Tuesday, December 21, 2010

number your days...

may we number our days. don't miss the opportunity to love and care for those that God has placed around you.

i'm not sure why i'm always surprised at how God uses tragedy to bring his children closer to Him. yet He tells us to number our days, because one day it will end.

don't wait to love your spouse, do it today. don't wait to pray for your family, do it today. don't wait to serve your loved ones, do it today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

if there's one thing that's certain about life, it will one day end. don't miss your opportunity

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

major changes...

to make major changes, you have to make major changes.

specifically to those that seek to minister on behalf of Christ. as we lead where God has called us to lead, may we be striving towards having the same 'attitude of Christ'

the greatest change that needs to occur, is most often in me. in order for God to use me to make major changes, God has to work in me to make major changes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simple decisions...

Psalm 1:6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

This scripture makes most decisions pretty simple. Will it lead me towards His righteousness or towards wickedness?

Why is it then that at times we seem to prefer steps towards wickedness knowing that it openly displeases the Lord and it's end will always lead to our ruin? This is an incredible promise with great benefits that are based on our choice. Will we obey or not?

May we be drawn to paths that honor Him...He's will watch over us and our lives when we do so.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec 1...

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Why would God do that? Why would he leave everything that is perfect to come and be with us, me? why?

I don't know. It's almost as if He becomes the visitor who knocks at your door unexpectedly. You peek thru the window and you're not sure if you should open the door or not.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a guest visitor?

For some reason, God came to make His dwelling among us. That's greatly in part because we could not go to Him. Again, why? Because He loves us.

This is the story of Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We stand behind Christ so we can stand before God

So here's the basic premise of what we shared yesterday at CF DT:

James 5 talks about prayer for trouble, praise in the good, prayer for healing, and prayer for the forgiveness of sins.

We know that He is able. So we take comfort in that truth. Our position is to approach Him thru Christ, the only One who is righteous. The prayer of a righteous man avails much. Our position should be behind Christ as we approach the Father.

We stand behind Christ so we can stand before God.

Let us approach with confidence, not in ourselves or our own abilities, but in HIm and His righteousness.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Qualities of Leadership, Part 1...

1 Timothy 3:2-7 (NIV)

2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. - Paul (apostle, pharisee, church planter, servant, author, example)


Without this essential quality, all other gifts remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow. So discipline appears first on our list. BEFORE WE CAN CONQUER THE WORLD, WE MUST FIRST CONQUER THE SELF. - J. Oswald Sanders

This truly is a game changer. I've noticed it in my life and among my peers. Where discipline exists and has existed, a tendency for effectiveness and success follows. Whether business, social services, or even church, without discipline, no work will ever grow beyond an individual.

I think that's why it may be so hard to intentionally develop self discipline. We don't want it to grow beyond ourselves. And if we honestly look inside, at times, leaders find validation in others looking to them and only them. A disciplined leader will develop and lead other leaders, not just the people of his/her company. If this is truly the case, an effective leader eventually works him/herself out of a job.

Similarly, it's ironic how discipline can exist at a work place, but not in the home place. Whether personal or with family, if effectiveness and success follow discipline at work, would the same not be true at home? Discipline in finances yields savings, better succession planning, vacation planning, and retirement planning. All excellent and valuable things, in light of our current realities. Discipline in time with spouse and children will all lead to deeper and more intimate relationships = meaningful homes. Discipline in time with God develops more of Christ in one's self and less of self in one's self.

Discipline. The best athletes are the best because they were more disciplined than the rest. The best businesses are the best, because they are more disciplined. Churches, small or large, are the best because of their disciplined practices to serve and disciple.

Discipline, the road less traveled.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peter on leadership...

1 Peter 5:1-7 (NIV)

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


The flock belongs to God; He's entrusted their care to us. So then, what is our motivation to care for others?

It must have been difficult to be a leader when your life and the lives of others were riding on it. Similarly, modern leadership can undervalue the worth of a life. Lives still hang in the balance. Our urgency isn't there, thus causing a half hearted approach to leadership and caring for the flock. Where care occurs, genuine concern is present.

Peter says to the leaders, "Shepherd your people like God." Just as Israel is God's special allotment, the people we have to serve in the church or anywhere else are our special allotment; and our whole attitude to them must be the attitude of God; we must shepherd them like God. What a vision opens out! What an ideal! And what a condemnation! It is our task to show people the forbearance of God, the forgiveness of God, the seeking love of God, the limitless service of God. - William Barclay

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Insights on Leadership from Paul, Chapter 6

Social Qualifications - Example is much more potent than precept.

Moral Qualifications - A leader cannot allow a secret indulgence that would undermine public witness

Mental Qualifications - A leader must be prudent, a person with sound judgment...coming from daily self-discipline

Personality Qualifications - If you would rather pick a fight than solve a problem, do not consider leading the church. It can't be about money or position. Hospitality to all is common among shepherds

Domestic Qualifications - While a leader is caring for church and mission, he must not neglect the family, which is his primary and personal responsibility. The discharge of one duty in God's kingdom does not excuse us from another. There is time for every legitimate duty. Paul implies that a person's ability to lead at home is a strong indicator of his readiness to lead in ministry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


we do what we do because God has seen the potential in us to do more. in the areas where we are strong and in the areas of untapped resource, God sees that and moves despite our fallibility.

in colossians 1, scripture teaches that we are where we are, not because of our own inherent abilities or choices. rather, we are qualified to do so, by God Himself.

12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

it's not education, although it helps. it's not resources, although it helps. it's not physical appearance, although it helps. it's not the people that i know, although it helps.

ultimately, it is the work of God thru the Holy Spirit that "qualifies" us to share in the ultimate inheritance.

in light of what's to come and what we will be sharing in for all eternity, how does this shape our current temporary lives?

if God is the One that has qualified us to serve, should we not serve more diligently and faithfully?
If God is the One that has qualified us to teach, should we not teach more passionately and with greater conviction?
if God is the One that has qualified us to lead, should we not lead better, further, and faster?

qualified to do what we do. if we could see what God sees (what we are capable of doing in/thru HIM), maybe we would be more inclined to do more of what God wants.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the gospel in the everyday...

what have people heard about your faith and work for Christ?

some time was spent this am praying for the folks i'm privileged to serve with in a variety of capacities - church, non-profit, professional. i prayed for blessing, favor, health, and other good things. as i read this passage, it began to help me shift "how" i pray for others. besides personal gain, it's been a while since i prayed for the gain of Christ and His Kingdom through my friends/co-workers and their relationships. may the gospel and our love for the saints be what we are remembered most for.

often times i'll find myself chatting more about family, sports, poker, fantasy football, or sports talk more so than the gospel. none of these bad things. my concern mainly was with myself and how the gospel is not normally a priority. if that's true for me, then what about all of those around me? what if it's true for them?

my prayer time needs to severely change because of this thought. obviously, personal need and requests for self and others are not bad. they cannot, however, always be the priority of my personal time with Christ. "Your will be done." His will is the Gospel to those in our lives...fact!

the Gospel in the everyday is waiting to be responded to.

"We can lead other only as far along the road as we ourselves have traveled. Merely pointing the way is not enough. If we are not walking, then no one can be following, and we are not leading anyone." - J. Oswald Sanders

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Appointed...for what?

Effective spiritual leadership does not come as a result of theological training or seminary degree, as important as education is . Jesus told his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you" (John 15:16). The sovereign selection of God gives great confidence to Christian workers. We can truly say, "I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group, but by the almighty appointment of God."

-J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership
Colossians 1:28-29

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. - Paul, Apostle, Servant, Example


God is the One that has called us to serve because of His choice. As a result, this should have some serious implications on the way we lead. Should we not be more bold in what we attempt? Should we not be willing to take greater risks within the leading of His Spirit? When we operate within the clear and known will of God, the blessing and result of greatness is immeasurable.

I believe that Paul accomplished much because he attempted much. He was not about himself or about others. He was about the mission that God had called him to. In Colossians we read about both the power of God in a man and a man's resolve to work and to work hard. Paul labors and struggles, but he does so with the energy of God, which was "powerfully working in him."

Does this same energy of God, AKA the Holy Spirit, not reside within each of us that have been regenerated through Christ, His suffering, His sacrifice, and His resurrection?

Then what is it? What is it that slows us down? What is it that keeps us going further? What is it that hampers God's work in us to see more people come to Christ, more churches started, more people served, more people fed, or more people blessed?

I believe it's 2 things.

The first, since life is convenient, we've grown lazy. Imagine if Paul were alive today, would we not see even more incredible things?

Second, I think we doubt what God is able to do in and thru us. Not just pastors, evangelists, or ..., but through "regular people" (whatever that means). When the people of God learn to tap into the power of God, I believe that we'll see the movement of God. Education helps, but God is smarter. Resources help, but God is richer.

An appointment by God, more powerful than we can fully understand.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

learning to lead...

Colossians 1:9 -- For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Excerpts from Spiritual Leadership, Chapter 2:

"If the world is to hear the church's voice today, leaders are needed who are authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial. Authoritative, because people desire leaders who know where they are going and are confident of getting there. Spiritual, because without a strong relationship to God, even the most attractive and competent person cannot lead people to God. Sacrificial, because this follows the model of Jesus, who gave himself for the whole world and who calls us to follow in His steps.

True leaders must be willing to suffer for the sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience.

One last thing must be said, a kind of warning. If those who hold influence over others fail to lead toward the spiritual uplands, then surely the path to the lowlands will be well worn. People travel together, no one live detached and alone."

If we lead, then let's do it right!