INKED with Intent

Tattoos have gained increasing acceptance in our society in recent years.  It used to be only the rebellious outlaw types had tattoos.  Bikers, convicts, etc.

Not so much anymore (although I am secretly rebellious).

If you follow this blog much, you know that I write a lot on leadership and Biblical encouragement.  That said, this post is not going to address any Biblical position about tattoos.  If you are a follower of Jesus and do not think believers should have them I totally support your personal views.  This is not a right vs. wrong post, so please refrain from making it one.

This is simply sharing my personal story surrounding my tattoo.

So, love it or hate it…..here it is!

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The pocket watch | It is slightly warped, as if beginning to melt.  It has typical roman numerals for time, but if you look closely the hour and minute hands have been replaced by the magnet needle of a compass.  There’s lots going on here.  This pocket watch looks a bit different.  The same can often be said of God’s TIMING and DIRECTION in our lives.  As we follow His guidance in faith, His ‘where’ and ‘when’ usually don’t look a thing like our plans.  Can you relate?

The puzzle | If you’ve done many jigsaw puzzles you know that the best method is to start with connecting all the border pieces.  Then you fill in toward the middle.  Notice, my tattoo has no border yet.  It also has a couple pieces laying off to the side…not put in their respective place yet.  Ok, so two things here.  1) God’s way of piecing together our image of Him doesn’t seem logical.  He works from the inside out!  2) Those two pieces off to the side?  Yeah, He’s never really done artistically rendering us.  There will never be border pieces when we allow God to continue working on us.

Conversation | Those who have tattoos have stories behind each one.  They can tell you precisely what it means to them.  For me, the design was meant to hold a bit of symbolism as to create intrigue.  When people ask about it, that’s my window of opportunity to share my story of walking with Jesus.  How it isn’t always easy or clear, BUT that He has ALWAYS BEEN THERE with me every step of the way.

* Minor side note:  This tattoo looks FREAKIN’ AMAZING!

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and God Bless!

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It’s Not a Witness Protection Program

A witness protection program is offered by the government in exchange for testimony that could convict a dangerous or most wanted criminal. After testifying in the courtroom, the witness is given a new identity. The protected witness’s new identity includes a new name, Social Security number, birth certificate and place to live. Every effort is made to ensure that the person’s prior identity is destroyed so a new ‘safe’ life can begin. The intent is to protect the individual, who essentially goes into hiding…maybe even permanently.

This is NOT the case in the Christian life.

witness protection

When you and I witnessed the grace, love and mercy of what Jesus did on the cross for us, our identity changed.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”  (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).

No name or driver’s license number was altered, but our entire being was transformed. God gave us a new life and new eyes to see things the way He sees them.

Unlike the witness protection program, our new identity in Christ is not intended to protect us. The opposite is true. God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Instead of taking that new identity and keeping it from everyone, you and I are supposed to share it everywhere we go. In fact, our story involves telling others about both of our identities…past and present. Why? Because there is power in transformation. People tend to take notice of a changed life.

Many people are lost and need to be transformed. God expects us to go and share the gospel message with the world around us. Instead of hiding from the world, we are called to abide in the Word. His Word says to “go” (Mark 16:15).

Your ID badge labels you an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). Your new life creation involves a new mission. This transformed identity moves us away from a life of self-serving, and into a life of serving God and others. Who can you share your identity in Christ with today? Maybe a better word here is …who ‘should’ you…?

How drastic has the difference been in your new identity?  I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to leave a comment.

 

photo credit: http://www.redstate.com

 

 

 

I Can’t Talk About Jesus With Others

Have you ever said (thought) those words?  I know I have in the past.

So, what prevents us from speaking about Christ to those we interact with every day?  Why is it that talking about Jesus on Sunday feels just fine, BUT it feels awkward at the grocery store, gas station, or workplace?

complicated

I suggest 2 possible reasons this can be true for many believers:

Acknowledgment | What are you and I taking notice of in our ordinary daily lives?  If we’re not NOTICING God’s hand throughout the week (and even outside of trials and stress), we are obviously not going to be mindful to mention Him.  This is a dangerous place to be, because when we don’t acknowledge Jesus in our relationships, successes, and personal growth we take credit ourselves!  And eve if we don’t SAY IT, simply NOT giving Him credit assumes an unhealthy level of autonomy.

Excitement | Think about this.  We rarely find it difficult sharing our excitement with EVERYONE when our team experiences a huge win, when we’ve had a big personal success, or after we return from the most amazing vacation EVER.  The details and passion within these personal experiences come through easily and quite clearly, don’t they?  I would conclude, then, that our excitement and energy around the things of Jesus can have a direct effect on how much (if at all) we share his involvement in our lives with others.  If we are not excited about Jesus adjustments must be made.  Something needs to be changed so we can experience Him in new and fresh ways.

Take a look at the attitudes of Peter and John in Acts 4:20 (emphasis is mine).

“…for we CANNOT but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

The attempts to hush Peter and John were unsuccessful.  Their experiences and beliefs were so strong that they COULD NOT refrain from speaking of Jesus.  Notice this passage does not use the phrase ‘will not.’  It would seem that their situation went beyond obedience.  Witnessing about the life of Jesus was not an option.  It was practically automatic.  To refrain would require much effort.

How do we get to the place that Peter and John were?  Well, the excitement and acknowledgement needs to be there first.  Next, intentionality and desire must follow.

Lord, may you give us eyes to see your works in our lives…and a humble love for others to want to tell them about it.