Monthly Archives: November 2013

Monday Motivator – November 25

After fifteen years, Barbara and I made a move from Boston, MA to Charlottesville, VA in September 2011. The relocation involved a minor move from Arlington, MA to Dorchester, MA, and then finally to Charlottesville. But we experienced some frustration in adjusting our mail service from our home in Arlington to the PO Box in Boston I used for work, all the while not wanting to get mail sent to our temporary housing in Dorchester.

As you can appreciate, we had to do a lot of communication to family, friends, ministry partners, and vendors about our address change. There were constant efforts and lots of back and forth via mail, email, and phone…with subsequent notices like” “We will no longer be receiving mail at ‘such and such an address,’ but will be using this other address for the time being. Please make note of this change, so we can stay connected to each other.”

We had our share of miscommunication, but most of our bills got paid on time, and we stayed in touch with those we sought to stay engaged with. Yet it was not without its glitches, missed calls/emails, and mail.

Read Colossians 1:9-14.

One of my favorites New Testament letters, the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:9-14 that followers of Jesus have a new address. He argued that we have been transferred by God’s grace into a new address, a new community. Paul said we were rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transplanted into the Kingdom of Light. Our mail used to be sent to sinner”soandso”@darkness.com. When we received Jesus as Savior and Lord, our new address became saved”soandso”@KingdomoftheSon.com. Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians at Philippi that “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Paul declared to the Philippians that we are citizens and residents of heaven, where Jesus lives. Based on our new identity, status, and safety, we are empowered and expected to live as God’s holy people, ambassadors of the risen King, light bearers of His glory and goodness.

We are no longer obligated to live life under the rules, power, and implications of our old address (see Romans 6:1-14). Our old address is declared shut down, inoperative, not usable. Our new address has been activated by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. That means we have a fresh start – as well as supernatural power to live like residents of a new community of grace, truth, and trust.

Because we have a new address, it is assumed (and considerate) of us to communicate our change to others. We can tell about it over a meal, by phone, email, personal letter, or whatever means will help to accomplish the task at hand. We can mention it at the gym, over Skype, or on a walk to class. The key is to pass on what has happened to you without pause or neglect. The format and timing is up to you.

Not only is it considerate to tell the people closest to you of your change of address, it is a privilege and requirement of our new identity. To whom do you need to communicate your “change of address” in the next day, week, or month? Ask God for the courage to tell people in your life about your change.

Think theologically. Jesus is the ultimate Provider of salvation (see Acts 4:12). How can we live like one of His citizens, break out of our tendency to silence, and tell others to consider changing their address?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2013 by Mike Olejarz

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 18

What is wrong with the statement, “What is true for you is not necessarily true for me?”

I played collegiate baseball in the 1970’s and never took any performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) to improve my play. I was also not aware of any of my teammates that might have been using anything illegal to affect their performance.

I was shocked when retired professional baseball player Jose Canseco announced in 2005 that, “85% of pro baseball players then used steroids.” He further argued that baseball would crumble as a sport if they drug-tested everyone in those days. Sadly, we have come to know that there have been many major leaguers who cheated, lied, and used illegal substances.

The conversation in pro baseball and American sports since Jose’s alarming confession about PED’s has been a good indicator of society’s moral confusion: One line of reasoning has been to “get what you want regardless of the cost – even if that means cheating.”

But how does that jibe with God’s standards of accountability, holiness, and personal integrity?

Read 2 Chronicles 34:29-33.

In many ways, our society is eerily similar to the ancient kingdom of Judah. The Jews of that time had adopted an ever-shifting view of morality and behavior. Not only had they clearly rejected God’s absolute standards set forth in the Ten Commandments, but they literally mocked God by practicing rampant idol worship (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). They had ignored God to the point that they even forgot where the Book of the Law was being kept.

Then the boy king Josiah arrived on the scene.

The writer of 2 Chronicles records in chapter 34:3 that, “While he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his father David.” Josiah set out to clean up Judah and Jerusalem (v 3-8). In the process, the priests discovered the Book of the Law – the first 5 books of Scripture (v 15). Josiah’s response was to read the Book to his entire Kingdom and command the people to “obey the words of the covenant written in this book” (v 31). The result was a moral awakening – sadly, a temporary one – for the nation.

Today, as always, there is only one source of true discernment. It is the best selling Book of all time, God’s Word, the Bible. For a scary consideration, watch The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington, to contemplate what could happen in our world, and the role The Bible plays.

You and I can’t read the Bible to an entire nation. Yet by immersing ourselves in Scripture each day, we can learn who God is and how to live in order to honor Him. We can learn to refuse to compromise God’s standards of holiness. We can learn what life lived well looks like. We can learn what it means to put our neighbor’s interests above our own. We can find the power to live like our Creator, Savior, and Lord. If so, society may take notice of the difference Jesus makes

What is the best time for you to read and meditate on God’s Word? Grow devotionally. “There are no absolutes” is a contradiction. Scripture can help you not to be absolutely confused.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2013 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 11

How are you showing your faithfulness to God?

I’d like to dare you to do something this week. Go and find a glass bottle with an airtight seal, stick a note in it that reads “Whoever finds this message, please return it to me for a reward of a C-Note,” and add your name and the year 2013.

The C-Note stands for $100, (C being the Roman numeral for 100, from the Latin word centum or “Century Note”, it can also be referred to as a “Benjamin,” after Benjamin Franklin, who is pictured on the note…this information courtesy of Wikipedia).

Be sure to put the $100 bill in a place of safekeeping. Then toss the message in a bottle into a moving body of water and wait. Imagine the year is 2023, 2033, 2043, 2053 or 2063 and someone contacts you to collect his or her treasure. Let’s just say it’s the year 2033. Imagine the surprise, shock, and relief you would experience after twenty years of waiting to see if someone would ever come along to contact you.

I’m hopeful you would be glad someone finally found the bottle. I am also concerned you would remember the note you wrote, and, that you kept the $100 bill for this significant occasion. I hope your experiment in generosity would ultimately bear fruit, no matter how long it took. Your test after all was meant to discover someone who would claim the eventual prize.

Read Matthew 25:14-30.

The author of one of the 4 Gospels of Jesus recorded a story about a guy who hid something valuable he had – about 75 pounds of silver. He did so not for reasons of generosity.

The servant in the parable was given the money to invest for his master who was going away for a period of time (Matthew 25:18). He did not, however, have faith in his boss and was not convinced he would return like he said. He could have minimally placed the money in a bank to earn interest for his supervisor. Instead, he chose to dig a hole and bury the silver, attempting to hide it, and hoping one day he could claim it for his own. But we know that’s a mistake, right?

Remember the old rhyme: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.”

What has God given you that you’re hiding away? Your time, talent, gifts, body, history, DNA, and resources are actually His. He has made you a steward of all that He has blessed you with. He wants you to use them faithfully and as you do, you become all that you were created to be. Any attempts to ignore, diminish, suffocate, escape from, or hide what God has put in you as your basic wiring is to try and be less of who you really are.

Make no mistake. Our King and Master Jesus will return one day. Will He find you using and pouring out all that you have for Him and His cause? Or will He find you bottling it up and keeping it buried like the unfaithful servant? What will you about it?

Serve globally. I hope you will yearn for Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (v 21). Make your life count by being faithful with what God has given you.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2013 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 4

What’s on your iPod or smartphone? What kind of music do you like? Why do you like it? How does it inform and enhance your spiritual life?

Technology is a huge part of all of our lives and I for one am glad I live today. Now we get up and can access music from Bose docking stations that charge our mobile devices. Our computer is on and ready for a variety of web cruising and functions throughout our day. On Demand movies, digital television, and video games are fingertip gestures away. The software and app’s available are incredible assets to what we do at school and work. There is, however, a lot of tech and entertainment content to distract us from our personal, family, and work responsibilities.

I was talking with an older musician named James recently who drove a shuttle for a Honda dealer. He played the bass guitar for years on the rock music scene. He was driving me home while the shop completed maintenance on my ‘04 CRV and I asked him about music and life.

He said he took some lumps for a long time after getting into the drug-alcohol-party scene. He came to detest lonely days and nights on the road, driving from one gig to another for months. It looks glamorous flying across the ocean to tour Europe, Asia, or South America, having groupies call your name and wanting a piece of you. One night stands led to many broken-hearted attempts at finding wholeness. Having a child with a woman he thought he loved, and then watching her vanish after he came home late from another 40-city tour with the Dave Matthews band was soul crushing. He became a follower of Christ recently and told me about the change in his heart and his renewed life-focus. He felt like Humpty-Dumpty reborn.

“It’s all about the heart. A heart set on the glory of God is one that will use music (and even the modern technology that helps make music) for good. A heart that puts Jesus first and center won’t let anything else to take over. I learned the hard way and am moving in that direction.”

Read Ephesians 5:15-21.

The apostle Paul wrote the early Christians at Ephesus to “Be very careful, then, how you live” (v 19). He added, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” Paul put the approaches of the wise and the foolish side-by-side. The wise person looks for opportunity to live life well and talk and live for Christ. The foolish is self-centered and misses the chance to show God’s love. It comes down to a heart matter: You either live for God or not.

In terms of music, it’s not critical whether you listen to Elton John or Billy Joel play the piano, or play the piano on your iPad. What is significant is your relationship with God. Is that an actionable priority for you and the people around you?

James saw and experienced the top of the music world, but his heart was not set on Jesus and he suffered because of it. He would not blame music or technology as reasons for avoiding the real life issues he needed to address. He finally yielded to the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit.

It is too easy to blame or back away from the words, images, sounds, and technology that has become so much a part of our world. Enjoy your music. If it’s an obsession, then tone it down and build margin in your life habits. Walk wisely. The on-off switch works both ways.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2013 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized