Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What Makes and Effective Executive?

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(Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul, Willamette Valley, Oregon)

by Peter Drucker

An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.

What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:

  • They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Leaders are Not Satisfied with the “Status Quo” but Reach for More…

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Status quo is a Latin Phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues.  It means whatever is normal.  Some people are satisfied with how things are and make no movement to change it.  Others are not satisfied with how things are but they, too, make no move to change it.  However, a leader is not satisfied with how things are and takes initiative to change it. That’s one of the chief characteristics of a leader.  

In my Daily Bible Reading I came across a man the Holy Spirit singled out as  He led the writer OF 1 Chronicles to list over 600 names.  One man among those 600 stood out because he was a leader:

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

This morning I’m meeting with two staff pastors at our Phnom Penh church to evaluate the members and attenders at our North Campus.  We want to see who we have as leaders or potential leaders.  By the way, what are the characteristics of a leader?    Jabez shows us four characteristics of a successful leader who pleases God:

Four Characteristics of a Successful Leader Who Pleases God

  1.  He/she overcomes internal lids.  The mother of Jabez put a name on him that means suffering.  She apparently thought her newborn son was a pain for her.  Jabez might have grown up with this stigma on is life every time someone called his name. He may have had to deal with inferiority and rejection, but he overcame the internal lid to his potential leadership. Many people complain because they are poor or lack an education or never had some of the positive experiences others have had.  Some people never move forward because of limitations they set upon themselves or personal disciplines or the difficulty of their situation.  Leaders overcome internal and external lids.  They just find what it takes to overcome !
  2. He/she looks to God as his/her Source.   Whether you are the leader of a family, business, organization, ministry or church you will need the grace of a Higher Power to help you.  Successful leaders who please God know that to lead their family, their business, their organization, their ministry or church they need God, and they cry out to him day and night for favor, wisdom and strength.
  3. He/she is not satisfied with the Status Quo.  The big difference between leaders and non-leader is that leaders do not just see what needs to be fixed or changed, but they get up and gather the resources to make the change.  They exert personal discipline, sacrifice, develop their understanding and skills and move forward.
  4. He/she is committed to personal integrity.  The successful leader who pleases God does not cut corners.  He is honest in his relationships with people, staff, finances and time.  He/she chooses to take the high road even if he has to personally sacrifice lose to be honest with his employees, staff, vendors, donors, and others to whom he relates.  He does not lie and is not dishonest in reporting.

I believe that everybody has the potential to lead in some capacity and I urge you to follow what God is putting in your heart and do everything you can to prepare yourself to be a leader who is pleasing to God.

 

 

 

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Leadership, Personal Development

People Are Our Reward

 

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As I’ve been reading through the Bible Books 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and now starting 1 Chronicles (9 chapters of genealogies!) I can’t help but notice that a father may be a righteous and good person and leader, but the son turns out to be a evil and bad leader who oppressed people.  Or on the other hand, the father may be evil but the son turns out good!  What’s the deal?  Why is this?

I know godly men and women – parents – who have invested in their children the best they know how but their children turn out bad kids who use drugs, steal and spend time in jail.  Why is that?

Then we have people who do not follow Jesus nor practice the principles in the Bible, yet their kids turn out good!

To tell you right from the start, I don’t have a concrete answer!  

My wife and I, Cynde, are the parents of four children.  We’re proud of our children and they all turned out good in my estimation…not perfect, but good.  Especially as I consider mine and Cynde’s own lack as role models in many areas.  Two of my sons are pastors, however, I’ve never put any pressure on any of them to follow me in pastoral/church ministry.  One of my children is involved in Education at this time and the other is studying and will probably be involved in the sphere of Arts and Entertainment.  I believe that being a Christian minister is not more important than being a Christian in the sphere of Education, Arts and Entertainment, Social Relationships, Business, or Government.  Each are of equal value as we all represent the Kingdom of God in the sphere in which God has called us.

However, here’s a couple thoughts and pieces of advice:

  1. Every person is born with sin.  That sinful nature creates rebellion and independence in us.  Regardless of the positive Christian upbringing we have received, if we choose to turn to the Dark Side, every person has the free will to do that.

Genesis 4:6-8

And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain [a]attacked Abel his brother and killed him.

2.  We are called to discipleship.

Genesis 1:28  28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God’s focus is on people, not programs.  The earth was created for people.  Our biggest investment and greatest reward is people.  It will not be church buildings or ministries that we present to the Lord when we stand before him, but the people whom we’ve had the opportunity to positively influence.  That includes our children.  I really, really encourage you to invest in the biblical education of your children – Bible knowledge, application of the knowledge and teaching and modeling good character.  Not just from 0 to 5 years old, but throughout their time in your home and under your influence.  I really, really encourage you to lead a small group of men, women, children or youth with a systematic study, prayer and fellowship.  Your reward will be the people whom you influence.

3.  You and I must be spiritually healthy.  If there is any possibility of furthering righteousness in the next generation it begins with me and you being spiritually healthy. That means a real, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ…not just Christian habits of attending church, prayer, Bible reading and giving.  While all of these are good Christian habits they can be done without an on fire relationship with Jesus.  What we want to see incarnated in the next generation is not just taught, but “caught” when they see and follow our examples.

What I’m talking about here is thinking beyond ourselves into the influence we can have in the next generation.  In our children and in men and women, boys and girls whom we help lead  to Jesus and grow as a Christian.

I’d like to ask you a question:  How would you rate your relationship with Jesus?  Hot on fire and moving aggressively forward?  Or, drifting, kind of cold or “not what it could or should be”?  Or perhaps you say “I’m okay.  It could be better or could be worse.  Kind of in the middle, but I’m okay.”  Jesus calls this level of relationship “Lukewarm.”

Revelation 3:15-16

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

Yikes! Here is the principle:

What leaders do in moderation, followers do in excess.

If you’re a little lukewarm, then it’s likely that those who watch you or follow you are a lot lukewarm.  If you’re a little lazy in your relationship with Jesus or your work, it’s likely those who are watching you will be quite lazy.  If you fudge a little in your moral stance it’s likely that those who are watching you or following you will drift even further away from God’s standard.

Remember, we don’t live for ourselves.  Man’s Mission from the God of the Universe is to live for others.

2 Corinthians 5:15

15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.

Let’s pray that Jesus help us to focus on what’s important to him:  People.

 

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Uncategorized

Being Relevant to Today’s Societal Needs Yet Building on Our Heritage 

Several times in the Bible Book of Proverbs we are told to “not remove the ancient boundaries.” This is a reminder to us to remember our roots and the truths that give us success today.  I’m reading through the Book of Chronicles in my daily Bible Reading.  The first nine chapters are genealogies.  Almost 1/3 of the book!  This shows us the importance God places on knowing our roots and our history.  It gives us perspective and sometimes keeps us from making the same mistakes over and over again.  King Solomon encouraged his son again and again “Listen to the commandments of your father and don’t deviate from them.”

While all this is true,  there is another side.  We must hold on to our roots yet still be creative,  innovative and not only in touch with our society and season in history but leading g it! We walk the fine balance of building upon and keeping the core values of our roots that gave us success up to this point,  but also being relevant.  We need them both. 

John Maxwell observes this about the importance of remembering and honoring our past:

1.  We remain connected to our heritage. 

2.  We see our place in history and gain perspective from it. 

3.  We are able to honor and pay respect to our forefathers who helped get us to where we are today. 

4.  We are a link in a heritage of blessing which we can pass on to others.  

5.  Our heritage creates stability for our family in this and future generations. 

6.  We see the gifts and calling that are upon us as a clan or family. 

7.  We can retain our identity even if we are moved to far away places or find ourselves in valleys of decision.  Our Heritage becomes our compass.

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Church Planting, Evangelism, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Praying for People According to the Names of God

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In the Old Testament God revealed Himself by various names.  Those names reveal His character and His desire to meet the needs of mankind.  When we pray for people we can pray for them according to the names of God:

  • He is my Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6
  • He is my Peace, Judges 6:24
  • He is my Banner going into war, Exodus 17:15
  • He is my Provider, Genesis 22:14
  • He is my Shepherd, Psalm 23:1
  • He is my Healer, Exodus 15:26
  • He is our Holiness, Leviticus 20:8

We pray by asking questions:

  1. Is there any kind of evil going on in your house – bad character by your children, spouse or parents?  Because my god is a God who wants to establish righteousness in our lives.
  2. Does your house/family/life have peace?  My God wants our lives and families to be filled with peace.  Let’s pray right now asking God’s peace to fill your life.
  3. Is there any demonic disturbances in your life?  Dreams?  Presence of evil?  Fear?  Our God is a God of power who wants to drive out all demonic power in our lives.
  4. How is your finances?  Do you lack?  Do you have financial problems?  Our God is a God who provides for His children.  He knows your situation and wants to help you.
  5. Do you face any big decisions or don’t know what to do in a situation?  If so, our God is a God who shepherds His people and guides them to the right places.  We can ask our God to guide you in the decisions and situation you face.
  6. Is there any sickness in your life or family?  Our God is a god who heals.  He wants to show His power in your life and give you good health and heal you.
  7. Do you have any sinful issues that are binding you?  Bad habits that are affecting you spiritually, emotionally or physically?  Anybody in your household?  Our God is a holy God.  He wants our lives to be holy.  We can pray for you about this.

When you are visiting house to house or when you meet someone for an altar call or in any situation you can use these points to pray for them.

  1. Ask the question.
  2. Listen to their answer.
  3. Tell them about the power and love of our God to solve that problem.
  4. Pray with them.

 

 

 

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Family, Personal Development

Restoring Your Dreams

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Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul

As a Christian, and perhaps even as an unbeliever, God has put certain hopes and dreams deep within our heart – thoughts, ideas, aspirations – of what could be… if only.  Some of us are able to see those dreams come to pass, but others of us are bound by fear, wounds, lack of confidence and other limitations.  Others have had those dreams crushed and shattered as a result of failure, acting out in the flesh or through the thoughtlessness or viciousness of others.  However, I’m here to tell you today that God is a restorer of dreams.  It may be God Himself that has given you that dream that He wants to resurrect, or He wants to instill a new one, or perhaps help you dig down to the recesses of your soul and spirit and discover it for the first time.

The dream God has given you is essential to your well-being.  The Bible says, “Without a vision, people live carelessly.”  Proverbs 29:18.  Your vision, your dream, your God-given motivation in life is what will drive you.  It will give you energy.  It will give you the will-power and motivation to overcome temptations and press through difficult times.  With no dream it’s easy to give up or fall into the mundane, day-to-day living and end up wasting your life on earth and not leaving the mark God intended you to leave on the lives of others.  However, your God-given dream is not just for yourself.

The dream God has given you is essential to the completion of His purpose on earth – the establishing of His Kingdom.  No matter how “secular” the dream you feel is, as long as it’s not sinful, it can be used to glorify God and fulfill His eternal purpose.  You are part of the many-membered Body of Christ.  Who you are and what you do is significant – essential.  Every member of the Body of Christ counts.

Your dream will be more than you can accomplish in your own strength – it will take faith and God’s ability.  It will be something beyond your reach that will stretch you into new arenas; pull you out of your comfort zone and help you to trust God at a new level.

Societal Influence

In order for God’s purpose to be fully established on earth, He must penetrate the following areas of society with Spirit-filled believers:

Religion:  We must have people who have a passion for God’s purpose and holiness leading religion.  People must be brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This happens by being added to the Universal Church as well as the Local Church.

Education:  Education has tremendous influence on society.  We must have Christians involved in every aspect of education.

Government: It goes without saying the power of influence of government.  We need Christians involved in all aspects of government.

Entertainment:  Entertainment includes sports, music, drama and the arts in every form, including writing and publishing books.

Media:  Media includes radio, TV, newspaper, internet and any other form of communicating information to the world.

Societal Relationships: Social relationships involve how families relate to one another, workers relate to one another as well as how society relates to one another in every way.

Business:  God is the God of innovation and success.  We need Christians in every aspect of business and open to God giving them creative business ideas.

So you see, your God-given dream will surely fit somewhere in the scope of what God is trying to do on earth.

Joseph:  A Dream Crushed and Restored

The Bible is full of many men and women who received a dream from God – either a “night dream”, “day vision”, or prophetic word or inner passion – but Joseph is an example of a man who received a dream from God, saw the dream to apparently be destroyed and then restored again in God’s perfect timing.

If you think about it, Joseph grew up in a very dysfunctional family.  He would be the least likely to succeed, but then on the other hand, that seems to be the kind of person God has chosen to be His powerful instruments of change in the world:

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  God chose things despised by the world; things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.  God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom.   As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.”   1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Look at Joseph’s family:

  • His father had four wives – all at one time.
  • Infighting between the wives and children – what kind of atmosphere do you think that created in the family?
  • Rape, murder, lies, deception, prostitution and incest among his immediate family members.

For many of us that would not only knock us out of the running for a dream from God but set us up for a life-time of emotional counseling – dealing with the internal issues of growing up in a family like that.  Can you relate?

As a seventeen-year old boy whose Prefrontal Cortex of his brain has not been fully developed (the part that helps you make good decisions and foresee the end result of a decision), Joseph “tattle-taled” on his brothers – that didn’t help their already fragile relationship.  His father also showed personal favoritism to Joseph, probably spoiling him and clearly showing greater love for Joseph than the other sons (I’ve heard from Marriage and Family Therapists that these isn’t a good practice to follow!).  This created not just an irritation towards him on behalf of his brothers, but a deep-seated hatred.  Nevertheless, Joseph received a dream from God – a promise for the future of how he would play a role in God’s eternal plan for mankind (just like you!).  His dream showed him that eventually he would be lifted up to a prominent position and even his brothers and parents would recognize his prominence and give him honor.  Again, with the Prefrontal Cortex problem, Joseph shared his dream to his family.  He was hated even more by his brothers, and the dream irritated his father, but Jacob nevertheless kept these strange matters in the back of his mind.

Joseph’s brothers hated him so much they actually conspired to kill him, but then relented and only sold him as a slave and as a seventeen year-old boy ended up in a foreign country not knowing the language, culture, no family, no source of income – how would that affect you?  What words would you use to describe what Joseph’s emotional state could have been?

Angry?  Bitter?  Fearful?  Rejected?  Worthless?  Low Self-Esteem?  Trust issues?  Need to prove himself that he really has value?  Abandoned?  Confused?  Visionless?  Shamed?  Lonely?

These kinds of emotions lead to huge relationship problems, not to mention cause us to respond by becoming a workaholic, angry person, going through one relationship after another, being defensive, overbearing, not trusting, suicidal.  What Joseph went through would cause huge life-dominating problems for most people.  Nevertheless, “The Lord was with him.”  Genesis 39:2 Also, “The Lord made all in his hand prosper.”  Genesis 39:3.  This is huge for us:  Even though we go through a most terrible childhood or have horrendous family or relationship issues – “the Lord is with us, and will make us prosper” if we keep our heart right – focused on Him.

Joseph found favor with one of Pharaoh’s dignitaries and was eventually promoted as a manager in his house.  He fought off the sexual advances of the man’s wife because he had core values and a faith in God he refused to violate regardless of the short-term benefits, Genesis 39:9.  But eventually he was framed and put in jail.  What words would you use to describe Joseph’s possible state of mind now?  His dream was crushed, resurrected and crushed again!  But, again, “The Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy and gave him favor…”  Genesis 39:21.  He continued to keep his heart right in the most pressing of circumstances and with the appearance of an absolute hopeless future and he was promoted again, while in jail.

Eventually, God helped Joseph interpret the dreams of two fellow inmates, both servants of Pharaoh.  One was released and promised to put in a good word for Joseph and try to get him out of jail, but of course never followed through on his promise.  Has that ever happened to you?  Broken promises?  Your hopes raised, and then dashed to the ground again?  How much more can this young man take until he completely rejects God and becomes darkened in his soul and spirit?  Many of us would become that way after the first or second set-back of such magnitude!

Nevertheless, he was eventually released from prison and elevated to the highest position of leadership besides that of Pharaoh, just as God had promised thirteen years earlier.  He waited it out.  He held his faith and hope.  He kept himself in a position mentally and emotionally to receive the promise and fulfillment of his dream.  That’s not to say he didn’t waver in faith at times, nor experience temporary discouragement or hopelessness, nor have to deal with the trauma and dysfunction of his family – but he found God in the midst of it and the dream came to pass!

After toying with the idea of revenge on his brothers when they came to Egypt to buy food during a famine (Genesis 42), look at his final perspective:

As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people.  No, don’t be afraid. Indeed, I myself will take care of you and your families.” And he spoke very kindly to them, reassuring them. 

Genesis 50:20-21

Summary of Joseph’s Life

Joseph, a young man only seventeen years old, living in a very dysfunctional family where there was physical, emotional and sexual abuse, received a dream from God – Creator of the Universe.  It was a vision; a hope; a calling; a mission; an assignment.  Just as he embraced the dream it was dashed to pieces – shattered.  He found himself in a foreign country, rejected by the family that was supposed to nurture him to maturity and provide a safe place in life.  He was abandoned and without hope.  Not only once, but three times was his vision and hopes ground to dust.  Yet, somehow, he held his faith.  He must have known the promises that the write of the Book of Hebrews know:

You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail. When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity.  Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you!  Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.  “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.  And a righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”  But we are not like those who turn their backs on God and seal their fate. We have faith that assures our salvation.

Hebrews 10:34-39

Somewhere, deep down in his spirit, he knew the Word of God and the God of the Word.  He didn’t know when and he didn’t know how, but he knew that God was faithful and works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

Application to Our Lives

Perhaps you’re like Joseph.  Perhaps you had a dream from God – a hope, calling or prophetic word.  This is the year to revisit that promise and call it to resurrection.  I’d like to recommend four steps to insure you are on the path for God’s dreams to be restored in your life, beginning now!

  1. Believe God has a dream for you. This is often the most difficult for us.  Who are we?  Look at our failures, our past history, or lack of (fill in the blank).  “I’m really messed up.”  “I’ve forfeited my dream by bad decisions.”  My friend, if God can use a man who went through what Joseph went through, He can certainly restore your dream!  Remember this:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!

Psalm 139:13-18

For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.  Romans 11:29

You may have given up on yourself, but God has not given up on you!  Remember, what you have to contribute to God’s eternal plan and purpose is not insignificant!  It may seem like only a small part to you, but the role your dream plays may be a pivotal part of what God intends to do in your family, region or nation.

  1. Declare your dream. Here’s another difficult one.  When you don’t really believe God has a dream for you.  When you feel hopeless and rejected you really don’t feel like declaring it.  However, speaking forth God’s promises – verbally, not just in your mind – is a critical part of breaking through.  The spoken word is a power factor in our salvation experience.  As you speak the promises of God and begin to say what God says about you and your situation you begin to change and your circumstances begin to change.  This is faith in action.

Salvation that comes from trusting Christ–which is the message we preach–is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”  For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.”   Romans 10:8-11

Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Teacher! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”  Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.  I assure you that you can say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart.  Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.   Mark 11:21-24

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”  With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.   2 Corinthians 4:13

Your future is in your mouth.  You can see your future and dream restored by the confession of your mouth or you can see it buried.  We simply must say what God says not what we think or feel.  It’s a matter of life and death.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:21

  1. Get in alignment for God’s dream to be restored. If we live outside the parameters God gives us for a successful Christian life, we run the risk of aborting the restoration of our dream.  God gives us parameters for a healthy and successful life and the wise person will live within those parameters.  Those parameters include:
  • Get in a local church and submit to your leaders
  • Read the Bible regularly and thoughtfully and try to apply it to your daily life
  • Get involved with a small group of like-minded people who can encourage one another in their walk with God
  • Get involved in some ministry. If you always sit on the sidelines for whatever excuse you give, your dream doesn’t have a chance to grow and mature.
  1. Obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in thoughts, pictures, dreams, and words of other people, songs, impulses and other ways.  The thoughts of God are usually the first thought that comes into our mind.  If we procrastinate or hesitate, the impulse is gone and we’ve missed the opportunity.  God will show us the first step and often it will not make sense.  He rarely shows us the second or third step until we take the first one.  Following God and walking by the Holy Spirit involves risk (faith).  Prayerfully, depending on God and trying to be sensitive to His Holy Spirit’s further promptings, step out and do what you feel God is telling you to do.  Overcome fear and step out.  His vision and dream will be more and clearer one step of obedience at a time!

Conclusion

Take a blank piece of paper and write out the dream God has given you.  It may already be a solid thought in your mind or it may be only a hope hidden in your heart, “I would hope that someday God would use me to …”

Begin to pray your God-given dream into existence and see God use you in the coming years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

What to do When Personal Disaster Strikes

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None of us are immune to personal disaster – it could be a financial crisis, a health crisis or a relationship crisis.  We have a good model in the Bible as to how to respond to these personal (and national) difficulties.

In my Bible reading this morning I read 2 Kings 18-19.  In these chapters we find a good model in how to face and overcome these kinds of difficulties.

  1. Hezekiah does what is right.  The first step is to make sure your heart, actions, character and principles you’re following are pleasing to the Lord.
  2. The powerful enemy attacks.  The crisis occurs.
  3. Hezekiah did not allow his citizens to respond verbally.  Be careful about the words you speak because your words create your attitude and response and your future.  Don’t allow yourself to agree with your circumstances.  It may be bad, but God has an answer
  4. Hezekiah repented, fasted and prayed.  The first response to crisis we see in the bible is to fast (go without food for a day or so), cry out to God and expect to hear his response.
  5. God spoke to the king through the prophet and reassured him it will turn out okay.  Get alone with God.  Read more of the Bible than you normally do.  Saturate yourself in worship and sermons. Get yourself into a position to hear from God about your situation.
  6. The enemy returned!  Don’t expect your problems to go away immediately.  The devil will keep trying until you resist him firmly and over time.
  7. Hezekiah recognized his as not just an attack on Israel, but a spiritual warfare and attack on God himself.  Remember, it’s not just your life or loved ones who are at stake.  There are spiritual forces seeking to destroy you so you won’t be effective for God in your life and those who will be influenced by you in future generations.
  8. God spoke and the enemy was defeated.  Eventually as Hezekiah held onto the Word of God the problem went away.

It’s been my practice to try and follow these principles when disaster or a crisis hits my life.  God gives us his Word in the Bible to guide us in life and who us how to live the life of victory he created us to live.

Romans 5:17

Romans 15:4

1 Corinthians 10:11

 

 

 

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