Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stone

Luke 20:17-18  Then Jesus looked straight at them and asked, "What, then, does this Scripture verse mean: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'?  (18)  Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken. If that stone falls on anyone, it will crush that person."

The corner stone is the foundational stone for a building. It is the first stone laid during a building project. Jesus was making a point to the religious that day. Even those who are slightly offended by the words of Christ are like ones falling on the stone and being broken. Those that hate and despise his truth because it does not fit their lifestyle will be crushed by His message.

The Words of Christ are powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. They cut to the heart going in and coming out. Those that are broken and desire to receive will be changed. Those that are not broken and despise his truth will fall under the Lord's judgement. The Religious sects listening to Jesus during this time understood quit well that Jesus was speaking about them.

Jesus is the cornerstone of life. He is the foundation of all that is, was, and will ever be. His truth is real and will forever remain. It can either break us to the point of repentance and change or it can crush us to thousands of pieces through his judgment. We desperately need him. We desperately need His word to change us. We desperately need the message.

blessings,

Johnny

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lessons in Leadership Part 3 " Respect"

 Proverbs 22:1  A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold.

I have the privelege to work in the secular world and serve the Lord in ministry as well. Although right now I am taking a season off from Church planting and doing any kind of major ministry. Working in the secular world is not always easy.  Many times you don't get the respect you desire from your bosses and the people around you. Many don't follow the same biblical moral code that we strive to follow when dealing with subnoridantes. There is a biblical mandate on giving respect to those we follow and lead. Whether you have a Christian boss or not or whether you lead with respect or not; God does not show favorites he will bring his judgment upon our lives.

Ephesians 6:9  Masters, treat your slaves with respect. Don't threaten a slave. You know that there is one master in heaven who has authority over both of you, and he doesn't play favorites.

As leaders in the secular world and in the body of Christ we are commanded to treat those who work for us or those who we lead with respect. We shouldn't threaten them or put undue hardship on them. We are to treat the people we lead with the same love and attention that the living God gives us. It does not mean we should not be stern or blunt at times. It does mean we should help develop the ones we lead. Honoring them and respecting their individuality. It means having a relationship with them where he or she can speak freely without worry of retaliation. It is our human nature to retaliate towards those who question our authority. Leaders who do this are shallow leaders and probably not leaders anyway. A leader is secure and confident in their calling and giftings. There will be times when it is challenged but a good leader will weigh out each situation with wisdom and understanding. I always try to create a blunt environment with those I have been privileged to lead. Each one knows he or she can come to me and unload their heart whether it is right or not. Now they also know that I will challenge their thoughts when warranted , and we will talk it out from there.

Giving mutual respect as  leader is so important. When people see that you value their opinion or that you truly care about their thoughts on a particular subject. He or she will follow you to the moon and back. Everyone wants to feel important to everyone. There is an adherent desire to feel needed and respected. God instilled this thought process within us. He gave it to Adam and Eve, and it has been passed down to everyone since.

What is respect anyway? Respect is the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect. Respect is like a boomerang. If you throw it out to others it will come back to you. 




There are different levels of Respect in regards to leading others and in building relationships. 


1. Level 1 Respect. This is the basic level of respect that every believer should give to each other. We are all commanded to love one another and to pray for each other. This is the basic tenent of Respect. Everyone gets this freely and it is the starting point for higher levels of respect.

I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
Jackie Robinson

2. Level 2 Respect. This level of respect is built from Level 1 through relationships. You more you get to know the person; the more respect is given. Circumstances arise where trust is demonstrated and dependability is acquired. 

I want to be very close to someone I respect and admire and have somebody who feels the same way about me.
Richard Bach
 

3. Level 3 Respect. This level of respect is built from deep rooted relationships and common understanding of each other. You understand each other. You have this deep connection with the person. If he or she has a bad day or an off day; your more understanding because your level of respect is at an all time high. At this level of respect , you will see signs of Honor given. We should all be willing to cross the divide to reach this level of respect for each other. 


Go up close to your friend, but do not go over to him! We should also respect the enemy in our friend.
Friedrich Nietzsche

 Building respect:


1. Value the person regardless if the conversation comes out wrong.
2. Start everyone off at level 1 respect and build from that point. Every house must have a good foundation.
3. Teach those you lead about respect by word and deed.
4. Live a life of distributed respect. You give it to others and it is returned to you.
5. You every circumstance as a means to build a healthy level of respect. 


Romans 12:10  Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. 


I love you all,


Johnny
 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Come Running to the Mercy Seat

Exodus 25:17-22  "Make a throne of mercy to cover the ark out of pure gold 45 inches long and 27 inches wide.  (18)  Make two angels out of hammered gold for the two ends of the throne of mercy,  (19)  one on each end. Form the angels and the throne of mercy out of one piece of gold.  (20)  The angels should have their wings spread above the throne of mercy, overshadowing it. They should face each other, looking at the throne of mercy.  (21)  After you put into the ark the words of my promise which I will give you, place the throne of mercy on top.  (22)  I will be above the throne of mercy between the angels whenever I meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

The Ark of the Covenant was built specially by the commands of God. On top of the ark was the lid. It had two angels spreading their wings towards each other. This area was known as the mercy seat. God would come down with all his glory during the priestly rituals and hover above the mercy seat. On the mercy seat was the pouring of the sacrificial blood for the redemption of the people's sins. The redemption of sins had to be covered through blood and filtered through his mercy.

mercy [ˈmɜːsɪ]n pl -cies
1. compassionate treatment of or attitude towards an offender, adversary, etc., who is in one's power or care; clemency; pity
2. the power to show mercy to throw oneself on someone's mercy
 
Mercy is God's compasionate treatment to us even though we don't deserve it. The Blood of Christ washes away our sins because it has been laid at the mercy seat of God.  Mercy is so important for us and for those we give it too.
God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.
--
John Calvin quotes (French ecclesiastical Statesman and Theologian, 1509-1564
 
"I would say to my soul, O my soul, this is not the place of despair; this is not the time to despair in. As long as mine eyes can find a promise in the Bible, as long as there is a moment left me of breath or life in this world, so long will I wait or look for mercy, so long will I fight against unbelief and despair."-John Bunyan (1628 - 1688
 
"Among the attributes of God, although they are all equal,
mercy shines with even more brilliancy than justice."
-Miguel De Cervantes (1547 - 1616)

 
Teach me to feel another's woe, To hide the fault I see; That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me. -Alexander Pope (1688-1744)  

If we could fully see what we are really being forgiven from and what God is really delivering us from; I believe we would understand mercy a little bit differently. If it were not for his mercy ; I could not live or be here today. I need his mercy and his love. The price of sin is tremendous and although the world thinks they don't need redemption. We most certainly do. Many only see sin through sinful eyes and don't see the fullness of it. Sin is dark and evil. It is a spiritual cancer which eats away at life and purpose. The Bible says the wages or the payment of sin is death. Many people see death as a body in a casket. This is not death. Death is much deeper and more sinister than a corspe in a tomb. Death releases us from our phyiscal shell and places us on a journey to the spiritual. The path to the spiritual is a forked road. One goes to glory and the other goes to darkness. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why running to the mercy seat of God is so important. The mercy of God helps set our spiritual life on the right path. It is the path of Christ. Jesus said he is the way , the truth, and the life and no one can come to the Father but by him. This is a powerful statement but Jesus was the only one is history that could validate it.

Maybe you doubt the love and grace of God. Maybe you are taking advantage of his great mercies by living a life contradicting to his truth. I want to encourage you to come running to the mercy seat of God. Rush to the altar , place your hands around the wings of the angels, allow the blood of Christ to cover your sinful stains, and throw yourself at his tender mercies. Look through the eyes of Christ and really understand what you are being delivered from. Never forget that just right above the mercy seat is a hovering , living God ready to meet you there. Oh if I could speak in tongues over the internet right now. Praise God!!!! Halleujah!!!! He is truly a great God!!!!!


Blessings,

Johnny



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lessons in Leadership part 2 " Character"

From the dictionary we find the definition of what Character actually is. I have added comments to some of the definitions. My comments are in yellow.

character

[kar-ik-ter] Origin Like this word?

char·ac·ter

[kar-ik-ter] Show IPA
noun
1.
the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. Character is the nature of God being formed within us and demonstrated to others outside of us. 
2.
one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3.
moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character. We have lost the value of honor now days. Ethics has escapd us but many "leaders" still don't get it. 
4.
qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.  Part of character is having the courage to stand up for what is right even when no one is looking. We are paintings that others look at. They can either see a masterpiece stroked by the hand of God or a cartoon drawing by a three year old. How we develop our character determines the results. 
5.
reputation: a stain on one's character. What are people truly saying about us?
 
 
One thing that I value greatly is the character of myself and the character of others. As leaders our character must be impeccable. If people are going to talk against you they are going to either have to make something up or fine some petty thing about you. Apostle Peter gives us the break down of how our Character should develop in our lives.
2 Peter 1:3-10  God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity.  (4)  Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value. Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world.  (5)  Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge;  (6)  to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness;  (7)  to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love.  (8)  If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive.  (9)  If these qualities aren't present in your life, you're shortsighted and have forgotten that you were cleansed from your past sins.  (10)  Therefore, brothers and sisters, use more effort to make God's calling and choosing of you secure. If you keep doing this, you will never fall away.
 
We have the power of the living God flowing in our lives. There should not be any reason why HIS CHARACTER is not revealed to those we serve.  Apostle Peter gives us the spiritual equation for the building of our character.

Faith + Integrity + knowledge + self- control + endurance + godliness + Christian Affection + Love = The example of Christ to the world and to the church.

We can reverse this spiritual equation and show what it is like without these attributes being grafted into our character.

NO Faith - Integrity - knowledge - self-control - endurance - godliness - Christian affection - love =  The bad example of Christ to the world and to the church and the bible says you are short-sighted taking advantage of the mercies of God. 

Many people want the position of  leadership without the sacrifice. I have failed on many occasions to get some I have mentored to not look at the position but to focus on their character. He or she could not grasp what was being told to them because of their lust for power and position.  Leadership is not about position. It is about influence. It is about directing others into the right direct and it is about laying down your lives for others. This takes character and character does not happen over night. You do not go to bed one night without character and wake up the next day with a magical appearance of it. It takes time to build and it takes sacrifice to develop. What do others say about Character?

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln  
 
Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.
Aristotle

It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.
Zig Ziglar
 
You are not a great leader because your position demands the allegiance from those that follow you. Your ability to lead must first be developed through your character. I have had the privilege of mentoring and ministering to many different people. Some are awesome examples of Christ for today. Some are awesome examples of selfishness and lack of character of Christ.  I  have minister to a few who always sought after the position, but their character never changed. Their character was a horrible train wreck. They would be overbearing to people around them. Their conversations were mostly about themselves and many people were turn away from their childish actions. The Lord would lead me to help those individuals get past the thought of having a position but focus on being the best Christian he or she could be. God wanted to use them but not in the present state he or she were in. Unfortunately, these individuals just don't get. They run to other ministries or ministers seeking out power and position. They find someone to tell them what they want to hear. This is a scary place to be in. It is easier to just let the Lord build your character!!!
 
As leaders, what should our character look like to others. Below is list but not a final one. Please pray about your life today and make sure Character is an important part of your leadership. 
 
What Character should look like to others:
 
1.  Dependable:  The Body of Christ should know without a doubt our dependability. We are faithful to be at the functions of life.
2.  Spiritual:  People should see Christ in you. If  you have a relationship with Christ , his character will be demonstrated throughout your life. People will know there is something different about you. 
3. Honorable:  Where is the honor among leaders? As a leader you don't want to do wrong because you know it will hurt others. The needs of the ones must be put aside for the needs of the many.
4. Morally Centered: People should see a leader with a pure heart. One who strives to be released from the bondage of sin. One who seeks out accountability and follows through with it.  
5. Ethical:  Many leaders lack the ethics to carry out true leadership tasks. God's word is our standard to live by but many twist it for their benefit. We must follow the moral code which has been presented before us. 
6. Reputation:  How do you define your reputation? If you are fortunate like I have been you can take a test. A few weeks ago, I had 10 of my peers, 10 of my subordinates, and 10 of my upper management take a test on me. They rated my character and my ability as a leader. I was humbled to find that across the board everyone saw me as the same. This was a wide range of different people with different views.  Maybe a few say you are great but what do the majority of people you come in contact with say about you?
 
As a leader focus on your character development and see what God does in your life. You will become a great leader and a great follower of the Lord. 
 
blessings,
 
Johnny