1 Cor. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”
Paul reminds us that whatever we do (in keeping with our purpose) is to glorify God. This naturally includes pursuing excellence. The Westminster Shorter Catechism echoes this point with the words “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” As Christians, we must constantly be reminded that nothing less than the glory of God should be the motive for whatever we do and how we do it.
Exceed expectations because God has done the same for you. He has done what He said and more. There is nothing halfway about God. He does things right and then throws in a little bit extra just to overwhelm us with His grace. Therefore, when God or others ask something of you, go for it with gusto. Exceed expectations. Make it a goal to bring more value to a relationship than you receive. If someone asks for prayer, then pray right then and there. Make it a habit to pray regularly for those in need, especially those who request prayer. Exceed expectations in your prayer for others. Exceed expectations in your work. You work to not just get by with the minimum requirements, but to give glory to God. What better way to make Christianity attractive than to work with excellence? When you exceed expectations, you open the door for others to inquire about your motivation, the Lord Jesus
Exceeded expectations may facilitate advancement in your career. People want to work with and for someone who goes the second mile. They want to reward and hang out with someone who exceeds expectations. When we exceed expectations, we know that at the very least, there will be satisfaction on behalf of the ultimate One we serve. Lastly, exceed expectations with your attitude. A positive and “can do” attitude goes a long way toward making relational deposits. There are a lot of things we cannot control, but our attitude is one we can. Go over the top with an attitude of gratitude and generosity. Be exceedingly grateful!
In your household, describe the areas of your life where you are pursuing excellence purely for the glory of God. What will be the most radical change in your life, what specifically would you focus on?
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
A giant ship’s engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!
A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.” The man sent a bill that read: Tapping with a hammer:
$2.00. Knowing where to tap: $9,998.
In life, effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all sense. As SFC we put a lot of effort in our friends, careers and relationships. Yes it is important, but we need to realize that we need also to exert our best effort in our relationship with God. We can never go wrong if we put God first in our lives.
In this time of the year, how is your relationship with God? Are you giving your best effort?
Read: Mark 16:9-20
Jesus’ biggest surprise is His resurrection. His plan to surprise us every single day is such a beautiful affirmation of His great love. Sadly, most of us do not see or give appreciation to these surprises because of our fear and disbelief. If only we could see God’s desire and promise to make us happy, we won’t be disappointed. The characters in the story of the resurrection tell us about our heart’s disposition every time God surprises us.
a. Mary Magdalene – Mary was courageous enough to go visit Jesus at dawn. She wanted to visit Him to bring spices and just go see Him but to her surprise, Jesus was not there anymore. An angel told her about Christ’s resurrection and told her to tell the disciples about it. She believed and obeyed the angel. Some of us are like Mary. We do what is asked or what we are supposed to do. And because of our diligence and obedience, Jesus will surprise us in ways we can’t think of. ‘Maganda na, ipinaganda pa.’
b. Peter and John – When they learned about Jesus’ resurrection, they hurried going to the tomb and were surprised to see it empty. If they only believed in what Jesus’ told them before He was crucified, they won’t be surprised. Some of us are like Peter and John. We already know that Jesus has a plan for us and that He can do miracles in our lives but we are blinded with our human emotions and desires and forget all about God’s promise. When the time comes, we will be surprised because our desires took over God’s promise in our lives.
c. Other disciples – They heard from Mary and the two other disciples about Jesus’ resurrection but still refused to believe. Jesus appeared to them and commissioned them to go and preach the gospel.
All of us are like the disciples. We have heard and experienced Jesus in our everyday lives but still refuse to believe Him. What little faith we have for the one who saved us. Surprisingly, despite our little faith and disbelief the Lord will continue to surprise us in ways we can’t imagine. He will continue to love and forgive us and will even entrust the world to us.
Jesus’ is the surprise of all surprises. His resurrection is just the beginning of all the wonderful surprises in our lives. We just need to believe, have faith and respond to His surprises.
Among the characters, to whom do you relate yourself with the most? Site an instance in your life where you didn’t respond well to God’s surprise
Read: John 20:1-10
The empty tomb story inspires us to look into the times in our lives when our faith is being challenged. It may be caused by a grave sin that hinders us from fully living a life in the state of grace; grief from losing someone or something dear to us; guilt from hurting others; or a great suffering we must endure such as sickness, poverty or heavy problems. Whatever form the challenges take, these often cause us pain and disturb our peace, serving as “graves” that stop us from freely pursuing Christ.
However, Jesus’ resurrection serves as a testimony that the love and grace of God is powerful than any grave. By the grace of God, we could move on from our grave sins like Mary Magdalene; comforted from our grief like John the Beloved; freed from our guilt like Peter; and be healed in the Most Precious Blood of Christ, who has overcome for us the grave of sin and death. Let Jesus’ resurrection story guide us into healing from the “graves” that exist in our lives.
1. Identify a “grave” in your life that keeps you from enjoying the life of freedom and happiness offered by Christ.
2. What grace do you wish to ask God for you to finally move on from this grave?
“It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible” Hebrews 11:27
There is a strong belief in our culture that influences every one of us, whether we want it to or not: If it feels good, do it. But when you allow yourself to be manipulated by your moods, you are living your life according to your feelings. God wants you to live a different kind of life. He wants you to live a life of faith, not a life of feelings.
We don’t always feel like doing the right thing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always feel like being nice to people. I don’t always feel like washing the dishes with my wife. I don’t always feel like stopping what I’m doing to help someone.
But God can give you the kind of faith that persists above feelings.
Anybody who’s successful at anything does things they don’t feel like doing. An Olympic athlete exercises when she doesn’t feel like it. A great musician practices his craft, even when he’s tired. If you’re going to be a great salesperson, you make calls that other people don’t feel like making.
If you want to deepen your relationship with God, you have to spend time with him even when you don’t feel like it. People who have a regular, consistent quiet time with God didn’t get there because every morning they woke up and wanted to spend time with God. They got there because they woke up and spent time reading the Bible and praying even if they were tired or didn’t feel like it.
Faith is being persistent. Faith is refusing to give up no matter how tired you are or how many other things you think you should or wish you could be doing.
The Bible talks about how you can begin to develop persistence in your life through the example of Moses. Hebrews 11:27 says, “It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible”.
That’s how you get there. That’s how you persist — you begin to see the invisible. Only those who see God for who he really is can persist in the most difficult times of life. Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible. Believe in faith what God can do in your life, and thank him in advance for how he is going to work.
1. What is the danger in living your life according to your feelings?
2. What changes might help you persist in a regular quiet time with God?
3. What do you need to see about God that will help you persist in faith?
by Rick Warren