Everybody loves the idea of progress, few love the sacrifice it is going to cost to achieve progress. Progress comes from what we can give up for God, not what we can get from God. Nothing great as ever been achieved without sacrifice. Even Jesus sacrificed himself.
Sacrifice has to start with the leader first. You have to be willing to let uncomfortable things happen. As Christians Reacting To Our Purpose, we often times find ourselves in a comfort zone. We are more concerned about relationships and building friendships to reach people verses repentance and reaching the lost. There is nothing wrong with relationships and friendships, but if your end goal in reaching people is to make friends and you never focus on spreading the word of God and the message of salvation what good is the friendship? Today, the focus is the relationship first and thru the relationship I will be able to share the word of God because of the friendship. Somewhere along the lines we have lost sight of following the model Jesus used. He didn’t wait until he was friends with people to reach them. He reached out to them first and then built friendships and relationships second.
The idea of reaching first has become uncomfortable to us. We are afraid of sacrificing our reputations, images, and time. The last thing we want to be labeled is a Christian religious fanatic that only wants to talk about God. However, this is exactly what we are called to do. You can’t progress the kingdom if you are focused on the friendship first. Friendships and relationships take time and trust to build. However, time is what we don’t have. Time is not on our side. At any moment the person you are waiting to talk to about God until the time is right, which you will know based upon the relationship could die at any moment and not know Christ. The time you are taking to build the relationship is the time you should be taking to talk about Christ to that person. If you truly love the person as we are called to do, how much do you have to hate them to wait to tell about Jesus and the eternity in Heaven vs. Hell?
The sacrifice you are going to have to make when REACTING2PURPOSE is this, the urge to build the friendship and relationship first. We all want more friends, and it is only natural to build the friendship. However, if you are building the friendship based upon a future hope, the friendship is like a house built on sand on the beach. It could wash away at any time. What if you never feel the time is right to talk to the person about God? Now, you may be thinking my Christian life will model Jesus love and therefore will naturally impact the friend. We often time lose sight of the fact that the person doesn’t have the holy spirit in them, so they are blind to your spiritual life. See Act 1:8.
Time is short to spread the gospel of Christ. Jesus himself said that no one comes to the father except thru him. As a leader Reacting To Your Purpose and Reaching People Far From God are you willing to make the sacrifice?
Choosing to make the right sacrifices, REACTING2PURPOSE
Can you think of one word that cuts to very soul?
I can...its why! Why lingers longer! Why cuts deeper! Why hurts more! Why this? Why hardships? I recently heard a great message on why from James McDonald taught at Elevation Church. As I listened to the message, I felt stirred the ask the question...WHY NOT! If why hurts, can why heal. Love hurts and love heals. So why not, why not?
Hupo Mena means under remain, or translated into something we can understand...remaining under. This is the central message to faith. The testing of your faith produces "Hupo Mena" Do you know that the difference between coal and a diamond? Pressure. Great amounts of pressure produce diamonds. The longer the pressure the better the quality the diamond.
The hard thing about choosing to REACT2PURPOSE is choosing to not cut and run when the pressure is on. When you are screaming I want to quit...why not stay put. I am not saying that you never cut and run, I believe that you can discern the differnce of when to cut and run and when not to. If God can teach you to Hupo Mena , he can make you complete and lacking in nothing, made perfect. (James 1:1-12)
I can tell you in my own life that I have cut and run when the times are tough. Its the easy way out, and everytime I do, I pay dearly for that decision. I have learned the hard way. Everytime I cut and run, I loose my joy and experience temporary happiness followed by extreme suffering. I have learned to get off the happiness train that is always moving up and down. Instead I choose to Hupo Mena on the joy train. The joy train is always moving in a striaght line. There is no up and downs.
I once heard that in sports if you suffer and injury and you ice the injury for a minute which is extreme pain, you might return during the season. If you ice the injury for two minutes which beyond extreme pain, you might return in a month, if you ice the injury for three minutes, and by which point your ready to kill someone, you might return by the end of the week. If you can stand the pressure and ice the injury for five minutes you might return during the game. There is a healing factor to pain and pressure. The healing factor is the HUPO MENA which is the funnel by which all faith and joy flows.
During trials, the longer you remain under God, the more pain you will feel. This is the good stuff as this is what helps you grow faster. In every painful circumstance God is working things we can't even begin to understand and we need to trust him and remain under him so that we can get to the good stuff. The longer the pressure the brighter the diamond. So next time you find yourself ready to cut and run from pressure, ask yourself....why not stay and HUPO MENA God. I promise as I have learned you will not regret the decision... ever!
I recently read a great called book the E-Myth Revisited, which dealt with the three levels of being a business owner. Although being a pastor is not the same as being a business owner, the similarities between the two cross paths. And so, while reading about business ownership, I applied the concept of being a pastor and leading a church to the subject matter in the book. The idea is this....As a business owner you don't have to be great at everything, just a few key things to be successful. As a pastor you don't have to be gifted at every ministry, just understand your specific calling and by focusing solely on your specific calling your church will grow.
In the book, Michael Gerber the author talked about the three levels which are the Technician, Manager and Executive. He also talked about the barriers of each level and what prevents a business from moving from one level to another. As I read this book, I realized these three levels are the same levels and the same barriers pastors deal with.
This first level is the technical level which is a very hands on approach to business and church. This level is defined by "I" It is all about what I am capable of. Most businesses start from someone who can do a job, and decides "why not do it for myself, instead of someone else." The business owner is the technician and is the one doing the work every day. The success or failure of the business lies solely on his shoulders. The same is true for a pastor. Pastors are called by God, start a church and for some reason feel the need to be hands on in everything. They are literally the technical pastor. The success of the church they believe rests on their shoulders and what they put into it.
The barrier to this first level is trusting others to do what you can do. In the business world the technician wants things done a certain way and since their way is the best way, they feel that no body will do the job the way they want it done. After a while they get burned out from the 80 hour work weeks. In addition, their family life suffers as well. The barrier for the pastor is the same thing. Trusting others to do what you can. do; letting go of ministries to others who are equally as capable as you. As a pastor you don't have to control everything....just control the thing that God has called you to control and let others control what God has called them to control. You have to trust your people around you. This principle applies to business and church. Moses has to learn this principle before he could move to level two.
The second level is management. This level is defined by the people, and is all about what the people are doing and how they are doing it. Once you let go of actually doing and trusting others to do what you can do, you are instantly moved into the role of managing those doing the job. This second level is where the majority of business owners once they break thru level one get stuck at. This truth applies to pastors as well.
The barrier to the Management Level is learning how to lead people not on a daily basis but lead people by vision. Most business owners who make it to this level get stuck because they get so wrapped up in the daily operations that they loose sight of the direction of the company. They never learn how to lead the company as they are too busy leading the people. So they get stuck. This same quick sand can capture a pastor as well. The church is not growing but the ministries are still happening. The pastor has trusted the people to do the ministries of the church, but he is so busy tending to the leaders that he is not tending to the vision. Again Moses had to learn this while leading people in the desert. In this level the feeling of responsibility shifts from I am responsible for what I do to that of I am responsible for what my team does. So the focus is to manage that responsibility in fear that you the pastor will actually be held responsible one day. Tell me if this sound familiar. As a pastor I am held to a high level of accountability. While yes this is true, are you being held accountable for the actions of the people you manage or the vision God has entrusted you with?
The third level is the Executive Level. Very few business owners ever make it to this level. I would say the same is true for pastors and churches. The executive level is very distinct in nature because it is all about what the company or church is doing, and how it is impacting, and where it is going. The identifying factor is not any one individual or a group of people but what the organization as a whole. This level is the level all business owners strive for. This level is the level of impact. This level is the level of legacy. This level is the level where legends are created. All business owners want their business to succeed without them. The same is true for the impact of the church. All pastors and churches have a desire to advance the kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, few do!
There is no barrier to this level. As the ceiling of possibilities are limitless. You know you have reached this level when your people perform not because of you or your leadership, but because of a vision they want to be apart of. A business owner’s lack of growth is not a sales or revenue problem, it is a vision problem. The same is true for the church. If your church is not growing, you have a vision problem. People want to be part of something bigger themselves and bigger then their everyday lives. When your people at the church move because of the vision and not a sermon you know you have reached this level.
As a pastor, God has given you a vision. I believe the problem is most pastors have snuffed the flames of that vision. You have not forgotten the vision; you simply have not acted on it. Look around at the churches that are making a difference for the kingdom of God and look at what is driving them. Is it a dynamic pastor and worship band and color images and brochures and handouts and sparky language and cool clothes and hip songs? No! The church is making an impact because the church body believes in the vision and purpose God has given the pastor and collectively chooses to move in a direction to see the vision and purpose come to a reality. This is what drives great churches.
My question for you today...what stage are you in?
Submission + Change= Growth.
One of the road blocks to reacting to purposeis submission. As Christians we have a tendency to desire the promises of God without doing what God asks us to do to receive his promises. Many Christians have the faith in God like Jonah but are disobedient like Jonah. Many Christians are loosing their blessings? This is exactly what happen to Jonah. Unti he submitted to God, he was missing out big time. It wasn't until he died and came back that he stepped into his purpose and that is when growth happened.
Submission is not just obeying the word of God. Submission is following the will of God for your life. So I ask you, are you submitting?
No joke about it...Submission is hard! Submission requires a change of mindset. Submission means that you are no longer master and that God is. With submission comes change though. Your views in the past become distorted and a new view filled with hope, peace, love, and endless possiblities is created thru submission to will of God.
Growth happens thru submission and change.
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25 NIV
I woke up this morning thanking God that his forgiveness is the stanadard by which all Christians, including myself should strive for. God's standard of forgiveness means forgetting. Forgetting is not for the benefit of the person that is being forgiven but for the forgiver. When you forgive and forget you can move forward with your life in peace. When you forgive and don't forget you stay stationary and the action being forgiven eats away at you on the inside.
There is a transference of God's power when a person seeks forgiveness. The person seeking forgiveness has released the issue and is able to move forward with their life in peace. They no longer have to look back. The power is transfered away from the person who is to forgive to the person seeking forgiveness. The power of God is the peace that comes from seeking forgiveness. Even if the person chooses not to forgive, you don't have to hold on to it anymore. The moment you seek forgiveness, a weight is lifted off of you. The person seeking forgiveness chooses to react according to God's example.
Should the forgiver choose not to forgive and forget, the example of forgiveness he is following is not God's but Satans. Satan's example is to forgive but don't forget. Here is what happens when you follow Satan's example of forgiveness. Everytime you see or hear about the person you are forgiving is moving forward with their life, you burn with anger, resentment, and you have issues with the person because all they can do is wrong in your eyes. Because you have choosen to not forget, all you can remember is the wrong in a person, and not the good. You have forgiven but not out of love. This simply is not God's example of forgiveness.
The audicity of someone who has wronged you moving forward with their life. How dare they! This is what is robbing your peace.
God does not want your peace robbed. How can you move forward focusing on God when you are thinking about how the other person who you have supposably forgiven but not forgotten is moving forward with God? How would you feel if you sinned against God and He supposably forgave you but did not forget? How would you feel if He constantly reminded you of your mistake? What happened to God's grace? Why did He die on the cross?
Too many of us Christians have either taken for granted or simply forgotten what love and the grace of God truly means. Forgiveness is so important that God won't accept your offerings until you fix the situtation. Choosing to forgive and not forget robs you, not that person who you have forgiven!
Choose today to forgive and forget like God does. Doing so will unleashe peace into your life like you have never experienced. Anything less then following God's example of forgiveness is nothing short of being a hypocrite. We already have way to many hypocritical Christians, the world doesn't need another.
REACTING2PURPSOE, Forgive and forget.
You have to live your life ministry showing love not just on Sundays or on special occasions. It has to be all the time and it has to start at home!
It amazes me how badly Christians treat their own family. Can you imagine if God treated you in the same manner as you treat your family? This is an issue that really bothers me because someone close to me deals with this issue from family members that go to church on a regular basis and are even elders in the church.
There is no easy of saying this, so instead of beating around the bush and avoiding the elephant in the room here goes....
WAY TOO MANY "Christians" ARE FAKE.
They appear to be real on Sundays for the hour or so they are at church in front of others, but then after church is over they are the first ones cussing their fellow brother in the parking lot. Why? Why is it so hard to really show the love of God? This is what the world is screaming at us- Christians, the church, and the God we represent. Show us, show us, show us your love is real! Show us in your actions! Show us in your behavior! Show us in your attitude! Show us in your responses! Show us in everything you do! Show us your life is different from mine because you believe!
Real love has to start at home first, not on Sundays. Real love has to start with your family first. So your kids mess up, show love! Someone I know recently was upset at her family over a lost necklace. She searched high and low for it and couldn't find it. The necklace was special because it came from her grandmother. She was in tears about the whole situtation. When we talked to her about it, come to find out that she was in tears not over the necklace but rather the response from her grandmother about it. This person is getting ready to move far away with her husband and she knew that her grandmother was going to be asking for the necklace back after giving it to her. She just knew that her grandmother was going to look down on her and belittle her about loosing the necklace. For this girl, this was difficult for her because her grandmother professed to be a Christian. How sad! Does this sound like any Christian you know? Does this sound like you?
Thankfully, this girl is strong enough in her faith with the Lord to not let her grandmother tear down her belief in God. Regardless of her strength, her Christian grandmother was not showing the love and grace of God that God shows her. I pray for all those "Christians" that miss showing the love and grace of God at home. Is it any wonder why Christian marriages have the same divorce rate as non-Christian marriages. You can not live your life ministry if you don't first live it at home. If you come to church and try to be holy and loving in front of others to boost your appearance up in their eyes, and your home life is messed up, you need to rethink the audience you need to be holy to! If you wonder why you are having problems at home with your spouse and kids, could be it because you are FAKE, and your family sees it? What message do you send about love and God when your actions Monday thru Saturday don't match with your behavior on Sunday? How can you really love others when you don't love right at home? You can't! Reacting to your purpose in life, starts at home. Until you realize this, you are stuck on a treadmill going nowhere fast. It is that simple. The world needs more REAL Christians showing the REAL LOVE OF GOD in everything they do! Choose today to show the REAL LOVE OF GOD!
REACTING2PURPOSE, Acting in love...
"May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." Ruth2:12 (NIV)
If I am so busy focusing on other people who will take care of me?
One of my favorite stories in the bible is the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth is a great love story about a woman named Ruth who focused some much on the needs of another that she left herself wide open to be focused on by God.
What you focus on you love. She was focused on loving other people and her actions in her life showed this. She was doing what God could have done, which opened her up for God to focus on her. God did just that, he provided for her in such a massive way. When asked what she did to deserve such favor, the favor of God from Boaz responded this way, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother in law since the death of your husband-how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done.!" Ruth 2:11-12 (NIV)
One of Satan's favorite questions he loves to ask people, is this....who will take care of you? When we are focused on taking care of us more than others our love for self is greater than our love for others. We are called by God to love God, then love others. Nowhere, in that commandment was love yourself. When we focus on ourselves we literally become our own God. We focus on solving our problems ourselves, and our way. We push the need to rely on God aside. Our mentality of ...."I Got This God, Why Don't You Sit This One Out!" is exactly the mentality the enemy wants us to have.
The enemy doesn't want us to love others, for he knows that if we all loved others before ourselves he would be pushed out of the picture. Instead he entices us with to shift our focus away from God. Here is the deal today, you can't take care of yourself better than God who created everything can take care of you. As Christians we have got to learn to take God out of the box we are keeping him in. He is not there to only solve your problems that you can't solve yourself. He wants to be there to solve everything for you. His provisions are infinate. What God does want from us is to focus on others. The reason is because this displays the love of God to a world that screams prove it. God is trying to get us to do just that. Prove to the world that God is real and that he loves.
I encourage you to shift your focus away from yourself and to others.
REACTING2PURPOSE, Acting In Love...
You will never be happy until you invest the commidity of love into other people’s lives. No amount of money or stuff will make you happy the way loving other people will.
The apostle Paul speaks of love in his first letter to the Corinthians and he says "with out love he is nothing and gains nothing." It can be difficult to love though. We all have people in our lives that have a crappy attitutde, and that you really can't stand to be around. I know for me, I have some family members like this. As difficult as they may be to like, I know that I will never be as happy as I could be if I just loved them they way God loves me. The issue is this... somewhere along the road of our lives we have been programmed to love conditionally, which robs us of our ultimate happiness.
I have been asked, is even possible to love another unconditionally when the person is not your child or family. I believe Satan has done a great job of training us that we can't. The answer is yes we can! Loving unconditionally is engrained into our dna from God. God said, "that we are made in his image." His image is love. We are made to love. We are made to love unconditionally.
Let me prove this to you. Imagine with me for second you happen to be the only person around witnessing a pack of wild wolves getting ready to attack a new born baby. Do you a) go and resuce the baby or b) do nothing but watch?
Did you pick (a) go and rescue the baby? I bet you did, now let me ask you this question. You knew none of the details regarding the baby and the wolves and yet you were willing to risk your life for a child you didn't know. Why?
Because for that moment in time you had an unconditional love for someone else that you didn't know. How long did you have to think about the question before choosing (a) or (b)? Again, I bet you made your decision in an instant, without having to think about it. This is because God has built us to love. The barrier is us. Until we learn to love others this way, we are missing out on being compelte in happiness. You can be happy, but there is a whole-nother level waiting for those who are willing to love the way God love us.
Loving others the way God loves us is a constant struggle. The world and its factors and tactics teaches us the opposite. This is a battle that you have to be willing to fight and win. I know that I am still in the battle. Will you join me?
REACTING2PURPOSE, Acting in love...