Why Self-Promotion Isn’t Always Bad

One question hits the reset button on our motives

Okay, I need to be honest. I’m glad my book launch for Waiting on God is over. Self-promotion can make me really uncomfortable. But not for the reasons you think.

Why Self-Promotion Isn’t Always Bad

(Photo by Photodune)

It’s not that self-promotion is wrong, per se. It doesn’t have to contradict humility. (I’ll share why in a minute.) Rather, all that self-promotion made me at times concerned (this is tough to admit) that I might appear anti-humble. Which, in effect, is the same as being anti-humble.

Maybe you’ve been there. By being concerned with how we are perceived, we waver between the high road of humility and the swamp of pride. It’s really tough to move forward in the Christian life when ego is stuck to your shoes like a glob of gum.

Know what I mean?

But just because our motives are often mixed (even on our best days), that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t self-promote at times.

Here’s why that’s true. And here’s one question that helps us hit reset on our motives.

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Don’t Shove Out Chivalry Just Yet

Why I’m convinced true chivalry isn’t chauvinism.

Cathy and I went to the grocery store not long ago. We parked, and I got out of the car to open the door for her. As I took her hand, I heard a loud voice behind me blurt: “I don’t believe it!”

Don’t Shove Out Chivalry Just Yet

(Photo by Photodune)

I turned around to see a woman with a flabbergasted face. “You opened the door for her! I didn’t think that happened anymore.”

I smiled. “It happens every day.” She walked off, shaking her head.

On another occasion several years ago, I was about to enter an office building and noticed through the glass doors a lady about to exit. I opened the door for her. This smartly dressed woman stopped and gave me a severe look. Her words surprised me.

“Don’t open the door for me just because I’m a woman,” she said. My response was quick but kind.

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Why You Must Listen to God Rather than to People

Joash's life demands we cultivate our own resolve to follow the Lord.

We all need people to influence us. God made us that way. From the languages we speak to the character we develop—it all begins with those who surround us in our formative years.

Listen to God

(Photo by Noam Armonn via Vivozoom)

It starts with our environment, but it shouldn’t end there. It cannot.

When it does, it’s tragic. That was the case with King Joash.

But it doesn’t have to be that way with us.

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How Haggai Shakes the Ho Hum from Our Hearts

Finding balance between building for here and for Heaven.

It always seems easier to find time for home improvements than to make time for building God’s kingdom. Of course, these needn’t be mutually exclusive. The challenge, of course, is balance.

How Haggai Shakes the Ho Hum from Our Hearts

(Photo by Photodune)

The Jewish exiles who returned to the Promised Land began rebuilding the fallen temple of the Lord. But harassment from the locals and the Persians produced apathy toward the project—and the work stopped. After sixteen years without progress, God raised up the prophet Haggai to ignite in God’s people a passion for God’s priorities.

Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Consider your ways!’ —Haggai 1:4–5

Haggai’s words help us as well when we’re not sure how to keep first-things first.

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What’s Your Motive? There’s One Way to Tell

How Tisha B'Av & the Burnt House Examine Us

I find it fascinating that when the New Testament talks about God judging our motives, it uses the metaphor of a burnt house. In Jerusalem, one site I pass always begs the question: “What’s your motive?”

How Tisha B'Av & the Burnt House Examine Us

(Photo: The Burnt House in Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some call it coincidence. Some call it Providence. But according to tradition, both the First and Second Temples (in 586 BC and AD 70) were destroyed on the same date in history. Tisha B’Av marks the 9th day of the month of Av—the fifth Jewish month. During the exile, the Jews instituted a fast to commemorate the Temple’s destruction. After they returned to Jerusalem, they asked God a question about Tisha B’Av:

Shall I weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done these many years? —Zechariah 7:3

Their question made sense.

They had observed the fast in exile, but should they continue to fast on Tisha B’Av now that they were building the Second Temple? God’s answer to their question reaches beyond them to the heart of why we do what we do.

One question gets to the heart of our heart.

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Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

Your Faith Has More Facts Behind it Than You Think

Today you will be told to face the facts. Usually, that means bad news. You don’t have the money. The doctor’s report looks grim. Time is running out on your biological clock. Facing the facts is hard.

Why Facing the Facts Begins with Faith

(Photo by Photodune)

But think about it: facing the facts isn’t our problem. It’s that we fail to face all of the facts.

God has facts to factor into our thinking as well.

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Try Rubbernecking to God’s Perspective for a Change

Why Your Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Bad Day Doesn’t Define Your Life

How often do you come to the end of congestion on the freeway only to discover the whole jam was merely onlooker traffic? I’m always amazed. Why do we do that? It’s more than morbid curiosity.

I’ve concluded we rubberneck because we enjoy gawking at someone else’s bad day. But why? Because, honestly, it helps us feel better about our own lousy day.

But if we’re feeling bad about our lousy day (or life), then we need to rubberneck a different direction.

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What Freedom Means and Never Means

All those self-evident truths come in a broader context.

On a layover to Israel, we enjoyed some time in Philadelphia. We visited the Rocky steps (yes, I ran them), Betsy Ross’ house, and Ben Franklin’s grave. But I most enjoyed Independence Hall across the street from the Liberty Bell.

George Washington and Wayne Stiles

(Photo: Standing with George Washington in Independence Hall)

There’s nothing like standing where history happened. It reminds us that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were more than just names in a history book or faces on our money. They really lived.

On July 4, 1776, in Independence Hall, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the second paragraph famously begins:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. . .

Independence Hall interior

(Photo: Independence Hall interior, where the Declaration of Independence was debated and adopted)

Even a deist like Thomas Jefferson affirmed there are some truths that are self-evident (i.e. obvious)—truths revealed by our Creator. Rights given that cannot be taken away (that’s what “unalienable” means.)

And although creation offers truths we cannot (logically) deny, many people choose to reject them anyway. And that’s fine. Freedom allows us to choose what we accept or reject.

But there’s something freedom never allows us—and never will.

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Blessed are the Flexible for They Shall Not Be Broken

Does God really have the freedom to stretch you?

We love the idea of following God’s lead. We marvel at the changes a sovereign God brings. What isn’t so thrilling is when God—without warning—stretches us far beyond our capacity.

Blessed are the Flexible for They Shall Not Be Broken

(Photo by Photodune)

One morning not long ago I simply rolled over in bed, and I felt a sharp POP in my back—followed by an excruciating current up my spine. I had thrown my back out just by rolling over in bed! I eased out of bed and literally had to crawl across the room.

A couple of days later at my physician’s office, he entered the room with my x-rays under his arm. “Your back is fine,” he said. “You’re real problem is something else.”

Hint: It’s the same problem in my spiritual life. (And yours.)

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Update on My Holy Land Tour: Good News and Really Good News

Unless I’m wrong, you love connecting the Bible and its lands to life. In fact, that’s likely one of the reasons you read my blog. And honestly, that’s why I write it—so that we can make that connection together.

Sunrise over Jerusalem

(Photo: Sunrise over Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Reading about the Holy Land is one thing, but taking a journey to Israel is something else entirely. Entirely! Admittedly, it’s a wonderful privilege.

I spent many hours preparing for a tour this fall—a tour that follows the life and lessons of Christ in the very places our Savior walked. But I have postponed the tour . . .

If you wanted to go to Israel with me with me this fall, but couldn’t, I have good news. The tour has been rescheduled for one year later—October 2016. It gets better. In fact, I have some really good news.

The tour is much cheaper.

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