritual strength now while you are single. We live in a world that is engaging in all kinds of sexual activity before marriage as if it is a race to get it all in now before they say, “I DO”. The problem is they programmed their heart (the brain) to enjoy sexual escapades. It is like a drug addict; you don’t just stop cold turkey except by supernatural healing and deliverance. You stop by coding something else in the heart of man.
So once we want something we should not have and make plans to get it, now we have the choice: hide it or deal with it. David decided to hide it.
- Hide Your Sin and Weaknesses
David committed the unthinkable here, like an awful episode of Scandal. He had her husband killed and planned it all out.
When we hide our sin, we create an atmosphere of shame that corrupts our heart and justifies the worst of actions. Murderers in our prison system are there because of envy, jealousy, and rage. Some felt justified that the person they killed, deserved it or had it coming.
Your sin will find you out, one way or another. Purity is not about perfection or sinlessness; it is about the right heart that deals with sin properly when it comes.
The good news: David was confronted by the prophet Nathan and admitted his guilt. He was punished with the death of his son and strife in his household. Mercy is always right there within our reach, and David experienced it. His son Solomon became king of him from the same woman that he committed the act with. God is not just sitting up there trying to strike us down; God wants the best for us. He is a good Father.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Paul was correcting the Church at Corinth about sexual immorality and one situation he heard of, a man with his father’s wife. Paul instructs the church to discipline this man by removing him from the church so that he had a chance to be saved from his sin.
Then Paul gives a verse that believers quote and memorize, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” However, we may be inclined to read over the “Your boasting is not good” that comes before this. What is Paul’s deal here? The church is probably growing; it is an exciting place to gather on Sunday, what is the deal? Paul is correcting the whole church leadership about one guy who decided to commit to what was not even allowed in the secular world around them.
I am not going to start writing about excommunication, but I would assume this person was part of the leadership, the boasting of the church in Corinth. Better yet, this correction was a message to the church to not concentrate on boasting of themselves, but all the more to be humble, because we can miss it. They had a lot of fleshy, lifestyle stuff to work out in their midst, and Paul was pushing for that to be their focus. Encouraging the people of the church is great, but boasting is a different thing entirely.
Now that I got that out of the way, I want to focus more on the leaven aspect. Here we get the leaven illustration, and this is not a sprinkle of yeast. This is a fermented piece of dough that gets rolled into the next batch of bread because it was left from some earlier batch. This was a standard aspect of bread making in those days, and no one would have been corrected for making bread this way. Paul is making a clear distinction between the world and the Kingdom of God here and I believe this was specifically targeting leaders in the church.
Should the Kingdom of God be sprinkled with the leaven of the world?
It is a tough question because we live in a culture that mixes secular with Christian living so seamlessly. We can easily get into discussions about whether something is a clear and cut sin and leave it there, but should we be having another conversation. Are believers living lives that invite anointing and favor? I can be straight and say Christian leaders should be living lives of purity, free from bondage of any kind.
Do our activities or choices have a little leaven in them? While our choice, in and of itself, may not have overt sin involved, did we make that choice because of the leaven left over from a sinful choice we made prior or those around us? We find the original law in Leviticus 18:1-5 and the reason for this and other laws of its kind was the heart of God, that His people would be different from those who were not His people. The heart of New Testament grace is still the same, are we different from those who do not walk as Christians? Sure, all things are permissible that are not overtly sin, but it is not always good for you or the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 10:30) Overt sin is rarely something that just happens at the moment; it is the product of the creeping in of leaven (tainted life) that slowly eradicates our discernment.
What separates us from the world around us is most precious, and it is the main tool that God uses, outside of His Word, to chase after the hurting and broken. The short answer is that no leaven, as Paul describes it, will be mixed into the Kingdom of God in the finality of it all. God loves us so much, He extends so much grace to us, but let’s pursue the things that are most advantageous to us as followers of Jesus.
Any thoughts to add? Want to hear what you think on the subject.
I was reading this morning from Nahum, and something caught my attention. Our influence will be a matter of great responsibility.
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
graceful and of deadly charms,
who betrays nations with her whorings,
and peoples with her charms.
Behold, I am against you,
declares the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will make nations look at your nakedness
and kingdoms at your shame.
Ninevah was under judgment, and sexual immorality was what was pointed out. Ninevah was receiving a judgment from God because they were not only involved in sexual immorality (whorings), but they influenced a large part of the Near East with their immorality. It was their influence and how they used it that brought such judgment from God. We should know that with influence comes great responsibility. When we ask God for influence, we ask Him to give us the burden of judgment that can come with it. The yoke is easy and the burden light when we carry it with Jesus. Without Jesus, the burden is too big, and our pride will bring destruction eventually.
I am not huge title guy, so, if someone wants to call me pastor, great. I believe that my being a pastor is displayed in the life I give to others and I do not need a title to do that. Why do I mention this? We are human, and it is easy for us to strive for recognition, title, and affirmation not realizing the weight of it all. God does not judge us based on our title, He judges us based on our actual influence.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him, much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. – Luke 12:48b
Influence is not given, it is earned. One cannot claim ignorance when confronted with their own influence, and so we are responsible. Influence grows, titles stay the same. Nations, empires, and communities have seen destruction due to their respective influence. So what? Why does this matter to me?
You and I are people of influence, and how much influence may vary, but the responsibility is like in kind. Perhaps your influence is your children and family, or you lead in a corporate environment. It does not matter; we need to take inventory and observe how our influence is impacting others. God takes influence very seriously as we see in Nahum, but Jesus gave us this to chew on:
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. – Matthew 18:5-6
As a believer, it is a privilege to lead and have influence. It is when I take inventory of the influence I have, that I see my weaknesses, strengths and the hand of God in my life. It is a joy to see what God has done and will do. We are all influencers and may we all take it with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to show others a Christ-like life.
This morning, I had a reckoning moment with God. Even better, God had one with me. I was reading from 1 Samuel 25:12-27 as part of my reading plan and I actually thought it was simple and boring and that I would just get more out of my New Testament reading… I was wrong. I just got back from a wonderful vacation and with Easter and so many things coming down for us at once, I was overcome with an anxiety I was not comfortable with. I immediately went to prayer and I was reminded to pray for my best friend who is in a physical struggle that I can only understand at the surface. God prompted me to re-read 1 Samuel 25:12-27 and so I did just that.
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal[c] is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.
- God is in control
Even when we think something is too hard or if we are the victims of some kind of evil, we must come to grips with the truth that God is in control. God is not surprised with your issue and this may create larger questions and issues for you regarding God, but this is the truth.
- You must get on your face (humility) before you can be free
Abigail came to the king (David) and interceded for her foolish husband. She and everyone in her family and property were spared, the king thanked her in the process, and later God took care of Nabal instead of human intervention.
- Interceding for others includes those that hurt you
This was my toughest hurdle, technically, I am still mid-jump over this one. I had the tendency to walk around praying and shouting for God to save others from the same hurt and to shut down the one who hurt me. I thought I had forgiven when I simply overlooked the pain in my own power. God showed me clearly that I would know when I was healed… when I could come to the King of Kings, much like Abigail, and offer a gift and beg for the very life of the one who hurt me. God was showing me that for years, but for some reason the phone was connected this time, I heard the message clearly.
- Your healing comes at the expense of you
Let me explain, I have to give up my right to be right. I have to give up my need to have a reason for why something happened to me. When I can be joyful simply because God is walking and talking with me, my freedom is at hand. It is good to claim the promises of God and to come to His throne boldly, but may we never misinterpret this boldness. Our boldest moments come when we are empty of our own agendas and we simply bless God and others. Abigail had every right to let David kill as planned, technically she could have asked for shelter and protection, but instead she honored the king with her humility and wisdom.
Victory comes with humility, wisdom and love, but you are not the one who brings it. God brings your victory and when we usher in our own victories, we soon learn that they are short-lived and become bondage in our spiritual lives. True spiritual victory never binds, it frees.
This is Week 1 of THRIVE’s It’s Not About Me Series. Feel free to use these notes for yourself or group. I will be going through Philippians, key verse by key verse.
It’s Not About Me: My Completion
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
The Apostle Paul is most likely imprisoned in Rome while writing this letter to the Philippian church. Paul mentions his confidence in the Philippians and God’s faithfulness to finish every good work he started in us. The key piece that brings context to this verse is “the day of Jesus Christ”. Without this phrase, we can lose site of the journey that feels long, but is short in reflection of eternity. The promise is true, but only at the end.
Sometimes we have dreams, personal goals and aspirations that our all our own and we can become discouraged when they are left untouched, unfinished or even destroyed. Further still, we can easily drive ourselves to see works that were started (churches, efforts, events, plans) by God through us and assume that this verse means that very work will be completed. This is just not always the case, the “good work” he started in is refers to the sanctification launch, after salvation we are on a journey of becoming more like Christ. The more we walk the journey the closer we come to his finished masterpeice, but it is in His time and only God calls it finished.
Rick Warren said this, “Where God guides, he provides. And where God leads, he meets our needs. But he’s going to test you first, because there is no testimony without a test.”
- You need to be sure
What happens when you are sure of something? What changes about your attitude, the way you carry yourself, your effectiveness and your outlook of the future?
What are the things we must be sure of? Who God is!
A.W. Tozer (my favorite author) said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
We live in a day that could care less about God, who He is or what He wants. God has been removed from schools, the workplace and our entertainment. We have confusion about our own identities, genders and marriages. The world hates a God who will judge, define good versus evil and allow bad things to happen. It is tough to be a young adult right now and have a truthful thought about God.
If we cannot get a solid and right idea about God, we must start there. So, let me give you this, We can be sure:
- That God is good and is good to you!
We see this in our salvation
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
We see this in his desire for relationship with us
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a
We see this in His faithfulness
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5
We see this in His provision for us
Matthew 6:25-36 (birds of the air, lilies of the field)
- Jesus began the “good” work, so Jesus will complete the “good” work
True spiritual growth depends on what you believe God has done, is doing and will do.
This does not mean that you will stand back and watch God move your entire Christian life, No! It means quite the opposite.
God expects to do the work, to live the life He desires for us. The difference is the peace and wisdom that I like to call favor. What does favor mean? Walking in favor means that you hear from God, you obey God, and He blesses your obedience. Favor is something that is built over a lifetime, but experienced daily.
- That your completion will not happen until the end
This is actually encouraging! There is no shame in the journey, the bible tells us about the journey
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. – 2 Cor 3:8
Telescope or Hiking
I was called to ministry as a young boy. Without going into my testimony too much, I held onto the call tightly until I discovered sin was fun. When I finally came back to Jesus and walked with Him, I was ready for Him to complete the work. I was making plans to go to school, travel the world, preach and teach from the rooftops. It was in the moments where I cleaned church bathrooms, setup for small groups, operated the computer and led youth games that God taught me some big lessons. My growth towards completion is based on how I learn from the small moments, the humbling ventures, what I saw as the mundane.
You see, I had a bad habit of looking at my purpose and call with a telescope. I can see it so close, as if I could just reach and grab it. However, once the telescope is pulled from my eyes, I see forest, desert, mountains and valleys, fires, storms, fog and more. I have to walk through all of it to get to my fulfilled purpose and calling.
Never Tell Them Early
My wife and I have a rule about telling our children anything about future events. We do not tell our children anything until we know it will happen and even then, only the info they need to get ready or prepared. We want to be a blessing to our children and not fill them with disappointment if we are just dreaming. It;s like out relationship with God, He tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it.
This is a promise we can count on! However, we should never call something “of God” that is of ourselves. If God starts it, He will finish it. Just know that he may use someone else to finish a work, but God is faithful to complete THE WORK that is YOU.
- What comes into your mind when you first think about God?
- What is the biggest worry you have right now?
- Do you know what you are supposed to do with your life? What is your purpose? If so, does slow growth or lack of completion frustrate you?
When you read Galatians 5:22-23, you read about the fruits of the Spirit. Ever wonder why Bible translations never use the word nice or niceness? How about when you correct your child who is being selfish or mean-spirited with another child, do we use the word nice or kind? I thought it was genius of the snack bar (notice: it is not a health bar) KIND to put an ad out distinguishing between kind and nice.
In 15 seconds, KIND tells you the difference between NICE and KIND. Nice tells you what you want to hear and Kind is honest. Simple definition and I always live by the John Stott quote:
Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.
Kindness is so much more than just one word; it is a character trait that is developed in us by the Holy Spirit. Kindness takes the love and truth and presents it to another person in communicable fashion. I used to tell my children, ” Now that was not nice! Go apologize.” This may be just fine and I am not saying we should never say the word nice, but I now go for words and teaching moments that matter the most.
If I were to define the word “nice,” I would say it is the first level of appropriateness that uses the least amount of your time, money and resources to save the status quo. I know, a bit complex and harsh, but think about how we use the word. Someone leaves us a Facebook birthday message, that was nice. Someone holds the door open for you, that was nice. You drop a paper or item on the floor, and the person next you picks it up for you, that was nice. You get an envelope with $1,500 cash and a note that says “God told me to do it,” that’s nice? No, that was kindness and goodness combined. It’s like the word “love,” we misuse it often. I love my wife, I love my children, I love Jesus. Do I then love sushi? ( I do like it with a certain passion)
I am not sure if I am amazed by the word kind and what it means or by the fact that I was edified by an advertisement intended to do sales.
Hope has many definitions and can apply to our lives in many different ways. I remember when I was searching for a youth pastor position some years ago and I was exhausted from either saying no to some and hearing no for others. I had shared the issues I was having with a friend and was told that “I had hope, and hope does not disappoint.” I was a bit baffled at the usage of the Romans 5:5 passage and realized that many misinterpret that passage.
Hope, by worldly definition, is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen (noun) or wanting something to happen or be the case (verb). This definition is defined to be something a bit different biblically. When we read the preceding verse, Romans 5:3-4 tells us:
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…
It is a 4 step process before hope is even defined. The Apostle Paul tells us that we must first rejoice in sufferings. Positive thinking and speaking are great and necessary to live a Christian life, but it does not remove the suffering that humanity often endures. If we do not suffer, we become like the couch potato who decides to run a marathon next weekend; it will not happen. Our suffering produces the very endurance needed to create something else, character. Character includes things like integrity, joy, the fruits of the Spirit. Once character is built, our hope is built up. We also understand that this building never stops until we go to heaven.
Is it wrong to dream or hope for things that you desire to happen? No way! You had better have dreams, goals, and vision for you, your family, your ministry, etc. The problem is that we end up running out of hope when we tell God what has to happen. We do that when we plan things with God as our theme, but He is not the center of the plans. I am a Christian, so I do everything in life with a God-like theme, but this does not make what I do God-centered. Much like how our relationship with Jesus transforms us by renewing our mind, so our journey with Jesus transforms our hope into a God-centered hope.
Now, let’s get real analytical here on Romans 5:5 in the ESV
and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I use the ESV for Bible study for reasons like this Scripture. The translation of the word shame is more accurate here. The NKJV and others use the word disappoint, but that word does not mean it disappoints our standard of hope. It means that we will have eternal life with Christ and so this hope we have is Jesus, and He will not put us to shame in the end.
It is good to have hope in your life, but if your primary hope is not Jesus, your hope will not endure. The great news, Jesus is our hope and the peace He gives us is enough to sustain us through the greatest of trials and suffering. It’s easy to say this, but until you are reliant upon that very peace, we can only talk of it. It’s when we live it out that our hope is truly transformed from ours to His.
Marriage is not about getting out of your comfort zone to make your spouse happy. It is about becoming one flesh, and that alone can be uncomfortable for both. Happiness is about self-fulfillment, and when one spouse spends time and energy on happiness, it can create a void in the relationship. What about when both spouses strive for the happiness of the other, it may seem to be the right motive, but something will still be missing. Happiness is subjective and is not a proper motivator for a marriage.
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:6-9
The act of “becoming one flesh” is something that happens to the couple through submission to God and each other. When we submit to God, the process of “one flesh” begins and can be a fun and incredible journey. Love is the sole motivator for a healthy marriage and happiness can simply be a periodic byproduct of this love. Love is action-based and not an emotional response or feeling like happiness is. One of the most dangerous questions one could ask a married man or woman is, “are you really happy?” and ironically it is a common question asked when infidelity is being presented. Watch any Lifetime movie with an affair in the plot and that question is bound to be asked. When answered honestly, any spouse can admit at some point in their marriage that they are not happy.
Love always gives while lust always takes. One spouse cannot give happiness to the other, but they can give love. Becoming one flesh comes when we lay our lives down for the other, for example, giving up our preferences for the sake of the one we love. There is no way to cover the many ways we allow the “becoming one flesh” process, but specifically, couples should communicate their spiritual journey with Christ.
As a couple grows spiritually as individuals, the key is to share the details with each other. As communication of spiritual growth, decline or battles become more common in the marriage, the stronger the bond between the couple grows stronger. You literally build spiritual character together. For my wife and I, we each grew up in Christian homes and believed the same things about God. The spiritual maturity we each possessed was different, our moral compasses slightly different and our ability to be tested spiritually were different. Why? We each grew up under different circumstances, and so our marriage started with varying differences that could either pull us together or drift us apart. We chose to be submitted to God and each other, and we grew together, our becoming one flesh helped us build spiritual maturity together that no man can separate. Your spiritual growth is both individual and plural. I am not suggesting an unhealthy co-dependancy, but I am suggesting fortifying marriages with spiritual growth that both husband and wife own together with Christ at the center.
There is a vast amount of chatter on the internet about generational gaps and specifically about millennials and the workplace. Studies show a revealing pattern in each generation on how they are motivated. These are generalizations and not scientific statements or even meant to be a comprehensive summarization. These are observations I make from my experience in ministry and the workplace. I also started at Boomers, simply because of the current workforce and to expose a first level of generational differences. Each generation has a set of core values and motivators that are not necessarily wrong or right, but they exist.
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) went to work for long hours, did what they were told, respected authority, played politics well and stayed in their respective careers for a long time. This generation saw the first major rise in divorce, infidelity and the single parent home. They raised kids by passive example versus a hands-on approach (again, generalization), showing what it meant to work hard, ignore struggles and keep busy.
Generation X (1965-1976) was a product of the Baby Boomers (0f course). Gen Xers are much more educated than previous generations; they value their use of time over any other workplace ethic, and responsible for the shrinking of the population since having 1.4 kids per family belongs to them. They saw the pains of the Boomers who worked hard to get them a better life; they lacked quality time with parents. The correction was to make the workplace more efficient, create systems for faster and better response and motivated by time and performance. A Boomer sees performance as working (money and quantity), a Gen Xer sees performance in terms of success (money, time and quality). They raised kids with the approach of “everyone is a winner” and handed out trophies for just showing up. They spent time with their kids, fighting hard to increase education standards and made their kids feel special.
The Millenial generation or Gen Y (1977-1995) was a product of both Boomers and Gen X. Generations are changing faster now due to technological advancement. They grew up with much of life being taken care of for them, and they grew up faster because of TV, the internet and mobile devices. Parents no longer were the primary influence in the life of a child but the mix of teachers, online sources and TV took over the authority. Creativity is hard to assess, but millennials thrive in this arena. Since they got a trophy for just showing up, they have a sense of entitlement built into their lifestyles. This entitlement is not their fault as much as it is a product of overcorrections by Gen Xers. They are motivated by purpose and impact more than time, money, or quantity of performance. They now make up the largest portion of the workforce in the United Sates.
Boomers and Gen Xers get frustrated with Millenials because they often misunderstand them. No given generation is lost in some way simply because they are different than the previous. Yet workplace discussions, seminar lobbies, and forums online are filled with nostalgia of how it was done, and now it is all going downhill.
Gen Z or Centennials (1996 and forward) are product of Gen X and Millennials and are inundated with media and trends. They find value in causes, have little patience for rules that have no meaning, live life based on emotional investment. There is still ongoing research on how they will impact the workplace and family, but there is a push for organic community.
I am a millennial by definition, but I can relate to Gen Xers as well. A millennial does not do something just because someone said it is to be done. They do something because it means something, that the systems, tasks and processes are not only tested but constantly tested and improved. Gen Xers want to know their calendar is being valued and not just having meetings because that is the way it is done. They want to know that both Boomers and Millennials respect them as a person. Millennials want to know that you connect with their emotional quotient and that they are setup to make an impact.
I watched this great video at the bottom of my post, and it challenged me as a leader and supervisor. We can complain about other generations and what is lacking, or we can become better leaders by taking the time to understand the intersections that are involved in generational leadership.