Growing in the Knowledge of Your Weakness

A week or so ago, the Evident Grace leadership team met for our annual New Year’s dinner.  This is our yearly time to celebrate all that God has done in our lives and at the church, while also getting some much-needed fun time with each other. 

After dinner and dessert, Amy and I gathered everyone together.  We had taken the time to write out ICNU cards for each person there.  An ICNU is when you encourage people by telling them, “I see in you _______.” It’s an opportunity to affirm and encourage people about what you see in their lives or what you see God doing in their lives.  This initiative comes from author Dave Ferguson and his book “Hero Maker”. Learn more about both at http://www.heromakerbook.org/.

After that, we put names in a basket, and everyone drew one.  Then, anonymously, we wrote out ICNU’s.  We then gave them to each person, and they read theirs out loud.  It was a powerful time where people read what others saw in them. 

I was admittedly curious as to what someone would say about me.  I opened the card and read, “Gordon, I see in a leader growing in the knowledge of his weakness and his need to depend on the church.”  

My first reaction?  Disappointment.  I wanted to be seen as strong, and faithful, or maybe even…Godly.  I wasn’t ready for, “growing in knowledge of my weakness.”  But upon reflection, isn’t that we are called to do?  Doesn’t the Bible say…

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I realized that pride had snuck in, wishing they said something different. Ultimately, I’m thankful for this.  Of course, I want to grow to be strong, but if others see God in my life in this way, I can trust that God is faithfully pouring our His sufficient grace to me.

So, don’t despise the knowledge of your weakness.  Instead, thank God for its recognition, and trust His grace.

If you would like to pursue this thought more, I recorded a podcast about it.  You can find the link to your favorite podcast platform to listen to it at:

https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt/episodes/Episode-46—Growing-in-Weakness-as-an-Individual-and-a-Leader-e2v9dl.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

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Can You Love Jesus When He Purposefully Hurts You?

Can you still love Jesus even if He purposefully causes you pain?

Check out our newest episode in the “This is Gonna Hurt” podcast

In this Free Friday episode, Gordon asks this question:  Can you love Jesus even if He purposefully causes you pain?  We examine that question by taking a brief look at the raising of Lazarus.

We examine how Jesus purposefully waited to go to Judea when Lazarus was dying.

We talk about how Jesus said He was glad that Lazarus died.

We talk about how hard times detach us from the things of this world.

We hope this episode is encouraging. You can find it at https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt

Thanks for listening.

If you would like to become a podcast patron, you can do so by clicking anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt and clicking the “support this podcast” button.

If you want to find out more about what Gordon is up to, check out his website at www.jgordonduncan.com.

How to Make Real Change in Your Life Podcast

Gospel Rich Books wants to tell you about today’s “This Gonna Hurt” podcast.

In this episode, Gordon talks about how to make real change in your life. In light of the passing of a friend, Gordon considers what the steps of change are in our lives if we want to make real, positive change. He talks about:

Opportunity
Rationalization
Restraint
Inspiration

If light of what Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you need help for drug or alcohol addiction, you can find that help at www.recovery.org.

As Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you would like to become a podcast patron, you can do so by clicking
www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt and clicking the “support this podcast” button.

Thanks for listening. If you want to find out more about what Gordon is up to, check out his website at www.jgordonduncan.com.

Thanks for listening.

Bouncing Back When You Miss Your Goal

Preparation is everything.  Controlling what you control is essential to performance.  But you can’t control what you can’t control, and in that, there are so many lessons to learn.

Saturday was the Rivanna Marathon.  My preparation was the best I could hope for.  I set multiple PR’s (personal records), and I felt mentally ready.  I felt that my 12 weeks of training brought me to the starting line ready.  I was going to improve my Boston Qualifying time and set another PR.

However, with 2 minutes and 56 seconds until race start, I knew something wasn’t right.  I immediately felt my body change.  I wasn’t feeling my best.  Five miles into the twenty-six, I found myself struggling at a very normal pace.  Again, at mile, nine, I felt the same.  My heart rate was in the 94th percentile in 98% humidity.  Heart rate and heat are not something to mess with.  I’ve never DNF’d (Did Not Finish) in ten years of racing.  I wept for what I had lost.

I went to the doctor soon after getting home, and he diagnosed me with an infection and prescribed some meds.  The rest of the day was pretty painful, physically and emotionally.  I do have a Boston Qualifying time, but with Boston, that doesn’t always guarantee you a spot.  That means that if I don’t get in when registration opens this week, I’ll have to qualify again in another race and hope for 2020.

There is a lot to learn from missing my goal.  I won’t profess to have processed everything already, but I have thought about it a great deal.

You Can’t Control What You Can’t Control.

There is nothing I could do to prevent this infection.  It.just.happened.  There was nothing I could do.  It was as if God just said, “Not today.”  I’m not bitter.  God is good and gracious to me in so many areas.  Any other emotion would only lead to bitterness.

Use Your Disappointments. 

I’m motivated to meet this goal of running in the Boston Marathon.  I’m committed to it and know that if it were easy, everyone would run it.  Boston is elite.  It takes more than even your average marathon.  And while training for 12 weeks and not meeting a goal is frustrating, I won’t allow it to be crushing.  It’s going to be motivating.

Set Incremental Goals Along the Way.

If I don’t get into Boston 2019, Boston 2020 will be a long way away.  I will need incremental goals to keep my motivated.  Things like running a half and setting a PR.  Placing top 3 in a race.  Becoming a better swimmer.  These small goals will keep me motivated as I go after the big goal.  Without it, I might lose drive.

I know that not everyone likes running.  Running is my drive.  But all of us face disappointments.  Every goal worth attaining is going to have obstacles.  Making our will stronger than those obstacles’ is not easy.  But hopefully, by implementing the above tips, especially when you experience a setback, will help you meet that goal and move onto your next one.

I goal into more details about all of this in my podcast www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt.

Thanks for listening.

As Gordon mentioned in the podcast, if you would like to become a podcast patron, you can do so by clicking www.anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt and clicking the “support this podcast” button.

Thanks for listening. If you want to find out more about what Gordon is up to, check out his website at www.jgordonduncan.com.

 

Solitude is the Fear of the Human Heart

Solitude is the fear of the human heart.

In the midst of celebration, our hearts want someone to hug, sing with, drink with, or even high five.

In mourning, we need everything from the hand that hands us a cloth to wipe our tear to people willing to sit with us in silence.

But what we want is presence.  And in presence, we find love.

When Jesus enjoyed His last meal with His friends, He told them that He was headed off to die. 

He told them that people were going to hate them. 

He told them that people were going to want to kill them.

But…

He promised that they would not be alone. 

Jesus promised them that He would give them that Holy Spirit.  They would never be alone.

This is the story of many people who love God.  In fact, this is the story of all who love God. 

Moses walked with God.

Joshua walked with God just as Moses did.

The disciples walked with Jesus.

And you have the Holy Spirit.

So, today, you are free to love God.  You are free to love others as you love yourself. 

And through the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit, you are free not to be alone.

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

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Saul Tries to Kill David and How We Should Be Like Him

In 1 Samuel 19, King Saul is trying to kill David. After David’s home is raided, he escapes to Naioth to spend time with Samuel.  Saul finds out that they are there, so Saul sends soldiers to kill David.  When the messengers of Saul show up to take David, God has other plans.

In fact, instead of capturing or killing David, they see Samuel and other prophets prophesying and proclaiming the glories of God, and at that point, they start to prophesy as well. Saul is so wicked, he doesn’t see God directly frustrating his plans.

He wants David dead.  He doesn’t want his men prophesying.  So, he sends a second set of messengers to capture David, and they start prophesying as well.  Then he sent a third set, and they start prophesying.

God will not be frustrated here.  Saul will be, but God won’t.

Saul is so resolute on capturing and killing David, he just takes things into his own hands.  He personally is planning on going to Naioth, capturing David and killing him himself.  It is like Saul is saying, “I know I won’t get distracted and prophesy.  I’ve got some killing to do.”

But sure enough, Saul shows up to Naioth, and he is completely undone.  Saul is so undone, he strips off his clothes, lies prostrate day and night in the nude, and declares the glories of God. This is so shocking and so out of place for Saul that folks begin to ask, “Is Saul a prophet now?”

David is so protected by the hand of God, that every time Saul tries to kill him, the accusers are turned away – not just turned away but speaking of the glory of God. Every sinful plan is turned and transformed to give God glory. Saul thought it couldn’t happen to him, but it did. 

Murderous letch to prophet of God.

One small note:  Wouldn’t it be great if the next time you planned on sinning, you did this?

You go online, and you are about to click on a link that you know you shouldn’t, and all of a sudden, you sing, “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…”

About to slander someone, and you break out into praises.

Tempted to be jealous?  Start singing your favorite hymn.

We might be transformed if we prayed that way.  “Dear God, next time I’m tempted, help me to sing your praises. Move me from my most selfish intent to glories in your name. Would I find that praising Jesus is all I can think of the next time I’m so tempted?”

And perhaps, you will be transformed in the process even more so than Saul was. 

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Podcast Interview with Dr. Ligon Duncan about the Church & the #metoo Movement

While at the Presbyterian Church of America’s (PCA) General Assembly, it was my privilege to interview Dr. Ligon Duncan.  If you don’t know who he is, Dr. Duncan is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology.

During our conversation, we discussed the #metoo movement, focusing on two areas:  how the movement can inform the church and how the church can inform the movement.  His insight was helpful, as one might imagine, and his starting point of the conversation was poignant.

Dr. Duncan emphasized that the beginning place of any conversation must be the church’s admittance of failure in protecting those who have been abused and also the church’s failure of calling out our its who are guilty.

He also feels that once that conversation begins and honest admittance of wrong is made, the church would then have an opportunity to speak about moral absolutes – meaning, how does the declaration of the wrongs of abuse speak to a higher authority of holiness.

Additionaly, he goes on to give advice to those who are starting new churches, and he also speaks to what he would say if he got to interact with #metoo leaders like Rose McGowan. 

If you want to explore more of this conversation, you can find the podcast link at https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt/episodes/Episode-15—Interview-w-Ligon-Duncan–the-church–metoo-e1lvot.

Thanks go out to Dr. Duncan for taking the time to speak about these important topics.  Hopefully, his honesty will create more conversations between both the leaders of the #metoo movement and the church. 

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog