Every person (not just you) has unique and eternal value in God’s eyes and therefore should have the same value in yours.

That was the central message of yesterday’s series finale in the Living Your Strengths series.  After two weeks of talking about the importance of understanding and maximizing our own strengths, we looked at the flip side yesterday – dealing with the weaknesses of others.

It’s easy to think highly of our own strengths and look down at others who don’t share them.  It’s easy to think that because something is easy for me or comes natural to me, then it should be the same for others as well.  But that’s not the point.

Check out the message above and see why it’s so important to not just ACCEPT the weaknesses of others, but to APPRECIATE them because those differences were designed by God for a specific reason.

Now it’s your job to figure out what that reason is for the people in your life.

Living Your Strengths

The Struggle

August 29, 2014 — 6 Comments
This is a guest post from Maureen Henen - a undergraduate student in Australia who recently went on a life-changing trip to Kenya.  During that trip, she met a woman named Mamma Freda who helped her connect with God in a whole new way.  She tells her paradigm-shifting story below.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

Kenyan womanMeet Mamma Freda.  Mamma Freda is an elderly woman that I met during a recent trip to Kenya.  She lives with a crippling pain in her left leg, unable to afford medication to alleviate the discomfort.  The pain is so immense that it prevents her from daily tasks such as cooking; in fact when we saw her, she hadn’t eaten in three days because of the pain!

Despite that, she received us with a most cheerful countenance.  She struggled to greet us – using a huge wooden rod to steady her step, simply overjoyed that we were there to share a short prayer with her.

I wish I could find the words to express the blessedness of this woman – nothing I am capable of writing will do justice to Mamma Freda and her faithfulness to God.  She lived with a debilitating pain in her leg, but despite that, she walked long distances every single Sunday just to make it to church.  And she always did it with a smile on her face.

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Final week of reposting for the summer of 2014.  Beginning next week, I’ll be back with fresh. all new posts.  And soon I’ll be explaining exactly why I was taking off from blog for the summer and what BIG things you will be hearing from me soon.  So stay tuned…

In case you didn’t know this about me, I love bananas!  I love to eat bananas.  I love to put bananas in my cereal.  I love to drink banana smoothies.  And I especially love my wife’s fresh-baked, homemade, banana bread!  You could say I’m bananas for bananas [sorry… couldn’t resist].

But despite my love for bananas, there was a time recently where the last thing I wanted to see was a banana.  Someone gave me a banana and it almost made me vomit.  Why?  BECAUSE IT WAS ROTTEN!

You see, even though I love bananas and would love to be given a banana at any time… I never ever want to receive a rotten one.  And if you give me a rotten one, it might just make me sick.

So no matter how much I might be craving a banana, if the one you have is rotten, PLEASE DON’T GIVE IT TO ME!

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“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE HE WILL DO, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12)

Did you ever think about how that verse could possibly be true?  How could we do “greater works” than Jesus Himself?  The One who walked on water?  Fed the multitudes with 5 loaves and 2 fish?  Healed the sick and raised the dead?  Is it actually possible for me to do “greater works than these?”

I say YES!  And in Part 2 of the Living Your Strengths series, I tell you why I believe that.  Check out the video above and see for yourself how you can DISCOVER YOUR GREATNESS.

Living Your Strengths

This is a guest post from Mark Shawky - a graduate in Health Administration and life coach with a passion for helping others discover their best selves. You can follow him on twitter, @Shawky_Mark.  And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.

jesus-in-hospital

Sickness is one of the very few things in life that can push you face down into the mud—even when you are already on your knees. I distinctly remember my doctor scribbling something in my patient folder, then gravely lifting her head and giving me a clear diagnosis. I was 23 and optimistic about treatment; 10 months later, I went into remission.

During the recovery process, I learned that enduring any kind of illness is truly a journey.  Some ailments may be cured through a regiment of fluids, chicken soup, and aspirin.  Others require a more intensive, long-term treatment plan.  Unfortunately, I experienced the latter.

The illness spared me no mercy: my body and mind were both diseased.  Yet in the midst of my struggle and on the path to recovery, I also discovered my soul and spirit were just as ill. I knew better than to question God about my circumstances, so I didn’t.  I simply expected to get better and trusted that God would bring me through the fire. What I did not expect was that the heat of the fire would melt away my spiritual bondage and renew my mind, soul and spirit in a powerful and dramatic way.

Through my illness, God showed me that my own mind was held hostage by resentment, anger, insecurity, and grudges— all which did nothing but poison my life.  It took a debilitating disease for me to awaken to the negative way in which I was living and thinking.  I did not know what it meant to be thankful until I was no longer able to leave my bedroom to see what I could be thankful for.  I did not truly know what it means to forgive others until I was incapable of feeding myself and had to rely on others for even my most basic needs.

Until I realized that I could not purchase better health or peace of mind, I did not truly understand the meaning of the phrase, “money cannot buy you happiness.”  Until my life depended on it, I did not know what God meant when he said, “trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5).

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Every now and then I read a passage in the Bible that just clicks.  One sentence will speak volumes and resonate on so many levels.  Today was one of those days.  This morning I was reading John 12 – the story of when Jesus went to visit the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus just after raising Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11 (see John 11:38-45).  The part that struck me was this:

jesus lazarus

“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.”  John 12:10-11

Lazarus had a great miracle happen to him.  He was raised from the dead by Jesus after being dead for 4 days in the tomb.  That isn’t the kind of thing that happens every day – even Jesus was alive on the earth.  And now that he was alive, he was a living testimony to the power of Jesus.  The chief priests were trying to tell everyone that Jesus was a bad guy or at least a normal guy at best.  Their message was “don’t follow Him.  He is nothing special.  Keep living your life as usual and don’t pay too much attention to what He is saying.”

But when Lazarus walked into the room, their message became much less effective.  Lazarus was a walking billboard – shouting out JESUS IS THE REAL DEAL!  JESUS IS ALL-POWERFUL!  JESUS IS GOD!  You couldn’t escape it as long as Lazarus was alive.

So the chief priests tried to kill him.  They hated his guts because he stood in direct opposition to their message.  Without saying a word, he was a bringing many people to believe in Jesus just by his very existence.

Are you Lazarus too? 

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God didn’t create you to be GOOD at everything, but He did create you to be GREAT at something.

That’s the premise of the latest series at The Well called LIVING YOUR STRENGTHS.  The idea is that yes, you can do whatever you want it if you try hard enough – but that doesn’t mean that you can do it WELL.  Based on the highly renowned Clifton StrengthsFinder ® assessment, the Living Your Strengths series will help you identify your God-given strengths and how to use them for your growth and for God’s glory.

God created us all uniquely – with different strengths – in order that the Body of Christ would be complete. The Church – including YOUR church – needs everyone’s strengths in order to be operating at full strength and fulfilling God’s mission in the world.

Living Your Strengths