I am not a “normal” minister. And I guess if I really thought about it, I really don’t want to be. As a rule, I tend to look at what most people are doing and then I don’t do those things. I’m not overly intentional about it, God just seems to work it out that way. I am both humbled and privileged to pastor a congregation in the scenic mountains of western North Carolina that is extremely encouraging and very generous. Together we are called to partnerships for the kingdom that are now in many people minds and hearts but not yet in their actions. We are unabashedly kingdom minded as we do things with and for other ministries. More on that later.
We accentuate and expect “fullness” in life. Since you and I are in a friendship with the Father, through Christ and in the power of the Spirit, then life ought to be more dynamic, full, unpredictable, and mysterious than not. The advent of Christ started a radical adventure for those willing to follow. How do we seize this abundant life?
Over the past twenty years of ministry, it is apparent to me that there are some key principles that are internalized in the lives of people who live abundant lives.
- Whatever we focus on in life will enlarge.
Life is like a pie divided into pieces. Christ is the dish that holds all things together; but as one slice of life gets larger, the smaller the other slices become. Too much work means family only gets a small slice. Too little spiritual discipline, and other areas of life can take over. The abundant life is a balanced life. Look for unbalance and deal with it today before you fall down and get hurt.
- More seems Good but ‘Better’ is better.
The whole world is longing for more quantity. We should crave more quality. We want bigger churches, bigger portions, more Facebook friends, and more followers when what we really long for is deeper intimacy with God and others. Intimacy sort of means “into-me-He-sees”. The abundant life is reflective and relationally connected. Look for hurriedness and the death associated with superficiality and resist it. Initiate and nurture conversations with others where you look them straight in the eye with compassion and listen. (God-included and not on an iphone) Love more, laugh more, connect more.
- Fullness is Connected to Emptiness.
Living has to be more than breathing in and out. If we want to live full lives then we must experience emptiness. God fills those who have emptied themselves before Him and emptied themselves to others. Clean house before God and He will refill your home with laughter and joy. Look for self-centeredness in your life and eradicate it.
Jesus was pretty big on abundance. …I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). If your faith walk is boring, something is wrong with you, not God. Boring and predictable Christian lives accentuate the status quo and usually worship two false Gods; comfort and convenience. Dethrone these deceptive demagogues today if they keep you from authentic abundance. We only get one shot at this life. Persist in asking the Lord to take you to a rock higher than yourself (Ps.61:2).
-Dr. Gary Hewins
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