This year has been such an amazing year. As I look back over the year and all that was accomplished both personally and by God...I just wanted to share some thoughts with you.
Here are 20 thoughts to end the year with.
1. If you wait until the game to prepare for the game....you waited too long.
2. If you start with the end in mind then the beginning will always lead to the end. If you start with the beginning in mind you will never have an end. God himself started with the end in mind.
3. Immitation can be wiser than innovation. You don't have to re-invent the wheel if the wheel works.
4. Its more important to be effective than original.
5. Don't let your calendar set your priorities. Let your priorities set your calendar.
6. Leadership determines your priorities, not your priorities determining your leadership.
7. You must steer for the curves ahead of you before you get to them.
8. How you handle the middle of your life determines your end.
9. The number factor that keeps people motivated is progress. You need to see progress and who your leading needs to see progress.
10. Sometimes in-action is the wisest action. Hurry is often the death of prayer. You don't always need to make fast decisions. The most important decisions should take you the longest to make. If you can make an important in a split second, how important is the important.
11. Good ideas become success by simple actions.
12. Godly leaders focus on correcting their own faults. Losers focus on critizing others faults.
13. God often uses opposition to open doors for you. God uses persecution to promote you.
14. New growth happens on the newest branches, not the trunk. If your leadership is not working consider new leadership. If you are looking for grow personally, consider new leadership in your life.
15. If your only there for people when it's convenient for you...it's not love!
16. Its far more important to know the right questions and who to ask...then to know all the answers.
17. Only the humble grow. Humility is being teachable. God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.
18. Nothing of God ever happen period...without prayer.
19. Your assignment in life by God is what usually what pains you the most.
20. A bull dog can easily whip a skunk...but it isn't worth the stink.
I normally don't do this...but for this I will make an exception. You have got to check out daily this new website http://www.onthespotprayer.com You can share your prayers with the world to pray for you. You can step up as prayer partner and take the time to pray for some one else.
There is real power in prayer and in agreement about prayer. God literally appointed prayer warriors to annoy him with your prayers. He wants to be bothered by it. He loves it! Will you take the time today to check it out and book mark it as one of your daily sites to visit. This will help jump start your prayer life.
As a pastor of a church I've come to notice certain patterns…certain cycles of people. I've come to notice there are four categories that most people fall into concerning their relationship with God and others. To be an effective leader you must understand how people think and behave.
The first category is REBELLION… When things go well people drop their guard they relax and pay less attention to details. Peacetime brings a greater chance of rebellion than wartime. In prosperous times, fallen people naturally express their bent toward independence in rebellion. When things are going bad people have a tendency to put their guard up. They pay more attention to the details… Because they are trying to prove that God is not working in their life. People who are in the rebellion category have a hard time accepting the word of God, and when the Holy Spirit is speaking to them. It's not to say that they don't believe they just simply are in rebellion.
The second category is REPRESSION. Repression follows rebellion. Whether God sends an enemy or the people cause their own mystery, they indoor hardship, calamity, invasion, or natural disaster. The ultimate cause of repression is poor life choices is. Poor life choices result in retribution. To move ahead in a relationship with God you have to move from rebellion to repression. Because your repression ultimately serves as a wake-up call and leads to the third category which is repentance.
The third category is REPENTANCE… Extreme hardships often trigger communitywide repentance. The repression serves as a wake-up call. You begin to focus on what is really important and purify your motives and behavior. Every pastor's goal is to move the people in the church from rebellion to repression to repentance and ultimately to restoration. The apostle Paul often spoke of the absolute importance, and necessity of repentance. A repentant heart is open and aware of who God is and who they are, and the position that they find themselves in because of sin.
The fourth category is RESTORATION… Repentance of the heart leads to restoration. You regain the blessings you once had or acquire what had been intended for you when you begin to obey God. Peace returns to your land once more, peace returns to your heart, and into your family once more.
As you close out this year and begin to reflect on this past year in your life and your goals and expectations of the New Year that lies ahead… Truly look in your heart and identify what category you currently fall into. If you never move through this cycle from rebellion to repression to repentance to restoration…The New Year ahead of you will hold exactly what the past year behind you did. There is only one thing that stands in the way from moving from each of the categories… That is your own PRIDE!
Have you noticed how so few leaders in the Bible finish well. More than two thirds of biblical leaders finished poorly. I was reading Samson and here's what I've noticed. Early in Samson's career he was dedicated to God, he was a great warrior for God, he was exceedingly strong, he killed thousands of soldiers, he was a man of faith, killed a lion, broke strong bands and carry off the gates of Gaza. Towards the end of his career… He lost his dedication to God, he was deceived by a woman, had his eyes burned out, wasn't imprisoned and had his hair shaved, left by the Lord, mocked and ridiculed, never fulfilled his potential, and lost his anointing.
So what was it that caused Samson to start real strong but then fail towards the end of his life? Because here's the thing… I believe this happens to so many of us with our own personal walk with God. We first get saved we are on fire for God, but then somewhere along the line we begin to fizzle out. I don't believe that anybody starts out on fire for God with the intention of fizzling out. But for some reason it happens…
Here are three thoughts for why so many fail towards the end of their life:
- Leaders fail towards the end of their life because they somehow die looped the original vision that drove them. An easy way of saying that… is they've lost the vision of God in their life… God has become nothing more than a complacent spiritual being in their life. They no longer carry the fear and reverence of God.
- Leaders fail towards the end of their life because their successes distort them. You have to constantly be moving from faith to faith in glory to glory. What once took faith, quickly becomes something that no longer requires faith. When you have success… It's easy to rest in that success, and never move to the next level of success. It's also easy to rest in faith and never move to the next level of faith. Moses constantly had to keep moving to the next level of faith with God…and in doing so he moved from glory to glory with God.
- Most importantly of all leaders fail towards the end of their life because their weaknesses go on address. So many leaders in so many Christians fail towards the end of their life simply because weaknesses develop and they never address their weaknesses they have pride issues they have other issues that they place in front of their weaknesses to mask their weaknesses.
While a good help starts… A great finish is up to you!
Hello world… I have been reading some things in Isaiah today and I just want to share six thoughts about growth with God to you today.
- Growth occurs when vision and values match. When your values match God's vision growth with God occurs. God will never meet your vision instead he's going to pursue you to meet his vision.
- Growth occurs when your lifestyle and lip service match. Say what you mean and mean what you say. The issue with so many Christians is they say one thing to try to impress you and to build themselves up. Your words are meaningless if your lifestyle doesn't match what you say.
- Growth occurs when your conduct and character match. What you believe determines what you do and what you do determines your character. Your character is the real you, and your conduct proves your character.
- Growth occurs when your image and integrity match. What people perceive about you they believe about you. The world's mentality is it's all about your image… God's mentality is it's all about your integrity.
- Growth occurs when your promises and production match. When you promise to do something do you do it? We've all been called to bear fruit. The question is going to be whether or not you fruit is plastic and with no substance because of broken promises and lack of production, or whether your fruit has substance with results and lives changed.
- Growth occurs when your strategy and support match. Do you strategically find ways to connect and to align yourself with where and how and when God is working. It's not enough to see where God is working you have to support how God is working. Remember your finances are a paper trail to your heart. What you find value in is what you support.
THE CHRIST STORY
THE REAL NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS
David R. Sillaman Jr.
T’was the night of the first Christmas, and all through the land, the shepherds were watching their flocks while Mary the Virgin child gave birth to the son of man. The prophecies foretold of a baby boy king, who would be called wonderful counselor as peace would be his to bring.
Born in a manger and wrapped in cloth the glory of the lord could not be contained. The shepherds were tending to sheep when suddenly a great light appeared from the sky. And they looked up and saw the Angels of the Lord on high.
Do not be afraid, they said, “Because today in the town of David, Christ the Savior has been born.” The sound of music filled the air as the great angels spoke, “Glory to the Lord, the great news of joy that will be for the people to adorn.”
When the Angels had left them and gone back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has been told.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. The sight was the most glorious they had ever seen, a memory for them that would never grow old.
When they had seen him, they went out and spread the word concerning what had been told them about this boy. And all who heard it were amazed and filled with hope, love and joy. Mary the mother of the baby Jesus treasured the words in her heart as she glorified God as to why he chose her from the start.
For Mary was to be married to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be with a child. In Mary’s day this was against the law. Now, Joseph her husband was a righteous man and because of this, he choose to not expose her flaw. Then one night in a dream an Angel appeared and said, “Joseph, do not be afraid, for what Mary has is from God not man. You will name the child Jesus for he will be the sacrificial lamb.”
In his dream, all of this took place exactly as foretold.
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did what the angel commanded and married Mary without any fuss.
During the time of Jesus’ birth an evil King named Harod ruled the earth. When King Herod heard of the news, he became very upset of the birth of a baby boy that was to replace him as the King to the Jews. And so in his anger, Harod called together all the chief priests and teachers of the law to find out exactly where the Christ was to born. In the city of Bethlehem, in Judea the baby boy king was born in a mangers stall. For on that night, a new star appeared shinning brighter than bright. The kings Magi said to the King, this was the sign of the light.
The King sent the Magi, to Bethlehem with orders to find the child so that he may worship him too. So they went on their way and followed the star of light, until it stopped over the place where the child was born on this night.
When they saw the star they were filled with joy. They brought treasures and presents; the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh to be presented to this baby boy.
Having been warned in a dream that King Herod was up to no good, and wanted to harm the baby Jesus, the Magi returned to their country by another route the King misunderstood.
When King Herod learned of this, he became very angry, but there was nothing he could do for his time as King was quickly coming to an end. This is when an angel appeared to Joseph and said, “go to Egypt and stay there until I tell you for Herod is going to search for the child but you will be safe, for God will defend.”
And so as time passed by so did King Herod and finally the day came for Jesus’ return to Nazareth, to take his place as the King he was born to be. It is written that the son of man will one day die for you and me.
But on this night, we rejoice for a savoir has been born. A savior that has taken up our sinful fight and with that we wish you all a good night.
Over the past few days I have been reading the book of Job during my quiet time. One of the beautiful facets of the Book of Job is that it displays how a man can be very human, and yet very heavenly at the same time. I think this is something that we all wish to pursue, but often times fall short. Job feels all the emotions of a man who has endured great loss. He becomes angry, depressed, and anxious, and declares his feelings openly.
At the same time, he never drifts from his strong character, he remains consistent in everything. I think this is where we often fail. We become distressed by our emotions and our real character shows itself. The moment it appears Job will curse God and give up on HIM, he affirms his promise to be faithful even when he doesn't understand what is happening. Job pledges to maintain his integrity despite his circumstances.
For most, our circumstances dictate our character. The issue is...our character shifts because our belief shifts. When things are well for us, we believe God is for us. Our actions, which drives our character shows our belief about the goodness of God. We are more chipper, upbeat, happy, generous, faithful....and more. On the flip side...when things are going bad for us, we believe God is against us. Again our actions drives our character and so when we believe God is against us, we become against him. We are not happy, have no peace, we become less generous, less likely to attend church, we often seclude ourselves from the world as we wrestle with God. All of this reflects in our character. So when others look at who you are, your character is like a pancake....flip flopping
As I read Job, he had every reason to have bad character. The devil had taken everything from him except this own life. To make matters worse, God allowed it to happen. God's reason was to prove a much larger spiritual point to the devil, but to mere man, God still allowed it to happen. And lets be honest, when crap begins to happen in life, God's reasons for allowing it to happen simply don't matter. The point is...it's still happening and we want it to stop. But Job's character remained the same, because what was driving his character was his believe about God. His believe about God never changed, therefore his character never changed.
Here are few things that might help you maintaining a consistent believe about God.
1. Vision. You can't see everything in the future. God can. His vision for you will always be for your benefit. It might not seem like it at the time, but Job was not only restored but then blessed even more.
2. Stop pretending like your in control. You need to be a model under God's control. Others are seeing how you respond to your life and will make decisions about God for their life based off of you.
3. Let the anchor of your life be your character, not your emotions. Stop living from emotion to emotion. It's a roller coaster you can't control. All you can do is respond, which means you live your life being reactive not proactive. Living by your character is a choice which means you can be proactive and in control, not matter what life throws at you.
4. While you don't know what tomorrow holds, you do know WHO holds tomorrow. To have a consistent character you have a consistent belief. God will have your back and best interests at heart.
The difference separating a person who is pursing their purpose in life and someone who isn't...is perspective. Both individuals could have character and integrity, both can love others, both can obey God, both could be church goers...but the difference is the person who is pursing their purpose in life thinks differently from a person who isn't.
Job and his friends held profoundly different perspectives. Throughout the book, Job maintains an eternal perspective, while his friends maintained an external perspective. "For I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth," Job says (Job 19:25). He follows that verse by casting vision for the reality of life beyond the grave. Unlike his wife, who told him to curse God and die; unlike his friends, who told him none of this would have happened had he just lived a better life...Job saw beyond the superficial to the eternal.
The difference between someone who is pursing their purpose and someone who isn't is simply perspective. It has nothing to with "what your doing" it has everything to do with..."what you see your doing" As a Christ follow we all share the same purpose. We are given the same instructions by Jesus. Go into the world and make disciples and spread the message. Too often, we are waiting for "the right opportunity" to come along to share the message. We are waiting on all the external forces to line up perfectly before we can step into our purpose.
Have you ever noticed someone who keeps an eternal perspective....every chance, every meeting, every encounter, everything is an opportunity to spread the message.
Here are three things that might help you keep an Eternal perspective on your purpose:
1. You have to constantly RENEW YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF GOD. Job clung to the justice and character of God. The world wants to take you away from that, just like Job's friends and family.
2. You have to be willing to RELEASE THE PAST. You have to be willing to let go of what you lost, or possible never had. So many people are babies about their past. They have literally imprisoned themselves to something they had little to no control over. In doing so, they have locked themselves away from what they do have control over. The past is the past....get over and move on!
3. You have to always REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE. When you realize that you exist only to glorify God and that he doesn't exist to glorify you...only then will you see everything in life is connected to your purpose.
There are some DUH's when it comes to sin... there is a cause and effect. Well DUH, right! Everyone knows that...But here is what most don't know...We blindly look at what the sin is and say that is the cause, when in reality what the sin is...is really the effect. The cause of all sin in the world from the beginning with Adam and Eve is a lack mentality. Sin ultimately is an attempt to fill a lack in your life. Here's the deal...The lack mentality always falls back to Jesus. Jesus has put the desires in you which gives way to Satan using them to spotlight lack.
Think about this, Adam and Eve were already walking with God, were holy, were righteous, were perfect and without sin. They were already like God because they were made in his image. Look at what the serpent did...the fruit in the garden was never the temptation, it wasn't like that particular fruit was more glorious and appealing than any other fruit. Heres the thing, it wasn't up until that time when the serpent revealed a lack in their life, that that one particular fruit became appealing.
Porn doesn't become appealing until a lack in your life is exposed. If a man looks at porn it's because his sex life is lacking something that he is finding in the porn while having sex with himself. Here is the big kicker...God put the desire for sex in you. Sex is a form of worshiping him, but Satan has caused you to view your sexual worship as lacking something. Men try to deal with the addiction of porn by removing anything that could tempt them with porn in their life. Now the remedy of the effect which was based on lack, is more lack. Too often we look at the temptation as the cause of the sin.
Stealing isn't appealing until a lack is exposed. If a man steals...the money at the bank is only the effect. The cause of the stealing is a lack mentality about something missing in their life. God's provision is not enough...it LACKS what the theif feels they need.
Every sin has a cause and effect and the normal M.O is to believe the effect is the cause and to focus on it. While the real cause is never addressed. You will never be able to address sin areas in your life until you realize that your sin is caused by mentality that you carry about God that is lacking.
Alcohol doesn't become appealing in the way it does to a drunk until after a lack is exposed in their life. If you drink, the alcohol is not the cause of the problem. I have family that were on and off again drunks. They were constantly falling off the wagon. When life was good, they were sober. When life started to become difficult they were drunks. When they were sober, they would go to extreme lengths to remove any presence of alcohol in their life. I can remember that I had to get rid of any alcohol in my house so they wouldn't be tempted. So their fix to the problem is to lack and to cause others around them to lack. The addiction of alcohol is caused by a lack mentality. This lack mentality could be for any number of reasons...I didn't have the childhood I should have had, I didn't have, I didn't have because....you will always hear that statement.
Jails are overcrowded by men and women who comited crimes because the lack mentality was never addressed. Even criminals who do hard time, come out of prison, and have a hard time adjusting because their outside life lacks what their incarcerated life had. Structure and Discipline. If you have sin areas in your life that you want to address here is two tips that you find helpful.
1. Always remember that your sin has been covered by the blood of Jesus. It has been paid for. It has been forgotten. If you are trying to fix a sin area in your life and you find yourself falling short...this is normal. You will ALWAYS fall short of fixing yourself. If we could keep the law, then we would have! Obviously we suck at keeping the law.
2. The sin in your life is always caused by something you lack. Every sin, even the little white lie is caused by you lacking the courage to simply tell the truth and take the consequences. Every sin is caused by a lack. If you want to address sin areas, address the lack. When you realize that you lack nothing thru Christ, you will realize that your desire for that sin will no longer exist.
3. Satan is not like God. He doesn't know your thoughts. He was never given that power by God. He can't read your heart and mind they way Jesus can. Satan wants you think he has all this power, he doesn't. The power he has is to expose lack and to manipulate the desires and word of God. The only way he knows what your thinking...is if YOU TELL HIM!
Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to be like a machine when it comes to their focus? I know that I have. I have a very hard time focusing my attention. Maybe its my ADD or could it be something else all together? Lately I have been looking at subject of Focus and especially the Focus of the Apostle Paul.
He was a machine when it came to Focus. He faced persucation, but stayed focused. He was beaten and stayed focused. He faced nay-sayers and yet stayed focused. The scriptures say he was literally chased by an angry mob of Jews and had to hide and sneak around during the cover of darkness...yet he stayed focused.
I know if it was me, at some point...I don't know...maybe after being beaten and placed in jail, I would have lost my focus. But during all of the trails Paul faced it actually appears as if his focus gets stronger, not weaker!
As I began to study Paul, here are few things I noticed.
1. Pauls focus gave him an ABSOLUTE willingness to let go of things that didn't matter. Paul was constantly making a choice...Do I want, what I want, or do I want to be right. Paul stayed laser focused on wanting what he wanted. The crazy thing was he was also right at the same time! But he couldn't focus on being both at the same. If he stayed and fought to be right, I imagine he would have at some point lost his focus. Look at what Paul gave up for what he wanted...
His heritage: A Hebrew of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5)
His pure lineage: From the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5)
His former legalism: A Strict Pharisee (Philippians 3:5)
His past zeal: A persecutor of the church (Philippians 3:6)
His self-righteousness: A blameless life (Philippians 3:6)
Paul's focus was so laser pin-pointed that he threw away the things he not only once counted as gain, but counted everything as garabage for the sake of spreading the gospel of Christ. Paul was willing to and did loose it all to gain more intimacy with Jesus.
Leaders who have changed the world had this same kind of laser focus.
Abraham left his homeland, wealth, and friends to go where..he didn't even know at the time he left. Joseph had the focus to endure hardships and prison. Moses could have easily turned back to Egypt.Paul gave up everything. Jesus said to focus only one thing.
So what does it take to gain focus like this?
The key is priorities and concentration. If you know your priorities but lack the concentration to do what it takes, you will never get it done. On the flip side, if you have the concentration but no priorities, you may excellence...but without progress.
People base their decisions on a variety of things:
1. The Utimate: First things first. This all Jesus and the Apostle Paul focused on.
2. The Urgent: Loud things first.
3. The Unpleasent: Hard things first.
4. The Unfinished: Last things first.
5. The Unfulfilling: Dull things first.
What you are focusing on determines what you are capable of achieving.