Tag Archives: growth

Don’t Move and Trust Me

HighwayAs I was driving to the church this morning, down 85, one of the things that I do in my prayer time with God in the morning, is asking Him to order my day, direct my day and give me wisdom to make right decisions, lead effectively, just to have the greatest impact in my day, that is possible. With that being said, there are many things within my personal life and our ministry that we are nothing short of needing God to work out, provide, etc.. As the leader of my home and as the leader of the ministry, the one thing that I don’t want to do is limit the blessings and the flow of God, in either entity, based on anything in my life that may be out of order, that I need to improve, shift my thinking in, etc.. So I began to ask God, “what do I need to do? What needs to change in me? Where am I falling short, by maybe limiting Your outpouring in our lives?”

As I got about 2 miles down 85, I established myself in the center lane and set my cruise control 1 mph under the speed limit and just begin to ride, listen to the music in the background and listen for God to answer me. There were cars going by me left and right, even though I was doing the speed limit. After a short time, a car came right up behind me, riding on my tailgate, flashing their lights at me to get over and out-of-the-way. And it was in that moment that God began to speak to me and answer the question that I had just before asked. He said, “Be still and stay your course; keep moving in the direction that you’re moving, remain within My order, within My limits, and continue to trust Me. Don’t be influenced, or pressured by what’s going on around you, what’s in front of you, and what’s pressing behind you. Just keep moving forward, staying committed to My principles, and trust Me.”

There is nothing more secure and assured than operating in God’s order and in the trust of His wisdom, His leading, His timing and the big one that gets us all, His provision. There are many factors of life, many circumstances, many scenarios, and so many people around you, that will either directly attempt to influence you to move outside of God’s boundaries or ahead of God’s timing, when we just need to be committed to doing it the right way. There are many around you that will indirectly influence you because you will see them moving ahead of you and around you and doing it at a faster pace, seemingly making progress and advancement in life ahead of you; obtaining things quicker than you’re getting them, accomplishing more than what you seem to be accomplishing, but they’re doing it out of God’s order and outside of His boundaries. Do not be urged and influenced by anything or anyone that is moving out of God’s order or attempting to move you out of God’s order. Sometimes you don’t have to know more, you just have to do right by what you do know and it will lead to more.
I was driving towards my destination, making progress, doing it well within the boundaries of the law and those around me were trying to influence me emotionally to shift from that path. And it was in this moment, in a small, practical scenario on Interstate 85, that God chose to encourage me in life and leadership, today. Don’t move and trust Me.
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The Bad Thing About Learning

Challenge YourselfThe bad thing about learning is that you have to get over yourself. Stay with me. Successful people, great leaders, are constantly looking to learn. Everybody has some capacity to learn more, but the thing that separates people is their willingness to learn.
Most people see learning as the pursuit to gain more information; reading books, watching people, listening to speakers, going to conferences, getting higher degrees, etc.. I believe, while that’s true, that it’s not the whole truth. The basis of going to new levels of learning is getting past your own self.

Those that are unwilling to expose themselves to people to learn from or opportunities to learn with, have determined that the ideas they presently have and the information they currently possess are absolute. They’re unwilling to change or be challenged because it would put them in a place of having to internally admit that their thought isn’t the only thought and their way isn’t the only way. Yet to become all that we’ve been purposed to become, we must challenge that philosophy. God’s word clearly teaches us that His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways are above our ways and in order to gain more revelation from God, we must be willing to accept that we don’t even come close to knowing all that there is to know and we desire to absorb so much more from Him.

Learners are willing to confront and challenge themselves and their ideas; what they know or believe, while it may not necessarily be wrong, it just might not necessarily be the best. And we all like to think our ideas are the best. Learning requires us to be honest about ourselves; it requires us to humble ourselves, to accept that we just don’t know it all. And while that can be a tough pill to swallow, with the right perspective it can also be exciting.

Greater knowledge, gives greater responsibility, but it also gives more power. When you realize that we have an endless God, with infinite knowledge, who can connect us with infinite people and infinite opportunities, you begin to realize the magnitude of your possibilities. You can do whatever you put in your heart to do, you can learn all that you want to learn…but it requires you to clear one big hurdle; you must get over yourself.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

What I’m about to post will challenge some people, especially those tied to a system, a program or a tradition. I want to challenge you to do something simple, yet necessary; reevaluate your house of worship and it’s leader/s. We will often spend hours and days evaluating purchases, insurance providers, business decisions, doctors offices, etc etc, but it’s never even crossed our minds to evaluate our church body with the same diligence and with the expectation that if it’s not matching the biblical charge of a church, we make a change. Why? You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that your church body and it’s leaders are operating, not as you desire, but by the direction of God.

I want to peek at a passage of scripture that’s used quite frequently by the avid churchgoer and pulpiteer, alike, when referencing the command to attend church.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, as is the manner of some.” It is, of course, saying that we have a responsiblity, as believers and followers of Christ the head, to not forsake the gathering of the church which is called the body.  This verse, while very true, has been used in countless tactics of manipulation to coerse the non-believer or non-attender into getting in church. This passage makes something very clear in it’s meaning; we need each other. But what do we need each other for? This is where I believe your evaluation needs to come in.

When that scripture has been mentioned, never have I heard anyone finish what the scripture says or even quote the verse before, when commanding people to not forget to attend church. The continuation of verse 24 says, “but exhorting one another;” The word exhort means to strongly encourage or urge to do something.  Verse 24 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” This brings me to a very brief but distinct point and challenge.

The body of believers that you are assembling with and the leader/s that you are assembling under are important; attending church regularly is important, but that assembly is necessary to encourage you and challenge you to become something more in Christ, on your way to pursuing God’s vision for you as a Kingdom citizen.  Take this quick litmus test:

  • Does your pastor and the circle of people you are closely connected to in your church, urge and excite you to become more than you are?
  • Is it a place that your gifts are being discovered and stirred?
  • Do they refuse to allow you to sit, comfortably, in a church service each week without falling prey to mediocrity and just being a part of the crowd?
  • Are your leaders and church partners a regular source of joy and encouragement, stirring up love and support as you grow and develop?
  • Are you challenged to become more because of the body you’re connected to?

My suggestion is that you reevaluate; make yourself answer these questions and be honest with the results. Dissension, division, pain, aggravation and insecurity unfortunately, find their way in many of our churches and leaders, and if we’re not careful we’ll subtly find ourselves dying in their influence because we remain connected out of our loyalty or comfortability, but God has an incredible plan for you and wants to connect you with the right people that can shape you to achieve these dreams. If you’re not being encouraged and challenged to grow, maybe it’s time to rethink what you’re connected to!

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Big Daddy

As I sit and reflect on my daughter starting K-5, it’s very bittersweet. Though I’m so proud of her and excited for her, the realization of her inevitable growth, right before my eyes, can be painful. The things I’ll miss are the things I know…the need for me to hold her, feed her, clothe her, change her, care for her, the things that made her totally dependent on me. There’s the learning to talk, the learning to walk, holding her hand, picking her up, carrying her when she needed to be carried. But the more she grows, the more she develops, the more independent she becomes, I become less of a daddy and more of a father… and sometimes those daddy moments are hard to move past.

My pain in her growth has allowed God to teach me a lesson about Him, His plan and His wisdom. The very thing God desires from us as believers, is the very thing we often resist because there are moments it can be painful…..growth. For my daughter to become everything God designed her to become, I can’t always be daddy, I have to become more father. Daddy moments will always be necessary at times, but being a father makes it’s impact forever. Anybody can be a daddy, but it takes something special to be a father. Daddy comes around to make things better….father teaches, through daily example, how to live to make each day better.

There are moments in our early life as a believer that we fall, make mistakes, have boo-boos, get things tangled and we run to daddy to make things better; and while God appreciates those moments that you run to Him in time of need and distress, He celebrates when you put off the childish ways and you grow to become more like the “father.” We often try to avoid growth because it involves change, increased responsibility and sometimes pain. Our nature, as parents and as people, is to, often, hold something so close, for our selfish reasons, that we smother it’s ability to grow and we talk ourselves into the idea that if it stays small and close to us, it’s for the better. This challenges all of Kingdom thinking.  It’s a natural thought process but it subconsciously creates a need for dependency, control and kingship over our subjects, when by God’s design instead of “ruling” over His children, He desires to rule WITH them.

We can see the detriment of this type of “daddy” thinking, by the state of our government and nation. Our leadership (we’ll call them Big Daddy DC), continues to create more of this “don’t grow up” mentality; fancying and fueling their own selfish desires of greater control, subject dependency and a solid “God-complex”. The “children” are not encouraged to grow up, become free-thinking, prosperous individuals that increase and share in the liberty and success of the nation, rather life-infants with a need of constant pacifying. It embraces the idea of “running to Big Daddy” to fix things and make them better, when it’s “children” fall, make mistakes, and have boo-boos. Rather than educating, providing resources/opportunity and encouraging strength and independence by it’s subjects, Big Daddy DC desires to increase in it’s own growth while smothering and discouraging it’s “children” from becoming anything responsible, bright and successful.  When you stunt growth, you slow success.

My greatest desire for my children, while I so much enjoy them now (and really want these young days to go SLOW), is for them to grow to become an incredible Kingdom success.  The true testament to my fatherhood, is not how long and how much I can keep them close and needy, but how close I get them to becoming everything God designed for their lives. I wasn’t given the opportunity to be daddy to my children to hoard over them forever, rather given responsibility to steward them to become heirs to the throne; sharing with them the love, teaching and experiences that the true Father shares with me. 

My challenge to you whether you’re a parent, teacher, leader or even on a personal level, is to not be afraid of growth. Rather than being afraid of what you or your subjects will become, celebrate what you or your subjects are becoming! Change can be tough sometimes, but with each change comes new opportunities to succeed. Meet challenges, responsbility and growth head on…realizing that each time you do, you’re growing closer to the king in you. Don’t be a part of inhibiting someone else’s growth, be a part of their growth; create opportunities, encourage their steps and celebrate each graduation of accomplishment. You’re not a better leader, shepherd or parent by how close to your ground you can keep them, but by how high you enable them to fly.

Take the opportunity today to grow or be apart of someone’s growth.

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