Monday, February 27, 2012

Embracing our weakness

I use to be a very shy person. I guess you could say that at my core; I am an introvert. It was hard for me growing up. At home, I was fine with my siblings but many times I was off to my own corner. I had my own toys and  usually played by myself. I could spend hours in solidarity without any issue. My imagination was all I needed to carry me through an afternoon of fun. It is not always easy being the shy guy. I am not sure what actually caused my shyness. My dad is shy,but my home life was never abusive or anything which would hinder my development as a person. From articles I have read, shyness can simply be instilled within you at birth. I use to fight my shyness. I got involved with the drama club at school. Doing plays and other events did help me break out of my shell some, but deep down I was still battling. Being filled with the Holy Spirit changed my actions some as well. I became more bold in my faith and demeanor. Even with all the changes in my life; my shyness was still deep within my core. I hated being around crowds; even today I start to sweat and get fidgety.

One thing I have learned over the years, through Holy Spirit, is to embrace my shyness. I was created different and shyness is a part of who I am. Like anything in life. Our weaknesses can either remain our weakness or become one of our strengths. Shy people have something that most people don't. We have characteristics which are embedded within us.

Strengths which arise from being shy.

1. Cautious thinking. Being shy gives you opportune time to think things through. It helps you to think before you speak on most occasions.
2. Discernment of spirit. Shy people have a great range of discernment. Due to our ability to observe people; it allows an unbiased look into the intentions of others.
3. Meekness: Our shyness can sometimes allow people to feel peaceful around us.
4. Trustworthy: Being shy gives off the persona that we are trustworthy. People feel confident around us.
5. Over comers: Shy people have an overwhelming strength to overcome situations in life. It gives them an ability to fight against the unusual circumstances.

Obviously if  I did not embrace my shyness and overcome the weak points of it then I would still be in a shell. If you do not embrace how God has made you then you will never be able to overcome your weaknesses.
Someone once said "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

Scripture is clear that we have the power of God within us to overcome any weakness in our life. The Lord desires to make our weaknesses into strengths.


2 Corinthians 12:9-10  But he told me: "My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak." So I will brag even more about my weaknesses in order that Christ's power will live in me.  (10)  Therefore, I accept weakness, mistreatment, hardship, persecution, and difficulties suffered for Christ. It's clear that when I'm weak, I'm strong.


Once we embrace our weakness and turn them over to the Lord ; then we will see true freedom in our lives.


 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Being the Change the World needs

I think about the condition of the world today and my heart goes out to all the sorrow and trouble which seems to be ramped. I sit here wondering if anyone can make a difference. Will the world ever change? I know that Christ changes hearts and does miracles in the lives of many. I have great faith and hope in the message of the Lord and I know God's people can be the catalyst for change. The world will not ever be completely changed by the message of God until Christ comes and reign. However, we should not stop trying to spread his truth. 

I remember when the Berlin Wall came down in November of 1989. The wall which separated relatives and friends for many years was now down. Do you remember the news coverage during that time? It was phenomenal. I remember feeling like I was a part of history. I  also remember crying for the people of Germany and my thoughts went back to the Story of the little girl who lived in an upper room. ( Anne Frank). All that history came to pass because of some amazing people believing for change. A generation had to come and go before another generation would arise to seize the moment for change.

On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan challenged then Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall.  Two years later East German dictator Erich Honecker declared that the wall would not come down for another 100 years. He believed strongly in his Communistic regime. A regime which declared no need for religion, church , or God.

The East German churches arose during this time of evil occupation. They used the only weapon they could use against a powerful government. They used PRAYER. Prayer to a living God who would hear them . On November 9, 1989 the political wall came crashing down. For the years to follow, many would continue to chip away at the physical wall until it was totally gone. The East Berlin dictator, who once denied God, would find himself listing to the gospel message. A few average believers made a difference in what seemed an impossible situation.

The only way to see evil prevail in the world is for God's people to sit back and do nothing. We are meant to be the rising good in a world prone to serve evil. Our force of righteousness does not stop until we are taken or extracted from this planet.  Let's look at a possible passage which I believe supports this truth. Now let me first make a comment about the end times. I am not a pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib or any other tribulation scholar or believer. I just know Jesus is going to return for His people one day. I know that we will be resurrected and arise with Him. How that looks or when that occurs does not matter to me. There is a passage of scripture which I believe gives credence to the power of the Body of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8  Don't let anyone deceive you about this in any way. That day cannot come unless a revolt takes place first, and the man of sin, the man of destruction, is revealed.  (4)  He opposes every so-called god or anything that is worshiped and places himself above them, sitting in God's temple and claiming to be God.  (5)  Don't you remember that I told you about these things when I was still with you?  (6)  You know what it is that now holds him back, so that he will be revealed when his time comes.  (7)  The mystery of this sin is already at work. But it cannot work effectively until the person now holding it back gets out of the way.  (8)  Then the man of sin will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will destroy him by what he says. When the Lord Jesus comes, his appearance will put an end to this man.

The mystery of sin is working in the world today but the full onslaught of sin can not occur yet because of God's people. We are the person standing in the way of sin's complete conquest. God's people, his church is a force not to be reckon with.  I know many misquote this passage and state that Holy Spirit is the one taken out. Holy Spirit is God. God will never be taken out of the picture even during the worse of times. God's peoples are this unexplainable force.We are the majority of good working in the world today.  While we are still on planet earth; we have an unchanging call upon our lives. We are called to make a difference through the message of Jesus Christ.We still have work to do. It is not over until the last trumpet sounds. Like the praying church of East Germany, we have many walls standing in our way. The walls will come down for a season. The season of the church is still at hand. It is an undeniable truth. One which we can not afford to forget.  We can be the instruments of change which the world needs. How can we become this voice of change?

Being the change the world needs

1. Be people of holiness
2. Be people who run after the Father's heart.
3. Be people of prayer.
4. Be people who understand their call.
5. Be people who preach the truth.
6. Be people who live above the influence of sin.
7. Be people who never back down.

Don't underestimate the power of the church. We get that power and purpose through our Savior. The resurrected Christ lives inside of us!!!! We must keep pressing forward and being those instruments of change. The Germans kept chipping away at those concrete walls until they fell completely down. We must keep chipping away until the unspeakable happens and the Glory of God is revealed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Thessalonians 5 ( Christian Living)

There are some amazing truths found in I Thessalonians 5. I wanted to break them down simply. This is our study on Chapter 5.


1 Thessalonians 5:1-28  Brothers and sisters, you don't need anyone to write to you about times and dates.  (2)  You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  (3)  When people say, "Everything is safe and sound!" destruction will suddenly strike them. It will be as sudden as labor pains come to a pregnant woman. They won't be able to escape.  (4)  But, brothers and sisters, you don't live in the dark. That day won't take you by surprise as a thief would.  (5)  You belong to the day and the light not to the night and the dark.  (6)  Therefore, we must not fall asleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be sober.  (7)  People who sleep, sleep at night; people who get drunk, get drunk at night.  (8)  Since we belong to the day, we must be sober.We must put on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  (9)  It was not God's intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (10)  He died for us so that, whether we are awake in this life or asleep in death, we will live together with him.  (11)  Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing.


Believers will know when Jesus is getting ready to appear again on our planet. We are the children of the day not the children of the Dark. We all will have an knowing within us when Jesus gets ready to step out from the clouds. This truth should not be of a surprise to us. Believers all over the world should have a deep unction within their spirit as Holy Spirit begins to bring us to the next paradigm. The key is staying connected to the heart of God. This passage demonstrates how important it is to have a relationship with the Father. Only those who are connected to the heart of God will know of His dealings. God has not stop moving in the Universe. Those who have the lights turned on are not oblivious to His truth.


How we will escape the coming wrath of God?
1. Not getting comfortable with worldly things.
2. Not taken by surprise the coming of Christ.
3. Being awake and sober to the truth of God's word.
4. Being children of the Day and understanding the seasons.
5. Keeping Faith, love, and hope constantly connected within us. 
6. Live out His salvation for us.
7. Encouraging one another to the very end.



  (12)  Brothers and sisters, we ask you to show your appreciation for those leaders who work among you and instruct you.  (13)  We ask you to love them and think very highly of them because of the work they are doing. Live in peace with each other.  (14)  We encourage you, brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not living right, cheer up those who are discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.  (15)  Make sure that no one ever pays back one wrong with another wrong. Instead, always try to do what is good for each other and everyone else.  (16)  Always be joyful.  (17)  Never stop praying.  (18)  Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this.  (19)  Don't put out the Spirit's fire.  (20)  Don't despise what God has revealed.  (21)  Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.  (22)  Keep away from every kind of evil. 


Christian Values.
1.  Appreciate the leaders that God has given us and are used to instruct us with the truth of God's word. Leaders in the Body of Christ are actually under appreciated and are usually used as scapegoats for people's failed lives. Leaders should be respected
2. Live at peace with Each other. Believers should  be the most forgiving and the most understanding of each other. They should never disown each other or throw each other to the curb because of disagreements. Sadly though, the church is filled with unforgiveness and abandonment. No wonder the world does not want what we have. When I had to close the second church plant down; a year and half later I found myself disown and gossiped about by some people who were friends of mine for years. It is sad but it happens. Most Christians only follow God's word when it benefits them. Instead of coming to person or persons that have offended them; they rather be cowards from the truth.
3.  Instruct those who are doing wrong. We are to point out each others faults in godly love. We are also called to reveal the truth to those who are absent from the light. 
4. Cheer up those who are discouraged.  Believers should lift each other in times of sorrow and need. We should help carry each others burdens. We are also called to bring an encouraging word to those who don't know Christ intimately in hopes that he or she will draw near to Him. 
5. Help the weak. Jesus calls us to help those who are less fortunate than we are. Reaching out to others is one of the fundamental truths of our faith.
6. Be patient with each other.  Here is something I have a hard time with. Being patient with people is not always easy. We want people to be patient with us but sometimes don't give them the same response. Being patient with each other means being understanding of each other differences. It is an humbling experience and part of our Christ-Like character.
7. Don't get revenge but try to do good to each other. Once again this is part of our Christ-Like character. Many preach the word of God today but don't have the character to back up the message. Many believers don't have the character to match the truth they are trying to share. 
8. Always be joyful.  We are called to be excited and exuberant in the Lord. All the prune faced Christians need to question their walk with the Lord. Being in Christ means being joyful in the Lord. 
9. Never stop praying. As I have grown older in the Lord, I have noticed my prayer life has changed as well. My prayer life has increased and I find myself prayer walking. This means my whole life is consumed within the bubble of Prayer. I pray as I drive. I pray as I sleep. I pray as I work. I pray as I am lead. I pray constantly.
10. Always give thanks.  Our life with the Lord should be filled with thanks. He has done so much for us. He has given us so much. We have plenty to be thankful for. Even in times of sorrow, we can be thankful because He is with us.
11. Don't put out the Spirit's Fire.  Don't stop the Holy Spirit from doing what He is commissioned to do in your life. Allow Him to reveal your heart. Allow Him to reveal your unholiness. 
12. Don't despise what the Lord has revealed.  Don't despise His truth. Live His word. Many despise God's word because it is clear and true. It changes the lives of those who are willing to follow it. 
13. Test everything.  We have to be careful. Many are following false teachings and don't even realize it. Many are following men and women because those men or women tell them everything they want to hear. 
14. Hold on to what is good and keep away from evil. We are called to live pure and holy lives. Excepting the love of the Lord means excepting his standard of Holiness. 


There is so much truth in this passage. Allow Holy Spirit to reveal His truth more and more to you.  Break it down and see what the Lord has to say.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Father's Letter to His Daughters

A Father's Letter to His Daughters

I have been pondering,for a few weeks, about writing a letter to my sons, daughters, and wife. It would be a simple message of love and learning straight from my heart to them. You don't have to wait until your dying to leave a message of love to your family. I would encourage , you the reader, to use this example and pass something on to your family.

It is something I have taught them throughout the years.  Maybe it is something that I can add to as the years progress, but I wanted to record something which passes on the things the Lord has taught me. He has been my greatest example of Fatherhood.

A Father's Letter to His Daughters.

My precious daughters, you have been a blessing to your Father's heart. I cherish our memories together and our many discussions. It is a blessing to see you both develop your own thoughts and ideas. I am honored to have you as my daughters. A man could not ask for two better daughters. You both are serving the Lord not because of my relationship with the Lord. You serve the Lord because you each have a relationship with the Living God. I am proud of you both. Your hearts of worship is an inspiration to me I wanted to give you some simply truths to live by. May you cherish these truths for the rest of your life.

1. ALWAYS put God first in your life.
I have been all over the world and I can honestly say. I am blessed to know the Lord and be known by Him. Life with Him has been my greatest journey and greatest discovery. If you are running after His heart; you can't go wrong. If you only knew how much the Living God loves you. It is a greater love than what I can give.Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. No matter how much mankind tries to deny His majesty. If we look around with an honest heart; we can see the power and majesty of our God. He is real my daughters and desires to be real inside of you. Make knowing Him your number one priority!

2. Never forget where you have come from.
Maybe you have good and bad thoughts about growing up, but you should never forget where you have come from. Don't forget about the family that cares for you. Don't forget about the teachings and the examples of life good and bad. We teach and train through success and failure. Your parents are not perfect and have demonstrated those imperfections at times but that is OK. You can learn from it all. Don't forget your family for they are the ones who will always stick by you.
3.Be grounded in HIS WORD
God's word has been the greatest comfort to me throughout the years. It has been proven time and time again to be a reliable book. God has expressed Himself within this great book. He has given us a written road map to follow. Read His word. Live His word. Take His word to be true and you will never stray or go wrong.  Hide His word within your heart. Psalm 33:4  The word of the LORD is correct, and everything he does is trustworthy.
4. Embrace Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit desires to be your best friend. He will guide you, convict you , lead you, give you discernment, bring you to the throne room of God, comfort you in times of trouble, and much more. Be filled with Holy Spirit and you will have the power to overcome all temptations. John 14:26  However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.
5. Run after wisdom
Godly wisdom comes from His word and from those who are actively seeking Him. Always seek wisdom for your life. Proverbs 1:1-9  The proverbs of Solomon, David's son who was king of Israel, given  (2)  to grasp wisdom and discipline, to understand deep thoughts,  (3)  to acquire the discipline of wise behavior- righteousness and justice and fairness-  (4)  to give insight to gullible people, to give knowledge and foresight to the young-  (5)  a wise person will listen and continue to learn, and an understanding person will gain direction-  (6)  to understand a proverb and a clever saying, the words of wise people and their riddles.  (7)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline.  (8)  My son, listen to your father's discipline, and do not neglect your mother's teachings,  (9)  because discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a golden chain around your neck.

6. Surround yourself with Elders.
Allow people in your life who have already been there and done that. Allow elders to be in your life who are followers of Christ and who truly care for you. People who are not afraid to tell you like it is. Don't surround yourself with "YES" women who will tell what your flesh wants to hear. It can lead you down a dark path then one day you wake up and wonder where your life has gone. Proverbs 19:20  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

7. Respect the men in your life and make them respect you.
Don't use your power of persuasion to deceive the men in your life.. They are human beings. Treating them with respect means not using your womanhood to manipulate them.. You don't cross the boundaries over their bodies unless in is on your wedding night and you both have become one flesh.  Don't easily give your body over to any man. Give it to the one who will respect you and is willing to wait for you on the wedding night. True love waits. Stay pure for your future husband and don't give in to peer pressure.
8.  Honor your Husbands as the Church should honor the Savior
Honoring your husband means respect him and giving him your trust. It means allowing him to lead in the home and becoming his help mate. It means allowing him to be your protector and provider. Honoring your husband is a beautiful connection between you and your husband.
Ephesians 5:21-24  Place yourselves under each other's authority out of respect for Christ.  (22)  Wives, place yourselves under your husbands' authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord's authority.  (23)  The husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. It is his body, and he is its Savior.  (24)  As the church is under Christ's authority, so wives are under their husbands' authority in everything.
9. Be a mother to your children
A mother can make or break a child's development. Your children will need your nurturing. They will need your understanding and your wisdom. You must be willing to sacrifice your needs at times to fulfill their needs. This is what a mother does for her children. 
The bond that a child develops with his mother can never be severed. You grew as an organism inside her for nine months. She carried you and sustained you, sharing her sustenance with you through your umbilical cord. When you are born the cord is severed. It is never severed in her heart. That bond lasts forever. As we grow up we become our own people and may come to forget that woman who nurtured and loved us. But remember this, she will never forget you and never stop loving you.

10. Serve others and not your own self interests
Life is not about serving ourselves or being selfish. It is about serving others. Help out with charities. Be faithful in your church. Be a leader who leads others to the right path. Tell others about Jesus and share your faith with them. A coward hides his heart but it takes courage to share the truth that is within Him. John 13:34-35  "I'm giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.  (35)  Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other."

11. Give to the Lord
Give your finances resources to the Lord's work. Don't get caught up in debt. Stay away from credit cards. If you don't have it ; you don't buy it. Strive not to be rich for money's sake but be rich in life by resisting the world's temptations.
12. Embrace a life of friends.
Surround yourself with the right kind of friends. Those who are not afraid to tell you like it is but still love. Those who are strong believers in the Lord and are willing to share His word with you. Be a friend to them and care for them.
13. Watch out for the lies of the world
Keep discernment within you. Watch out for the lies of the world. Don't allow relativism to replace your faith in His word. Follow God's word and do not distort it. Don't get caught up in worldly philosophies which will one day burn up in the fire. Colossians 2:7-8  Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving.  (8)  Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world's way of doing things rather than following Christ.

14. Leave a legacy
Understand death will happen to us all. What legacy will you leave behind? What will be the message you send for the future generations or to your children? Live your life to the fullest in Christ and you can't go wrong. Let the Lord take you to the places he has called you too. Build a message that is place in the bottle of time for future generations to discover and read. End life with greatness. Make a difference in people's lives. Live beyond your own selfishness.
15. Work hard
We were made to be hard workers in life. Provide for you family. Do the best job you can do for your boss. Don't complain but work unto the Lord. Be a person of integrity and honesty. Show your boss the power of Christ working within you.
16. Take Responsibility
Always take responsibility for your actions and never blame others. Own up to your mistakes and learn from them.Don't blame your environment or the actions of others on the way you act or feel. Live beyond the evil influences.
17. Be a Proverbs 31 Woman
a. Proverbs 31:10-31  "Who can find a wife with a strong character? She is worth far more than jewels.  (11)  Her husband trusts her with all his heart, and he does not lack anything good.  (12)  She helps him and never harms him all the days of her life.  (13)  "She seeks out wool and linen with care and works with willing hands.  (14)  She is like merchant ships. She brings her food from far away.  (15)  She wakes up while it is still dark and gives food to her family and portions of food to her female slaves.  (16)  "She picks out a field and buys it. She plants a vineyard from the profits she has earned.  (17)  She puts on strength like a belt and goes to work with energy.  (18)  She sees that she is making a good profit. Her lamp burns late at night.  (19)  "She puts her hands on the distaff, and her fingers hold a spindle.  (20)  She opens her hands to oppressed people and stretches them out to needy people.  (21)  She does not fear for her family when it snows because her whole family has a double layer of clothing.  (22)  She makes quilts for herself. Her clothes are made of linen and purple cloth.  (23)  "Her husband is known at the city gates when he sits with the leaders of the land.  (24)  "She makes linen garments and sells them and delivers belts to the merchants.  (25)  She dresses with strength and nobility, and she smiles at the future.  (26)  "She speaks with wisdom, and on her tongue there is tender instruction.  (27)  She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her family, and she does not eat the bread of idleness.  (28)  Her children and her husband stand up and bless her. In addition, he sings her praises, by saying,  (29)  'Many women have done noble work, but you have surpassed them all!'  (30)  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty evaporates, but a woman who has the fear of the LORD should be praised.  (31)  Reward her for what she has done, and let her achievements praise her at the city gates."

A Father's Letter to His Sons

I have been pondering,for a few weeks, about writing a letter to my sons, daughters, and wife. It would be a simple message of love and learning straight from my heart to them. You don't have to wait until your dying to leave a message of love to your family. I would encourage , you the reader, to use this example and pass something on to your family.

It is something I have taught them throughout the years.  Maybe it is something that I can add to as the years progress, but I wanted to record something which passes on the things the Lord has taught me. He has been my greatest example of Fatherhood. My parents currently , for some strange reason, do not talk to me nor my little brother or sister. Growing up, I can't say I always had my parents there to pass on wisdom to their children. They took care of our natural needs and did the best they could, but the spiritual aspect was never there. I tried to do different with my children, although I will be the first one to admit. I have not been perfect.

A Father's Letter to His Sons.

My precious sons, you have been a blessing to your Father's heart. I cherish our memories together and our many discussions. It is a blessing to see you both develop your own thoughts and ideas. I am honored to have you as my sons. A man could not ask for two better sons. You both have been through a lot but continue to press forward with life. Although you are grown and living on your own propulsion; I know you both will grow into great men of God. The foundation has been laid for both of you. The promises of our king are upon you. I cherish and recite all the prophecies spoken over you by the living God. His purpose for your life is embedded deep within you. They have been placed there by the prophetic words from God's servants and from the laying on hands from your father. Watching you grow up has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I miss our times together. I miss the outdoor fun, the bug watching, pushing the toy cars around, playing Rescue Heroes,  teaching you how to ride a bike, the scraps and bruises, the falling a sleep together on the couch, the dad and son discussions which disgusted you both, the family bible studies, the praying together, helping you with your karate, helping you with your singing and acting, teaching you home school, and much more. We were always together. My sons as King David left Solomon with Words of Wisdom, so I leave you with words of wisdom. As you both are growing into adulthood, it is important that you never forget your roots and the truth which was taught to you. Seek wisdom and run to the Father's heart. I do want to apologize for sometimes being too strict and too disciplinarian at times in your lives. I was a young man growing and did not have what you have now. Please hear your father's heart when I say I love you deeply and I am so proud of you both. Below is an incomplete list of wisdom given to you. As I grow in the Lord and learn more from Him. I will pass it on to you.

1. ALWAYS put God first in your life.
I have been all over the world and I can honestly say. I am blessed to know the Lord and be known by Him. Life with Him has been my greatest journey and greatest discovery. If you are running after His heart; you can't go wrong. If you only knew how much the Living God loves you. It is a greater love than what I can give.Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. No matter how much mankind tries to deny His majesty. If we look around with an honest heart; we can see the power and majesty of our God. He is real my sons and desires to be real inside of you. Make knowing Him your number one priority!

2. Never forget where you have come from.
Maybe you have good and bad thoughts about growing up, but you should never forget where you have come from. Don't forget about the family that cares for you. Don't forget about the teachings and the examples of life good and bad. We teach and train through success and failure. Your parents are not perfect and have demonstrated those imperfections at times but that is OK. You can learn from it all. Don't forget your family for they are the ones who will always stick by you.
3.Be grounded in HIS WORD
God's word has been the greatest comfort to me throughout the years. It has been proven time and time again to be a reliable book. God has expressed Himself within this great book. He has given us a written road map to follow. Read His word. Live His word. Take His word to be true and you will never stray or go wrong.  Hide His word within your heart. Psalm 33:4  The word of the LORD is correct, and everything he does is trustworthy.
4. Embrace Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit desires to be your best friend. He will guide you, convict you , lead you, give you discernment, bring you to the throne room of God, comfort you in times of trouble, and much more. Be filled with Holy Spirit and you will have the power to overcome all temptations. John 14:26  However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.
5. Run after wisdom
Godly wisdom comes from His word and from those who are actively seeking Him. Always seek wisdom for your life. Proverbs 1:1-9  The proverbs of Solomon, David's son who was king of Israel, given  (2)  to grasp wisdom and discipline, to understand deep thoughts,  (3)  to acquire the discipline of wise behavior- righteousness and justice and fairness-  (4)  to give insight to gullible people, to give knowledge and foresight to the young-  (5)  a wise person will listen and continue to learn, and an understanding person will gain direction-  (6)  to understand a proverb and a clever saying, the words of wise people and their riddles.  (7)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline.  (8)  My son, listen to your father's discipline, and do not neglect your mother's teachings,  (9)  because discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a golden chain around your neck.

6. Surround yourself with Elders.
Allow people in your life who have already been there and done that. Allow elders to be in your life who are followers of Christ and who truly care for you. People who are not afraid to tell you like it is. Don't surround yourself with "YES" men who will tell what your flesh wants to hear. It can lead you down a dark path then one day you wake up and wonder where your life has gone. Proverbs 19:20  Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

7. Treat women with respect
Women are not objects. They are human beings. Treating them with respect means protecting their bodies and emotions. You don't cross the boundaries over their bodies unless in is on your wedding night and you both have become one flesh.  Who you have sex with you are connected too. If you truly care about a person; you will not take advantage of them and you will treat them with respect. A man's passions can sometimes over take him. You must be willing to resist. Men who abuse women and treat them like sex objects are not men at all but COWARDS. Men who have sex with women outside of marriage, which God created, are not men but little boys who have not grown up yet. They have no respect for women but rather seek their own lustful desires.
8.  Love your wife as Christ loves the church
Be willing to lay down your life for your wife. Put her needs first. Represent Christ to her. Teach her about the Lord. Pray with her. Lift her up with encouraging words. Don't insult her or put her down. Stand beside her when everything is not clear to her. Be her Knight in shining armor. Give her your full heart and never let anything come in between  you. Love her anew each day. Admire her beauty even when she grows old.  Work o n your love together and become her best friend. Ephesians 5:25-29  Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.  (26)  He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water along with spoken words.  (27)  Then he could present it to himself as a glorious church, without any kind of stain or wrinkle-holy and without faults.  (28)  So husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself.  (29)  No one ever hated his own body. Instead, he feeds and takes care of it, as Christ takes care of the church.
9. Be a father to your children
You are responsible for showing your children how the Living God loves us all. Your fathering should represent the fathering from the Lord. Be courageous and be a solid father to your children. Don't let anything stop you from being there for them. Support them at the games, the dance recitals, the plays, the karate matches, the teenage life and the dreams. Don't just be a good father but be a great father. Don't be afraid to dance with your daughters and wrestle with your sons. Don't be afraid to cry or show affection. It is not a weakness in being real with your kids. It is a weakness not to. Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, don't make your children bitter about life. Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction.

10. Serve others and not your own self interests
Life is not about serving ourselves or being selfish. It is about serving others. Help out with charities. Be faithful in your church. Be a leader who leads others to the right path. Tell others about Jesus and share your faith with them. A coward hides his heart but it takes courage to share the truth that is within Him. John 13:34-35  "I'm giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.  (35)  Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other."

11. Give to the Lord
Give your finances resources to the Lord's work. Don't get caught up in debt. Stay away from credit cards. If you don't have it ; you don't buy it. Strive not to be rich for money's sake but be rich in life by resisting the world's temptations.
12. Embrace a life of friends.
Surround yourself with the right kind of friends. Those who are not afraid to tell you like it is but still love. Those who are strong believers in the Lord and are willing to share His word with you. Be a friend to them and care for them.
13. Watch out for the lies of the world
Keep discernment within you. Watch out for the lies of the world. Don't allow relativism to replace your faith in His word. Follow God's word and do not distort it. Don't get caught up in worldly philosophies which will one day burn up in the fire. Colossians 2:7-8  Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving.  (8)  Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world's way of doing things rather than following Christ.

14. Leave a legacy
Understand death will happen to us all. What legacy will you leave behind? What will be the message you send for the future generations or to your children? Live your life to the fullest in Christ and you can't go wrong. Let the Lord take you to the places he has called you too. Build a message that is place in the bottle of time for future generations to discover and read. End life with greatness. Make a difference in people's lives. Live beyond your own selfishness.
15. Work hard
We were made to be hard workers in life. Provide for you family. Do the best job you can do for your boss. Don't complain but work unto the Lord. Be a person of integrity and honesty. Show your boss the power of Christ working within you.
16. Take Responsibility                                                                                                                          
Always take responsibility for your actions and never blame others. Own up to your mistakes and learn from them.Don't blame your environment or the actions of others on the way you act or feel. Live beyond the evil influences.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lessons in Leadership Part 11( Failure)



As human beings we don't deal with failure too well. We don't even like the word spoken around us. For some it has a lot to do with their upbringing. For others, it has to do with the western mentality of being driven and succeeding at any cost.  Western Christianity teaches us that if a church is not growing or not in a building then it is a failure. It also teaches that a pastor is only successful if he has a large crowd following him. Many churches have the desire to become the next Mega-church. It is their goal and personal drive. All of this is foolishness before the Lord and not from Him. We are the dummies that come up with such notions! Many Western Christians could not last 5 minutes in another country and endure the hardships that Eastern Christians endure each day. I am not sure that I could.  If Jesus lived during our time, he would be branded a failure as a minister. He would have large crowds following him but they would  all disappear once He reached Calvary. The Bible tells us that over 500 people saw Jesus rise up into Heaven, but only 120 took Him at His word and waited for the promise to come. People are fickle. One minute they are your best friend and lifting you up to others. The next minute they are back biting you and putting you down. Trust me I have seen this first hand. There will always be immature Christians in the body of Christ because many people don't want to see the true discovery of themselves.

2 Corinthians 10

Tearing Down Barriers
 1-2And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I'm being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I'm with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. Please don't force me to take a hard line when I'm present with you. Don't think that I'll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I'm an unprincipled opportunist. Then they'll have to eat their words.
 3-6The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
 7-8You stare and stare at the obvious, but you can't see the forest for the trees. If you're looking for a clear example of someone on Christ's side, why do you so quickly cut me out? Believe me, I am quite sure of my standing with Christ. You may think I overstate the authority he gave me, but I'm not backing off. Every bit of my commitment is for the purpose of building you up, after all, not tearing you down.
 9-11And what's this talk about me bullying you with my letters? "His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he's a weakling and mumbles when he talks." Such talk won't survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We're the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person.
 12We're not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they're our superiors. We wouldn't dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.
 13-14We aren't making outrageous claims here. We're sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you. We're not moving into someone else's "territory." We were already there with you, weren't we? We were the first ones to get there with the Message of Christ, right? So how can there be any question of overstepping our bounds by writing or visiting you?
 15-18We're not barging in on the rightful work of others, interfering with their ministries, demanding a place in the sun with them. What we're hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you'll play a part within our expanding work. And we'll all still be within the limits God sets as we proclaim the Message in countries beyond Corinth. But we have no intention of moving in on what others have done and taking credit for it. "If you want to claim credit, claim it for God." What you say about yourself means nothing in God's work. It's what God says about you that makes the difference. 

Paul the Apostle was not like the other Apostles who knew Jesus personally. He did not walk around with Christ for three years and get first hand exposure to the working of the Lord. He did , however, meet Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul said many times this qualified him as an apostle. Paul was a compassionate but straight forward guy. He would hit the hearts with the truthfulness of the gospel. He was not afraid of losing a congregation. The Gospel was the Gospel and he was not going to water it down like it is done in our day and age.  Many want to hear the good, skip in the meadow, messages that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside ; but to hear a message that reveals the truthfulness of heart. UNHEARD OF! OFF WITH THE PASTOR'S HEAD!!!!!!

Paul was facing scrutiny because there were others who were more boisterous leaders who would tell the Corinthians how great they were. ( Hey, sounds like our TV evangelists today) These leaders were popular and probably had big, visual ministries and taught a popular message. It was easy for the Corinthians to run to them. Ew ! Ew! tickle my ears Please!!!!! 

How we rate failure is totally different with how the Lord rates failure. I wanted to encourage the leader today. In any person's life there is always going to be some failure involved. Failure is a part of life. It is what we do with that failure which makes a difference. Failure can be the fertilizers for our soul or the poison in our heart. We make the determination.

“And God Said If”
If you never felt pain,
Then how would you know that I’m a Healer?

If you never went through difficulty,
How would you know that I’m a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial,
How could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness,
How would you know that I’m a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake,
How would you know that I’m forgiving?

If you never were in trouble,
How would you know that I will come to your rescue?

If you never were broken,
Then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,
How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering,
Then how would you know what I went through?

If you never went through the fire,
Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things,
How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you,
How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power,
Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect,
Then what would you need me for?

We are going to fail and when other people are involved the possiblity for failure increases that much more. As pastors and leaders, the possibility of failure becomes part of the program. We can't allow failure to stop us from pressing forward with the things of God. In fact, you and I need to learn how to embrace the failures we have. Below are some key points.

Failure:

1. Create an enviroment which allows failure.
2. Learn from failure by creating COE's ( Correction of Errors)
3. Forgive yourself and allow God to forgive you.
4. Understand the different types of failure. ( Sin Failure, Leadership failure, Personal Failure, or situational failure.)
5. Understand it is a Dog eat Dog world and the World isn't fair at times. People can be brutal.
6. Understand God's definition of failure
7. Don't worry about what immature Christians might say about you. ( It is always funny how people who are not in leadership can tell you how everything is supposed to work.)
8. Surround yourself with wise counsel and get clear advice.
9. Let your failure be a stepping stone for you to move forward.
10. Understand the success and failure rises and falls on the leader or senior leader. 
11. What you say about yourself means nothing in God's work. It's what God says about you that makes the difference.