Friday, June 16, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 20 – How the Ls Help Fulfill My Mission

Over the past two weeks, I have been examining my mission statement one sentence at a time. I created the statement long before I conceived of the 4L Model of Discipleship. However, each sentence corresponds to one of the Ls although the order is a bit different with Love shifting to the front. So, the first sentence related to my need to Love. Last week was about my need to Learn. The third sentence is very short, but is quite important, and relates to Live.

I will trust in His provision (Ps. 73.25-26).

Each part of my mission is challenging at times. This one is especially so, in some ways, and yet I routinely see God providing in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. One of the biggest challenges for this area stems from my past. My undergrad was in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. I remember one particular assignment in a class related to the monetary principles of banking. I broke the system – in a favorable way for me. I did not cheat in any way, I was just able to ensure that all of the bonds to be purchased would end up with me at the most favorable of prices. Because of this instance, I determined that I understood the principles fairly well and thought I could beat the banks at their business. Wrong! Let’s just say that banks have much bigger buildings than that singular house in which I live. So, because of my arrogance, I put my wife and I in a terrible hole early in our marriage – a hole from which we are still trying to remove ourselves (in part because of some other issues over the past several years).

But during these past 20 years, I have seen God step in many time to provide when I did not know what might happen. In all honesty, apart from His grace, we would have been crippled financially. Instead, we have hope and a plan to pay off the remaining debt rather quickly, Lord willing.

Because of my past challenges and my need to trust God, Psalm 73.25-26 represent my life verses from the Old Testament. The verses serve as a reminder that, ultimately, I do only want God despite the earthly temptations. Psalm 73, on the whole, is a good reminder that the things we want and the envy we may have ultimately matters to nothing in the end, so we should let our heart’s desire be for God. At times, this desire is much easier said than done, and sometimes that type of desire is not even said so easily. But the idea is included in my Mission because it is important to me and if I do keep my priorities straight, I will be taking the proper steps towards the realization of my Vision – to be the man God wants me to be.

So, how does this sentence in my Mission Statement relate to the 4Ls?

Intersecting Steps and Mission

LEARN – I shared a bit of my history related to financial matters above. As I mentioned my arrogance created many financial challenges for me (and my wife and soon after, our children) over the years. I had to learn that I could not beat a financial institution at their own business and that my arrogance was foolish. While I have learned much over the years, I am still learning to rely on God as He leads me to consider new ideas and ventures for which I am not overly equipped. Yet, He continues to provide. And I continue to learn. And the cycle continues.

LIVE – While I still make mistakes, learning to trust God for His provision has allowed us to pay off a tremendous amount of debt over the past few years. But the real blessing for me has been to see how God provided for my schooling. Frankly, I am not certain how I could have afforded a masters or doctoral degree except that God literally used the hands of others to provide. I can think of a few very timely and generous donations received during my masters. I recall how He provided insight to fund my doctoral work. I did not incur any debt for either of those degrees, and the money that paid for them would not be available to me now had I not been enrolled. That is truly God at work. And that is why I must continue to Live by trusting Him for provision in all things – and particularly where I know He is leading.

LOVE – Love requires trust. And trust is the primary verb in the sentence shared above. As I trust Him more I can love Him better. As I learn to love Him better, I can trust Him more. The equation is simple – if I want all “these things” then I must 
seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6.33).

LEAD – The Lead aspect is quite difficult in this sentence. While I may be able to Learn, Live, and Love as I trust God for His provision, helping others to Live and Love is difficult. Like the Israelites with the manna, we all want more (or different) over time. Paul was able to say “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me” with relation to being able to live in plenty and in want. To make such a claim may help people see it is possible too trust God for His provision, but to make the claim oneself requires a measure of personal experience. Nonetheless, I must share my experience of God’s providence to help others begin to see Him working in their lives as well.


The third sentence of my Mission Statement may be short, but it is important. As I truly Live by relying on God’s provision, I realize more and more that I am at His mercy for everything I desire, have, everything I am, and everything I will become. In a culture that says we can make our own future, this six word sentence reminds me of a deeper truth. Certainly, we can (and must) plan our way, but it is God who directs our steps (Proverbs 16.9). As I take the proper Steps to Learn, Live, Love, and Lead based upon His provision, I will hopefully help others to sense His provision in their lives too. This last Step of leading others will be the focus of next week’s blog – the final sentence of my Mission Statement.

Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 –
4L – Matthew 28.19 –
4L – Spiral –
4L – Vision –
4L – Mission –
4L – Strategy –
4L – Steps –
4L – Learn –
4L – Live –
4L – Love –
4L – Lead –
4L – BackUptheSpiral –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Love) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Exercise) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Action) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Read) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Nurture) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Summary) –
4L – HelpFulfillMission –
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 1) –
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 2)

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