Try Being Unfair Next Time

Try Being Unfair Next Time

TRY BEING UNFAIR NEXT TIME

Besides death and taxes, there’s one other certainty: human hearts aren’t prone towards mercy, at least not towards others. We’re greedy for personal justice from the moment we comprehend that something’s unfair. She has more than me. He has something better than me. She got a bigger piece than me. He received more time than me.

Our avarice for justice is relentless and the stakes only grow as we get older.
He cheated and took from me.
She lied to get ahead of me.
He shortchanged me.
She was given special treatment over me.

With this burning desire to get justice for ourselves, how do we even begin to execute the things Jesus says, like, “if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well”? (Matthew 5:40). How do we turn the other cheek and walk the extra mile when we believe—down to our core—that we’re justified in seeking what’s ours?

How do we give up our right to seek justice? Where do we find the strength to do something like that?

Jesus didn’t just tell us what we should do as people of God’s kingdom. He also showed us how.

Peter came to Jesus with just the same question we bring to Jesus when we’re tired of offering grace: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Nope. Not seven times, Peter, you don’t yet understand what the God’s kingdom is really like.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ | Matthew 18:25-33

How do we give up our right to seek justice? We remember that our God gave up his right to exact justice against us by sacrificing himself. He gave us grace. He offered us mercy and we can become the kind of people who give grace instead of withholding forgiveness.

Maybe that little voice that demands and declares, “That’s just not fair,” never goes away for. Agree with it and reply in response: “It’s not fair—and praise God that He treated me ‘unfairly.’” Let’s become the kind of people who let go of justice and take hold of transformational sacrifice instead.

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620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

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Littleton, Colorado 80120

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Why We Lie

Why We Lie

WHY WE LIE

It’s safe to say we’re not always honest—sometimes we lie. Let’s at least be honest about that. And on top of that, we usually excuse these lies by maintaining that we don’t lie about the big things, just those little white lies. Whether it’s about that sweater your grandma sent you, that text message you “forgot” to respond to, or the real reason you were out “sick” at work last week, we can exercise and excuse our dishonesty in small ways each day. What’s so bad about that?

The problem is that our motivation for lying about anything—big or small—comes down to two wrong beliefs and conflicting values.

Nearly all lies are motivated by one of two desires:

  • 1 // A desire to protect others.
  • 2 // A desire to protect ourselves.

On the surface, neither of these desires seems to be that bad, especially the desire to protect others from hurt feelings, disappointment, or worse. However, when we submit to these desires instead of what God says is best, we’re disobedient.

PROTECTING OTHERS

Honesty and kindness aren’t enemies. If you’ve ever said a white lie to a friend, your spouse, or your child then you likely felt that the values of honesty and kindness were at odds with one another. Despite this feeling, honesty and kindness are not enemies—they’re inextricably linked. When we sacrifice honesty, we’re usually just being nice or polite and sacrificing that other person’s long-term good for short-term salve.

We forget what John says about Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus didn’t sacrifice truth just to be nice and—just as importantly—he didn’t forsake grace to express the fullness of truth to the world. We see this conjunction clearly in Jesus’ interaction with the man nicknamed “the rich young ruler.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”

Jesus was honest with him because he loved him—not in spite of his love for this misguided man.

It may take some time to practice and probably a few opportunities to ask for forgiveness, but you can be honest and kind. It may feel harsh, to be honest, but this is the real way to be kind—by desiring someone else’s long-term good even if it isn’t what they want and it requires more from us. If we’re the kind of people who step into difficult conversations with honesty and grace, then people will learn that they can trust us no matter what.

PROTECTING OURSELVES

The second reason feels less noble than the first, but it’s unlikely that we ever lie without this as an underlying motivation: We don’t want to incur the consequences that honesty could bring. This means we don’t fully trust what Jesus told us: the way of truth is a path of freedom.

Sure, in the short term, we may avoid some small difficulty, but in the long term, we’re setting ourselves up for even greater trouble. Why? Because we aren’t just choosing a single lie; we’re choosing a path to live by, a path of darkness that serves oneself instead of others.

John warns in his epistle, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Honesty puts us on the path of light where there’s real intimacy with God and one another. Don’t let your fear get in the way of those gifts.

We don’t want to be nice, polite people who lie. We want to be kind and honest people who care about others more than our own comfort. Kind doesn’t always look like nice—just like Jesus showed us—and it won’t always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. If honesty is something you struggle with, don’t despair. John has a word for you, too. Even in our sin,

“we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” who is faithful to forgive and transform us when we confess to him. | 1 John 2:1; 1:9

we believe in church that is

Real.Messy.New.

CAMPUSES


LITTLETON

620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

LIFE CENTER LITTLETON

5804 S. Datura St.
Littleton, Colorado 80120

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A Letter to Men at Mission Hills

A Letter to Men at Mission Hills

A LETTER TO MEN AT MISSION HILLS

Find out more about our Men’s Ministry and some of their upcoming events here.

The wind is wild, and weird, and wonderful—and I’ve been thinking about it more than usual. Maybe it’s because I’ve driven through Limon several times in the last month. Maybe it’s because my hair is getting thinner, and every little gust seems to whistle across my scalp. Or maybe it’s because I’m from Oklahoma, and the wind is in my soul.

I was five when I first heard the tornado siren and understood what it was trying to say. Coincidentally, I had also just watched the “Wizard of Oz”. Thus, as my father hurried us down the rickety, wooden stairs to the basement—down where the smells of clay, and mildew, and furnace dust mingled with my childhood fears—I was certain our home would soon be relocated, far away in some phantasmic world. To my surprise, when the sickening, green clouds had come and gone, we were still living on 39th Street.

If, however, one lives in Oklahoma long enough, he eventually understands not all tornados pass by so politely. On the afternoon of May 20, 2013, a monstrous EF5 struck Moore, Oklahoma, (a few miles east of the neighborhood in which I grew up), with peak winds estimated at 210 mph. It killed 24 people and injured 377 others. None of them made it to their basements. Nothing presumed immovable was left standing. Nobody but the weatherman saw it coming. And he was underground when it hit.

It seems odd to me that the wind can be so destructive on one day, and so peaceful the next. Sometimes it skips out of the Rocky Mountains and pushes the boats around Chatfield Lake for an afternoon. Other times it rips those same boats right off their moorings and sends them hurtling away into the Whitecaps. And occasionally, the wind is nowhere to be found. The only sure thing one knows about the wind is that it cannot be controlled.

Men of MHC

I want to speak with you now about a different kind of wind––a kind the Bible refers to as the Holy Spirit.

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:2

Now, in the same way the Bible refers to the other members of the Trinity with pronouns and titles we can understand, (i.e. “He”, “Him”, “Father”, “Son”, etc.), the Spirit is also meant to be understood and experienced personally. Nevertheless, like the wind, the Holy Spirit is often taken for granted––until, that is, our lives are adrift on a dead-calm sea, and we need a little help to get somewhere. Like the wind, the Holy Spirit does whatever He wishes, whenever He wishes it, and without our consultation. He is the very breath in our lungs… the Comforter sent to help us… the author of the Holy Bible… the God of the universe actually living inside believers. Why then, I wonder, do we ignore Him? Worse––why do we resist Him?

Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about ways a Christian man can engage with this mighty wind—particularly in the areas of work, play, creativity, and relationships. If you’ve ever imagined there was something more to this thing we call, “Christianity”, I hope you’ll read this blog and let it enrich your life.  Or—to put it more simply—I hope your little sailboat will find itself lifted up onto the swells beneath you, and transported at such new and exhilarating speeds that your life will never be the same.
Consider this blog post as the tornado siren––and your response to it as vital.

Sincerely,
Will Cunningham

Click here to learn more about our Men’s Ministry and how you can get involved.

we believe in church that is

Real.Messy.New.

CAMPUSES


LITTLETON

620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

LIFE CENTER LITTLETON

5804 S. Datura St.
Littleton, Colorado 80120

CONNECT


EMAIL UPDATES

What Motivates You?

What Motivates You?

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

When it happens on a court or a field, we call it “competition,” or between brothers and sisters it’s “sibling rivalry,” but when it happens in church—like in James’ church—we call it disunity. The infighting and dissension within James’ congregation was so great that he addressed its causes directly when he wrote, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Coveting and avarice were so strong, these members were in active disagreement with one another. While James could have been speaking metaphorically about killing, it wouldn’t be uncharacteristic of human beings to resort to murder over one thing or another. But James doesn’t just condemn their behavior; he identifies what causes the lack they’re experiencing: a deficit of prayer and a surplus of selfish motives.

It’s clear that the promise Jesus makes to us in Luke 11:9-10 to

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

is not without this caveat of motivation. Put simply, the motivation for our prayers are so important, it can affect whether we receive what we’re requesting from God. It’s not just what we pray that’s important, but why we pray.

Motivations can be a hard thing to discern, especially within ourselves, so here are a few questions to help you test the motives of your prayers:

1 // Am I asking for this to increase my comfort level?

2 // Am I asking for this to impress other people?

3 // Do I desire this thing more than I desire knowing God himself?

4 // Do most my prayers focus on myself and my family only?

5 // Does the thing I’m asking for increase my “kingdom” or God’s kingdom?

As we individually pray with right motives—like loving our neighbor instead of ourselves, expanding God’s kingdom instead of our own, seeking reconciliation instead of revenge—collectively we’ll become a people who pursue God and take care of one another.

What If You Asked Jesus What to Do?

What If You Asked Jesus What to Do?

WHAT IF YOU ASKED JESUS WHAT TO DO?

We can be honest with each other. Most of us consult our virtual calendars to determine our plans more often than we consult Jesus. Probably too many of our prayers involve asking God for his stamp of approval on our plans instead of asking what His will is so that we can help make it happen here on earth. In our fast-paced lives, we’d probably have to pencil God’s plans in weeks from now to even find space of him on our calendar. Even if that’s not true of you too, you likely still feel like the demands of the world—personal, work, family and more—and ever filling the spare spaces you do create to pursue Jesus.

Instead of our five, ten, and fifteen-year business and personal development plans, Jesus taught his followers to pray for today—for this day’s bread. In the same spirit, what would happen if we woke up each day and asked him, “Jesus, what do you want me to do today?” The answers might surprise you.

You will join his mission

Like the Apostle Paul who was stopped in his own mission and redirected to join God’s mission, if you ask God what he wants you to do, it’s going to be part of his mission to the world. This doesn’t mean you’ll quit your day-job, but that you’ll see every opportunity and ever interaction with people as a chance to share the Gospel and expand God’s kingdom here on earth.

You will see people differently

Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross and throughout his ministry shows us what he thought of others: people are to be loved and served. If we pursue our own plans, people can become obstacles in the way of our goals or leverage to help us achieve what we want. However, as we pursue Jesus’ plans, he will reshape our view of people because he’ll ask us to serve and to love through our actions and words like he did.

Your plans might be derailed

Maybe you’d be prompted to stop and talk with your neighbor for longer than you planned. Or, you might be directed to a different career choice—not to the one that makes the most money, but that will enable you to meet more people who don’t know Jesus. When we ask Jesus what He wants and pray for God’s will to be done, we’ll often need to lay down our plans to embrace the better plan he has for us instead.

You will become more like Him

Follow Jesus, do what he says, and you’ll become more like him. It’s surprisingly simple in concept, but admittedly more difficult in practice. It’s like the strength you gain from exercising—if you want to be stronger, you work out. If you want to be more like Jesus, you won’t just will yourself into transformation—you start with doing what he says.