Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it? Read the rest of this entry »

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As we begin, it is important to note that this is not a thesis on the Trinity. Nor is it intended to be a theological argument. I just have some questions – born out of concern – that I believe God would have us consider.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I was taught the Nicene Creed. Every Sunday, we recited the Triune nature of the God-head: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Somehow, I came away an understanding of the Holy Spirit as “Jesus in you”; in essence, that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than the personification of Jesus Christ living inside of me. I am sure this was not done intentionally, but that’s what I came away with.

In those days, the Holy Spirit simply wasn’t a topic of conversation… or teaching.

I have since learned that He (the Holy Spirit) is much, much more. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is unique to Him; and without Him, the followers of Jesus Christ are severely handicapped.

I did not recognize that the Holy Spirit was an equal person of the God-head until I aged into my thirties. I believe it grieved Him. I had to confess, apologize and ask His forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit has since been an intimate Comforter, Teacher and Transformer. His fruit and gifts are much more evident in my life, now that I know Him and His role in my faith journey.

God works all things to the good of those that love Him. My ignorance of the Holy Spirit has made me sensitive to the unique personalities of the God-head – and sensitive to Their absence.

Recently, I have noticed a new kind of replacement theology. It seems to me that God the Father is being replaced in our Christian consciousness by His Son. Are you sensing the same thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t know who first said, “The Bible is the LORD’s manual for life,” but it is surely as true now as it was then. The LORD has a way for everything. We ignore His ways at our peril.

Most would readily agree that the Bible contains prescribed ways for salvation, sanctification, and all the other big Kingdom processes. Some have recognized His prescription for building the church (Ephesians 4:11-16) and evangelizing the world (John 17:21-23). When we follow the LORD’s ways, He gets involved – sometimes just to show that His ways are the best ways.

The Process

As important as success is to the LORD and man, it should not surprise us to discover that the LORD has prescribed a way of finding and securing success. He has revealed it in Psalm 37. Let’s take a look at it.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Step 1: Taking our eyes off the world and focusing them on Jesus. Beholding His glory, we will be transformed into the same likeness, by the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18). Furthermore, knowing the fate of the worldly, we should fear the desire to become like them (James 4:4).

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Step 2: The LORD desires and has commanded us to trust Him. To trust in anything or anyone else is idolatry.

Step 3: The LORD has created us to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). It is there that we find Him. Those works are determined by Him, and He is glorified in them (Matthew 5:16).

Step 4: The LORD promised “the land” to the Israelites. He has promised something much greater to the followers of Jesus Christ. He has promised us abundant life in His kingdom. We must dwell in Christ and learn to live in the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like…” It is important to recognize this kingdom is here now.

Read the rest of this entry »

The kingdom of heaven is like a mighty river that flows through our lives – the Kingdom River. There are people that visit the river on special occasions to temporarily enjoy its beauty and refreshing water. There are others that regularly go down to the river – bringing along their ski, pontoon, or fishing boat (and the occasional friend) for the various forms of entertainment these devices and the river might provide to them.

Some people enjoy the Kingdom River so much, they have built houses on its banks. As folks back home say, “they have a ‘place’ on the river.” They go to the river almost every weekend – to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world. Some of them even live in yachts and houseboats, floating right on top of the mighty river.

None of these people are river people. Most of them don’t even know that river people exist. Those who know a little something about the river people consider them quite odd and, if they will admit it, scary. Like the mysterious water people Elwin Ransom encountered in Perelandra, the true river people live in – AND BREATHE!! – the Kingdom River.

The river people are very much unlike everyone else. They do not have roots on land. They do not visit the mighty river on special occasions, or for regular entertainment. For them, the river is not a place to get away from the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Long ago, Thomas a Kempis wrote, “The Lord has many lovers of His crown but few lovers of His cross.” This is hardly understood in our day. Most of us would say we love the Cross. Why?

Because we only know the Cross for what it has done for us (its work). We know little of what it should be doing to us – the death of self and crucifixion to the world (its way).

 

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

The way of the Cross is the difficult way that leads to life.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

It is the way that Jesus is referring to when He says, “Come, follow me.”

Is this the Cross you love?

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Before we delve into another article on the way we think, what we think about, and how our thinking impacts our faith walk, I would like to clarify something.

These articles are for Workplace Leaders. In fact, this is true for every article that God uses me to write – whether or not they are workplace focused. Why? Because God has positioned Christians in the Workplace to make disciples. That is our primary responsibility.

Furthermore, God created inLight Consulting to encourage, edify and equip Workplace Leaders for that purpose. Consequently, every resource that comes out of this ministry is for Workplace Leaders to use in making disciples and transforming their spheres of influence.

I encourage you to be a good steward of all that God is entrusting to you.

Foundational Thinking

As we have proposed previously, for reformation to occur in the Western Church, committed Christians must begin challenging the way they are thinking and what they are thinking about.

The way we think (i.e., paradigm, mindset, worldview) is built on foundational convictions. The stronger our convictions have become, the harder it will be to reform our thinking. Our minds do not like their foundations challenged.

I recognize that to even suggest such a thing is likely to set off alarms. Who am I to challenge the way you think and what you think about – much less your foundations? It is a great question. The answer is better:

I am just the pen.

You don’t have to answer to me. You don’t even have to like or agree with everything I write. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! Hold these things up in the light of His Gospel, and the truth of His word.

I truly believe that I am simply the instrument God is using to get you to challenge the way you think and what you are thinking about.

The Old and New Covenant

The following is intended to get you thinking about what (if anything) you think about your covenant with God.

Read the rest of this entry »

The way we think affects our reception of external stimuli, our processing of it, and our response to it. Most of us think without thinking about the way we think. In a sense, thinking comes naturally to us.

So why think about thinking?

Consider the young baseball player who wants to be a great hitter. If he is the rare “natural”, he will step in the batter’s box with little forethought and hit most anything thrown to him. The vast majority are not so gifted.

At the most elementary level, a hitter must think about the way he is standing in the batter’s box. He must think about how to hold the bat, and to rotate his wrists when swinging. He must learn the strike zone and the field of play.

Beyond the elementary, if he has a good batting instructor, he will learn and consider the repertoire of pitches he will be required to hit. He will come to recognize that the pitcher is trying to deceive him with the change-up and slider.

At a deeper level, an accomplished hitter will start to think about the way he is thinking when he steps into the batter’s box. He will have a plan. He will have mentally rehearsed the plan. The best hitters “get into the head of the pitcher” – both discerning what the next pitch will be, and affecting the choice.

In summary, those that think before they do something are more successful at the task than those that don’t. Similarly, those that think about their thinking become better thinkers (and doers).

The lies of our life

Read the rest of this entry »

It seems we have embarked on a series of articles about the way humans think, and what they think about. If that is the case, then this is the third article in the series. The first two are 3 Realities of Workplace Leadership and Did Jesus die, sacrifice and suffer so we wouldn’t have to?

Here is the premise of the series:

The church in America desperately needs a reformation. Where do reformations begin? Romans 12:2 encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Perhaps, in this Age of Reason, we need a reformation in the way we think.

We have gotten lazy with our thinking. We trust our thinking way too much. Those of us that preach and teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

The way we think, and what we think about, is commonly called our mindset, worldview or paradigm. Everyone has one, though many do not recognize that they receive and respond to external stimuli through a mental filter that has been developed throughout their lifetime.

We are born with a mindset that has certain predetermined settings. Other come through learning. A baby crying when its hungry is not a learned behavior. Learning to manipulate with emotion is learned and developed. Both predetermined and learned behavior can be unlearned. Our minds can be renewed. Read the rest of this entry »

The church in America desperately needs a reformation. Where do reformations begin? Romans 12:2 encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Perhaps, in this Age of Reason, we need a reformation in the way we think.

We have gotten lazy with our thinking. We trust our thinking way too much. Those of us that teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

I grew up in church hearing about “Jesus’ substitutionary death”.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the longest time, I assumed this meant that He died so I wouldn’t have to. Fortunately, God encouraged me to ask someone to disciple me. He introduced me to Romans 6:8:

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…

And Luke 9:23.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

And Mark 8:35:

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Obviously, there is something more to His death than I – and many like me – were taught. Many have no clue that to live abundantly in Christ requires our own death. Tragically, there is no one discipling them. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes we use the word “reality” to mean the truth about something. I am trying to work from a bigger context here, so bear with me. For a reason I trust is good, God has led me into a more than casual – but less than rigorous – exploration of metaphysics.

For some time now, I have been interested in why we think the way we think, particularly about spiritual matters. The “what we are thinking about” is becoming an extension of that for me. Both relate to one of my favorite Bible verses.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Conformity and transformation are matters of the mind. To “repent” is to change one’s mind (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Therefore, repentance is a change of mind that leads to the repurposing of our heart and the resultant change in our behavior. Repentance begins in the mind.

For a reason that may be known only to Him, God has determined that renewing our minds is key to our being made in the image of His Son’s glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

So, here I am… encouraging you to consider what you are thinking about.

BEWARE!! Your mind will resist the exercise. The carnal recesses have been operating unnoticed for years. They do not want to be exposed. Do not underestimate their persuasiveness!

In order to avoid a total freak-out rejection, God has offered the following low-threat and practical application. Remember, I am just the pen. I trust He will introduce other considerations in the near future. Read the rest of this entry »

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