Blessed. 1 syllable or 2?

Recently, our pastor has been preaching a series entitled, “Upside Down Kingdom”.

He is drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. The first 12 verses of Ch. 5 are called the Beatitudes. You can listen to the first sermon here.

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This morning, I woke up with a moment of clarity.

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

How easy is it to think that if I have stuff (money, home, car, kids, wife, dog, talent, good looks, job, etc) then I am blessed. The result of God’s blessing is reduced to things. This type of thinking is how the world thinks.

Well friends, that kind of thinking is wrong. We live in an upside down kingdom. Jesus clearly mentioned what it means to be blessed. Here are his words from Matthew,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (underline mine)

This is not the time and place for a full explanation of these verses. But there are two things that I will highlight:

***The word blessed means happy, fortunate, having received God’s favor.

So yes, one can argue that being blessed means you have stuff.  After all, God is giving you His favor. He likes you. He can give you things. But I don’t think that is the primary evidence of a blessed life. That brings me to the second point.

***All of the things in these verses are internal properties, not external possessions.

Do you see the contrast?

My first blog of 2018 said that I was going to try to answer the question, “Who Am I?” Click here to read it.

And to answer that question today, I would say that I am blessed!

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Not because of what I have but because of Christ’s work in me. His Spirit has enabled me to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty, merciful, pure in heart, peaceful, and persecuted.

His work on the cross is what makes this type of living even possible. It would be absolutely crazy and foolish to think that I could be blessed (according to Matthew 5) due to anything that I could do.

Jesus did it all. I did nothing.

As I get ready to sign off, remember this:

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

Go out into your world and have the right attitude.

God will help you.

Then He will bless you.

And that is a good thing.

 

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Top Ten Things I Learned While…

Ever had bad service at a restaurant? It is pretty easy to remember the bad ones. But what about the times when you have an exceptional experience? The service was awesome and the food was fantastic and you tipped 25%, right? Most of my week days are spent at the Olive Garden. I wait tables. Without giving all of the details, I have been a waiter for close to nine years. And all of them at an Olive Garden. In that span, I feel like I have learned some things. Dealing with people, relating to co-workers, smiling when I don’t feel like it are just some of these lessons. In this post, I would like to share with you my Top Ten Things I Learned While Waiting Tables at the Olive Garden. 

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Disclaimer: These reflections stem from my personal experience. The Olive Garden is a fantastic place to work. My nine years speak to that but there are coworkers of mine that have logged many more years than I have. If you have had a bum deal or feel ill feelings towards the OG, sorry but don’t let how you feel discourage you from going back to dine at an Olive Garden. Thanks…now onto the list.


  1. Smile. At the table. In the kitchen. Even if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Be nice and polite to the cooks. They can make or break your day.
  3. Pre-bus your tables more than expected. Your busser can clean the table quicker.
  4. Avoid co-worker drama. In relation to said drama, ignorance is bliss.
  5. If you know first names, use them. If not, use “sir” and “miss”. Never call a woman “ma’am”.
  6. Don’t freak out. When, not if, the host staff messes up the seating rotation and you get double sat, stay cool.
  7. Relationship is key. View people as people, not as something from which you can extract a tip.
  8. Never complain about a bad tip. Sometimes people are ignorant, not mean.
  9. Sometimes you mess up. The tip will reflect it. Move on and do better next time.
  10. Attitude is paramount! My goal, every day, is to make the Olive Garden a better place because I am there.

Here is a picture of my Olive Garden in Green Bay: og In fact, I am going to clean up and head to work soon. Normally, I will attempt to draw some spiritual application or at least a biblical connection. Not today. I am going to let my Top Ten Things I Learned While Waiting Tables at the Olive Garden stand on their own. It was my pleasure in serving you today. We’ll see you soon.  

Enough is enough.

Faith. Most days I don’t even feel like I can find the words to type. Can my faith really move mountains? Will I really see healing in someone’s body? It seems that with all of the stuff of life, faith is hard to come by. And when we do have faith, it feels small or insignificant.

By the way, if you want my idea of ‘stuff’, click here.

My first two posts about faith were in regards to Altitude and Attitude. Feel free to go back and read them again. =-)

The Altitude of Faith is that Jesus is supreme. He is above all else.

The Attitude of Faith is reflected in my actions in life.

But is my faith enough?

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I say yes. But again, don’t take my word. God says yes as well.

I John 5: 4-5 tell us, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

What?!?! My faith is the victory that overcomes the world?!?! I guess I will take God’s Word at face value here. It is not normal to think of myself as an overcomer but I like it. There is a small catch though…I need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. If that is in order, than I am victorious.

So to answer the question in the opening paragraph, yes, my faith can move mountains. I can see people healed. My problems and issues are suddenly not so life-choking.

It seems that enough is enough. My faith is enough. God can do anything because He is all-powerful but He chooses to let me use my faith. Enough is enough.

And that, my friends, is the Amplitude of Faith.

Amplitude

“the state or quality of being ample, especially as to breadth or width; largeness; greatness of extent.”

It all boils down to the fact that God has given each one of us a measure of faith. Some people have more than others but everyone has some. And that faith is enough.

Can I come full circle? This is how I ended my first post in this month:

Faith has nothing to do with feelings. (Thank you God!!!)

If we look at faith and understand it (even if it is only a little understanding), there is nothing essential about how we feel as it relates to faith. My feelings do not always line up with my Altitude, Attitude, and Amplitude but they can certainly influence it!

So go and exercise your faith today. And when you don’t feel like it, that just might be the best time to act.

Another aspect of Faith

Quick summary of last week:

We all have faith in something. We can choose to put that faith into anything we desire. Jesus, being the Ultimate of Everything, is the highest location for our faith. Our Altitude of Faith should be in Jesus.

Jesus. Isn’t He awesome? Because he is above all else, he rightly deserves our honor, trust, respect, love and yes, our faith. We may know that in our heads but how does that faith translate to our hands? How does having faith in Jesus play out in everyday life? Back to I John 5. I copied the first three verses here.

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,”

We can see the Altitude of Faith in the first verse, “that Jesus is the Christ.”

The last part of verse 1 and verses 2-3 give us the Attitude of Faith.

Attitude

“manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind”

What is your disposition towards faith in Jesus? Do I have positive tendencies with regards to faith? My manner is evident of my faith, right?

The word love is used 5 times in these 3 verses. Let that be a clue as to what our attitude should be. Here is a little example.

When I went to North Central University, it was actually called North Central Bible College. Among my friends, there was one in particular that I remember. He was rather intense. We would be talking about a subject and he would often times use the phrase, “Chapter and verse.” He was asking for proof for my ideas. It was one thing to talk about something we had heard in class or Chapel. This guy always wanted to know what the Bible said. He wanted proof.

Remember, love is a clue since the author used it so many times in a short span.

While the object of our faith (altitude) is Jesus, the proof of that faith (attitude) is our action or love.

My dad often said to me, “You will always have time to do what you want to do.”

I have faith in Jesus. He was a perfect man. He was killed, buried and then raised from the dead. His sacrifice is enough to wash me from my sins. My life is now completely in His hands. I am free in Christ!

All of that is my Altitude of Faith.

I put others before myself. I serve at home and at church. I refrain from swearing or crude language. Drunkenness is not an issue. When the gossip starts, I leave the room. I smile even when I am having a bad day. I invite people to church. I sing on the worship team. I try to be the best version of me that I can.

All of this is my Attitude of Faith.

Go back and read those three verses again. Our actions stem from God doing something that we could not. I DO NOT do good things to get something from God. I do these things because He has already done something for me.

This post is not about doing good works to get saved. But rather, it is about doing good works because you are saved.