I had a boss once tell me that he had been to the mountain top and back and that he knew the road to the top...all the while his business struggled. So I always questioned, if you know the way why aren't you on the right road then? And heres the thing...I think this is what happens to us. We saw this happen to King Soloman the wisest man that ever lived. He had been to the mountain top and knew the way but towards the end of his life he some how got off the right path .So what was it that caused him to steer off course?
The temptations that enticed Solomon continue to attack every leader. Once we "arrive," it becomes easy to stop feeling hungry for growth and excellence. How quickly we become satisifed...and how soon we begin to spiral downward.
Here is the process to recognize:
1. Distractions: Solomon deviated from his call to lead and be the light to the nations. He became distracted by possessions and his 1000 wifes. What in your life is currently distracting you from your calling?
2. Adversaries: God raised up adversaries to steer him back to his priorities and call. Sometimes in lfe God will bring a Goliath in your path. The point is not to deter you but to enhance you.
3. Self-absorption: Solomon became consumed with his himself rather his call. So often we mix up our call for ourselves. We become self consumed because we think our calling is about us when in reality it about God. The difference is that self-absorption is pride.
4. Loss of God's presence: God withdrew his anonting. Yes you can loose your anonting!
5. Pursuit of pleasure: Solomon became even more obsessed with his own pleasure. God wanted a battleship life for him, He wanted a cruise ship life. One is prepared for war for God and the other is ....well....the other. When God calls you he is not calling you to a cruiseship life. Satan tempted Jesus with having a cruiseship life, when clearly God called him to a battleship life. Battleships IMPACT, Cruiseships....cruise! Which are you on?
6. Emptiness: Solomon finally grew weary of his pursuits and recognized his emptiness. Have you ever felt empty...like the world no longer mattered? This is the final step to a decayed Christian life.
The process of decay is a stealthy process. You don't realize whats been done until it's too late. If you find yourself at any point in this process....REPENT and seek God with new heart focused on him.
Have you ever met that Christian....you know who I am talking about...the one that has all the answers and is rather pushy with faith. The one that is arrogant and acts like it regarding their belief. We have all met them. We don't like them, we secretly wonder if they know something we don't know... but basically we view them as the ones out there in the deep end. The media calls these Christians radical and fanatic and they are the ones that give the rest of us Christians a bad reputation.
So the question I have to ask is this....when does confidence become arrogance?
Here are three thougths to help clearify the line between confidence and arrogance.
1. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your own weaknesses and your humility.
King David once asked why God even gave any thought to him. He humbly realized that in the grandness of the galaxy, man accounts for only a very very very small part. Your ability to see yourself in the larger picture will help keep you humble.
2. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your God given position and privileges.
God has made you a little lower than himself. The Lord put men and women in charge of the whole earth and gave us the authority over creation. What he did not do was make a you a God! Arrogance is believing you are something special because of you, confidence is knowing you are something special because of him.
3. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to give all the glory to God.
The confidence is in who God is and arrogance rests in who you are. There is no middle ground.
You Can Sieze Only What You Can See...
I think the most of us...if we are honest with ourselves...are wearing spiritual beer gogles. We aren't seeing our life clearly. The bible even tells that us that without vision the people cast off restraint, and I really believe that this is what is happening in America today. So many people go thru the processes of daily life...trying to look good on the outside to others while feeling empty on the inside. The feeling is there has got to be more to life than just this. And there is...
God has a vision for your life. That is why you are alive! What we have to do is discern what his vision is, because we can't sieze what he has called for us if we don't first see the call.
Here are a five thoughts to help you clearly see the vision that God has for your life.
1. You will have a clear mental image. When called you to your purpose in life you can see it on the inside of you. His purpose serves as a blue print. The question is what has God called you to....What's my purpose? Let me ask you this....what in life pains you? When you look around at the world, and if you had the power to change one thing what would it be? What is it in life that causes you the greatest pain? Is it the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the hungry, the fatherless, the orphened....What ever causes you the greatest pain in your life when you think about it...is what God has called you to.
2. A positive change. Gods calling on your life will always serve to improve present conditions. You are here to be the salt and light. You will be the catalyst for positive change in present circumstances. When you step into God's calling for you life, it won't take very long for positive changes to begin to happen to you and others.
3. A future focus. Gods calling on your life will give you insight and direction for the unseen future. You will know the steps you have to take, because you can literally see the future. Its like walking into an emptry room and seeing in your mind and heart how everything would look. When you describe the room to others, you don't describe empty you describe how it looks in your mind. Your description is future focus. Jesus was always future focused.
4. A gift from God. God's calling on your life is always divinely inspired, not humanly manipulated. You won't just wake up one morning and have an ah ha moment...You will have always known! The differnece is you waking up to what you already knew to be true.
5. A chosen people,place and time. Gods calling on your life will lead to you a chosen people, a chosen place and chosen time. God called Abraham to move to a different place without telling him where he was going, and he called to him be the father of a nation without giving him the details about that nation. Always remember Jesus' own words....A prophet is without honor in his own home. Where your at now may not be the place where God is calling you to...no matter how badly you want it to be.
I was at a church that if you would have asked me five years ago would I ever leave it...the answer would have been NO! I can tell you today that had I not left that church I would have never stepped into the full purpose God has called me to. I would have missed out on everything because I was comfortable where I was at. It was easy, fun and uplifting, and the people there were my friends. However the people there weren't the people God called me to. I was there for a season in my life, and you may be where your at right now...comfortable, maybe its easy, maybe its fun, maybe its uplifiting and you feel good on the outside while on the inside you know that some thing deeper is missing. That deeper feeling may be the Holy Spirit trying to tell you the season of fun is over with...it's time to get to work. As Paul said faith without works is dead!
6. Your purpose will never be COMFORTABLE! You will be stretched beyond limits you thought possible. God is not about making you feel better about yourself and using you in a way that you deem proper, fitting and comfortable. You will never move from Glory to Glory and Faith to Faith by living in yesterdays Glory and yesterdays Faith. What once took faith the first time quickly becomes easy and comfortable. Its easy to rest in old faith. Its a stretch to move from old to new. Abraham had to have a new level of faith to be willing to kill is son for God.
Quality Leaders Are Prepared In The Wilderness
The Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness right after His baptism by John. Jesus's time in the wilderness was a necessary part of his preparation for ministry. Quality leaders can almost always point to a wilderness experience as part of their leadership preparation. Why? What is so important about the time in the wilderness? Because being alone in the wilderness sucks! However, during this time, our motives get purified, our backbone solidifies, and our calling gets clarified.
So often we want our wilderness experience to be over with as soon as possible. For so many Christians they never move from Glory to Glory and Faith to Faith because they never embrace the necessary wilderness experience. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. The time spent in the wilderness is depended upon our capacity to face temptation. The devil tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness...the temptation by the enemy is a necessary screening process to see WHAT WE WILL GIVE UP and HOW WE WILL TRUST GOD TO PROVIDE.
There are three temptations you will face in the wilderness...each temptation strenghtens you for the next.
1. The temptation to be self-sufficient. (FAITH) Jesus didn't become controlling, even with his legitimate needs. He trusted God. The challenge is really getting past our own glory. When we are self sufficient we are our own GOD. We may recognize that GOD exists but because we are that good...we don't really need him until we face something our own glory can't handle. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that you can control everything. He wants to swell your head, when GOD wants to swell your heart. This temptation tests your commitment to your Faith.
2. The temptation to be spectacular. (GLORY) Jesus refused to become a stunt man. He didn't perform in order to become a celebrity. This world bombards us the temptation to be a celebrity. The worlds joke is having your five minutes of fame. The world literally places celebrity status on a pedestal. Its the ultimate bar to achieve...according the standards of the world. You will never break thru this temptation until you realize that your not your own God (Temptation 1). Jesus focused on God being the celebrity and spectacular, not himself....because he knew that God provided for all his needs. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that the you deserve the spotlight. This temptation tests your response to Glory. Is your heart focued on God's Glory or is your head focused on your Glory.
3. The temptation to be powerful. (TRUST) Jesus wouldn't take a shortcut to gain power or worship. The power of the world was offered to Jesus on a silver plate and he refused. He trusted God and God's plan for his life. This final temptation is all about how you TRUST God. When the easy road is presented to you, will you take it.....or will trust God and the road he wants for you. Trust is the single hardest issue Christians faces when it comes to God. They can have faith and even want the name of God to be elevated...but when it comes to trusting God...they fall off the wagon. In your heart... do you really... really trust God with your life? Do you truely trust his will to be done? And that his will to be done is better than your will to be done.
The reason why so many are in the wilderness and never get out...is because they never get past themselves. Their focus is all about them and not about God. Usually...God gets the blame for our wilderness expereince because we don't embrace the importance of our time in the wilderness. If you find yourself in the wilderness look for the temptations and how you can glorify God by how you respond. How you respond in faith, glory and trust will determine your next level of supernatural promotion.
The measuring stick of our commitment is not our lip service. It's our LIFE! You were born for a reason and with a purpose. If you want your life to add value to others, your actions in life must be based on your values, action is the guage, not mrere words or thoughts.
Here are six thoughts to help you add value to your life and others.
1. Selfish motives prevents a servan'ts minstry. So many people serve for the simple of fact of being acknowledged. Their service to others is all about themselves. They want to look good to booster the EGO. Service so often becomes an I GO, and you didn't. I DO and YOU DON"T. To truly serve is to serve with a humble heart... Not a PROUD one. God is not upstairs looking down on you and saying man...thank GOD you're serving because if you didn't the whole world would stop. My whole plans for the world would come to a grinding halt, if it weren't for you...newsflash....when you serve with a proud heart...God is NOT IMPRESSED! At the end of the day it's not about you...it's about HIM. A proud heart is you focused, a humble heart is him focused.
2. Following rules cannot save us, but following JESUS can. So many people fail to add value to their life and others because they feel like they can't follow the rules. I have to look a certain way, act a certain way, do certain things...because the church says that is only way for me to have impact. If you want to have impact try following JESUS and not the rules. A legalistic heart is again a proud heart until you realize that you can no longer keep up with the rules...then it just produces shame. You were made for more than following rules, you were made to love JESUS. Keep in mind that Jesus broke all the rules and because of him the world was forever impacted.
3. A lifestyle that costs nothing is worth nothing! Say what you mean and do waht you say. So many Christians become hypocrites. They will act one way Monday-Saturday and then a totally different way on Sunday! How can you impact anybody when all they see is a flip flopper.
4. A FAITH that is only in my head is dead! If you are not living what you believe and sharing what you believe....do you really believe? Your faith has two parts...doing and sharing.
5. Faith JUSTIFIES the leader and, the leaders WORKS justfiy the faith. Faith without works is dead! How you work at your faith validates your faith. What are you doing...if anything to justify what you believe? It is not enough to slip in and slip out of church un-noticed.
6. A worthless past is resolved by a present that works. Are you always more than the sum of your past mistakes. The only person keeping you in prisioned to your past is you! If you are still alive it is because GOD is not done with you yet. You still have a purpose and it is never too late to start working on it.
DOES THE PRIVATE life of a leader truly impact his or her public life? No question about it! How you deal with the circumstances of life tells the world many things about your character. Crisis doesn't necessarily make character, but it certainly REVEALS IT! Adversity makes a person choose one of two paths...character or compromise. Every time a leader chooses character he grows stronger. LIkewise, every time a leader chooses compromise he grows weaker.
Character is the foundation on which you build your life. It all begins with character, because leadership operates on the basis of trust. Your trust in God reveals your character towards God.
People will follow a leader only so far as they you. Your character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust. Here are 4 things about character every leader must know:
1. Character is more than talk. Anyone can say that he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are and what you do. Do you say you trust God? Does your actions prove what you say to be true? That's why you can never seperate a leader's character from their actions. If yoru actions and intentions continually work against each other, look to your character to find out why.
2. Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. We have no control over a lot of things in life. We don't get to choose our parents or the circumstances of our birth and upbringinig. But we DO CHOOSE our character. We create it each time we make choices.
3. Character brings lasting success with people. True leadership always involves others. Followers do not trust leaders who character they know to be flawed, and they will not contine to follow them. Often times we want our family to follow us, and they want to...but they feel like they can't because they don't trust your character and leadership. It's not that they don't love you...but if you can't be trusted with the small things how can they truly trust you to leader with the major things.
4. Leaders rise above the limitations of their character. Character will either limit or support a leader, depending on it's strength. It will always determine wheather a leader finishes well.
As you resolove what to do this year, consider resolving who to be!
A leader's relationship with God shapes his perspective. King David's dynamic and intimate relationship with God shaped his perspectives on life. He was the King of Israel and knew that he wasn't alone in life. He rejoiced that he could draw upon God's infinite wisdom...that he could never out run God...that he could count on God's power whenever he NEEDED IT. The King and Leader of Israel had a leader himself...GOD!
This is what I find happens in so many people's lives...they believe God exists but not for them in the everyday sense. They believe but their perspective about God is jacked up. Majority of the time...shame is what shapes our perspective about God...not the relationship with God.
Here are 6 points to help you strengthen your relationship with God and change your perspective about God.
1. God knows our every thought, every word, every move. There is nothing you can think, say, or do that God isn't already aware of...and here's the deal...we believe that because we have certain thoughts, or say certain things, or act a certain way that God has some how stopped loving us. We literally believe that we somehow have the power to cancel out the act of LOVE that God did by sending his son to die on the cross. We believe that somehow our shame we feel because of our thoughts, words and actions...disqualify us from the redeeming power of the cross. When in fact, we are the very reason for the cross.
2. God directs us no matter where we go. God is ALWAYS WITH YOU! He never leaves you! It is amazing to me about how quick we are to think that God has somehow abandoned us when we screw up. I fight this thought everyday...because I screw up everyday! The thought I have to always fight is that because I screwed up God has stopped loving me and that he is no longer with me. Here is something to keep in mind...if God is only with us when we are "GOOD" then the focus becomes always about us and what we do...and not GOD and what HE DID! Do you think any father that loved the world so much to send his son on the cross to die really wants all the focus to be about you and what your able to do....or....about his act of LOVE! God is always with you...when it seems like he isn't, the problem isn't that he left you...it's that you LEFT HIM!
3. God knows hopeless or helpless situations. Your life is not hopeless or helpless or without purpose. You don't randomly exist! There will be...guaranteed....times in your life where you feel hopeless and helpless and it seems like the whole world is caving in on you. Can I tell you...that majority of the time...you are the one that caused the situations in your life to happen. If your marriage is on the rocks...God didn't cause it! If your broke...God didn't cause it...stupid spending habits did! However, regardless of the cause... God is there and can use a hopeless, helpless situation to bring Glory to himself through you. You face nothing in life alone unless YOU CHOOSE TOO!
4. God formed every complex detail of our bodies, minds, and spirits. You were created. Period. You didn't evolve over time and certainly aren't you because random luck. Every detail about who you are serves a purpose in this life, and that purpose will always bring Glory to God to show that he can use anybody no matter their difference.
5. God constantly thinks of us and is concerned with the details of our lives. The reason God cares about the details of your life is because you are part of the details of his life and his plan. You matter. You are part of the large picture and the small picture. You may not feel like God care about you, but feelings are like a roller coaster. One day your feeling good, the other bad. Your feelings can change a moments notice. God is not concerned with your feelings, he cares about your joy. He wants you to have joy centered on him, not centered on your circumstances. Often times your circumstances you created are used by him to bring you closer to him...it just seems like it takes forever because our first reaction is to RUN FROM AND BLAME HIM...why, because it...It's much harder to blame ourselves and then turn to him.
6. God searches our hearts and purifies our motives. Have you ever done something that started out for the purpose of helping yourself but then it turned in to helping someone else and you found joy in that? Amazing how that happens.The only motive God demands from you is love. He looks for opportunities in our lives that can be used for our benefit, for us to experience true love. The more we experience true love the more we experience God.
FOCENSITY? What is it...A made up word...kind of. I have a friend of mine who makes commercials and in one of the commercials for a bar, one of the bar tenders jokes about his FOCENSITY being 111%. While in the background, he is ignoring all the activities of the customers trying to get his attention at the bar. So what does FOCENSITY have to do with anything....the answer is simple...EVERYTHING!
As you start this new year with your list of resolutions..,if you were to pinpoint the one reason why you still have the same resolutions from last year and the year before...my guess the one reason would be that you lost your FOCENSITY.
It is amazing how in life what is in front us keeps our attention. Since the reason for not following thru with resolutions boils down to losing your focus...what do you have to do to keep you focus?
The Apostle Paul openly communicated his priorites. He talked about them all the time, and the accomplishments and glory from the past he counted as rubbish. Now that word Rubbish...in the orginial lanugage is SKUBALA. The real translation of that world is S#@!.. Garbage... Crap...the point is... it counted for nothing moving forward. Paul wanted to know Christ, experience his power, share in and complete his suffering, and ultimtely be conformed to his death. This was his RESOLUTION! He wasn't trying to loose weight, gain more stuff, payoff debt, focus more on himself or anything else. His RESOLUTION was to know and experince Christ in completeness. Paul was a man on a mission, and he narrowed his wedge and his focus to the essentials. He was successfull by all accounts. So what was his secret that we can learn to apply to our FOCENSITY?
There were three things that helped the Apostle Paul keep his FOCENSITY...
1. HE DISCERNED WHAT HINDERED HIM! Paul had to let go of all the things he once cherished, considering them distractions. He basically added more MARGIN to his life. MARGIN is the space between our load in life and our limits in life. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for continegncies and unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion...the space between breathing freely and suffocating.
2. HE DISCOVERD WHAT HE WANTED! Paul wanted God's righteousness, not his own. Christ became his solitary pursuit. One the biggest obstacles to focus is truly deciding what you want. When you really know what you want, when something else comes along, it won't grab your attention. If really really want to lose weight and get in shape the donut shouldn't be able to take me away from that resolution.
3. HE DETERMINED HOW TO GET IT! With single-minded PASSION, Paul forgot the past and pursued the prize of his call. You have have plan and then work your plan. It is not enough to simply want...As my mom used to say people in hell want ice water but they don't always get it! Every house that is ever built starts with a set of blue-prints. The end is determined first, which determines where to start. Until you have a blue print for your resolution you won't be successfull because you won't have a starting point, and definitely not an ending point.
How about you? Have you narrowed your FOCENSITY? Can you list your priorities on one hand? What are you pursuing?
Happy new year! I figure today is probably the official first real day of the new year for most of you... as some of you might have been recovering from a hangover yesterday. So today is the real day one of your New Year's resolutions. The thing with resolutions... is we're super excited in the very beginning and then we fizzle out. Now, some of us fizzle out a lot sooner than others, but it's inevitable. If you look back at the end of the year 9 out of 10 people never finish the year strong. They never complete the resolutions that they had when the year started. And thus every year you find yourself re-resolving your prior year resolutions. This is the year that is going to change, we tell ourselves. Then come the end of the year, we reflect and can see how much we got off course.
I believe the reason why this happens is because of a lack of focus. See… life ends up getting in the way and it takes our focus off of our resolutions. I have come to learn this in my life… that I focus on what is in front of me. This also explains why our resolutions that we made but didn't keep become so clear at the end of the year...Because our focus is on them at that moment of reflection. So there has got to be a better way to keep your resolutions, because the reality is...if your gonna make them and not keep them, by bother at all!
None of us ever start the year with the attitude of wasting time in mind. No we start the year off we a fresh attitutde, and a new outlook. So what is it going to take for you to k your focus on your resolutions. My suggestion....A LIFE PLAN! To be success you at your resolutions you have to always know what they are and where you stand. It is critical to keep your resolutions always in front of you. So today's post is going to be more of a how to post to help you keep your resolutions for the year.
Here is what I do to help me keep my focus on my resolutions for the year. I write out a simple one-page life plan for the year. There are few categories that I specifically focus on my life plan. The categories are spiritual, personal, marriage, financial, professional, and books to read for the year. In each category I put three or four goals or resolutions that I have. I also try to put a timeline with the resolution. For example if one of my personal goals is to work out more for the year and to lose 30 pounds.… Then I will put a timeframe for that goal I will say I want to lose 10 pounds per quarter of the year. This also builds in margin for when you fall of the wagon...because it is going to happen.
In addition to resolutions in the categories, and the time line, let me also suggest adding in your life plan how you plan to celebrate each victory. When you loose the first 10lbs how are you going to celebrate that? You need to have victory parties, it helps you keep your vision clear, and when your vision is clear....your motivation clear.
Now… I know some of you are not avid readers, and so books to read for the year may not make your life plan. I want to encourage you, that if you are not an avid reader to consider making 2012 a year that you read more. Here are some stats about reading… Reading a book a week about a specific topic for 12 months is the equivalent of a bachelor's degree education in that topic. If you are a man and a leader, learning and reading leadership lessons from other leaders is a must. You literally can change your entire thought process and focus… just by reading.
Here is a thought from King Solomon (the wisest person to ever live!) Wisdom makes the difference. Leadership begins with our thoughts even before our actions when our mind and our attitudes are right, we position ourselves to lead well. Wisdom desires to be the best friend of any leader. Wise leaders also have discernment in relationships, hatred for what is wrong, and influence... a wise leader reads! (Proverbs 8:15,16)
I want to encourage you with your life plan to put a copy of it everywhere you spend time. But copy of it in your wallet that way every time you open your wallet you're reminded of your life plan. Put a copy on your dresser, put copy in your bathroom, put copy where ever you need to for it to be in front of you so it keeps your focus.
Your life plan is not meant to be a complex document. It's not something that that needs to be professional. It just needs to be some of your resolutions on paper in front of you with goals and make them realistic!
I know that this year is a year of change and a year of completion.