Leadership, Personal Development

Running the Race to Obtain the Prize

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Have you ever run a race?  Probably as a child you have.  Some of you may have participated in track and field running races.  Others of us have competed in one event or another and some of us have won the competition!  I’m not much of an athlete and haven’t come in first many times, but when I have it’s a real thrill!  All of the work, practice, and preparation has paid off and we have been rewarded!

I was having a Facebook Chat with my son, Matthew, this morning about this question:  “Will be be judged for what we are called to do in that God has only one plan for us?”  My reply to him is this:

Since I have become a Christian more than 40 year ago I have lived with eternity in mind.  I live to stand before the throne of Jesus Christ and to hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant…enter into the inheritance that has been prepared for you.”

The Bible verses below have impacted my life for more than 40 years:

Matthew 5:14-30

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God has given us a deposit:  Our Spiritual Gifts, Heart Motivation, Abilities, Personality and Experiences in Life (SHAPE) have created us to be a unique person to fulfill our part in God’s Eternal Plan during our lifetime

Some day in the future all Christians will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ to be judged for the deeds that we’ve done in this body – Have we done what God intended us to do with the SHAPE He has given us (unbelievers will stand before the Great White Throne of God Almighty – a different judgement from the Judgement Seat of Christ – and be judged as to whether their name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not.)  Rewards will be given.  In heaven there are varying degrees of rewards and varying degrees of glory based upon what we have done with what God has given us during this life time.  It’s an individual thing.

I believe the Apostle Paul had the same understanding and lived with the same motivation:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

“Run in such a way to receive the prize.”  This means that some will receive the prize and some won’t.  Some will receive greater and lessor rewards in heaven.  The question is “What are you doing with what God has given you?”

I believe we can hinder the plan of God and possibly delay it because our of apathy, laziness or being distracted with the things of the world.  These Bible verses are not just for the “Great Heroes of Faith” or missionaries like me…they are for everyone!

Selected verses from Hebrews, Chapter 11:

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

I urge you to consider the life that God has given you. Discover your Spiritual Gifts, Heart Motivation, Abilities, Personalty and Experiences in Life and how God wants to use you as a unique individual to make a difference in your generation.  Your reward is waiting for you.

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Leaders Who Learn

2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman was a great military leader of his time.  He had earned the love and respect of his commanders but he suffered from the disease of leprosy.  His king heard of  a Hebrew prophet and sent Naaman to see if he could gethelp.  The prophet indeed intended to help Naaman, but Naaman first had to breakthrough his pre-conceived ideas on how to solve the problem.  He wasn’t teachable.  He was locked into a certain way of thinking.  Notice what we can learn about problem solving from Naaman:

1.  He wanted an easy way to solve the problem.  He didn’t want to put forth much of an effort.  Sometimes we have to put forth a lot of effort to solve a problem!

2.  He expected special treatment because of his high position and experience.  Sometimes to solve problems we must humble ourselves and come down to the bottom level.  Our superior attitude sometimes blocks the solutions God is trying to bring to us.

3.  He had to break through certain assumptions he had formed.  He expected God to solve the problem in a certain way.  God had a different way.  Often when trying to solve a problem or find a new way we must set aside our history of how that or a similar problem was solved and be open to a new way.

4.  He was frustrated and angry.  Frustration and anger often close the door on solutions.  We are frustrated and angry and give up.  Control your frustration and anger and allow the Lord to show you how he wants it done.

5.  He rejected a new solution.  So many people reject new ways of doing things without even thinking about it, praying about it or giving it a try.

I hope we all can become a teachable leader and learn new ways to solve problems.  Unreachable leaders will be left behind as our world changes and God does new things in our culture.

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Seven Truths About Raising up Leaders

1 Kings 19:4-19; 2 Kings 2:2-15

1.  We must continually raise up Leaders to fill the need for the next generation.

2. The current generation of Leaders must look for and challenge the next generation of Leaders  (not just adults but current youth leaders preparing the next generation).

3. The potential leader must count the cost, pay the price by sacrificing and follow. 

4.  The potential leader takes the initiative to stay close and “shadow” his mentor. 

5.  The potential leader sees the strengths, experience and fruit of his mentor and desires it. 

6. The Senior Leader passes his authority on to his mentee.

7.  Others recognize the transfer of spiritual authority. 

This is true for Church,  business, Family,  organization, ministry.


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Grace for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow


That is the weak, wounded, and invincible song of Psalm 34. Worship the God of all wisdom and all power, who created and governs the whole universe, and who cares for the daily needs of each of his children. Take refuge in the God whose eyes “are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

When stress and disappointment and fear begin to drown our hope and joy in God, Jesus encourages us to be Davids,

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31–33)

God’s new mercy meets us each morning (Lamentations 3:22–23), and most of the time we’re too consumed by tomorrow’s trouble to even notice. David models stopping even in the midst of ongoing uncertainty and distress to celebrate daily grace, and he calls us to join him in that peace and confidence.

Like a great Father-King, God plans to pour out everything at his disposal to keep you from everything threatening your eternity with him and to satisfy you fully and forever with himself. It may not always be safe or pain-free or clear to you in the moment, but he will bring you to a never-ending life you wouldn’t trade for anything. Focus on the ways — small or large — he has lovingly cared for you today — taste and see that he really is good — and trust him for that grace to come again tomorrow.

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Personal Development

19 Possible Motives for Pornography Addiction

This article is written by Brad Hambrick and came to me via the Covenant Eyes Newsletter (www.covenanteyes.com).  It’s kind of long, but read it slowly and thoughtfully.

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Often triggers and motive are treated as two distinct things, and there are differences. But those differences are more akin to two sides of the same coin than apples and oranges. In this post we’ll examine the things that trigger your sexual sin and the motives attached to those triggers.

As you identify the trigger-motive for your sexual sin, we also want you to begin to see how you are treating your sin like a friend, ally, refuge, etc. These insights are essential for repentance to make sense as a central part of change. Unless we see how our sin seeks to replace God in our life, then our need to be made right with God comes across as if God is unduly hung up about our sexuality.

About the author, Brad Hambrick

Brad Hambrick is Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina. Brad also serves as a Council Board member with the Biblical Counseling Coalition and adjunct professor of biblical counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Brad has been married to his wife Sallie since 1999 and has two wonderful boys.

 

 

 

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Leadership, Personal Development

Discipleship

2 Kings 2:15

“The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”

20160705_102656Everybody has something to impart to another.  Some people have more than others to impart because they have disciplined their lives to carry spiritual gifts, abilities, knowledge and experiences in life in order to be useful and a blessing to others.  This process of taking who we are and what we have and imparting it to others is sometimes called mentoring or coaching, but in the Bible it’s called discipling.  This is of utmost importance to our Lord, as it was included in what we call “The Great Commission” – some of the final words of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…”  Matthew 28:19

The prophet Elijah discipled his helper, Elisha, to the point that when others saw Elisha, they declared, “Elisha has the same characteristics of Elijah.”  This is the sign of successful discipleship:  Those whom you are discipling are similiar to you in their thinking, world view, philosophy of life and actions.  Similar, not clones.  They still maintain their uniqueness, but they carry similar ways of thinking and doing as you…and we hope like the Lord Jesus.

The apostles of the Lord were identified as being associated with Jesus because they thought like him, spoke like  him and acted like him.  The first Christians were called disicples for the same reason.

We, who are followers of Jesus, are to be his disciples.  This means we think like Jesus, talk like Jesus and do like Jesus.  (By the way, Jesus did little more than the five activities recorded in Matthew 4:23-25 – 1)  Preach the Good News, 2)  Teach the Ways of God, 3)  Heal the sick, 4)  Cast out demons, 5) Do various miracles as needed to show God’s power and love.)  Our focus must be to order our thinking, character, words, world view, philosophy of life and daily activities as one who has the Spirit of Jesus working in us.  This involves reading the Bible and applying it to ever area of our life (Family, Relationships, Finances, Work, Entertainment, Future Plans) and asking God to show us to whom He wants us to impart what he’s done in us.  This includes our family, our staff, and those whom the Lord will bring to us.

Disicpleship is intentional.  That means that as a Christian we discover the foundations that God has laid in our lives and as he draws people to us we intentionally impart that to others.  This involves spending time with them probably in some kind of a small group, as well as communication nowadays through email, social media, web calls and other means.  But the point is, we are intentional.  We understand that it must be a priority for us.

For me, this truth of disicpleship became a reality  many, many years ago and is a part of my fiber…my core being.  For me, imparting to others what God has shown me or what He’s doing in me gives me purpose in life.  It keeps the fire of life burning in me.  That’s not to say I’m perfect by any stretch of the imagination nor that I’m a great somebody who is overflowing as the fountain of wisdom, knowledge and experience.  But me, like you, have something to give to others.

I really recommend that you shift your thinking to that of being discipled by God and others and becoming a Discipler.  This is God’s plan for us.  This is how we will bring positive change to the world around us.

 

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Church Planting, Leadership, Missions, Uncategorized

Keys to Raising Up Leaders for the Next Generation

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1 Kings 19:4-19; 2 Kings 2:2-15

  1. We must continually raise up leaders to fill the need for the next generation.
  2. The current generation of leaders must look for and challenge the next generation of leaders  (not just adults but current youth leaders preparing the next generation).
  3. The potential leader must count the cost and pay the price by sacrificing and following his mentor-to-be.
  4. The potential leader takes the initiative to stay close and “shadow” his mentor; paying close attention to detail.
  5. The potential leader sees the strengths, experience and fruit of his mentor and desires it.  He/she should desire to rise to the level of his/her mentor and rise above that because of the experience and knowledge he/she gains.
  6. The Senior Leader passes his authority on to his mentee. This usually involves a ceremony identifying the transition.
  7. Others recognize the transfer of spiritual authority and follow the new leader.

This is true for Church,  business, Family,  organization, ministry.

This lesson will be followed up by a brief summary of John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership.

 

 

 

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