Are You Living on the Edge . . . Or Taking Up Too Much Space?!?

3 Ways to Evaluate and Act

by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director of Christian Endeavor USA

My kids have endured learning various leadership and life lessons from me. The one I call my second Leadership Law is, “If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!” Translation: look to God for His leading and go after it with all your might. Here are 3 ways to evaluate where you are and act!

#1 See a Better Future

While recently on an equipping trip to Nepal, I was able to hear stories about people who have trekked the Himalayas, the world’s largest mountain range. No one wants to be the person who dies or experiences “extremis”, a condition where the body is taken to extreme circumstances and flirts with death. However, this is a distinct possibility for people who choose to make the climb to Mount Everest or the world’s other highest peaks. I learned that people in extremis have a far greater chance of survival when their horizons are formed of projected images that their mind can envision, instead of being limited by what they can physically see. By believing that a better future is possible, a person can be pulled through their current challenging circumstances. Now, before people write me off as a “self-help” guru, pause and realize what we know as Christians. The future that we can envision is promised. We are promised eternity with God in heaven with the inexpressible love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are even told by God in Ephesians 3 that He will do more than we can hope or imagine through the Holy Spirit’s power. This requires us to imagine a better future for God’s glory. Are you living a life on this kind of “edge” or are you taking up space with everyone else? People taking up space are seldom encouraging. The negative news causes them to be swept along towards doom and gloom instead of remembering the promises of God and the calling we have as believers in Christ. Live on the edge!

#2 Life’s events do not surprise God.

Whether it’s news of deteriorating health for yourself or those close to you, job loss, relationship challenges or financial woes, God is not surprised. Natural disasters, political turmoil, shortages of important resources: God is not caught off guard! The question is how will you react to the news? You can shriek and cry out in woe. You can also join the people who will line up to blame or complain about the situation. However, you can also trust that God is in control with full knowledge of the situation. The way to the edge is through trusting God and that He is in control.

#3 God brings good out of challenging circumstances.

Across the pages of the Bible, in worldwide events and even in the simple day to day, we can see God’s power working. As humans we grieve with discouraging news. Remember, in John 11:35, even Jesus wept when he heard his good friend Lazarus died! However, the God that grieved for Lazarus . . . ALSO BROUGHT HIM BACK FROM THE DEAD! God can heal the lame, bring sight to the blind, rain down manna from heaven, and you better believe that He can take your challenges and turn them into blessings. Moving from taking up too much space to living on the edge does not ignore your emotions. Living on the edge means being real with your emotions while maintaining an expectancy that God is going to work.

Action

Has complacency crept into your life? Evaluate and Act! Into the lives of those you love or those you serve? Evaluate and Act! See a better future, know that your situation does not surprise God, and expect Him to bring good out of your challenging circumstances. Peace!

TWO ANSWERS THAT TRANSFORM

EASTER THOUGHTS ON JOHN 10 AND GALATIANS 2 & 3

By Bruce McMordie, former Member of the C.E. Board of Directors

Who killed Jesus of Nazareth? Who died with Him on Good Friday? Correctly answering these questions will transform Easter and your life.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ death. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross where He died. Pilate unleashed those soldiers on Jesus. The crowd cried “Crucify Him!” This prompted Pilate’s action. Pharisees and Sadducees incited that crowd. Judas betrayed Jesus into the custody of those conspiring leaders. My sins and your sins inspired God the Father’s just wrath that filled the “bitter cup” Jesus embraced when he yielded to Judas and his mob. So, who killed Jesus?

Everyone is complicit in the death of Jesus, but the correct answer is no one killed Jesus! “No one takes [my life] from me,” Jesus says. “I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus is Life incarnate. No one can deliver a fatal blow to Life!

God the Son gave up heaven to be Jesus of Nazareth. He became a man like us, finite and limited by time and place. On Good Friday, Jesus gave up the last remaining essence of His heavenly nature. Having suffered every last bit of God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus said, “It is finished,” bowed his head and gave up his spirit. He laid down His life.

Now, consider who died with Jesus. Two thieves died with Jesus that day. More importantly, the power of the Law died with them. From Sinai to Calvary the Law rightly judged every man, woman and child guilty of sin and condemned them to death. Then on Good Friday, the Law cursed an innocent man. Leviticus declares, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” In the moment the Law cursed Jesus of Nazareth, its power was broken. Christ redeemed all who believe in Him from the curse of the law and gave us the Holy Spirit! The power of the Law died that day.

I also died that day, so did you, if you’re a Christian. Put yourself in this passage. “I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Every believer died with Christ that day.

Jesus took His life back again at His resurrection and all of His people came to new life with Him! “We were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).

All this happened because Jesus laid down His life. No one took His life. All who trust Him died that day as well. The Law’s power over us died too. And all who died with Him have been raised with Him! Walk in the glory of your new life in Him! Happy Easter!

4 Easy Ways YOU Can Help to Make C.E. Better

by guest blogger Colleen Ossman

Hi everyone! Our golf outing is coming up soon. Now, don’t click off and stop reading just because you don’t golf. Ha, caught you, didn’t I? Last year we had a record (for us) 87 golfers at our 6th annual tournament. SEVEN of those people golfed all six years, and FIVE golfers were there five of the six years. Our goal for this year is 100 golfers, but Honeybrook Golf Club will allow up to 144. So, how can YOU help to make C.E. better?

1. Would you be willing to print this half page flyer to put in your church bulletin, hang on your church bulletin board, or the community bulletin board of your local post office or gym or YMCA to help us find more golfers? We host some fun competitions and hole-in-one prizes, including a shot at $10,000 on the 10th hole. And the dinner after golfing is always superb!

2. Do you own a business? Or know someone who does and might like to try a different way of promoting their company to a new audience? We have six levels of business sponsor options. Their financial support will help us provide quality work camps for teens & their youth groups, as well as encouraging churches to unleash teens for leadership. The business partner will also receive promotion with the hole sign, name on our website, in emails & social media, as well as the program each golfer receives.

3. Are there any creative ideas out there for prizes and door prizes for the golfers? Can you donate a movie themed gift basket? Gift cards from chain restaurants would also be great (our golfers travel from Lansdale and Philadelphia to the east, to Lebanon and Chambersburg to the west). Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Penn State items are popular with many of our golfers.

4. Do you have connections with businesses who could donate snacks or coupons, or even their company brochures for goody bags? As noted above, our goal is 100 golfers this year, so please supply at least that many items. We give goody bags to our event volunteers and staff too. If we end up with any extras, we give them to our summer staff and volunteer site directors at C.E. Mission Weeks.

All the info you need to help make C.E. better through this event is found at bit.ly/Golf4CE or you can contact us at golf [at] ceworks.faith with any questions. Our deadline for golfer registrations and donations is April 18.

Thank you for helping C.E. provide a great tournament, but also for helping us to Inspire, Equip and Encourage churches to Biblically develop youth as Christ-centered leaders.