Tag Archives: christian influence

You Might Be Making a Difference Without Even Realizing It

Making a Difference...

You Might Be Making a Difference Without Even Realizing It

A lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks is that sometimes you might be making a difference without even realizing it. I shouldn’t be surprised by this. I pray for this all of time. I even claim this as a positive confession from time to time. In fact, I have some daily positive affirmations that I have saved in the notes in my phone. One of them says, “People see Jesus in me. I win people over by the way I live without saying a word.” One of my heart’s desires is making a difference in the lives of the people I encounter. Sometimes though, I just don’t even know I’m doing it!

Dare I say the worst semester ever?

OK, I’ll try to make a very long story short here. This past semester of teaching was…well…horrendous to put it lightly. I mean, it was bad. So bad that I came very, very close to turning in my resignation. The college class that I teach had undergone a complete overhaul and the outcome was an exponential increase in my workload and a decrease in pay…and nearly a complete loss of autonomy, and a severe increase in stress, and tremendous loss of time with my family, and loss of joy in teaching, and… OK I’ll stop there.

This workload (and everything else) also increased significantly for the students as well. It actually felt like our class and new changes were hurting the students instead of helping them. Grades were significantly down compared to previous semesters, and more students were failing than ever before. This is what weighed on me the most because I truly believe in making a difference in a positive way in the lives of my students, and this class typically allows for that. However, that was not the case this semester. Or so I thought.

Making a difference? Yeah right! How about: A lost cause 

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How Christians Should Be Like Dust

How Christians Should Be Like Dust

How Christians Should Be Like Dust

This past week my family and I took a vacation to Colorado. It was amazing! Believe it or not, it was the first time I’ve ever seen the mountains up close and personal. Talk about amazing and inspiring…I could stay in the mountains for a LONG time and write and study and write and study… I’ll post a few of our pics on Instagram. In addition to sightseeing, hiking, and fishing, we participated in some pretty adventurous undertakings too! We did some summer alpine activities on a mountain in Breckenridge. We ziplined through the mountains (in the rain!), and we also went white water rafting.

While we were there, we also had an opportunity to attend a church bible study in Canon City with some family. The kids weren’t quite as excited as I was about this activity, but I sure enjoyed it! Call me crazy, but I eat that kind of stuff up. It’s super fun for me. I especially love gleaning wisdom from older, more experienced people. However, the coolest bit of insight I gained at this study was from my 15-year-old cousin. And of all things…her insight was about dust.

We are like dust

One of the passages we studied was Genesis 28:10-19 about Jacob’s dream at Bethel. My young cousin focused on verse 14 in this passage:

“Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions–to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.” Genesis 28:14 (NLT)

She explained how this made her think of Christians being like dust, pointing out that dust spreads in all directions and gets everywhere. Then another lady brought up a verse that came to her mind which also indicates that we are like dust:

“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NLT)

Their conversation got my wheels turning about the qualities of dust and how we are to exhibit some of those same qualities as Christians. This also reminded me of when I studied salt and wrote previously about the qualities of salt and how we should be like it.

Let’s talk about some of the qualities of dust that we should emulate… Continue reading

Is Your Work Ethic Turning People Away From Jesus?

Is Your Work Ethic Turning People Away From Jesus?  Or are you representing him well?

Is Your Work Ethic Turning People Away From Jesus?

Occasionally, I will get students in my classes that openly profess their faith and Christianity. I think that’s great. That’s not the problem I have with them. The problem I have is how they behave after that. Unfortunately a few of them have displayed a lack of integrity in their work ethic.

They profess to be Christians, but then consistently show up to class late or even miss class on a regular basis. There is little to no effort put into assignments. Apathetic and lazy attitudes are apparent in class and in work and effort put forth. Procrastination is a regular practice.  Occasionally there is a disregard for authority.  Sometimes they’ll even say that they don’t really care about college, our particular class, or even a specific lesson because they don’t see the benefit of it or don’t feel they are learning anything new. These types of comments are often accompanied with know-it-all attitudes (that’s for a whole separate post though!).

Part of me wants to shake them or smack them across the head and say “Stop telling people you are a Christian!!! You are doing more harm than good! What nonbeliever would ever want to be like you or have what you have to offer if that’s what it looks like? You’re bad marketing. You’re a bad image of Jesus. Your work ethic DOES NOT represent Jesus well.”

We might be the only ‘Jesus’ people see

I think that’s the thing that a lot of people don’t understand. We are a walking representation of Jesus Christ. Someone told me once, “You might be the only ‘Jesus’ people see.” This was a life lesson I had to personally learn many years ago. In my situation it was in a job that I hated with people I disliked. I had to learn to work with excellence and have outstanding work ethic. I had to learn to do my job as unto the Lord (as if He were my boss) and to be a Christ-like example to others who may not ever get the chance to see one.

Without even realizing it, Continue reading

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 2

Are you being salt and light?  Do you possess these qualities of salt?

Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt? Part 2 of 2

Be Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

Last week in Part 1 we talked about being salt and light in our everyday surroundings.  We discussed a few of the qualities of salt and how we could display some of those same qualities in our lives.  I’d like to pick back up this week with some more qualities of salt that we should model.

I actually learned something new when studying salt.  I knew salt was an extremely valuable commodity in ancient times, but I guess I just didn’t realize how much.  In fact, I learned that Roman soldiers even used to be paid in salt at times.  Apparently that’s where the term “worth his salt” came from.  The word “salary” is even rooted from salt.  In the Old Testament the Mosaic Law required that all offerings presented by the Israelites should contain salt (Lev. 2:13).  Many theologians say this was to symbolize purification and an enduring covenant (salt purifies and makes things last).

Since salt holds such value in history, that same value should still hold true today—especially in relation to how we should be like salt.  Let’s take a look at some more qualities of salt…

Some More Qualities of Salt:

  1. Salt mixes in and interacts with its environment.

Salt penetrates into and interacts with what it is meant to change.  In order for food to be cured or have flavor added, the salt must permeate into it.  As Christians, we too need Continue reading