Archive for March, 2015

If you take following Jesus Christ seriously, you’re going to be forced to exert the courage to live life upside-down. Jesus was counter-cultural. He was a renegade. He had a different view of life. He said that the way up is down, the way to get is to give, and the way to be great is to serve. To be able to truly influence people at home, at work, in your career, wherever you are, you become a servant.

We’re told in the Scriptures to serve the Lord with gladness. Jesus said that whoever wants to be great must be a servant. In God’s way of life, anyone who wants to become a leader must become a servant. Sometimes we need to remember the reasons why we serve. This applies at home, at work, any environment, any team — football, basketball, baseball, soccer — any environment where you work with people, these reasons will work. Use them to inspire yourself, but use them to inspire your team as well. Here they are, Seven Reasons. To help you remember, we’ll use the word, REASONS as a memory device.

1. Serving RE-CENTERS my life. In other words, it brings me back to what’s important. I tend to drift. I tend to think that life is all about me. But the day you become convinced that life is not about you is the day you’ll be happy. The day you live outside yourself, focused on a hurt that you can heal, a wrong that you can right, or a dream that you can support is the day you’ll lose the obsession of your own petty worries and begin to live a larger life. It always re-centers your life.

2. I serve because it ENCOURAGES others. When people see you serving, when people see you going the extra mile, picking up trash, straightening up, staying late, getting to work on time, defending a co-worker, it encourages others to do the same. Oftentimes all we need is someone bold enough to step up and do the right thing, and it gives us the courage to do the same.

3. I serve because it’s A CURE for loneliness. The more you get outside yourself and get involved in missions and tasks worth doing, the more friends you’ll have, the more people will be attracted to you and the less lonely you’ll feel at the end of the day.

4. Serving SHARPENS my skills. God tells us that all of us have special abilities, but it’s only when we use them helping others that they really develop and take us to the next level. Some of you are stuck at the same level in your company simply because you’re waiting for someone to serve you. You’re becoming passive, stuck in self-doubt. Truth of the matter is, your skills sharpen as you use them in the act of service of other people. Then other people notice and that leads to number 5.

5. Serving OPENS up new possibilities. You see, the more you’re serving, the more you’re around other people. The more you’re helping other people, the more people begin to see you in action and recognize what your potential is. When they have a need, or promotion, or a new job, or a new idea, they automatically think of you because you’re the go-getter. You’re the “yes, can-do” person. You’re the one that’s serving. You’re the one that’s bowing. You’re the one who’s willing to lead by example. New opportunities and possibilities do not come to people who are passive, who whine, gripe, and moan about the way things are. They come to the ones who bow their knee to serve. Remember, we remember those who serve us.

6. Serving NEVER goes unrewarded. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have one master donor. You serve before an audience of one. You recognize that if you work for the Lord, or work like the Lord, you can expect that your reward will come from the Lord. The Scriptures promise us that there is nothing that we ever do as an act of honor to another person that God doesn’t recognize and reward.

7. Serving shows I’m SERIOUS. At the end of the day, talk is cheap. It’s when you begin to serve people that they really understand that you’re a serious person, that you are a high-capacity leader. You can take more responsibility. You’re a thinker, you’re intelligent, and you’re smart enough to realize that living life upside-down is the way to really get ahead at the end of the day. You’ll be happy and a winner, and everyone else around you will be better for it.
As Mother Teresa said, “The fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.”

Have you ever noticed that we say an awful lot of things that we don’t mean? We think it’s harmless but after a while you begin to talk yourself into acting out the things you say but you really don’t mean. You say them because you’re tired, upset, or angry. What you say is really important because it exposes the content of your heart. Here are some things I hear people say all the time that I know they really don’t mean. And since we don’t mean them, we need to drop them from our vocabulary.

1. I don’t care. The truth of it is, we usually say this when we are hurt, upset, tired, or frustrated. We really do care but we don’t know how to respond. Saying it often enough leads people to believe that we really don’t care.

2. I can’t take this anymore. This creates a false dilemma in our thinking and ultimately in our lives. We can take a lot more than we think we can. If we talk ourselves into giving up and quitting on our dreams, our jobs, our families, our marriages too soon, we’ll always be starting and stopping and never completing and knowing the joy of victory.

3. I wish I were dead. More and more when I hear people say this I perk up. People used to say this and not mean it, but these days you have to take people very seriously because suicide is growing among every age group. Be careful what you say about your physical well-being.

4. I’ll never be able to trust again. The truth of the matter is, you will be able to trust again if you allow yourself. But if you close yourself off and try to avoid the hurt of betrayal or letdown or disappointment, you’ll never trust again. But your life is going to be determined in direct proportion to your ability to trust other people. You can’t go it alone.

5. I hate you. We often mean the exact opposite. “I love you and I need you to respond to me because I feel there is a distance between us and the only way I can get you to pay attention is to raise the stakes by saying something hateful, hard, mean, or harsh.” Remember, words do matter. Sticks and stones will only break your bones, but words will break your heart.

6. I’ll never get over this. The truth is, we do get over it. We move on. All of life is about turning corners and making transitions. Relationships grow. Sometimes they grow apart and other times they grow old. You will get over it if you open your heart to the healing God offers.

7. It’s over. It’s never over. Hope never dies. It only dies when we let go of it. Hope is the best thing. It is a God thing. It is a gift from God to believe that the future can always be better than the present or the past. It is not over if you don’t want it to be over; not your marriage, not your career, not your dream.

These are just a few of the things I hear people saying I know they don’t mean. Instead of saying things that express hurt, pain, disappointment, or despair, start programming your mind with positive things, positive words, positive people, Scriptures. “Anything is possible to him that believes.” These are the words of Jesus. What we believe is what we say and what we say is what we believe. They work hand-in-hand, together.

Preachers have a habit of picking up good sayings from others and making them their own. We say things like, if the bullet fits my gun I’ll shoot it. I am also guilty of this. Last Saturday Chad Beyer was helping with a memorial service, because, originally I was going to be out of town. During his talk he made the statement in reference to hardships, difficulties and life challenges that “The Juice is Worth the Squeeze”. I wish I had thought of that, it is a great saying. The reason it is so good is because it is true. Going through hard times creates something that would never develop without the squeeze.

Here is a little juice that comes from the squeeze.
1. We become more dependent upon God. One of two things happen in trouble, we either run toward God or away from God. Oftentimes difficulties cause us to lean deeper into God and the juice that comes is a sweeter relationship and daily dependence upon God.
2. Future Focused – The present and past can be so painful we begin to look toward the future. We become visionary in our life. We begin to see in a clarifying way, God’s future for our life. We begin to live for what will come, as opposed to what has been. We will never heal by wallowing in the past and current circumstances. Allow God to squeeze a new vision within.
3. Self Awareness – Troubles if applied correctly cause us to re-evaluate ourselves, circumstance and others. Through honest assessment we see our own faults and failures, as well as that of others. We cannot change others, however, through self awareness we can make needed changes within ourselves.
4. A story to tell. Think of all the people you will be able to encourage who are going through hard times. Because you embraced the squeeze and depended on God, allowing him to change you and give you a hope and a future.  Others will be refreshed when you remind them God will see them through. Your story will inspire others.
5. Thankfulness, yes thankfulness. If you have approached difficulty in a healthy way, there will come a day when you look back and thank God for what you have gone through. Yes, if you are in the middle of the squeeze you think I am crazy, but trust me, someday you will look back and say; Thank God I went through that!
The juice is worth the squeeze!

Unseen Protection

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Sometimes things happen, even difficult things, and at the time we don’t understand why. Later down the road, we look back with an understanding eye that God was with us the entire time, using those events to protect us from an even greater difficulty. We look back with clarity and astonishment at God’s protection. With new understanding we now thank him for those troubles. Living for the immediate and not the eternal creates skewed perspectives. So no matter what we’re going through, know that God has got this. So daily we should; get up, suit up, and show up. This will make your limping look like dancing.

Limping Into Dancing Part 2

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Recently I have gone through the most difficult periods of my life and ministry. Some problems were due to my own negligence, oversight and stupidity. While some at the hands of those who were supposed to be on my team and have my back. The good old America way is stomp em while they are down, and exploit any and every situation for your own good. We have not so learned Christ.

If your troubles came at the hand of others it often seems they are getting by without any consequences while you suffer. People often move on without regard to your influence or help, as if they can erase you from their mind and life. Jesus experienced this, while on his way to Jerusalem between Samaria and Galilee. Ten lepers came to Jesus and he told them to go show themselves to the priest and while they were traveling they were cleansed. Scripture says in (Luke 17:15-19) “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Only one of the ten returned to praise Jesus. People tend to forget who and how they got where they are at, without any regard for whom set them up. If you are facing this remember God knows, God cares, and God never forgets. I have a saying that needs to be remembered at this point “God don’t always settle up on Friday night”. Maybe you’re limping, and it feels like others are dancing at your expense, hold on and get your eyes off man and onto the Lord. Just give him some time, you may still limp but through his grace it will look like dancing.