Am I More Concerned With God Or Others?

questionsI ran across this post today while blog surfing.  Perry Noble is Pastor of Newspring Church, and is doing a fantastic job!  I should say, and he would also say this, God has His hand on Perry and His church.  They are doing things for Jesus that are just incredible!  In his blog, Perry likes to posts lists.  This morning, he started a list titled “”Six Questions I Try To Keep In Front Of Me.”  The second one on the list caught my eye this morning…

Am I More Concerned About God Or Others? Scripture is very clear, “Do your best to present yourself to God…” When “the end” is here I will stand before God and will NOT answer as to… Whether or not I kept people happy. Whether or not I appeased the bloggers. Whether or not I preached sermons that people WANTED to hear. I will answer for whether or not I was faithful to WHO He called me to be and WHAT He called me to do! I have a quote hanging in my office by Craig Groeschel that says, “The quickest way to forget what God says about me is to become obsessed with what others say about me.” SO TRUE! When my head hits the pillow at night I’ve got to know that I have tried my best to honor HIM and HIS calling on my life…which IS NOT EASY in a world where everyone seems to have an opinion and a website! BUT…focusing on them doesn’t allow me to focus on Him! (BTW…it isn’t helping you either!!!) Paul said it best in Galatians 1:10…we have a choice…I have made mine and will not look back…there is way too much at stake!

Everyone that has ever been involved in ministry, whether full-time or as a volunteer knows that you will NEVER make everyone happy… it is impossible!  Jesus did not even do that!  What we have to guard from is holding people’s opinions about us higher than we do God’s design and desire for us… that is hard, especially when you are a people-pleaser by nature.  Honestly, that is something that I fight constantly!  Here is the deal though, until we are being who God created us to be, we will never reach our full potential, and we will not be satisfied.  Once we realize who God made us to be, and start living it, our focus will shift to that of pleasing Him, and not people.  We will be more concerned with reaching people than we are keeping people.  Trying to keep people is an act of desperation… reaching people keeps things alive and Christ-centered.

Just something to chew on today… thanks Perry!

Ten Things I Have Learned This Year: Part Two

This is the second entry of “The Top Ten Things I Have Learned This Year.”  You can see part one heretop_10

3. Loyalty is a two way street.

  • There are those that think that above everything else, loyalty to them and their agenda is the most important thing… even if it means turning your back on what God has called you to do.  For some reason, some people think that they deserve your loyalty just because of their position.  But loyalty usually only goes one way with them.  They are the first one to throw you under the bus if it helps them avoid looking bad.
  • Those that preach and demand loyalty from the pulpit are usually the last ones that deserve it.  You do not have to preach or demand loyalty.  Loyalty is earned from people by your character and your actions.  If you do not have good character, you will not have loyalty.  If your actions stink or are always done with a personal agenda, you will not have loyalty.   Hammering it from the pulpit only makes people resent you, not follow you.  If you lead well, you will have the loyalty of the people you are leading.
  • You have to model loyalty to receive it.  If you are always the one expecting to receive, but never give loyalty, you do not deserve it.  The team you work with needs to know that there is loyalty to the team… loyalty to one another in the day to day stuff (this obviously does not apply to covering sin or secret agendas of self-centered people).

4. If you think you are leading, but no one is following… you are just out for a walk

  • No, this is not an original statement from me, but it is so true.  My desire is to live a life for God that will impact other people.  If God gives me the ability to lead, I need to lead where he wants me to go and to where He wants me to lead others to go.  I NEVER want to be in a position where I decide I will lead where I want to go, or where I want others to go.  That will not only hinder my ability to be who God has intended me to be, but it will hinder others from being able to be who God created them to be, which is the exact opposite of what we are suppose to be about.

That is it for this entry… part three tomorrow!

Ten Things I Have Learned This Year: Part One

top_10Ok, I will have to admit that I have learned a lot more than ten things this year.  Just being in God’s Word should teach us a lot more than ten things!  Going through a transition this year has allowed me see and learn some things that I would not have learned otherwise, or at least not to the extent that I would have learned as much.  So, over the next few days, I am going to list some things that have been important for me to learn.

1. People are depending on me to be in the Word

  • Not because I can impart some great wisdom to them, but because me being able to be who God intended me to be is dependent on me being in the Word so I know what God wants.
  • If I am going to lead people, that leadership has to be based on something greater than me.  I will only go so far, but God’s Word has unlimited potential to change lives and help people take their next step towards Christ.
  • My daily time in the Word is the most important time I spend during the day.  It energizes me and empowers me to love God, love people and serve both.
  • It also helps me to be able to be a good example and leader for my family.  They need to know that God’s Word is the ultimate authority in my life.  If I am not in the Word, they will not be.
  • If I am teaching or preaching God’s Word, I cannot rely on past experiences or lessons.  I have to take the time to be in the Word so that God can work on me first.  Only then can I have a message that is worth sharing.  There is nothing worse than hearing someone get up and preach “pretending” they have studied (and everyone else knows they have heard it before… maybe two or three times before!).  That is laziness, and there is no passion in that!

2. You may know what you want, but God knows what you need

  • I am so glad that God works the way He does.  Even during the transition this year, there were times when I thought that things were going to happen, and they did not.  At the time, it was tough, but in the end, God took care of us.
  • God has always done what was needed in my life at the right time.  I may have wanted things to happen quicker, but God had His timing in mind.  And I am so thankful for that.
  • Being able to tell the difference between what we need and what we want is difficult at times.  That is another reason why it is important to be in God’s Word.  It helps us see the difference between perceived needs (wants) and actual needs.  At times, Jesus would meet perceived needs in order to show someone their real needs.  He did not always do that though.  In the end, God’s plan was accomplished.  God’s plan will always be accomplished!

What are some of the things you have learned this year?

(To be continued… tomorrow!)

What will you do in the morning?

I am sitting and watching the election results.  It is interesting to listen to all the spin and commentary from each side of the “isle.”  Two things have struck me so far as I sit here and listen.  One thing was from Rudy Giuliani.  He was talking about what Republicans and Democrats will do tomorrow if their candidate loses.  This is not a direct quote, but essentially he said, “Tomorrow we wake up Americans, not Republicans or Democrats.  We wake up Americans and have a job to do to continue to make our country the best in the world.”  I like that attitude.  Politics can be dirty, and I am convinced that no one man is going to be the reason for the rise or fall of our country, no matter what they may have said.  In the end though, we are Americans and have an obligation to get along, fix the things that are wrong, and move forward to do the best we can.  Which leads me to my second thought so far tonight, God is in control.

Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” That is a comfort to me no matter what party is in control.  We are all but vessels that God moves and directs to fulfill His purpose.  God’s purpose and plan will accomplished, there is no doubt about that.  So what will I do in the morning?  I will be praying not only for President Bush but also either President-elect McCain or Obama.  Whoever gets elected tonight will need our prayers and the wisdom and hand of God on their life as they step in to lead the greatest country in the world in one of the most difficult times we have seen.  I believe God is up to the task, and still in control. How about you?

edited at 10:15CST to reflect election results…

We’re Moving!

That’s right! After 6 lonnnnng months of seeking God’s direction for our family, we have accepted a position at Glenville Church in Wichita, KS. Starting August 24th, I will be the Pastor of Worship Arts there and will work with a creative team to lead our church in fresh, relevant and meaningful worship using a variety of expressions. We are very excited to be getting involved with a very forward looking church that is not afraid to do things that others are not doing so they can reach people that others are not reaching. Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do to even get there (full time with the family). We need to sell our house first, and then the rest will come. Our God is a big God, and know He can do more than we could ever ask or think. He has done that by allowing us this opportunity, and I know He will do that in the details of getting us there. Please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition. The kids are excited, but will certainly miss there friends. I will post as often as I can through this transition.

What HE intends

worshipcolor.gif

Been reading the book of Job this week. For me, when I get a little discouraged, it has always helped to remember that I am hardly facing anything as bad as someone else is. Job is one of those guys who goes through a ton of awful events that God has allowed. God allows this even though Job is the most righteous man that is walking the planet at the time. Job did nothing to deserve this. He would not have wished his circumstances on his worst enemy. But though he did not deserve it, God allowed it, and Job makes some incredible statements throughout the ordeal. One that really got me today, and really helped me with my life at the moment, is what he says is Job 23:8-14:

Job 23:8-14 (Contemporary English Version)

8 I cannot find God anywhere–

in front or back of me,

9 to my left or my right.

God is always at work,

though I never see him.

10 But he knows what I am doing,

and when he tests me,

I will be pure as gold.

11 I have never refused to follow

any of his commands,

12 and I have always treasured

his teachings. 13 But he alone is God,

and who can oppose him?

God does as he pleases,

14 and he will do exactly

what he intends with me.

That last part really got me today. I could sit and be nervous and feel useless and unwanted as I wait for God’s leading in our ministry, but guess what? No matter how I feel, God will do exactly wht HE intends with me. That is heavy stuff! He is God alone, He will do as He pleases and it does not matter who would try to oppose Him! WOW! Thanks for that one today God. It has been a long week, and that is just what I needed!