A Freedom That Leads To Slavery

Posted on March 19th, 2008 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

Is it possible for a free person to be a slave?

Is it a paradox that a person growing in earthly freedom can actually become less free?

Rob Bell, in his newest book, Sex God, says something quite interesting:

“Often freedom is seen as the ability to do whatever you want. But freedom isn’t being able to have whatever we crave. Freedom is going without whatever we crave and being fine with it.”

Let’s look at a drinking scenario since it is a rather common occurrence in fraternities and sororities.

Many Greeks have the potential to become pendulum swingers when it comes to personality and attitude. During the big parties, these students are energized, happy, humorous, and seem to enjoy life to the fullest. But during the school week comes complaining, bitterness, and depression. Thus, the weekly Wasted Wednesday becomes an oasis opportunity for these guys and girls to drink and be satisfied with life again.

As these students choose the freedom to drink in increasing measure and start to rely on these “party nights”, they slip more and more out of freedom.

We often become dependent on what we are free to do. Therefore we become un-free.

Guys who choose to look at pornography because they are free to do so, become addicted and then become slaves to pornography. Girls who choose to date one guy after another because they are free to do so, become addicted to dating and then become slaves to dating.

Whatever you are choosing to do that you have become a slave to, as trivial as it may seem, still affects your daily attitude. A guy who doesn’t get his daily or weekly dose of pornography will simply act different than a guy who isn’t dependent on pornography. A girl who can’t go without having a boyfriend will act different than a girl who can be without a boyfriend for a period of time.

So, how can we be really free?

The bible makes it clear that we are born as broken people. We are slaves to doing the things that bring chaos instead of order. We’d rather be addicted to things that benefit ourselves rather than benefit others. We are slaves of wrongdoing.

Jesus, however, offers us an alternative – being slaves or right doing. Can you imagine being the type of person who can’t help but do the right thing in every situation?

This is true freedom: Not being addicted to any wrongdoing.

However, simply abstaining from wrong things will not lead to satisfaction. A lot of Christians are really good at following the rules and abstaining from the wrong things. But there is no joy and not satisfaction in their life. That is why they secretly envy their fraternity brothers or sorority sisters who are living it up, partying, and enjoying life to the fullest. This type of envy makes it easy for them to condemn the wrong doers because they wish they could be having “fun” too!

No, true freedom means replacing the addiction of wrong things with the addiction of right things. True freedom means leaving behind the story of your life for a better story.

By receiving Jesus into your life and submitting to his way of life, you will eventually become more and more addicted to him and a life of right doing. You will find yourself desiring to go down and serve Hurricane Katrina victims rather than going on a party trip to Mexico. You will find yourself serving your housemates by doing extra chores rather than locking yourself in your room to look at pornography. You will find yourself hanging out with and mentoring younger brothers and sisters in the House instead of spending an hour on the phone each night with your boyfriend or girlfriend – who you will eventually break up with.

Being a slave to right doing is the only kind of addiction you want to have in your life. And this change of desire can only come through Jesus.

He died and was resurrected so that we could die to a life of wrongdoing and be resurrected into a life of right doing.

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7 Questions To Rock Your World :: Part II

Posted on September 24th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Steve Shadrach

(see Part I for questions 1-3)

4. Are you relying on your strength or God’s?

When I travel overseas, the moment I step off the plane, I’m in charge. Why do I get to be the “instant leader”? Because I’m an American. Don’t laugh, there’s more. Not only am I an American, but I’m an educated American. On top of that, I’m a sharp, educated American! Do you think the locals there pick up on my blatant arrogance and egotism? It’s literally dripping from me! Before you condemn me, though, take a look at your own heart. It is so hard for us to truly believe it when Jesus says in John 15:5b, “Apart from Me . . . you can do nothing.”

“Nothing at all, Lord?” That’s right. Zero. The big goose egg. To be honest, sometimes I deceive myself into thinking that somehow, someway I’m clever enough to accomplish something in this world – on my own – apart from Christ. Moses forsook this kind of foolishness in Exodus 33:15 when he demonstrated the principle of relying on God’s strength, not his own, praying, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” There’s something greater than ourselves, even greater than our country. It’s God. Rely on Him – and Him alone.

Bottom Line: Lose the Arrogance and Abide in Christ

5. What price will you pay for integrity?

The Josephson Institute of Ethics’ most recent survey claims that 74 percent of students cheated on an exam this year. 38 percent have stolen something from a store in the last 12 months and 93 percent have lied to their parents. If these figures are correct, we’re in the middle of a spiritual epidemic. It’s easy to go with the flow, allowing the immoral stream of your campus to carry you along, but the tougher choice is to say, “Enough is enough” and swim against the tide. You may lose a friend or two, but you’ll like yourself better and certainly sleep sounder at night!

Acts 24:16 notes Paul’s policy in such matters: “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Whether it’s test taking, tax returns or net surfing, who you are in private is who you are. According to my pastor, one of the keys to keep a clean life is to allow the Scriptures to “wound” you on a daily basis, referring to Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Verse 13 then gives the rationale for why we ought to simply surrender and allow the Word to pierce us to the core: “All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” God sees all and knows all and like a spiritual surgeon, He’ll cut away everything that isn’t Christlike in our life – if we truly want Him to.

Bottom Line: Use the Word to Build Deep Convictions

6. Do you really love others?

Anna had been happily dating Chad for almost six months before the bomb hit. She found out he’d secretly started seeing Christy, one of her sorority sisters who had been e-mailing him notes and pictures of herself. It hurt Anna badly to see her relationship with Chad vanish as he and Christy became inseparable, spending every weekend together. In her quiet time one morning, Anna came across Ephesians 4:31 telling her to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger” followed by verse 32 exhorting her to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” At that moment, she knew exactly what the Lord was telling her to do: Release the anger and bitterness she held toward Chad and her friend Christy.

As the tears flowed, Anna felt the shackles fall off and the cleansing of Christ’s forgiveness wash over her. With a new freedom and perspective, she set out to show kindness and compassion, especially to Christy, whom she was pretty sure was not a Christian. A few weeks later, a devastated Christy came to Anna’s room after Chad had used her and moved on too. Christy was different though, now asking for forgiveness and seeking solutions for her shattered life. Late that night, because of the unconditional love she felt from Anna, Christy bowed her head and invited Christ to come into her heart as Savior and Lord. Now they became best friends, spiritually growing by leaps and bounds together. These two girls experienced the supernatural love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, in the face of a cruel and undeserved betrayal, and their lives would never be the same.

Bottom Line: The Love of Christ Changes Everything

7. What legacy will you leave in life?

From 1989 to 1998 Prairie View A & M University obtained the not-so-distinguished honor of being the worst college football team of all time. They may forever own this legacy, because during this 10-year period, they lost 80 straight games. In 1991 they scored only 48 points the whole season, while their opponents racked up an average of 56 points per game. If you’re a college student, you have the opportunity once you graduate to leave something behind that’s more than just a win-loss record, a 4.0 GPA or an impressive resume stashed in some school file.

Life is all about relationships and touching people for Christ. Some of the very last marching orders Jesus gave us were to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). A woman once came up to Billy Graham, complaining to him about Dawson Trotman (the founder of The Navigators, a college ministry across the world) and spouting, “That Dawson Trotman, all he can talk about is making disciples, making disciples. He has a one track mind.” Graham paused, looked at her wistfully and whispered, “Madam, I wish I could get on that same track!” Jesus Christ, along with Trotman and Graham’s words can motivate a new generation of students to take seriously this Great Commission and leave behind a legacy that will live on. Multiply your life by finding someone who can help you help others and then – get started!

Bottom Line: Become a Disciple and Make Disciples

Epilogue: I recently had the privilege of traveling to the small Massachusetts town where the famous 19th-century American evangelist D.L. Moody was born, as well as buried. Standing there by his grave, I realized that here was a man greatly used of God around the world and yet was uneducated and with speaking disabilities. Where did this former shoe salesman, who became one of the most spiritually powerful men on the planet, gain this depth of life and purpose? The secret might be revealed in a statement he would often make, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is totally yielded to Him. I want to be that man.” Moody sought the source of real power. Do you?

Bottom Line: Power Comes from God

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7 Questions To Rock Your World :: Part I

Posted on May 10th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Steve Shadrach

Who is the most spiritually powerful person you know? I’m not necessarily talking about someone who has a position of authority in a ministry or even the person who has a ton of Bible knowledge. I’m talking about someone who has such a deep and authentic devotion to the person and purposes of Jesus Christ that everything he does, everything he says, exudes a profound spiritual authority. Like Jesus, he is full of grace and truth.

In contrast, the world is seeking a different kind of dominance, evidenced by a popular magazine that rates the top 100 most powerful celebrities on the planet based upon their wealth, how many magazine covers they’re on — even the number of Web searches for their name. It seems that a multitude of actors, athletes and business tycoons are stepping all over each other to get to the top of that heap.

How about you? What kind of power are you seeking? After all, true power doesn’t come from fame and fortune, but from God Himself. Psalm 62:11 says, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.” If it’s true that God is the only One that possesses real power, then we had better plug into His power source. The secret for obtaining this spiritual authority is as simple as “turning our eyes upon Jesus, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim,” but to give you some handles to hang onto, I’ve crafted seven questions that I pray God will use to rock your world!

1. How do you view yourself?

One proud father was quoted as saying, “My son will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity. He’s more charismatic, more educated, more prepared than anyone. He’s the bridge between the East and West. There is no limit because he has the guidance. He is the chosen one. He’ll have the power to impact nations, not people, but nations. The world is just getting a taste of his power.” The father? Earl Woods. The son’s name? Tiger.

As much as I certainly appreciate the way Tiger can hit the little white ball, I think dear ol’ dad went a tad overboard. My hope is that the son doesn’t hold the same inflated opinion of himself his father does. Most of us don’t have the problem of thinking too highly of ourselves, but rather too lowly. Struggling, wretched sinners are what many of us see in the mirror each morning. Which we are — but that’s not all we are. The key is not to view ourselves too highly or too lowly, but to see ourselves the way God does. Check out Ephesians 1:3-8 and discover that as a child of God you stand holy and blameless before your heavenly Father. So get up, dust yourself off, lift your hands to heaven and praise God that you are a “chosen one.”

Bottom Line: Develop a Biblical Self-Esteem

2. What place does the cross have in your life?

Is it a Bible story you’ve heard so many times it’s gotten old? Is it a hymn you’ve sung so often the words have become meaningless? Shake the cobwebs out of your brain for a moment and transport yourself back to the scene of the crime and stand (no, kneel) at the foot of the cross. In the midst of the crowd’s cursing and crying, try to focus on the silent One in the middle, looking up into His eyes, full of pain, yes, but also love. Don’t speak, just feel. Feel the cold, hard stakes driven through His wrists and feet and the blood flowing down. Feel the agony of being separated from His heavenly Father as He absorbs your sin into His very body.

Now, with your eyes riveted on His, pray this version of Galatians 2:20 back to Him, “Lord Jesus, I am being crucified with You; it is no longer I who live, but You who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in You, who loves me and gives Yourself for me.” You and I deserved to be on the cross that day – instead of Him. The only logical response to this ultimate act of mercy is for us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him. The cross: what place does it have in your life?

Bottom Line: Say No to Yourself, Say Yes to Him

3. What do you count as significant?

Jack Welch, former president of General Electric Corporation and his wife, Jane, are divorcing. In splitting up the assets, they each submitted a budget that listed what they believed were the absolute bare essentials to sustain the lifestyle they’ve acquired. A sampling of Jane’s monthly “needs” includes: $7,500 for clothes, $2,500 for cell phones, $2,500 for dining out, $20,000 for travel, $1,000 for movies and opera, $10,360 for jewelry and $8,260 for wine.

I’m sure Jack’s budget is just as ridiculous, but who is she kidding? We shouldn’t scold her too much because most Americans, like Jane, don’t know the difference between their wants and needs. In fact, you can perform an easy test on yourself to determine what you count as significant. Step one: Keep a detailed log this week on how you spend your time. Step two: Look at your checkbook and credit-card statements over the last three months. Step three: Prioritize these activities and items according to the most time and money spent down to the least. After finishing, you will be staring down at a piece of paper that reveals what you believe is important.

Bottom Line: Invest Yourself in the Eternal More than the Temporal

Stay tuned to find out what the last four questions are!

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Moses Could Have Been Greek

Posted on February 26th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Christian Life, Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

I was reading in Exodus today and realized that Moses definitely could have been a Greek at his local Egyptian college.

There are some sweet lessons that we can learn from him that are applicable to us as Christians living in a fraternity or sorority House. Here are a few:

1) MOSES DID NOT WANT TO GO

Moses complained to God, after God had commissioned him to lead the Israelites out of bondage, that he wasn’t talented enough to accomplish the job at hand. Do you ever feel haunted by the fact that you are one of the only Christians in your fraternity or sorority? Leaders that are called by God for a specific mission usually are leaders who never wanted to go in the first place. I think this is because God calls us to a mission that is above and beyond our ability to complete it. Do you feel like there is no possible way to make a difference? If not, then you are right where God wants you.

2) MOSES WAS NOT GIFTED FOR THE JOB

Moses didn’t know how he was going to go to Pharaoh and change his mind. Moses claimed that he didn’t have good speaking skills. How was he going to persuade the King of the Land to do something crazy?

Do you feel like reaching out to your brothers/sisters but feel inadequate because you are not a full-time minister? Do you feel like people will reject you if you try? Moses experienced all of these same feelings. But, God told him to GO anyways, promising to go with him and perform many miracles. The Bible tells us that God’s power shines through our weaknesses. If some of your unbelieving Greek friends see you leading a movement in your House and know that you aren’t a good speaker or a good whatever, God will get much glory because they won’t know how to explain the miracles going on. God gets the glory, not us.

3) MOSES FOUND OUT THAT HE WASN’T IN CONTROL

Once God started performing all these miracles through Moses, I can’t help but wonder if he started to strut a little when walking around Pharaoh’s palace. The strut, however, couldn’t have lasted that long because Pharaoh wouldn’t change his mind! Even after all the cool miracles Moses was doing, Pharaoh still wouldn’t let the Israelites go! What the heck?

I’m sure Moses was probably getting really frustrated at what was happening. God sent him there and nothing was clicking. Actually, things were getting worse. Moses’ own people were ticked because Pharaoh was making life a living hell for them. So what was going on?

God actually warned Moses about this. He said that he was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart until the proper time. Welcome to the school of hard knocks.

You may be in your fraternity or sorority right now trying all kinds of things for God – but nothing seems to be working. There is a lesson in this. God wants you to know that He’s in control, not you. No matter how many great things you do on your God-given mission, only God has the power to change peoples’ hearts.

This truth should drive you to your knees in prayer. Only through spending time with God in prayer will any of your efforts make a difference.

If Moses showed up to your fraternity or sorority today, I’m sure he’d tell you to step up and do something radical, to depend on God’s work through you, and to leave the results up to God. After all, He is in control.

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Common Thread of Spiritual Leaders

Posted on February 9th, 2007 by Tyler.
Categories: Personal Growth.

Tyler Zach

Are you the kind of leader you want to be? Are you the kind of leader God wants you to be? Sometimes, this is not easy to figure out.

However, we can get a good idea of what a spiritual leader is by looking at the spiritual giants of the past. The book, The Fuel and the Flame, points out six things that these spiritual leaders had in common:

1) Young and Idealistic

They were all young when God started to move in their hearts. He gave them a dream to go after and they were very optimistic (full of faith) about getting after it. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, admitted on a podcast that the dreams He is seeing God fulfill right now were all revealed to Him in his early 20’s.

2) Had Strong Vision

Haven’t seen any miracles lately? It is probably because you have a small God. A big God does big things. A small God does small things. Bill Bright didn’t set out to win five students for Christ, but millions. Because of his labor, there are thousands of staff working around the globe on over one thousand campuses to win college students to Christ. In the last five years, 37,900 students have indicated a decision to become a Christian. This all started with one man, one vision, and one big God.

3) Had Vocal Opposition

Every good leader experiences opposition at one point or another. It is a fact. The Scriptures say, “Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” In the United States this persecution is primarily verbal. If you aren’t experiencing opposition currently, there is a good chance you aren’t taking any risks. As a fraternity President, I was almost impeached once because the members did not like where the chapter was headed. It came right after a weekend where 1/4 of my fraternity brothers came with me to a Greek conference to hear the gospel.

4) They Enlisted Others

Are you a Christian or a disciple? Actually, there is no difference. If you signed up to follow Jesus, then you automatically become a disciple, which means you are following someone and calling others to follow that someone as well. God’s Kingdom does not expand through people who go to church on Sunday and give to the local charity once a year. The Kingdom is expanded through new disciple-makers. This means that every good spiritual leader will care about mission. John Piper says, “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.” The big goal of disciple-making, or enlisting and training others, is worship. We want our awesome God to be worshiped by every tongue and tribe in the world.

5) They Persevered Over The Long Haul

When I first started walking with God, I was excited to become a spiritual leader. I wanted to do great things for God and get a lot of respect from others. Respect within my Christian circle of friends increased a lot and I was on a spiritual high. Then the persecution came. Then the disappointment. Then the depression. The longer I’m a Christian, the more tempted I am to give up and quit. Being in full-time Christian ministry, there are so many letdowns it isn’t even funny. There is a lot of spiritual apathy among college students. If you mix the apathy with my pride, high expectations, and a desire to make results happen on my own, a lack of perseverance abounds. If you want to be a leader for selfish reasons, don’t worry, you will eventually be weeded out. Only a strong love for God will keep you sprinting towards the finish line.

6) Each Had a Deep Foundation In Their Walk With God

Pastor Mark Driscoll told his congregation that he believes that too many people work in their life, not on it. We as Americans pride ourselves in being busy. We are always trying to build a bigger house than the guy next to us – which means we don’t have time to build a foundation. But eventually, the storms come and knock us around. The spiritual giants of the past withstood many storms because they had a solid foundation in their walk with God. Martin Luther spent four hours every morning before he want about his “busy” day. These guys realized that nothing could be done apart from Christ. They were prayer warriors, knowledgeable of God’s Word, and filled with the Spirit.

Spiritual Leadership Quiz:

Do people sometimes view you as “foolish” when you talk about what you are expecting God to do?

Do you have a dream or vision from God that seems impossible?

Have you experienced any opposition from others for being a Christian or trying to accomplish big things for God?

Who have you enlisted recently to become a disciple-maker?

Are you conditioned to run the spiritual race over the course of your entire life?

Do you meet with God regularly?

Tyler Zach is an alum of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nebraska-Omaha – where he earned a degree in Management Information Systems. Tyler is currently on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ in Omaha, NE.

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