mobilephones

Being Present

Have you ever had an important conversation with someone (or at least important to you) and they are texting someone else?  Or they get a text and break their “presentness” to check on another conversation or another call. Uggg, it frustrates the snot out of me icon smile Being Present – BUT It has me perplexed – cause in those moments I have found myself doing the same thing.  That compulsion when your cell phone buzzes and you are already in a conversation with someone actually next to you. It drives you to KNOW what was said, who texted you, who called your phone.  And it drives at you so much that you are just looking for the opportunity to check on that “other” conversation.  So you look…
  • 1 – Eye contact broken – the greatest indicator that someone is paying attention is in their eye contact.
  • 2 – Attention broken (cause it is IMPOSSIBLE to really be present when you are engaging in ANOTHER conversation).
  • 3 – Brain disconnect – your actual thinking has taken the text you read and starts aiming for a response
  • 4 – Relationship disconnect
  • 5 – The “other” person in your physical presence conversation WILL feel less important… and they are RIGHT THERE.
We have made the “next” conversation more important than “this” conversation.
This has really hit me recently with my travels.  I went down to New Orleans to work on our home down there and because I used my miles, I flew out of Midway, but back into Ohare.  The two airports are about 2 hours apart, so CTA trains here I come.  I got on the first train and decided that I would be present, to look for a conversation where I can encourage someone (plus my phone was dead).  So, I watched as 100’s of people came on the train and left the train – and of those 100’s of people there were only 5 that didn’t either have their headphones in, or were so engrossed with their iPhone that they didn’t even notice being near human beings. Each platform we stopped at, I would see hundreds of people standing, waiting for their train, just staring at their phones.
Here is what I believe…
God wants us to BE PRESENT.
Here comes the blanket statement that could upset some people – but I really feel like, after having this heart to heart with God, that if I turn to my phone while in an actual conversation, I have sinned.  I have valued my desire to “know” what I am missing out on (MY desire) over their presence.
I believe that we are missing out on God encounters every day because we are not present.
Not engaged in the conversation we have been set up to be in.
We are too busy to make the people in front of us important because we have neglected what Paul wrote to the church of Philippi.
Philippians 2:4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I am not saying that we are horrible people, I am thinking that God is looking at us and trying to let us see that we are missing opportunities with others, and ultimately opportunities with Him.  He wants to be with us, he wants to be close to us.  But we have to be present.
So, here are some practical tips to being present.
1 – Put the phone away (silent it, take of the buzz, maybe even leave it behind for that conversation)
2 – Make eye contact (keep your eyes in the conversation)
3 – Listen to them (not looking for a way out, but looking for a way in)
4 – Engage your heart and mind (sometimes we are not interested in what they are saying, but we have to put aside our interests for the interests of others)
Alright, well have an incredible day and hopefully we will all be more present.
Prayer:  God, please forgive me for always looking for the way out in my conversations, a way to disengage and move on.  You rider my steps, to include the people who want to talk or share.  Help me to see them the way that you do, not as a distraction, but as a valuable gift that you paid your whole life to love them.  Help me to love more, and to be present.
samuel-eli

Leadership: Who are they following?

Good morning,

So this morning I was reading in the Word and have been stuck in 1 Samuel for the last two weeks – which has been really good.  But this morning I was really encouraged and reminded of a few things.  Lets start by reading 1 Samuel 3:6-7
6 And the LORD called yet again , Samuel. And Samuel arose and went toEli, and said , Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered , I called not, my son; lie downagain . 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yetrevealed unto him.
Now when I read this, for the first time there was something that jolted me. It is what I believe is the KEY to what we are supposed to do as leaders.  See, too often we become so wrapped up in the performance of our ministries that we lose what our true focus is about… To get that  - we need to dive into what happened in verse 7.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yetrevealed unto him.
SET THE STAGE:
Samuel was a chosen child.  His parents dedicated him to the temple to serve the House of the Lord under Eli the priest.  His role, the assistant to the priest.  I can imagine all that he did in that role; gather wood for the sacrifices, help with making the showbread, prepare the altars, remove the sacrifices, take care of the ark of the covenant (obviously without touching anything or entering the holy of holies).
Relationship with Eli had to have some significance.  He had been serving since he had come of age, and at the point of this story Eli is comfortable with Samuel enough that he refers to him in an endearing term, son. This is all important because of what happens in verse 7.
  • Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord
  • Neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him…
What???
You mean to tell me that the priest of the temple  OF GOD, had someone who was dedicated to serving the temple – but didn’t KNOW God?  Someone that had given their life completely to serving the house of the Lord, and yet, the priest they are serving neglected to introduce them to the Lord. Sound like a stretch?
Lets look at our areas of ministry.  How are we doing with all those people who have signed up to serve under our areas of ministry? How many of them have we neglected to make sure that they are in love with God? That their relationship with God is growing and flourishing?  Or are we using them to cut wood, clean up the altars, sing on the stage, lead a life group – without introducing them to the Lord?
I’ve got three quick points to help us apply this to our lives….
1 – Check ourselves - take a minute and write down all those that either directly report to you, or serve directly under you.  Answer a few of the following questions
  1. when was the last time you have asked them about their devotional life?
  2. when was the last time that you have had a prayer time with them?
  3. do you have enough knowledge of them that you could definitively say what their relationship with God is like?
If we cannot answer those questions with a positive answer, we are likely more concerned with how well they serve rather than how their walk with God is going.  True leadership starts with concerning ourselves with their good more than ours.  No longer are we going to be able to dismiss someone’s spiritual health in order to accomplish our goals, we have to …
2 – Change our goals - in order to complete the vision that God has placed in us, we have to focus on what God has ordered us to do.  It is obvious throughout the new testament that God’s purpose for our lives is to live for others.  Our goal is the growth of those around us and for everyone to “know the Lord” and to have the word of the Lord “revealed” to them.  That is our place, but how?
  1. Make your number one goal – the team’s personal growth. That means getting a little messy and washing some feet.  That means letting them run with the vision, while you run along side them, giving them water and shouting our support.
  2. Know your team – spend time learning what they are learning in their time with God.  Set up accountability and make your relationship with them about their growth.
3 – Create the culture - make this leading thing fun.  We don’t need to have our Samuels hearing from God a prophetic word that states that we are about to lose everything.  Not really the plan that God has for us.  So, we need to create the culture that places the highest emphasis on the presence of God and the growth that comes with spending time with God.
  1. Example  - be the example of what it looks like to be in love with God.  Show the team that there is NOTHING that comes before God in your life; through your speech, your life decisions, your time priorities.
  2. Encourage – set up a regular discussion on their relationships with God.  Ask the questions, encourage bibles studies, do book studies together as a team.  Find ways that your team can encourage each other to fall in love with Jesus every day!
  3. Encounters – Set up encounters with your team.  Times where you can engage the presence of God together.
I know that all of this sounds simple and probably information that we all “know”.  But, I think it is a great reminder that we need to always look at our teams through the eyes of God.  It really is an honor to serve people through leadership – to make your relationship with them all about… them.  Let’s make the commitment that we will not have Samuels’ on our team that have to hear from God audibly because we have failed to lead them to “know the Lord’ or to have the word of the Lord “revealed” to them.
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Leading One’s Self – Managing Your Time

All too often leaders will focus more on those they are leading than themselves.  Now, I am not talking about being selfish and buying yourself a new car to “reward” yourself for all the work you have been doing – I am talking about focusing on what makes you better.  Personal growth is the great factor in performance, and performance is simply the difference between what we know to do and what we actually do.

 

First area that we can fix -

  • Managing Your Time – DEFINE: Manage: to be in charge of, control, be at the helm
  • The fact is that WE CONTROL how we spend our time – no one else!
    • Here is what God is encouraging me in!!! TV wasting fool (I need to turn the TV off more, and seek HIM and growth instead)  Truthfully what is TV adding to my life that is producing life or creating room for the dreams that God has placed in me.  Now I can hear in my own mind, what about relaxing or disconnecting to refresh my batteries…. to ME I say – what better way to refresh than to be in God’s presence?  If I truly believe that God is more than enough, and that He can restore my strength… then why not spend MORE time with Him?
    • You are not going to find one treasure chest that gives you 3 free hours a day (going to take making better choices in many areas) so start looking for a few small ways to trim back.  Look at your work week and see what areas you are wasting time in?  What are some meetings that are not producing enough results that are better spent in personal growth, or team development?
    • Only two ways to spend time better  - to get time that is NOT in your week
      • Do less – Maybe you need to stop doing some things?  Maybe you need to let go of a few things and let OTHERS do them. Especially the ones that are getting paid to do it :)
      • Or do things faster – I learned from my spiritual mentor years ago that we need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide EVERYTHING about our day.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit is telling us to wait on something til later, or to reschedule something.  Take the time to listen to the Holy Spirit.
    • Touch paper (or emails) only once – don’t let it stay on your desk to deal with later.  Don’t let an email stay in your inbox – handle the matter quickly and done.
    • Set aside uninterrupted planning time a day – this is not when you have people coming in and out of your office.  This is also not just a “todo” list mentality.  This is a set aside time to be before God and asking Him – what do you want me to do today and how do you want me to do it?
    • Based on Priority – know them! Write them down!
      • Time with God is NUMBER 1 – IF anything in your week should be scheduled (God Time) – Proverbs 9:10 – Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom, and knowledge of HIM is understanding.

 

RIGHT NOW – evaluate yourself in and your time management (Scale 1-10)

    • When you put your own life in order, it becomes a tool for you to help others get theirs in order

 

bobgoff

5 Lessons I learned from Bob Goff

Yesterday we were BLESSED to have @BobGoff at clc.tv for our sunday services.  WOW.  It so re-energized my and my faith I had to write about it.  So here are my take homes on yesterday’s service!

 

1 – I choose love; people and life - It’s no wonder that stress can rob the life out of life.  It’s a cancer.  It’s a cancer that has everything to do with me worrying about… Me.  The only time in the word that I see Jesus dealing with stress, it was a BIG deal.  In fact, it was such a physical weight that the bible says that he was sweating great drops of blood.  I truly believe at that point he was carrying the emotional burden for all of us in order to give us victory; depression, fear, doubt, worry, etc…  But it was because he was thinking of himself – that fleshly desire to make decisions based on what I want for myself, or the fleshly fear what others think.  He was about to DIE! But in that moment he was taking on our fears.  The ridicule that was coming, the shame that was about to be GLARED AT HIM, the pain of standing up for others instead of defending yourself, the misunderstanding that was about to damn him to death for something he didn’t do.  CHRIST,  instead of defending himself in front of the crowds, he laid down his life before they could take it.  I choose love from this day forward, realizing that it means laying down my life and the fears I have.
2 – I choose to not waste my words, mind, and emotions on situations that do not last – Oh, this one was good and he didn’t even say it from the stage.  This was one backstage when he was talking about his relationship with sweet Maria (his term for his wife).  He said they don’t waste time on the conversational babel of talking about things that don’t last.  Who cares what “so-and-so” thinks of you, or said about you.  Who cares about the politics of your job or relationships… Why waste anymore of my precious time with people talking about things that don’t last. I want my new conversations to be;  What are your dreams? What has God been changing in you? What do you want to do together when we get old? What can we do for our children? So many questions other than the constant little skirmishes over the things that really don’t matter.  Bad days become good when we focus on each other instead of stuff.

3 – I choose to surround myself with worry free risk takers - Oh man, this one strikes a chord within all of us.  You know… those relationships where it drains so much out of you because they always seem to have an issue or offense.  Friendships that have become more of a heavy maintenance or else you are misunderstood? God has given each of us free will and I may offend some people by saying what I am going to say…  Stop being their friend!  Man, I desire to have stress free people around me so I can focus on growing the stressed people not flee from them. Let my close relationships be with people who DONT get offended, who DONT need me to assure them all the time, who can be honest and together at the same time, who don’t complain or cause strife, and who don’t look at the negative all the time.  Wow, what a list right?  Now, to be honest I don’t have a lot of friends, but believe me – I am on the look out for those who have a HIGH EMotional Intellegence that love god, people and life so much that they are not stuck on themselves,  I think that is the truth of this point… I want to surround myself with the kind of people who love others more than themselves.  That can take a beating, unwarranted, and still die for that person (without telling the whole world… Or facebook :) . That is what Christ was like, and I want to be more like him!4 – I will no longer allow negative words out of my mouth about people - My dad taught me one of the most incredible lessons of my life about my wife. I’ve just never taken the time to transfer it to EVERY relationship. “Ben, don’t ever say anything negative about your wife”. Seriously!!! It has made my marriage so good, and people who don’t even know Nili love her because they have heard how incredible she is.  I don’t make rude jokes about wives, I don’t want to imply anything negative to anyone about my wife.  Some of you are thinking of every excuse about how that is unhealthy. Well, let’s trump those thoughts right quick, proverbs 18:21 – death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.  I like good, juicy fruit – not rotten, decaying fruit.  How about you?  Seriously, you have to manipulate your morale compass to think of a good reason to talk bad about someone.  Especially if you are not willing to say it to them!

5 – I will not be afraid; of anything or anyone - This one was GOOD, common to most – but extraordinary to me.  I fear people, well – used to fear people.  I used to fear people and their opinions, their words, the misunderstandings, the lies, the offenses, anything that pertained to how they would think of me.  Why, cause I was and am an idiot. Bob goff said that we need realize that we will be constantly misunderstood.  And…it’s ok.  Going back to a point previous – Jesus never defended himself.  Some of us would say that he never had to, but he had plenty of opportunity. Oh, we “saints” can take a good beat when we deserve it, but lo, let there be something that was misunderstood, or falsely accused and our attitudes and mous become the devils playground.  No more.  To be honest, I worry way too much about the opinion of others in greater levels than I worry about please God.  Not that worrying is what I am supposed to be thinking when it comes to pleasing God.  But that needs to become my focus, not in “spite” of the opinion of others, but more of “no caring” about the opinion of others.  I don’t care.  I realize more, that my decisions are not going to please everyone, my opinions are not going to be the same as yours all the time, my life choices are going to cause people to say things  about me.  But if I am living FOR your growth, then I am not trying to preserve your opinion of me.  Again, if Chrost gas worried about the people’s opinion that he was dying for, we would never have this great relationship with the Father.  Christ died BECAUSE of the opinion of others – am I willing to take it that far?

 …I pray so…
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Resource: Time Management – Calendar

Here are some quick ideas on how to be better at your time management.  But, before we get into those – let me give you some cool, but uncool things about time management;

  1. The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 7 an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, totaling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as “little value” or “no value” creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day.
  2. On an average day, there are 17 million meetings in America.
  3. 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
  4. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.” To change our output, we must change our input.

Some great stuff to remember as we dive into some simple, but effective habits to get into, to be better at time management.

1 - Building Your Calendar – walk through your calendar with the following steps to start building your calendar

1 – What are the things that you HAVE to do every week.  Literally write them down :)

2 – Categorize each event according to when is the BEST time to accomplish them (day of week, time)

3 – What are the things that you have to do to GROW every week

*Creativity - Brainstorming

*Connections or Preparing for future events

*Personal, Professional Development

4 – How much time is required for each thing (write next to each item)

2 – Actual Steps

1 – Write down your weekly schedule on a simple calendar

2 – Answer the above questions and fill in your areas with times

3 – Open Outlook/Calendar and highlight the time slot (hold down mouse)

Right Click – “New Calendar Event”

Fill in Blanks  (Subject, Location, Date and Time, REMINDER)

If it is a recurring weekly, then click on the day it occurs

4 – Save and Close

5 – Repeat steps until all responsibilities are reflected

 

 

Your calendar week should be pretty full, but most importantly it should be scheduled.  The fact is that 1 hour of planning saves an employee 10 hours of doing.  If we are purposeful in our weekly planning, we are being better stewards of our positions, but also better stewards of the gifts that God has given us.

1 Timothy 4:14 ESV / Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

 

Go attack your day

& Love people

B

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Leadership: SPEAK LIFE

How to get them to hate you…or love you.

Have you ever had to deal with a tough situation concerning correction.  Recently, I had to take the time to let a leader know that they were not cutting it out in their area of responsibility.  I had to let them know that they were not going to be able to lead anymore and that they would need to take a break from volunteering.  BUT – how do you do that FOR THEM, not against them?

It is a hard thing to correct someone, and if we don’t learn to do it the right way, we will lose our ability to help them ALONG the way.  As leaders we have to break the self-promoting, self-preserving trends of:

 

1 – referring to mistakes in relation to personal offense – this is when you correct someone with respect to how it “affected” you.  You know, “I put my neck out for you”, or “I took the hit for you…”  Words of shame create a separation in relationship, while Words of affirmation create a “sacrifice of self” opportunity in your relationship.  There is no need for someone to know what it costs you – instead they need to know what you are going to give for them to grow.  Love them enough to lead THEM, not just LEAD.

 

2 – Withholding compliments for the sake of not giving them a “big head” – ok, seriously – when I decide to not give someone a compliment, I am choosing myself over them.  Seriously, boil it down to truth –  it is more like “I don’t want you to dare think they are better than me, or that you were right”.  Take the form of the slave – do the work, and get no credit for it.  You are CONTRACTED.  That means that you have a call on your life.. in THEIR life.. to make it about THEM…not you.

 

3 – gaining personal worth from lowering someone else – this is low and dirty, and we all do it at some point in our leadership.  Just saying.  We make CERTAIN that the “offender” knows where they have messed up, or where they are weak – for the sake of looking like we “know”.  We basically say things to make ourselves look better, and their opinion of themselves…lower. We worry more about being right, and in the process crush their value.

 

There are probably 100 more ways that we shame instead of affirm – but the depth of it is about our heart to action.  What we feel in our heart about ourselves will often come out in what we say in our words to others.  We have to recognize the scripture in our talk – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21.  Let’s always speak life…

Love the day – and embrace your moment.

B

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Resource: Emails

Some practical steps to being a better leader, follower, believer:

Keys to communicating through emails

 

 1.  Make your subject line mean something!  (That’s the top part of the email :)

A. Short 6 word maximum subject of the email

B. Examples:  “Group report”, or “Problem with ChurchTeams”

 

2. Short Emails (No one likes to read a book via email)

A.  Get the information on the page

B.  Who, when, why, and how much

 

3. No “ALL CAPS”

A. It is considered yelling or rude

B. Content and order is lost

 

4. Reply’s (When you are responding to someone else’s email to you)

A. Be sure to recap information previously discussed

B. Don’t assume the reader knows what you are talking about

C. But keep it short

D. Reply to the email as soon as possible

E. Mark an email when you don’t respond right away!

 

5.  Spelling (It distracts from your content)

A. Use spellcheck on your email client (Outlook)

B.  Look up words you don’t know the spelling to

C.  Read backwards

 

6.  Content (Have something to say)

A. Keep your content precise and able to be understood

B. Anyone should be able to look at your email and understand (subject matter, references, and point of your email)

 

7. Re-read your emails (whether its your email or you are replying)

A.  Take the time to look over your emails from the recipients point of view

B.  Important emails  – write it, print it, read it, correct it, send it.

 

How often we misread, or have people misread the emails that we send?  How often do we get frustrated when we send an email to a leader or a volunteer and never get a response?  Well, let’s create an environment where we have excellence, yes, even in emails.

Hope this helps!

B

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If the shoe fits…

I believe this is how a REAL leader leads:

Let’s switch up the relationship here.  In a short exercise I want you to think of how you want to be led.  What kind of relationship would you want from the most influential person in your life – what would it look like?  I think when we take the time to dream about that relationship you will unlock a new level of serving, I mean leading :)

Exercise…Imagine a relationship with that “INFLUENTIAL” leader where the ENTIRE relationship was about you.  Pardon your normal way of thinking for about 5 minutes and think of who that person would be.  It could be President Obama, Colin Powell, Joel Osteen, Perry Noble, John Maxwell… whomever! Now, before you get too defensive and say that you wouldn’t want a relationship that was ONLY about you – - think about the power of that kind of relationship.  The most influential person you know DECIDES to connect with you and they have ONLY ONE purpose – to focus on you, your growth, your potential.  Here are a few ways I think they would do it:

  • Listen: In that relationship, they would rarely talk about themselves …and only to show you something about YOU.  They wouldn’t talk when you are talking, nor would you feel like they were listening just to have a
emptyboat

Keep Rowing

Good morning,
Ever feel like God sent you on an assignment and it was a lot harder than you thought it would be? Ever feel like something was God, but then every turn is difficult? Then you find yourself questioning whether it was God…

While I cannot tell you if it was God, I can share with you three things we need to do while we are in a struggle.

So here is the story I am referring to; in three of the gospels there is a time when Jesus had spent ALL day ministering to the people. Jesus decides its best for him to go recharge (I love that his refreshing was not indulging in TV it was to go up to the mountain and pray). He tells the disciples to load up in the boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while he is off to pray. So the disciples start rowing. Not sure at what time they started, but just before dawn they were still only halfway across the lake (it was only 8 miles wide at its widest point). Here is what happens, Jesus comes off the mountain, SEEs them struggling and about to PASS them by!!! The disciples see Him walking on the water, and unknowing it is Him they cry out. Jesus responds and Peter asks Jesus to call him to walk on the water.

Peter goes for it!

Walks on the water!

Fails in the process, Jesus saves Peter and then they both get into the boat. In John’s gospel, the boat is then immediately at the other side of the lake. There are so many options on what to share about this story, but I wanted to give us all some quick nuggets on what to do when you are rowing and getting nowhere DOING what God has told you to do.

  1. Keep being obedient – Jesus told the disciples that they needed to row to the other side of the lake, so they did. It wasn’t that it was easy. HOWEVER, an 8-mile trek of rowing really isn’t that hard when you think about it. I remember when my dad and I did one from the shore of Lake Chiemsee to the island in a canoe. I was only 11 at the time and we made it just fine :) . And it didn’t take all night to make the trek, but because of the rough sea and “who know” what other factors – they were still rowing when Jesus came off the mountain. The hard part was the wind, and water struggles of rowing. They were working all night and into the morning trying to get to the other side like Jesus told them too, and all they had to show for their work was 4 miles of progress. I am sure that a few hours into it there were some internal questions on whether it was a good idea, or if they had really heard from God right, or if Jesus knew what they were facing… All the questions that we find ourselves going to when an assignment we are on gets difficult. We start wondering if God really sent us. We start questioning whether we missed God or if God has forgotten us, all because it is difficult. The truth is, following the commands of God are not always an easy road – but we have to keep being obedient if we are going to be aligned for the outcome that God designed. IF the disciples turned around and went back, they would have never seen the miracles that were about to happen.
  2. Keep on the lookout – I am reading into the story a little bit, but someone must have been on the lookout when Christ was walking by. It says in the Word that Jesus was about to pass them by when they noticed him. Someone had to be looking around. Now, it could have been they were looking in the direction of where they were going, however I like to think they were just looking around. Its something LEADERS do when we are up against a battle and trying to find a way to win. We start looking around to see if there are any OTHER resources or options. Someone on the team was LOOKING. Tested and in the place of frustration, instead of giving up on the assignment they were still rowing, but looking – being spiritually attentive. We have to take the time in EVERY situation to be spiritually attentive. ESPECIALLY those where we are being obedient and it SO hard. Yes, sometimes God sends us on assignments where things are not going the way we THINK they should be going. Sometimes your assignment from God will be hard on the journey to get there, causing you a LOT more work than you may have anticipated. The disciples found themselves in a place where Jesus’ assignment was causing them to be tired, weary. But there was a miracle opportunity coming up, because they were STILL looking.
  3. When the time comes, get permission to change the plan – Ha, I know that was kind of throws us off our theology to ask about changing the plan. But when you think about it, here was Peter in the assignment of rowing to the other side and the presence of GOD shows up in the form of Jesus walking on the water. Now, his assignment was to row, but he sees Jesus walking and he gets bold to take advantage of the opportunity. Still in obedience he ASKS Jesus if he can walk on the water to Him – and Jesus says yes. I believe that God had a plan for the disciples to learn while on this trek to get to the other side of the lake. However I also believe there was an opportunity to have a greater understanding in the process. Peter took hold of that moment and went for it. Sometimes, when we are in our trek of obedience we have an encounter with God that can accelerate our progress IF we are willing to take a step of faith and go for it.

Keep being obedient where you are, not shutting down or quitting. Keep rowing strong to get to the other side. However, keep on the lookout – keep your spiritual attentiveness alert and listen and watch for the presence of God in every rowing motion. Lastly, when the Spirit of God shows up in power, be bold. Be obedient to the faith call and watch God do something amazing.

The last part is the best IMO – in John’s gospel when Jesus got in the boat after saving Peter, John says that IMMEDIATELY the boat was on the other side. See, it wasn’t that Jesus changed Peter’s plan to get to the other side, instead it was an opportunity to accelerate through the struggle to get on the path that was laid out for them. God has you on a path, and while this storm may be wearing you out or giving you a hard time – HIS plan for you has not changed, so be on the lookout for Jesus walking on the water!

CHALLENGE

Look at everything as an opportunity to move along your path, but look around! God shows up in a lot of forms. In the Matthew 25 Jesus shares the story about how what we have done for the least of these we have done unto Him. My challenge for this week is to be engaged in the world around us, looking for opportunities to extend a hand of help, kindness and love to someone who may just be passing by. LOOK

 

PRAYER

God, wow I need to quit complaining when the waves are rough and I’ve been pushing uphill towards something – instead I need to be keep being obedient and watching for You. Please forgive me for the times that I have given up or spoken against the assignment that you have given me. I want to be a good steward of the instructions that you have given me. Please help me to always be eyes WIDE open so that I can see everything you need me to see. Please help me to be better in obedience, to move right away, all the way and with a happy heart in the direction you are sending me. I give you today and I ask that you lead me. Show me your ways in everything I do – I want nothing more than to seek you and know you today. I am yours, please use me as you see best and help me to honor you in all I do. I am in love with you, thank you for loving me!

Cross-1

Why was Jesus sent?

I hope that you, as a reader, don’t mind a blog that is in the making.

In other words, these next few paragraphs are fresh for me and a learning ground.
I was recently in a conversation when it felt like fresh revelation was being spoken in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Then in my morning devotion I read a passage that dealt with the issue.

 

Why was Jesus sent?

I KNOW that we all KNOW John 3:16 and that His placement was to restore salvation to the WORLD.  To repair the covenant established with Adam and Eve.  However, it is the emphasis on just SALVATION that is becoming a troublesome thought.
1 – Christ came to restore what was taken away by sin.  Adam and Eve kind of messed things up for us and broke the original presence based close relationship that was established.  Not that we should be mad at them, cause yet for grace we would have all done the same thing (well I know that I would have).
The restoration was back to a place of communion with God, no longer separated by sin.  No longer separated.  That ALL of God is restored back to us in its entirety.

 

2 – Christ died for all our sins.  I am about to get pretty deep on this one, so get your thinking cap on.  When sin entered the world, everything changed.  Deterioration began (death hadn’t existed yet), disunity entered (wars, animals with humans), sickness entered (cancer, common cold), painful childbirth, etc – all these things became a reality because of sin’s plight.  I do not believe that any of these things would exist if it weren’t for sin.

 

3 – So when Christ died, he died for the remission of sins.  That means that our emphasis on the cross being for salvation only, is only a PART of the story.  It was the price paid for our redemption from sin which includes; wisdom, healing, peace, patience, joy, love, etc.  It was the price paid that gave us, as sons and daughters, access to the presence again.  Christ became a curse for us, Christ spent three days in hell gaining the keys that Adam gave to the devil.  In fact, if you really look at it (may have to hold your mouth a certain way) Christ came for all people, Jew and Gentile alike.
I can see it – “yeah, duh”.  But listen to this – the nation of Israel ALREADY had the part of salvation that we celebrate as Christians.  The part that saves us from Hell – they had that through the law, their covenant with God.  They had a way to heaven in the law of Moses, but Christ came for MORE than just salvation for the gentile, he came for redemption of us ALL.  Eph 2:14 that He united the Jew and the Gentile in his own body on the cross…  I am willing to accept that this really only means something to me, but because it is my blog I can go off on this :) .  Its awesome that God would send His son to save us, but how much more incredible that He would send His son to save our relationship with Him.  To fulfill the law and re-establish a covenant of EVERYTHING.  To think that He looked down on the nation of Israel and the LAW and said that it was incomplete, and then sent Himself in the form of man to undo what we did as MAN through sin just to have a relationship with us.

 Wow

 

Ok, so what am I saying?  I am just thinking through how God wants more for us than just salvation. God wants more for those around us than just salvation. Salvation is AWESOME - and… Jesus’ price was for much more than that.  The price that was paid was for our RELATIONSHIP with God to be reunited in all its glory. Every affect that sin has had on this earth, is now redeemable through His son.

Again, this is still a work in progress – so please feel free to talk it out and comment on this.  I love when I am exploring revelation and others get involved!

 

Today’s Prayer

Wow, God I am thankful.  Thankful that you have given me so many tools, but more importantly that you sent your Son to allow me to be close to YOU.  God, I am so thankful that you have positioned me to live a disciple lifestyle. A privilege to follow you.  I want to follow You.  Help me to be willing to sacrifice for others today and please keep revealing to me the power that comes in my relationship with you.  Speak through me, move me with your compassion, show me how to serve those around me better!

Go take on your day and LOVE people the way GOD LOVES!