No one ever drifts into what Christ has called them to be; we have to cut the anchors, decide on our primary citizenship, keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of life, and PRESS ON!

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In the Christian life, it’s quite obvious who we are following… Jesus! However, in his little book to the Philippians, Paul urges the Philippian Church to follow him as he follows Christ. But why would Paul make such a demand… It almost seems blasphemous! The reason? Paul understands the difficulty of following Jesus at any time in human history, and seeks to inspire us by reminding us to look to the Christian body, in other words, one another, as motivation to keep pursing the ultimate goal; looking like Jesus!

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We have all received way more than we deserve in life.  God’s goodness and love – follows us in many many ways. Life is all about God’s goodness and kindness – called Grace! Our lives have never been intended to be dams – reservoirs – igger barns – here we hoard and store grace, mercy, kindness – and forgiveness. We have been called to enjoy – and overflow with grace, the most beautiful thing in all the universe.Grace is amazing – and we are called to gladly and extravagantly share it!

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Paul reveals that, like us, he was a collector of personal trophies.  Things that proved how important, successful and valuable and knowledgeable he was. One day, he had to follow the example of Jesus Christ and set all of his perceived advantages aside. He realized that trying to impress and coerce people was a dead-end street. He also realized that trying to impress God was a dead-end street. In fact, he had to leave all his self-righteousness behind – get off the self-improvement plan, the performance plan – and write it off.  Give it up, trade it in, write it off as skubala. In the process, he realized how truly pathetic it was in comparison to really knowing Jesus Christ. And we have to do that too. Trade in our pedigree, our performance record, our dazzling image-enhancement, our knowledge quotient – for intimacy with the One who gave up all His advantages for us.

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A lot of times, Christ-followers just don’t get it – that our faith was meant to be lived in community with others – little platoons where we know and are known, love and are loved, serve and are served, celebrate and are celebrated.  In fact, every truth taught in this letter was meant to be interpreted and lived out in a small group. We’ve lost the essence of this. Out of fear, or because we simply will not take the time to obey – we choose a solo existence which is a recipe for spiritual mediocrity. We desperately need others in our lives. In fact, God has called us to build into others – like Paul did Timothy, and then allow others to love, serve and challenge us. Who we ‘hang’ with will determine who we become. And when it’s all said and done, what we will truly value about our lives is the difference we’ve made in others – and the relationships we’ve built.

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Most of us underestimate the awesome impact our lives can have on others – simply by God shining His glory through us. The darker the world gets, the greater that chance we have to light it up – bring colour, clarity – dispel fear. The most amazing news is that God Himself is at work in us – helping us want to obey Him, and helping us do what He wants! God wants us to shine like the stars – and shine is what stars do best! But, we have to choose light over darkness. The most attractive, most brightly shining quality we have as Christ-followers is joy! We choose whether we will clean the windows or pull the shades.

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(Philippians 2:1-11)
Everyone dreams of being great. No one ever dreams that it has anything to do with others – setting your own interests aside to serve other people lovingly and tenderly and selflessly. Yet, when God put on skin and lived here – that was His model. And the truth is that no one, not a single person becomes truly great without humbling themselves and serving. It’s built into the very DNA of this universe, and one day everyone will know it!

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