20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
Luke 6:20-23 NIV
The first thing Jesus did when training his disciples...He transformed their attitude and perspective. He talked about the blessing of being poor, hungry, hated, insulted, or persecuted. Imagine being a disciple and hearing that...Better yet...Imagine sitting in a modern day church service and hearing the pastor tell you it's better to be poor and hungry. This was the exact opposite of what was being taught by the religious leaders of the day. Jesus knew that in order to change his disciples from the inside out he needed to change their perspective which interns changes their attitude.
Perspective is critical in your growth. Unfortunately today's church has done a horrible job at leading people in a way that changes their perspective. The proof is in the way so many Christians church shop. They attend a church, something is either said, done or not said and done and all of a sudden they disappear from Sunday services. What church has unfortunately become is a revolving door family.
Jesus knew what the disciples were going to experience. Before he could lead them to impact the world he had to change their perspective from the inside out. He had to prepare them to follow him. He knew that desire alone wasn't enough. He had to change their perspective and attitude to focus on the eternal not the temporal. He knew that they would experience persecution, hatred, insults, exclusion, being poor, being hungry, being attacked by the enemy. No amount of desire will carry you through the attacks by the world and the enemy. He knew that there would be times their expectations would be let down.
But having a group...a church...a family focused on the eternal with the attitude about the eternal...that can carry you. This is why the church is so important. Jesus himself told men to love their wives as he loves the church. Your wife is your family. Her responsibility is to be your help mate in life. The church is meant to be a family to help one another push through this world by focusing together on the eternal. In the book of Acts we see this picture play out when all the disciples stuck together. They focused on the helping one another, being their for one another, providing for one another. And the result....the church kept growing...families were restored...miracles began to happen...lives were impacted...and their were no fears about needs being meet.
Their focus wasn't about how great a worship service, or what the church was doing or not doing, or what the church lacked or how it compared....their focus was being a family. Their was no separation between "the church" and "being family." Sadly, the attitude today is that church is just church, and not a family. Because of this separation it's easy understand why people church shop. Christians today don't grasp the church as family. Can you imagine leaving your wife if she did something you didn't like, or said something that rubbed you the wrong way. Would you just up and leave her? Even better yet...Do you expect your wife to be perfect? This is exactly what happens in church. Someone gets rubbed the wrong way...Their attitude and perspective begins to change.
When you attend a church, you attend with an expectation that they will be there for you in times of need. That they are a family that you can turn to when you need prayer, friendship or guidance. The expectation is that of being a family. A family that always has open arms. A family quick to forgive. A family quick to care. Jesus knew this was the purpose of the church. He used his love for the church... his bride as an example for us as men to be with our wives. To love her, to be quick to forgive her, to care for her. Exactly how we are with our wives is exactly how we are supposed to be with the church...the bride of Christ.
What it all boils down to is this....your perspective and attitude. Are you loving the church as you love your wife, they way Jesus does? Are you focusing on the eternal or the here and now.
Do you _____________________(fill in the blank) take this ________________(fill in your spouses name) to be your _________________(fill in your spouses role) to love them, to honor them ...For better or for worse...for richer or for poorer...in sickness and in health...By power vested with the authority of God I now pronounce you husband and wife. . Beautiful vows! It's the best part of the entire wedding ceremony. We go through so much just to get the point of saying those vows to our loved one.
The thing about our wedding day is that it is one of the happiest days of our lives. There is an excitement in the air about a new beginning, about starting with a clean slate in the relationship and in the eyes of God. Everything that happened prior to the marriage was before you were all in....committed with 100% of who you are in front of the world and in the front of God. There is something amazing about seeing your spouse either standing at the alter waiting for you, or walking down the aisle looking like an angel that just stepped right our of heaven. Remember what you were thinking right at that moment. I do! I remember thinking I am the luckiest person in the whole world. God loved me enough to give me my spouse. I remember thinking I am going to be the best husband a wife could want. I am going to treat her like a queen.
Sometimes I reflect on that day as I face trials in my marriage. Not everyday is fun when being married. There are some really hard days where tensions are high, the enemy is attacking and honestly the feeling of why bother, or I quit is trying to fight it's way in. Maybe you have felt this way. Maybe you are feeling this way now.
Just this morning my wife and I were talking about our wedding vows. I don't ever recall committing to God leave my wife when is she sick, or when she is worse, or poorer. I made a decision with my life to God and my wife. To love her and honor her when she is worse, when she is sick and when she is poor. It is during those down times that my love, and honor to her and God has an opportunity to shine the brightest. The decision I have to make in reality is actually an attitude one. My attitude drives my character and my character drives my actions. If my attitude towards my spouse during the down times is "peace out" then my character and my actions clearly show me as a liar and person who gets going when the times get tough.
Its is during those tough times I may possible miss out on the greatest acts of God in my marriage if my attitude is not on point. I can't control my spouse (as much as I would love to sometimes) but I can control ME. I can control my attitude and my faith to see and experience God move in my marriage. I have learned a wonderful thing about the tough times in my marriage. When I feel like I am on empty, and nothing left in my spirit to give, and I keep my attitude focused on looking up and searching for God more, it is then that God steps in with an infinite reserve tank. I experience him in a fresh ways as I learn to rely on him and trust him as he honors the marriage vows.
I have come to learn that God wants you to have a great marriage. He is willing to step in and fight your marriage and he never gives up. His attitude never changes. His love never stops. He offers a hope that only he alone can offer when you feel like you are done. All you have to do is look up instead of looking down.
This weekend at Reaction Church was easily one of the top three services in our history. Pastor Bill Davis brought home the word and especially prophecy on a level I have never experienced before. During his message he spoke about who we get our validation from and that your why determines our how long. He also brought up Revelation 19:10. "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God." For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Pastor Bill encouraged us to never forget the prophecy of Jesus and to let our testimony be the driving force of the church. For us to stay focused on the rain and not the shoveling. As the pastor of Reaction Church I must confess that his message cut me to the core. It's hard to focus on the rain when you can't see the rain. It's hard to focus on the rain when the skies are blue and you ache from the shoveling. I found myself meditating on his message most of the night. Asking myself what am I leading Reaction Church to focus on?
If I am honest with myself, the church, and God....I have struggled with the flesh prevailing over the spirit. I have found myself focusing on keeping up with the apparent success of other churches...using their method of success as the standard to achieve success as a church. Every church desires the same thing...at least they should! We all want to see more people come to Jesus as a result of our church. As a result of what we do, how we do it, why we do it, the people who do it. We want the people to come to know Christ. The reality is this...the local church wants the glory in the people coming to know Jesus. The desire is correct, however the motives are all wrong. It becomes all about "look what we did" not "look what Jesus did."
To confess I have struggled with this same issue...I think most pastors do. We commit our lives to reaching the lost and we so desperately want this for our church. We want Jesus to look down and smile upon what our church is doing for him. We want him to be proud of our efforts and our success. As the pastor of Reaction Church, I want this...more importantly I want my personal motives and the church motives to be on the glory being Jesus and not what we did or do or anything else that causes us to focus on the shoveling over the rain. I don't want our church testimony to be like so many other churches out there..."Look what we did." or my "My church did this or that" I want our testimony to simply be look what Jesus did, and if he did it once he can do it again.
I want every person at Reaction Church to be excited about how they are experiencing God and to want to share that every weekend. I want that to be part of our worship and our church testimony... "That the people at Reaction don't just talk about Jesus but experience him." I want people to come to the church and leave with the desire to experience God the same way those who call Reaction home do. I want us to always be looking for how Jesus is moving and to celebrate it...because the reality is this...the rain is coming!
So this is my apology and my commitment to God, Jesus, Reaction Church, my family and myself. That mark of a great leader is one who can apologize. I apologize to God for loosing focus of the rain. I apologize to Jesus for not celebrating his testimony in my life as much as I should be. I apologize to Reaction Church for not leading us to celebrate how Jesus is working in our lives. I have led us to focus more on the method than the source. I apologize to my family for leading them to focus on the hole and not the rain. I apologize to myself for loosing site of how God is moving. My desire has been correct but my motives have been wrong. I have been so focused on how to reach the lost so that Reaction would grow that I lost sight of testimony of Jesus. I have been focused on leading the church well so that God would be proud of me that I lost sight of simply FOLLOWING well. So this is my commitment. I commit to always looking for where God is moving in my life. I commit to celebrating his testimony. I commit to leading Reaction Church to celebrate his testimony above all else. I commit to staying focused on the rain and not the shovel!
When it comes to leadership there are two roads that must be traveled. Unfortunately, most leaders in life only ever travel one of the two. The road less traveled by leaders is the road inside of you. To be an effective leader for the long term you must travel on the inside before you can effectively travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one. The first person you lead is YOU...and you can't lead effectively without self-discipline.
There is a period of preparation that needs to take place in all leaders. The issues is...that most leaders want what they want now. Why did a 2 week journey take 40 years with the Israelites? The real reason was they weren't prepared for the Promised Land. The people simply weren't ready for God's blessings until 40 years after they began their trip.
Plato once said, "The first and best victory is to conquer self." The people and leadership of Israel lacked self discipline. As soon as Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, the people turned their backs and built a golden calf. They lacked the self discipline to wait for God and Moses.
So many leaders fail to travel on the inside. They private life doesn't match up with their public life. On the outside they look good and appear like they got their stuff together, while internally they struggle with self discipline. Let's take pastors for example...
40% of pastors leave the ministry after only five years.
89% of pastors have considered leaving their ministry at least once.
90% of pastors have stated they are regularly fatigued.
57% of pastors would leave their current ministry if they felt like they had a better place to go.
77% of pastors feel like they DO NOT have a good marriage.
72% of pastors only study the bible when they are preparing for a sermon.
71% of pastors are in constant state of depression
38% of pastors are divorced.
30% of pastors maintain an ongoing affair.
Only 26% of pastors spend time daily in devotion.
Only 23% of pastors feel content with who they are in Christ.
1500 pastors leave the ministry each month.
50% of pastors marriages will end in divorce.
80% of seminary students who graduate leave the ministry within 5 years.
63% of pastors have been fired from the pastorate position at least twice.
78% of pastors have been forced to resign from the pastorate at least once.
35% of pastors deal with sexual sin on a regular basis.
51% of pastors struggle with porn addiction.
(Study conducted by the Barna Research Group)
The point is this...when you look at a pastor their position as a leader is very public. On the surface most people who look at their pastor as being the example of having their life together. On the outside most pastors lead very well...but it's the leading of themselves internally where they fail. Like most leaders in life, the majority of their time is spent on the outside appearances and not the inside change.
Here a Five Points To Self-Discipline.
1. Develop and follow your PRIORITIES. All leaders are pressed for time, but the successful ones have a plan. If you can determine what's really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it will be much easier to follow through on what's important.
2. Develop a DISCIPLINED lifestyle goal. To be successful, self-discipline can't be a one-time event. It has to become a lifestyle. One of the best ways to nurture such a lifestyle is to develop systems and routines...especially in critical areas of your life crucial to your long-term growth and success. Reading the bible daily verse just in church on sunday, Praying daily, Spending time along with God daily, all of these should be top priority in your life. You don't have to let the world's priorities be your priorities.
3. Challenge your EXCUSES. Challenge and eliminate any tendency you have to make excuses. If you can name several reasons why you can't be self-disciplined, realize that they are really just barriers to your success. All of your barriers must be challenged by you if you want to go to the next level.
4. Remove rewards until you FINISH the job. This world preaches in everything to reward yourself because you deserve it! By you just being you...you deserve it! Rewarding yourself before the job is finished creates a false sense of security about the job. Do you stop a game in progress to reward the star player or do you wait until the game is finished and scores are in to see you actually won or not. If the game is lost was the reward deserved? If you can't finish the job you don't deserve the reward.
5. Stay focused on the RESULTS. Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results, you're likely to become discouraged. So many leaders burn out become because they become discouraged by the task. I know pastors who have become burned out, left the ministry because they were discouraged, blamed the congregation for their lack, and ultimately created a path of destruction, their churches closed down, and many of the people they had shepherded have not returned to church period. Their burnout resulted because they became the focused on the difficulty of the work and not the blessings of the results. This doesn't just happen to pastors, it happens to parents also. They literally give up on parenting their child, and then wonder why their child turned out the way they did.
The road less traveled is a difficult one, but if your desire to lead well and build a legacy it is a road you must travel no matter what.
God takes seriously the issue of character. We see his concern repeatedly throughout the bible, from the sin of Aaron's sons to his detailed detailed instructions for life. God focuses some much on character because he is trying to mold us to put "being" before "doing" in our lives. He wants us to be right before we can do right.
So often in life we rely on the mechanics, methods and techniques to be right for right doing. We have a tendency especially as the church to put style ahead of substance. We focus on the charisma of a leader and in doing so can become blinded by the lack of character in the leader. I have experienced this time and time again in church were the leader is dynamic and speaks well and on the surface seems to lead well.....only to later realize his personal character was all wrong. With enough time this became evident and ultimately his ministry collapsed as a result. You may even know a leader that this has happened too! For years he seemed to be leading so well and then all of a sudden one day he steps out and says he can't do it anymore.
There are 8 fundamental truths we must learn about Character.
1. We are given our gifts, but character is developed.
2. Our character earns the trust of others, not our charisma! People are initially attracted to your charisma but will follow you because they trust you.
3. Only good character creates a lasting success with people. God wants your ministry to be around for the long haul. Short term success creates long term distress.
4. Sound character communicates credibility and consistency. People will follow you when they see you doing and living consistency what you preach!
5. Our gifts will only take us so, it is our character that sustains us over the long haul.
6. Our character colors our perspective. It is our character that allows us to feel apathy and empathy towards others to realize this world isn't black and white.
7. Ability may get you to the top, but character is what keeps you there. Your gifting to speak well may draw a large crowd, Jesus's did... but it was character as a person who was willing to die for us that has sustained his people for the last 2000 years!
8. We cannot rise above the limitations of our character. To grow in character, you have to grow in your relationship with God. You have to always be pursuing him and responding to him.
If there was one person other than Jesus who experienced God more than any other I would have to say it was Moses. Moses spent so much time with God that his face shinned so much the people couldn't look at him. Talk about a relationship with God! Moses experienced God personally, witnessed God work in his favor personally, talked with God personally and God responded to him personally, saw God personally, and spent intimate time with God one on one personally.
As a pastor I am often asked, "How Do I Experience God More? I want to get deeper with my relationship with God." Surprisingly I seem to hear this more from Christians who have been in their for some time now. They have reached a point in their walk with God that sunday morning sermons are no longer cutting it anymore. My response to this question is this...YOU DO WHAT YOU SEE.
Moses demonstrated this truth. The people watched him as he spent time with God, interceding for them in intimate personal communication with God...and it changed them more than any sermon could have. If you want to enjoy an intimate relationship with God, as Moses did, you must practice what he did.
Moses 5 Steps To A More Intimate Relationship With God.
1. Separate Yourself Regularly. (Ex 33:7) You have to set time apart from people. How much time are spending alone with God on a regular basis? Do you have a spot where you are able to meet God? Moses had tent of meeting with God. He had a dedicated spot where he could be alone to meet with God. (Numbers 7:89)
2. Seek God With All Your Heart. (Ex 33:7) You must pursue truth over popularity. If God told to you in order for you to encounter him more you had to first release your friendships would you? If you have any hesitancy at all in answering that question you are more worried about your popularity than you are his truth. Even Jesus had to become unpopular in his own home town. Had Moses choose to focus on being popular over following God's truth, the people never would have experienced God. His popularity never would have been able to lead the people as they encountered hardships. There were numerous times the people doubted Moses the man, but the one thing they couldn't do was doubt Moses and his relationship with God.
3. Be Watched By The Public. (Ex 33:8) You must be willing to take a risk, even though it feels intimidating to be watched and to lead. Jesus said, "The harvest is plenty but the workers are few." He never said the harvest is plenty but my followers are few, no...he said, "The workers are few." One of the most difficult steps in our Christian faith is to take the step that steps out. It's easy to serve and greet and usher and work with sound, lights or video production on Sundays. It's easy to teach kids, because they don't scrutinize you the way an adult does. It's easy to join a small group...so long as someone else is leading it! As long as someone is doing the hard work...it's easy then to do the simple work. (Please don't misunderstand me...I am not putting down any area of service work on Sundays.) God doesn't want you to live a life sitting on the sidelines never becoming a star player. He is in you and wants to do a great work thru you.
4. Learn To Listen And Obey God's Voice. (Ex 33:9) You must learn to practice the patience of silence and submission. Notice...The Lord Talked with Moses. Not that Moses talked to the Lord. When God speaks we have to learn to shut up. It's not easy being silent and submitting to God, but it's necessary to learn as you will one day spend the rest of eternity doing it.
5. Enter A Covenant Partnership With God. (Ex. 33:10-11) You must be faithful and committed, just was Moses was a trustworthy partner with God. The Bible tells us that that Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to a friend. God wants to use you and partner with you to achieve his will for your life. What stops us from experiencing all that God has for our lives is not God, but us. We lack the character to be faithful and committed. The truth is we are not a trustworthy partner. We look for the easy way out. We look for the promised land to be established already instead of realizing that our life may be spent on the journey to the promised land, and that the promised land is for our next generation, for our legacy to leave behind.
I have personally experienced this the most when it comes to Christians and church. Majority of Christians fear partnering with a new church because the new church doesn't have or do what the old church or what others have or do that are more established. So it's easy to see God working and then abandon the opportunity to partner with him in new work for the sake for trying to experience him work that has already been done.
God is moving all around you, waiting for you to partner with him. The thing about the promised land was during the entire journey to the promised land, God was working behind the scenes...setting up the promised land to flow with milk and honey. One of the greatest steps you can take in your relationship with God is to see where HE is starting a NEW WORK and choose to partner with him with a no matter what it takes attitude. At one point in time God had worked in Egypt. By the time Moses came into the picture, the work was already done. The opportunity to truly experience God in partnership in Egypt had already passed. Moses relationship with God never would have been the same had he not partnered with God in God's new work...setting his people free.
Something revolutionary happend after Jethro confronted Moses over his leadership methods: Moses moved from merely ministering to leading. So many of us focus our attention solely on ministering. I know A LOT of Christians who post daily their faith on Facebook...hoping their friends will somehow connect the dots. Most Christians are great at ministering, but few lead well. The reality is ministering is kinda easy. You have an entire bible to quote scriptures from all day long. It's easy to brag about what your church is doing, or how excited you are about serving. The difference between ministering and leading is what are YOU doing.
The people in your life really could care less about what your church is doing....they want to see what you are doing. Instead of doing all the judging himself, Moses thru leadership released other leaders to join him and lead according to their gifts. He realized his leadership had to be bigger than himself.
At this point the government of Israel grew exponentially. Empowerment was happening. Once Jethro had empowered Moses, Moses began to empower other leaders. We have been empower by Jesus to empower other leaders. We are called to make disciples not minister disciples. Disciples are empowered to act. In order for the us as the collective church we have to change our way of thinking and our way of working.
1. We have to become Christians that don't merely pray but are Christians of prayer. A once in a while prayer life doesn't cut it. Prayer has to be way of life.
2. We have to commit ourselves to communication. It's easy to talk to God about others, but difficult to talk to others about God. FYI a facebook post isn't the same thing as picking up the phone and having a real conversation. It's not the same as hearing the needs the others.
3. We have to lay out our vision. The thing is you first HAVE TO HAVE a vision. You must realize your life is meant to impact others.
4. We have to develop a plan. Even Jesus had a plan for the disciples. He was very specific in his instructions on where to go and what to do. There was intentionality in his plan. We must be the same way with our lives. We must learn to be intentional and have a plan to reach the lost, because it won't just happen on it's own.
5. We must select and train other leaders. Who is in your life that can lead with you? You may also have to consider that you need to be trained yourself before you can train others. Knowing the word and doing the word are two very different things. A true leader is always being trained.
6. We must learn to release people to do the work. I know people that have been in the same small group for years...they are a holy huddle. They fear releasing the group because they fear loosing the relationships. What if God called you to a new group with new people and you were the one to lead... would you be willing to step away from your group now or would you pass up the opportunity of fresh impact? Even Jesus had to leave his small group for his small group to reach the world.
7. We must learn to do only what others cannot do. We have a tendency to look around and compare where we have been to where we are going to. I learned this in starting a new church... we were compared by many people by what we didn't have to what other churches had. When God leads you somewhere it may be that you are the person to BRING WHAT IS MISSING. It is easy to say you don't have this or that and then run and look for what is missing. It's easy to find comfort in what is already established. Would the people have left Egypt had God not hardened Pharaoh's heart? It would have been easier to stay where they were comfortable instead of leaving to the unknown. But God called them to the promised land just like God called Moses to do bring what was missing. Moses tried to pass on what was missing to someone else with God, and it didn't work. God said I am still calling you. It may be that God is calling you right now to Bring What Is Missing.
Once Moses moved out his own way and shifted from ministering to leading people, God then supplied strength for Moses, peace for the people, and empowerment for a host of new leaders. Just maybe God is trying you to get of your own way. Maybe you are attending a church and are comfortable but still feel like your missing something...you lack a certain peace. Maybe you are holding onto some relationships that need to be released to be empowered.. Maybe God is calling you to stop ministering and start leading because when you do, the strength you are so look for will be given to you.
Understanding that change without sacrifice is impossible. Had Jesus not sacrificed for us on the cross we would never had been changed in the eyes of God. Changing from ministering to leading will require a sacrifice on your part.
What you value in life determines your character and your character defines who you are...
Here are 10 Core Values of Jesus as defined by himself in Matthew 6-7
1. Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons: Is your heart to be noticed by what you do by others, or by Jesus? You can do all the good works you want and if your works is based on your ego being elevated...than that is your reward.
2. Pray God's agenda...not your own! Are you asking God for your agenda to be accomplished or his?
3. The relationship you keep will make you or break you. You just might have to let go some friends that are keeping you from moving to the next step of faith and glory. Imagine if Abraham would have listened to his friends and stayed instead of listening to God and going. Your very relationships could be what is keeping you stationary and not experiencing all that God is.
4. Keep your persepective on eternal things...not temoral things. Are you more worried about the water bill than the creator of the water itself. We so often get focused on the things here and now, and those things take up our attention instead of God.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Are you worrying about tomorrow and what it has to offer instead of living in today?
6. God's kindgom is paramount...seek it first above all else.
7. Judge yourself before you decide to judge others. You are not perfect! Judging yourself keeps you humble and compassionate.
8. If you need something ask. If you have something give it! Try asking God for what you want...he wants to give it to you. He also wants you to be willing to give what you have! When you heart is set on him and not your stuff, you vision is clear. When you heart is set on your stuff you vision is focused on the stuff.
9. Stay true to your convictions.
10. Obdedience to God is the only sure foundation.
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.
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!