The Training Table: “The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms”-2

Getting to YES Diagram - Copy-jpeg“The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms” is a series of timeless truths—each of which will serve to reinforce the Feast of the Heart Vision, Mission, and the main motivation for my own life in Christ and love for those He places in my life.

Everyone reformed, revived, a constructive revolutionary!

Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.

  • Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth of the Bible.
  • Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed.
  • Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment.

The Anecdote of Our Dandy and Dizzying Days

What have you experienced as being the two most common responses to the everyday inquiry of a stranger or even your closest friend or family member, “How are you doing today?” After having listened carefully for a very long time, my observation is:

1) “Fine.” or

2) “Really busy.”

[And, by and large, the parenthetical following both of these off-handed, instinctual quips is, “And you really don’t want to know the details… Do you?” But that’s another topic… Sort of.]

So, given my propensity to try and peel off at least a layer or two of the onion, my follow-on response is: “That’s great… If you wouldn’t mind, tell me what you’re up to… and how’d you get so crazy busy?”

“Thanks… Oh geez… What am I up to…? I feel like I’m always being pulled in a hundred different directions. If I had to stop long enough to think about it I’d have to say I have no idea how I got so busy. The demands just keep coming… I’m sure a part of it is that I have a hard time saying ‘No.’” Ms./Mr. Busy says.

In Bondage to the Incessant Demands of This World, Your Bad Habits, and/or the Devil?

If there is one area of life that all humanity could agree on that needs some very close scrutiny it’s this: What we say “Yes.” and “No.” to… and why. Why is it so hard or easy to say “No.” and/or “Yes.”? After all, “Yes.” and “No,” are such a simple words and deeds, right?

Au contraire, mon ami!

In fact, whether or not we have any control over our “yes’s” or our “no’s” is a very complicated topic and inner struggle of EveryMan. Why so? From the 30,000’ to ground-zero perspective, it’s about Sin (The Fall, Original/Inherited Sin, Genesis 3, Romans 1:18-32) and our sinning (the daily habits of the heart that are too often subservient to the world (Romans 12:1-2), the flesh (Galatians 5:17), and the devil (Ephesians 6:11-12) ways.

If this sort of explanation sounds intellectually anachronistic or feels like condemnation, that’s understandable [the church hasn’t kept pace with the culture’s stinking thinking about cause and effect], but it’s the only explanation that actually, a) makes philosophical, logical and anecdotal sense, and b) has a viable solution that works and lasts!

Let Your YES! Be Yes and Your NO!, No.

When, in the Book of James, one of the most profound yet practical and “applicable” [how to apply, live out the Christian life] parts of the Bible, says, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5;12), “…above all…”? That’s pretty strong, right? Said a different way, “if you’re a Christ-follower the most supremely important thing in your life is having your priorities worked out so that every interaction with anyone God places in your life is directed at glorifying God and blessing others.” Period.

“Getting to YES!” is the Leading Indicator… Without it, “NO!” Only Promotes Sin, Legalism, License and Yuck

Here’s what The Triune God of All is saying to you if you are a born-again disciple of Jesus Christ—those whose life is supposed to be launched, lit, led, lifted, litigated, liberated, and leavened by the Bible—“The YES! of my life is to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all of my strength; and to love my neighbor as myself. That is my YES!… and my reason for everything in life and in death.”

Human beings were originally created by God to follow His Law perfectly, but ever since Sin and sinning entered the universe—and wholly-marred all else since then—our instinctual, knee-jerk, sin-spring-loaded response to God’s or any authority figure’s, “NO!… do not do that…” is, “Hell yes! I want to do that more than ever now!” Hell being the operative word… This is why our YES! must precede and dominate our “No.” (Romans 6:14; 11:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 2:8-9) YES! is the leading indicator and No. is the lagging indicator.

Let you’re YES! in Christ guide and guard your life, the No’s will take care of themselves. Left unguided and unguarded you’re YES! in Christ will lead you to the lukewarm-disciple life of making oaths, commitments, promises, and practices that do not honor God… nor will they bless people.

So why do so very few people have a living, breathing, freeing, and joyous “YES!” as a deeply rooted, fruitful, and influential part of their life? It’s a complicated and hard work—because the land has been left fallow for so long… But it can be reclaimed and revitalized beginning “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8).

Please Begin the Work and/or Renew It “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8)!

Take a good, long, hard look at the inset graphic, “Getting to YES!” If, as it should be, the above-referenced statement, “The YES! of my life is to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all of my strength; and to love my neighbor as myself. That is my YES!… and my reason for living and dying.” is FIRST in place, bring a friend and follow the steps below for creating a Vision, Mission, Core Values, Strategy, Accountability, and Results for “Getting to YES!”

1) VISION:  Why do I exist? [What does the fulfillment of my Mission look, sound, taste, feel like?]

2) MISSION: How I will achieve my Vision? [In brief.]

3) CORE VALUES:  Who am I?  How will I conduct myself in order to achieve my Vision, purpose? [What explicit set of behaviors?]

4) STRATEGIC ROADMAP:  How do I [strategically] achieve my vision, mission?

5) ALIGNMENT:  Has my vision, mission, core values, strategy been clearly communicated to all the key stakeholders in my life?

6) PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY:  Who, what community am I accountable to—to lovingly, truthfully, and urgently help me stay on course?

7) RESULTS:  How am I measuring results as a witness of The Trinity’s grace and truth, and to assure continuous improvement?

“…it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

To repeat: Please Begin the Work and/or Renew It “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8)!

The world; our own/old/prideful/selfish/controlling/sinful self; and Satan are dead-set against the development, community-involved, and daily living-out of our “Getting to YES!”, beloved. But this is vitally important “… above all else…”.

FREE at Last!

When we are in bondage to the world’s, our own selfishness, and the devil’s schemes and ways—devised to yank us around like headless chickens (James 1:6)—the aimlessness of our life, and the chaotic EMOTIONAL AMBIVALENCE that flows from it, will lead us to feel condemned and will wreak havoc with our ability to “… let our “yes” be yes and our “no” be no…”: In short, it will prevent us from living the blessed life (Matthew 5).

Like a chameleon, our guidelines for our “Yes.” or “No.” will vary for each and every person and circumstance we’re in. This is surely no way to live… In fact, it’s not your and my life at all: It’s a mere reflection of other lives, whims,  whimsies,  circumstances, and fast-passing worldly ways.

The demands of worldliness, darkness, and chaos on your life will not end until Jesus returns. We have a clear, free-will choice, marathoners for Christ: “Getting to YES!”, being free and exemplary with our “No’s”, keeping it a vital part of all of your life, and displaying the freedom, focus, and joy of doing so to and for others… will guarantee you INNER commitment and contentment and OUTER Christlikeness:

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, emphasis added).

The Seen: Every jot and tittle of our life… each of our roles and all of the goals therein… the first and last area of influence you and I can assert in this life [and seen in eternity—2 Corinthians 5:10]… are primarily influenced by a God-glorifying, people blessing, “DeeperYES!” Every word and deed that flows from “God’sYES!” in your life will make you better and better, more fruitful, loving, compassionate, long-suffering, and more like Christ.

The Unseen: Conversely, whether we see it, embrace it, or believe it or not, neglecting this work of and for your heart will have a primarily negative impact for time and eternity. Every word and deed that does NOT flow from “God’sYES!” in your life will make you more and more bitter, cynical, anxious, hardened, isolated, needy, cagey, fearful, and more like the anti-Christ.

FREE Indeed… 

Imagine yourself being accosted [even in a friendly way…] by yet another request of your time, talent, and/or treasure. Here it comes… And rather than feeling pressured, anxious, insecure, small… or condemned in any way, you feel free and excited! Even at the chance to define and refine your YES! Why? Because the Spirit has just provided you the opportunity to intentionally, God-glorifyingly, and people-blessingly say YES! or NO! in the CONTEXT of your commitment to the vision and mission God has placed upon your life! This is why God has you on the planet [still].

This hard-fought-for yet joyous freedom is what all people yearn for, Beloved. And God wants YOU Your “YES!”… to be an example of it each and every “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8).


To Be Told, by Dan Allender

The Purposes of God, by R.C. Sproul

Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren

The Call, by Os Guinness

Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler



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