Being Human: Part One
Is Reason the Reason? • February 16, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft
What does it mean to be human? What are the implications of our complexity and beauty, as well as our brokenness and shortcomings? In the world’s eyes, being human amounts to nothing more than self-sufficiency and self-determination. We’re told to measure our value and worth by our contribution. Efficiency and effectiveness serve as the highest values in our culture causing us to lose our ability to behold beauty. Our fallen state makes us less human. We wrestle with destructive behaviors like lust, anger, contempt, and manipulative language. And, as a result, humanity has become one big mess. Jesus reminds us that because we are God's handiwork, we have intrinsic value, as does every individual who crosses our path. To be human is to bear God's image and reflect His heart. Our response to Him should be worship and recognizing we have a burden and calling. Gratitude and adoration are the response to the beauty we behold.
Being Human: Part Two
Driven Beyond Doing • February 23, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft
What do you do? Don't answer so quickly. We often mistake our occupation for our identity. When we do things to be honored by others, their response to us is our reward. Our default thinking is that productivity equals value. And, as a result, we feel the pressure to DO. We pour all of our energy into WHAT we do with little regard to WHY we do it. Our doing should flow from our being.
Being Human: Part Three
Heart's Desire • March 1, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft
We're made to WOW, and we're made to PLEASE. But, our joy becomes a casualty when we think of sacrifice as the grind and merely doing our duty. God promises us a joy and delight that possesses the power to run underneath our circumstances. God is seen as beautiful, sufficient, and satisfying when we want nothing else. He is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. His glory gets revealed in our delight. We discover His will by offering our lives. The journey begins at the end of ourselves.
Being Human: Part Four
Don't Stop Short • March 8, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft
When dissatisfaction sets in, temptation rises. We escape to mindless entertainment and idle chatter. We move from one chronic distraction to another. Keeping ourselves busy enables us to avoid addressing issues of the heart. We depend on ourselves to get us through our days at the expense of relying on God. And as a result, we stop short of rest, fail to see our purpose, and we miss out on the life God intended. Rest for our soul is a function of trust. By hitting pause and engaging in quiet reflection, we're declaring that there is only one God, and we are not Him. Rest isn't about recovery, but preparation. God calls us to long obedience in the same direction, and that requires us to prepare for the journey ahead. Freeing ourselves to rest makes us available to give. A well-watered garden produces fruit. What comes out of us is intended to nourish other people.
Being Human: Part Five
The Beauty Of Being Human • March 15, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft
God is always working, even when we can't see it. He didn't promise the elimination of our struggle, but His presence through it. Even though struggle and suffering are part of the human experience, they do not get the last word nor the authority to define us. God enters into the darkness and chaos—it becomes His canvas, and He paints a different picture. The promise of redemption is the reality that God uses everything and that nothing is wasted. The beauty of being human lies in our capacity to trust. Faith thrives amid uncertainty. His power begins at the end of our own, and it's His strength that is made perfect in our weakness.